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If perspiration is requisite, there are sudorifics much more healthy than alcohol, and which might be administered with much less danger.


When we consider the fiery nature of alcohol, and the heat it produces when circulating through the body, the accounts we have heard of spontaneous animal combustion are far from incredible. Donovan relates seven instances of this description of ignition, and M. Julia de Fontenelle has lately read a paper to the Academy of Sciences, at Paris, in which he relates fifteen cases of spontaneous human combustion. We will relate two examples out of many : Mary Clues, aged fifty, was much addicted to drinking. At five o'clock one morning a smoke was seen issuing out of her window, and the door being broken open, some flames which were in the room were soom extinguished. Between the bed and the chimney were found the remains of the unfortunate Clues. One leg and a thigh were still entire, but there remained nothing of the skin, the muscles, or the viscera. The bones of the cranium, the breast, the spine, and the upper extremities, were entirely calcined. The furniture had sustained little injury. The side of the bed next to the fire had suffered most; the wood of it was slightly burnt, but the feathers, clothes, and covering were safe. Nothing except the body exhibited strong traces of fire." Most of the examples hitherto recorded are those of females. It would seem that their frames are more delicate than those of men, and therefore are more liable to be rendered combustible by spirits ; but the following narrative from the Medical and Surgical Journal will show the dreadful effects of spirits on the stronger fabric of the other sex :

"Thomas Williams, a sailor, aged 38, who has for a long time used himself to drink a large quantity of spirits, especially of rum, was in a smuggling vessel in the month of November, 1808, which landed at Aberforth, having several barrels of rum on board, which they managed to get on shore without discovery, and took them to an old house in the village which they had previously taken for the purpose. When all was right, they began, as they termed it, to enjoy themselves, and to partake plenteously of their booty. This man, who had been noted for the quantity he could take, now took considerably more than he had been

accustomed to. He became so exceedingly intoxicated, and lay in this state for such a length of time, that his companions became alarmed, and sent for a surgeon to Cardigan; he being from home, myself and the other apprentice attended for him. After ascertaining the beverage he had been taking, the best antidote we could think of was oil; this we agreed to administer; I officiating, and the other holding the candle, it being late in the evening. As soon as the candle came in contact with the vapour from his body, to our great surprise, it caught fire, commencing about the face, and extending throughout the whole surface of the body burning with a blue flame. We, being greatly agitated, thinking we had set him on fire, thought it best to depart, first having thrown a pail of water over him to extinguish it. This only added fuel to the fire, it burning with greater severity. On our return we related the circumstance to our master, who could scarcely credit it. The next morning, he and myself went to see this unfortunate victim. On our arrival, we found only part of the being we went to see; for all the parts, excepting the head, legs, and part of the arms, were consumed. The ashes which remained were black and greasy, and the room in which it lay had a peculiarly offensive smell. The shirt, which was of flannel, was not burnt, but charred. We ordered the remaining parts to be put into a shell. Two days afterward, from curiosity, we again went to see if the remainder was burnt, but found it as before. There was no inquest. His companions, as well as those people who heard it, being at that time superstitious, and knowing him to be a very wicked man, reported that the devil had come: set him alight and sent him, alive, to the shades below, for his wickedness."

When we

There is nothing incredible in these narrations.

consider the fiery nature of alcohol, the increased circulation it produces, and that the body of the unhappy victim is drenched and saturated with this inflammatory spirit, it is not wonderful that the gas proceeding from such a combustible mass should ignite. We know that phosphoreted hydrogen and other substances will spontaneously take fire, and we cannot tell, as there is phosphorous in the body, but this may be so acted upon as to produce spontaneous combustion, or even the increased circula


tion in a body so inflammable may occasion ignition. the philosophy of the thing, however, we have little to do; the facts are incontestible, that a number of persons, addicted to ardent spirits, have been burnt to death, and the fire in several cases has been spontaneous. Its peculiar character has also been manifest from the fact that, in many instances, the clothes and bed furniture have not been burnt. Like the Greek fire, also, it appears that water increases its intensity.

"A man in London once drank a pint of gin; he soon fell into a state of insensibility, and died in the street. On internal examination, there was found in his stomach a fluid which had the smell of gin, and a like quantity was found in his brain; on a fire being applied both ignited. A strong case of this kind occurred at Edinburgh, and another in America. A young physician, in the state of Maine, applied his lancet to the vein of a confirmed drunkard, who had just come out of a fit of intoxication. The blood exhaled a strong odor of whisky, and on the application of a taper it burnt for some seconds with a blue flame." At the close of last year, 1839, an occurrence was mentioned in all the public papers, which fully corroborates these facts. A gentleman by the name of Taylor had entered a cab, but when the driver arrived at the Angel, Islington, and opened the door, he found his passenger dead. A surgeon was called, who tried to bleed him, but in vain. He opened his head, and found alcohol in his brain, which, on the application of fire, burnt with a blue flame. A considerable portion of spirit was also detected in his stomach. These facts were stated at the inquest which was held by Mr. Wakely, and who, to obtain correct information on the subject, deferred the inquest for a day or two, that the surgeon might fully ascertain whether it was really alcohol which was in the brain and the stomach. The experiment fully confirmed the fact. Several similar well-authenticated facts are mentioned in Bacchus, p. 332, all of which show that alcohol cannot be digested, and in no form whatever can be fit for the body of man. It cannot nourish a healthy man, it cannot quench the thirst of a thirsty man, and it may very soon poison, inflame, and kill a sickly man, and therefore ought to be abandoned by all.

One very great mistake exists respecting the difference beWe have shown that the tween beer, wine, and ardent spirit. stomach cannot digest anything but what is solid, and that whatever is eaten or drank, is, as it were, filtered by the capillary absorbents, the solid parts remain for digestion, and the liquid is taken into the veins. Now beer, cider, and wine consist of spirits and water, and an extract; the water, and the spirit which is lighter than water, are, as soon as possible after they are swallowed, taken up into the system, and the extract, which in bulk is not worth mentioning, and in quality is worse than the husks which swine eat, is left behind for digestion. This being the case, then, the drinker of beer, cider, or wine, is just as much a drinker of spirits and water, as he who goes to the gin or brandy bottle direct. There is spirit enough in a pint of good beer to make a good strong glass of gin or brandy and water, and perhaps the spirit-tippler has an advantage over the porter-drinker, that he does not take into his stomach the filthy extract of malt, grapes or apples. We showed just now, from Dr. Farre, that spirit though diluted is not changed in its nature and character as a poison. The beer and wine drinker, therefore, often swallows as much alcoholic poison a day as he who drinks spirits. 'It is true it is diluted, and therefore operates on his frame less rapidly but, though slow, it is just as sure a poison in the end as when taken unmixed.

The best home-made beer, cider or wine, has therefore just as much poison in it as it has alcohol; consequently the phrase," wholesome home-brewed beer," is an absurdity. You cannot make alcohol wholesome; dilute it or mix it with whatever extract you will, it is still a poison, and the whole design and result of brewing is to produce a poison, and the more that is produced, the more successful the manufacturer imagines he has been. All who succeed pride themselves in brewing good beer, that is, strong beer, alias, more than usually poisonous beer. What a delusion then is practised upon the people, by persuading them that these stimulating poisons are good or nutritious! There is more real, solid, substantial nourishment in a penny loaf than in a gallon of the best beer. And yet the penny loaf only costs a penny, while, in some cases, the gallon of beer

costs twenty-four pence or two shillings; and what is worse still, the penny worth of food in the beer is not merely coarse barley bread spoilt, but is actually mixed with perhaps four ounces of an acrid poison! I have known good workmen that would spend three or four shillings, and the whole of one day in a week on this detestable liquor. Three shillings a week, six shillings, nine, twelve, twenty shillings a week, are sometimes thus wasted. Five, ten, twenty, fifty pounds a year are, in thousands of instances, spent on these liquors, by persons whose families are in the greatest straits, and perhaps starving for food and clothing. And yet professors of religion encourage this waste, and " cast out as evil" the names of those who would expose the delusion, and destroy the iniquitous practice of drinking. "These things ought not to be."

If inebriating liquors, manufactured at home, are nevertheless poisonous, then what must be the character of those which have been adulterated? Respecting porter, Dr. Lardner informs us, that" it is absolutely frightful to contemplate the list of poisons and drugs with which it has been 'doctored.' Opium, henbane, coculus indicus, and Bohemian rosemary, which is said to produce a quick and raving intoxication, supplied the place of alcohol. Aloes, quassia, gentian, sweet-scented flag, wormwood, horehound, and bitter oranges, supplied the place of hops. Liquorice, treacle, and mucilage of flax-seed, stood for attenuated malt liquor. Capsicum, ginger, and cinnamon, or rather cassiabuds, afforded to the exhausted drink the pungency of carbonic acid. Burnt flour, treacle or sugar, communicated a peculiar taste, which many people fancy. Preparations of fish, assisted, in case of obstinacy, with oil of vitriol, procured transparency. Besides these, the brewer had occasion sometimes to supply himself with potash, lime, salt, and a variety of other substances, which are no other harm than serving in the office of more valuable materials, and defrauding the consumer."

In the Essay on Brewing, published in the Library of Useful Knowledge, we find that in the manufacture of beer, “sugar, molasses, honey and liquorice are used for malt. Broom, opium, gentian, quassia, aloes, marsh trefoil, opium, coculus indicus, ignatia amara, tobacco, nux-vomica, are used for hops, and the

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