Alcohol - A Gift of God to Man
Those who know me well (indeed, those who know me in passing, or barely know me at all, for that matter) will appreciate the smile which the opening lines (and, indeed, the general sentiment) of the following short article from the the Belfast Newsletter of 29 October, 1879 brought to my face when I chanced upon it just the other day ...
DR BUCHANAN on THE USE of ALCOHOL
Dr Andrew Buchanan, President of the Glasgow Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons, delivering an introductory address in Anderson's College, Glasgow, yesterday, said - In accordance with the evidence of history, his own experience, and the experience of many trustworthy men, alcohol was a good thing - a gift from God to man - which human perversity had converted into an instrument of evil. All who entertained views of the beneficial action of alcohol upon the human body ought to partake of it, and for any man directly or indirectly to prevent them was a wrong action, and contrary to the dictates both of morals and religion. He spoke of the unfortunate consequences of refusing a compromise, but looked forward to the time when both parties will join in framing a code of wise laws for the repression of intemperance.
The good doctor's views on intemperance and human perversity notwithstanding, his experience sits remarkably well with my own on the matter of alcohol and its medicinal properties. Indeed, I may well raise a glass to the weight of his evidence before the day is out!