Sever 11 was well filled last evening by those who had gathered to hear Professor James lecture on "Alcohol," under the auspices of the Total Abstinence League. Mr. Trotter, the president of the league, introduced Professor James, after making a few remarks on the platform and objects of the league.
The fashion of the community in which a man lives is the greatest factor in deciding his habits. In Europe, and especially in Germany, every one drinks beer as a matter of course throughout the day, and even in England it is a difficult matter for a water drinker to travel without being practically forced to drink wines of various sorts. But these customs are now giving way to modern ideas, which, fortunately for us, have been characteristic of American life since its beginning.
Formerly he was considered a strong man who could hold the greatest amount of wine; wine was considered to be so healthy in its effects that it was very generally given to young children. Man then lived only to drink all he could all the time; the veteran soldiers and sailors of Wellington and Nelson are notorious for their drinking propensities and powers. In Berlin, at a meeting of famous naturalists and doctors, about four thousand in number, no less than fifteen thousand three hundred and eighty-two bottles of different kinds of wine were consumed, to say nothing of quantities of beer.
This state of things is very generally passing away and no one thing is of more importance in its extinction than a constantly growing body of people who are total abstinents. Some people with diseased nervous systems are utterly incapable of resisting the desire to drink it comes to them like a mania, while others have simply contracted the habit of indulgence from time to time. Although at one time alcohol was thought to pass through the system without suffering a change, it has been discovered more recently that it is destroyed in the system and in this sense is a food.
Professor James then spoke of the discoveries from experimental investigations and the more common results, or accompanying effects of inveterate drinking. Although alcohol warms the skin by increasing the circulation, yet in a person who is paralyzed by liquor the temperature of the body is found to be several degrees below normal. The really strong plea for drinking is that it acts as an aid to conviviality, also that it helps at a crisis, but though it may produce temporary happiness, the following effects will be deeper melancholy and though it may stimulate for the moment, it leaves its victim all the more demoralized afterwards. The real state of happiness which we should strive for is one of perfect health.