Cherokee Phoenix

Effects of Intemperance in the body.- we have never seen this branch of the general subject better h

Published October, 15, 1828

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Effects of Intemperance in the body.- we have never seen this branch of the general subject better handled, than in Dr. Mussey's Address before the N. H. Medical Society. The following short extract is a specimen.- Let the drunkard read it-and shudder! as every sober man must.

N. Hampshire Obs.

What is the secret of this witchery which strong drink exerts over the whole man? I will try to tell you.- After being received into the stomach it is sucked up by absorbant [sic] vessels, is carried into the blood, and circulates through the alimentary organs, through the lungs, muscles, and brain, and doubtless through every organ of the body. Not a blood vessel however minute, not a thread of nerve in the whole animal machine, escapes its influence? It disturbs the functions of life; it increases for a time, the action of living organs, but lessens the power of that action; hence the deep depression and collapse which follow preternatural excitement. By habitual use, it renders the living fibre less and less susceptible to the healthy operation of unstimulating food and drink, its influences soon become incorporated with all the living actions of the body, ' the diurnal sensations of hunger, thirst, and exhaustion, are strongly associated with the recollection of its exhilirating [sic] effects, and thus bring along with them, the restless desire for its repetition.

Is evidence required of its being absorbed, and pervading the different organs of the body? Approach within a few feet of the rumor brandy drinker, and the odour [sic] of his breath will quickly demonstrate, all the lungs, loaded with the foul liquor, are discharging it with all the energy in their power.

When taken by the nursing mother, it enters into the delicate food prepared by the nature for the nourishment and growth of helpless infancy and in this way, as may most rationally be supposed, produces a relish for an article naturally disgusting, and lays thus early, in some instances, a foundation for intemperance in after life. What physician has not known a nursing mother give a fretful child a good night's sleep, by taking herself a dose of brandy at bed time?

Other organs than those destined for the formation of milk, manifest the presence of this article when it is combined with peculiar odours [sic]; those organs especially which are set as waste gates to the system, soon show how foreign it is, and ill adapted to the real wants of the animal economy, by seperating [sic] it from the blood, and taking it out of the general circulation as fast as possible.

The brain, that most delicate and wonderful organ, which forms the mysterious link between the other forms of matter and mind, the healthy functions of which are essential to vigorous intellectual operation, is capable of imbibing alkohol [sic], and having all its actions suddenly arrested. In point, is the case of a man who was picked up dead in London, soon after having drank a quart of gin upon a wager. He was carried into the Westminster Hospital and there dissected. ' In the venticles [sic] of the brain was found a considerable quantity of limpid fluid, distinctly impregnated with gin, both to the sense of smell, and taste, and even to the test of inflammability. The liquid appeared, to the senses of the examining students, as strong as one third gin to two thirds water.'

We know that alkohol [sic], even when diluted, by long contact after, death hardens the brain, as well as the other textures of the body which contain albumen; and although the vital principle may enable the brain to resist in great measure, and for a long time this effect of alkahol [sic], when brought into it from the stomach by the general circulation, the fact, as alleged by many, and as I am strongly induced to believe from the limited means I have had of observing, viz. that the brains (of) drunkards are literally harder at death, than those of the temperate, may be considered in strict accordance with the effects of intemperance upon the intellectual functions. If this organ be any degree hardened by the circulation of diluted alkohol [sic] through its minute and most delicately organized parts, it might well be supposed to be less susceptible of those exquisitely balanced actions, which we can hardly help believing do exist in the impressions made by external objects and in the variety of combinations of them, produced by the more abstract and retired operations of the mind.- That a large proportion of tipplers early discover an unnatural obtuseness of intellect, and that frequently a mind originally quick and vigorous, becomes sluggish and imbecile, need not be told to an assembly of physicians who have had the common opportunities of observing the effects of intemperance.



Extract of a letter to the Editor, from the Rev. A. W. Gay dated Wilkesborough, September 12, 1828.

I have thought it might not be amiss to sent you the following account of the fatal effects of ardent spirits, of which you can make whatever use you think proper.

At the fall term of the Superior Court of this county, held this week, a man named Barlow, was tried for the murder of his wife. During the trial, the following facts were proved. Barlow had been a dutiful son, a good neighbor, and an affectionate husband, until habitual drunkenness induced insanity. In a fit of insanity, he murdered an affectionate and a pious wife who had borne him five children, the youngest about two weeks old. The manner in which the atrocious deed was committed, is almost beyond credibility. Barlow confessed that he beat his wife until he thought she was dead-that he left her,- that she rose and attempted to make her escape-and that he then pursued her, and beat her brains out with a rock! It is said that they had previously lived in perfect harmony, and that her character was irreproachably good. Barlow was acquitted on the plea of insanity.

At the same time, Jacob Miller of the same county was convicted of murder, and sentenced to be hanged.

P. S. -Perhaps it ought not to be disguised that the last spirits which Barlow was known to have used before the murder of his wife, was a few gallons, procured from a Preacher of the Gospel, who kept Distillery. This was procured a very few weeks before the murder, and was the immediate cause of that particular fit of insanity. The previous habits of Barlow were well known to that Minister.

[If a preacher of the gospel will in this way become accessary to murder and to the death of the soul for the sake of filthy lucre-let it be known to the public;-let no disguise be thrown arround [sic] his character-the sooner such preachers are known, and their characters duly estimated, the better it will be for the interests of religion. Who can read the above postscript without feeling indignation-without a thrill of horror at the tho't [sic] that a minister of Jesus Christ instead of saving, should by this traffic, destroy the souls of men!!!]- Visitor and Telegraph.