Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 1.djvu/229

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219
PHYSIOLOGICAL POSITION OF ALCOHOL.

God. They saw an Inscrutable Providence in all these things. But, when their children had learned a better husbandry and better sanitary conditions, the "visitations" ceased.

In the perfect providence of God there are no surprises. If there seem to be, it is that we have suffered ourselves to be taken unawares. We must work out our own salvation. The book of natural phenomena is opened wide before every man, and he is set to learn it for his own good. If he will not study it through reverence and love, he is taught it through pain. But the pain itself is the beneficence of a perfect law, and it is a constant testimony to the goodness and tenderness of God that calamity—not less than prosperity—is a Scrutable Providence.—Christian Union.

 
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THE PHYSIOLOGICAL POSITION OF ALCOHOL.
By B. W. RICHARDSON, M. D., F. R. S.

IN whatever mode alcohol may be passed into the living body to produce modification of physical action, the changes it excites are remarkably uniform, and, other things being equal, the amount required to induce the changes is also uniform. Thus, I have found, by many researches, that the proportion of sixty grains of alcohol to the pound weight of the animal body is the quantity capable of producing an extreme effect.

The order of the changes induced is, in like manner, singularly uniform, and extends in a methodical way through all classes of animals that may be subjected to the influence; and, as the details of this part of my subject are the facts that concern us most, I shall expend some time in their narration.

The first symptom of moment that attracts attention, after alcohol has commenced to take effect on the animal body, is what may be called vascular excitement; in other words, over-action of the heart and arterial vessels. The heart beats more quickly, and thereupon the pulse rises. There may be some other symptoms of a subjective kind—symptoms felt by the person or animal under the alcohol—but this one symptom of vascular excitement is the first objective symptom, or that which is presented to the observer. I endeavored in one research to determine from observations on inferior animals what was the actual degree of vascular excitement induced by alcohol, and my results were full of interest. They have, however, been entirely superseded by the observations made on the human subject by Dr. Parkes and Count Wollowicz.

These observers conducted their inquiries on the young and healthy