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- Study and Stimulants - 4/26 -

nervous by tobacco in the form of smoking, while on others it acts as a sedative, and induces sleep. General Grant once told me 'that, if disturbed during the night, or worried about anything so that he could not sleep, he could induce sleep by getting up and smoking a short time--a few whiffs, as I understood him, being sufficient.

If I were to judge by my own experience alone--which it is not fair to do--I should say that coffee is the best stimulant for mental work; next to that tobacco and quinine; but as I grow older, I observe that alcohol in reasonable doses is beginning to have a stimulating effect.

GEORGE M. BEARD. March 13, 1882.


My views on tobacco and alcohol, and their action on the health, may be summed up in the following four propositions:--

1.--Whole populations have attained to a high degree of civilization and prosperity without having known either tobacco or alcohol, therefore, these substances are neither necessary nor even useful to individuals as well as races.

2.--Very considerable quantities of these drugs, taken at a single dose, may cause death; smaller quantities stupefy, or kill more slowly. They are, therefore, poisons against which we must be on our guard.

3.--On the other hand, there are innumerable persons who drink alcoholic beverages, and smoke tobacco, without any detriment to their reason or their health. There is, therefore, no reason to forbid the use of these substances, while suitably regulating the quantity to be taken.

4.--The use of alcoholic liquors and of tobacco in feeble doses, affords to many persons very great satisfaction, and is altogether harmless and inoffensive.

We ought, therefore, to attach no stigma to their consumption, after having pointed out the danger of their abuse. In short, it is with alcohol and tobacco as with all the pleasures of this life--a question of degree.

As for myself, I never smoke, because I am not fond of tobacco: I very seldom drink alcoholic liquors, but I take wine to all my meals because I like it.

PAUL BERT. March 1, 1882.


My idea is, that work done under the influence of any kind of stimulants is unhealthy work, and tends to no good. I never use any kind of stimulant for intellectual work--only a glass of wine during dinner to sharpen the appetite. As to smoking generally, it is a vile and odious practice; but I do not know that, unless carried to excess, it is in any way unhealthy. Instead of stimulants, literary men should seek for aid in a pleasant variety of occupation, in intervals of perfect rest, in fresh air and exercise, and a cultivation of systematic moderation in all emotions and passions.

J. S. BLACKIE. February 9, 1882.


In answer to your letter, I beg to tell you that I do not know by experience what may be the effects of tobacco and alcohol upon the mind and health, not having been in the habit of taking tobacco and drinking alcohol.

LOUIS BLANC. March 9, 1882.

MR. J. E. BOEHM, R. A.

It will give me great pleasure if I can in any way contribute to your so very interesting researches, and I shall be glad to know whether you have published anything on the subject you have questioned me on. I find vigorous exercise the first and most important stimulant to hard work. I get up in summer at six, in winter at seven, take an hour and a half's hard ride, afterwards a warm bath, a cold douche, and then breakfast. I work from ten to seven generally; but twice or thrice a week I have an additional exercise--an hour's fencing before dinner, which I take at 8 p.m. I take light claret or hock to my dinner, but never touch any wine or spirits at any other times, and eat meat only once in twenty-four hours. I find a small cup of coffee after luncheon very exhilarating. I smoke when hard at work--chiefly cigarettes. After a long sitting (as I do not smoke while working _from nature_), a cigarette is a soother for which I get a perfect craving. In the evening, or when I am in the country doing nothing, I scarcely smoke at all, and do not feel the want of it there; nor do I then take at evening dinner more than one or two glasses of wine, and I have observed that the same quantity which would make me feel giddy in the country when in full health and vigour, would not have the slightest effect on me when taken after a hard day's work. I also observed that I can work longer without fatigue when I have had my ride, than when for any reason I have to give it up. I have carried this mode of life on for nearly twenty years, and am well and feel young, though forty-eight. I never see any one from ten to three o'clock; after that I still work, but must often suffer interruption. I found that temperament and constitution are rarely, if ever, a legitimate excuse for departure from abstinence and sober habits. I have the conviction that in order to have the eye and the brain clear, you ought to make your skin act vigorously at least once in twenty-four hours.

J. E. BOEHM. February 20, 1882.


In reply to your letter, I am accustomed to smoke. If I do not smoke, I cannot do my work properly; and it is quite impossible to do any work in the morning without smoking. Strong drink I do not need at all, but I drink two glasses of Bavarian beer, which contains very little alcohol.

E. BREDENCAMP. April 18, 1882.


I have smoked for upwards of thirty years, and have given up smoking for the last seven years. Almost all my life I have taken alcoholic liquors in moderation, but have also been a total abstainer for a short period. My experience is that neither course with either ingredient has anything to do with mental work as capacity for it; unless, indeed, we are to except the incapacity produced by excessive drinking, of which, however, I have no personal experience.

F. M. BROWN. Feb. 28, 1882.


I am myself no authority on the subject concerning which you write. I drink myself, but not during the hours of work; and I smoke-pretty habitually. My own experience and belief is, that both alcohol and tobacco, like most blessings, can be turned into curses by habitual self-indulgence. Physiologically speaking, I believe them both to be invaluable to humankind. The cases of dire disease generated by total abstinence from liquor are even more terrible than those caused by excess. With regard to tobacco, I have a notion that it is only dangerous where the vital organism, and particularly the nervous system, is badly nourished.

ROBERT BUCHANAN. March 7, 1882.


I have no decided opinion whatever as to the question you ask. I can only say that I am a very small smoker, taking one or two cigars daily, and I drink Rhine wine, but not daily, as most scholars or those working with their brains generally do. There can be, I should think, no question that immoderate use of alcohol produces most destructive results.

E. BUDDENSEIG. Feb. 20, 1882.

Study and Stimulants - 4/26

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