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the Andes and on the slopes of the remote Himalayas; of the ledum of Northern Europe; of what, from its abundant growth and use among ourselves, may be called the English hop; and of the singular fungus of Siberia, which, passionately loved by the natives of that forbidding region now, has been in use among them also from time immemorial. The narcotic appetite appears, indeed, to have a natural and deep root in the human constitution. It is of the nature of an instinctive craving, which, like that for the kind of comfort which tea and coffee bring, has led to the discovery and use in countries far remote from each other of different substances, capable of producing the same general effects upon the system.
In the United Kingdom the narcotic most largely indulged in is the hop. Of this we consume nearly forty millions of pounds (381) every year, chiefly for imparting bitterness and other qualities to beer. Of this large quantity upwards of thirty-five millions of pounds are used in England alone, being at the rate of two pounds a head of the population. The narcotic quality of the hop flower resides in a volatile oil and in an aromatic resin, of which it contains about eight per cent. of its weight. The specific action upon the system which is exercised by these ingredients of the hop has not been as yet satisfactorily investigated. There can be no doubt, however, that the extensive use of this narcotic in the southern half of the island exercises an important influence upon the common life and every-day behaviour of the English population.
Next to the hop, tobacco is the favourite narcotic in the United Kingdom. About thirty millions of pounds of this leaf are now consumed among us, of which about five millions are used in Ireland. This is at the rate of nineteen ounces a head for Great Britain, and twelve ounces a head for the people of Ireland. It is partly, no doubt, because of the smell which accompanies the use of tobacco, that opposition to this use has been more widely and publicly made both in this country and in America than against the less obtrusive hop, which in England is so much more largely used, and which in its silent and unseen way is probably the source of as much real evil.
The results of recent chemical researches made upon the tobacco-leaf are full of interest, instruction, and warning. They have shown that in the dry leaf there naturally resides from two to eight per cent. of a narcotic, volatile, highly poisonous, alkaline liquid, to which the name of nicotine has been given, and along with it a three- or four-thousandth part of a volatile fatty oil, which also possesses narcotic properties. Upon the chewer the influence of tobacco depends chiefly upon the action
of these two ingredients of the natural leaf. But the smoker produces during the burning of his tobacco a new oily distilment,' which comes to him with the smoke, and materially exalts the action of the tobacco upon his system. This empyreumatic oil, as it is called, mingles in vapour with the natural volatile oil and nicotine of the tobacco, and aids in producing those varying and complicated effects upon the body and brain with which most of us are directly or indirectly familiar. That these effects are usually pleasing, the experience of millions daily testifies; that they are sometimes injurious is equally certain; that they awaken thirst, and lead some to drink intoxicating liquors, cannot be denied ; and yet, according to the highest authorities in this department of physiology, the use of tobacco in moderation has not been proved, in this country at least, to be injurious to the human health. That the practice of smoking and chewing, as practised sometimes in this country, and oftener in the United States, may lead to dirty and disgusting habits, those of our readers who do not share this amiable vice will readily admit, and also that tobacco may be used immoderately and to the manifest injury of health. But it may be permitted to scientific common sense to doubt whether all this justifies the utter condemnation of the practice and the fierce denunciations against the use of tobacco in any form or degree, which have lately been put forth both in Great Britain and in America.
Did time permit us further to consider the chemico-physiological history of narcotic substances, we should have turned to the use of opium and hemp in the East, of the strange coca in Peru, of the still stranger fungus in Siberia, and of the other less extensively used narcotics of which the names have already been mentioned. We may observe, however, as showing how very large a part these substances occupy among the means or enjoyments of common life, that they are consumed at present in the following enormous proportions:
Tobacco among 800 millions of men.
And that of tobacco there are consumed about 4,480 millions of pounds every year; of betel, 500 millions; of opium, 20 millions; of hops, 80 millions, and of coca, 30 millions of pounds. The influence of so vast a consumption of substances of this class upon the domestic economy, even of our own working classes, is apparent when we consider how large a proportion of their weekly
earnings is sometimes expended in gratifying this one appetite. But in India,-where, on an average, not more than sixpence a head is yearly spent by the whole population in the purchase of clothing,-narcotic indulgences rise at once to the importance of being the second great necessary of common life. The late Mr. Porter read before the British Association, in August, 1850, a paper which placed in a succinct, but very striking, form, what he termed the self-imposed taxation of the working classes of this country. He showed that the cost of distilled spirits to the people of the three kingdoms amounted in 1849 to about 24 millions sterling, that about 25 millions are expended in beer, and 7 millions and a half in tobacco,-making in all an annual expenditure of 57 millions in these stimulants, not including the cost of tea, coffee, and chocolate: a sum, therefore, fully equalling the whole public revenue of the United Kingdom. Among the working classes it is probable that one-third of the earnings of the family is spent in these indulgences. We may naturally inveigh against such an excess of unproductive and often injurious sensual gratification; but it is obvious that tastes so deeply seated in human nature, so universally indulged, and so dearly gratified, must take their origin in the physiological composition of man, and have some intimate connexion with the natural conditions of his being.
We cannot dismiss the subject of warm infusions and narcotic indulgences so widely naturalised among European nations within the last three centuries without remarking upon the influence they must necessarily exercise upon the bodily constitution and mental character of the peoples who so largely use them. The soothers and exciters we individually indulge in, if taken in excess, are seen gradually to affect and sensibly to modify both our tempers and our usual state of bodily health. Let the use of these become general, even in a moderate degree, and similar changes will in time affect a whole people. We know from medical history that the general character of disease, and the nature of symptoms, have very much altered since modern beverages and narcotics have become common. This indicates the presence of constitutional change, and we cannot tell how far or how deep such changes may proceed. It is a problem, therefore, which interests not merely the physiologist and psychologist, but the Statesman also, to ascertain how far and in what direction such changes may go, how far the actual tastes, habits, and character of modern nations have been modified or even created by the prolonged consumption of the substances we have been considering, and what influence their continued use is likely still to exercise on the final fortunes of
a people. The fate of nations has frequently been decided by the slow operation of long acting causes, unthought of and unestimated by the historian, till these causes had gradually changed their constitution, their characters, and their capabilities, while their names and local homes remained still the
We must here close our illustrations. The chemical study of the means and appliances of life makes known to us many more adjustments and adaptations, such as those we have pointed out. In the composition, structure, and chemical functions of the several parts of the body, - in the process of breathing and the purposes served by it, in that of digestion and the many prearranged contrivances by means of which it is completed, — in the odours and miasmata which fill the air, and either increase our comforts or endanger our lives, in every part either of our internal economy or of external material nature with which we come into contact in daily life, examples of chemical adjustment are met with, not less interesting or worthy of attention than any of those we have quoted in the present Article. For these the reader will consult with advantage the very pleasing work before us.
ART. VIII. 1. Antiquités Russes, d'après les Monuments Historiques des Islandais et des Anciens Scandinaves. Editées par la Société Royale des Antiquaires du Nord. 2 vols. fol. Copenhagen: 1850.
2. The Travels of Macarius, Patriarch of Antioch. Translation Fund.
3. Mémoires Secrets pour servir a l'histoire de la Cour de Russie sous les règnes de Pierre-le-Grand et de Catherine I". Rédigés et publiés pour la première fois d'après les Manuscrits originaux du SIEUR DE VILLEBOIS. Par M. THEOPHILE
HALLEZ. Paris: 1853.
4. Secret History of the Court and Government of Russia under Alexander the First and the Emperor Nicholas. By J. H. SCHNITZLER. Two vols. London: 1854.
MID the various speculations on the origin, conduct, and probable consequences of the present war with Russia, it has been often said that our quarrel is not so much with the Russians as with their ruler. We comfort ourselves by the conviction that we were driven into this contest, not by the
enmity of the sixty or seventy million of our fellow-Christians, who compose the Russian nation, but by the ambition or fanaticism of the late Czar, whose will, as it were sixty million strong, determined the whole policy of his Empire. How comes it, then, that in Russia one man has this power? How comes it to pass that the Czar is to his subjects the personification of Fate and the sole arbiter of the destinies of Russia in the world? It has sometimes been said, in explanation of this problem, that the Russians are Sclavonians, and that the Sclavonian races are of a grovelling, slavish disposition, offering their backs to the rod of power. To this the reply at once is, Look at the Poles; they, too, are Sclavonians of a kindred race with the Russians, but while the Russian Boyards were kissing the feet of their Czars, the Polish nobles --not the magnates only, but the whole noble class, that is, some hundreds of thousands of landowners-were asserting a liberty which amounted to lawlessness, and an independence of authority which resulted in the disorganisation of the state. For centuries the Sclavonians on the right bank of the Dnieper called themselves, what they in truth were, a Republic, their king being in reality but an elected president; it cannot, therefore, be to the characteristics of race that the Sclavonians on the left bank owe their servility to a despot. Look, again, at the Bohemians, a people of the purest Sclavonic blood and language, foremost in public liberty under George of Podiebrad, foremost in religious reformation under John Huss, and foremost in the cause of self-government and independence, until they fell by the Thirty Years War under the persecuting authority of the House of Austria.
If it is not, then, because the Russians are Sclavonians that they are slaves, -is it because they are Orientals? Is it that they are Asiatics rather than Europeans, and that Asia has been the doomed dwelling of despotism, from the Empire of the Assyrians to the Empire of Japan? Their Oriental origin is at best an hypothesis; and one of our most learned ethnologists has just started the counter-hypothesis that the old Hindoos, the Sanskrit-talkers, were emigrants from the West, from the borders of Poland and Russia. But even allowing the fact, what would it prove? Not that Christian Europeans must live under an autocrat because they came originally from Asia, since the Magyars are an Oriental people, with evidence of their origin still apparent in their modes of thought and living;
The Native Races of the Russian Empire. By R. G. Latham, M.D.
VOL. CI. NO. CCVI.