Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 6.djvu/86

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76
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

The arrogant spirit of man revolts against the idea of its so-called bodily shell being a mere natural product, just like every other organized structure; but, for all that, the universal morphological law still remains. Art alone transcends all the requirements of natural production. Where art comes in play, the individual disappears; the contingent gives way before the eternal, the permanent. But this is a harmony that is never attained by Nature.—Die Natur.

 

THE CONFESSION OF A REFORMED SMOKER.

A RECORD OF OBSERVATIONS AND EXPERIMENTS CONCERNING THE PHYSIOLOGICAL ACTION OF TOBACCO.

By FRANCIS GERRY FAIRFIELD.

IN submitting the following observations as to the physiological effect of smoking, it is not my intention to discuss the tobacco question in an exhaustive manner, but, on the other hand, to limit my remarks to experiments tried and recorded in the course of the year ending July 10, 1874, and to the more general memoranda of the previous twelve years, during which the habit was formed, and, with the exception of brief paroxysms of abstinence, steadily developed. Many will no doubt dissent from the conclusions at which I arrived: to whom I have only to reply that my observations and experiments have not been, save in a cursory memorandum now and then, extended beyond my own person, and represent uniquely the manner in which I have been individually affected by habitual smoking. So far as I have any opinion to express, it consists of induction from actual experiments, and of inferences from actual symptoms; and, if I seem to leave many points undetermined, it must be set down to the fact that they are not within the scope of the particular method I have followed. That tobacco differently affects different temperaments there is no doubt. That different grades and qualities of tobacco differ materially in their physiological action, in manner and symptom, if not essentially, is demonstrated by experiment. In smoking, even, to say nothing of other forms of the tobacco-habit, it makes a material difference whether the same quality is used in conjunction with the pipe or consumed in the form of the cigar—a fact mainly due, no doubt, to the escape of the pyreiline, a base of extreme volatility, in cigar-smoking, and to its conservation to a greater extent in pipe-smoking. Yet, making all due allowances for differences of temperament, for the bias of transmitted habit, and for idiosyncrasies developed by special circumstances, I am constrained to the conclusion that, in the majority of instances, the habit of smoking is productive of nervous degeneracy.