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SIR DYCE DUCKWORTH AND THE…

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SIR DYCE DUCKWORTH AND THE USE OF ALCOHOL. By THE REV. L. Tox Evxxs. Many of the readers of the South Wales Star have undoubtedly read extracts from the paper written by the above scientist at the Congress of Hygiene re the beneficial results of using alcohol. As an abstainer of some years standing, and one wito endeavours to lead men and women to a life of sobriety, I may be allowed to make some re- marks under the above heading in the way of reply to the writer's assertions, especially as these ap- peared in your contemporary. The temperance party have very little to thank scientists, legisla- tors, or even editors for the encouragement and help hitherto given to the cause of total abstin- ence. The reason for this want of sympathy. rnd in some cases bitter opposition shown to the party which has more than once been branded as fanati- cal water drinkers may be easily explained. Members of Parliament, ministers, and magis- trates not a few are implicated in the liquor trade. Publicans also, who in addition to being promoters of cricket grounds, club rooms, and other concomi- tants which belong now to the modern beer-house. are large advertisers and good customers of the press, whose interests in return have been made a special study and always secured the greatest amount of attention possible. Teetotalers cannot very well expect a generous treatment at their hands, or justly lay any claim to general news- paper patronage when they remember that their members only reckon in the minority, and that a consistent advocacy of teetotalism involves sacri- fice which all newspaper proprietors are not yet prepared to make. There are, however, a few noble exceptions to this as to every other rule still, we are sorry to say that even those who are apparently favourable to abstinerce, indulge oc- casionally in insulting insinuations, which thev think necessary in -order to prove to the reading public, and may be publicans, their impartiality and straightforwardness, for fear any one should suspect them of having donned the blue and joined the army of temperance reform. While so many interests have to be considered, we must. I suppose, content ourselves a little longer with the existing state of things, and fight our own battles again until the day diwns when we shall find the present powers of receiving or refusing licences transferred to a tribunal, whose treatment of thi^ and kindred questions will be more in accord with the general wisn and opinion of ratepaying people. For some time a number of periodicals have been conducted whose columusare exclusively devoted to the advocacy of teetotalism and pro- hibition. These educational means have rendered most valuable service and advanced the cause of temperance considerably of late years. A lar"-e and growing number of members of Parliament and of the medical profession are rallying- at pre- sent on our side. This fact. with the double defeat of the Government on the compensation clauses. the uniform testimony of witnesses before the Royal Commission on Sunday Closing in Wales, together with the lords' recent decision in the si e Sharpe r. Wakefield case, prove conclusively that the party which a few years ago was held up to public ridicule and reproach is becoming a mighty power, whi?h has to be reckoned with at every election in town and country. While we con- gratulate ourselves on this change of things, and the number of leading politicians and scientists who have recently espoused our cause, and are ad- vocating most strenuously in practice as well as in theory, in public as well as in private, the prin- ciples of total abstinence, there are still as we have just seen, a few of the Sir Dyce Duckworth stamp, disciples of the old sciiool, who, happily for us and the righteous cause we have at heart, carrv but little weight in the scientific world, clinginf firmly to the old exploded notion that' alcoholic liquors are a necessity to good health. Temperance people, however, need not be in the least alarmed at the paper read by the worthy doctor at the Congress. When it will be taken, as taken it will by the thousands of working men and others in its proper and true light, Sir Dyce's animadversions will not only serve to show the terrible danger and injurious effects of taking alcohol in such forms and quantities as arc now indulged in by the community, but the side-lights cast here and there through his wonderful production will indeed support the contention of every abstainer that total abstinence in principle as well as in practice is safe and sound. There are three statements in the paper of Sir Dree Duckworth to which I shall call attention, and show that they are mere asser- tions, without any foundation in fact:-(I) We ♦ are told that Alcohol on humanity is beneficial, and that the misuse is only one variety of intem- p3rance." A large number of people think that alcohol is a production of creation, like corn, or that it is the result of some living process in Nature, like milk. Now it does not require much scientific knowledge to discover the mythical nature of such a notion. Alcohol is produced bv an artificial process, like laudunum or chloroform, and is no more the Good creature of God than chalk is cheese. It is an historic fact that alcohol was not discovered or separated from the other ingredients of wine until the beginning of the 13th century. The first time the word was used with any scientific meaning was in the year 1698 by Lemert in his work on chemistry. In speaking on this subject Dr. Richardson, a writer far more Com- petent than Sir Dyce to pronounce judgment on the nature of this drug. emphatically savs that Alcohol, like chloroform, is a narcotic, and is in no sense food it reduces the animal heat and force, overtaxes the heart, weakens the muscles, and paralyses the brain and nervous system generally." Sir William Gull, who was recognised as one of the greatest authorities on hygiene, gave it as his opinion that Alcohol is the most destruc- tive agent that we are aware of in this country and that a very large number of persons are dyin^ day by day poisoned by alcohol." In addition to the above, a host of others could be easily quoted whose denunciation of this poison is equally as strong. As a narcotic, no doubt, alcohol, 'like chloroform, diminishes the sensibilities of the nerves, and causes those who are under its influ- ence to become unconscious of what o-oes on in and around them hence many have been led away by the idea that they have been benefitted by the draught, when really the only benefit received is* that the recipient has become totally uncon- scious of the fatigue or pain suffered from and previously complained of. We have known the self-same persons in winter and in summer, in weakness and in wearies resorting to alcoholic liquors. Now, it is a well- known fact that alcohol can never produce heat, and that it is most dangerous to drink durin<r ex- posure to cold. Any man with common sense will at once see the absurdity of the idea that alcohol can serve so many purposes, and may be used as a panacea for all human sufferings. The explanation of this apparent relief which the drinker ex- periences, but mistakens for a cure, is that the effect of alcohol upon the nerve is to deaden it, and make the man or weman for the time being quite insensible (in proportion to the quantity taken) of the cold, heat, or weariness which they once felt. Such benefits, forsooth, have cost their lives to thousands of poor creatures, who. while in this state of frenzy, have committed crimes which have led them to penal servitude and the gallows, while others have laid themselves down to sleep in fields, cow-sheds, streets, coke ovens, and limekilns' never again to open their eyes in this world. It is a well-known fact that those who entirely abstain from the use of all alcoholic drinks, other things being equal, enjoy far better health and live to°a greater age. The following comparison w?s in- stituted some years ago between the abstaining Rechabites and the moderate-drinking Oddfellows of the district of Bradford during the period of eight years, the truth of which, as far as I kn iw. has not yet been challenged :— Time sick per member. Actual deaths. I:-1 Oddfellows .13 days 10 hours 1 out of every 44 Rechabuea 4 days 2 hours 1 out of every 141. Let the reader judge from the above how far the use of alcoholic liquors is beneficial. (2) Ao-ain Dr. Duckworth tells us that It had been found that the greatest number of the best men and women doing the best work are partakers of alcohol. We are not told by what standard the doctor judges the quality and quantity of the work neither, as far as I have seen, that he has supplied those whom he wishes to believe his statements with a list, or even the name of a single individual who. on account of his alcoholic pro- clivities. is doing better and nobler work than water-drinkers. I am inclined to think that the men and women referred to have no other exis- tence than in the imagination of the writer him- self. Now, before any fair comparison can be made, there must be a close investigation insti- t Ited. so as to ascertain the educational advantages and mental capacities of the persons compared. Total abstinence does not profess to give brain power to any man. neither compensate for the lack of early educational training. What it professes. and also does, is to grant to those already possessed with these powers the free use of such, unimpaired by the effects of intoxicating drinks. We, of course, readily admit that there are persons of rare powers, and doing excellent work, who occa- sionally make use of alcohol; but we most strongly assert that these men and women, if free from the influence of this narcotic, would be able, not only to do more, but produce a better quality of work than at present. Dr. Livingstone, the heroic Christian explorer of central Africa, said I find that I can stand every hardship best by using water, and water only." Surgeon-General W. C. Maclean, M.D., C.B., lecturing before the Royal Service Institution in 1874 gave utterance to the following :—" If there be any point of military hygiene, that may now be regarded as settled beyond doubt, or cavil, it is this, that spirits are not only not helpful, but are harmful to the marching soldier." The British Medical Journal, for the year 1875, contains the following statement It is a somewhat remark- fact that many of the most-worked professional men in London are habitual abstainers from alchohol, and have been so for some years, on the basis of personal experience, and from the fact that they have found the use of alcohol to inter- fere with their physical health and mental acti- vity." The above pronouncement of opinion, and many oi hers which could be adduced as to the re- sult produced by the use of alcohol, is a direct refutation of the vagaries of Sir Dyce Duck- worth, and most clearly shows that even 1 or n ounce daily, and that in its purest form cannot be taken without injuring oneself both physically and morally. Let us not, therefore, allow our- selves to be duped by any scientist to partake, even in the smallest quantity, that which admitted by all is frought with the greatest evils known. We should be firm, and follow the noble examp'e set before us by Hector, the oldest son of Priam, who. we are told, when requested by Hecuba to refresh himself with wine, on the ground that alcohol would strengthen and em- bolden the warrior, exclaimed :— Far hence be Bacchus' gifts, the chief rejoined Inflaming wine, pernicious to mankind, Unnerves the limbs, and dulls the noble mind. (3) Sir Dyce assures us. or rather says that, He is convinced that total abstinence was no remedy for the careless and vicious." In reply to this I may say that we as a temperance party are far from believing that intemperance is the only form of evil, and that a man, because he is a teetotaller, is perfect. While we do not hesitate to assert, without the least fear of contradiction, that most of the misery, immorality, and crime of our country to-day can be directly traced to the quantity of intoxicating liqnours consumed we, as temperance people, believe that sin has its seat deeper than the cup or cask. For out of the heart come forth evil thoughts, &c." The well must be purified before the stream can be clean. This purifying and cleansing can only be effected by the regene- rating, and sanctifying grace of God. While we look to Good for the power of converting and changing the nature and desires of the heart, total abstinence, which is an essential part of religion, or another form which the Gospel assumes to deal with this particular evil, is the only real remedy for drunkenness. Moderation has ignominiously failed. The large and daily increas- cl r., ing army of drunkards in our land at this very moment have all, without a single exception, come from the ranks of moderation. Not a single total abstainer has ever been known to get drunk. Neither has one been seen under the influence of Sir John. There are some, it is true. who profess abstinence, but indulge to a certain extent in alcohol seen at times visiting beer-houses and shebeens by means of the backdoors. These we, as a party, do not recognise, they are none of us. They belong to the moderation or drunken class. whether they own it or not. It is admitted that there are certain cases in which great difficulties have been experienced in dealing with the victims of intemperance, this, however, only shews the terrible evils of alcohol. Though many of these have been converted, still the injuries done to the physical and moral system is such that these once victims of the drink can never be com- pletely cured therefrom while in life. Man can- not sin with impunity. Though many temperance reformers are actuated by strictly Christian motives in their efforts against the drink, very much has been accomplished in the way of total- abstinence which does not, perhaps, come directly under the term religious work, but do neverthe- less partake largely of its nature. Little over two years ago the Governor Kansas publicly de- clared as his inaugural address on prohibition, that fully nine-tenths of the drink and drunken- ness prevalent in Kansas eight years ago have been abolished, and I affirm with earnestness and emphasis that this state is to-day the most temperate, orderly, sober community of people in the civilised world. The abolition of the saloons has not only promoted the personal happiness and general prosperity of our citizens, but it has enormously diminished crime, filled thousands of homes where vice dud want and wretchedness once prevailed with peace, plenty, and content- ment." Now this great change in Kansas has been brought about by what we may term political and legislating agitators backed up by secular and sacred education. If this can be done in America, it can also be accomplished in our own country with the same beneficial results. Not- withstanding the difficulty we often have in dealing with confirmed drunkards we are in a position to prove if needs be the great success which has followed the exertions of temperance people from time to time in their efforts to rescue the perishing, and some of these proofs may be found in Cadoxton. The institution established for inebriates has also been 'a great success in this direction. Dr. Xorman Ker gives us an instance of a lady of means who suffered from dipsomania giving up the drink after breaking the pledge four times. John B. Gough and thousands more we are happy to state have been thus saved from the clutches of this terrible monster. All this go to prove the incorrectness of the statement of Dr. Duckworth whose knowledge of temperance and temperance work must, indeed, be very limited. While the temperance party are determined to bring pressure to bear on legislators, county councillors, justices, and policemen as regards their duty to regulate, and if possible check a traffic which is admitted by all to be the source of most of the unhappiness, poverty, and crime which now defames this fair Isle of ours we shall continue to educate the people in the principles of sobriety, create a healthy sentiment amongst the members of the community, and preach in season and out of season the pure simple gospel of Christ Jesus as the only true panajea for the evils of the world. So lived our Sire". the doctors learned to kill, And multiplied with theirs the weekly bill, The first physicians by debauch were made Excess began, and sloth sustains the trade. > By chase our long liv'd fathers earn'd their food, Toil strung their nerves, and purified their blood, But we their sons, a pampered race of men, Are dwindled down to three score years and ten. Better to hunt in fields for health unboueht, Than fee the doctor for a nauseous drought, The wise for cure on exercise depend God never made His work for man to niond." God never made His work for man to niond."

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