Sunday, January 22, 2012

Fearfully doctored whiskey

I found the image for my Old Grand-Dad post here, part of a series published in the Hinds County, Mississippi, Gazette, in 1878 and 1879. It illustrated the following piece:
That the liquor which was drank in this country in "the olden time" was an entirely different article in its effects from that now consumed, will appear evident on the statement of a fact or two. Away back 30 or 35 years ago, two opposing candidates for the Legislature in this county - one a Whig, the other a Democrat - at a regular election, both lawyers of first class ability, and devoted each to his party, made the rounds of the county riding in the same buggy. On reaching one of the precincts, and we think it was Newtown, both gentlemen proved to be so drunk that the bystanders had to help them from the buggy. They could scarcely stand, but each made a fine speech for himself and his party. But, the point we wish to make is this - that these two gentlemen, violent opponents in politics, and opposing candidates in Hinds county, made the rounds together in a buggy, both drinking more or less whisky every day, and yet neither attempted to kill the other, nor was a pistol drawn by either on the other, nor yet was an insult offered, so far as we ever heard.

Could such a canvass, with like feeling, be made now? We think not. And we ascribe the difference, not to a change so much in the habits of the people, as to the change in the quality of the whisky. The whisky of today, even if taken in homeopathic doses, brings about jarring, quarrellings, fisticuffs, pistol drawings, and murders, even among the best of friends, and so soon as the first dose is taken. Two drunken men cannot now ride a half dozen miles together without serious results of some sort, and a very young man, after smelling a bottle, will at once go out in a wild hunt after a pistol with which to shoot, perhaps, his best friend. The people have not changed. It is the whisky. It has [sic] fearfully doctored at Cincinnati.
And that is why I almost never drink Ohio whiskey.

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