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.- - - - -.. LECTURE ON ALCOHOL…


LECTURE ON ALCOHOL AS A MEDICINE. nr. F. R Lees, F.S.A., of Leeds (author of the M Science of Symbols," and the Alliance Hundred ■Guineas Prize 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 Medicine in various disorders." W. Bulkeley Hughes, Esq., Plasooch, occupied the chair. Tbe CHAIRMAN, in introGncing the speaker, remarked that when he was requested to preside at this meeting he did not hesitate to ooucede to the wishes of his friends, not ouly from a desire to promote the temper- ance increment, but also to show what his feelings were upon the occasion. It was a novel position for him to be placed in: but, however novel it might be, he came forward with his whole heart and mind devottmi to tem- F' h. eu]- per,uice. From his position in this county, as one of the acting magistrates, perhaps there were few better able to judge the benefits that might be derived from this society. The constantly occurring evil of intoxica- tion was weekly- and he might eay daily—visiting them from all directions; and when thev considered the ex. tensive work* which surrounded them, not only in the mountains but in the city and its environs, it was quite clear that a movement of this kiud was most desirable, and he thought ought to receive favour and encourage- ment fr(,ta b,)tll gelitle,, ault milill-le, [Applause.] It had jifver fallen to III. lot to attend these meetings; and simply for this reason, he bad never been solicited. [Laughter.] Had he been asked he would readily have responded to the call: and they might rest assured that h'Meafter, if he were honoured with a request to attend. tlu v should have his services on any occasion. fAp. plause.] But he had not ooioo there to dilate upon this excellent movement, lb Lees and his [the chairman's] friend the reel r of Xeith would, he had no doubt, do it in strains which would excite the admiration of the an- dience, and exceed everything he could say. He then called upon Or. Lees to address the meeting. Dr. LLLKS said that the question which be had t" dis- cuss that evening was a reeoguised question of religion and of morals—a question of progress and of happiness (jjueo health was one of the cond.tions of progress and happiness. He contended that the national faith in alcohol was superstitious and absurd; and though lie was neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, he ven. tured to predict that the people of this country would in 30 years hence look back upon the views which thev now entertained of this question—the strengthening "ud I life-sustaining properties of alcohol -—simply as an illu- sion. Though it was recently said in Parlialnent by Mr. Buxton (au eminent brewer, by-the bye) that beer would strengthen and support the human body, he really did not know of anything so utterly groundless as that insertion What were the laws of nature by mea". of which health and strength was imparted to the human body f How were the physical and mental p ,\v is of men exercised f There was the locomoti ve engine, impelled by the power of steam, which was after- w,u as refloate d by its sue, and the quantity and quality of fuel by which it was generated if they wi bed to put force into the human system, tliey must, impart nu- trition into it. If they tell him what and how much coal was consumed, he would tell them the work and how uianv miles the locomotive travelled Now, it was Doless absurd to throw bricks to the blacksmith to make iron, thau to suppose that alcohol would produce heat, or that it can by any means enter into the composition of any lidug body. It was held by Baron Leibig, who was reeoguised as a great scientific authority—and, he should observe, that the man who believed in scientific authority was a scientific believer in Pope., Science does not admit anything oi any man who will 4eluve 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 heat to the body. Twent)-five years ago be (Dr. Lees) denied that proposition; and lie had to wait till now before the medical world would admit of the truth of his theory. (Cheers.) That which nourished the body must bee -me. 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 mis to nourish the body it would have to stop there; but contrary to the life gtifa- 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 fee) I am stronger when I have partaken of alcohol." But feeling was no proof People in fever felt that they were hot, but when he applied the thermometer to their blood, the;, were, it) fact, much cooler than when in health. friend of his lately at Tunbridge Wells asked Tom Sayers if, when he was trained for the ring, he par- took Jioerally of bed stakes and 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 bull* So they found that there was in- n<M!once it) water, and pernicimisness in strong diiilk it did Dot give itreugth, it destroyed strength. (Cheers ) Dr. Lees next dwelt upon the action of the neHe", and divided them into two seta—the voluntary and the in- voluntary and dwelt upon the irritation and the ar- tificial power which alcohol was sup|iosed to excite. He also ridiculed the universal practice among his profes- sional brethren of prescribing strong drink in various disorders to their patient"; 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. c\,h<ll, aud that it was at the best but an adjunct; and he had himself read thousands of medical woj ks, yet he JlVer 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 subject- A tnau never ist but always to be biested. So he would say of those who had a certain faith in strong t)riiik, They never are, but always to be cured. Medicine was pot a science. He would prove it out of the mouths of medical men themselves. Dr. Richard- son F.K.S., in the presence of 300 or 400 medical men at the Provincial Medical Society," remarked that their aoi ion, 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 tirst corner fitone of medica] science has not yet been laid." Dr. Lees further dwelt upon the universal ap- plication of alcohol in heart disease, which as a remedy (eft 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 strickeu with fever by the application of alcohol died not the victims of fever, but the victims of in- toxication—they were actually intoxicated. He next combated Dr. Todd's theory, which medical men had read ao 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 th it their estimable Prince Consort per-ished under the ilamil oourse of treatment, which slaughtered one out of every four patients which it affected to cure. Professor Gardiner, who two years ago wrote strungly III favour of the alcoholic theory, had since confuted his own statement. Having referred to the evidence of Dr. ( ar- penter and Sir John Forbes, the talented lecturer en- tered minutely into the number of cases tieated as de- lirium tremens in the various hospitals in this kingdom. Out of 403 cases in a hospital at I dmburgh 2 > per cent, were killed by the remedy and not by the disease; »(■ Glasgow, out of 400 cases, 50 per cent, met with the game fate. Whilst out of all the cases treated according t' the anti-alooholic system in Glasgow, Edin burgh, and Philadelphia, not one died. Alcohol wasa narcotic, not a stimulant, and as Dr, Ross observed, it was a certain enemy and a doubtful friend Iu cases of cholera large doses of brandy were prescribed. He had been himselt attacked by cholera. three times, and never bad recourse to brandy and in the course of his experience nevei prescribed it to others. During the time cholera last visited thu country, and amidst its sad ravages, he was Called to a patient who was one out of thirteen others m the same street labouring under the same disease. I e was a teetotaller, and refused to take brandy under the ad- vise of his physician. He visited him. and treated ilitti ai he had been treated himself. That man recovered, whilst the twelve others died. In typh<Ed fever also al- cohol was administered. The only nutritive element in malt eer was the beer; but why take it in combina- tion with alcohol, wheu the essence of malt could be procured without the use of the narcotic Dr. f,ees uext read a statistical statement connected with insu- rance of the proportion of deaths among the various c'asses of society, and quoted the concluding observa- tiou of the compiler (Dr. Fleming), who was in no way connected with the temperance movement, that he could not account for the preponderance of deaths among the upper and middle classes except by their al,ility to procure a greater quantity of intoxicating liquoia. Having dwelt upon the persecution which Dr. Jenner and Dr. Harvey underwent from the professio by their important di?overiea, he alled upon the au- dience to pre? thiB 8uhject also upon the protean, and expreMed a hope the day wou)d soon arm e when alcohol should be dispensed not by the publican, but by the apothecary. He admitted having said strong things in the course of his lecturo; but by fir the t4trongest observations were made by membra of the meu profession. v (Dr. L- aat down amidst continued cheering.) her. J. QfUFFivB, rector of Neath, Glanmorgansaire, (Wko it ww atated, would have addreeeed the meeting)* oaid that time would not allow him to enter upon the telUprnuoe 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 wid; but he did not lay atfde the drinking practice from any scientific euquiry which he had lOndo-he was a total abstainer from conclusions deducible from other pre- mises, M a member of another profession. He deter- mined to make what appeared tqo liiiii then a terrible sacrifice for the sake of his fellow-men, whom he Haw deeply embedded in the mire of drunkenness. (Ap- plause.) During it jouruey that day of 13 hours'dura- tion by rail he saw the frcqueut 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 wa er, wi his mind and body in as good and sound worki g orl its any man in Bangor. (Cheers.) There were pr.j ,dices both uiortl and physical to overcome; nothing out 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 fxpericneed iuan in the nocial and moral renovatiou of mankind—can the excellent Bishop of Bangor, than whom no clergyman laboured more a&siduoutdy among the hardy sons of toil at Iler- thvr than he did—ask him, and he would tell them w hether he was ever able to recover one working man by preaching moderation ? By the practice of solf- demal they i«i\>ugnt forth the brightest oi Christian vir ..lit'S. llt. lIIon:ht nllt anY' chang.: ot religiol\R trut.h: from one novelty to another—in: fell back upon the lirst principles oi their religiol} when ill thtJ pri:l)iti\ agc. of the world he saw this virtue brought forth ill tilo lives of those who are now in glory. He exhorted all to continue in the practice oi tlms > principles which would ultimately conquer every prejudice, and siu';r.ouut every obstacle, and then they would no longer hear the llil" pant remarks which were r.* ce itly made in the hali of St. Stephens—remarks totally unworthy of nenators — about Hume who sincerely endeavoured to benefit their Mr. UKIFFITH again rose t-> propose a vote of thanks to the Chairman, which was seconded by T. HuftUttf, Esq., M.D., Amlwch. The CH.VIHMAN briefly acknowledged the compliment, and the meeting terminated.


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