« PreviousContinue »
of their doors and windows, while the offences his parents by his eventually marrying both were committed. People were constantly drowned the heroines, for example, a dénouement of in Hong Kong, in the presence of those who which English novelists cannot avail themmight have saved them without any peril to selves,-it will be found full of curious and, themselves, and I was obliged to issue an ordi- to English readers, striking touches. nance, condemning the boats to confiscation whose owners refused to rescue those who had fallen into the water.'
From The Spectator.
The purely civic civilization of a crowded THE TRUE DANGER OF TOBACCO. and over-populous empire is sure to end in something like this, at least without the THE long struggle between the votaries presence of a strong spiritual power to and the opponents of Tobacco, which has leaven and exalt that secularism of idea raged at intervals for the last three hundred which the Chinese, the English, and the years, is, we suspect, very nearly at an end. Americans seem to exhibit naturally in al- The world smokes, just as the world eats, and most equal degrees. A reviewer with whom sees as little necessity for defending the one we have had some little controversy lately, practice as the other. It recognizes evils arishas lamented the failure of the Darwinian ing from oversmoking just as it recognizes law of "natural selection in the struggle for existence in the human world. We are not sure that in China it does not operate with almost the same force as in the lower world of animal life. The account of the deaths which take place during the competitive examinations is a strict result of the triumph of the Darwinian law:
evils arising from overeating; but is no more alarmed by stories of paralysis produced by cigars than by reports of apoplexy from roast goose. It sets down the victims in either case as slightly silly persons, and goes on its way with a remark about the uses of moderation. But that the Governments of Europe have seized with natural eagerness on a new and tempting opportu"Late newspapers from China give some in-nity of taxation, and that there is but one teresting particulars of the resumption of competitive examinations in Nan King, where they had been long interrupted by the presence of the Tae Ping insurgents. An Imperial decree di
mode of smoking, the narghile, which looks graceful, the women of the West would, we believe, ere this, have adopted the practice,
rected the examination hall to be opened in the as their sisters in the East have done, and ancient capital of China. No less than two the victory of the weed would be complete. Mankind have discovered, in fact, a new thousand students presented themselves as candidates for the Kiu Jen, or Mister of Arts de-pleasure so great that it tempts them to gree, and in consequence of the time which had overcome an instinctive disgust so genuine passed since the list examination, an unusual that the first cigar makes everybody sick, number, not less than 248 students, were pro- do not see any counter-balancing evil, and moted. So severe was the competition, that will not be lectured into giving the pleasure great numbers committed suicide, and many oth-up. Moralists indeed have pretty nearly ers died from over-exhaustion and anxiety. It abandoned their efforts in despair. A man is said that no less than 75 corpses were carried like Dean Close now and then says a harsh out from the examination-halls. They were re-word against an enjoyment which he regards moved by secret, underground passages, lest the as purely sensual, and an economist occagreat entrance should be profaned by the pres- sionally makes a fuss about the waste of ence of the unhappy dead, who are supposed to money it involves - a waste very curiously pay this most awful penalty for undivulged offences, which ought to have prevented them from great, if we assume that tobacco has no effect either for good or evil; but as a rule entering into the competitive field.” these austere thinkers have concentrated most of their attention upon alcohol, a much less dubious subject for the eloquence of asceticism. The only serious attacks now come from the fastidious, who in some counSir John Bowring has produced in this tries have contrived to make it bad taste to translation a very useful as well as amusing smoke in a woman's presence; and from book. Of course of its scholarship we can-physicians, who every now and then are not pretend to be judges in any degree. startled by isolated facts into reviewing the But of its freshness and interest we are; popular decision. Some such facts seem and quite apart from the features of the tale recently to have come before a well-known which are likely to be thought the most cu-physiologist, who, in St. Paul's Magazine rious, the reconciliation of the views of for this month, does a little thinking aloud the two rival young ladies, the lover, and upon the matter, arriving of course, with
And to this, mere secularism, however respectful of the rights of others, however civic and citizenlike in Goethe's sense, necessarily tends.
some hesitation upon one point to be no- The experience of mankind, which after ticed directly, at the popular conclusion. all is the best guide, is, we need not say, It is, he says, a fallacy to argue that be- in exact accord with this view, and tobacco cause nicotine in the concentrated form, or might be pronounced a harmless luxury but an overdose of ordinary tobacco, is poison- for one exceptional fact, which is noticed ous, therefore a smaller dose must in its by the writer in St. Paul's Magazine, but degree be poisonous too. Quantity alters which is dismissed far too summarily. He quality sometimes, as we see in the cases admits, with a freedom which will please of alcohol, opium, and even flesh meat, all the few resolute opponents of tobacco, that of which can be made to yield a strong poi- its use in excess is very injurious, producson, but in reasonable doses are innoxious ing nervous complaints, hysteria, mental or beneficial. The effect of the doses is weakness, and sometimes paralysis, and not cumulative when the smoker is in an or- very justly sets that aside as an evil incidinary state of health, any more than the dent to almost every habit of mankind. effect of daily glasses of wine or cups of Alcohol, coffee, and even ordinary food may tea, either of which may be taken for sev- all be made dangerous by taking too much, enty years with as little consequence at the and “the argument from excess is an exclose of life as at first. There are, no cess of argument the only important doubt, states of health in which a small dose point as to that matter being the limit of may be highly injurious or even poisonous, moderation, which differs with every indiand the essayist in St. Paul's gives, with vidual, and with the state of the digestion characteristic clearness, an explanation of or each separate day, or even hour, tobacco this circumstance, the cause, as he thinks, before breakfast being injurious to many of much of the prejudice against tobacco :- men who can smoke after it with impunity. But those who use tobacco want an answer, "The stomach is quite capable of absorbing either from the lay physiologist of the St. the poison, but it absorbs it slowly compared Paul's or from the medical profession, to a with the rapidity of the process by which the poison is excreted; and in consequence of this much more subtle question. Has not togreater rapidity of excretion, although all the bacco a property belonging to very few subpoison may be absorbed, yet at no one moment stances which makes its use exceptionally is there sufficient quantity in the blood to pro- dangerous, much more dangerous, say, than duce injury. Spread out the thunder into its that of alcohol, the property, that is, minutest tones' says Schiller, and it becomes a when administered in an overdose, of effectlullaby for children.' Spread out the deadliest ing some permanent change, probably in the poison in minute doses, and it becomes a med- spinal cord, which renders the victim for icine as we know from the daily use of strych- ever after liable to injury from the minutest nine, prussic acid, and other energetic poisons, dose? This writer does not pretend to anin medical practice. Now when a poison is rap-swer that question as it could be answered idly excreted by the skin, lungs, and kidneys, so in the Lancet, but he has had special reason that an accumulation in the blood is prevented, to study the action of tobacco, and believes all injury is avoided, a succession of minute doses not being the same as one concentrated dose. But if from any cause the rapidity of excretion be arrested, an accmulation takes place, and thus a small dose comes to have the effect of a large dose. This is not hypothesis; it has been proved by Hermann of Berlin, who found that the dose of curare which was quite innocuous when injected into the stomach of a rabbit became almost immediately fatal if the vessels of the kidneys were tied, thus preventing the excretion from taking place through the kidneys. Hermann also found,-what, indeed, Brown Séquard had long ago proved, that the dose of alcohol which was fatal to an animal when left exposed to the cold, passed away without serious effects when the animal was kept very warm, the heat accelerating and the cold retarding the excretion from the skin."
But in the great majority of cases small doses of tobacco are as entirely innocuous as small doses of the very dangerous poison contained in tea.
that the following three cases quoted in the magazine, from Dr. Druhen's work on tobacco, point to the one real danger arising from its use:
"Case I. M. T., an advocate, aged thirty, of athletic frame, began in 1840 to manifest symptoms of a spinal affection, which continued till the summer of 1845. These symptoms fluctuated considerably, but they resisted all treatment. At last, Druhen, suspecting that the disturbing cause was excessive smoking, persuaded his patient to give up this bad habit. All the symptoms disappeared as if by enchantment, and at the end of one month the cure was complete. M. T. enjoyed good health for some time, but one day dining with the Doctor he entreated to be allowed to indulge in a cigar. The permission was refused, but he persisted and smoked. No sooner had he finished his second cigar than I saw him hastily quit the table. I rose also in some anxiety, and he confessed that all his old sensations had returned. This indication was
decisive. M. T. henceforth entirely gave up his eigar, took steel tonics for a month, and has ever since enjoyed robust health.'- Case II. M. observed that his energies had been declining; he was excessively thin, ate little, and only found comfort in smoking very strong cigars, He complained of acute abdominal pains every afternoon, which only ceased at night; trembling of the limbs, palpitations, and sometimes sickness. He was advised to relinquish tobacco during one month; did so, and the symptoms disappeared; but he afterwards declared that he would rather endure the sufferings than be deprived of tobacco. He resumed his old habit, and the old pains returned.—Case III. A man aged forty-five, of lymphatic temperament, extremely sober, and very regular in all his habits, was troubled by the premonitory symptoms of melancholy mania. He was perfectly aware of his hallucinations, but could not escape them. After two or three weeks' medical treatment they passed away, and he resumed his labours at the bank, where he held the post of cashier. M. Druhen accidentally learned that his patient was a smoker,—a moderate smoker,—and that during his treatment the desire for tobacco had not made itself felt, but on his recovery he again resumed his cigar, and once more the old symptoms appeared. Warned thus by experience, he renounced tobacco entirely, and from that day has had no recurrence of the symptoms."
There are physicians in London who could add greatly to this list. One we know watched a case in which a violent nervous and mental affection, cured by the disuse of tobacco, returned after an interval of years when the patient had thoughtlessly smoked a few cigars, and disappeared again on the cessation of the habit; and numbers of smokers will testify to occasional "fits" of severe malaise from a smaller allowance of tobacco than usual. Is it not, then, at least possible, if the facts are true and every physician in large practice knows them to be correct, that almost any devotee of tobacco may accidentally get an overdose, and may thenceforward be liable to suffer more or less severely whenever the ordinary dose happens not to be carried off as rapidly as usual? The poison is then absorbed, as the writer in the St. Paul's describes, and a permanent, though it may be minute, injury is inflicted on the nervous system. In what way the overdose alters the victim's liability to attack is a question for physiologists; but it may be held to be certain that it does, and though we have called the action special, it is not unique. The vaccine virus permanently alters the liability of every child in the empire to be poisoned by smallpox; there are drugs are there not? which produce a liability to epilepsy, and an overdose of mercury will intensify the
action of calomel swallowed years afterwards. The old superstition about antidotes probably had its origin in facts of the same kind, observed, perhaps, in times when men had a greater capacity for believing what they saw than they have in this If this suggestion is corcentury of ours. rect, and no other explains the facts, tobacco is a permanent danger to mankind, important whenever the conditions of men's lives or the specialties of their constitution makes overdoses probable.
It would be very useful to ascertain, if it were possible, what those conditions and constitutions are, an inquiry towards which the writer in the St. Paul's gives us very little help. It has been proved by experiment that inaction of the kidneys make nicotine additionally dangerous, and the essayist lays it down as a proposition that anything which diminishes excretory action, a severe fall in the temperature, for example, creates danger. So probably does any severe reduction in the pulse, if coincident with the overdose; or hunger, or deep depression of mind. Constitutions vary so infinitely that it is scarcely possible to lay down many rules, but most physicians would, we imagine, endorse one or two; as, for example, that a severe cold is always a hint to diminish tobacco, that it should never be taken fasting, and that to most men it is specially, and as it were oddly, injurious during the intervals of sleep. That last is a caution smokers do not need, —in Europe at least, but snufftakers do, and it is one which this writer, without pretending to understand the reason, offers seriously. One pinch of snuff taken between sleeping and waking at night will do more to produce the symptoms of nicotine poisoning than a boxfull taken in the day-time, will produce in many cases actual vomiting hours after. And finally, it may be laid down as an axiom that men of highly-strung, sensitive, nervous organizations, and men who habitually eat little, are better without tobacco. They need it least, it is on them that it exerts its worst effects, and they, of all men, are most liable to become slaves to the indulgence, which they fancy relieves the dyspepsia it produces. To all sufferers from tobacco, we would add that if the theory we have tried to maintain is correct, and we speak as those who know by dreary experience the hold tobacco gets over the affections, there is no remedy whatever except total abstinence. If the mischief has once been done, one cigar or one pinch of snuff is as bad as a hundred. Some of them can act on the advice without an effort, nothing in the history of tobacco being so
curious as the readiness with which many | one useful line of advice. Fight the habit confirmed victims give up the habit, a with your whole will and attention, as if it readiness in part due, it may be, to the fact were a stutter or a twitch. Bear the torthat no consequences follow its disuse such ture of disuse as you would bear a disease; as follow the disuse of opium or alcohol. go to bed, or to sea, and remember that Others could as soon be broken of opium- one cigar or one pinch of snuff will in bad smoking, or hemp-eating, or dram-drinking cases re-arouse, after an interval of months, as of tobacco, and for them there is only the insatiable crave.
posed of the same material as the emerald, with the exception of its colouring matter. This can scarcely be called a precious stone, as it is found in large quantities. We are told, indeed, that a mass weighing five tons was found in America. It is used in Birmingham, under the name of
crystal is one of many valuable minerals which belong to the quartz system. It is very generally distributed over the globe in large crystals. Lumps of this mineral, often weighing many hundred weight, are found; and it is used rather in the manufacture of articles of vertu than of gems for the adornment of the person. We meet with it in old goldsmiths' work, and curious cups and goblets are made out of it, which are often most delicately cut. Like some of the gems, it was supposed by the ancients to flush with colour when poison was poured into cups made from it. Indeed, crystal has always been supposed to possess magical properties. We all have heard, for instance, of Dr. Dee's Crystal Globe, upon looking into which, it is said, he foretold events. The Japanese and Chinese use it largely, and, among other purposes, as a refrigerator to cool the hands. A ball of this material may be
PRECIOUS JEWELS. Colour is never so commercially valuable as in precious stones. For instance, the ruby, the sapphire, and the Oriental topaz are identically the same so far as the materials of which they are composed go, but they differ in value immensely. The ruby is, in fact, the same as a red sapphire, but the first-aqua marina, in making cheap jewelry. Rockmentioned jewel is the most precious of stones, whilst the blue sapphire is not of any great value. Of old all blue stones were called sapphires, and extraordinary virtues were attributed to them. In these days we go to the analytic chemist when we wish to discover if there is any poison in a drink, but our forefathers imagined that Nature took the place of science, and attributed to this gem the power of discovering the presence of noxious matter in any liquid in which it may have been placed. The ancients believed that these precious gems changed colour on being brought in contact with poisonous matters, and that they even had the power of killing spiders, which in past times were considered poisonous. The sapphire is very easily imitated, and there are many sham jewels that are passed off as the real thing. Indeed, we do not doubt that this is the case with many so-called jewels which we see on fair necks, and never dream of doubt-seen in the shop window of an establishment in ing. The Oriental emerald is an exceedingly rare jewel, and so is the Oriental amethyst. These, like the ruby and the sapphire, are varieties of the corundum, the Indian name by which they are known. The reader may not be so well acquainted with what is termed the cat's-eye jewel; it has the reputation of being a very lucky stone, and it is sold sometimes for very large prices in consequence of this supposed quality, for there is nothing very beautiful in its appearance to recommend it. The ancients, who had not arrived at the modern perfection in jewel-cutting, were in the habit of engraving their jewels, and Mr. King, in his volume on precious gems, has given us some very beautiful examples of this art. The emerald is principally found in New Granada, but many are also found in Salzburg and Siberia, principally in limestone rock. This gem is a great favourite with Mohametans, chiefly, we suppose, from the colour. The Orientals believe it possesses marvellous powers of a very diverse nature; for instance, it is considered capable of endowing the men with courage and the women with chastity; it is supposed to possess many medicinal qualities as well, but it is not necessary to mention them. The beryl is com
Regent-street, where Japanese nicknacks are exposed to view. The cairngorm, onyx, cornelian, amethyst, sardonyx, agate, and chalcedony, all belong to the same quartz system as the rockcrystal. The opal, the most delicate of gems, depends for its beauty very much upon the temperature: its rainbow-like tints-or rather, we should say, its iridescent flashes, like those on the breast of a pigeon -are always the most brilliant in warm weather; this fact should teach the wearer that it should be worn as a summer gem only. There are several kinds of opals, the most valuable being known as the noble opal; then there is a more deeply and evenly tinted red opal; and the Mexican opal, which loses much of its lustre upon being exposed to water. Thus it will be seen this jewel is very sensitive to atmospheric effects, and possibly this is the reason why it has been supposed to possess some supernatural gift. The opal is unique in one respect, it cannot be imitated with any success. This jewel, when large, is very valuable. There is one in the museum at Vienna valued at thirty thousand pounds.
GREAT OUTLINE OF GEOGRAPHY FOR HIGH SCHOOLS AND FAMILIES. BY THEODORE S. FAY. In two volumes: 1. A Folio Atlas, beautifully printed and colored; 2. A Textbook in duodecimo. "A correct opinion of the work cannot be formed by turning over the leaves. It is not a book of reference or reading. It is a teaching, a studying book." It is highly commended by Alexander de Humboldt, a fac-simile of whose letter to Mr. Fay is given. We have shown our copy to some teachers well qualified to judge, who express their pleasure very heartily. We recommend it as a family book, as well as for teachers. The Atlas is beautiful and useful on the parlor table.
From Sheldon & Co., New York.
THE CHILD WIFE: a Tale of the Two Worlds. By Capt. MAYNE REID.
From J. B. Lippincott & Co., Philadelphia.
MOSAICS OF HUMAN LIFE. BY ELIZABETH A. THURSTON. We have only had time to admire this as a beautifully printed book. The Boston Transcript says of it:
• A volume which possesses a kind of endless interest, for it is a collection of the sayings and singings of the philosophers and poets of the world on the most important eras of human life. Sense, wit, sagacity, sentiment, imagination, reason, embodied in pithy sentences, or extended paragraphs, or beautiful verses, are the staple of the work. As a volume for the parlor table, as a book of reference to the vast realms of thought and emotion, it will be found full of suggestion, information, and inspiration. It is for sale in Boston at 80 Washington St.
PUBLISHED EVERY SATURDAY BY
LITTELL & GAY, BOSTON.
FOR EIGHT DOLLARS, remitted directly to the Publishers, the LIVING AGE will be punctually forwarded for a year, free of postage. But we do not prepay postage on less than a year, nor where we have to pay commission for forwarding the money.