This is my fifth transcription, and I hope I've learned a few things. The technology has gotten better, but working with any word processor, and then transporting/translating to HTML stilltends lose a good bit of what I'd hoped to convey of the pagination,style, and leading. So, for this fifth attempt, I decided to sack the word processor. I started out with GoLive CyberStudio 3.1, and wound up using BBEdit 5.01 - (heartily recommended for CLEAN code). The results, despite concessions to HTML, are still far better than were achieved when typing in via word processor and then reformatting, and, with BBEdit, there is SIGNIFICANTLY less overhead spent on code - meaning you get more text, more quickly.
Only a few notes are in order here: I only add to the text on the following occasions: when Alcott's spelling contrasts markedly with 20th century spelling (in which case I add "[sic]", and on occasions when he made a footnote, which HTML as yet does not completely (or at least conveniently) allow.
Please enjoy. If you find any glaring errors, be they grammatical, spelling or formatting, (this was formatted for the 4.0 generation of browsers, but should degrade gracefully), please write to me and let me know their location. I'll check them against the book and if they are indeed errors, I'll fix them quickly.
If you came here directly from a library or a search engine, feel free to check out my other electronic texts, (I add about two a year) and the rest of my site, rebuilt in late April of 1998.
ITS EFFECTS ON
THE HUMAN SYSTEM,
PHYSICAL, INTELLECTUAL, AND MORAL
DR. WILLIAM. A. ALCOTT.
NOTES AND ADDITIONS
BY NELSON SIZER,
Author of "Forty Years in Phrenology"; "How to Teach,
or Phrenology in the School-room and the Family";
"Choice of Pursuits, or What to Do and Why";
and for more than thirty years Phreno-
logical Examiner in the office of
Fowler & Wells
NEW YORK :
FOWLER AND WELLS, PUBLISHERS.
COPYRIGHT, 1883, BY
FOWLER AND WELLS.
EDWARD O. JENKINS,
This work of Dr. Alcott has had a wide circulation, and has saved thousands from forming a bad habit and reclaimed many who were slaves to it. He was one of the early and earnest writers on this much needed reform, but since his day, new phases of the habit have appeared: -- notably, that of the cigarette, the worst form of the habit, enticing to ruin of growth, health, and morals millions of children and youth. With new devices for dissipation, new means are required for reform. Fifty years ago few used tobacco before the age of twenty, but with the increase of wealth and enterprise, the habit has so increased, that a majority seem to be devotees, and children six years old openly or stealthily practice it.
The author of the NOTES and ADDITIONS has had peculiar opportunity, as the Examiner in the Phrenological Office of Fowler and Wells, during more than thirty years of professional contact and converse with the public, to learn the prevalence, the evil, and the slavery of the tobacco habit, and through his advice and labors to emancipate many, and to dissuade others from entering upon the habit; something of which is embodied in the Notes appended to this work.
N. B.---In the text, reference is made by the insertion of numerals, 1, 2, 3, 4, etc., to the Notes in the back part of the book.
[Transcribers Note: I've placed hyperlinks for those of you reading this online... simply click on the number to be taken to the note, then on the symbol at the top of the note to return to your place.]
1 PRELIMINARY REMARKS
INTEMPERANCE and disease, like the ocean, have their tributary streams -- some of greater, others of less magnitude and importance. Seldom, if indeed ever, does the individual break out an inebriate or a sick man at once. A long train of causes often intervene, like the long train of fountains and rills and rivers between the ocean and its sources.
Among the larger, more efficient tributaries to the ocean of Intemperance, is Tobacco. I here refer to all the varied forms in which it is used, whether in chewing, smoking, or snuffing. This source of intemperance is, moreover, greatly increasing, especially in our cities, towns, and villages, and in our seminaries of learning.
Let it be understood, however, that, in what I am about to say on the on the subject of Tobacco I shall have reference, principally, to its use by the healthy. With its prescription for medicinal purposes, or its application in art or manufacture, I have at present, almost as little to do, as with opium, or calomel, or fermented or distilled liquors.
Let it not be thought, however, that I entertain the slightetest unkind feeling towards the habitual devourer to tobacco, in any of its forms. The slave to tobacco, like him who is enslaved to the use of rum, opium, coffee or tea, is, in my view, a diseased person. Shall we come down in vengeance upon the sick? So did not He, by whose worthy name most of as are called. Let us rather, like him, compassionate the diseased and enslaved of every sort; and, as far as may be in our power, afford them relief. We may not, it is true, be able to exorcise the evil spirits by a word; but we should at least, do all in our power. Our words, though not such as our Lord's were, may scatter light and truth; our deeds, though unlike His, may be deeds of love, and may console, encourage and elevate. Only let us, in all we say and do, be goverened by the great law of kindness.
Let me not even be suspected of a disposition to be severe on particular classes of men, any more than on individuals. My simple purpose is to speak on both individuals and classes just as much as the nature of the case appears to require, and no more; but not to shrink from that exposure which is necessary, merely to court the favor of any individual, class or caste. It is the evils of tobacco at which I aim, and not the person--man, woman or child--who uses it, however degraded he may be. Indeed, the more degraded a person is, in my view, the more tender ought we to be of the little reputation which remains to him.
Yet, degraded the slave of tobacco certainly is; deeply so. "Were it possible," says Dr. Rush, "for a being who had resided on our globe, to visit the inhabitants of a planet where reason governed, and to tell them that a vile weed was in use among the inhabitants of the globe we had left, which afforded no nourishment; that this weed was cultivated with immense care; that it was an important article of commerce that the want of it produced much real misery; that its taste was extremely nauseous; that it was unfriendly to health and morals, and that the use of it was attended with a considerable loss of time and property,--the account would be thought incredible". "In no one view," confides Dr. R., "is it possible to contemplate the creature, man, in a more absurd and ridiculous light, than in his attachment to tobacco."
The history of this plant has been so faithfully presented to the public eye, especially by Dr. Mussey, in a pamphlet he has written on the subject, tht is will hardly be necessary to enter upon it here. It is with its effects, principally--its physical and moral bearings--that I have to do. I shall dwell, moreover, on matters of fact, rather than advance the theories or speculations of my own mind, or of the minds of others. My object here is to enlighten and instruct, and not merely to excite or amuse.
There is, however, one fact connected with the history of tobacco, in our own country, which I am unwilling to pass over in silence. In the year 1620, when the colony at Jamestown, in Virginia, had been established about thirteen years, a great want was felt of female aid, not only to soften the asperity of manners in a society composed wholly of males, but to give stability to the colony, by encouraging the domestic or family institution. Ninety females, of respectable character, (as far as appears,) but of humble fortune, were imported from England, and sold to the planters at Jamestown, for wives, at the rate of 120 lbs of tobacco, valued at fifty cents a pound, for each individual purchased. During the next year, 1621, sixty or seventy more were sent over and sold for the same commodity, but the price had been advanced by the London Company to 150 lbs. a head. The first slavery, therefore, in Virginia, was the slavery of whites, of the wife to her husband; and the first exportation of tobacco was for this singular purpose of purchasing companions for life.
The opinion is greatly prevalent, that, whatever may be the other effects of tobacco, it certainly preserves the teeth, especially when chewed. Common, however, and even plausible as the opinion is, it is not difficult to show that it is very far from having its foundation in fact.
The soundness of teeth will always bear an exact proportion to the soundness and firmness of the gums, and of the lining membrane of the mouht, and the whole alimentary canal. But, that tobacco makes the gums loose and spongy, and injures the lining membrane of the alimentary canal, especially that part of it called the stomach, is as well attested as any fact in physiology. The application of tobacco, therefore, to the inside of the mouth and to the gums--if the foregoing principle is correct--instead of preserving the teeth, cannot otherwise than hasten their decay.
And so, in point of fact, we find it. The teeth of those who use tobacco are in a less perfect state than those of other people--I mean those whose habits are no worse than theirs in other respects. For there are many more things which injure teeth as well as tobacco; and it would be unfair to compare the tobacco-chewer, whose habits may be correct in other respects, with those individuals, who, though they use no tobacco, are yet addicted to gluttony or drunkenness, or have had their teeth spoiled by poisonous medicines.
The teeth of some tobacco-chewers, it is true, do not ache; for the tobacco, at least for a time, stupifies the nerves. Nor are there wanting cases, here and there, of old tobacco-chewers, whose teeth, so far as they are not worn out, are free from decay. But such ases are as rare as those of long-lived or healthy intemperance; and they prove just nothing in favor of tobacco. They simply show that the individuals who thus held out, had strong constitutions, with not hereditary tendancy to diseases of the alimentary canal or the teeth, and, that if, in spite of the tobacco, their teeth were comparatively perfect, they would have been still more so, had they wholly abstained from it.
But there is one thing to be observed in the case of those who chew tobacco, even when the teeth do not really decay: they wear out very fast. Dr. Mussey has verified the truth of this position, not only by observing the mouths of "some scores of individuals in our own communities," but likewise those of "several individuals belonging to the Seneca and St. Francois tribes of Indians, who, like most of the other North American tribes, are much addicted to the use of this narcotic.*" [*note at page bottom says "See his Essay on Tobacco"] I have, myself, observed the same thing even in the case of those tobacco-chewers who boasted of their sound teeth, and of freedom from tooth-ache. I have seen them so worn down as actually to project but a little way beyond the gums. In the part of the mouth in which the cud is kept, this wearing out or wasting away is more obvious than in other parts.
Dr. Rush mentions a man in Philadelphia who lost all of his teeth by smoking. Dr. Warren, of Boston, assures us, that not only the common belief of tobacco being beneficial to the teeth is entirely erroneous, but that, by its poisoning and relaxing qualities, it is positively injurious to them. And such, it is believed, is the general opinion of medical men, not only in this country, but in Europe.
But, granting the most which can be claimed for tobacco in the way of preserving teeth--grant that it benumbs the nerves, and thus, in many instances, prevents pain--grant even, that it occasionally precludes all other decay, except that premature wearing out, of which I have spoken. Still, the general truth will remain, that it injures the gums and the lining membrane of the mouth, stomach, and alimentary canal generally, and, in fact, of the lungs also; and thus, not only prepares the way for various diseases, (to be mentioned hereafter,) but spoils the beauty, injures the soundness, and hastens the decay of those organs. It was, no doubt, the intention of the Creator, that the teeth should last as long as their owner. Yet, in how few of a thousand tobacco-chewers, or smokers, or snuff-takers is this the result?
"Tobacco, when used in the form of snuff," says Dr. Rush, "seldom fails of impairing the voice, by obstructing the air." The truth of this remark, though made about half a century ago, we see verified in the case of thousands of public speakers. It is not the snuff-taker alone, however, who injures his voice by tobacco, though the injury which he sustains may be most immediate and severe. By the dryness of the nasal membrane, which chewing and smoking produce, these vile habits have a similar effect. The smoke of the tobacco contains many fine particles of the weed itself, which lodge in the passages. Who does not know how soon smoke of any kind, especially tobacco smoke, will darken or blacken a white surface? Yet, how could it darken it, except by depositing a fine dust upon it? And is the lining membrane of the nasal passages less likely to receive the dark, filthy, poisonous deposit than any other surface? Do we wonder, then, why the voice should be affected when the hollow nasal cavities are converted into so many flues of a sooty chimney?*
Dr. Mussey says, that the the habitual use of tobacco, in any of the forms of snuff, cud or cigar, will sometimes produce weakness, tremulousness, and squeaking or hoarseness.
Dr. Allen, of Maine, says; "That tobacco is injurious to the voice, every one can testify, who has heard the harsh, thick, husky, mumbling, stammering, insonorous voice of the inveterate tobacco-chewer."
Dr. Woodward, of the State Hospital for the Insane, at Worcester, is decidedly of the same opinion. He, however, goes much further than Dr. Mussey or Dr. Allen, and attempts to show, from his strong cases and facts, that one frequent cause of permanent loss of voice in modern times, by public speakers, expecially clergymen, is owing to the use of tobacco, in some of its forms. How far he is correct, in the latter opinion, is a point, which, in my own view, remains to be settled; though, of his general views of the injurious tendency of using tobacco daily, there can be no reasonable doubt.
Of the injury of the senses by tobacco, there can be as little reasonable doubt as of the injury done to the voice by the same agent. A substance so powerful, whether in its more solid form, or in that of powder or smoke, cannot be applied to membranes in the region of the eyes, ears, nose and brain, day after day, and year after year, without seriously affecting them.
It injures the taste. Who has not observed the dull taste of the tobacco-chewer? "Nothing insipid," says the Journal of Health*
"can be relished, after the mouth and throat have been exposed to the stimulus of the juice or smoke of tobacco." The tobacco-chewer and smoker may, it is true, be unconscious of any change in themselves; but his will not alter the matter of fact. Plain food soon becomes tiresome to them, and therefore it is usual to add a large amount of salt or other seasoning. Water, also, and even fruit, to the taste which is depraved by tobacco, soon become insipid; and not a few reject fruit altogether.
Tobacco impairs the smell. Some continue the use of this poisonous substance, till they can hardly smell at all. Perhaps snuff is more injurious to the sense of smell than tobacco. The Journal of Health says that the use of snuff destroys entirely the sense of smell, as well as injures the tone of the voice; while chewing and smoking vitiate the sense of taste. It is added, moreover, that those who make use of tobacco to any extent, have one and frequently two of their senses less perfect for it. Snuff-takers, it is insisted, are peculiarly liable to polypus in the nose.
It also injures the sight. How seldom do we find a snuff-taker or a tobacco-chewer whose eyes are not more or less affected? Germany, a nation of smokers, is proverbially a spectacled nation. But, even among ourselves, the connection between the use of tobacco and defective or impaired vision, is sufficiently obvious.
Finally, it injures the hearing. This is so common a consequence of snuff-taking, that I need but to mention it. That chewing and smoking tobacco have the same tendency, only in a slighter degree, there can be not doubt; but, to show why it must be so, would lead us far away into the world of anatomy and physiology.
Of the sense of touch, as affected by the use of tobacco, I am able to say but little. I will barely observe, that, in reasoning from analogy, we should be led to a suspicion of tobacco, even here. But, perhaps it is sufficient to impair our confidence in it, that I have shown it to be injurious, in a greater or less degree, to at least four or five of the senses.
Dr. Mussey mentions the case of Mr. Cummings, in Plymouth, N. H., who, though he enjoyed, at the age of twenty, the best of health, except weak eyes, commenced the use of snuff, and afterward, at the age of twenty-five, resorted to chewing and smoking. In this way he went on, for thirty years, till he was nearly destroyed. It is true, that he thought himself, all this while, remarkably temperate, though it is quite obvious that a moderate use of tobacco in each of the three usual forms, may have been equivalent to a free use of any one of them.
"The effects on his senses were striking. At the age of fifty-five, he could not read a word in any book without spectacles; and he had already been in the used of them several years. He had also been subject to a ringing and deafness in both ears for ten years, and at times the right ear was entirely deaf."
In about a month after quitting his snuff (which was the last thing he gave up,) his hearing became correct, and none of his troubles with this organ ever returned. It was many months, however, before he could dispense with his spectacles; but he finally got rid of them. At sixty-three, his senses were keener, especially his eyesight, than those of most men his age. Being a surveyor, he was able to keep his minutes without spectacles; thought, when obliged to use his eyes many hours in succession, particularly in the evening, he found his "glasses" quite convenient.
That the defective vision and hearing were owing, in no small degree, to the tobacco and snuff, is evident, from the fact that neither at the time of his abandoning these stimulants, nor subsequently, did he make any other change in his habits. He had always been what is called temperate in other things.
It has already been shown, that the use of tobacco, in any form, injures the sense of taste. Now, it is a general rule, that whatever injures or impairs the taste, tends also to impair the appetite. But we have direct and postive testimony on this part of our subject.
The "Journal of Health" says, that those who use tobacco experience, at intervals, a want of appetite. Dr. Rush says expressly, "It impairs the appetite." The testimony of those who have the care of our prisons and penitentiaries, is, that the inmates, most of whom have been habituated to susing tobacco before they came there, have their appetite increased in a few days by quitting the use of it. Is not this equivalent to admitting that the previous use of it had impaired the appetite? Many of the facts or cases presented in Dr. Mussey's pamphlet, are to the same general effect.
There is extant an anecdote of Gov. John Hancock, which is much to my present purpose. To avoid the necessity of throwing off his saliva in good company--for he was a gentleman tobacco-chewer--he acquired the strange habit of swallowing it, which, in the end, almost destroyed his appetite, and, as is stated by Gov. Sullivan, increased the severity of those attacks of gout to which he was subject, and hastened his death.
On this point, we have testimony still more ample than on the former. Dr. Stephenson, in an essay read before the "Society for the Promotion of Knowledge," in New York, observes, "It must be obvious to the most unprejudiced mind, that the immense quantity of saliva expended during the use of cud and pipe, retards the digestive process, producing flatulency," &c. When the juice of the tobacco is swallowed, the evil is still greater.
Dr. Mussey says, "It is a mistake to suppose that smoking aids digestion. The very uneasiness which it were desirable to remove, is occasioned either by tobacco itself, or by some other means. If tobacco facilitates digestion, how comes it that after laying aside the habitual use of it, most individuals experience an increase of appetite and of digestive energy, and an accumulation of flesh?" He also says, "I know a boy of eight years of age, whose father had taught him the use of tobacco-cud, four years before. He was a pale, thin, sickly child, and often vomited up his dinner." On another occasion he says, "Physicians meet with thousands of cases of dyspepsia connected with the use of tobacco in some one of its forms."
Dr. Rush says, "It produces dyspepsia." Again he says, "It prevents the early and complete digestion of the food." Again, in another place, "It imparts to the complexion a disagreeable dusky color." This change of color, we may be certain, had something to do with derangement of the liver, and of the biliary system generally; but this state of things always involves or presupposes more or less of indigestion.
Dr. Cullen says, "I have found all the symptoms of dyspepsia produced by snuffing. The dependence of the disease on the snuff was perfectly evident."
Dr. Hossack, late of New York, says, "That the recent great increase of dyspepsia among us is attibutable in part to the use of tobacco." Prof. Hitchcock says, "It excites indigestion." The "Journal of Health" says, "that most, if not all, of those who are accustomed to the use of tobacco, labor under dyspeptic symptoms." Dr. McAllister, of Utica, says of the habitual and habitually suffering smoker, that "he pursues a course which continues to weaken the organs of digestion and assimilation, and, at length, plunges him into all the accumulated horrors of dyspepsia." Dr. Stephenson says, "that, from the sympathy subsisting between the olfactories and the nerves of the stomach, the use of snuff has, in some instances, produced dyspepsia."
Authorities on this subject might be multiplied, were it desirable or necessary, to almost any extent. But, however far this were carried, and however numerous the cases presented, the slave of tobacco would still say in his heart, "All this testimony, and all these facts and cases are nothing to me. For, though my case may be a peculiar one, I know certainly, if I know anything, that tobacco, instead of hurting my digestion, greatly helps it."
Riding in a stage-coach, not long since, with a young man of twenty, and of general good sense and habits, I found him in the full belief that he could not possibly digest his dinner till he had followed it by a cud of tobacco; and I have not doubt of his sincerity. --Now, can it be that God so made the stomach that it cannot do its appointed work till aided by a cud of tobacco, a pipe or cigar, or a snuff-box?
But the worst forms and degrees of tobacco-slavery have not yet been adverted to. There are those among us, who honestly think that they cannot digest a meal till they have swallowed a quantity of the very juice of the tobacco. The case of Gov. Hancock had been already mentioned; to which might be added that of Mr. John Benson, a merchant in Boston, and several individuals, details of whose cases are to be found in the writings of Dr. Rush.
He who uses tobacco habitually, in any of its forms, is often apt to be thirsty. And this circumstance alone renders tobacco suspicious. Those things which are most proper for the human stomach, and best adapted to the system generally, do not produce much thirst.
Is proof demanded on this point? Most unhappily for humanity it is at hand. The thirst of which I am speaking, is, most undoubtedly, a morbid or diseased thirst, but this does not render it the less real.
Dr. Mussey, in his writings, alludes frequently to this morbid thirst ad induced by tobacco. He also assures us of smoking, that it produced a huskiness of the mouth. Dr. Rush says "One of the usual effects of smoking and chewing" --he might have said, of snuff-taking too--"is thirst." "This thirst cannot be allayed by water, for no sedative, or even insipid liquor, will be relished after the mouth and throat have been exposed to the stimulus of the smoke or the use of tobacco." Here, I repeat it, is the strongest indirect testimony we could possibly have of the unnatural or unhealthy character of tobacco; for, a thirst which pure water will not quench, can never be any other than a diseased one.
Dr. Brown, of West Randolph, in Vermont, says, "The use of tobacco produces a dryness or huskiness of the mouth; thus creating a [t]hirst which in many cases is not satiated with any thing short of alcoholic drinks." But, a thirst which is not satisfied with any thing short of alcoholic drinks, cannot be a very desirable if, indeed, it were a healthy one.
The Report of the "New York Anti-Tobacco Society," for the year 1835--written, it is believed, by Dr. Stephenson--is to the same effect "Chewing and smoking tobacco," the Report says, "exhaust the salivary glands of their secretions; thus producing dryness and thirst. Hence it is, that after the use of the cigar and the cud, brandy, whiskey, or some other spirit is called for."
The testimony of the New York Anti-Tobacco Society just quoted, is as strongly in favor of the opinion that the use of tobacco leads to intemperance, as that it produces thirst. The Report even adds, that, "by rendering water and all simple drinks insipid, it creates an appetite for strong drinks."
Dr. Woodward says, "I have supposed that tobacco was the most ready and common stepping stone to that use of spiritous liquors which leads to intemperance. Those who chew or smoke tobacco, are rarely satisfied with water or other insipid or tasteless drinks; else, why should the bar-room and the grog-shop be the resort of the smoker?
Dr. Mussey thus testifies: -- "In the practice of smoking, there is no small danger. It produces a huskiness of the mouth, which calls for some liquid. Water is too insipid, as the nerves of taste are in a half-palsied state, from the influence of tobacco smoke; hence, in order to be tasted, an article of a pungent or stimulating character is resorted to, and hence, the kindred habits of smoking and drinking."
"A desire is excited," says Dr. Rush, while speaking of the effects of both smoking and chewing, "for strong drinks; and these, when taken between meals, soon lead to intemperance and drunkenness. One of the greatest sots I ever knew, acquired the love of ardent spirits by swallowing cuds of tobacco, which he did to escape detection in the use of it; for he had acquired the habit of chewing contrary to the advice and commands of his father." He also says, "the practice of smoking cigars has been followed by the use of brandy and water as a common drink."
Mr. Fowlder, of Fall River, in his "Disquisition on the Evils of Tobacco," insists strongly on the natural connection between tobacco and exciting drinks; and fortifies his opinion by the authority, among others, of Dr. Agnew, Gov. Sullivan, and a writer in the Genius of Temperance.
The editors of the Journal of Health take the same ground, and quote their authorities. Among these is Dr. McAllister, who speaks very freely of tobacco as "paving the way to drunkeness," and of smoking, as being a very frequent precursor of the same evil.
The use of tobacco, says Dr. Stephenson, is one great leading step towards intemperance. But is is a lamentable fact, that the very many who stand the most prominent in the temperance reform, are grossly intemperate in the use of tobacco.
My own observation, so far as it goes, would confirm the idea of a connection between tobacco and stimulating drinks. Though there are many honorable exceptions, it is, neverthe-less, the general rule that they go together. Or, at least, that he who uses tobacco, in any considerable quantity, will, sooner or later, come to be fond of exciting drinks. Who has not heard of the eagerness of all savage and barbarous people for exciting or stimulating drinks? Yet these same people, almost to an individual, are equally fond of tobacco in all its varied forms.
Tobacco, moreover, is, of itself, an intoxicating substance. Messrs. Arms and Coan, American missionaries to Patagonia, testify of the savages there, that they are not only excessively fond of tobacco, but that they will even get intoxicated by mere smoking. I know the attempt is often made to show that narcotic substances, such as opium, tobacco, coffee, &c., though exciting or exhilarating, are not really intoxicating. But the distinction which is thus attempted is almost without a difference, and is usually spoken of by those persons to whom it would be quite convenient to have a distinction shown, which, after all, it is more easy to assert than to prove.
But, tobacco not only leads to intemperance---of itself a disease---it both originates and aggravates a great many more of the complaints to which flesh in its fallen estate is heir. This will now be my object to show.
That tobacco is not only an irritant but a poison--a most virulent one, too--cannot be doubted. The authorities on this subject are exceedingly numerous, and highly respectable. Among foreign chemists, physicians, and other scientific men, whose experiments and statements go to establish the poisonous character of tobacco, are the highly respected names of Conwell, Vanquelin, Brodie, Berzelius, Hermstadt, Posselt, Reimann, Fontana, Albinus, Henry, Hooper, Boutron, Rees, Buchner and Wilson. Among our own countrymen, are Franklin, Rush, Silliman, Wood, Bache, Bell, Condie, Mussey, Graham, McAllister, Waterhouse, Woodward, Eberle and Ives.
I shall not attempt to follow out and present, in detail, the numerous experiments and opinions of these distinguished men. A few only will be selected. The following are the results of the experiments of Brodie, Vanquelin and Henry.
By the ordinary process of distillation, an alkaline principle, in small quantity, is procured from tobacco, called by chemists, nicotin, [sic] as well as an oily substance, called nicotianin. A drop of either of these, but especially of the former, is found sufficient to destroy life in a dog of moderate size; and two drops destroy the largest and most fierce. Small birds perish as the bare approach of a small tube holding it.
There is another oil procured from tobacco by distilling it at a temperature above that of boiling water, called empyreumatic oil. It is of a dark brown color, and has a smell exactly like that of old and strong tobacco pipes. A drop of it, forced into the lower portion of the intestine of a cat, causes death in most instances, in about five minutes; and two drops, applied in the same manner to a dog, are often followed by a similar result.
The experiments of which these conclusions are based, have been repeated and verified, in this country, by Dr. Mussey. His subjects were dogs, squirrels, cats, and mice. The following are among the most important of his experiments:
Two drops of oil of tobacco, placed on the tongue, were sufficient to destroy life in cats which had been brought up, as it were, in the midst of tobacco smoke, in three or four minutes. Three drops, rubbed on the tongue of a full-sized cat, killed it in less than three minutes. Two drops on the tongue of a red squirrel, destroyed it in one minute. A small puncture made in the tip of the nose with a surgeon's needle, bedewed with the oil of tobacco, caused death in six minutes.
"Dr. Franklin ascertained," says Dr. Mussey, "the the oily material which floats on the surface of water after a stream of tobacco smoke has been passed through it, is capable, when applied to the tongue of a cat, of destroying life in a few minutes."
"The Indians of our country," says the Journal of Health, "were well aware of the poisonous effects, and were accustomed to dipping the heads of their arrows in an oil obtained from the leaves of tobacco, which, being inserted into the flesh, occasioned the sickness and fainting, or even convulsions and death." "Tobacco," adds the same Journal on another occasion, "is an absolute poison."But it is not in a concentrated form alone, that tobacco proves poisonous. A very small quantity of the tobacco itself introduced into the system, especially in the case of one wholly unaccustomed to its presence or use, has been known to extinguish life. The moistened leaves, even, when placed over the stomach, have proved fatal. It is related of some sol- diers in Canada, that, when under hard service,
they contrived to unfit themselves for duty by
placing a moistened leaf of tobacco in the armpit.
It caused sickness at the stomach, and
Mr. Barrow, the African traveller, assures us
that the Hottentots use this plant for destroying
snakes. "A Hottentot," says he, "applied
some of it from the short end of his wooden
pipe, to the mouth of a snake while darting out
his tongue. The effect was an instantaneous
as that of an electric shock. With a momentary
convulsive motion, the snake half untwisted itself,
and never stirred more; and its muscles were
so contracted that the whole animal felt as
hard and as rigid as if dried in the sun."
[page bottom note states
"True it is that what is poisonous to brutes, is not
always equally so to man, and vice versa. Neverthe-
less, in the present case, it is proved that tobacco is
poisonous to both.]
"The tea of twenty or thirty grains
of tobacco," says Dr. Mussey, "introduced into the
human body for the purpose of relieving spasm,
has been known repeatedly to destroy life."
"Tobacco," says Mr. Graham, "is one of the
most powerful and deadly poisons in the vegetable
kingdom." "Its effects on the living tissues of
the animal system," he adds, "are always to
destroy life, as the experiments on pigeons,
cats, and other animals, abundantly prove."
Dr. Hossack calls tobacco "a fashionable
poison." Dr. Stephenson says, "To the practitioner
it is well known that a cataplasm of
tobacco applied to the region of the stomach,
will produce violent and almost uncontrollable
vomiting." Dr. Murray relates the history of
three children who were seized with vomiting,
vertigo, and profuse perspiration, and died in
twenty-four hours, with tremors and convul-
sions, after having the head rubbed with a
liniment made of tobacco, in the hope of
freeing them from the scurf.
A case of importance came under my own
observation. A strong, and, in general, a
robust person, was affected, occasionally, by
strangulated hernia. Tobacco, in one instance,
being introduced by means of a bladder, quickly
restored the strangulated intestine, but the
prostration was excessive, and fears were for some
time enteretained that he could not survive it.
He, however, slowly recovered, and lived
several years, though he was never afterwards
as vigorous as before.
Orfila, a French physician, says, that the
decoction of a drachm [sic] of this drug, given, as in
the last-mentioned case, by injection, in one
instance, produced death. Indeed, the death of
the French poet Santa Santeuil, was cased by
the thoughtless person's emptying the contents of
a snuff-box into his wine. As soon as he had
swallowed the draught, he was attacked with
excessive pains, violent vomitings, and faintings,
of which he died in fourteen hours.
Now, if it be true that tobacco is thus poisonous--
to main and all other animals -- who could
expect it to be used habitually, in any form
whatsoever, without inducing disease? But on
this point also we have the most undoubted
and ample testimony.
Dr. Rush says, that even when used in
moderation, "tobacco causes dyspepsia, head-
ache, tremors, vertigo, and epilepsy." "It
produces," again he says, "many of those
diseases which are supposed to be seated in the
nerves." "I once lost a young man," he adds,
"seventeen years of age, of a pulmonary
consumption, whose disorder was brought on by
the intemperate use of cigars."
Dr. Woodward, after presenting a long array
of facts showing the tendency of tobacco to
produce disease -- apoplexy, aphony, hypo-
chondria, consumption, epilepsy, head-ache,
tremors, vertigo, dyspepsia, cancer, and
insanity -- concludes with the following inquiry:
-- "Who can doubt that tobacco, in each of
the various ways in which is has been
customarily used, has destroyed more
valuable lives, and broken down the health
of more useful members of society, than have
been sufferers from the complaint in question,
(bronchitis) up to the present time, or than ever
will be hereafter?
Dr. Brown, of Providence, says, "The symp-
toms which are liable to arise from the habitual
use of tobacco, whether chewed, smoked, or
snuffed, may be any of the following: -- Dizziness,
head-ache, faintness, pain at the pit of the stomach,
weakness, tremulousness, hoarseness of the
voice, disturbed sleep, incubus or night-
mare, irritability of temper, seasons of mental
depression, epileptic fits, and sometimes mental
"From the habitual use," says Dr. Mussey,
"of tobacco, in either of its forms, of snuff,
cud, or cigar, the following symptoms may
arise: --a sense of weakness, sinking or pain
at the pit of the stomach, dizziness or pain in
the head, occasional dimness or temporary loss
of sight, paleness and sallowness of the coun-
tenance, and sometimes swelling of the feet,
and enfeebled state of the voluntary muscles,
manifesting itself sometimes by tremulousness,
weakness, squeaking, a hoarsenss of the voice,
rarely a loss of voice, disturbed sleep, starting
from early slumbers with a sense of suffocation,
or feeling of alarm, incubus or nightmare, epi-
leptic or convulsive fits, confusion or weakness
of the mental faculties, peevishness and irritability
of temper, instability of purpose, seasons of
great depression of the spirits, long fits of
unbroken melancholy and despondency, and in
some cases, entire and permanent mental
The New York Anti-Tobacco Society, after
attributing the alarming increase of consumption,
dyspepsia, palsy, apoplexy, epilepsy, and
the whole train of nervous diseases, in part to
the use of tobacco, give the following state-
ments in cases in addition to that of Gov.
Hancock, which has been mentioned:
" The late Rev. Dr. S. Cooper, of Boston,
by the constant use of snuff, brought on a dis-
order of the head, which was thought ot have
ended his days. A very large quantity of
|hardened Scotch snuff was found, after death|
[Note 1 for page 37]