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Thoughts On Coca, Cannabis, Opium & Tobacco – Gifts Of The Great Spirit


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1870 to 2018 – No Change

1870

2018

Nowhere near enough people understand, or care, that today’s “Opioid Crisis” is nothing new. There may be a few new twists – after all, Pig Pharma has been busy busy in the last 150 – 200 years, constantly tweaking their game to extract more profits from the misery they create. However, the reality is that nothing significant has changed. Here are just a few of the many comparisons that can be made.

  • In 1870 most people addicted to Opium-based “medicines” were originally hooked by medical “professionals” – doctors and pharmacists. In 2018 the same is true.

  • In 1870 it was the “patent medicine” industry that addicted most people with tonics and elixirs. In 2018 it is the “pharmaceutical industry” that addicts most people with pain medicine and psycho-drugs.

  • Most of today’s “pharmaceutical” giants started in the 1800’s as “patent medicine” companies. They have thrived for centuries on blood money, and in 2018 they are immensely rich and virtually untouchable.

  • In 1870 most people who became addicted began using opium-based medicines to deal with some form of painful disease, injury, or emotional state. In 2018 the same is true.

  • In 1870 “respectable” society treated Opium addicts as throwaways and criminals, and non-addicts firmly believed that addiction was due to lack of character. This prejudice was drilled into consciousness through endless propaganda coming from society’s “authorities”. The same is true in 2018.

  • In 1870 there were millions of addicted children, whose mothers were given Opium and Morphine-laced “tonics” by doctors to control behaviors like crying and colic that upset Moms. In 2018 millions of children are saturated with mind & spirit-numbing medications prescribed by doctors to control behaviors like ADHD that upset Moms.

  • In 1870 the “better classes” were able to hide their addiction, and to get confidential treatment when things got too bad. It was everybody else who crashed and burned publicly, allowing the elite to point, smirk and feel smug about their superiority. Nothing has changed in 2018.

  • In 1870 there were only two basic approaches to treating addiction. First, total, instant cessation and toughing out the withdrawal symptoms. Special asylums were built to incarcerate addicts while they went through the agony of withdrawal. The second approach was gradual withdrawal, progressively substituting something supposed to be less addictive. This was a less painful approach, but cost a lot more and took a lot longer. Instant withdrawal didn’t work, and progressive withdrawal only worked occasionally, and things haven’t changed in 2018.

  • In 1870 Heroin was used to treat Morphine addiction. In 2018 Methadone is used to treat Heroin addiction. Pig Pharma continues to prosper.

  • In 1870, very few addicted people were actually addicted to pure opium. Instead, they were addicted to the cheapest dregs of opium production, combined with boosters like Arsenic, Strychnine, Mercury, Lead, Cocaine, Morphine, Belladonna and Datura. In 2018 no Opioid addict is addicted to pure natural opium, but to synthetic substances that mimic Opium boosted with other highly addictive chemicals like Fentanyl.

  • In 1870 Draconian prohibition laws featuring the death penalty made Opium a very expensive and profitable commodity worldwide, creating global criminal syndicates shielded by corrupt police forces and politicians. In 2018 some countries still murder addicts outright, while others just lock them away for life. The criminal syndicates and corrupt police and politicians are reincarnations of the same evil souls that plagued 1870.

  • In 1870 there were hundreds of treatment programs pushed by social entrepreneurs and religious moralists promising to cure addiction. None worked, and relapse was nearly universal. Same in 2018.

  • In 1870 the true causes of addiction were well known. They were invariably some combination of pain, misery, poverty, hopelessness, isolation, loneliness, ignorance, and exploitation. In 2018 the true causes of addiction are the same.


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Historical Insights Into Hashish

Courtesy of 420 Magazine

Before getting to the promised insights, dear reader, please indulge me for a few paragraphs.

Readers of this blog know that I am fascinated by lost knowledge, and by the phenomenon of history repeating itself for new generations who believe that their experiences are unique in the history of the human race.

So it is with the current “Opioid Crisis”. The historical reality is that absolutely none of this current “Crisis” is new – not in kind, not in scale, not in consequences, not in causes, and certainly not in the ineffectual “solutions” that are (once again) being proposed.

I am in the process of editing and preparing to re-publish a lengthy and complex book from 150 years ago by a New York doctor, Alonzo Calkins, who wrote the book for members of the medical profession of his time. His objective was to make clear the deep historical roots of the love affair between people and mind/body altering substances. Although it is clear that Dr. Calkins disapproved – to put it mildly – of any kind of mind-alteration with the possible exception of vigorous exercise and (Christian) prayer, he was also clearly a person with a deep grasp of world history and human nature.

The book is: “Opium And The Opium-Appetite: With Notices Of Alcoholic Beverages, Cannabis Indica, Tobacco And Coca, Coffee And Tea, And Their Hygienic Aspects and Pathologies Related” by Alonzo Calkins, MD, New York, 1870. (I will have this ebook available on Amazon in a week or so and will post a link in the sidebar of this blog.).)

Dr. Calkins lived near the end of the great Age of Exploration. For centuries before he wrote this book thousands of explorers, adventurers, writers, physicians and entrepreneurs of all kinds had been ranging the earth sampling all of the many and varied ways that people use mind-altering natural substances.

As far as Dr. Calkins was concerned, using drugs outside of a medical context is a destructive and immoral activity, so his book was not written in praise of all of those discoveries of colorful and imaginative ways that people of the world have found to get high. He was, however, a competent and observant physician, and he understood that in addition to people seeking to alter their minds in order to just plain have a good time, most people who use mind-altering substances are seeking ways to deal with misery, pain, disease, poverty, hopelessness and the general brutality of their existence.

This acknowledgement of the legitimacy of the human need for drugs, and the extensive documentation he offers, should give Dr. Calkins’ book a place in the library of anyone today who seeks to learn the lessons of the past in order to better understand the profound dilemmas we face today – dilemmas like 60,000+ Americans dying of pharmaceutical overdose. These numbers, so alarming to the breathless media, hypocritical politicians, parasitic “professionals”, and privileged classes, are really nothing new. Not at all. They are, however, absolute proof that people never learn, and especially that people who fancy themselves to be “in charge” never learn.

As long as societies that can well afford to change do not, and as long as a tiny minority keeps all the wealth and power of the society to themselves and continues to allow pain, disease, poverty, hopelessness and brutality to dominate the lives of the majority, the “drug problem” will never, not ever, be solved. Violent revolutions, however, can and do occur with regularity, and they are always about the same evils that “cause” the “drug problem”.

That is because, as Dr. Calkins’ book makes so clear although the author himself does not realize that he is making this point, in the end the “problem” is not drugs. It is the life that so many people are forced to lead by the cruelty, ignorance and selfishness of others.

So, that said, here is one of the many interesting chapters in Dr. Calkins’ book, chock full of those historical references I promised. Although I have been an avid investigator of the history of both Cannabis and Opium for many years, some of the following observations on Hashish were brand new to me, as I hope they will be to you as well. Keep well in mind the limitations of the time in which Dr. Calkins wrote, and have fun!

Chapter XXV: Opium And Cannabis Indica Contrasted

“Fallax Herba veneni.” – Virgil.

“That juice – the bane, And blessing of man’s heart and brain – That draught of sorcery, which brings Phantoms of fair forbidden things.” – Moore

The authorities upon Cannabis besides those to be specified are Rhases, Kaempfer, D’Herbelot, Herault, Mantegazza, and others. The solid extract (which is procured from the summitates of the herb) is called Hashisch in Arabia, Gunjah and Chumts in India (where it is also familiarly known as the “Herbe des Fakirs”), Bust or Shoera in Egypt, El Mogen by the Moors, and among the Hottentots Dacha or Dagga (Von Bibra). Bangue (Bang) or Bendji is the spirituous extract.

Cannabis as a stimulating narcotic has for some centuries at the shortest been known and familiarly used in India, Persia, Bokhara, and other countries, and in some of the Islands. In Egypt, particularly among the lower orders, it takes precedence of opium, and is chewed or sometimes smoked from the gozeh (Lane). Bhang – the more active preparation – is conspicuous for its inebriative and delirative operation.

The Massagetce (as is related by Herodotus), a people on the Araxes, had a seed (conjectured to have been this same seed of Indian Hemp or perhaps of the Datura), which thrown upon hot stones sent forth a vapor that excited boisterous mirth and shouting. Davis the navigator on visiting Sumatra found such a seed, a little only of which being eaten gave to every object a metamorphosed appearance and turned the man for the time into a fool. Dampier observed among the natives of this island an herb which produced exhilaration and then stupefaction, making the eater lively or dull, witty or foolish, or merry or sad, according to the predominant temperament.

Hashisch far surpasses opium in relative power. A dose of twenty centigrammes of the resinoid repeated three or four times shows activity in half an hour, but the full effect is not attained short of three times this space. The duration of action is three to four hours (Steeze of Bucharest). Irregularity and uncertainty in action are doubtless to be ascribed to adulteration (Schroff).

The full impression once produced the brain is speedily affected with a sensation of extraordinary elasticity and lightness and the senses become wondrously acute, a tingling as from an electric shock is felt shooting from the spinal centre to the periphery of the body, the vault of the cranium is lifted off as it were by the expansive force within, the skull seeming as if enlarged to the dimensions of a colossus; and now with one impetuous rebound the experimenter rises above this low commonplace of terrene existence to soar in a purer ether above.

If still conscious of a lingering upon the confines of earth he sways himself along in a balancing gait as though he were under a sort of ivresse. External impressions as from the pricking of a pin or a stroke from the hand may perchance pass unheeded. Objects in the immediate range seem invested with an unwonted splendor, human faces take on a seraphic lustre, and the man for the time feels himself to be possessed of the power of ubiquity. According to the varying humor things around may seem to have assumed a fantastic dress, when peals of laughter will break forth; or suddenly a change will have come over the spirit, when under the impressions produced by lugubrious images and depressing apprehensions the mind will be wrapped in cloudiness and gloom (Polli).

The appetite is assisted by moderate doses but made ravenous for the time by large ones, and the digestive function is correspondingly aroused while constipation is obviated, and the various secernent processes go on in their normal way (Dr. Teste). Not until after long-continued and excessive use does appetite decline, as is observable of the Arabs, says Auber, who finally get fleshless and withered as the general tendency to decay becomes more distinct and progressive.

An excessive dose hinders the approach of sleep; a moderate one brings on a sopor speedy and irresistible. This sleep may be profound and stertorous, or it may partake more of the dreaminess of ecstasy. In the story of Mahmoud lord of the Black Isles, the wife, to cover up her absence for the night, administers just before going out a powder that soporizes him immediately and effectually for the time, or until she shall return again to awaken him with a perfume placed under the nostrils.

This powder there is reason for believing was some preparation (simple or compounded) of the hemp. In another of the stories of the “Nights,” that of the Jew Physician, is a similar incident described. So the chamberlain of Ala-ed-Deen is suddenly thrown into a profound sleep by the use of a powder which Ahmed Kamakim an arch-thief throws upon his face. Unlike that after the opium-sleep, the sensation on awaking is one of refreshing.

The mental condition is an ideal existence, the most vivid, the most fascinating. Time and space both seem to have expanded by an enormous magnification; pigmies have swelled to giants, mountains have grown out of molehills, days have enlarged to years and ages. De Moria in wending his way one evening to the opera house, seemed to himself to have been three years in traversing the corridor. De Saulcy having once fallen into a state of insensibility following upon incoherent dreamings, fancied he had lived meanwhile a hundred years. Rapidity as well as intensity of thought is a noticeable phenomenon. De Lucca after swallowing a dose of the paste saw as in a flitting panorama the various events of his entire life all proceeding in orderly succession, though he was powerless in the attempt to arrest and detain a single one of them for a more deliberate contemplation. Memory is sometimes very singularly modified nevertheless, there being perhaps a forgetfulness not of the object but of its name proper, or the series of events that transpired during the paroxysm may have passed away into a total oblivion.

The normal mental condition is that of an exuberant enjoyance rather than the opposite, that of melancholy and depression, though the transition from the one state to the other may be as extreme as it is swift. Oftener the subject is kept revolving in a delirious whirl of hallucinatory emotions, when images the most grotesque and illusions the drollest and most fantastic crowd along, one upon another, with a celerity almost transcending thought (Mirza Abdul Roussac).

Command over the will is maintainable, but temporarily only. As self-control declines the mind is swayed by the mere fortuitous vagaries of the fancy; and now it is that the dominant characteristic or mental proclivity has its real apocalypsis. The outward expression may reveal itself under a show of complacency and contentment in view of things around, or suspicion, distrust, and querulousness of disposition may work to the surface, or maybe a lordly hauteur that exacts an unquestioning homage from the “profanum vulgus” by virtue of an affected superiority over common mortals, is the ruling idea of the hour; or peradventure the erotic impulses may for the time overshadow and disguise all others.

Amid the ever-shifting spectacular scene the sense of personal identity is never perhaps entirely lost, but there does arise in very rare instances the notion of a duality of existence; not the Persian idea precisely, that of two souls occupying one and the same body in a joint-stock association as it were (the doctrine as alluded to by Xenophon in the story of the beautiful Panthea), but rather the idea of one and the same, soul in duplication or bipartition else, and present in two bodies.

The rapturous delights inspired by the beatific visions thus find expression in an exclamation of an aged Brahmin: “O sahib, sahib, you can never know what perfect pleasure is until you see as I have seen and feel as I have felt – spectacles the most gorgeous, perfumes the most delicious, music the most transporting and bewildering.”

The inspiration of the Pythian priestess at Delphi has been attributed to opium and again to hashisch, and not unlikely both conspired to the effect. This improvisatore power was amusingly developed one day in a pupil of Dr. O’Shaughnessy’s, upon a trial of ten minims of the tincture. The young man in the ecstasy of the excitement assumed the airs and language of an Indian rajah, talking learnedly and haranguing with great volubility in a lively display of brilliant fancy and logical acuteness, to the admiration of friends no less than to his own astonishment as subsequently felt (for the recollection of his scenic personations survived the performance), inasmuch as a habitual taciturnity and an unostentatious carriage were so congenial and habitual to the young man. The paroxysm having lasted six hours, a retransformation occurring somewhat suddenly was complete nevertheless.

Note. In a Prize-essay lately read before the American Philosophical Society by H. C. Wood, M.D., the Professor records an experimentation with somewhat unexpected results, as conducted upon himself. The preparation used was an extract made from Kentucky hemp, in quantity about half a drachm. The effect, which began in three hours, lasted into the following day. At midnight a profound sleep had come over him, and in the hours of waking there was noted an anesthesia affecting the entire skin. The characteristic expansion of time and space was a conspicuous symptom. Mental action as an effect of volitional effort was mostly restrained, from the embarrassment experienced in attempts towards a concentration of the thoughts. A sense of impending death besides hung over him at intervals. In a student who experimented with a grain dose, there was developed a hilarious excitement simply, with a sexual erethism ensuing which did not relax short of three days. This scientific paper (the first contribution of the kind to the medical literature of America) should command the attention of the Profession.

This singular excitant, extensively known in the age of the Crusades appears to have been used by the Saracens for a double purpose, to kindle up the ardor of the soldier against the Paynim, and in larger dose to beguile his adversary into a careless security and so to facilitate the stealthy use of the poignard. In the neighborhood of Mount Libanus there existed from the beginning of the twelfth century for about one hundred and fifty years a military organization, made up for the most part of rude hordes gathered out of the tribes of Kurdistan. Ishmaelitish by genealogy, vindictive in their passions and implacable in their resentments, while professing fealty to the Crescent they campaigned oftener in reality, “their hand being against every man and every man’s hand being against them. Their generalissimo was known as “Le Vieux de la Montagne” (Von Hammer).

At Allamut and Massiat were their famed gardens, secluded by high walls from the vulgar gaze but within adorned with every decoration and luxury that could entrance the vision and captivate appetite; and here presided girls of enchanting beauty and ravishing seductiveness, the houris of the scene. Into this “outer court of the temple,” the youthful aspirant to the honor of a matriculatory membership having been previously drugged with hashisch, was mysteriously conveyed, here to breathe the balmy airs of a terrestrial paradise, introductory to the solemn oath of covenant which at once exacted entire and unquestioning obedience and which denounced an abjuration on peril of life.

Such were the Herb-eating Assassins, the “Hashasheen” (De Sacy). A final dispersion was carried out by the victorious sword of Hulakii, when Aldjebal, Khalif of Baldrach, after sustaining a siege of three years was shut up in a tower by Ulau, there to perish in his solitude by a lingering death (Benjamin of Tudela).

Hashisch, more energetic in action than opium, is in comparison prematurely exhaustive also. Rapid deterioration of the physical forces is to be expected, and as is thought a determination towards phthisis may be established. The ultimate mental condition is that of dementia. The santons (holy men) of Egypt, those distinguished objects of popular veneration in their wanderings from town to town, are living illustrations of this degenerescence, in their corporeal as well as in their mental decay.

Quite unlike opium in one characteristic, hashisch is a powerful aphrodisiac (O’Shaughnessy), ranking second on the list perhaps, or after arsenic. The power of the latter indeed appears remarkable. In the Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal is a case from Dr. Parker, that of a young man thirty years old at his death, who began the use at the age of four. A double effect ensued, a prodigious development of the sexual organs in size, and a proportionate exaltation of function amounting to an impetuous and uncontrollable salacity.

Deleterious as is hashisch in the ordinary habitual use, it may be counteracted or neutralized very effectually for the time by the free use of lemon-juice. Dr. Castelnuovo a resident in the country for thirty years observes, that the people of Tunis understand the secret thoroughly and avail themselves habitually of the benefits.

Bearing an analogy to the poppy from their more intimate relationship to cannabis are Hyoscyamus, Belladonna, and the Datura family. The first – reckoned by Von Hammer to have been identical in origin with the bendji – produces giddiness and stupidity. Belladonna, that “insane root that takes the reason prisoner” (rather is it one out of a number of such), excites delirium and the risus sardonicus (Ray).

The pathologic mental phasis is described by Winslow as a species of “hallucination without fantasia,” i.e. a metamorphosis of things actual in idea rather than a display of mere fanciful creations without analogies in natural things. A pathologic condition has been remarked simulating delirium tremens. The recollection of past phenomena is found to have been obliterated “at once and irrecoverably.”

Datura brings spectral illusions, but leaves a persistent, perhaps incurable stupidity. A singular effect wrought upon the memory is in the interchanging of the names of objects, there being at the same time a conscious perception of the incongruities. The daturas possess strong erotic powers, and a species is used in India by courtesans upon themselves and for the benefit of their visiting friends. The cordial sometimes made by digesting the seeds in wine is especially dangerous to the sex by a double action, exciting physical desire most actively for the time and making the subject oblivious altogether of any faux-pas adventures hazarded.


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Poppy Juice, Synthetic Pills, & The Trap Of Addiction

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“The Intercept” has just run an excellent piece outlining the lobbying efforts of the Opioid Manufacturing sector of the Pharmaceutical Industry to scuttle new Federal regulations that would attempt to make it harder for doctors to prescribe Opioid drugs like Oxycontin. The major manufacturers involved in the lobbying are Purdue, Cephalon, Endo, and Janssen (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson).

The efforts of these parasitical manufacturers to maintain open season on the wholesale addicting of new “patients” while at the same time keeping up the flow of millions of tablets of these drugs that somehow manage to leak into the street market ( who, us?), is symptomatic of the thug-like nature of virtually the entire pharmaceutical industry.

When you look at the numbers you see that pills are the main “Opioid” killers, not Heroin, not Morphine, and certainly not Opium from the Poppy, and for all the hype about synthetic Opium pills like Oxy, the job they do of relieving pain is no better than a pipe of good opium. Of the 47,000+ drug overdose deaths counted by the CDC in 2014, 8800 were due to Heroin, which leaves +38,000 due largely to pills.

The single justification for the “Opioid” pill industry’s existence is that their products are claimed to be safer than natural Opium, Morphine, or Heroin. If you want to find the reason for the industry’s panic at the increase in Opioid pill deaths, look at the ratio between deaths from the dreaded slayer of youth Heroin and the supposedly safe if used as directed wonder pill.

If a huge part of your industry’s claim to fame is that your product is safer than the juice of the poppy then you have to be pretty upset when people are finally realizing that your pills are killing users nearly 5:1 compared to the fruits of the little flower.

Consider for a moment two possible tracks for our society – the one we are on and the one that could have been, and yet might be.

The track our society has taken is to turn our health, just like we’ve turned most of the other key aspects of our lives, over to highly intrusive institutional management. Most of us no longer have any management role in our food, our children’s education, our family and community security, our finances, or our privacy. One of the results of our capitulation to pervasive institutional management of our lives is that the exponentially-growing health industry, always quick to spot (or make) an opportunity, responded by creating vast numbers of expensive, enormously profitable drugs for all those astounding new diseases of modern society that patients are required to take by their doctors who give no natural options in place of the medical management system’s proprietary pharmaceuticals.

The second track, which might have been, is that all of the medical knowledge gained by doctors, patients and society at large in the 1700s and especially the 1800s regarding three of the great natural drugs – Opium, Coca and Cannabis – might have been kept and nurtured rather than discarded and largely forgotten. Had those three natural medicinal drugs not been demonized and outlawed as part of the warped spiritual movement of the early 1900s that gave birth first to Prohibition and later to the War On Drugs, these three great natural drugs would be available today as a part of the :People’s Pharmacy” just like hundreds of other herbal, natural medicines.

The industrial pharma industry would still have developed, and a lot of people would still be victims of their concoctions, but without the legal framework lovingly erected over decades by authoritarian conspirators there would be a whole segment of the Medical industry devoted to the use of all natural medicines, not just those permitted by the state as part of its role in enforcing the monopoly of Industrial Pharma over medicinal products.

Even more important, a nationwide, community-bases network of natural medicine practitioners would have evolved – people in every community who knew how to grow all of the ancient medical herbs and who utilized the advances of technology to produce ever-more effective but still natural medicines.

Of course we have a great model for this system in the network of Medical Cannabis growers and patients who are finally emerging after the long night of Prohibition – which is still in the very earliest stages of dawning – to point to and see what might have been for ALL the great natural medicines and not just Cannabis, and not just in a few states in the US and a few countries in the world.

In a society where those who wanted any form of any natural drug could grow and prepare it for themselves, or could go to a reputable dispensary or belong to a regulated collective, then we would certainly have some addicts among these people, but they would be able to lead as normal a life as they chose to live without the constant suffering, pain, and jeopardy of addiction to “illegal drugs” and all the horrors that go with that scene.

People with little income would not be driven to prostitute themselves and do violence to feed a drug habit if the drugs they wanted were freely available in safe, natural forms. It is possible, is it not, that given access to natural drugs in a climate free of violence and exploitation many if not most people could use drugs and still lead a normal life even if trapped in circumstances of poverty.

I believe that centuries of recorded experience in societies worldwide shows that the overwhelming problem with addiction is how society treats addicts. If an addict is free to lead an otherwise productive and normal life, many will do so, and those who won’t would have been lost whether drug laws made them criminals or not.

Perhaps what makes addiction so awful for so many people isn’t what the drug does to them, it’s what society does to them as a consequence of their addiction. The popular image of addiction is what is used to sell all the prevention/intervention programs that flourish around addicted people. Human degradation in every form is shown as a consequence of drug addiction, and many people buy that and think no further. But consider the number of people who are technically addicted who lead normal, productive lives in comparison with those whose lives are supposedly ruined by addiction, you begin to realize that plenty of people are addicted to drugs and other substances and don’t descend to street prostitution, emaciation, bleeding scabs and sleeping in alleys. It seems that one begins to see that maybe it is circumstances and not the drugs themselves that determine the direction that addiction takes. Remove all the harsh punishments for addiction and I wonder – what would happen to addiction?

If the illegal status of drugs and the consequences for addiction were removed, at least drug addiction would no longer be part of the trap that ensnares millions of people in the US. Poverty and exploitation would continue in other ways – unless of course (you never know) some kind of new dynamic was released in poor communities by removing the key role of criminalized drug addiction in keeping the iron collar of poverty and exploitation firmly clamped around their necks.


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The War On Drugs: “Let’s Get Real” Accounting

Most readers of this blog don’t have to be convinced that the “War On Drugs” has created more suffering, ruined more lives, and cost more in both money, shattered dreams, and human degradation than all those fearsome fruits of the Poppy, Cannabis and Coca plants combined. You can even throw in the Nazi chemist’s delight – Amphetamines – and any other laboratory creations you can think of, and you still won’t come close to the destruction of human lives and communities caused by the “War On Drugs”.

Even so, I have rarely seen anything approaching an accounting that includes both what the government spends on the “War On Drugs” and the monetized costs of the widespread human damage this so-called war causes to people, families, and communities. I can’t claim any special accounting expertise, but in this series of posts I would like to first review as many of the obvious but rarely aggregated direct costs as possible, and then in the next post I’ll try to point out some of the costs that have been discounted, manipulated and deliberately hidden in order to serve the interests of those who are in the business of profiting from this so-called war- which of course is about as successful as all the other military wars that our dear leaders have waged over the past 50 years or so.

Introduction: The Insatiable Federal Appetite For Drug Money
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Even if you don’t have to be convinced that the “War On Drugs” is a total loser, you might still be surprised at the massive herd of Federal pigs that are slurping that the money trough, and the total cost of feeding all that pork.

Let’s begin with the Drug Enforcement Agency. Although this agency is entirely make-work for otherwise unemployable thugs and goons, nevertheless they have managed to stay at the public feed trough for decades.

A quick glance at the “White Budgets” of the DEA reveals that over the course of its existence, 1972-2015, the DEA has cost just over $50,000,000,000 (Billion) in tax money extorted from the American people. I call the figures below the DEA “White Budget” because they reveal only the above-the-table allocations by Congress for this gang of Storm Troopers – not the hidden “Black Budget” which cannot be known, but which is probably at least the equivalent amount. That would suggest a 43 year total cost – just for the DEA – of $100,000,000,000. That’s a lot of living-wage teacher’s salaries, women & child health clinics, orphan diseases research, merit-based college scholarships, and other useless shit that we are continually reminded have to be sacrificed to pay DEA agents and bureaucrats to keep our kids safe from drugs.
DEABudget2

So Much For The DEA – What’s The Total Federal WOD Budget?

The Federal government does a fantastic job of hiding and obscuring the amount of money it spends each year on the “Drug Problem” which, of course, it created decades ago in order to create a vast network of highly-paid public “servants” fighting day and night to preserve the American way of life and keep our kids safe. Here is a graphic showing the aggregated annual cost of what Federal agencies admit they are spending. (This graphic says nothing about what State City, County and Local agencies are spending on the WOD, nor does it include the “Black Budgets” of these agencies.) It does show that the total Federal spending on the bogus, useless, destructive “War On Drugs” is costing at least $25 Billion dollars a year (White Budget only.).
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What Pigs Besides DEA Are Feeding On The “Drug Problem?
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Finally, here is a list of pigs at the WOD trough and the money they are slurping down that (foolish me) could have been spent on real education, real tax reduction for working people, real disease prevention, treatment and cures, bridges that won’t fall down and roads that won’t kill you. 

 

Some of the agencies on this list may surprise you – they did me, until I realized that when there is a load of money the size of the pile generated by the “War On Drugs” everybody wants to dive in and gulp down as much as they can. And they do.

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OK – I’ll stop here for Part One.

Coming next in Part Two – costs that have nothing to do with the budgets of bloated, useless US Federal programs and agencies. For example, I’m going to try to calculate the lifetime costs to society of having 5-7 million children a year ripped from their parents because those parents are in prison for “drug crimes”. And as you’ll see, there’s more to this accounting – much more.


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Opium, Peru, & The British Empire Drug Cartel

When most of us think of Peru and drugs we naturally think of Cocaine, and of course I hope that readers of this blog also think of Coca Leaf and say to themselves – “La Coca no es la Cocaine.” It’s probably a fair assumption that few people link Opium and Peru in the same thought, and of course there is not a lot of Poppy production in Peru – unlike Mexico, Cuba and a number of other Latin American countries.

However, as I have been researching the historical record for my book “The Coca Leaf Papers” I am finding some fascinating Opium-Peru connections, with an interesting England-China-California-Peru axis.

To fully appreciate this connection we have to remember that the British in the 19th Century were the world’s greatest drug dealing empire, far eclipsing the dreaded “Cartels” of today in scope, wealth and power. Of course, just as it is highly unlikely that the American CIA, or at least some of the main people involved, got out of the heroin business just like that after the war in Vietnam ended, it is equally unlikely that the British ever actually left the lucrative worldwide Opium trade after the 20th Century saw the birth of the “War On Drugs”.

While the propaganda machine popularly called “the media” go on and on about the Latin American Drug Cartels, complete with photos galore of the tacky wedding cake mansions built by the “Drug Lords” and gruesome photos of their leaders lying full of holes and bleeding out in some filthy alley in a slum, one never hears a peep from the media about the network of American and European financial and business institutions that operate from well-groomed British estates and ultra-private American clubs with the Latino Drug Cartels as the front men. Does anyone really think that monsters like HSBC really arose from nowhere, or started life as legitimate banking institutions?

If one had the resources, and the careless disregard for personal safety, it would be a relatively simple matter to trace a great deal of the dark network behind today’s international drug trade straight back in an unbroken line to the British Empire. The goobers who control today’s worldwide drug trade are, in large part, blood and marriage descendants of the “legitimate businessmen” who ran the worldwide drug trade under the legal protection of the British Crown – which I am sure takes its share of the profits today just as it did hundreds of years ago.

In the following post you can clearly see how one small part of this global network began and flourished in the 1800’s. Again – does anyone think that such an immensely profitable enterprise simply went away at some point in time? After all, the drug trade isn’t like any other industry – it has continued in unbroken succession over many generations because its basic products have not changed and cannot be supplanted by technological advances. Of course the initial trade in Opium evolved into Morphine and then Heroin, but good old Opium is still King. And of course Cocaine evolved into mutations like Crack, but nothing yet has replaced Queen Cocaine. Even Cannabis, which in modern times has evolved from crumbled bags of mostly-leaf Mexican weed to today’s gourmet 10X-20X THC buds hasn’t really changed, and there are still huge amounts of money being made by growing it south of the US border and smuggling it in in spite of all the legal growing now going on in some of the more enlightened US states. Even alcohol hasn’t changed that much, even though we now have esoteric markets for hundreds of brands of micro-brew and boutique liquors like Blue Agave Tequilas to choose from, most of the world still gets drunk on plain old beer and cheap booze. Joe Six-Pack still rules.

So without further ranting (which I hope you find at least somewhat entertaining dear reader) here is some documentation and correspondence from an English gentleman in the mid-1800’s discussing how he found, and grew to love, the Opium trade – in Peru of all places.

113 London, 10th June, 1880.

My Lord, The undersigned British merchants haying establishments on the West Coast of South America, being deeply interested in the development of the agricultural resources of the Republic of Peru, desire to call your Lordship’s attention to a matter of the greatest moment in connection with this subject.

As your Lordship is doubtless aware, Peru has for some years past been making steady progress as an agricultural country, and more especially in the cultivation of sugar and cotton, the exportation of which articles to this country has rapidly increased in importance from year to year. A large amount of English capital has found remunerative employment in fostering this industry.

It is also no doubt within your Lordship’s knowledge that, owing to the peculiar conditions of the country, those concerned in the development of its agriculture have been mainly dependent upon Chinese labour for the cultivation of their estates. The chief reason for this is, that the lands best suited for the growth of the sugar cane and the cotton plant are situated on the coast, the inhabitants of which region are not sufficiently numerous to supply the necessary labour.

On the other hand, the inhabitants of the mountainous region of Peru, who would find abundance of occupation on the coast and are far more numerous, are nevertheless unable to withstand the effects of the climate of the coast.

Chinese immigrants have, on the contrary, been found to thrive on the Peruvian littoral, and many thousands are now settled in that region, where they readily find employment both in agricultural and in other pursuits. Large numbers of them have acquired competencies, and it may be said that none, except those suffering from bodily ailments and infirmities have become destitute, whilst comparatively few care to return to their own country, the larger proportion remaining as permanent settlers. The majority of these were brought to Peru from Macao under the old coolie system, which was abolished in 1874 through the intervention of Her Majesty’s Government with the Government of His Majesty the King of Portugal, as it was found that that system gave rise to many abuses.

The great demand which existed and still exists for Chinese free labour brought about an attempt which was made in 1877 to establish a regular line of steamers between the ports of Hong Kong and Callao, the latter being the chief port of Peru, and situate in the centre of the agricultural district of that country.

This attempt was unsuccessful through the failure of the firm owning the line of steamers. The scarcity of labour has in consequence greatly increased, and has reached such a point that the large sums invested in sugar and cotton plantations in Peru are jeopardised through this cause.

The principal cultivators, under the denomination of the “Agricultural Society of Peru,” have therefore commissioned a gentleman now in Europe to proceed to China with the object of contracting free labourers on their behalf, and providing them with the passage money and requisites for their journey to Peru, of which Her Majesty’s Minister Resident at Lima has been duly informed.

An ambassador from the Court of Peking is now on his way to Lima, and it is thought will establish Consulates in Peru, in accordance with the terms of the Treaty of Commerce already in existence between that country and China. We have thus briefly laid before your Lordship the principal features of this important subject, our object being to solicit the countenance and support of Her Majesty’s Government in facilitating the free emigration to Peru of labourers, both from the British colony of Hong Kong and from ports in the Chinese Empire.

We are Your Lordship’s obedient humble Servants, Graham, Rowe & Co. Duncan, Fox & Co. Antony Gibbs & Sons. Isaac & Samuel. Frederick Huth & Co. Bates, Stokes & Co. Haines, Batchelor & Co. Baring Bros. & Co. Henry Kendall & Sons, Bute, Taylor & Co. Matheson & Beausire. GRtoiNo & Co. To the Right Honourable Earl Granville, K.G., -Her Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whitehall.

Edinburgh, August 6th 1882.

H. H. SULTZBERGER, Esq.

Dear Sir, – I am obliged by yours of yesterday, and should be glad to hear at your entire convenience how you like my translation. My experience of the Chinese was acquired in Australia some twenty-five years ago. I was then conversant with prepared opium as an article of merchandize imported from China for the use of the Chinese.

It was a dark-coloured viscous fluid, somewhat resembling treacle, and was contained in small metal packages covered outside with paper wrappers, inscribed with Chinese characters. The contents might be about from four to five ounces, and the wholesale importer’s price, if I remember right, was about 30 – 32s. for that quantity. I have often sold it to the Chinese dealers, amongst whom there were many highly respectable and very intelligent men.

They assured me that the use of opium, except in excess, was not injurious, and although a considerable quantity was at that time imported and consumed among the Chinese population, I never heard of its doing any harm. If death had been in any case caused by it, the Coroner would have had something to say on the subject, and the public would have heard all about it.

Considering the low rate of wages current in China, it seems to me that opium must be unattainable by the bulk of the population on account of its costliness, and that this fact must be a powerful check on any tendency to excess. I think your Lima correspondent is right in saying that the use of opium by the Chinese is very analogous to that of tobacco amongst Europeans, neither better nor worse.

I remain, yours truly, R. WAUGH MACARTHUR.

The above referred- to Lima correspondence runs as follows:

Lima, June 24th, 1882.

Dear Sir, – Replying to your private letter I have to say that as far as my practical experience goes with our Celestial customers, I do not believe that they are the worse, either physically or mentally, for their habit of smoking opium, except in very rare cases where through excess the habit has developed into real vice.

I have on many occasions discussed this question with the leading Chinese merchants of Peru, and I have always been assured by them that the habit is not deleterious. Employers of Chinese labourers all along the Peruvian coast allow their men a moderate use of the drug, and facilitate even its sale to them, which they certainly would not do if it impaired their energies.

In my own opinion the use of opium by the Chinese labourers can be fairly compared with the use of tobacco by Europeans,

Yours faithfully, G. A. B. H. H. SULTZBERGER, Esq.

THE OPIUM TRADE WITH PERU

Under this heading I must give a short account of my own experience in the article, because I had the rare advantage of being the very first engaged in this particular trade with Peru. While a pupil in one of the numerous educational establishments in and near Geneva (Champel Venel) during the years 1849-50, an intimate friendship sprung up between one of the masters there and myself, in consequence of which I procured him the means of undertaking the journey to Peru, whence he was offered the post of private tutor in a family of position, residing in Lima, on condition of risking the journey at his own expense.

From mere family tutor my friend soon rose to the position of secretary to his wealthy master, and through taking also an active part in the business of the same, whenever not engaged in his educational duties, he was finally admitted a partner, and thus became a most enterprising merchant.

At first his principal’s chief business consisted in the importation into Peru of Chinese Coolies from Macao, which circumstance afforded my friend an early opportunity to acquaint himself with the Chinese habit of opium-smoking, and soon induced him to ask me for a trial shipment of one or two cases of that drug as a small venture on joint account, which turned out so exceptionally profitable that I repeated the operation at frequent intervals, and on an increased scale, when the matter attracted the attention of his principal, and the business, from a joint speculation between ourselves, changed into regular orders from the firm to be executed by me on the system of commission business pure and simple.

The importation of these Chinese Coolies having taken a rapid development, my orders too steadily increased, and soon attained such importance that without this intervention on the part of the firm, we never could have kept pace, between ourselves, with this ever increasing demand. While at first the article was admitted entirely free, it soon became subjected to a pretty heavy duty, when my packing instructions assumed such a peculiar character, as to leave me no doubt whatever respecting their real object, and years afterwards I learnt from my said friend, when on a visit to this country, that not one-fifth part of the opium consumed in Peru was properly declared at the Custom House there, but “was got through somehow or other”.

The effect of this systematic “evasion of the duty,” as my friend called it, probably because the word “smuggling” was not to his taste, was that the duty was lowered to one-half of its original rate, when the effect following this change took everybody completely by surprise. Lowered still further, and to such a point as to render smuggling no longer worth risking, the result was another considerable increase in the receipts of the Peruvian Exchequer. The business now had assumed an importance such as to attract the attention of several other firms, and owing to this competition it lost considerably of its former profitableness.

Some Chinese merchants, too, having settled in Lima, a good portion of the supplies of the drug was now imported by them from China, via San Francisco, which rendered it rather difficult to keep any longer a true record of the trade in this article with Peru.

However, by putting this down somewhere between 120 to 150,000 lb. per annum, previous to the breaking out of the war with Chili, I think I am not far from the mark.

During the worst period of this protracted and most ruinous struggle between the two sister Republics, the exports of opium from here to Peru, though at times entirely suspended for a month or two, yet never fell below the figure of 40,000 lbs per annum., from which undeniable fact I draw the conclusion that “coute que coute,” John Chinaman – in Peru at least – must have his pipe of opium.

Considering that before the war, with the exchange on London at 30d. per sol, or thereabouts, the selling price of opium averaged only from 7 soles to 9 soles per lb., it looks all the more surprising to see him pay gradually up to say 90 soles and even 100 soles per lb. for the article, after the rate of exchange had fallen, and if it be true, as I was assured by a presumably well-informed friend that, notwithstanding this unprecedented depreciation in the value of the paper currency of the, country, John Chinaman’s wages out there are now very much the same as before the war, the wonder really is that he should be able to manage at all to remain true to his pipe.

To my knowledge there never was any attempt made in Peru to “prohibit” the importation of the drug, which most likely may be accounted for by the entire absence out there of those well-meaning missionaries who think that John Chinaman cannot take care of himself, and who, with respect to this article, manage to see things which, to less fantastic observers, simply remain invisible.

On the other hand we see that those most directly interested in getting all the work they can out of John Chinaman, i.e., his employers, actually “facilitate” the sale of this so-called deadly poison to him. When we consider that a rapid rise in the cost of the drug, up to ten and even twelve times its former price, only partly affects the consumption of the same, it is obvious that no amount of “duty” is ever likely to do so; but, at the loss of the Custom House, is sure to benefit those who are spirited enough to run the risk of “quietly evading such duty.”

As I thought it useless even to try to obtain any information respecting the death rate amongst the Chinese in Peru, I will attempt to make a rough guess at it by way of comparison, and thus I would simply record the following three facts:

1st. That the wholesale importation of Chinese Coolies from Macao, as shown by the document reproduced at foot, has entirely ceased ever since 1874.

2nd. That the “free immigration” of Chinese from San Francisco, on account of the very costliness of this route, can hardly be worth while being taken into consideration.

And 3rd. That abstraction being made of the very worst period of the war, the consumption of the drug keeps on a wonderfully regular scale, from all of which it may be fairly concluded that this “death rate” cannot possibly be anything extraordinary.

Yours faithfully, G. A. B. H. H. SULTZBERGER, Esq.


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Curing Drug Addiction With Coca Leaf & Cannabis

Wow – talk about an apparent contradiction in terms! Hot water or alcohol (red wine) extracts of Erythroxylon Coca, the Coca plant, along with simple alcohol tinctures or oil extracts of Cannabis, as safe and effective cures ( note – that’s “cures”, not “treatments”) for addiction to Alcohol, Heroin, Morphine, Nicotine, Cocaine, and Amphetamine. Does not compute – right?

Well, hold on there just a minute podner – I have some news for you. Actually I’m not sure that I should be calling information from the 1700s & 1800s ‘news’, but the fact is that thousands of doctors in the US and Europe in the 1700/1800s considered Coca Leaf tea and tonics as highly effective cures for Opium, Nicotine and Alcohol addictions, and later on for Morphine, Heroin and Cocaine addictions, enabling addicts to complete withdrawal programs with very little suffering and to successfully stay clean afterwards. And as pointed out in several of the physicians quoted below, when extract of Coca Leaf was not quite sufficient, adding extract of Cannabis to the treatment virtually guaranteed success.

I can hear the snorts of disbelief from here. Cure drug addiction with a drug – sure. But hold on again just a minute – what about Methadone beloved of contemporary opiate addiction docs? What about all the pharma-technology being used by all those thousands of (highly profitable and minimally effective) drug treatment centers? What about will-power, prayer, and 12 steps?

All good and useful – for some. No doubt. But what about all the people who are not and can not be helped rid themselves of chemical dependence using these “modern” approaches?

And remember – we’re not talking about replacing heroin or morphine injection, or alcohol slurping, or a three-pack-a-day cigarette habit with snorting a line of Cocaine or, worse, firing up a crack pipe. By the late 1800s doctors realized that white powder (pharmaceutical) Cocaine could be just as much of a drug problem as the fruit of the poppy or the vine. Ample evidence exists from the 1860s to the present day that Cocaine is only minimally useful as a medicine and is one of the more dangerous recreational drugs, so we are definitely not talking here about the use of Cocaine as a treatment modality.

We are talking about using the whole, natural leaf of the divine plant of the Andes as a simple tea, or in many cases as a wine extract of the whole leaf – as in the widely used and justly famous “Vin Mariani”. And in fact doctors in the 19th Century used Coca leaf tea quite successfully to treat Cocaine addiction too – which it turns out was very common among physicians who, of course, were first in line to discover that a little tweak up the nose at the end of a hard day made everything seem OK. For a while.

I don’t mean to be flip about physician addiction. It was a terrible and increasingly pervasive problem in the 1900s and today it has grown like a cancer that seems to prey on the most compassionate and caring of physicians – the ones who feel their patients’ pain and suffering most acutely. And of course Pig Pharma is right there with a huge selection of readily available drugs for these physicians to use to, first, deal with the pain and ultimately to become addicted and to descend into the kind of despair from which there is often no exit (that they can see).

If you want to learn more about this tragic problem and the efforts being made to help addicted and suicidal physicians check the link to the DisruptedPhysician blog in the links section of this blog. In fact I am so blown away by this blog that I’ve decided that it makes powerful sense to include addicted physicians in my “Coca Road – Journey To Natural Healing™” project – they would certainly benefit as much from a month of Coca Leaf therapy in the mountains of Peru as anyone suffering from any of the conditions/diseases that originally inspired this project.

But, back to the reductionist approach of Pig Pharma to natural medicines. Before Pig Pharma brought its scientific reductionism onto the natural medicine scene, Opium was just Opium and Coca Leaf was just Coca Leaf. Yes Opium could become a habit, but when you read the medical and scientific literature of the 17th-19th centuries most doctors knew how to deal with that addiction. Not surprisingly, as you will read later in this post, one of the most effective ways they had to deal with both Opium, Alcohol and Nicotine addiction was – wait for it – Coca Leaf extract and in stubborn cases, Cannabis extract (which was called Cannabis Indica at the time). And it is a rock-solid fact that nobody, ever, anywhere in the scientific and medical record became addicted to either Coca Leaf or Cannabis although, as I just said, there were plenty of people, both physicians and laymen, who were able to safely and effectively withdraw from Opium, Morphine, Nicotine, Heroin and Alcohol addiction with the help of these pure, natural medicines.

Once Pig Pharma turned its reductionist lenses onto the Opium Poppy and Coca Leaf – voila – the world was gifted (sic) with Morphine, Heroin, Nicotine, Cocaine, Amphetamines, and all the poisonous variants of these scientific (and commercial) wonders.

Let me explain what I mean by scientific reductionism. Let’s start with the naturally-occurring Coca plant as it grows wild and cultivated in the Andes. Scientific Reductionism is not content with saying “Well, here is a plant whose leaves have been healing people and improving the quality of their lives for thousands of years. What a wonderful discovery.” Scientific Reductionism instead says “Wow, look at what this plant can do! There must be some single active principle that is responsible for the plant’s almost magical powers. If we can isolate and extract that active principle then there’s no need to go through the messy (and expensive) process of growing the plant – we can just figure out how to make that active principle in our laboratories and then we can patent it and get enormously rich. And even better, we’ll use our political, economic and military power to make sure that the indigenous people who have used this plant with respect and moderation for thousands of years don’t have access to the natural plant so then they’ll have to buy exclusively from us or from our very close friends the drug cartels!”

So if you’ve read this far you might be intrigued by what these 19th Century doctors learned about using Coca Leaf tea as a withdrawal support for addicts, supported if called for by the use of extract of Cannabis, and why they considered this a superior approach to anything else available at the time. (Or since, I would add.)

Obviously in this post I can’t cover all of the 19th Century medical literature on this subject, so I’ll just offer you a few selections, most taken from the original source materials that I have compiled in my new 700+ page eBook “The Coca Leaf Papers”.

Several others are from 19th Century narcotic addiction literature which, while it can be rather steamy, also occasionally discussed the extreme difference – night and day really – between synthesized pharmaceutical cocaine and the pure natural leaf of the Coca plant. In “Coca leaf Papers” you’ll find an extensive bibliography with hyperlinks to dozens of original sources, many of which will offer you detailed insight into how these doctors of long ago managed to accomplish with simple Coca Leaf teas and tonics what industrial-scale anti-addiction programs of today largely fail to do – permanently cure opiate and alcohol addiction.

Of course it is important to note that today’s drug problems are far more complicated that those faced in the 1800s – thanks in no small part to the antics of the corporate and government anti-drug bureaucracies and their partners-in-crime, Pig Pharma. (Not a typo.) It is no accident that legally prescribed pharmaceuticals are a major cause of drug death today, along with the toxic products of the ever-inventive street chemists serving the demands of brain-fried addicts. However, as I read the findings of these pioneering doctors, it seems pretty clear to me that the same Coca Leaf cure that worked with alcohol and opiates in the 1800s would probably work pretty well with the speed freaks of today. But, of course, nobody really knows because Coca Leaf is illegal and so it can’t actually be tested to see if it would succeed where all the modern medical ‘cures’ somehow only seem to make the dispensers more wealthy while leaving the addicts to gradually expire in a pool of their own body fluids.

From “The History of Coca” by Dr. William Golden Mortimer, 1901
Excerpt from Chapter XIV “The Physiology Of Coca”

Coca & The Curing Of Drug Addiction

“Prominent in the application of Coca is its antagonism to the alcohol and opium habit. Freud, of Vienna, considers that Coca not only allays the craving for morphine, but that relapses do not occur. Coca certainly will check the muscle racking pains incidental to abandonment of opium by an habitué, and its use is well indicated in the condition following the abuse of alcohol when the stomach can not digest food. It not only allays the necessity for food, but removes the distressing nervous phenomena. Dr. Bauduy, of St. Louis, early called the attention of the American Neurological Association to the efficiency of Coca in the treatment of melancholia, and the benefit of Coca in a long list of nervous or nerveless conditions has been extolled by a host of physicians.”

(From) Erythroxylon Coca: By W.S. Searle, MD
New York, 1881

Coca Leaf & Opiate Addiction

“Perhaps one of the most valuable as well as wonderful properties of Coca is the facility with which it meets and extinguishes the craving for opium in the victims to that fearful habit. Professor Palmer, of the University of Louisville, Kentucky, has an article upon this subject in the Louisville Medical Journal, for 1880, and he therein narrates three cases in which he found the Coca a complete and easy substitute for the opium or morphine which had been habitually taken. One sufferer had been in the habit of taking thirty grains of morphine daily, and yet abandoned that drug wholly, and at once, and without the slightest difficulty, by resorting to the fluid extract of Coca whenever the craving attacked him.”

“Nor can this be considered simply an exchange of masters, since the uniform testimony of even those who have used Coca for a long time, and continuously, is that abstention from its employment is perfectly easy, and is not accompanied by any feelings of distress or uneasiness whatever.”

“Were Coca of no other use than this it would be a boon to afflicted humanity such as no one who has not been bound hand and foot in the slavery of opium can appreciate.”

From “Coca And Its Therapeutic Applications” by Angelo Mariani (1890)
Excerpt from Chapter V

Dr. Villeneuve, among other cases of morphinomania conquered by the combined use of the pate and the Vin Mariani, communicated to us in 1884 the following observation: “M. X , barrister, 32 years of age, five years ago began to use morphine preparations as a remedy against a very alarming chronic bronchitis and granulations in the throat, which were irritated constantly by cigarette smoking.”

“The patient at first only used morphine, but his physicians committed the imprudence of treating him by hypodermic injection. A notable change for the better was produced during the first month, but, unfortunately, abuse succeeded promptly the use of the medicament – so much so that when I commenced to treat the patient, he was taking daily from 1 gramme 50 centigrammes to 1 gramme 80 centigrammes of morphine hypodermically. When he was four hours without his dose there appeared insomnia, hallucinations and delirium; constipation lasting sometimes for fifteen days, which brought on in the spring a very alarming perityphlitis, jerking of the muscles, sudden frights, dyspepsia, and at last frightful congestion of the face whenever he drank a drop of wine or brandy.”

“After a month’s treatment I had succeeded in reducing the daily doses without causing alarming symptoms; the physiological functions seemed to awaken again. However, the congestion and especially the dyspepsia was very grave, and the cough which had been suppressed by morphine returned. It was then that I treated my patient with phosphate of lime, the pate and the Vin Mariani. Lacking his habitual stimulant, he was plunged in a semi-coma from which he could not always be relieved with weaker daily doses of morphine.”

“The danger I feared most was a relapse of bronchitis, and that the cough and expectoration might end fatally. But in about a week, during which he took ten doses of Pate de Coca daily, the cough became less fatiguing and disappeared entirely in about twenty days. The patient then commenced to take small doses of Vin Mariani (two Madeira-glasses a day). At first congestion appeared, but little by little, as digestion became more easy, my patient, who on account of his profound anӕmia could not tolerate any table wines, took at first a small glass, then two, then three glasses at a meal. Now he can go and take his dinner in town, which he had not been able to do for three years; he regained his former vigor, is able to undertake anew his occupations, and has entirely given up his morphine habit.”

From “The Treatment of Opium Addiction”
J.B. Mattison MD, NY 1885

“Should there be minor discomfort, one-half-ounce doses of fld. ext. coca, every second hour, have a good effect. Cases occasionally require nothing else. If, however, as usually occurs, despite the coca, the characteristic restlessness sets in, we give full doses of fluid extract of cannabis indica, and repeat it every hour, second hour, or less often, as may be required. When the disquiet is not marked, this will control.”

“Having thus crossed the opiate Rubicon, treatment relates, largely, to the debility and insomnia. For the former, of internal tonic-stimulants, coca leads the list.”

“On the discovery of cocaine, it was thought its use, hypodermically, might prove of value in the treatment of this disorder, and, on asserted foreign authority, somewhat extravagant claims. Statements were made of its merit in this regard; but repeated trials by the writer have failed to prove them, and, in his opinion, it is much inferior to a reliable fluid extract of coca.”

From: “The Modern Treatment of Alcoholism and Drug Narcotism”
C.A. McBride, MD, New York 1910

Cocaine is an alkaloid obtained from the coca leaves. The leaves themselves have a very
stimulating effect upon those who use them. The Indians of South America are known to chew coca leaves in order to enable them to carry heavy burdens over long distances and to climb mountains without undue fatigue. When taken in this form, the habit does not seem to be contracted in the same way as when the alkaloid cocaine is taken by itself. We ourselves have tested its use in connection with our army in order to ascertain whether our men could stand a more fatiguing march by its use than otherwise. For some reason or another we have not heard any- thing further of its use in that direction.

Athletes at one time were accustomed to chew the leaves before entering upon some strenuous competition. To a great extent I believe that that has also dropped out of fashion, but it is said that in some of the recent Marathon races a well-known athlete used these leaves to sustain his strength during the contest. That he came in fresher than most of his competitors might be accounted for in this way.

There are several preparations upon the market containing an extract of the leaves and sold as tonics. The general public will be well advised to take none of these preparations without first consulting their doctor.

From “The Opium Habit And Alcoholism, Including Their Therapeutic Indications”
(by) Dr. Fred Heman Hubbard 1881

Case No. 2. Mrs. Julia L., 31 years old,, 5 years married. The incentive inducing her to take the drug, was association with a sister who was an opium eater.

She possessed a delicate organization, with hysterical tendencies, enjoying, however, apparently good health before forming the habit, although her immediate friends supposed her to be consumptive. Seeing her sister take the drug, she would occasionally indulge, and being frail and easily influenced, soon formed the habit.

Patient No. 2 on coming under our observation, was consuming twelve grains of morphia per day. When she was fatigued by over-exertion, the dose was increased; the morphia supporting her during such emergencies, as the power to undergo physical endurance under its action is wonderful. While prostrating in the end, its direct effects are to sustain the system.

Our patient’s natural tendencies rendered her susceptible to the pestiferous effects of the poison, so that she early foil under its influence and was reduced to a skeleton. In appearance her skin was dark and jaundiced, indicating a degeneration of the nutritive constituents of the blood; the hair and nails ceased to grow, the latter becoming brittle, showing a suspension of their nutrition.

As is usual with opium eaters, anorexia and constipation aggravated her case. She had not menstruated since forming the habit, and had imagined herself to be with child for some months. During the tenth month of the practice, her family were horrified by her having a
hemorrhage, apparently from the lungs. It did not suggest itself to them that the habit was the exciting cause of the suppressed menses and its vicarious elimination from the system, by hemorrhage. Her strength failed progressively from this time, the hemorrhages recurring, with some degree of regularity, every three or four months. She was given up as irrevocably doomed to slow consumption, a weak, hacking cough giving color to the supposition.

We considered her case a desperate one and so informed her family. She insisted, however, upon being treated, if only that she might die free from the monster, opium.
In order to decrease her consumption of morphia slowly, we prescribed:

Cannabis Indica, 3 v.
Belladonna Tr ? vi.
Glycerine, ; xv.
Alcohol, § xx.

Salt Baths were ordered to be taken three times a week; the diet to include a liberal allowance of fruit and vegetables and a lemon or orange was ordered to be taken
before breakfast and on retiring. If the bowels in these cases do not respond to a fruit diet, it is necessary to facilitate their action every other day by an enema, consisting of one ounce of castor oil. As there was general poverty of the nerve centres in this case, we ordered syrup of bypophosphites, taken alternately every other week, with the following:

IJ. Iodide Lime, gr. x.
Phosphate Iron, 3 i-
Quinia, 3 i-
Lactopeptine, 3 ii-
Syrup simple, 3 v.

M. Sig. Teaspoonful at nine, three and nine o’clock.

During the subsequent forty days this patient’s improvement was phenomenal, and was accompanied by a ravenous appetite. She gained flesh at the rate of three pounds per week. Her bowels did not, however, relax, or show any disposition to regulate themselves, displaying an atonic condition, which it was absolutely necessary to overcome before a cure could be effected. On the thirty- fifth day of treatment she had a hemorrhage, more profuse than usual, succeeded by hemoptysis for three days.

The lime, iron and quinia were discontinued, and the following pill was given: —

r£. Ferri sul. gr. xv.
Colocynth, ext. gr. x.
Henbane, ext. gr. iv.
Leptandrin, gr. lii.
Podophyllin, gr. li.
Aloes, gr. iv.
Capsicum, gr. v.

M. Pills xxv. Sig. One pill after meals.

Some years previous to forming the habit, the patient had suffered dysmenorrhcea and leucorrhcea, receiving treatment at that time for ulceration of the os-uten An examination displayed a congested and thickened os with two or three cicatrixes, the results of former ulceration. On the seventieth day of treatment, she experienced for the first time expulsive pains, severe in character accompanied with backache and followed by leucorrhcea. Warm injections of castile soap water, preceded an injection of tea twice the strength of that commonly used at the table, and as warm as was consistent with comfort. The next morning we ordered the castile soap water repeated, using the following as a final vaginal injection.

5- Glycerine, iii.
Carbolic acid, 3 ii.
Camphor aqua, 3 i.
Aqua, 3 x.
This, in a measure, controlled the symptoms, but we were hastily called three days afterwards, and found the patient suffering general prostration. The bowels had not acted for three days, the movements excited by injections were unsatisfactory, giving no relief. Anorexia being complete, the sight or smell of food induced nausea.

With our present experience we would not pursue the course resorted to in her case, where the bowels were unrelaxed. As it was, the prescriptions Nos. 1 and 2 were stopped and baths ordered. Electricity was applied with sponges over the abdominal viscera and rectum, exciting a passage, which was, however, scant, and forced, and not sufficient to relieve the system. Calomel of the tenth trituration, with full doses of podophyllin, was administered during the evening. At four o’clock the following morning, we were called and informed by the messenger that our patient was dead, having breathed her last a few moments before. She was indeed dead to all appearances, being in hysterical catalepsy, with no appreciable action of the heart or respiratory muscles.

She had suffered greatly during the night, vomiting incessantly, with no action upon the part of the bowels. We administered, hypodermically, one-half grain of morphia, when a little cold water sprinkled in the face excited reflex centric spinal action and revived her.

This instance only confirmed the conviction that it is impossible to cure the opium habit, and bridge the patient over the crisis, without having the bowels freely relaxed.

The condition unmistakably indicates – and the indication should not be misinterpreted – a state of the nerves’ periphery, which affects the system at large by a reflex action, showing that nature is oppressed by some obstacle which precludes the possibility of an immediate cure. The indications are broadly presented, demanding that no further effort be made to reduce the dose. The patient should be put on the smallest amount of opium consistent with a quiescent state of the nerves, and means should be taken to build up the general health by the judicious administration of tonics, to excite deposits of nutritive principles that give tone and strength to the nervous system.

A rule, scrupulously to be observed, is not to allow the patient to advance into the crisis until the bowels have freely relaxed, involving the entire canal. The crisis is a condition following the withdrawal of the last infinitesimal amount of opium. In preparation for it, patients may be kept as near the verge as the physician wishes, and they will improve, it being only a question of time when their improvement will revivify theantonic nerves.

The activity of the nerves’ periphery, presiding over the abdominal viscery, will be a true criterion of their condition throughout the system and a signal for the treatment to be resumed in safety, with victory near at hand. Drastic cathartics will not facilitate the action of the bowels, as paralyzed nerves recognize no such master.

We kept our patient on a small quantity of opium, slowly reducing that amount every third day, allowing the system time to recuperate. We prescribed the following:

IJ. Morphia, 3 ii.
Alcohol, 5 v.
Glycerine, 3 vi.
Aqua, I vii

M. Sig. Teaspoonful after meals.

Bottle No. 2 contained :

B/. Cannabis Indica, 3 vi.
Belladonna Tr. § iii.
Alcohol, 3 iv.
Ginger Tr. 3 v.
Gentian comp. Tr. 3 vi.
Syrup Ferri Iodide, 3 iv.

M. sig. Every third day replace what is taken from

No. 1, with the above.

“We directed the patient’s husband to inform us at once when her bowels fully relaxed. Thirty-seven days afterwards our presence was requested ; we found her greatly improved in every respect, presenting quite a natural appearance, her bowels having relaxed the previous night, moving twelve times before morning, with accompanying expulsive pains and profuse vaginal secretions, her catamenia appearing for the first time in three years. The attendants kept the first large discharge for our inspection, as it excited their curiosity by its peculiarity of character. It consisted of a mass of black coagulated matter, thickly studded with fibrinous laminae, or flakes, emitting a putrid odor; also a mass of remarkably bard scybala, baving stamped on their surface the imprint of numerous crescentic folds from the columnar epithelium, showing that it must have remained impact in one spot for some time. The relief experienced by the patient was complete, although she was exhausted. Prescriptions Nos. 1 and 2 were stopped and the patient was given one grain of quinia every hour, with instructions to chew coca leaves, retaining the juice extracted, which enabled her to pass safely through the crisis, without suffering nervous irritability. Within five days she was doing housework.”

“A letter from her brother, who is also a physician, written two years later, gives a glowing account of her perfect health, hemorrhages and other phthisical symptoms having disappeared, menstrual functions being normal, while her former frail state was entirely gone and replaced by robust health.”

Editor’s Conclusion

I have a wide range of friends and colleagues in and outside of the medical and scientific communities, and I am always impressed by the range of reactions that they have to information from their long-ago peers – the doctors and scientists of the 18th & 19th Centuries. On any given subject their opinions generally fall on a normal curve.

On one tail of the normal curve are those who, while not doubting the sincerity of these long-dead writers, simply don’t see how the knowledge that they gathered during their lifetimes of research and practice could possibly be relevant today. There is simply no arguing with these people – one can usually spot them because of how fond they are of using the royal “We” when talking about the medical approach they are taking, e.g. “We believe that this treatment will be best for you…”

On the other tail of the normal curve are those who feel that for all the advances in medical hardware technology, bio-technology, diagnostic and imaging technology etc – they feel that these old-time doctors who had only their hands, eyes, ears, nose, and a lifetime of being intimately involved with their patients, must have had a set of sense-based tools that modern physicians simply don’t have. As an example I have one doctor friend who tells me, and I completely believe her, that she can smell certain kinds of cancer long before it is detectable by technology. Well, it is well-known that there are dogs that can do this – so why not humans? And of course there are many, many doctors who turn to the ancient herbal remedies and give them a chance to do their healing work long before they are forced to use the toxic tools of Pig Pharma.

And then there are all those physicians and practitioners who fall under the great central bell of the curve. They don’t think much about the knowledge of the past, but they don’t discredit it either. The problem that this group has is that the knowledge of the past is almost totally lost to both them and to society. Physicians don’t encounter it in their medical training, and scientists only encounter it as a vague set of building blocks upon which modern medicine and technology has been erected (unless they are those rare birds who actually study the history of science and medicine).

In this blog I am working to discover and bring forth lost knowledge for the potential benefit of those doctors and scientists who dwell in the progressive forward tail of the curve and all those moderate souls who are positioned under the great center of the curve. I try not to speak for the voices of the past but to recover them and give them a venue where their knowledge is available to be re-discovered, by doctors and scientists certainly but more importantly by intelligent people from all walks of life who are seeking to understand the great secrets of living long, and well, and in the full vigor and creative energy that is life at its best.

Those who have ears, let them hear; those who have eyes, let them see.


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Opium As A Medicine – The View From 1700 AD

Editor’s Note:

I am in the process of digitizing a lengthy and fascinating book from 1700 by Dr. John Jones entitled “The Mysteries of Opium Revealed”. This is a rather tedious process because the only accessible copy of the book is a static, scanned .pdf file of the original, and printing in 1700 wasn’t exactly of the highest quality to begin with (as you can see if you click on the link above to the original book). So what I am doing is using voice recognition software followed by intensive editing because my 21st century software simply doesn’t recognize a lot of the words and spelling in the original text. When complete, as with the very old Coca books I am bringing back to life, the digitized edition of this book will feature a hyperlinked TOC and Bibliography as well as internal search capabilities and other useful features for researchers and casual readers alike.

Well, that’s probably more than you want to know about my process – so let’s get to the outcome. In this post I am offering Chapter 4 of Dr. Jones’ book in which he discusses, at length, the many pros and cons of the moderate use of Opium as a medicine. Keep in mind that this was written over 300 years ago, when Opium was still a relatively new phenomenon in Europe. These were the days when Coffee, Tobacco and Tea were also quite new in European societies and when each of these novel and highly psycho-active substances were beginning to cause major ripples in these societies. (Remember King James “Counterblaste To Tobacco”?) The moralizers were already out in force, declaring all mind-altering substances to be harbingers of doom for civilized society (as they liked to style themselves).

Of course these same morality police just loved sitting in hard wooden pews that functioned as sounding boards for the mighty organ at the front of the church, sending delicious vibrations up the spines of the assembled worshipers, who complemented these spinal vibrations by droning hymns that resonated with the vibrations rising from their ass. Now THAT was a great way to get high and besides, it was approved directly by God – speaking through his priestly hierarchy of course. (Sometime I’ll share with you the story of why we all say “Bless you!” when someone sneezes.)

This post is Chapter 4 of Dr. Jones lengthy and insightful treatise. I will post further chapters from time to time, and will let followers of this blog know when the entire book is available as a new hyperlinked, searchable PDF rather than as a muddy, scanned version of the original.

(from): The Mysteries Of Opium Revealed

By Dr. John Jones, 1700, Chancellor of Landass, a Member of the College of Physicians in London, and formerly Fellow of the Jesus College in Oxford

Who

  1. Gives an account of the Name, Make, Choice Effects etc. Of Opium;
  2. Proves all former Opinions of its Operation to be Mere Chimera;
  3. Demonstrates what its TRUE Cause is by which he Easily and Mechanically explains all (even its most mysterious effects);
  4. Shews its Noxious Principle, and how to separate it, thereby rendering it a Safe and Noble Panacea; whereof:
  5. He shows the Palliative and Curative use.

 

Chapter IV – “The Mysteries Of Opium Revealed”

The Effects Of Opium Used Internally In A Moderate Dose

  1. The moderate dose in ordinary use, to produce the following effects, is one to three grains, (more or less) according to circumstances, Condition, Case, Constitution, Age etc. of the person who takes it.
  2. It operates generally in a short time after it is in the stomach, that is, about a half an hour (more or less) if taken in a liquid form; and in about an hour (more or less) if taken in a solid form, drinking a draught of water, or some liquor, after it; otherwise it may be sometimes near an hour and a half before it has its full effect. But the time of its operation has a considerable latitude, according to the disposition of the stomach, and other circumstances, as the vehicle it is taken in, etc.

 

Class One: The Constant Effects of Opium, Used Internally In A Moderate Dose

  1. It causes a most agreeable, pleasant and charming sensation about the region of the stomach, which, if one lies or sits still, diffuses itself in a kind of indefinite manner, seizing one not unlike the gentle sweet delirium that we find upon our entrance into a most agreeable slumber which, upon yielding to it, generally ends in sleep. But if the person keeps himself in action, discourse, or business it seems ( especially when given in a morning, after a moderate rest at night) like a most extraordinary and delicious refreshment of the spirits upon very good news, or any other great cause of joy, as the sight of a dearly beloved person thought to have been lost at sea, or the like, causing such a pleasant ovation of the spirits, serenity, etc. as we find after a competent measure of generous “Wine ad Hilaritatem” (as men used to say).

It is indeed so unexpectedly fine and sweet a pleasure that it is very difficult for me to describe, or any    to conceive it, but such as actually feel it; for ‘tis as if a good genius possessed or informed a man; therefore people do commonly call it a heavenly condition, as if no worldly pleasure was to be compared with it.

It has been compared (not without good cause) to a permanent gentle degree of that pleasure which modesty forbids the naming of; and ‘tis well worth a remark, that both are pleasures of the same sense, viz., that of “feeling”, for it cannot be a pleasure of any other sense, since it is internal.

  1. It causes a brisk, gay and good humor: nor do I doubt but it has this effect upon the sleeping person, as far as their condition is capable of observing it; for you shall have them often tell of pleasant dreams after it, when they remember them, and speak of any experiences they have enjoyed.
  2. It causes promptitude, serenity, alacrity, and expeditiousness in dispatching and managing of business. To which end, and that of a good and gay humor (which are near of kind) is commonly taken in the morning in the Eastern countries, with most certain effect.

(The truth of which Wedelius is forced to confess, though quite contrary to his hypothesis of Opium’s fixing and coagulating the spirits, giving an instance of “a certain serene person who when she had any affair of any great moment to dispatch did (beforehand) take Opium with great advantage, for she found herself in every way better disposed for business, and more enabled to bear the fatigue thereof.”

Many other authors confirm the truth of these effects but (above all) the constant experience of the Eastern nations, puts it all out of doubt.

  1. It causes assurance, ovation of the spirits, courage, contempt of danger, and magnanimity, much after the manner that generous wine does, instead of which the Turks etc. use Opium before engagements, desperate attacks, etc. (as it is most notorious) to make them courageous, which it certainly does. Historians also add that when the Great Turk makes a considerable war, the soldiers buy up all or most of the Opium, which may be worth a merchant’s observation, for it thereupon grows dear, and is much cheaper in times of peace.
  2. It prevents and takes away grief, fear, anxiety, peevishness, fretfulness, etc. These are necessary consequences of the former effects.
  3. It causes euphoria, or easy undergoing of all labors, journeys etc., and that far beyond wines and hot cordials or spirits; therefore it is very much used in Turkey and the Eastern countries in laborious undertakings, great journeys, etc. which men perform by the help of Opium, after a prodigious and almost incredible manner. But the matter of fact is so common and usual that there is no place of doubt; besides, that some who tried it among us, have found it so.
  4. It lulls, soothes and (as it were) charms the mind with satisfaction, acquiescence, contentment, equanimity, etc. How could it fail to cause these effects, since it causes all of the former gay, pleasant and brave humours?

Dr. Willis, and others, having no true experience or knowledge of Opium imagined that it causes courage, bravery, equanimity, etc. by stupefying the senses, brain etc. and making people inadvertent, dull, and inapprehensive; which is a GREAT MISTAKE, and a groundless conceit, for it is a most certain truth (which millions can affirm) that it produces those effects by an ovation and pleasure of the sensitive soul and spirits, as generous wine does before men become fuddled or are overcome with it. How else could they at the same time be more serene, and apt for the management of any business, and neat dispatch of affairs, as it is most certain they are? These fundamental mistakes about Opium have been (as you will find hereafter) one great cause why its operations have puzzled and baffled all enquirers.

  1. It quiets, allays, and composes all perturbations and commotions of the spirits ( or sensitive soul), blood, humours etc. as in hysterical cases, fevers that proceed from passions, as anger, grief, terrors etc; from violent motion, labor, heat, journeys, convulsions etc. or from pain; and stops bleedings that proceed from such commotions.
  2. It causes a relaxation of all the sensible parts of the body, as the membranous and nervous: this is notorious by its effects, as causing perspiration, sweat, relaxation of sphincters, dilation of the pupil of the eye, relaxation of the cornea, and all other effects of relaxation, as you’ll find more particularly hereafter.
  3. It causes indolence, or exemption from pain ( as all know and allow) and that when sleep does not intervene.
  4. It stops, moderates, cures or palliates all fluzes, excepting those by the pores, or such as depend (as that does) upon relaxation, as when sphincters are weak or paralytical; but these last are unnatural accidents.
  5. It mightily promotes insensible perspiration.
  6. It prevents shivering in Ague fits and such-like cases, if given time and quantity, which shall be shown in the curative section of this book.
  7. It prevents and cures colds.
  8. It causes a larger and slower pulse, supposing no accidental cause to the contrary.
  9. It causes dryness of the mouth.
  10. It has most effect in warm and moist weather.
  11. It has most effect upon lax and fine-textured persons as women, children, etc, therefore women use it in Turkey and the other Eastern countries where it is also commonly used by men.
  12. It causes an efflorescence of the skin, barring accidents of cold, etc.
  13. It is observed by all that it mainly effects the Genus Nervosum, and animal spirits, and not the blood and humours.
  14. It increases seed in some measure.
  15. It causes a great promptitude to venery, erections etc. especially if the dose be larger than ordinary; which I would not have men believe without experimenting it; not that I fear to be confuted but less any should injure themselves by too great a dose.

This is one great cause (if not the chief) why the infidels of Turkey and the eastern nations (especially where Polygamy is allowed, as among the Turks, etc.) use Opium so much, it never failing to produce this effect in hale and healthy people, if the dose be sufficient; as it is too notorious in all (or most) countries from Greece to Japan inclusively, who use Opium for that end.

It does ( I confess) look like a riddle, that a most relaxing and stupefying medicament, which takes away the sense of feeling (and consequently irritations to venery, as one would think) should notwithstanding irritate thereunto causing erections etc. however it is most certain, tho’ a seeming contradiction, of which sort you have many more among the effects of Opium.

Class Two: Useful and Frequent (tho’ not constant) Effects of Opium, Used Internally In Moderate Dose

  1. Sleep, which is so far from being a constant effect of Opium that it will, in me, and many other persons, prevent sleeping, even when otherwise inclined to do so
  2. Pleasant dreams
  3. Stopping of Vomiting
  4. Stifling the hiccups
  5. Taking off convulsions and contractions
  6. Causing meat to stay long in the stomach
  7. Moderation and prevention of hunger
  8. Sweating
  9. The flowing of the Menses, tho’ not observed by vulgar physicians
  10. The flowing of the Lochia, which is as little observed
  11. Voiding of the stone
  12. Delivery of women
  13. Deadness of the eyes, as you see in drunkenness
  14. Growth of the breasts, penis, and increase of milk
  15. Dilatation of the pupil
  16. Venereal dreams
  17. Nocturnal pollutions
  18. Itchings in the skin
  19. Much urine
  20. Nausea
  21. Swimming in the head
  22. Watching
  23. A kind of dubious state, between sleeping and waking
  24. It stops hemorrhages in many cases

Many more instances of this kind might be given of its frequent and usual effects in diseases, but it would be endless and needless, since we have mentioned the prime, general and fundamental effects upon which all such do depend, and that the particular enumeration of its effects in diseases belongs to its curative and palliative virtue, which will be handled hereafter.

Class Three: The Rare Effects of Opium, Taken in a Moderate Dose

1. Temporary palsies, as of the bladder, and sometimes of other parts, tho’ very rarely

  1. Faltering of the tongue
  2. Looseness of the lower jaw, as in the drowsie, drunkards, etc.
  3. Prevention of sweat, in such as sweat too much for want of perspiration
  4. Abortion
  5. Prevention of abortion in some cases
  6. Tumescence of the lips
  7. Curing of the Dropsie, of which Dr. Willis gives an instance
  8. Curing of stupors of some sorts, as those from colds etc.
  9. Anxieties and Distresses
  10. Vomiting and hiccups
  11. Convulsions
  12. Syncopes, leipothimies, and faintings
  13. Death, tho’ very rarely, and that in very weak people
  14. Purging
  15. Raising and reviving some persons that are just expiring
  16. A long stay thereof at Stomach sometimes
  17. Stoppage of Urine
  18. It sometimes proves dangerous after hemorrhages and large evacuations

Notes On The Classes Of Effects

  1. Note: that the first class of effects being the most constant, are the most proper, genuine and principal effects, upon which other effects depend, unless they are accidental. It must therefore be that these should guide us in the disquisition of the cause of operation of Opium.
  2. Note: that the second class, though not so constant, are natural effects of Opium, and will also be a good guide for the same purpose.
  3. Note: that there is but little notice to be taken of the rare effects for that purpose, because most are accidental.

The Effects Of Going Off (or Declination) of the Operation of Opium, taken internally in a Moderate Dose

  1. A general return of all the diseases and disasters that Opium palliated during its operation, unless it happens that some are cured thererby; which ( if they be) is generally by the benefit of sweat, or insensible perspiration; as colds, pain from wind, or humours, that should have been passed by the pores; as in coughs, toothache, etc. from construction of the pores, or by composing the fury of the spirit, or blood, which it very often ( yea, generally) cures with one single dose.
  2. Sweat, tho’ not constantly
  3. Frequent making of water, sometimes
  4. A looseness (sometimes) even when there was none before the giving of the Opium
  5. Diseases seeming worse than before the taking of it
  6. A melancholy and sad depression of the spirits
  7. A narrow pulse
  8. Itching of the skin.

End Of Chapter 4

 


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A Rational Perspective On The Opium Poppy

Readers of this blog have encountered the remarkable Sir George Birdwood before in my previous post “A Dismal End To The War On Drugs Predicted – in 1885”.

Birdwood was not only a strong voice of reason arguing for an enlightened approach to Opium regulation, but was also an informed observer of the realities of Opium in India and China, as well as a vigorous critic of the actions of the British Government acting through its commercial surrogate the British East India Company to wage war on China for the “right” to addict the Chinese people for profit.

I am writing “The Poppy Juice Papers” in order to argue, as I am doing with regard to Coca Leaf, that access to this great natural medicine should not be denied to individuals who choose to grow their own poppies. As I describe in my book “The International Cultivators Handbook: Coca, Opium & Hashish” the Opium Poppy is just about the easiest plant in the world to grow and harvest, and offers anyone with the faintest tinge of green on their thumb to produce a fine personal crop of pure, natural Opium. I would not argue for unrestricted rights to grow Opium Poppies on a commercial scale in order to produce Morphine and Heroin, any more than I am arguing that Coca Leaf ought to be freely available for commercial production of Cocaine.

Cocaine is the product of the industrial manipulation of the natural medicinal Coca Leaf, just as Morphine and Heroin are industrial manipulations of the Poppy Flower, and the insidious motivations behind these industrial products – which do have some limited health benefits – do not, in my mind, justify allowing them to be exploited by criminal syndicates on either side of the law. The Cartels and the DEA’s of the world are simply two sides of organized criminal enterprise – as is all government, to a large degree. But the natural medicines that are the gift of nature, whether the Coca Leaf or the Poppy Flower, ought to be as freely available to any person who wants and needs them as is the right to choose a God to believe in and worship, whatever others may think of one’s choice.

That said, I am certain that readers of this blog will enjoy the fine mind and acute perceptions of Sir George Birdwood in this short essay as he dissects the myths and the realities of Opium in China. You will encounter his work in other equally interesting contexts when “The Poppy Juice Papers” is finally published early in 2015.

(Please note that I have not “corrected” Birdwood’s spelling, which is of course impeccable by 1800’s standards but out-of-date today.)

Opium Smoking
Sir George Birdwood
January 17, 1882

Opium smoking, which is the Chinese form of using the drug, for which the Indian Government is specially held responsible, is, to say the least in its favour, an infinitely milder indulgence. I hold it to be absolutely harmless. I do not place it simply m the same category with even tobacco smoking, for tobacco smoking may, in itself, if carried into excess, be injurious, particularly to young people under 25; but I mean that opium smoking in itself is as harmless as smoking willow bark or inhaling the smoke of a peat fire or vapour of boiling water.

Opinions, of course, differ. Medhurst (“China”) is the weightiest lay authority against it, and Marsden (“Sumatra,” pp. 278-279). In its defence. Professor O’Shaughnessy (“Bengal Dispensatory,” pp. 180-181) admits that what is recorded against it applies only to the abuse of the practice. Dr. Oxley, quoted in Crawford’s “Dictionary”(p. 313), Dr. Smith (“Lancet,” Feb. 19, 1842, quoted at sufficient length by Pereira, Dr. Eatwell (“ Pharmaceutical Journal,” 1851-52, pp. 264-265), and Dr. Impey (in his Report on Malwa opium) all protest against the indiscriminate condemnation directed by prejudiced or malicious writers against it.

I have not seen Surgeon-General Moore’s recent paper on opium in the “Indian Medical Gazette,” but I gather from a notice of it quoted from the “Calcutta Englishman” in the “Homeward Mail “ of the 14th of November last, that it supplies a most exhaustive and able vindication of the perfect morality of the revenue derived by the Indian Government from the manufacture and sale of opium to the Chinese.

He quotes from Dr. Ayres, “No China resident believes in the terrible frequency of the dull, sodden-witted, debilitated opium smoker met with in print.” and from Consul Lay: “In China the spendthrift, the men of lewd habits, the drunkard, and a large assortment of bad characters, slide into the opium-smoker; hence the drug seems to be chargeable with all the vices of the country.”

Mr. Gregory, Her Majesty’s Consul at Swatow, says Dr. Moore, never saw a single case of opium intoxication, though living for months and travelling for hundreds of miles among opium smokers.

Dr. Moore directly confirms my own statement of the Chinese having been great drinkers of alcohol before they took to smoking opium. I find, also, in a remarkable collection of folk-lore (“Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio,” by Herbert A. Giles), evidence in almost every chapter of the universal drinking habits of the Chinese before the introduction of opium among them, notwithstanding that the use of alcohol is opposed to the cardinal precepts of Buddhism. What Dr. Moore says of the freedom of opium-smokers from bronchial and thoracic diseases is deserving of the deepest consideration.

I find that, on the other hand, the Chinese converts to Christianity suffer greatly from consumption. The missionaries will not allow them to smoke, and, as they also forbid their marrying while young, after the wise custom, founded on an experience of thousands of years, of their country, they fall into those depraved, filthy habits of which consumption is everywhere the inexorable witness and scourge. When spitting of blood comes on the opium pipe is its sole alleviation. The opium, as retailed to the smokers, is already diminished by various admixtures in narcotic power, and is, apparently, still more so by it’s preparation in the form of pure “smokeable extract.”

Then the pill so prepared is placed in a flame, where it is instantly set ablaze. It blazes furiously, and its vapour is at the same instant inhaled into the throat and lungs in one inspiration.

But none of the active principles of opium are volatilizable! And if any one of your readers will get Indian opium, as retailed in the bazaars, and prepare pure chandoo from it, and smoke as many pills of it as he pleases, in the above manner, he will find that they will not produce the slightest effect on him, or any one else, one way or the other, beyond causing that pleasant and peaceful warmth throughout the body which comes of sitting over a peat fire on a chilly day, or inhaling the fragrant vapour from a bowl of whisky toddy as you stir the boiling water into it, or, for that, from the simple steam issuing from a jug of boiling water.

I conclude myself that nothing passes from the deflagrating chandoo pill into the lungs but the volatile resinous constituents of opium. At least, if this be the fact, it explains the antiseptic and prophylactic action of opium-smoking in the pulmonary affections of the Chinese.

I conclude (my chemistry is of 1850-54 and quite out of date) that the rarefied resinous vapour inhaled protects the surface of the bronchial passages and lungs from the outer air, and that, when consumption has once set in, this empyreumatic vapour has the effect of checking the suppuration. This might be tested at the Brompton Hospital. Only one inspiration is taken from each pill, and the residuum is then mixed up with such drugs as Indian hemp, Tobacco, and nux vomica, and resold at a greatly reduced rate to the poorer smokers. It is really this tye-chandoo, or “refuse chandoo” that has given opium smoking so bad a name among superficial and untrained observers. But even in respect of it, considering the exhaustive incineration the pill undergoes in being smoked, I doubt whether anything but harmless smoke passes into the lungs.

It is the general debauched habits of the lower outcast populations of the cities of China which are really responsible for their cachetic appearance, and not the accidental circumstance that some of them indulge in opium smoking. As to the alleged special aphrodisiac properties of opium, I discredit them altogether. At all events, it must never be forgotten, as a factor which tends to confuse even expert observation that is not severely verified, of any such alleged effect, that throughout the East the great majority of the people are always deliberately plying themselves with aphrodisiacs or reputed aphrodisiacs. The whole system of Eastern medicine seems based on the idea of the aphrodisiac or anti-aphrodisiac properties of things. European medical men are pestered all their days in the East, from Morocco to Shanghai, by simple natives persistently supplicating them for some potent aphrodisiac of which it is believed they have the golden secret. I know a medical officer who, when serving in the Indian Navy, was followed from port to port, all up and down the Persian Gulf, by a picturesque old Arab Chief in quest of aphrodisiac pills, and nothing would content him but to have them, although they consisted only of pellets of bread crumbs rolled in magnesia.

Every medical man who has practised in the East is familiar also with the phenomenon of the sudden wasting away, in body, mind, and soul, of the healthiest and most beautiful and intellectual boys on their reaching the critical period of adolescence. At the other critical period, between 45 and 50, the best and strongest of good men also suddenly turn bad, and “go to the dogs” utterly. Opium has nothing to do with these sad catastrophes of daily occurrence; while I am •convinced that some form of smoking might often prevent them.

Those, indeed, who can believe that opium is injurious to the morality of the Chinese can have little idea of what morality means in Eastern Asia – much less immorality. I need add no more. I do not seek to support any particular financial or commercial policy in India. I desire simply to instruct the consciences of my countrymen.

I have been charged with having a private purpose to serve by the argument I have taken in this controversy. The views I hold on opium I first stated as a student in a discussion before the Royal Medical Society of Edinburgh. In a work I published before 1868 on the “Vegetable Products of Western India,” which went through two editions, I maintained the same views, founded on facts gathered from every region of the globe. I might, therefore, be credited with now writing on the subject from strict conviction. I hold opium smoking, in short, to be a strictly harmless indulgence, like any other smoking, and the essence of its pleasure to be, not in the opium itself so much as in the smoking it.

If something else were put in the pipe instead of opium, that something else would gradually become just as popular as opium, although it might not incidentally prove so beneficial. It was in this way that the Red Indians took to smoking willow bark in place of tobacco, which was too costly for them. It is in this wav that one is often able to substitute harmless prescriptions for harmful philters among the nympholeptic sons of Ham and Turan.

In China and the Indian Archipelago, and wherever else opium is smoked, we ought to endeavour to supply it as pure and cheap as possible. It makes milder smoking than tobacco, and is evidently beneficial in many ways; and we may rest assured that mankind, where it has once taken to it, will never give up smoking either opium, tobacco, or some other such stuff, however silly it may look. It is not really sillier than eating and drinking, or any other natural action, to look at, while it is undoubtedly one of the least alloyed of the pleasures of the senses, if, indeed, it may not be said to be almost a supersensuous pleasure; for it seems, in some way past searching out, to possess the true magic which spiritualises sense.


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Coca Leaf, Hashish, & Poppy Juice – A Perspective From 1871

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Just as Coca Leaf was rather deliberately turned into the plague of Cocaine, the natural juice of the Opium Poppy was quite purposefully turned into the plague of morphine and heroin. But this wasn’t because people were growing their own Coca plants and Poppies and then setting up labs to convert their garden’s production into high powered toxic drugs that they used to addict little kiddos at the neighborhood playground. It was because the same commercial and political interests that profit today from the “War On Drugs” were around centuries ago profiting from taking pure, natural drugs like Coca leaf and Poppy juice and finding ways to make them irresistibly addictive in order to grow more rich and more powerful at the expense of millions of destroyed lives.

So as long as I have my wits about me – and at my age that is always an iffy proposition – I intend to keep speaking out on what I think is one of the great travesties in history which is the fear and loathing that established powers-that-be feel toward anything that is free and natural and potent and creates happiness and a desire for freedom from oppression. The withered souls that inhabit the halls of power, whether political, religious, corporate or inherited wealth have always opposed even the slightest degree of freedom for the People and have given way only inch by inch, and that grudgingly, as awareness of their evil game has increased over the years.

My hope is to move that frontier forward an inch or two by these efforts. Please join me any way that you can.

Opium And The Opium-Appetite: With Notices Of Alcoholic Beverages, Cannabis Indica, Tobacco And Coca, Coffee And Tea, And Their Hygienic Aspects and Pathologies Related By Alonzo Calkins, MD 1871

Chapter XXV: Opium And Cannabis Indica Contrasted

“Fallax Herba veneni.” – Virgil.

“That juice – the bane, And blessing of man’s heart and brain – That draught of sorcery, which brings Phantoms of fair forbidden things.” – Moore

The authorities upon Cannabis besides those to be specified are Rhases, Kaempfer, D’Herbelot, Herault, Mantegazza, and others. The solid extract (which is procured from the summitates of the herb) is called Hashisch in Arabia, Gunjah and Chumts in India (where it is also familiarly known as the “Herbe des Fakirs”), Bust or Shoera in Egypt, El Mogen by the Moors, and among the Hottentots Dacha or Dagga (Von Bibra). Bangue (Bang) or Bendji is the spirituous extract.

Cannabis as a stimulating narcotic has for some centuries at the shortest been known and familiarly used in India, Persia, Bokhara, and other countries, and in some of the Islands. In Egypt, particularly among the lower orders, it takes precedence of opium, and is chewed or sometimes smoked from the gozeh (Lane). Bhang – the more active preparation – is conspicuous for its inebriative and delirative operation.

The Massagetce (as is related by Herodotus), a people on the Araxes, had a seed (conjectured to have been this same seed of Indian Hemp or perhaps of the Datura), which thrown upon hot stones sent forth a vapor that excited boisterous mirth and shout- ing. Davis the navigator on visiting Sumatra found such a seed, a little only of which being eaten gave to every object a metamorphosed appearance and turned the man for the time into a fool. Dampier observed among the natives of this island an herb which produced exhilaration and then stupefaction, making the eater lively or dull, witty or foolish, or merry or sad, according to the predominant temperament.

Hashisch far surpasses opium in relative power. A dose of twenty centigrammes of the resinoid repeated three or four times shows activity in half an hour, but the full effect is not attained short of three times this space. The duration of action is three to four hours (Steeze of Bucharest). Irregularity and uncertainty in action are doubtless to be ascribed to adulteration (Schroff).

The full impression once produced the brain is speedily affected with a sensation of extraordinary elasticity and lightness and the senses become wondrously acute, a tingling as from an electric shock is felt shooting from the spinal centre to the periphery of the body, the vault of the cranium is lifted off as it were by the expansive force within, the skull seeming as if enlarged to the dimensions of a colossus; and now with one impetuous rebound the experimenter rises above this low commonplace of terrene existence to soar in a purer ether above.

If still conscious of a lingering upon the confines of earth he sways himself along in a balancing gait as though he were under a sort of ivresse. External impressions as from the pricking of a pin or a stroke from the hand may perchance pass unheeded. Objects in the immediate range seem invested with an unwonted splendor, human faces take on a seraphic lustre, and the man for the time feels himself to be possessed of the power of ubiquity. According to the varying humor things around may seem to have assumed a fantastic dress, when peals of laughter will break forth; or suddenly a change will have come over the spirit, when under the impressions produced by lugubrious images and depressing apprehensions the mind will be wrapped in cloudiness and gloom (Polli).

The appetite is assisted by moderate doses but made ravenous for the time by large ones, and the digestive function is correspondingly aroused while constipation is obviated, and the various secernent processes go on in their normal way (Dr. Teste). Not until after long-continued and excessive use does appetite decline, as is observable of the Arabs, says Auber, who finally get fleshless and withered as the general tendency to decay becomes more distinct and progressive.

An excessive dose hinders the approach of sleep; a moderate one brings on a sopor speedy and irresistible. This sleep may be profound and stertorous, or it may partake more of the dreaminess of ecstasy. In the story of Mahmoud lord of the Black Isles, the wife, to cover up her absence for the night, administers just before going out a powder that soporizes him immediately and effectually for the time, or until she shall return again to awaken him with a perfume placed under the nostrils.

This powder there is reason for believing was some preparation (simple or compounded) of the hemp. In another of the stories of the “Nights,” that of the Jew Physician, is a similar incident described. So the chamberlain of Ala-ed-Deen is suddenly thrown into a profound sleep by the use of a powder which Ahmed Kamakim an arch-thief throws upon his face. Unlike that after the opium-sleep, the sensation on awaking is one of refreshing.

The mental condition is an ideal existence, the most vivid, the most fascinating. Time and space both seem to have expanded by an enormous magnification; pigmies have swelled to giants, mountains have grown out of molehills, days have enlarged to years and ages. De Moria in wending his way one evening to the opera house, seemed to himself to have been three years in traversing the corridor. De Saulcy having once fallen into a state of insensibility following upon incoherent dreamings, fancied he had lived meanwhile a hundred years. Rapidity as well as intensity of thought is a noticeable phenomenon. De Lucca after swallowing a dose of the paste saw as in a flitting panorama the various events of his entire life all proceeding in orderly succession, though he was powerless in the attempt to arrest and detain a single one of them for a more deliberate con- templation. Memory is sometimes very singularly modified nevertheless, there being perhaps a forgetfulness not of the object but of its name proper, or the series of events that transpired during the paroxysm may have passed away into a total oblivion.

The normal mental condition is that of an exuberant enjoyance rather than the opposite, that of melancholy and depression, though the transition from the one state to the other may be as extreme as it is swift. Oftener the subject is kept revolving in a delirious whirl of hallucinatory emotions, when images the most grotesque and illusions the drollest and most fantastic crowd along, one upon another, with a celerity almost transcending thought (Mirza Abdul Roussac).

Command over the will is maintainable, but temporarily only. As self-control declines the mind is swayed by the mere fortuitous vagaries of the fancy; and now it is that the dominant characteristic or mental proclivity has its real apocalypsis. The outward expression may reveal itself under a show of complacency and contentment in view of things around, or suspicion, distrust, and querulousness of disposition may work to the surface, or maybe a lordly hauteur that exacts an unquestioning homage from the “profanum vulgus” by virtue of an affected superiority over common mortals, is the ruling idea of the hour; or peradventure the erotic impulses may for the time overshadow and disguise all others.

Amid the ever-shifting spectacular scene the sense of personal identity is never perhaps entirely lost, but there does arise in very rare instances the notion of a duality of existence; not the Persian idea precisely, that of two souls occupying one and the same body in a joint-stock association as it were (the doctrine as alluded to by Xenophon in the story of the beautiful Panthea), but rather the idea of one and the same, soul in duplication or bipartition else, and present in two bodies.

The rapturous deliglits inspired by the beatific visions thus find expression in an exclamation of an aged Brahmin: “O sahib, sahib, you can never know what perfect pleasure is until you see as I have seen and feel as I have felt – spectacles the most gorgeous, perfumes the most delicious, music the most transporting and bewildering.”

The inspiration of the Pythian priestess at Delphi has been attributed to opium and again to hashisch, and not unlikely both conspired to the effect. This improvisatore power was amusingly developed one day in a pupil of Dr. O’Shaughnessy’s, upon a trial of ten minims of the tincture. The young man in the ecstasy of the excitement assumed the airs and language of an Indian rajah, talking learnedly and haranguing with great volubility in a lively display of brilliant fancy and logical acuteness, to the admiration of friends no less than to his own astonishment as subsequently felt (for the recollection of his scenic personations survived the performance), inasmuch as a habitual taciturnity and an unostenta tious carriage were so congenial and habitual to the young man. The paroxysm having lasted six hours, a retransformation occurring somewhat suddenly was complete nevertheless.

Note. In a Prize-essay lately read before the American Philosophical Society by H. C. Wood, M.D., the Professor records an experimentation with somewhat unexpected results, as conducted upon himself. The preparation used was an extract made from Kentucky hemp, in quantity about half a drachm. The effect, which began in three hours, lasted into the following day. At midnight a profound sleep had come over him, and in the hours of waking there was noted an anaesthesia affecting the entire skin. The characteristic expansion of time and space was a conspicuous symptom. Mental action as an effect of volitional effort was mostly restrained, from the embar- rassment experienced in attempts towards a concentration of the thoughts. A sense of impending death besides hung over him at intervals. In a student who experimented with a grain dose, there was developed a hilarious excitement simply, with a sexual erethism ensuing which did not relax short of three days. This scientific paper (the first contribution of the kind to the medical literature of America) should command the attention of the Profession.

This singular excitant, extensively known in the age of the Crusades appears to have been used by the Saracens for a double purpose, to kindle up the ardor of the soldier against the Paynim, and in larger dose to beguile his adversary into a careless security and so to facilitate the stealthy use of the poignard. In the neighborhood of Mount Libanus there existed from the beginning of the twelfth century for about one hundred and fifty years a military organization, made up for the most part of rude hordes gathered out of the tribes of Kurdistan. Ishmaelitish by genealogy, vindictive in their passions and implacable in their resentments, while professing fealty to the Crescent they campaigned oftener in reality, “their hand being against every man and every man’s hand being against them. Their generalissimo was known as “Le Vieux de la Montagne” (Von Hammer).

At Allamut and Massiat were their famed gardens, secluded by high walls from the vulgar gaze but within adorned with every decoration and luxury that could entrance the vision and capti- vate appetite; and here presided girls of enchanting beauty and ravishing seductiveness, the houris of the scene. Into this “outer court of the temple,” the youthful aspirant to the honor of a matriculatory membership having been previously drugged with hashisch, was mysteriously conveyed, here to breathe the balmy airs of a terrestrial paradise, introductory to the solemn oath of covenant which at once exacted entire and unquestioning obedience and which denounced an abjuration on peril of life.

Such were the Herb-eating Assassins, the “Hashasheen” (De Sacy). A final dispersion was carried out by the victorious sword of Hulakii, when Aldjebal, Khalif of Baldrach, after sustaining a siege of three years was shut up in a tower by Ulau, there to perish in his solitude by a lingering death (Benjamin of Tudela).

Hashisch, more energetic in action than opium, is in comparison prematurely exhaustive also. Rapid deterioration of the physical forces is to be expected, and as is thought a determination towards phthisis may be established. The ultimate mental condition is that of dementia. The santons (holy men) of Egypt, those distinguished objects of popular veneration in their wanderings from town to town, are living illustrations of this degenerescence, in their corporeal as well as in their mental decay.

Quite unlike opium in one characteristic, hashisch is a powerful aphrodisiac (O’Shaughnessy), ranking second on the list perhaps, or after arsenic. The power of the latter indeed appears remarkable. In the Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal is a case from Dr. Parker, that of a young man thirty years old at his death, who began the use at the age of four. A double effect ensued, a prodigious development of the sexual organs in size, and a proportionate exaltation of function amounting to an impetuous and uncontrollable salacity.

Deleterious as is hashisch in the ordinary habitual use, it may be counteracted or neutralized very effectually for the time by the free use of lemon-juice. Dr. Castelnuovo a resident in the country for thirty years observes, that the people of Tunis understand the secret thoroughly and avail themselves habitually of the benefits.

Bearing an analogy to the poppy from their more intimate relationship to cannabis are Hyoscyamus, Belladonna, and the Datura family. The first – reckoned by Von Hammer to have been identical in origin with the bendji – produces giddiness and stupidity. Belladonna, that “insane root that takes the reason prisoner” (rather is it one out of a number of such), excites delirium and the risus sardonicus (Ray).

The pathologic mental phasis is described by Winslow as a species of “hallucination without fantasia,” i.e. a metamorphosis of things actual in idea rather than a display of mere fanciful creations without analogies in natural things. A pathologic condition has been remarked simulating delirium tremens. The recollection of past phenomena is found to have been obliterated “at once and irrecoverably.”

Datura brings spectral illusions, but leaves a persistent, perhaps incurable stupidity. A singular effect wrought upon the memory is in the interchanging of the names of objects, there being at the same time a conscious perception of the incongruities. The daturas possess strong erotic powers, and a species is used in India by courtesans upon themselves and for the benefit of their visiting friends. The cordial sometimes made by digesting the seeds in wine is especially dangerous to the sex by a double action, exciting physical desire most actively for the time and making the subject oblivious altogether of any faux-pas adventures hazarded


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A Dismal End To The “War On Drugs” Predicted – In 1885

In the mid-1880s the forces of drug and alcohol prohibition were gathering strength. The global anti-slavery movement had just experienced two great successes with the American Emancipation and the British Empire’s decree of an end to slavery. While the core of the anti-slavery movement was sincere in its abhorrence of slavery, the anti-slavery movement also attracted a strange collection of bedfellows with diverse agendas, including thousands of people, egged on by churches and politicians, who would stop at nothing until reaching their goal of a society where drugs and alcohol were completely prohibited, and where possession or dealing in either was cause for lengthy imprisonment – at a minimum.

In the US this led directly to Prohibition in the 1920s – and we know how that turned out, with the reverberations continuing down to this day.

But here in America we know almost nothing of what was going on in Britain at the same time, and yet the impact of the moralizing prohibitionists was – if anything – even more destructive than in the US, and unlike the American focus on alcohol the British movement was focused on ancient civilizations on the other side of the world – India and China.

Now, I thought I knew enough history to accept the broad idea that the British Empire had fought two wars to impose opium on the Chinese masses, addicting them in a creepy but highly profitable little export business which brought Indian-produced opium to China on British (and American, and Japanese, and Russian, and Arab) merchant ships. Boy was I wrong. Turns out that I had unknowingly bought into the myth created by the British opium prohibitionists to advance their dirty little agenda.

That all began to change as I dug more deeply into the real history of Britain, China, and Opium. Upon a close read of some original source materials from the early days of the British anti-Opium movement I came to realize that this movement was strongly and effectively opposed by prominent people with personal life-long knowledge of China, and that one of the things these people did was to reveal that the “Pushing Opium On Poor Helpless Chinese” myth was deliberately invented by the Anti-Opium movement and spread through an army of zealous ex-missionaries on horror-filled speaking tours of the British Isles – paid for of course by the prohibitionist movement.

All this and much more is a great read in a little 1885 book I am presently digitizing to share on this blog entitled “All About Opium”. (Click here to go to a downloadable pdf of the entire book). This book contains hundreds of pages of original source materials from the passionate Anti-Opium movement as well as the equally vehement Anti-Prohibition movement. This book embodies the truth of that old saw – the more things change, the more things remain the same. The same constipated morality pushers who want to send people to prison for a joint, who want to prevent gay people from marrying, and who want to prevent women from having control of their bodies are exactly the same people who over 150 years ago were agitating to ban opium sales to China on the premise that doing so would advance the mission of Christianizing those little yellow heathens.

I wanted to share two letters from the book with you. These two letters serve to illustrate both the depths to which the anti-opium movement sank in pursuit of their objectives, and the fact that many strong and fearless voices were raised quite effectively against these little Jesus weasels.The first was written by Sir George Birdwood, a prominent establishment British politician and statesman, and this is only his first letter on the topic of the inadvisability – to say the least – of prohibiting Opium sale throughout the British Empire. The second was written by Sir Rutherford Alcock, a man with decades of experience in China who casts a dubious eye on the disingenuous claims by Christian missionaries that it is only the presence of Opium that has prevented them from Christianizing the entire country.

Any reader who is familiar with the early and lengthy prohibition and then the gradual evolution of the Medical Marijuana movement will see that the moralistic fervor behind the federal and state Marijuana prohibition laws was nothing new at all and that this fight has gone on for a very long time. The combined forces of mad-dog morality, conniving politicians, and more-than-willing “law enforcers” have been using drugs as an excuse for their attempts to gain control of the levers of social power for centuries. This is one of many things that makes the success of the Medical Marijuana movement so gratifying – these pathetic pompous little drudges who have caused so much suffering and harm to so many for centuries with their twisted souls may finally have had their hateful crusade stopped in its tracks.

SIR GEORGE BIRDWOOD’S FIRST LETTER TO “THE TIMES.” December 26, 1881.

In view of the undiscriminating agitation which is being manufactured all over the country against the Indian opium revenue (amounting to from £7,000,000 to £9,000,000 sterling a year) on the ground of its imputed immorality, I wish to place on .record the opinions which I have been led, by years of intimate study and observation in Bombay, to form of the effects of the habitual use of opium on the people of the East. I do not propose to enter into the economical question of the Indian opium revenue, or into the political question of our alleged forcing the importation of the drug on the Chinese. I shall confine myself as much as possible to my personal experience of the general effects of smoking, eating and drinking opium, on the Chinese, Mussulmans, and Hindoos of Western India.

As regards opium smoking, I can from experience testify that it is, of itself, absolutely harmless. I should like those who have been led to believe, on the unscientific observations of others, that it is harmful, to simply try it experimentally for themselves, under proper precautions, of course, against the risk of using imperfectly prepared chandoo, or “smokeable extract” of opium. I feel satisfied that the more thoroughly they test it, the more strongly will they be convinced with me that the smoking of opium is, of itself, a perfectly innocuous indulgence. I have known cases of desperate suffering, resulting apparently from excess in opium-smoking, such as unscientific observers hold up in terror before the British public. But these cases were always of moral imbeciles, who were addicted to other forms of depravity, and the opium pipe was merely the last straw laid on their inherently enervated and overstrained backs.

Opium has been smoked for generations in China, even within the precincts of the Imperial Palace at Pekin. As far back as 1796 edicts were issued against the practice, but in vain, so deeply were the people already devoted to it at that date. The determined, obstinate instinct of the Chinese people in its favour paralyzed even the despotic endeavours of the Chinese Government to suppress it; and long before we became entangled in the quarrel between the Chinese and their Government on the subject, the Financial Board at Pekin had advised the recognition of the national habit by the imposition of a tax on opium, on the ground that the increased rigour of the laws enforced against its use since the beginning of the century had only tended to increase the bribes offered to officials for their connivance in it. The Chinese Government rejected this judicial proposal with a great flourish of moral indignation, and the crusade against opium-smoking was carried on with renewed severity.

All the same, the popular custom proved irresistible, and its victory in the end was of incalculable benefit to the Chinese, as it served gradually, wherever opium-smoking prevailed, to completely entice them away from the use of their native ardent spirits. This historical fact should never be overlooked by those who have been led by their blind philanthropy to believe that opium-smoking is necessarily injurious to the Chinese, and that, therefore, the Indian opium revenue is immoral.

No one will deny that, at all events in tropical countries, the effects of excess in ardent spirits are worse than those of opium, and it would be unfortunate indeed if, as a consequence of the abolition of the Government manufacture of opium in India, the Chinese were led back to the use of the ardent spirits of their own baneful distillation. It would be the undoing of probably the greatest temperance triumph of any age or country; for I repeat that, of itself, opium-smoking is almost as harmless an indulgence as twiddling the thumbs and other silly-looking methods for concentrating the jaded mind in momentary nirvana. The mind often seeks quiescence without vacuity and finds it in any of these strangely infectious ways, opium-smoking among the rest. But, it may be asked, what of the opinion of the Chinese Government as to the morality of opium-smoking?

It is, I believe, partly due, as with other worthy people, to their not distinguishing between the accidental concomitants of a debauched life and the antecedent inducements to it; but chiefly to the fact of official Chinese ideas of morality being founded on an artificial religious system, and not on the national habits of the masses of Chinamen. The scholastic official ideas of morality in China are utterly at variance, as is obvious in regard to opium-smoking at least, with the universal practice of the people. Be that as it may, all I insist on is the downright innocence, in itself, of opium-smoking; and that, therefore, so far as we are concerned in its morality, whether judged by a standard based on a deduction from preconceived religious ideas or an induction from national practices, we are as free to introduce opium into China and to raise a revenue from it in India, as to export our cotton, wool, and iron manufactures to France.

The habitual eating and drinking of opium are altogether different things from smoking it as a gentle incentive to restorative repose of mind. Opium taken internally is a powerful and dangerous narcotic stimulant; but even so it is no worse in the effects produced by excessive use than alcohol. It is and has been immemorially used throughout vast regions of the East. It satisfies a natural human craving for some paregoric stuff or other, “banishing sorrow, wrath allaying, and causing oblivion of all cares,” while its consumption has been further fostered by the religious ban imposed in Asiatic countries on the use of alcohol.

Alcohol acts with doubly destructive force in tropical climates, and with awful rapidity, and its victims are a constant danger to others; whereas the sufferers from the abuse of opium are seldom dangerous to others, and are a nuisance only from lingering so long in a state of harmless dullness on the hands of their relations, Nothing, moreover, is so offensive to respectable Asiatics as the violent excitement caused by wine and ardent spirits, and opium enables these dignified persons, who dare not break the ecclesiastical law against alcoholic drinks, nor outrage the social feeling against noisy intoxication, to safely satiate their natural craving for something at once stimulating and soothing. The ill effects of the habitual use of opium in excess are developed almost exclusively among those, who by some weakness or injury of brain, or by chronic disease, or by the unhappy circumstances of their lives, are predisposed to over-indulgence. The habit of destructive excess among them is, in fact, usually to be traced to chronic diarrhoea, chronic cough, chronic fever, and to the long religious fasts, alike of the Buddhists, Hindoos, and Mussulmans, in which opium is used to allay the pangs of protracted hunger.

Besides these unfortunates, the weak-brained dissipated rich, and the hopelessly poverty-stricken are the only sufferers. Sound, hale people, in comfortable worldly circumstance, who lead healthy lives, seldom or never suffer from the habitual use of opium, even in quantities that seem to be excessive. There are few finer people in the world than those of Goojerat, Kattywar, Cutch, and Central India, and they are all addicted to the habitual use of opium. In Rajpootana, high and low, rich and poor indulge in it, in the most alarming excess, measured by the quantity they take, but, as regards the mass of the population, with impunity. These Rajpoots are splendid men, well formed, handsome, and of the most chivalrous and romantic temperament. Their custom is to drink the opium in the form of an emulsion called kusoomba. It is prepared and served round in a bowl, like an enormous pap-bowl, from which it is poured into the joined palms of every visitor to drink of it, and the Rajpoots are always taking these paregoric draughts from morning to night. But they are robust and active, constantly in the open air, and, as a rule, suffer no more from their immoderate potations of kusoomba than healthy country-folk in England from sound ale, or Tartars from koumis, certainly not so much as “Glasgow bodies” from whisky, or Londoners from gin. The women in Rajpootana prepare the kusoomba and it will be remembered that in the Odyssey it is Helen who prepares the famous “nepenthic drug”.

Meanwhile, with genial joy to warm the soul, Bright Helen mixed a myth-inspiring bowl. In 1809 Rajpootana was thrown into disorder by the contest of the princes for the hand of Krishna Kumari, the beautiful daughter of the Rana of Oodeypore. To stay the fratricidal strife the heroic maiden mixed a bowl of kusoomba, and exclaiming, “These are the nuptials foredoomed for me,” drank it off at a draught, and sank down where she stood, and died, so restoring peace to the distracted land.

I have a strong suspicion that the free use of opium in Rajpootana acts as a preventive of malarious fevers. It is evident, in short, that there are two aides to the question of the morality of the use of even opium itself, and all the facts regarding it» real effects should be fully placed in evidence before the public, when the relations of the Government of India with its manufacture and exportation are being made the butt of ignorant and prejudiced opposition. Even the eating and drinking of opium appeared to me so little harmful, and the instances of any consequent evil so rare, that all the time I was in India I was an advocate of all stimulants in moderation; and it was only when I returned to England, and saw on all sides of me, and every day, the evil effects of the abuse of alcohol, that I was gradually led to sympathize with those who urge voluntary abstinence from every form of stimulant.

There is the fact, however, of the universal craving of man for some kind of stimulant, and of their being everywhere, from Kamtschatka to South Africa, and from Canada to Polynesia, provided for his use. We are always being called upon to appreciate the divine bounty in the wide distribution of cereal and pulse grains, to strengthen man’s heart; and are we to take no heed of narcotic stimulants, which are to be found in almost every natural order of plants, and in every climate of the globe, to make glad the heart of man?

Then also, may not some significance be attached to the narrative of the marriage in Canaan, at which water was turned into wine – not wine into water? I know it has been urged by some commentators that this particular miracle is without a moral end. I suppose they thought its end immoral. But it was worked in the presence of the disciples of John the Baptist, and every one who has lived in the East will recognize that the moral of the miracle is the rebuke it administers to that sanctimonious affectation of an impracticable asceticism, which is, perhaps, the most offensive trait of the Asiatic character. The miracle was palpably meant to impress the followers of the Baptist – one of the three only a Nazarite for life, the other two being Samson and Samuel, mentioned in Scripture – that not objectless mortification of self, any more than licentiousness, but rational enjoyment was the right rule of life.

Man could not possibly avoid the discovery of wine, and the thought of the famous sentence of St. Augustine, “Ipse fecit vinum in nuptus, qui omni anno facit in vitibus,” is as just and true as it is poetical. If, however, it is impossible to object altogether to stimulants, we can no more object altogether to opium. Its use is merely a question of geography and race, and not of morality in the least. A fortiori there is nothing to be said on moral grounds against opium-smoking. If any one will test its effects, he will find that half its soothing and pleasure is derived chiefly from the opportunity it affords for abandoning oneself for a few moments to idleness, with the pretence of occupation, – in preparing the dainty apparatus used by well-to-do connoisseurs in the operation, – the elegant lamp, the exquisitely damascened, or brilliantly enameled, pipe, and quaintly chased silver pins, and cleaning and putting them all back again into the drawer of the low japanned table, which is the respectable opium-smoker’s fire altar and altar of incense in one, from which the smoke goeth up continually.

Those who are fond of rolling up their own cigarettes – probably not always composed of tobacco – will understand this. Then, for the rest, there is the supreme satisfaction felt by man of every colour, creed, and race, in passing any mild smoke, especially if it be in any sort fragrant, in and out of the mucous passages of his head, a pleasure quite independent of the positive physiological action that the smoke stuff itself may possess; while for any narcotic property there may be in the smoke of thoroughly combusted chandoo – that is, in the ashes of smokeable extract of opium – the subtlest chemical analysis would probably fail to find it out.

Blowing bubbles itself can indeed scarcely be a more ethereal enjoyment than sucking chandoo smoke into the throat, and blowing it out again through the nose, and sometimes, by finished performers, through the inner comer of the eyes.

I am not approving the use of stimulants – I have long ceased to do so. I am only protesting that there is no more harm in smoking opium than in smoking tobacco, in the form of the mildest cigarettes, and that its narcotic effect can be but infinitesimal, if, indeed, anything measurable; and I feel bound to publicly express these convictions (which can easily be put to the test of experiment) at a moment when all the stupendous machinery available in this country of crotchet-mongers, and ignorant, if well meaning, agitators, is being set in motion against the Indian opium revenue on the express ground of its falsely imputed immorality.”

THE OPIUM TRADE. By Sir Rutherford Alcock, K.C.B.

Great efforts are being made at the present time, under the auspices of a Society for the Suppression of the Opium Trade, to bring the pressure of public opinion to bear upon her Majesty’s Government, and compel them to take decisive action for that object. Two meetings have already taken place, one at the Mansion House in October, under the presidency of the Lord Mayor, at which the Archbishop of Canterbury and Cardinal Manning were the chief speakers and supporters of the resolutions; and another subsequently at Sheffield, with the Archbishop of York in the chair. An influential deputation to the Prime Minister, and an organized agitation to back it, are further calculated to excite considerable interest, and to rouse public attention to a subject of national importance.

I wish to speak with all respect of the high dignitaries, civil and clerical, who have given their names in aid of this movement. They are great authorities in their own spheres, and, as no one doubts their good faith or good intentions, there is a natural reluctance to question the wisdom of their acts. Nevertheless, in such a discussion as they have actively promoted, concerning the opium trade, its history, conditions, and influences, it is scarcely a disparagement to say that they cannot be supposed to have any great knowledge of the subject. It is one which cannot be mastered by a few hours’ study, and when they give circulation, in their speeches, to exaggerations of the most mischievous and misleading character, it must be assumed that they speak from the briefs furnished them by others. But they cannot on that account be entirely acquitted of responsibility for the truth of the statements to which they lend their names.

And I may say here, that although most of the staple arguments and misleading opinions on opium and its disastrous effects come from the missionaries in China, whose good faith I do not question, – there is no stronger protest against exaggerated and sensational statements on record, than has been supplied by one of their number, the late Dr. Medhurst, of whom it has been truly said he was “one of the most able, experienced, and zealous missionaries in China.”

Opposed in principle to the opium trade in all its aspects, his statements will be readily accepted as unimpeachable evidence. The following remark occurs in an official paper forwarded to the Chief Superintendent of Trade at Hong Kong in 1855. Alluding to a speech of an American missionary, who had visited England, and was reported to have told the British public “that the smokers of the contraband article have increased from eight to fifteen millions, yielding an annual death harvest of more than a million,” and further characterizing the traffic as “staining the British name in China with the deepest disgrace,” Dr. Medhurst observes: “Such statements do great harm; they produce a fictitious and groundless excitement in the mind of the religious and philanthropic public at home, while they steel, against all reasonable and moderate representations, the minds of the political and mercantile body abroad. The estimate given has not even the semblance of truth; it is an outrageous exaggeration.”

We have been told quite recently, in regard to opium, that we should not consider what we Englishmen think about opium, but what the Chinese think about it. Would the Society in whose name this is urged, like this rule to be applied to opinions about Christianity and the Missionary in China? Can it be forgotten that the parting words of Prince Kung to the British Minister at Peking, twelve years ago coupled two objects together, missionaries and opium, in his desire that China might be relieved of both? It is obvious that missionaries, of all other people, should be careful how they strain this argument of force as an objection to the policy which alone permits them, against the will of the Chinese Government, the authorities, and the people to carry out their pious mission. It will not be disputed that we have imposed our missionaries upon the nation by treaty, as we have not imposed opium, and upheld them in the exercise of their functions against the will of the Rulers, and the unceasing and bitter hostility of officials, literati and gentry, even at the cost of a war in the ease of the French and of armed intervention and the risk of war, on many occasions, on our own side.

Yes, it is quite true there has been a Missionary war, as well as what is commonly, but not very truly, designated an “opium” war.” When the French forces joined the British in the war of, 1868, it was to avenge the execution of M. Chadelaine a French missionary who was executed in 1856, at Silin, near the borders of Yun-nan in the province of Kwang-si, by the mandarin in authority, after the most brutal treatment and long-protracted torture. The French Government, immediately on receipt of the official accounts, announced ltd intention of obtaining ample reparation, by an expedition if necessary.

We have heard much of the hostile influences traceable to opium and the opium trade, and especially the obstacles and prejudices it has created against their labour for the conversion of the people. But I can say truly, in my own experience, that during a quarter of a century spent in the far East – the heaviest responsibility I ever accepted, and one of the greatest perils encountered, was in defence of a missionary party, nearly murdered by some Shantung jink-men at Tsing-poo, a town situated at some distance from Shanghai. In the course of my proceedings, I had to maintain for nearly a month a blockade of an Imperial fleet of Rice junks, whilst living myself, with my family, in the heart of a Chinese city, surrounded, beyond all chance of rescue or escape, by hostile authorities and a populace entirely under their control. And I may add generally, that no small part of the Work entailed upon the Foreign Legations at Peking, the Consuls at the ports, and her Majesty’s ships in the China seas, arises from missionary questions and the duty of exacting reparation for injuries inflicted upon them by the populace or the authorities, wherever these operations for the conversion of the people extend. I don’t think any better evidence can be required to show in how hostile in spirit they are. Of this I am well assured, that if the Chinese Government and people were left to the free exercise of their own will, without any fear of consequences from the force which is known to uphold the treaties, that they would speedily, and by general consent, make a clean sweep of all foreigners –of ministers and consuls perhaps, but of missionaries assuredly, missionaries of all denominations and nationalities, and the merchants last, even the traders in opium.

Viewed, therefore, in whatever aspect we please – as a cause of political enmity, or an obstruction to missionary success – the opium trade must occupy a very subordinate place in any true estimate of the influences in operation, during the last forty years, to prejudice the minds of the Chinese, and keep up the spirit of opposition and hostility to the foreigner and all his works – hostility which has never been absent in all their intercourse with the European race from the beginning, now more than two centuries ago to the present time. And if we may judge of the real cause and object of this enmity by the most authentic declarations of the people themselves, and the educated classes known as the “literati and gentry,” and the officials, as well as the long series of outrages, murders, and massacres, all directed against the missionaries and their work, without discriminating between Romanist and Protestant, the enmity created by the foreign importation of opium sinks into insignificance, and will not bear comparison with the hatred felt and openly expressed for missionaries of every denomination and their doctrines.

That I may not be charged with exaggeration, I will cite one or two of the most striking of these written expressions of feeling, perpetually recurring in placards posted up in the streets for, as to the long list of cruel attacks on the person and property of the various missions in nearly every part of China where they have penetrated, these are too well-known to require much further evidence.

I hold in my hand the translation of a Chinese book, with the sinister title of a “A Death Blow to Corrupt Doctrines” which in the title page is called “a plain statement of facts published by the gentry and people.” The translators, missionaries themselves I believe, tell us in the preface that the book in the original came into the hands of the missionaries in Teng-chow, in the province of Shantung, in 1870, and that it was regarded- very justly, I think – as of too much importance to be withheld from the foreign public, believing, as we do, that it is a remarkably truthful representation of the animus of the ruling and literary classes of China towards foreigners. We believe also, they proceeded to say, that it has been largely instrumental in giving rise to the vile and slanderous stories concerning foreign residents (missionaries) and native Christians which have recently spread through China; and that it sheds important light on the means by which the recent massacre at Tientsin was brought about. No mere description, however full, could possibly convey any adequate idea of its vileness and deadly animosity.

They further add, “It may be said that the book is directed against the Roman Catholics, and that Protestant missionaries need not concern themselves wit it.” “It is a sufficient reply,” the translators say, “that although its phraseology applies primarily to Roman Catholics, it has, in point of fact, been used and quoted against Protestant missionaries; not only so, but in the body of the book itself, Roman Catholics and Protestants are expressly declared to be the same; and it is explicitly stated that the distinction made between them, in the recent treaties, is a mere pretence or subterfuge devised for the purpose of avoiding the obloquy which the previous history of that religion has brought upon itself. It is furthermore notoriously the fact that the masses of the people know no distinction. They class all Europeans together, and their religion they regard as one.

Practically, then, and in the intent of the author, the book is an attack on Christianity and Christian nations at large. It is, for the most part, a compilation from other works, and a portion of it was written against the Jesuits as long ago as the seventeenth century. “The author,” we are further assured, “with great pains and no little research, has collected every false and slanderous charge within his reach, which would suit his purpose, and, without intimating that they have been disproved, reproduces and reiterates them in the ears of the present generation, with all the confidence of truth, and makes them the occasion of a fresh appeal to the people to rise against foreigners and exterminate them.” Now this is a very remarkable fact, that in the year 1870, nearly thirty years after the Treaty was signed, and contact established with foreigners of all nations and their missionaries at five Treaty ports, amidst great populations, such a book should be published professedly by the “Gentry and People.” And whatever may be the history of its authorship, we are told that it has undoubtedly been written by some one of first-class education and literary abilities, with extensive facilities for consulting public documents, and ransacking all that has ever been written in China against foreigners or Christianity. And the author, or parties interested in its publication and circulation, must hold no mean position, seeing that they can secure its distribution throughout the country by the “hands of the mandarins and their underlings.”

The book is generally attributed in China to Reng-yu-hien, an official in high office, and lately spoken of as a probable successor to a Viceroy at Nanking. But whoever may have been the author, the translators state their conviction that it shows, in a vivid light, the real animus of the people, who have arrayed themselves against missionaries and foreigners alike, and seek to manufacture a public sentiment ready for any deeds of violence and blood.

The book begins with an extract from the “Sacred Edict,” suppressing, as the author asserts, “strange religions, for the purpose of exalting orthodox doctrine.” This “Sacred Edict,” we are told, in a note of the translator, “so called because written by two of the canonised emperors of the present dynasty, is a kind of paternal address from the throne to the people, and is held in the greatest reverence by the Chinese.”

The first part was published by the Emperor Kanghi in 1676; and his son Yung-chen published, in 1724, an amplification: the two productions constitute what is called the Sacred Edict. The artful design of the author of the pamphlet is evidently to convince his readers that, to drive out foreigners and their religion, would be but carrying out the views of the most renowned emperors of the present dynasty, if not of Chinese history, and certainly many passages in the introductory chapter go far to bear out this conclusion, that the religions of the West are not to be regarded as “Orthodox,” or as teaching authorized doctrines ; and, as for “unauthorized doctrines, which deceive the people, Chinese laws cannot tolerate them; and for false and corrupt teachers, the Government has fixed punishments.”

Chinese subjects are accordingly enjoined, with submissive reverence to the Imperial will, and in obedience to it, to “reject and oppose corrupt doctrines as you would robbers, conflagration, and flood. Indeed, the injury inflicted by flood, conflagration, and robbers extends only to the body, while that of corrupt doctrines extends to the mind.”

Then follows what the author of the pamphlet calls a collection of facts respecting the false religion of Tien-chu, by a “man of Jao-chow, above all others distressed in heart.” The religion of Tien-chu, as he explains, originated with Jesus, and is universally adopted by all Western nations, and Jesus he describes as an impostor, who his adherents falsely assert was endowed with divine gifts. I am not going to shock my hearers by quoting any of the ribald, obscene, and atrocious calumnies with which this writer has filled his book, collated, he says, from “authorities consulted,” of which he ostentatiously quotes a long list at the commencement. One of the mildest of the iniquities attributed to Christians is obtaining the eyes, brains, heart, and livers of children for some magical and occult purposes, and the performance of incantations to bewitch their victim for nefarious ends, by which means those who follow their instruction become their abject slaves.

When such vile calumnies as this book contains can be circulated among a whole people, with the connivance, if not the direct intervention, of the educated and ruling classes, we cannot be surprised at such a butchery as took place a little later at Tientsin, of which I have already spoken, as a true index to a prevailing tone of mind and opinion among the Chinese. This massacre of a whole mission, together with the French Consul, secretary, and other foreigners, is, in fact, a typical example of the outcome. It was the most daring and atrocious of all the series of outrages of which missionaries had been the victims since the Treaty of 1842, which stipulated for the free exercise of their religion, and tolerance for their converts. It was not a sudden outbreak of the populace, but a deliberate and planned attack. Some days before June 21, 1870, the British Consul wrote to the Charge d’ Affaires at Peking, Mr. Wade, to report a very unsatisfactory state of things at the port; and that for some time previously there had been threats from the Chinese that they would kill the foreigner, or drive him away from the port.

“The last few days,” he says, “the excitement has increased; the Chinese have declared their intention to burn the Roman Catholic cathedral and the French consulate, and to kill all the foreigners.” There was no ship of war of any nationality at the port, and the Consul expressed a well-founded anxiety – as the event only too plainly proved – for the safety of all in the Foreign Settlement. The authorities were appealed to, and, as usual, with no effect; and later in the day, the Consul had to report to Peking that “his worst fears had proved only too true,” and that the Cathedral, French Consulate, and Sisters’ Hospital were burned to the ground, that the French Consul had perished with a Russian lady and her husband, and several of the sisters. When the details came to be known, however, the calamity was found to be much greater than at first reported. The deliberate and premeditated violence of the mob exceeded anything the imagination could have pictured in ferocity and brutality. Some days elapsed before what had taken place could with any accuracy be ascertained. It was not until the 24th, three days after the destruction of the cathedral, hospital, and consulate, that the floating bodies of the victims in the river revealed the full extent of the horrors perpetrated. On the 23rd, Mr. Lay, the acting consul, on information, went to the river-bank, where he found the remains of a Russian lady, just married to one of the Russian residents, and a few minutes later that of her husband, and close by another, a Chinese, one of the coolies, who was killed while carrying them through the city. The lady had her chemise tied round her head and was otherwise quite naked – her left arm was broken, and her body covered with wounds. Later, a third Russian was taken out of the river, and shortly after this, the body of the French Consul, although Chung Hon had assured Mr. Lay and his colleagues that Fontaines, the French Consul, was killed by his side, and that his body was in the Yamen. His body was fearfully mutilated, and he was naked except his feet. Still later in the day the officials sent to say that they had picked up five bodies -French – which were sent to the consulate, and the Consul says, a more fearful spectacle he never saw, as may well be imagined. The first coffin contained a Mr. Thompson, who was on his way to Peking with his wife when the attack took place – he had been cruelly maltreated – and the second coffin contained his wife, having been killed, apparently by a fearful gash at the back of the head. The next -was the body of M. Simon, the French Secretary, and was so cut about that it was difficult to recognize the features. M. Chevries, the head of the Lazarist Mission, and the body of one of the Christian ordained priests, it is supposed, but utterly unrecognizable, close the dismal list, but not the death-roll. M. and Mdme. Chalmassoir, a French merchant and his wife, had also been killed, the first oncoming out of his own door. His wife escaped down a small Chinese street, and was taken into a -small house and concealed by women; but at night she dressed herself as a Chinese girl, and went back to her own house. Finding it deserted, she tried to return; but having forgotten the house, and knocked at the wrong door, and called out to open, the people heard her, knew she was foreign from her accent, and killed her.

But the most painful part of this tragic story still remains to be told. Nine Sisters of Charity, who had devoted their lives to works of mercy at the hospital for sick and destitute children found none from their assailants. They were all sacrificed under circumstances the most revolting. They were stripped and exposed to the brutal gaze of the rabble, and then stabbed, and their bodies flung into the fire blazing around them. I have given these hideous details, because it is only by such knowledge that the ferocity of a Chinese populace and the intensity of their hatred can be realised – and the cruel duplicity and supineness of all the authorities and Chinese officials, if not their active complicity, as in this case there was only too much reason to suspect. The cry raised to excite the mob was a repetition of the atrocious calumnies of the book just described – of kidnapping men and children to take out their eyes for occult practices. It may seem incredible that such charges should find acceptance, but yet the scenes described at Warsaw, in a Christian country, on last Christmas Day, when the Jews were butchered quite as ruthlessly by a furious mob without any provocation, and on very similar charges and pretexts is an exact counterpart. And as if to make the parallel more complete, the authorities showed the same disgraceful supineness, and allowed the Jews to be murdered and their homes to be wrecked, just as the homes of the Christians at Tientsiu were, and in each case any honest effort on the part of the authorities and police would have effectually prevented or put a stop to such outrages. In Tientsin, the magistrate, a few days before, when information was given of the impending danger, had actually under pretence of calming the excitement of the people and disabusing their minds of unfounded suspicions against the mission, instilled into them by the evil-disposed – issued a proclamation confirming these suspicions, and treating the charges of kidnapping as having some real foundation, and evidently giving credence to the malevolent reports against the sisters. It is this duplicity of the authorities and officials generally in all matters affecting the foreigners, their lives and interests, which has been a constant element in all our relations and dealings with them. Proclamations with high sounding phrases enjoining respect for the laws, which to the people accustomed to such formal prohibitions meant nothing, or, rather read between the lines, were interpreted to mean full license. It was in this case as in all other instances, of which a hundred might be cited, even after the three disastrous wars must have proved to them the danger attending such bad faith. The same double-dealing and insincerity has marked all their dealings with the opium trade, and with the natural result of encouraging an illicit trade with the foreigner, and simultaneously an extensive native culture of the poppy in the teeth of a perennial flood of denunciations and prohibitive edicts from the Emperor and the local authorities.

Sir John Bowring was perfectly justified, therefore, in replying to and refuting the monstrous allegations contained in Lord Shaftesbury’s memorial to her Majesty’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and in alluding to the depravity of the public morals among the higher classes of the Chinese, not infrequently referred to even in documents which appeared in the Peking Gazette – of the large consumption of opium in. the Imperial Palace, and at that time of the licentious habits of the reigning sovereign which had been the subject of official censure. Sir John says:

“I mention this (the above facts) because, contrary to all evidence, the moral sense in China, in high places, has been represented to be exceedingly sensitive with reference to a national vice which permeates through every grade of society, and, unhappily, is not checked by a healthy state of public opinion; and while, in many of the provinces- where the power of the Government is absolute, the growth of the. poppy is permitted, and the manufacture of opium encouraged, the vehement language of some official documents may certainly be interpreted rather as a manifestation of ill-will against foreigners, and a repugnance to intercourse with “barbarian nations,” than as evidence of a desire to preserve public virtue from taint, or the public health from injury. And it may well be doubted whether a declaration, on. the part of the East India Company, that they were willing to stop the growth and the export of opium, would influence, in the slightest degree, the repulsive policy of China.”

And as to the religious bearings of the opium, and the paralyzation of missionary efforts consequent upon the trade, we shall all agree with Sir John when he says, in the same dispatch:

“When, however, it is said that the principal cause of the non- success of missionaries in China is the introduction of opium by professing Christians, and that the use of the drug greatly augments the difficulties which missionaries meet with in the circulation and reception of Christian doctrine, it might be reasonably asked whether the greater proportionate number of native professing Christians are not really to be found in the districts where opium is most consumed? I venture to express an opinion that the small success of missionary efforts in China is traceable to other causes than the existence of the opium trade; but this is not the place for justifying such an opinion.

“It is true that, as in Great Britain, there are numbers of most excellent and religious men who would, by the most stringent and active legislation, prohibit the manufacture and sale of all fermented and intoxicating liquors, whose fatal effects, if honestly portrayed, would present pictures infinitely more alarming and appalling than the use of opium exhibits in China; it is true that China is honoured by the appeals of eminent and eloquent individuals, who have earnestly declaimed and protested against the introduction, sale, and smoking of opium; but I must doubt the existence of that high moral sentiment against the use of opium which is represented as actuating the great functionaries or the people in general.”

It is a fact beyond question that the British Government have never claimed a right to introduce opium prior to 1859, exercised any force to protect the foreign traders in opium transactions, or disputed the right of the Chinese Government to make what laws they pleased to prohibit its importation. But I repeat that, in view of the past history of all our relations with China, too much has been made of the use of force in placing our intercourse on a more stable and equitable basis. In no other way, and by no other means, could that end have been attained. Whether one nation is justified in forcing itself on another – their intercourse, their trade, and their religion, or any one of these – is a question of too large a scope to be discussed here. But assuming that such a right exists, and has in all ages and in every part of the world been enforced when there was the power to do so, then all past history shows that between the European and Asiatic races no treaty or conditions of permanent intercourse has ever been entered into save by force. No Eastern potentate or people have ever welcomed the intrusion of strangers into their domains with pretensions of an international character. China has only followed the invariable rule of rejecting and resisting, to the extent of its power, the efforts of Great Britain to establish such relations. And after the rapid survey I have taken of the progress of trade and treaty obligations, and how these latter have been disregarded by the Chinese authorities and people, I think it will be evident to all -that we may well congratulate ourselves that we have “enforced” on a civilized basis, and that there is known to be such a force as to uphold them in their integrity, that not even an empire, with its vast resources, can with impunity violate the big condition of international relations. What part opium may in truth be supposed to play in this unpleasant and hostile spirit is not clear – there is little evidence to show that it has any. But of one thing I am entirely convinced, that none of these brutal and ferocious outrages and onslaughts, of which missionaries or still more helpless women have been the chief victims, have ever been perpetrated under its influence. The opium smoker is both passive and harmless while under its spell; those who commit deeds of violence are not of their number, though drinkers of samschoo may be, and usually are, leaders of tumult, brawlers, and habitual disturbers of the peace wherever they are found.

Turning now to the vital question on which, as regards opium, the morality of its consumption mainly turns, we have to ascertain whether there is anything in the chemical composition and physiological action of opium so exceptional in its nature, in the destructiveness of its allurements, the strength of its grip, or the enervating and demoralizing power it exercises over its habitual consumers that it cannot be classed with any other of the large and universally distributed products of the earth, possessed of stimulant and narcotic properties, in common use in different countries. Because this is what is asserted of it; and this is how it is regarded by those who declare a nation to be covered with infamy who take any part in its production or sale. Unless it can be shown that it has this entirely exceptional character – is a poison pure and simple, the administration. of which can be no benefit to man, and must be fatal as no other narcotic or stimulant in common use among all the nations of the earth – Christian and heathen, civilized and savage – those who advocate its total suppression as a national duty, and would apply a stigma on any nation producing it, must be content to let it be weighed in the balance with all the others.

Of the testimony of the missionaries, I may say at once that their graphic descriptions of the deplorable and irremediable effects of opium, as these have come under their notice, are no doubt accurate and trustworthy. But it is true, as any description of the frightful condition to which habitual dram and beer drinkers are reduced in every day’s experience would be true, when delirium tremens is a constant liability, and imbecility with softening of the brain closes a longer or shorter life of intemperance. But unless all who habitually consume wine or malt and spirituous liquors were drunkards, and victims of an inevitable tendency to that end, which we who live among them know is not the case, it would not be true, as applied to the great mass of non-abstainers in the population. And although it must be admitted there is a very general consensus of opinion among the missionaries, even this is to be taken with many qualifications. Some among their number, and others working with them, medical practitioners in populous Chinese cities, in every way fitted by professional training and knowledge to arrive at a right conclusion, have not less emphatically recorded their dissent from the adverse conclusions of the missionaries, as applied to the great body of opium smokers; and this is the contention of the second class of observers, who have no motive for misrepresentation, are above suspicion of any willful perversion of facts, and are unusually exempt, by their position and vocation, from class prejudices or foregone conclusions. The evidence of the merchants may be supposed to be liable to bias, but cannot be overlooked. Some of the oldest residents, and members of the great firms, have borne witness to the perfect efficiency of their compradores, and others, to whom, in a long series of years, large sums of money and important business transactions were daily entrusted although their habits of opium smoking, were well known. We will take the missionaries first, selecting as their representatives those who as medical officers, are most competent to speak professionally. Dr. Hobson, long and honourably known m connection with “The London Missionary Society” and zealously engaged in missionary work as the medical officer in charge of the hospital at Canton, in giving his opinion, says:

“I must first premise that I place alcohol (the bane of Great Britain} and opium (the bane of China) in the same category, and on the same level, as to the general injurious influence upon society; what may be said against the latter may be said with equal truth against the former. I shall have opportunities, as I proceed with my letter, to remark the analogies and differences that subsist between them. It has been my painful experience to have been brought in contact with individuals indulging in both these unnatural stimulants. You will see from these observations that I do not, and’ cannot regard the use of opium by the Chinese as a matter of little consequence. I must pronounce it a great- and- growing evil; the alleviation or removal of which every true philanthropist must desire and rejoice to see. But as an act of justice to my country, to the East India Company, and British merchants, who have been soundly abused at different times by the public press, both in England and America, I do not hesitate to affirm that many things said against the opium trade are not facts,’ and merely assertions and problematical theory. It is very common to hear Chinese acknowledge that they have smoked opium ten, twenty, or even thirty years. I have seen a few who have taken it forty years; and I have heard of one (probably an extreme case) who began taking opium when he was nineteen and took regularly for fifty-one years. He died lately at the advanced age of seventy years.

Opium is probably more seductive and tenacious in its grip than alcohol; and I should certainly affirm that it was not so frequently fatal to life, nor so fruitful of disease and crime, as is the case with intoxicating drinks in Great Britain. Dr. Eatwell says: “Proofs are still wanting to show that the moderate use of opium produces more pernicious effects than the moderate use of spirituous liquors; while it is certain that the consequences of the abuse of the former are less appalling in their effects upon the victims and less disastrous to society, than the Consequences of the abuse of the latter.”

The Colonial Surgeon of Hong Kong in 1855, gave in evidence as the result of his experience, that more disease and greater mortality takes place from excess in drinking spiritous liquors, among the 600 foreign residents in Hong Kong than results from the use of the latter among 60,000 Chinese of the native population.

Dr. Myers, in the Medical Unit of the Inspectorate of Chinese Customs, for 1880, just issued, gives at considerable length, the results of his experience, during ten years, while in charge of a hospital establishment for the Chinese, in Formosa, where 20,000 patients have been treated. During this period, he has closely investigated the effects of opium, under circumstances peculiarly favourable for observation, and putting aside the moral aspect of the question, he confines himself simply to the professional bearing of the subject, and claims to rank among those who can speak from an entirely impartial and disinterested point of view. The conclusion he comes to from his experience in Formosa, where a great proportion of the Chinese are opium smokers, and in Chehkiang, where he practiced before coming to Formosa, and the opium pipe is also in general requisition – is that the smokers generally, over China, may be divided into two classes. 1st. The minority, who, being either officials or well-to-do persons, can afford to give way to their passion, and indulge to excess. 2nd. The majority, consisting of persons who are obliged to work hard for a living, and among whom moderation is the rule. Here, as elsewhere, the grand prompter to excess is the co-existence of idleness; arid those who, having no occupation, seek among the vices for relief from otherwise unbearable ennui. In other circumstances, case after case will be met, of men who have smoked regularly from 10 up to 20, or even 30 years, and who, as far as he can discover, show little or no signs of mental or physical degeneration. The average amount consumed by these is from one to two mace per diem. In Southern Formosa, there is a class of men, including the coolies, chair-bearers, and couriers, who daily do an amount of physical work that is remarkable in its extent. These men for years been in the habit of taking a certain quantity of opium during the day, seldom or ever varying it, and they assert that by so doing they at least attain a greater degree of comfort in carrying on their labours, and, with but very rare exceptions, I must admit that I have failed to obtain evidence which would justify my in attributing any marked harm to their habit.

Of course, among every class of men there are those to whom moderation is impossible, arid who, in the gratification of their desires; will drag themselves and those dependent on them to the lowest misery. This we find as one of the greatest evils connected with alcoholic intemperance; but I must say that my experience, both here and in other parts of China, would go to support the statement that the use of opium through the medium of a pipe does not, at least up to a certain point, so irresistibly and inherently tend to provoke excess as undoubtedly is very often the case with the stimulants commonly indulged in by foreigners.

Were the Reductive powers of opium so great and cumulatively overwhelming as has sometimes been asserted, I cannot but think that, among the class of which I am now speaking, dependent as most of them are for a livelihood based on their exertions, we should have a very much greater number of instances of its disastrous effects on purse and person; but I ‘do most conscientiously state that although I have met with instances in which the effects were most marked and deplorable, still, when considered in numerical relation to the numbers who smoke opium, I have been struck with their paucity, and my pre-conceived prejudices with reference to the universally baneful effects of the drug have been severely shaken.

As contrasted with the drunkard, the opium sot decidedly has the advantage – that is, as far as his bearing to his fellow-beings goes, for whereas one, under the influence of liquor, is noisy, quarrelsome, and often -dangerous, the druggard (if I may for convenience coin a word) is at least quiet and orderly. That abuse of alcohol is a marked factor in the production of crime of the most heinous nature, all will admit; while, as far as I can learn, opium comparatively seldom leads to crime, and even then, this rarely, if ever, attains to higher dignity than petty theft.

Dr. Tanner, again, in his standard work on “Practice of Medicine,” suggests, in the case of confirmed dipsomaniacs, the substitution of opium eating for wine bibbing as the lesser of the two evils. Dr. Jamieson, in his Hankou Report, refers to the presence in opium of another active principle and alkaloid besides morphia – which is not narcotic – and is termed, not very happily, by chemists, narcotine, for it has nothing narcotic in it. It is a bitter, like quinine, nearly in equal proportions with the morphia, and found to have many of the qualities of quinine in the treatment of intermittent fevers. When in India in 1870, I was informed it was coming into large consumption in such cases, administered medicinally. It was to this principle I alluded in my evidence before the Committee of the House of Commons in 1871, as indicating a possible sanative power to the opium smoker inhabiting the low swampy deltas of the great Chinese rivers, and working under a tropical sun on a nearly vegetable diet, with a little fish or semi-putrescent cabbage – made so to increase the flavour. I also mentioned that when at Patna I was told another fact by the medical superintendent, of great significance.

During the prevalence of cholera in India, it was found that none of the workers – men, women, and children, to the number of several hundreds – employed in the Government factory, in the preparation of opium for the market, seemed subject to attacks from this fell disease. And as they never left the factory without being subjected to the most rigorous and minute search, to see that they took none of the drug away with them concealed on their person, the prophylactic influence must have been exerted in their systems by the fumes, or more subtle emanations, from the poppy juice in its inspissated state.

This fact, taken in connection with others, led me to believe that a similar preventive and sanitary effect may attend the use of opium in China, where dysentery and kindred diseases are very common, as well as malarious fevers. I will only mention one other circumstance which has recently come to my knowledge, that in Cambridgeshire, where the people are also subject to fen fevers, a common use is made of opium as a remedy or preventive. And a Government Inspector of Schools, who had lately come into the district from one of the northern counties, was struck by the fact how much more peaceable and sober the working classes were than those he had lately been familiar with in the north, whore no opium was consumed, but a very large quantity of alcoholic and fermented liquors.

I think I have said enough to show the importance of testing opium by some comparative standard, and letting its merits and demerits be tried by results and experience, in comparison with the rest of the large family of stimulants and narcotics, and abandoning for the purpose the moral ground, before we decide how far it may be held a sin to deal with any one of them, either as a producer or consumer? The history of narcotics and stimulants is one of the deepest interest, but to do it the barest justice a whole evening, and not the small remnant at my disposal, would be required.