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respectable testimony which has been produced by writers opposed to the use of tobacco, we cannot help regarding their statements as exceedingly exaggerated. We have not space to enter into a more minute examination of this portion of our subject, but to such of our readers as may feel desirous of prosecuting the inquiry, we take great pleasure in recommending a very able memoir by Messieurs Parent-Duchatelet and D'Arcet,* in which the whole subject of the effects of tobacco upon the persons connected with its manufacture, is most satisfactorily discussed, and the opinions and assertions of those who have gone so far as to declare that it was even necessary to the public health that the manufactories of tobacco should be removed out of large towns because of their great insalubrity, shown to be either without any just grounds, or the results of prejudice and ignorance.
The fecundity of this plant is marvellous. Linnæus has calculated that a single plant of tobacco contains 40,320 grains, and says that if each seed came to perfection, the plants of tobacco in vegetation in the course of four years, would be more than sufficient to cover the whole surface of the earth. We are elsewhere informed that these seeds preserve their germinative properties for six years and even longer. “Sir Thomas Browne observes,” says Mather, “that of the seeds of tobacco, a thousand make not one grain, (though Otto de Guericke, as I remember, says, fifty-two cyphers with one figure would give the number of those which would fill the space between us and the stars,) a plant which has extended its empire over the whole world, and has a larger dominion than any of all the vegetable kingdom.”+ Our readers may very easily amuse themselves by making calculations on the immense consumption and value of this plant. The following account from a French medical writer, I will be sufficient. On a rough calculation, the tobacco sold yearly in France amounts to 40,000,000 pounds weight, which at three francs per pound, the ordinary price, will make the enormous annual sum of 120,000,000 francs. One-fourth of the French population use tobacco, so that of 8,000,000 of human beings, each individual consumes annually, in the various forms of snuffing, chewing, and smoking, about six pounds. This quantity may seem too great for some persons, but it should be remembered that there are many who use a dozen or twenty pounds in the course of the year.
If we contemplate man in connexion with tobacco as a necessary, the juxtaposition cannot fail to strike us as exceedingly
This memoir is entitled “Influence du tabac sur la santé des ouvriers," and is published in the “ Annales d'hygiène publique et de medecine legale,” first volume, April, 1829-p. 169.
Mather's Christian Philosopher, p. 128. # M. Merat.
ludicrous. From the earliest ages of philosophy, it has been a favourite employment of the wise to propose such definitions of man as should fully distinguish him from the rest of animated nature, and yet no definition of ancient times will, we are satisfied, appear so excellently discriminative as one which grows out of our present subject, and which denominates him the only tobacco loving animal, for (to pass over the tobacco-worm) the only creature known beside man, whose nature does not abhor tobacco, is, as Dr. Rush informs us, the solitary rock goat of Africa, one of the wildest and most filthy of animals. “Were it possible,” says he, "for a being who had resided on our globe, to visit the inhabitants of a planet where reason governed, and to tell them that a vile weed was in general use among the inhabitants of the globe it had left, which afforded no nourishment; that this weed was cultivated with immense care, that it was an important article of commerce, that the want of it produced real misery, that its taste was extremely nauseous, that it was unfriendly to health and morals, and that its use was attended with a considerable loss of time and property, the account would be thought incredible.”* It is idle to speak of tobacco, as being “extremely nauseous," that it is the “meanest and most paltry of all gratifications," &c. Had not man discovered in it a delight and comfort which was to be derived from few other sources, the habitual use of tobacco would long since have been neglected. To say man uses tobacco for no other reason but its offensiveness, is a solecism ; scarcely would it be more absurd to adopt the habitual use of castor oil as a cordial, or assafætida as a perfume. On this subject Mr. Chamberett has a very interesting passage, which, as it is so well expressed by the author, we take the liberty of offering to our readers in his own language.
“Observons," says he, “que l'homme, en vertu de son organization a sans cesse besoin de sentir, que presque toujours il est malheureux, soit par les fleaux que la nature lui envoie, soit par les tristes resultats de ses passions aveugles, de ses erreurs de ses prejugés, de son ignorance, &c. Le tabac exercant sur nos organes une impression vive et forte, susceptible d'etre renouvelée frequemment et a volonté, on s'est livré avec d'autant plus d'ardeur a l'usage d'un semblable stimulant qu'on y a trouvé a la fois le moyen de satisfaire le besoin imperieux de sentir, qui caracterise la nature humuine, et celui d'etre distrait momentanément des sensations pénibles ou douloureuses qui assiégent sans cesse notre espèce, que le tabac aide ainsi a supporter l'accablant fardeau de la vie. Avec le tabac, le sauvage endure plus courageusement la faim, la soif, et toutes les vicissitudes atmospheriques, l'esclave endure plus patiemment la servitude, &c. Parmi les hommes qui se disent civilisés, son recours est souvent invoqué contre l'ennui, la tristesse ; il soulage quelquefois momentanement les tourmens de l'ambition déçues de ses esperances, et concourt a consoler, dans certains cas les malheureuses victimes de l'injustice.”
Dr. Walsh says that tobacco used with coffee, after the Turk
* Rush's Essays, p. 261.
ish fashion, “is singularly grateful to the taste, and refreshing to the spirits ; counteracting the effects of fatigue and cold, and appeasing the cravings of hunger, as I have often experienced. Hearne, I think, in his journey to the mouth of the Coppermine river, mentions his experience of similar effects of tobacco. He had been frequently wandering without food for five or six days, in the most inclement weather, and supported it all, he says, in good health and spirits, by smoking tobacco, &c.”* Willis, as quoted by Mons. Merat, recommends the use of tobacco in armies, as able to supply the necessaries of life to a great extent, and also as an excellent preventive against various diseases. And Dr. Rush relates that he was informed by Colonel Burr, that the greatest complaints of dissatisfaction and suffering which he heard among the soldiers who accompanied General Arnold in his march from Boston to Quebec through the wilderness, in the year 1775, were from the want of tobacco. This was the more remarkable, as they were so destitute of provisions as to be obliged to kill and eat their dogs. I
Tobacco possesses narcotic powers in common with many other substances, of which neither time nor space will permit us to make mention. Narcotics, when used to a due extent, become poisons, and hence tobacco holds a very high rank in toxicology. A thousand experiments, as well as accidents, show that it is a most deadly poison. It has also been called a counterpoison, but those who have asserted this have been contradicted by numerous writers. Dr. Rush affirms that repeated experience in Philadelphia has proved, that it is equally ineffectual in preserving those who use it from the influenza and yellow fever. In the plague, it was said to be useful, but what has been advanced on this subject is now shown to be without much foundation. Still it may be said of tobacco, that though it does not contain any specific antidote to contagion, or possess antiseptic properties, it may nevertheless, as a powerful narcotic, by diminishing the sensibility of the system, render it less liable to contagion. It also moderates anxiety and fear, which we are told quicken the activity of contagion. “Thus," says Cullen, “the antiloimic powers of tobacco are upon the same footing with wine, brandy, and opium."||
Dr. Fowler has written a treatise upon the effects of tobacco in the cure of dropsies and dysuries. The Doctor seemed determined to discover virtue in this plant, because he tells us in his preface, that he was nowise discouraged in his inquiries into
Journey from Constantinople to England, p. 4.
Essays, p. 267.
Materia Medica, vol. ii. p. 197.
the medicinal effects of tobacco, although the generality of writers on the materia medica have spoken of it with great caution and reserve, and for the most part have declared it either obsolete, or so uncertain, violent, and deleterious in its effects, as to render its exhibition unadvisable. Dr. Cullen says that he employed tobacco in various cases of dropsy, but with very little success. Even those who advocate the medicinal use of tobacco, admit that it is one of those violent remedies, which nothing but the most skilful management can render beneficial ; such as arsenic, prussic acid, and many other deadly poisons, which, if cautiously and properly administered, become excellent medicines. Thus the liniment of tobacco, which has formerly been called one of the best in the dispensatory, is said, in a case mentioned by Mr. Murray, to have caused the deaths of three children, who expired within twenty-four hours in convulsions, in consequence of its application for scald head. Innumerable instances are given of its deleterious effects, even when used medicinally, and with the greatest caution. In some cases it has entirely failed to give the anticipated relief, and in others been followed by the most deplorable consequences. We believe, however, that eminent practitioners still continue to employ it, and find it serviceable in some diseases. We have indeed heard it remarked, by a distinguished physician, that much of the medicinal effect which might otherwise be derived from tobacco, is often lost by the habitual use of the article, which renders the system less sensible to its influence.
As a vulnerary, tobacco was used by the Indians, and physicians say that it promotes the cicatrization and healing of inveterate ulcers. It has been used in most cutaneous disorders, and its smoke has been considered useful in rheumatisms, gout, chronic pains, &c. ; but in all these cases its virtue has also been denied, or it has been asserted that many other medicines possess more certain efficacy. As an emetic it is considered dangerous, being extremely violent, and succeeded by too much distress and sickness. That it has been found useful in destroying insects, and in preserving old clothes laid by against the inroads of vermin, there can be no doubt; but on the mosquito and fly, two pests to whose cruel torments we are most exposed, it will be within the painful remembrance of many of our readers, that no quantity of tobacco smoke appears to have the least effect.
Even though we admitted and could prove tobacco to be a useful medicine, still this fact would afford no argument in favour of its habitual use in a state of health. On the contrary, it would be the very reason for its non-use ; for the habitual use
* Mat. Med. vol. ii. p. 198.
will in time weaken and destroy its medicinal powers. Many, after finding or fancying relief from its occasional, have fallen into its habitual use, and the remedy has thus virtually proved worse than the disease. Besides, by this course, persons take away the hope of future benefit from the application, in case of a recurrence of their disorder.
That this habit is entirely unevangelical, Dr. Clarke attempts to show with much zeal. Let those who profess to renounce the lusts of the flesh read his tract, and determine, conscientiously, how far his arguments are worthy of attention. That the devout “roll this sin as a sweet morsel under the tongue,' is fully evinced by every day's experience; and the following anecdote from Dr. Clarke forms a good illustration of this text.
“An eminent physician,” says he, "gave me the following account :- When I was at L -, in the year 1789, a certain religious people at one of their annual meetings made a rule, or rather revived one which had been long before made and established among them by their venerable founder, but had been in a great measure lost sight of, viz.—That no minister in their connexion should use snuff or tobacco, unless prescribed by a physician. This rule at once showed their prudence and good sense. Towards the conclusion of the meeting, having offered my assistance to as many as stood in need of medical help, several of them consulted me on the subject of taking tobacco in one form or other; and with very little variation their mode of address was as follows :-Doctor, I am troubled frequently with such a complaint, (naming it,) I take tobacco, and have found great benefit from the use of it ; I am sure were I to give it up I should be very ill indeed ; and I am certain that you are too wise and too skil. ful a man to desire me to discontinue a practice which has been so beneficial to me.' After such an address what could I say? It was spoken with serious comcern, and was properly argumentum ad hominem : I knew they were sincere, but I knew also they were deceived: bowever, to the major part of them I ventured to speak thus : 'gentlemen, you certainly do me honour in the confidence you repose in my skill, but you bave brought me into a dilemma from which I cannot easily extricate myself; as I find I must either say as you say on the subject, or else renounce all pretensions to wisdom and medical skill. However, I cannot in conscience and honour prescribe to you the continued use of a thing which I know does many of you immense hurt."
But the anti-christian nature of this habit is placed in a very strong light, in a curious passage, by Dr. Rush.* "What reception,” says he, “may we suppose, would the apostles have met with, had they carried into the cities and houses to which they were sent, snuff-boxes, pipes, segars, and bundles of cut, or rolls of hog, or pigtail tobacco ?”
The effects of tobacco upon the morals have been often animadverted upon, and in no particular more frequently, and with greater emphasis, than in its obvious tendency to promote temulency. Charlevoix intimates the near connexion which exists between intemperance and smoking, when he assures us, that amongst many nations, to smoke out of the same pipe in token of alliance, is the same thing as to drink out of the same cup.t
Essays, p. 271.