Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

comparison to those who use milk, beer, or Their passions are enraged into quarrels, even water; and it is a constant observation, murders, and blasphemy; their juices are that when there is a scarcity of wine, the dried up, and their solids scorched and common people are always more healthy shrivelled. Those whose appetite and di. than in those seasons when it abounds.” gestion are good, never want strong liquors “The longer I live,” remarks the same to give them spirits. Such spirits are too writer, “the more I am convinced, that wine volatile and fugitive for any solid or useful and all fermented liquors are pernicious to purposes in life. Two ounces of flesh meat, the human constitution ; and that for the well digested, beget a greater stock of more preservation of health, and exhilaration of durable and useful spirits, than ten times as the spirits, there is no beverage comparable much strong liquors.* to simple water."'*

Contrast with these effects of wine, the VII. The habitual use of alcoholic liquors influence of water on the various temperaeffects important changes in the tempera- ments, as described by Hoffman, the learned ment. It is difficult to determine the German Professor, and Physician to the precise nature of these changes. They depend King of Prussia :-“Water, by its fluidity on some essential alteration in the nervous and mildness, promotes a free and equable system as well as in the circulation. It is circulation of the blood and humours through well known that the mind operates through all the vessels of the body, upon which the the medium of the brain ; which latter organ due performance of every animal function participates in every bodily disorder, par- depends ; and hence, water-drinkers are not ticularly in derangement of the stomach, and only the most active and nimble, but also the viscera employed in digestion. Hence we the most cheerful and sprightly of all people. perceive how derangement of the organs In sanguine complexions, water, by diluting produces a disordered state of the mind. the blood, renders the circulation easy and The moral powers also intimately sympathise uniform. In the choleric, the coolness of with all essential alterations in the physical the water restrains the quick motion and system.

intense heat of the humours. It attenuates “ It is certain, “says Dr. Trotter," that the glutinous viscidity of the juices of the a long use of vinous spirit, in any form, phlegmatic ; and the gross earthiness which produces alterations in the sentient principle prevails in melancholic temperaments. And or nervous system.”'f

as to different ages, water is good to children, Michaelis places the following, among to make their tenacious milky diet thin, other of the usual causes of the prevalence and easy to digest; for youth and middle-aged of suicide :-" The alteration in the natural people,—to sweeten and dissolve any. scortemperament, by too much indulgence in a butic acrimony and sharpness that may be in flesh diet, and in drinking heavy nutritious the humours, by which means, pains and ale. This is probably the case in England, obstructions are prevented; and for old

where the defenders of the poor, as they are people,-to moisten and mollify their rigid called, consider very strong fattening ale, fibres, and to promote a less difficult ciras what every man ought in justice to have ; culation through their hard and shrivelled not considering that it is quite an artificial vessels." drink; that man is naturally a water drinker, that when he is so he seldom fails to be cheerful and healthy ; and that his first stage in

SECTION II. the descending scale is to become a drinker of wine.”

Sir W. Temple also appears to have been impressed with the influence of wine on the

Boundless intemperance temperament. “I have sometimes thought,"

In nature is a tyranny: it hath been he remarks, “ that this custom of using wine The untimely emptying of the happy throne, for our common drink, may alter in time the

And fall of many kings.-SHAKSPEARE. very constitution of our nation, I mean the

Wine and wassail have taken more strong places

than gun or steel.--CHESTERFIELD. native tempers of our bodies and minds, and cause a heat and sharpness in our humours which is not natural to our climate.”|| I. Scriptural illustrations of intemperance.-II.

These views correspond with the experience Intemperance of the Persians.-III.Macedonians, of Dr. Cheyne. “ Wine," he remarks,“ is

Philip and Alexander. - IV.

Scythians.-V. Gauls and Germans.-VI. Greeks now become as common as water, and the and Romans.-VII. Other nations of antiquity. better sort scarce ever dilute their food with any other liquor ; and, as natural causes

I. THE History of Intemperance presents a will always produce their proper effects, ing to mankind. It has been asserted that

melancholy subject of instruction and warntheir blood becomes inflamed into gout, history is philosophy, teaching by examples. stone, rheumatism, fevers, pleurisies, &c. The correctness of this definition, is, in no * Travels through France and Italy, 1776.

instance, so powerfully exemplified, as in + Essay on Drunkenness. p. 146.

that of intemperance. Smith's Michaelis. vol. iv. p. 215. 1 Essay on Gout.-Miscellanea.

* Cheyne on Long Life, &c., p. 43, Ed. 1745.

HISTORY OF INTEMPERANCE.

Thracians and

The frugal habits of the primitive inha-, found with thirty-two kings “drinking them. bitants of the earth, exclude as impossible selves drunk in the pavilions." the existence of gross intemperance in early One of the books of the Apocrypha times. Isolated cases which occurred at a acquaints us with an interesting example remote period, are recorded in the Old of the effects of intemperance on the Testament. These, however, rather present Assyrians, who, but for the event in striking examples of human frailty, than question, had every reasonable prospect of illustrations of a vice general in its existence. making conquest of Judea. Bethulia was Those of Noah and Lot are the earliest closely besieged by Holofernes, chief captain instances with which we are acquainted. of Nabuchodonosor, King of the Assyrians.

At a later period the vine became more Destruction, either by thirst or by the generally cultivated, and examples of intem- sword, to all human foresight, appeared perance were less rare in their occurrence. inevitable. A powerful army had assembled

The most powerful nations then in ex- before the gates of the city, and by a device istence, were composed of scattered and of the enemy, the fountains from which they nomadic tribes, of pastoral and predatory had obtained a supply of water, were renhabits. They were accustomed to hold dered unavailing. Judith, a woman of frequent feasts, either in honour of their wonderful courage and surpassing beauty, gods, or to commemorate signal successes happily effected their deliverance. In comgained over their enemies. Important pany with her maid she visited the tent of deliberative concerns were transacted on Holofernes, and cunningly held out to him such occasions, a custom, which, even at hopes of effecting the speedy and easy capture the present day, prevails among barbarous of the city and its inhabitants. Holofernes, nations.

fascinated by the charms of her person, In the instance of Sampson, the Philistines prepared a feast for his fair guest, at which assembled together to offer a sacrifice to he“ drank much more wine than he had their god Dagon, for having delivered their drunk at any time in one day since he was formidable enemy into their hands. When born.” In the hour of night Judith aptheir hearts were merry," Sampson was proached the couch of the chief, who was brought into their presence, that they might filled with wine,” and cut off the head of make sport with him. Sampson called upon the intended destroyer of her kindred and the Lord to assist him, and his enemies nation. The Jews greatly encouraged by were destroyed in the midst of their re- this event, suddenly fell upon the Assyrians, joicings.

who were in utter amazement and fright, Another example of intemperance is found and slew them with a terrible slaughter. * in Nabal, whose churlish conduct towards In Isaiah, and in succeeding books, ample David would have been attended with evidence is found of the declining morals of serious results, had not the timely presents the Jews. The prophets in the most energetic of his more prudent wife conciliated the terms denounce the sensual habits which anger of the king. Abigail on returning prevailed at that period, and depict in glowhome found her husband feasting and “ very ing language the awful consequences of this drunken." The following inorning she debasing vice.f acquainted him with his fortunate escape. The Ephraimites, a people peculiarly This information had so serious an effect on favoured by the fertility of their land, and Nabal's frame, debilitated as it was by his the beauty of its situation, were remarkable previous excesses, that in ten days after- for their indulgence in sensual delights. wards he died.

The prophet Isaiah, thus strongly exhibits In the reign of Saul, the Amalekites made their abuse of the bounty of Providence :an irruption into the borders of Palestine, “Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkand harassed the people of Israel. After ards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a the pillage of Ziklag, the residence of fading flower; which are on the heads of David, the latter pursued and found them the fat vallies of them that are overcome

spread abroad upon all the earth, eating with wine.” I The intemperance of the times and drinking.” few only escaped the is further seen in the drunkenness of their avenging hand of their enemies.

king :-“In the days of our king, the princes In the case of Amnon, the son of David, have made him sick with bottles of wine."'ll and of Elah, King of Israel, signal examples The most awful feature of these times is are presented of the evils which befall those witnessed in the intemperance of the priestwho become slaves to sensual indulgence. hood. Even that sacred office was profaned The domestics of Absalom slew Amnon when through the influence of strong drink. “But his heart was merry with wine :" and they also have erred through wine, and Elah, when he was "drinking himself through strong drink are out of the way : drunk," was slain by his servant Zimri. the priest and the prophet have erred

The Syrians also were more or less through strong drink, they are swallowed addicted to intemperance. When Ben-up of wine; they are out of the way hadad, King of Syria, besieged Samaria, Ahab, by direction of the prophet, sur

Apocrypha. The Book of Judith.

+ Isaiah lvi. 12., v. 11, 12; xxiv. 9, v. 22. prised and defeated this warrior, whom he Isaiah xxviii. 1. || Isaiah xxxviii. 7, 8.

mon use.

through strong drink; they err in vision, language.* Diodorus Siculus relates that they stumble in judgment. For all tables “it was while the Assyrian army were are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there feasting for the former victories, that those is no place clean.” *

about Arbaces (the commander of the Medes) In the prophet Jeremiah it is written, being informed by some deserters of the “Thus saith the Lord, behold I will fill all pabulay kau medny, the negligence and the inhabitants of this land, even the kings drunkenness, in the camp of the enemies, that sit upon David's throne, and the assulted them unexpectedly by night, and priests

, and the prophets, and all the in- falling orderly on them disorderly, and prehabitants of Jerusalem with drunkenness.”! pared on them unprepared, became masters

The Nazarites, a people specially pledged of the camp, and slew many of the soldiers, to abstain from wine, were led astray by its and drove the rest into the city.” influence. “But ye gave the Nazarites II. Cyrus was the illustrious founder of the wine to drink.”

Medo-Persian empire. At first possessed No more decisive proof can be adduced of a country containing only about 100,000 of the indignation of God against those who inhabitants, he became, by his temperate indulged in strong drink, than the symbolical example and warlike abilities, the head of a and threatening language of the prophets. nation, at that time considered almost boundIn speaking of Jerusalem, they evidently less in its extent, and certainly unrivalled in allude to the medicated wines then in com- its power. The victories of Cyrus, however,

These predictions were wfully laid the foundation of the ruin of the empire. fulfilled in the instance of Babylon. Babylon Luxurious habits, the bane of national was the mightiest among the nations of the prosperity, had been partially introduced earth. Her kings, and rulers, and people, before his death; and there are grounds for were immersed in luxury and dissipation. believing that the conqueror himself was This example was injurious to surrounding cognizant of their introduction. The union nations, who, as in the instance of the of the Medes with the Persians, had conJewish people, drank of her wine and were siderable influence in producing this charge. made mad. "Babylon hath been a golden cup The Medes were a people of luxurious in the Lord's hand, that made all the earth habits, and differed in most respects from drunken. The nations have drunken of her their temperate and warlike allies. The wine, therefore the nations are mad.”ll possession of Babylon also contributed to

The active and warlike habits of the corrupt the manners of the Persians, who, people of Babylon were soon abandoned for in a short space of time, becam as remarkeffeminate indulgence, and eventually this able for their effeminacy and intemperance, renowned race became a bye-word and re- as they had previously been conspicuous for proach.

“ The mighty men of Babylon sobriety and physical strength. Hence, have forborne to fight; they remain in they fell an easy prey to the Macedonian their holds; their might hath failed, they king. Herodotus relates, that in his time became as women.”'S

they drank profusely. “They are accusCyrus was the chosen instrument in the tomed,” says he, “to deliberate on matters hands of the Almighty, for punishing the of the highest moment when warm with riotous Babylonians. Belshazzar was en- wine; but whatever they in this situation gaged in one of the numerous feasts which may determine, is again proposed on the were held in that immense city. Prophecy morrow, in their cooler moments, by the was never more signally fulfilled. “In person in whose house they had before their heart I will make their feasts, and I assembled. If at this time also it meets will make them drunken, that they may their approbation it is executed; otherwise rejoice and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not it is rejected." 6. Whatever also,” says the awake, saith the Lord."

same writer, “they discuss when sober, is Cyrus, who had taken measures for sur- always a second time examined after they prising the city, came upon them with his have been drinking.” army during the continuance of their revels, Strabo also makes mention of this singular which had been prolonged to a fate hour, custom.f Dampier informs us that a similar and slew the king, with those who were in practice obtains among the inhabitants of attendance. Many, no doubt, in a state of the Isthmus Darien. drunken lethargy, would sleep a perpetual In more recent times, the Persians have sleep. The city was taken without difficulty, displayed a similar fondness for intoxicating and the Babylonish empire fell an easy liquors, although under Mahommedan sway, prey to her intrepid conquerors.

and, in general, professors of the religion of Nineveh, at the time of its destruction Mahomet, which forbids the use of wine. the capital of the Assyrian empire, fell an Sir J. Chardin, in his travels, frequently easy prey to the Medes, whilst its luxurious alludes to the drinking customs of this inhabitants were engaged in one of their nation. “We may assert with boldness," sensual entertainments. The prophet Na- says he, “ that there is no country where hum predicts this event in most forcible they drink more or better wine.”I * Hosea yii. 5. † Jer. xiii. 13. † Amos ii. 12. * Nahum i, 10, ii, 9. + Strabo Geogr. Ch. 15. Jer li. 7. S Jer. li. 30. 4 Jer. 51, 39.

$ Travels in Persia. London Ed. 1686, p. 189.

The Persians, in abstinence from wine, the town are ordered to see them broken to have been less strict followers of Mahomet pieces."* than some other nations that have adopted Sir J. Chardin, the celebrated traveller, his creed. Persia, with its tributary Georgia, was present at an entertainment at the is remarkable for the variety of delicious house of a royal prince. He describes fruits which it produces. The grape in that their manner of drinking as follows: The country has been brought to a high state of prince's nearest relations, selecting about perfection; and the Persian wines have eight in number, were first presented with always been celebrated for their strength vessels of wine, which they drank standing and richness of flavour. Sir J. Chardin, up. The same bowls being filled again who travelled extensively in that country in were carried to the next persons, and so on, the seventeenth century, states that as much until the health had been drunk round. as a horse could carry of their best wines After this, the next health was drunk in could be purchased for twelve shillings, and larger cups, for it was the custom of the that the more common sorts did not cost country to drink the healths of great permore than half the money.

sonages in large vessels. This was done on Hafiz, the favourite poet of the Persians, purpose to make their guests more effectually frequently makes the praise of wine the drunk. This desired climax would soon be subject of his poetical effusions. His pre- attained, when we consider the size of their dilection for this liquor may be seen from glasses. The first glasses used were of the the following verses :

common sort, but the last contained about I am neither a judge, noi a priest, nor a pint and a half of wine. This feast cona censor, nor a lawyer, why should I forbid tinued until the following morning. The the use of wine ?

capuchins and Sir J. Chardin were exempted “ That poignant liquor, which the zealot from drinking—" for," declares the latter, calls the mother of sins, is pleasanter and had I drank as much as my neighbours, I sweeter to me, than the kisses of a maiden. had died upon the spot.”'t

“Give me wine! wine that shall subdue III. The ancient Macedonians were warlike the strongest, that I may for a time forget in their habits, and, under Philip and Alexthe cares and troubles of the world. ander, successful in their enterprises.

The roses have come, nor can anything Philip was one of the most subtle politicians afford so much pleasure as a goblet of of the age in which he lived; and, as a wine.

general, displayed great superiority in the “The enjoyments of life are vain; bring discipline of his army. A slave to intem. wine, for the trappings of the world are perance, this celebrated monarch, however, perishable.

frequently abandoned himself to the most Hafiz is usually denominated the Anacreon disgusting excesses. He is said to have of the Persians.

passed much of his time at dissipated feasts, Tavernier relates that in Armenian Persia, and to have associated with debauchees of after they have removed the cloth and given the most profligate character. Philip, at a thanks, they proceed to drink to excess. late period of his life, became enamoured of The man who gives an entertainment, thinks a lady named Cleopatra, whom he eventually that he has not done well, till he has made married. A feast was held to celebrate the his guests so drunk, that they cannot find joyful event, at which were present Alex. their way out of the room. The more they ander and Attalus, her uncle. Attalus tumble about, the less reason he thinks he became inebriated, and insulted Alexander, has to regret the expense.t

by requesting the Macedonians to unite in The same author testifies that the Persian prayer, that this marriage miglit produce a Georgians are also very great drinkers. legitimate heir to the throne. The youth

· They love, says he, the strongest ful hero, irritated at this insolence, retorted drinks best, for which reason, both men by throwing his cup at the offender's bead. and women drink more aqua vitæ than wine." Philip in a passion now interfered, and " It is also observable,” he remarks, " that drawing his sword made towards his son. at the women's festivals, there is more wine Anger and wine, however, had so enervated and aqua vite drunk than at the men's.” him that he fell in the attempt. Alexander Besides sweetmeats, each guest on entering took advantage of this event and cried aloud, the dining room, is presented with a glass Men of Macedon, see there the man who containing half a pint of aqua vitæ to excite was preparing to pass from Europe into his appetite.

Asia ! he is not able to pass from one table A modern traveller informs us that the to another without falling." Persians imagine that they diminish the sin The following anecdote is related of of vinous indulgence, by partaking only of Philip :-A woman requested justice from wine which is manufactured by unbelievers. him for some alleged injury, and in detailing “So great is the horror of a Mohammedan her case, made statements which were not vintage, that wherever jars of the wine of pleasing to the king. Philip, after hearing Shiraz are discovered, the chief officers of

* Travels in Georgia and Persia, by Sir R. Ker

Porter, vol. i. p. 348. * Tavernier's Persian Travels, vol. i. p. 124.

+ Sir J. Chardin's Travels, pp. 228-9.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

man.

her arguments decided the case against her. when he expressed his surprise that such The woman, who it appears possessed a reso- effeminacy should occupy the attention of a Cute spirit, on hearing the decision, replied king. It would have been fortunate for with great calmness, “I appeal!” “How,” Alexander had he always remained thus said Philip,

“ from your king, to whom uncorrupted by Persian luxury. The unthen?" "To Philip, when sober," was the paralleled success, however, which attended spirited reply. The conduct of the king on his arms, so intoxicated his mind, that he this occasion, was worthy of a more virtuous frequently committed deeds, which, in

He took the case a second time into others, would have been deemed evidences consideration, repented of his previous of insanity. injustice, and rendered the woman redress Alexander subsequently indulged in refor her grievances.

peated acts of intoxication, under the inPhilip fell by an assassin's hand, in the fluence of which, he so far forgot himself, midst of his triumphant career, the indirect as in more sober moments, to excite in him victim of intemperance. Attalus, uncle of bitter regret. During one of these fits of Cleopatra, when highly excited by wine, at inebriation, he attempted to burn the one of the frequent carousals which Philip ancient palace of Xerxes. His friends were patronized, grossly insulted a young noble, enjoying the royal feast, at which they named Pausanias. The latter demanded drank to intoxication. Courtezans were justice on the person of Attalus, b'it the present at the sparkling board, and one of king denied his request. Irritated at this the most celebrated urged the conqueror to disappointment, the young man refused to end the carousal by burning the palace of be pacified by the honours which were Persepolis. Alexander madly complied with conferred upon him with that intent, and her wish ; and with the drunkard's garland under the influence of exasperated feelings, on his head, and a lighted torch in his resolved to murder his sovereign. This hand, proceeded to execute his purpose. deed was perpetrated on the day when the The king, however, quickly repented this king was celebrating, with unusual splen- foolish freak, and before it was too late, dour, the marriage of his daughter. Not commanded the fire to be extinguished. content with other demonstrations of his Soon after this event, Alexander, when greatness, Philip had ordered twelve repre- excited with wine, killed his friend Clitus. sentations of gods to be publicly displayed The latter had supped with the king, and in the procession, in addition to which was when both were “warmed with drinking,''* one more magnificent than the rest, whereby uttered some remarks which were displeashe asserted to the public his claim to ing to Alexander ; recrimination followed ; divine honour. Whilst receiving the accla- and although the friends of Clitus had mations of surrounding multitudes, and dragged him away, he soon returned to the unusually elated with pride, the dagger of scene of disagreement. Alexander, irritated Pausanias, with fatal aim, at once put an by his boldness of speech, snatched a spear end to the monarch's life.

from one of the guards, and ran it through Alexander, who succeeded his father as the body of his unfortunate victim, who king of Macedonia, became remarkable rot immediately expired. Persius thus alludes only for his military success, but for his to this calamitous event:intemperance, to which vice he ultimately fell

Sed tremor inter vina subit calidumque triental a victim. In early life he displayed consider- Executitè manibus. able promise of that greatness which he after- The rage of Alexander now quickly settled wards attained. Love of military fame ever into the deepest sorrow, insomuch that, but appeared to be the impulse of his conduct; for his attendants, he would have dest oyed to accomplish which object, he sacrificed himself; and for several days he remained every minor gratification. In the com- in a state of the most lamentable depression. mencement of his public career, Alexander, The triumphant career of this monarch in general, was temperate in his diet. in India was marked by scenes of gross When a variety of choice dishes was sent to dissipation. His entrance into Carmenia him by the Queen of Caria, together with indeed appears to have resembled a bacsome excellent cooks and bakers, he remark- chanalian procession. Alexander and his ed, that he had no need of them; for he generals were placed upon a lofty platform, had been supplied with better cooks by his elevated upon a magnificent carriage, which tutor Leonidas: viz. “a march before day was drawn by eight horses. They were to dress his dinner, and a light dinner to followed by carriages, wherein were placed prepare his supper." “Nor was he,"others of his associates and friends, crowned says Plutarch, “ so much addicted to wine with garlands, and noisy with wine. The as he was thought to be. It was supposed entire army appears to have been in a so, because he passed a great deal of time similar plight. Plutarch remarks that, " in at table; but that time was spent rather in the whole company there was not to be talking than drinking; every cup introduced seen a buckler, a helmet, or a spear ; but some long discourse." His contempt of luxury may be ascertained from his examina

• Plutarch. Life of Alexander. tion of the tent of the conquered Darius,

+ Pers. Sat. iii. v. 100.

« ÎnapoiContinuați »