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UCTUBX ON ALCOHOL AS A MKDICINE

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UCTUBX ON ALCOHOL AS A MKDICINE Dr. F. R. Lees, F.S.A., of Leeds (author of the Science of Symbols," and the Alliance Hundred Guinea* Primb Essayist), delivered a lecture on Monday evening last, at the Penrhyn Hall, Bangor, upon the Medical Question of Teetotalism; or the supposed virtues of Alcohol as a Mediciue in various disorders." W. Bulkeley Hughes, Esq., Plascoch, occupied the, chair. The CHAIBMAN, in introducing the speaker, remarked that when he was requested to preside at this meeting he did not hesitate to concede to the wishes of his friends, not only from a desire to promote the temper- ance movement, but also to show what his feelings were upon the oocasion. It was a novel portion for him to be placed in; but, however novel it might be, he came forward with his whole heart and mind devoted to tem- perance. From his position in this county, as one of the acting magistrates, perhaps there were few better able to judge of the benefits that might be derived from this society. The constantly occurring evil of intoxica- tion was weekly-and he might say daily-viiiiting them from all directions; and when they considered the ex- tensive works which surrounded them, not only in the mountains but in the city and its environs, it was quite clear that a movement of this kind was most desirable, and he thought ought to receive favour and encourage- ment from both gentle and simple. [Applause.] It had never fallen to his lot to attend these meetings; and aimply for this reason, he had never been solicited. [Laughter.] Had he tweii asked he would readily have responded to the call; and they might rest assured that hereafter, if he were honoured with a request to attend, they should have his services on any occasion. [AI" plause.) but he had not come there to dilate upon this excellent movement. Dr. Lees and his [the chairman's] friend the rector of N'eath woulil, lie had no nouut, do it In strains which would excite the admiration of the au- dience, and exceed everything he could say. He then failed upon Dr. Lees to address the meeting. Dr. LI:K» said that th" question which he had to dis- cuss that evening WM.I r^i-oguised question of religion and of morals—a question of progress and of happiness -since he-ttth was one of the conditions of progress and happine-is. He contended that the national faith in alcohol was superstitious and absurd; and though he was neither a prophet nor the sou of a prophet, lie ven- tured to predict that the people of this country would in 30 years hence look back upon the views which they now entertained of this question—the strengthening and life-sustjiiniucr properties of alcohol—-simply as an illu- *ion. Though it was recently said in Parliament by Mr. Buxton (an eminent brewer, by-the by") that beer would strengthen and aupfwrt the human body, he really did not know of anything so utterly groundless as that assertion What were the laws of nature by means of which health and strength was imparted to the human tiody T How were the physical :md mental powers of men exercised There was the locomotive engine, impelled by the power of steam, which was after- waids regulated by its size, and the quantity and quality of fuel by which it was generated ii they wi bed to put force into the human system, they must impart 1111- trition iuto it. If they tell him what aud how much ooal was consumed, he would tell them the work and how many miles the locomotive travelled. Now, it was no less absurd to throw bricks to the blacksmith to make iron, than to suppose that alcohol would produce heat, or that it can by any means enter into the composition of any living body. It was held by Baron Leibig, who was recognised m &; great scientific authority-and, he should observe, that the man who believed in scientific authority was a scientific believer in Popes. Science does not admit anything of any man who will believe that it is true. Now it was maintained by that great man and believed by the profession, that though alcohol could not become a part of the human body, it could give beat to the body. Twenty-nve years ago be (Dr. Lees) denied that proposition; and he had to wait till now before the medical world would admit of the truth of his theory. (Cheers.) That which nourished the body mu<t bee,ime a part of it-and that was the only possible condition of strength. Now, alcohol entered their body and was universally supposed to strengthen their ribs, while yet it came up decomposed, in the same state as it entered! If it was to nourish the body it would have to stop there; but contrary to the life BUS- taining property of other matter it went in alcohol and came out alcohol. It could not possibly warm them because the fuel was not decomposed. He challenged any medical authority in the world to prove to him that alcohol was strengthening. Oh," says one, "but I feel I am stronger when I have partaken of alcohol." But feeling was no proof. People in fever felt that they were hot, but v, hen he applied the thermometer to their blood, they were, in fact, much cooler than when in health. A friend of his lately at Tuubridge Wells asked Tom Savers if, when he was trained for the ring, he par- took literally of beef stakes aud double stout. Oh said Tom, "as to these I am no teetotaller; whenever I have any business to do there is nothing like water and dumb bells." So they found that there was in- nocence in water, and perniciousness in strong drink-it did not give strength, it destroyed strength. (Cheers ) Dr. Lees next dwelt upon the action of the nerves, and divided them into two sets-the voluntary and the in- voluntary and dwelt upon the irritation and the ar- tificial power whieh alcohol was supposed to excite. He also ridiculed the universal practice among his profes- sional brethren of prescribing strong drink in various disorders to their patients; but he not only blamed them, but blamed the people also, who wished them to prescribe what they liked-they wished to be deceived, and they were deceived. He then read an extract from the British Medical Journal," in which a learned man observed-that there never was a disease cured by al- cohol, and that it was at the best but an adjunct; and he bad himself read thousands of medical woi ks, yet he never saw a single instance recorded of any one cured by it It was prescribed because people liked it-because people believed in it; and as Pope said of another 8ubject- A man never iI, but always to be blessed. So he would say of those who had a certain faith in strong drink,- strong 44 They never are, but always to be cured." Medicine was ikot a science. He would prove it out of the mouths of medical men themselves. Dr. Richard- liOn, K.K.S., in the presence of 300 or 400 medical men at the Provincial Medical Society," remarked that their action, as said by Lord Bacon 200 years ago, was circular not progressive We are overwhelmed with details," said he, "but are as far as ever from principles; the first corner stone of medical science has not yet been laid." Dr. Lees further dwelt upon the universal ap- plication of alcohol in heart disease, which as a remedy left a worse disease behind. Mercury, bleeding, and purging had destroyed many, but alcohol was more des- tructive than all put together. Dr. Cheyne, Physician to the Forces in Ireland, as far back as 1829, said in a book which the lecturer then held in his hand, that those stricken with fever by the application of alcohol died not the victims of fever, but the victims of in- totiMtion -they were actually intoxicated. He next toide.ttion- -th ?fZd's theory, which medical men had read so much of, and pointed out to the numerous vic- tims of that pernicious system. Dr. Todd was at last killed by his own practice. It was also known thit their estimable Prince Consort perished under the same course of treatment, which slaughtered one out of every four patient, which it affected to cure. Professor Gardiner, who two years ago wrote strongly in favour of the alcoholic theory, had since confuted his own statement. Having referred to the evidence of Dr. Car- penter and Sir John Forbes, the talented lecturer en- tered minutely into the number of cases treated as de- lirium tremeni in the various hospitals in this kingdom. Out of 403 cases in a hospital at I dinburgh 25 per cent. were killed by the remedy and not by the disease; at Glasgow, out of 400 cases, 50 per cent. met with the same fate. Whilst out of all the cases treated according to the anti-alcoholic system in Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Philadelphia, not one died. Alcohol was a narcotic, not a stimulant, and as Dr. Ross observed, it was "a certain enemy and a doubtful friend In cases of cholera large doses of brandv were prescribed. He had been himself attacked by cholera three times, and never had recourse to brandy and in the course of his experience never prescribed it to others. During the time cholera last visited this country, and amidst its sad ravages, he was called to a patient who was one out of thirteen others in the same street labouring under the same disease. fle was a teetotaller, and refused to take brandy under the ad- "0 nT his nhvsician. He visited him, and treated him as he had been treated himself. That man recovered, whilst the twelve others died. In typbeed fever also al. cohol was administered. The only nutritive element in malt beer was the Ueer; but why take it in combina- tion with alcohol, when the essence of malt could be procured without the use of the narcotic Dr. Lees next read a statistical statement connected with inell. rance of the proportion of deaths among the various classes of society, and quoted the concluding observa- tiou of the compiler (Dr. Fleming), who was in no way connected with the temperance movement,-that lie could not account for the preponderance of deaths among the upper and middle ct?, except by thdr ability to procure a greater (litaiitity of intoxicating liquors. Having dwelt upon the persecution which Dr. Jenner and Dr. Harvey underwent iroiii the profession, by their important discoveries, he failed upon the au- dience to press this subject also upon the profession, and expressed a hope the day would soon arrive when alcohol should be dispensed not by the publican, but by the apothecary. He admitted having said strong things in the course of his lecture; but by far f lie strongest observations were made by members of the medical profession. (Dr. Lem sat down amidst continued cheering.) Kev. J. GRIMITH, rector of Neath, Glanmoiganshire, (who it WM stated, would have addreMed the meeting), said that time would not allow him to enter upon the temperance question that evening, and that he would have another opportunity of addressing the people of Bangor upon that important subject. He could have said much in confirmation of what Dr. Lees had said; but he did not lay aside the drinking practice from any scientific enquiry which he had made—he was a total abstainer from conclusions deducible from other pre- mises, as a member of another profession. He deter- mined to make what appeared hI him then a terrible sacrifice for the sake of his fellow-men, whom he saw. deeply embedded in the mire of drunkenness. (Ap- plause.) During a journey that day of 13 hours' dura- tion by rail he saw the frequent resort some of the pas- sengers had to the bottle, whilst he then stood before them with only one meal that day, having finished his journey without nothing stronger than water, with his mind and body in as good and sound working order as any man in Bangor. (Cheers.) There were prejudices both moral and physical to overcome; nothing but total abstinence seemed to him, however, able to uproot the evil which threatened to over-run the country at the present time. Much had been said during the last 30 years about moderation; but what was moderation- what was moderation to one man was drunkenness to another. Can the most experienced man in the social and moral renovation of mankind—can the excellent Bishop of Bangor, than whom no clergyman laboured more assiduously among the hardy sons of toil at Mer- thyr than he did—ask him, and he would tell them whether he was ever able to recover one working man by preaching moderation ? By the practice of self- denial they brought forth the brightest of Christian virtues, lie sought not any change of religious truths— from one novelty to another—lie feU back upon the first principles of their religion, when in the primitive agei of the world he saw this virtue brought forth in the lives of those who are now in glory. He exhorted all to continue in the pract ice of those principles which would ultimately conquer every prejudice, and surmount evet-7 obstacle, and then they would no longer hear the flip- pant remarks which were recently made in the hall of St. Stephens—remarks totally unworthy of senators — about those who sincerely endeavoured to benefit their fellow-men ( Applause.i Mr. OliirKITU again rose to propose a vote of thanks to the Chairman, which was seconded by T. HunHKt, Esq., M.D., Amlwch. The CHAIUMAN brielly acknowledged the compliment, and the meeting terminated.

I RUTHIN".

! ?Mp?t ?iKM?. !-, -

I BANGO. AND BEAUMARIS UNION.

I LLANDUDNO.