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CHAPTER I.

PRELIMINARY OBSERVATIONS.

Drunkenness is not, like some other vices, peculiar to modern times. It is handed down to us from "hoar antiquity;" and, if the records of the antediluvian era were more complete, we should probably find that it was not unknown to the remotest ages of the world. The cases of Noah and Lot, recorded in the sacred writings, are the earliest of which tradition or history has left any record; and both occurred in the infancy of society. Indeed, wherever the grape flourished, inebriation prevailed. The formation of wine from this fruit, was among the earliest discoveries of man, and the bad consequences thence resulting, seem to have been almost coeval with the discovery. Those regions whose ungenial latitudes indisposed them to yield the vine, gave birth to other products which served as substitutes; and the inhabitants rivalled or surpassed those of the south in all kinds of Bacchanalian indulgence — the pleasures of drinking constituting one of the most fertile themes of their poetry, in the same manner as, in other climates, they gave inspiration to the souls of Anacreon and Hafiz.

Drunkenness has varied greatly at different times and among different nations. There can be no doubt that it prevails more in a rude than in a civilized state of society. This is so much the case, that as men get more refined, the vice will gradually be found to soften down, and assume a less revolting character. Nor can there be a doubt that it prevails to a much greater extent in northern than in southern latitudes.'' The nature of the climate renders this inevitable, and gives to the human frame its capabilities of withstanding liquor: hence, a quantity which scarcely ruffles the frozen current of a Norwegian's blood, would scatter madness and fever into the brain of the Hindoo. Even in Europe, the inhabitants of the south are far less adapted to sustain intoxicating agents than those of the north. Much of this depends upon the coldness of the climate, and much also upon the peculiar physical and moral frame to which that coldness gives rise. The natives of the south are a lively, versatile people; sanguine in their temperaments, and susceptible, to an extraordinary degree, of every impression. Their minds seem to inherit the brilliancy of their climate, and are rich with sparkling thoughts and beautiful imagery. The northern nations are the reverse of all this. With more intensity of purpose, with greater depth of reasoning powers, and superior solidity of judgement, they are in a great measure destitute of that sportive and creative brilliancy which hangs like a rainbow over the spirits of the south, and clothes them in a perpetual sunshine of delight. The one is chiefly led by the heart, the other by the head. The one possesses the beauty of a flower-garden, the other the sternness of the rock, mixed with its severe and naked hardihood. Upon constitutions so differently organized, it cannot be expected that a given portion of stimulus will operate with equal power. The airy inflammable nature of the first, is easily roused to excitation, and manifests feelings which the second does not experience till he has partaken much more largely of the stimulating cause. On this account, the one may be inebriated, and the other remain comparatively sober upon a similar quantity. In speaking of this subject, it is always to be remembered that a person is not to be considered a drunkard because he consumes a certain portion of liquor; but because

* In making this observation, I have only in view the countries north of the equator; for as we proceed to the south of that line, the vice increases precisely in the same manner as in the opposite direction. To use the words of Montesquieu, "Go from the equator to our pole, and you will find drunkenness increasing together with the degree of latitude. Go from the same equator to the opposite pole, and you will find drunkenness travelling south, as on this side it travels towards the north."

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