Page:Alcohol, a Dangerous and Unnecessary Medicine.djvu/21

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ALCOHOL AS A MEDICINE.

In England as early as 1802, Dr. Beddoes pointed out the dangers attendant upon the social and medical use of intoxicating drinks, laying stress upon "The enfeebling power of small portions of wine regularly drunk." In 1829 Dr. John Cheyne, Physician General to the forces in Ireland said :—

"The benefits which have been supposed from their liberal use in medicine, and especially in those diseases which are vulgarly supposed to depend upon mere weakness, have invested these agents with attributes to which they have no claim, and hence, as we physicians no longer employ them as we were wont to do, we ought not to rest satisfied with the mere acknowledgment of error, but we ought also to make every retribution in our power for having so long upheld one of the most fatal delusions that ever took possession of the human mind."

Dr. Higginbotham, F. R. S., of Nottingham, a keen and able clinical practitioner, abandoned the prescription of alcohol in 1832, saying :—

"I have amply tried both ways. I gave alcohol in my practice for twenty years, and have now practiced without it for the last thirty years or more. My experience is, that acute disease is more readily cured without it, and chronic diseases much more manageable. I have not found a single patient injured by the disuse of alcohol, or a constitution requiring it; indeed, to find either, although I am in my seventy-seventh year, I would walk fifty miles to see such an unnatural phenomenon. If I ordered or allowed alcohol in any form, either as food or as medicine, to a patient, I should certainly do it with a felonious intent."—Ipswich Tracts. No. 346.

In 1839 Dr. Julius Jeffreys drew up a medical declaration which was signed by seventy-eight leaders of medicine and surgery. This document