George Miller Beard.

Stimulants and narcotics; medically, philosophically, and morally considered online

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The objects of this work are to give a brief descriptioD
and history of the principal Stimulants and Narcotics ; to
discuss in a manner at once scientific and j)opular their
good and evil effects, as modified by race, climate, age, sex,
individual temperament, habit, the state of health, and the
progress of civiUzation, and to indicate the methods by
which the enormous evils to which they give rise may be
successfully opi30sed.

So far as I know, this is the first systematic attempt of the
kind that has ever been made. Although the Hterature of the
subject is very extensive, yet it mostly appears in the form
of special pleas, either for or against some one of the more
prominent varieties of stimulants and narcotics, as opium, or
tobacco, or alcohohc liquors. Works written in a spirit of
partisanship can never satisfy the honest lover of truth.

If the unaided emotions could have determined this gi-eat
question ; if the wish had always been father to the truth,
as well as to the thought ; if our philanthropists and legis-
lators had been trained to habits of scientific reasoning, any
further discussion of the subject would be superfluous.

As it is, there is no other social question concerning which
so much has been stated, and so little known ; upon which
men have felt so strongly and reasoned so feebly. While very
many of the choicest spirits of the world have thought
intensely on this subject; have spoken and written eloquently



upon it ; have quarreled over it, wept over and prayed over
it, comparatively few have reasoned upon it, and those few
have been too m eagerly supplied mth facts to arrive at any
just conclusion. Even some of the men of science who have
entered upon the study of this subject have displayed a
spirit the reverse of scientijQc.

This work is now prepared in the belief that there is a
large and increasing number in this country who have not
been wholly satisfied with the manner in which the subject
has thus far been treated ; who perhaj^s suspect that some-
thing more than witty stories, or stirring songs, or eloquent
exhortations are needed to solve a great social problem ;
who are beginning to feel the propriety and the necessity of
discussing a question that is primarily scientific by scientific
methods of reasoning ; who in the spirit of honest inquiiy
are eagerly seeking for information to aid them in forming
their opinions ; and who are ready and willing to attend to
facts that are novel, and to listen to views that are directly
opposed to their own, and who recognize the need of pa-
tience and wisdom as well as of courage and enthusiasm in
conducting a great reform.

The facts contained in this work have been gathered with
not a little labor, and many of them are now for the first
time presented in an accessible form ; and the method of
treating the subject throughout is radically different from
that to which the popular mind has been accustomed.

I desire to call special attention to the comparison made
between the climate of Europe and North America, which
has so important a bearing on this question ; to the statistics
showing the relation of ignorance to intemperance and
other vices ; to the sketch of the drinking customs of differ-
ent countries, and to the history of temperance legislation
from the earliest periods down to the present time.

Q. M. B.

New Yoiui, Sejitcmber 1st, 1871.


Althoitgh so much, has been written on stimulants and nar-
cotics, j^et the number of really valuable works on the subject
is qui te limited. Strange to say, some of the most important in-
form ition on the subject is found in works in which stimulants
and narcotics are only treated of incidentally.

Authors who have oph^nn-i on the subject are painfully numer-
ous ; authors who have fads that may aid us informing our opin-
ions are easily counted.

The following are some of the most valuable and accessible
sources of information on all the branches of the subject discussed
in this work, and in which many of the facts I have recorded can
be verified.

To have encumbered the body of the work with copious foot-
notes and references, would have repelled the large body of
readers for whom it was designed, without adding materially to its
scientific value.

A fair re'sume' of the leading medical and scientific researches
and opinions may be found in the follo\^dng writings :

Fkancis E. Anstie, M. D. — Stimulants and Narcotics, 1864.

Tlie Use of Wines in Health and Disease, 1871. Republished fi-om the

John Habley, M. D. — The Old Vegetable Narcotics, London, 1869.
Edmund A. Pabkes, M. D.— A Manual of Practical Hygiene, London, 1866.
H. Letheby, M. D.— On Food, London, 1870.
TiATjLEMAND, DUROY AND Perrin. — Du Eole dc I'Alcool et des Anesthesiques

Paris, 1860, and Union Medicale, 24 Decembre, 1863.


Baudot.— De la Destruction de I'Alcool dans rOrganismo. Union Medi*

cale, Nov. and Dec, 1863.
DOCHEK.— Ueber das Verhalten des Alkohols in thieriscber Orgauismua.

Viertel Jabrschrift I'iir die praktiscbe Heilkunde. Prague, 1833.
Magkus Huss.— Cbroniecbe Alkobols-Kraukbeit, 1852.
W. Marcet, M. D.— On Cbronic Alcobolic Intoxication.
■\V. A. Hammond, M. D.— A Treatise on Hj'glene, 1863.
Edwakd Smith, M. D.— On the Action of Alcohol, 1861.
E. A. Parkes and Wollowicz. — Experiments on the Effects of Alcohol on the

Human Bodj'. Druggists' Circular, Nov., 1870.

Among the representatives of extreme views in the profession
that are now pretty well exploded are :

W. B. Carpenter, M. D. — Use and Abuse of Alcoholic Liquors in Health and
Disease. London, 1851.

T. Forbes, M. D.— Physiological Effects of Alcohobc Drinks. 18-48. Massa-
chusetts Temperance Society.

Among the authorities on the description and history of stim
ulauts and narcotics are :

Geo. H. Lewes.— Physiology of Common Life, 18C0.
James F. Johnston.— The Chemistry of Common Life, 1856.
James F. Clarke.— Ten Great Religions, 1871.

W. E. H. Leckt.— History of nationalism in Europe, 1868, vol. ii., pp. 321,

Mr. Lecky refers to the following works on the subject :

D'Aussr.— Hist, de la Vie Piivee des Fran^ais, (Paris, 1815,) torn. iii. pp.

Pierre Lacroix, — Histoire des Ancit nues Corpoi'ations, p. 76.
Pelletier.— Le The etle Cafe.
Cabanis.— Rapports du Physique et du Moral, 8vo.
McPheuson.— Memoirs, Annals of Commerce, vol. ii. pp. 447-489.

Other works on the same subject.

Von Bibra. — Die Narkotiscben Gpnxissmittel und der Menscb. Niimberg,

James Richmond Sheen.— Wines and other Fermented Liquors, Loudou.


Robert Tomes.— Tlie Champagne Country.

Jacob Biglow, M. D.— Natiu-e in Disease, 1859.

Alonzo Caxkins, M. D. — Opium and the Opium Appetite, 1871.

John P, Hedges.— History of the Excise Law, 1856.

C. Dakwtn.— Descent of Man, 1871.

Some works of travel give valuable information on the subject.

Madden. — Travels in Turkey.

Wilkes.— United States Exploring Expedition.

PoppiG.— Reisein Chile, Peru und auf dem Amazon Strom.

Von Tschudi. — Travels in Peru.

Fbancis Galton.— Tropical South Africa,

Weddell.— Voyage dans le nord de la Bolivia.

Hooker.— Himalayan Journals.

Metees. — Life and Nature under the Tropics.

Fortune. — Tea Districts of China.

Thomas "W. Knox.— Overland through Asia, 1870.

Samuel, Hazard. — Cuba with Pen and Pencil, 1871.

Eichard J. Bush.— Reindeer, Dogs and Snow Shoes, 1871.

Paul B. Du Chaillu.— Explorations and Adventures in Equatorial Africa,

A Journey to Ashango Land, 1867.

For information on the comparative influence of European and
American climate, and for varioiis statistics on the different themes
discussed, I may refer to the following :

M, E. Desor.— 'The climate of the United States, and its Influence on

Habits of Life and Moral Qualities. Bost. Medical and Surgical

Journal, March 16, 1871, p. 175.
W, WisiJZENUs, M. D. — On Atmospheric Electricity. Transactions of St. Louis

Academy of Medicine.
Geo. M. Beard, M. D. and A. D. Rockwell, M. D.— Medical and Surgical

Electricity, pp. 93-95 and 288-290.
S. W. Mitchell, M. D.— Wear and Tear, 1871.

Stadtisches Jahrbuch fiir Volkswirthschaft und Statistik. Berlin, 1869.
Reports on the Subject of a License Law, by a J.nnt Special Committee of the
Legislature of Massachusetts, together with a Stenographic Report of the
Testimony taken before said Committee.


Second Animal Report of the State Board of Health of Massachusetts, 1871.*
Report of the CommiBsioners of Education, 1870.
Police Reports of Liverpool, London and New York.

Besides these authorities, I am under obligations to a large
number of individuals in various countries, who, in many ways
have aided me in prosecuting my inquiries. My thanks are espe-
cially due to Meredith Eeed, Jr., our Consul General at Paris;
Consul General Morse at London ; Mr. Farr, Eegister General
of England ; Hon. David A. Wells, Ex-Commissioner of Internal
Eevenue ; Hon. Edward Young, of the Bureau of Statistics ; Dr.
George Derby, and Dr. Henry L Bowditch of Boston, to Eev.
James Beecher, and to Messrs. Beebe and Co., the well-known tea
merchants of New York.

* The State Board of Health of Massachusetts addressed a circular of
inquiry concerning the use and effects of alcohoUc liquors " to the American
Ministers at foreign courts, and to the Consuls of all the principal ports of the
globe." The replies, which are numerous and very interesting, have been of
great service to me, especially in the preparation of the third chapter.




Difficulties and Complications of the Subject 1-4


The Definition, Description, and Histoet op Stimulants


Stimulation, versus Narcosis 5-6

Fermentation 7

Distillation , 7

Moon Plant 8

Grape Wine 9

Origin of Wine 10

Hops 10

Ale or Beer 10

Porter or Stout 10

Varieties of Liquors used throughout the World 11

Tea 14

Coffee 16

Cocoa, (chocolate) 17

Chicory 18

Tobacco 18

Opium 19 -

-^Hemp 20

Coca 20

Betel l{ut 21



Lettuce 21

Syrian Eye 22

BuU's Hoof 22

Sibeiiuu Fungus 22

Stimulants and Narcotics have betn used all over the world,

and from the Earliest Ages 23

Their Use has gi-eatly extended and multiplied with the pro-
gress of Civilization, and especially in Modern Times... 24

They are used to the Greatest Extent, and in the Largest Va-
riety, among the Nations who are now leading our Modern
Civihzation 25


The Effects of Stimulants and Nakcotics, as modified bt
Race, Climate, Age, Sex, Tempebament, Habit, State

OF Health, Adulteeation, etc 26

How to learn their Efifects 27

Not by consulting Hopes or Fears or Physiological Chem-
istry- 27-29

Experience the only Guide 30

They contain Poison 31

Poison in Onlinary Food 34

Their Chemical Constitution 37

The Sustaining Power of Tea 39

Of Coffee 39

Of Tobacco 40

Of Alcoholic Liquors . . , 40

Of Coca 41

Of other Stimulants and Narcotics 42

Their Efifects modified by Climate 43

The Use of Coflfee in the South 44

Their Effects vary with the Race 46-i7

"With the Temperament 48

With the Sex 51

With the Age .* 52

In Lifancy Little needed 53

Beneficial in Old Age 54

Their Effects modified by Habit 56



All liable to be used to Injurious Excess 58

The Nervous Diathesis 69

Effects of Excess in Tobacco on the Nervous Diathesis 60

Effects of Excess in Tea and Coffee 58

Of Alcoholic Liquors 60

Chi-onic Alcoholism 61

Dipsomania, (Methomania, Oinomania) 61

Errors of Newspaper Keports 62-63

Intemperance and Disease 63

Effects of Excess in Opium 64-

In Hemp 64

Author's Experience with Hemp 64-65

Their Effects comjDlicated by Adulteration 66

Adulterations not always Injurious 69


The Philosophy of Intemperance, and the Peinciples by

which it should be treated 70

The Lower Animals not Intemperate 71

Intemperance as a Disease and a Vice 72

Drinking Customs in England 74-75

Intemperance in England 76

Temperance Reform in England 77

Value of Statistics in Science 77-78

Drinking Customs of Scotland 78

Of Ireland .' 79

Of Russia and Siberia 80

Of Sweden and Norway 80

Of Denmark 81

Of Austria 82

Of Prussia 82

Of Rhine Provinces 83

Of Netherlands 84

Of Switzerland 85

Of Italy 85

Of France 86

Of Spain 87

Of Turkey 88


1 1

PAGB ',j

Drinking Customs of Japan 88 ||

Of Ceylon 88 'j

Of Syria 89 \\

Of China 89 ;j

Of India 89

Of Tenerifte 90

Of Malta 90

Of Azores 90

Of Madeira 91

Of Sandwich Islands 91

Of Greece 91

Of Egypt 92

Of Zanzibar , 92

Of West Indies 92

Of Nicaragua 93

Of Brazil 93

Of reru 9i

Of Panama and Darien 194:

Of Mexico 94

Of Canada 95

Of the United States 93

Temperance of Intelligent Americans 97

The Better Classes in America More Temperate than any

other Civihzed People 98-99

Temperance Societies and Temperance Legislation in the

United States 99-100

Excise and Prohibitory Laws in- the United States 100

The Maine Law 101

Alcoholic Drinks of some Kind, Mild or Strong, Pure or
Adulterated, are Used in about every Portion of the

Globe 101-102

They are Used to the Greatest Extent, in the Widest Va-
riety, among those Nations that are now leading Modern

Civilization 102

They everywhere cause More or Less of Intoxication 102

They are more iised and abused by some Kaces than by others 102
Value of the Testimoiiy of passing Travellei*s as Compared

with that of Kesidonts 10-1

Comparative Intemperance of Indians and Negroes 105



There is more of tlie Grosser Type of Intemperance in the

Northern than in the Southern Climates 105

Alcoholic Stimulants are not as well borne, and sooner

cause Intoxication in North America than in Europe . . . 107

The Peculiar Dryness of the Air in America 108

Relation of Atmospheric Moisture to Atmospheric Electricity 111

Intemperance varies with Education 112

Relation of Education to Crime '. 114

Intemperance a matter of Moral Chemistry 116

Intemperance a Matter of Sex 116

Relation of Intemperance to Religion 117

Relation of Mohammedanism to Intemperance 118

The Hebrews a Temperate People 119

Relation of Forms of Government to Intemperance 119

Correlation of Crimes 121

Effect of Native Wines on Intemperance 122

The Intemperance of a Peojjle not always in Proportion to

the Quantity of AlcohoHc Liquors that they use 123

Intemperance increases in Times of War 12-4

Success of the Temperance Reformation 125

Confined to the Higher Classes 126

Prohibitory Legislation under any Government has thus far
been no more Successful against AlcohoHc Liquors than

against other Stimulants and Narcotics , . . . 129

How shall we prevent and cure Intemperance ? 128

No Specific for Intemperance, and the Great Thing Prevention 129

Constitutional Treatment by Education 129

Local Treatment 130

Compulsory Education 132

Enormous and Increasing Illiteracy in the United States .... 133

Efi"ect of stopping the Grog Ration in the Navy 134

Intemperance made Unfashionable 135

Inebriate Asylums , 136

The introduction of Native Wine will not cure the Evil 136


Stimulants and Narcotics, in theie Moeal, Social and
Economic Relations, with Peactical Suggestions con-
cebning theie use 137



Have Stimnlants and Narcotics, on the Whole, been a Bene-
fit to the Human Race ? 137

The Women of the United States 138

Women in Barbarous Lands 139

Increase of Longevity with Increase in use of Stimulants and

Narcotics liO.

Increase of Nervous Disease with Increase of Temperance . . . l-ll
The comparative Unfrequeucy of Nervous Disease among

those who use Alcoholic Liquors to Excess l-i'2

They are Antidotes to each other 143

Stimulants and Narcotics very Expensive l^i

How sliall any Individual determine whether he is benefited

or injured by the Stimulants and Narcotics that he uses ? 145

Nervous Temperaments bear them least 146

Those who live in the Open Air bear them well 145

Immediate Effects the Best Guide 147

Special Considerations for Americans 147

Tea used too Strong 149

Longevity of Total Abstainers 150

Attitude of Physicians and Scientists toward the Temperance

Reform 150

Errors of Temperance Reformers 151

Have Physicians caused Intemperance? 153

Should we abstain for tlie sake of Example? 154

Questi(ms of Conscience 155

The Future of Temperance 155

4 (>^

L68I '^^1^




The subject of stimulants and narcotics lias become
one of the most difficult social questions of our time.
The reasons why it is thus difficult are these :

1. It is a subject of vast complications.

Ten thousand influences are continually acting upon
us for good or ill, and hard enough it is, even for th,e
scientific and impartial observer, to tell which contri-
butes the most to make us what we are. The human
system is a vast ocean into which myriads of streams
run, and no one can say just how much each stream
brings with its tide. Questions of race, of climate, of
education, of religion, of legislation, of morals — all
are so woven into this great question as to weave a
vari-colored pattern ; and to pick out each thread one
by one is a task at once painful and patience-demand-
ing, and few there are who are ever measurably equal
to it, and so, Hke angTy schoolgirls over a skein of tan-
gled silk, we pull and tear it in all directions, hoping,
by some lucky chance, to untie the knot.

2. It is related to many difficult departments on

.'•"2'-" '*• ••• •'STfjftJLANTS AND NARCOTICS.

which people have very strong feelings, and therefore
it can be discussed calmly and rationally only by those
"Nvho have well-trained minds.

It is so closely connected with morals and religion
and politics — subjects on which men feel much more
than they reason — that as soon as they attempt to find
out the truth in regard to stimulants and narcotics,
the emotions rise up like a flood and, so to speak, drown
reason out.

Now while the emotions are often indispensable to
urge and drive on the reason, yet at the last moment,
when the mind is to be made up, and a decision is to
be finally given — when we enter into truth, — reason
should detach itself from the emotions and go alone on
its course, just as in entering a railway terminus the train
is detached from the engine and switched oif to its own

3. Another reason why this subject is so difficult, is
that it has only been recently studied.

Time is a great solver of life's problems, and we have
not had time to solve this question, for we are just be-
ginning to open our eyes to it.

Men have probably always been intemperate, more
or less, but only within the past half century have
they systematically reasoned about intemperance.

Partly on account of the great increase of intemper-
ance in our modern civilization among certain races,
and in certain countries, the reasons for which I shall
endeavor to explain, and partly on account of the im-
proved moral tone that has accompanied our civiliza-
tion. Great Britain, and America particularly, have
during the last forty or fifty years been agitated, and
almost convulsed on this subject of temperance.


So suddenly have the use and the abuse of stimulants
and narcotics increased in modern times, that we are
just now opening our eyes to their nature, their history,
and their effects.

Those whose attention has been most earnestly called
to the subject, and whose sympathies have been most
warmly enlisted in it, have not yet sufficiently recov-
ered from the shock caused by the discovery of the evils
of intemperance, to consider the broad subject of stim-
ulants and narcotics in a calm, candid, and scientific

As an army marching unsuspiciously on its way,
when, unexpectedly, it encounters an enemy in ambush,
is at first thrown into disorder and confusion; as a
merchantman, sailing under gentle breezes, when it is
suddenly struck by a squall is at once thrown on its
beam ends, and put in peril of utter disablement until
the commander has had time to assert his author! t}'',
and each man has regained his appointed place ; so our
civilization has so suddenly encountered the full fury
of the blast of intemperance, that philanthropists and
philosophers have been at first so overwhelmed that they
could not command the presence of mind .necessary to
devise systematic measures of relief ; and in their haste
and confusion and terror have rushed to wild extremes,
have eagerly sought the aid of the noisiest charlatans, and
in their despair have tried in succession every remedy
that was loudly advertised, only to be disappointed by
all ; and even now are but just beginning to recover their
breath and look the evil bravely in the face, and to rally
their undisciplined and demoralized forces under the
leadership of reason.


For the sake of convenience, and in order to keep
each branch of the subject measurably distinct, I shall
divide this treatise into four sections, as follows :

1. The Definition, Description and Hidonj if Stimu-
lants and Narcotics.

2. Their effects as modified by race, climate, age, sex,
temperament, Jiabit, state of health, adulteration, etc.

3. The Philosophy of Intemperance, and the principles
by whicli it should be treated.

4. Stimulants and Naiveties in their moral, social, and
economic relations, with practical suggestions concerning
their use.



The popular impression is that a stimulant is some-
thing that exalts and enlivens and whips up the powers,
while a narcotic is something that produces sleep or

It is also a popular belief that stimulation must be
followed by a corresponding reaction, anTthat it im-
parts no strength to the system, but merely calls into
action latent and unused' forces.

Stimulants, when given in stimulating doses, are not
followed by any reaction, and they do add to and in-
crease the j)owers of endurance.

All definitions and classifications of medical or ah-
mentary substances must be more or less unsatisfac-

It is impossible, I may say at the outset, to give any
definition of stimulants and narcotics that can be uni-
versally acceptable. I here adopt the leading distinc-
tion drawTi by Anstie, using mainly my own phrase-

Stimulants are those agents ivhich correct, economize, or
intensify the forces of the system. Narcotics are those


agents which produce a greater or lest^ degree of paralysis
of some portion of the nervous system.

The signs of stimulation are relief of fatigue, irrita-
tion, and i^ain ; equalization of the circulation ; im-
provement in sleep and in nutrition, and increased ca-
l^acity for mental and manual toil.
. The signs of narcotism are, in the first stage, flushing
/ of the face, dilatation of the pupil, mental disturbance of
/ various kinds, as evinced by the exhibition of garruhty,
I ugliness, and so forth, nausea, tremor, spasms, convul-
1 sions, and other evidences of lack of co-ordination ; in
\ the last stages, delirium, stupor, stertorous breathing,
\ and death. .

These very opposite effects, stimulation and narcosis, \
are produced by the same agents, being modified by the j
dose, the age, the sex, the temperament, the condition /
of health. /

The general law is that small doses produce stimula-
tion, and large doses narcotism ; but small and Large
are relative terms, or what would stimulate one may
narcotize another. AVhat would stimulate at one time
of life, at another narcotizes. C The quantity that may
narcotize the majority of women and children, may only
stimulate the majority of men. jj



radical and important, for stimulation is a beneficial
process, while narcotism, when frequently repeated,
and long continued, can never be otherwise than inju-

The method of distinguishing these two orders of

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Online LibraryGeorge Miller BeardStimulants and narcotics; medically, philosophically, and morally considered → online text (page 1 of 11)