Drinking, is one of the animal functions, essential to the proper solution and digestion of food. Although the proportion of liquid to that of dry, or solid food, cannot be precisely ascertained; yet, if (he constant secretion of fluids be laid down as the basis of this computation, we should, perhaps, drink double the quantity of the solid provisions we daily consume. Nevertheless, even this proportion is but too often exceeded, merely to please the artificial cravings of a corrupted palate. Thus, we no longer drink with a view to quench thirst only, but at certain hours of the day, whether we are naturally inclined, or not. Nay, we frequently meet with sots in beer, ale, spirits, wine, punch, and even tea. - Excessive drink, however, though it distend and oppress the stomach, and thus impede digestion, is not nearly so pernicious as gluttony, unless the former be at-tended with intoxication. It however impoverishes the whole mass of the blood, by rendering it too thin and watery ; so that relaxation of the urinary and other canals, at length, general debility of the system, are its necessary concomi-tants.
On the contrary, too little drink disposes persons of a sedentary life to indigestion ; because many particles of solid food are, for want of dilution, passed unassimilated through the alimentary canal; and the blood becomes viscid, and inert in its circulation. The active and laborious should, therefore, chink more than the idle or phlegmatic ; and either of these more in summer than in winter, to supply the great loss of humours exhaled by insensible perspiration.
Persons, whose natural appetite is not depraved in consequence of irregular living, may easily regulate the due proportion of their drink to that of dry aliment; as, to them, thirst will be the safest guide. But those individuals who have become slaves to the libations of Bacchus, are unfortunately deprived of this beneficent instinct, which is the privilege even of irra-tional animals.
If the moral turpitude of committing excess in drinking, affords no argument to induce the habitual votary to abstain from such pernicious practice, we shall only add, that he will sooner or later feel the effects of it in painful and lingering sickness. To a reflecting mind, it affords matter of just surprize, how so many persons of worth and character, while sober, can devote themselves to a custom which they cannot but abhor in their friends. For the sake of a momentary gratification of the palate, wines and spirits are indiscriminately swallowed, and especially by those whose age, labours, and merit in society, often entitle them to neither. Immense quantities of valuable grain, by Nature designed for the support of the poor and indigent, are annually converted into liquid fire, or more properly, poison ' Where is the philanthropist, in our Imperial Senate, who possesses virtue and influence sufficient to stem the torrent of so extensive a system of mischief ?
After this involuntary digression, we shall only observe, that large potations are, at all times, and in every constitution, improper; that they are particularly injurious when indulged in previously to the taking of food, and especially before dinner ; that all beverage is more pernicious to the healthy in a warm, than in a cold state ; that the human stomach should never be in-undated with immoderate quantities of drink at one time; and that the most natural drink, and the most conducive to health, without exception, is pure water.