Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

In

nose.

dred thousand pounds. And this is much under rather allowing him to be guiltless of all other crime. From than over the mark! Three million five hundred scores, nay, hundreds of volumes and manuscripts, dethousand pounds taxes regularly and honestly paid ! nunciations were poured forth against the " hellish Andhush, readers ! we must whisper the next sen- practice” of smoking. King James first and foremost tence. The above statement makes no reference to became an author, distinguishing himself in his essay, the small quantities which are every now and then entitled “ The Counter-Blaste to Tobacco.” The snugly warehoused by moonlight, when “ the deil's popes, one after another, published bulls, excommuniawa wi' the exciseman,” and none of her majesty's cating all who were known to smoke in churches. servants are exposed to the slightest trouble or incon- Constantinople, any Turk discovered to have a pipe venience!

in his possession, was marched through the streets From what has now been stated, the reader may with the instrument of offence transfixed through his very easily form a just and true estimate concerning In Russia, the nose itself was at once cut off! the almost universal prevalence of the use of tobacco And to complete the list of penalties, Amurath the in one shape or another. It is all very well to assert,

Fourth declared smoking a capital crime, and puafter the manner of some authors, that, as a general nished with death all offenders ! rule, the middle and lower classes alone indulge in its Well—the consequences of this may be naturally consumption. The assertion is not based on truth. conceived. The practice of smoking spread with The higher orders,-nay, the very highest,—are amazing rapidity. Poor folk in remote parts, who equally chargeable. Some of them are, and have been, might otherwise never have heard of the intoxicating inveterate smokers. And we need not wonder at this, weed, had their curiosity aroused when they met a when we consider their lack of useful employment. friend deprived of his nose, or heard of some distant reThey have no thoughts of busy commerce and traffic lation losing his head. Thus we discover, that human to occupy their minds, as have those in an inferior nature three hundred years ago was much the same as station. They would experience a terrible difficulty we find it now. Yet we have not learned the lesson which in knowing how to murder passing time, if tobacco such a discovery ought to teach. Still do we proscribe smoking did not offer its assistance. And thus many an objectionable book, well knowing that the next day of them are perfect enthusiasts in the matter-passing a thousand will be inquiring for it. Still do we applaud hours, days, and almost weeks,“ in the clouds," and reward the breaking of a tradesman's window, rivalling, indeed, the devotion of the oriental opium- who has offended by vile traffic, although, as a naeater. They regard the weed in the light of a friend, tural and foreseen sequel, his shop in a few hours is -nay, as something even higher.

Have we not besieged by customers, who might otherwise never have heard of gorgeous temples, rich in blazing gold and become informed of its existence! So it was with velveted cushions, where deftly contrived cascades' tobacco. The more anathemas were poured forth throw around a delicious shower of glittering and against it, the more did the sin increase and multiply. scented waters,—where beautiful statuary, and the After a while persecution was stayed--the matter low sighing of unseen music, charm the eye and ear of was left an open question, and people were allowed to the voluptuary? And these are consecrated to the gratify their inclinations and appetites if tliey liked. honour of tobacco! What a glorious sight to behold So, from that time to this, one party has lauded it to the meeting of worshippers! Kings, and royal princes, the skies, esteeming its use not only

a harmless induland haughty nobles, sage legislators, and crafty gence, but an invaluable medicinal blessing.-Whilst statesmen, assembled there! How gravely and silently another party, with equal energy, denounces it as a are the fragrant clouds dispersed from their languid noxious poison, certain eventually to enfeeble the most and aristocratic lips! Mighty resolutions and vital vigorous constitution. propositions have they lately been urging in their We have already stated, that the object of this paper House of Peers, or Chamber of Deputies, but these is to discover whether the moderate use of tobacco is are ending, as ofttimes they have done before,- in really injurious to the human economy. And if we smoke. All the feverish excitement of debate is can come to a decided and satisfactory resolution, we soothed, -all angry feeling against rival orators tran- trust that the reader will not esteem our efforts enquillized! In a world of blissful oblivion the souls tirely useless or unimportant. of the grandees are completely lost. Cares and And, first, let us consider the peculiar physiological perplexities of kingdoms and states are forgotten action which tobacco exercises on man. We shall -rumours of war and threatenings of civil disaffec- not enlarge upon its medicinal properties, as these tion, the failure of national produce, and the “ cries cannot of course form a part of the argument on one of them that have reaped," " malice domestic, fo- side or the other. We may, however, just mention reign levy,-nothing can touch them further !" in passing, that given internally, and with proper pre

From the first hour that tobacco was introduced cautions, tobacco has been found useful in certain into this country, various opinions have been enter- serious diseases, as dropsies, hydrophobia, epilepsy, tained respecting its properties. Many who may pe- tetanus, spasmodic asthma, and others of a similar ruse these pages will probably have read concerning class. An infusion of the herb employed as an applithe violent opposition which it originally encountered. cation to the skin has also proved serviceable in inSir Francis Drake, who first brought the weed from flammations of the joints, especially when of a gouty Virginia, in 1586, was by an old divine publicly de- or rheumatic character, and also in certain skin disvoted to eternal torment for his pains; and Sir Walter eases. Raleigh, who was the first gentleman about the court But if administered improperly, and in an over-dose, to patronize its use, was considered by the same re- tobacco is a mortal poison. Various cases of death verend sage to have richly merited the block, even from its use are recorded. Two young men, out of

[ocr errors]

vulgar bravado, engaged to smoke a certain number luxury be obstinately continued, in spite of the unof pipes in a given time. The debauch concluded, in pleasant symptoms which we have described, the the one case, at the seventeenth pipe, in the other at human system becomes accustomed to the process, the eighteenth. Both lost their lives. Dr. Marshall and ceases to be distressed by it. Instead of extreme Hall, an eminent London physician, has also pub- discomfort and miserable nausea, the use of the weed lished a case, in which a youth, anxious to acquire the produces peculiarly soothing and pleasurable sensamanly accomplishment, smoked two pipes as his first tions. Men suffering from embarrassment, or violent essay. This imprudence was within a hair's breadth and exciting passions, as of anger or revenge, seek of causing his death.

consolation from their pipes, and strange as the result Tobacco appears to act directly upon the nervous may be, they arise quieted, and more disposed to be system, and secondarily upon the heart itself, pro- guided by the dictates of their reason. In consequence ducing faintness, palpitations, and various unpleasant of these properties, the use of tobacco has increased, in symptoms, which will be more fully particularized be- spite of every opposition, it has become an unrefore we conclude this part of the subject. The action stricted article of commerce in all parts of the world, of the heart is disordered solely as a consequence of and is employed to an enormous extent in this country, the nervous derangement which has been already as we have already proved by reciting the average stated in the first place to occur. This was proved by annual duties on its importation. Sir Benjamin Brodie, in the following experiments. We now come to our last and most important Sir Benjamin introduced a quantity of tobacco infusion proposition. We have endeavoured, in plain laninto the system of a dog. It died in a few minutes guage, to describe the mode in which tobacco acts the heart being paralysed. Another dog was selected, upon the human system, and it now remains for and its head speedily removed, whilst, by artificial us to show whether this action, when moderately exrespiration, the pulsations of the heart were main- cited, is productive of good or evil. We trust that our tained. The poisonous infusion was then in the same impartiality thus far has propitiated all readers, whatmanner introduced into the system of the animal, but ever their prejudices may be, and disposed them to its heart was not paralysed, or in any way unnaturally pay some little regard to certain facts which we are affected. Thus was it proved, that the brain and about to lay before them. nervous system are first disordered, and through the Many of the most serious and dangerous maladies medium of these the heart next suffers.

to which the human frame is subject, have at different In the human subject an over-dose of tobacco is times, and by various writers, been ascribed to the followed by a series of well-marked and very distress- free use of tobacco.

free use of tobacco. Diseases of the lungs and heart, ing symptoms. We have the best opportunity of apoplexy, paralysis, diarrhoea, and dysentery have observing these in young men who are making them- been especially distinguished. The physicians who selves ill by “ learning to smoke.” The first com- have recorded such cases, have not, however, offered plaint is of a peculiar oppressive pain at the pit of the any direct proof to substantiate their opinions. The stoniach; the pulse is rapid and excitable, soon be- patient, perhaps, has been known to be an inveterate coming of extreme feebleness ; the intellect and recol-smoker or snuff-taker, or he dates the earliest symplection are for the time much impaired; the limbs toms of his disease from the time when he first comtremble; the sense of vision is obscured, and specks menced his regretted habit. This circumstance, neverappear to be floating before the eyes. As previously theless, should not weigh too strongly in argument, observed, there is a tendency to fainting, palpitation for there is no denying that the coincidence might at the heart, giddiness in the head, and cool, clammy have been perfectly accidental. At any rate, the perspirations break out over the body. These symp

matter could only be cousidered as one of grave sustoms are generally relieved by a free vomiting, which picion, and it remained for future and more extended is speedily induced. The entire prostration of bodily inquiries to clear away the doubt. strength, which follows as a consequence of the

These desirable investigations have been recently general muscular relaxation, is most remarkable. And laid before the medical profession. They are most occasionally, in certain surgical operations, tobacco is extended, most accurate, and most incontrovertible. employed to produce this state of depression, which is And we shall probably startle some few of our readers, necessary in order to diminish the resistance offered to who from past remarks may not be prepared for the surgical manipulation by the involuntary rigidity of assertion, that no one of the diseases which we have the muscles. Thus tobacco has frequently been ad- mentioned, can with the slightest show of propriety be ministered to favour the reduction of dislocations. referred to the influence of tobacco. On the contrary, And its effects are most complete. The strongest they demonstrate beyond all doubt that the use of the man is brought to a condition of almost deadly debi- plant, in very many instances, exerts a power in wardlity, and whilst the action of the medicine continues, ing off the very maladies which it has been supposed a weanling might control a Samson.*

to produce ! So much then for the effects of tobacco, considered For a long period nothing satisfactory could be apart from its more popular properties. It is almost determined upon this subject, great difficulty was exunnecessary to add, that if its use as an article of perienced in making sufficiently ample observations,

and in accumulating sufficiently numerous statistics. * It is not probable that this extreme depression would be But of late time the medical officers attached to the induced by the mere practice of smoking. In the cases where

immense tobacco manufactories established in various we suppose it to be employed medicinally, we allude to the introduction of an infusion of tobacco into the system. Loss of

parts of the continent-more especially at Paris, life from smoking is very rare, but if the herb be actually swal. Strasbourg, Havre and Bordeaux, have by direction of lowed without proper precautions, it will inevitably poison. the authorities supplied the desideratum. We have

now before us accurate reports of the state of health' number of the work-people employed in the contipossessed by the hundreds and thousands of work nental manufactories are young men and girls, who people in these factories, who are constantly under have reached the age at which the malady is most fremedical inspection. They are exposed to the influ- quently developed. Here, therefore, we can at once ences of tobacco in its most concentrated and conse decide the question. Do we find the mortality from quently in its most dangerous form-of course putting phthisis greater amongst this class of people than out of the question actual administration by swallow amongst artizans employed elsewhere? ing. They receive the leaves in their dry and almost Let us again quote from the periodical before inodorous condition, for the fresh leaf has but little named. of the acridity possessed by that which has undergone "At the manufactories of Bordeaux, Havre, Lille, manufacture. If the tobacco be intended for smoking, Morlaix, and Strasbourg, phthisis is stated to be much the first process consists in moistening the leaves, next less frequent among the work-people than among in depriving them of their grosser parts, and lastly in other artizans. cutting or tearing them into shreds, and drying the “At Bordeaux, the disease is very rarely found mass upon heated plates. If snuff is to be made, the among them, and progresses much slower in that tobacco previously moistened, torn into shreds, and class than with the rest of the population.". picked, is collected in immense heaps and left for “At Havre, where phthisis is common, it is so rare months to ferment. It is then ground to a powder, at the tobacco manufactory, that there has scarcely and again garnered into heaps, that the process of been a case observed.” fermentation may be repeated. In this way twenty “At Morlaix, phthisis is always less violent in its five thousand pounds weight are manufactured at a progress, and less severe, when it attacks the manutime !

factory people than with other artizans." It will now be obvious, that every artizan employed " At Lille it is much less frequent than among those in these factories must have his system more fully who work in cotton.” exposed to the influence of tobacco than he could “At Strasbourg the work-people have not presented possibly have by any other mode of procedure ; he a case of phthisis. breathes an atmosphere loaded with the effluvia from Let it be borne in mind that these statistics are not the plant in a moist and also in a fermenting con partial or incomplete. Observations have not been dition.

made upon the health of a few scores, but thousands Now what is observed to result from all this? We of artizans, of both sexes, constantly exposed to the will quote from the Lancet, which sums up the sta most powerful external influences of tobacco, have tistical reports, to which we have already alluded, in been from time to time subjected to a medical inspecthe following manner :

tion, authorized by government commission. In one “The health of the work-people is generally good factory alone-that of Gros-Caillon-a thousand -better, indeed, than that of the neighbouring popu- people are employed. Let it also be remembered by lation. There is no malady whatever, nervous or the reader, that the gentlemen who have collected otherwise, from which they appear particularly to these extremely interesting results, are not fussy, ignosuffer. It is also remarked, that their lives appear to rant meddlers, but men of well-known scientific atbe quite as long as those of other work-people, and tainments-French physicians, and acute ones, too! that they are generally able to work until age or acci Our paper has already become extended to an dental illness stops their labours.”

inconvenient, and, we fear, to a tedious length; but the So much, therefore, for the general influences of subject is undeniably one of importance, and whether tobacco. We observe, “there is no malady what the reader be a smoker or not, there are certain points ever,” which it appears to induce.

offered here for his notice, which cannot fail to interest From the number of diseases which have been by many him. Excess in any indulgence must invariably be ascribed in certain cases to excess in tobacco-smoking, hurtful. Excess in the use of tobacco is, without let us now specially select one, peculiarly interesting, doubt, no exception to this rule, but we think that the because of its awful prevalence in this country. Who arguments which we have laid before the reader, (with amongst us is not already too familiar with that insi certain others, not mentioned, because scarcely suited dious affection, whichi, whilst it bringeth bloom to the to the pages of a popular periodical,) justify us in cheek, and beauty to the eye, and fire to the intellect, concluding, that the moderate use of tobacco is by no bringeth also a certain and lingering death. Of course means injurious to health. And so strong do we conwe allude to consumption, or, as the disease is pro sider the evidence in its favour, as a medicine exerting fessionally named, phihisis pulmonalis. The climate some happy influence in phthisis, that we should not of France is as variable, and consequently as consump

hesitate to recommend its use in threatened cases of ive-breeding as ours can possibly be, and a large this sad disease.

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »