Confessions of an English Opium-Eater
Thomas De Quincey

Part 2 out of 2

if you please, reader, to 1813. In the summer of the year we have
just quitted I have suffered much in bodily health from distress of
mind connected with a very melancholy event. This event being no
ways related to the subject now before me, further than through the
bodily illness which it produced, I need not more particularly
notice. Whether this illness of 1812 had any share in that of 1813
I know not; but so it was, that in the latter year I was attacked by
a most appalling irritation of the stomach, in all respects the same
as that which had caused me so much suffering in youth, and
accompanied by a revival of all the old dreams. This is the point
of my narrative on which, as respects my own self-justification, the
whole of what follows may be said to hinge. And here I find myself
in a perplexing dilemma. Either, on the one hand, I must exhaust
the reader's patience by such a detail of my malady, or of my
struggles with it, as might suffice to establish the fact of my
inability to wrestle any longer with irritation and constant
suffering; or, on the other hand, by passing lightly over this
critical part of my story, I must forego the benefit of a stronger
impression left on the mind of the reader, and must lay myself open
to the misconstruction of having slipped, by the easy and gradual
steps of self-indulging persons, from the first to the final stage
of opium-eating (a misconstruction to which there will be a lurking
predisposition in most readers, from my previous acknowledgements).
This is the dilemma, the first horn of which would be sufficient to
toss and gore any column of patient readers, though drawn up sixteen
deep and constantly relieved by fresh men; consequently that is not
to be thought of. It remains, then, that I POSTULALE so much as is
necessary for my purpose. And let me take as full credit for what I
postulate as if I had demonstrated it, good reader, at the expense
of your patience and my own. Be not so ungenerous as to let me
suffer in your good opinion through my own forbearance and regard
for your comfort. No; believe all that I ask of you--viz., that I
could resist no longer; believe it liberally and as an act of grace,
or else in mere prudence; for if not, then in the next edition of my
Opium Confessions, revised and enlarged, I will make you believe and
tremble; and a force d'ennuyer, by mere dint of pandiculation I will
terrify all readers of mine from ever again questioning any
postulate that I shall think fit to make.

This, then, let me repeat, I postulate--that at the time I began to
take opium daily I could not have done otherwise. Whether, indeed,
afterwards I might not have succeeded in breaking off the habit,
even when it seemed to me that all efforts would be unavailing, and
whether many of the innumerable efforts which I did make might not
have been carried much further, and my gradual reconquests of ground
lost might not have been followed up much more energetically--these
are questions which I must decline. Perhaps I might make out a case
of palliation; but shall I speak ingenuously? I confess it, as a
besetting infirmity of mine, that I am too much of an Eudaemonist; I
hanker too much after a state of happiness, both for myself and
others; I cannot face misery, whether my own or not, with an eye of
sufficient firmness, and am little capable of encountering present
pain for the sake of any reversionary benefit. On some other
matters I can agree with the gentlemen in the cotton trade {15} at
Manchester in affecting the Stoic philosophy, but not in this. Here
I take the liberty of an Eclectic philosopher, and I look out for
some courteous and considerate sect that will condescend more to the
infirm condition of an opium-eater; that are "sweet men," as Chaucer
says, "to give absolution," and will show some conscience in the
penances they inflict, and the efforts of abstinence they exact from
poor sinners like myself. An inhuman moralist I can no more endure
in my nervous state than opium that has not been boiled. At any
rate, he who summons me to send out a large freight of self-denial
and mortification upon any cruising voyage of moral improvement,
must make it clear to my understanding that the concern is a hopeful
one. At my time of life (six-and-thirty years of age) it cannot be
supposed that I have much energy to spare; in fact, I find it all
little enough for the intellectual labours I have on my hands, and
therefore let no man expect to frighten me by a few hard words into
embarking any part of it upon desperate adventures of morality.

Whether desperate or not, however, the issue of the struggle in 1813
was what I have mentioned, and from this date the reader is to
consider me as a regular and confirmed opium-eater, of whom to ask
whether on any particular day he had or had not taken opium, would
be to ask whether his lungs had performed respiration, or the heart
fulfilled its functions. You understand now, reader, what I am, and
you are by this time aware that no old gentleman "with a snow-white
beard" will have any chance of persuading me to surrender "the
little golden receptacle of the pernicious drug." No; I give notice
to all, whether moralists or surgeons, that whatever be their
pretensions and skill in their respective lines of practice, they
must not hope for any countenance from me, if they think to begin by
any savage proposition for a Lent or a Ramadan of abstinence from
opium. This, then, being all fully understood between us, we shall
in future sail before the wind. Now then, reader, from 1813, where
all this time we have been sitting down and loitering, rise up, if
you please, and walk forward about three years more. Now draw up
the curtain, and you shall see me in a new character.

If any man, poor or rich, were to say that he would tell us what had
been the happiest day in his life, and the why and the wherefore, I
suppose that we should all cry out--Hear him! Hear him! As to the
happiest DAY, that must be very difficult for any wise man to name,
because any event that could occupy so distinguished a place in a
man's retrospect of his life, or be entitled to have shed a special
felicity on any one day, ought to be of such an enduring character
as that (accidents apart) it should have continued to shed the same
felicity, or one not distinguishably less, on many years together.
To the happiest LUSTRUM, however, or even to the happiest YEAR, it
may be allowed to any man to point without discountenance from
wisdom. This year, in my case, reader, was the one which we have
now reached; though it stood, I confess, as a parenthesis between
years of a gloomier character. It was a year of brilliant water (to
speak after the manner of jewellers), set as it were, and insulated,
in the gloom and cloudy melancholy of opium. Strange as it may
sound, I had a little before this time descended suddenly, and
without any considerable effort, from 320 grains of opium (i.e.
eight {16} thousand drops of laudanum) per day, to forty grains, or
one-eighth part. Instantaneously, and as if by magic, the cloud of
profoundest melancholy which rested upon my brain, like some black
vapours that I have seen roll away from the summits of mountains,
drew off in one day ([Greek text]); passed off with its murky
banners as simultaneously as a ship that has been stranded, and is
floated off by a spring tide -

That moveth altogether, if it move at all.

Now, then, I was again happy; I now took only 1000 drops of laudanum
per day; and what was that? A latter spring had come to close up
the season of youth; my brain performed its functions as healthily
as ever before; I read Kant again, and again I understood him, or
fancied that I did. Again my feelings of pleasure expanded
themselves to all around me; and if any man from Oxford or
Cambridge, or from neither, had been announced to me in my
unpretending cottage, I should have welcomed him with as sumptuous a
reception as so poor a man could offer. Whatever else was wanting
to a wise man's happiness, of laudanum I would have given him as
much as he wished, and in a golden cup. And, by the way, now that I
speak of giving laudanum away, I remember about this time a little
incident, which I mention because, trifling as it was, the reader
will soon meet it again in my dreams, which it influenced more
fearfully than could be imagined. One day a Malay knocked at my
door. What business a Malay could have to transact amongst English
mountains I cannot conjecture; but possibly he was on his road to a
seaport about forty miles distant.

The servant who opened the door to him was a young girl, born and
bred amongst the mountains, who had never seen an Asiatic dress of
any sort; his turban therefore confounded her not a little; and as
it turned out that his attainments in English were exactly of the
same extent as hers in the Malay, there seemed to be an impassable
gulf fixed between all communication of ideas, if either party had
happened to possess any. In this dilemma, the girl, recollecting
the reputed learning of her master (and doubtless giving me credit
for a knowledge of all the languages of the earth besides perhaps a
few of the lunar ones), came and gave me to understand that there
was a sort of demon below, whom she clearly imagined that my art
could exorcise from the house. I did not immediately go down, but
when I did, the group which presented itself, arranged as it was by
accident, though not very elaborate, took hold of my fancy and my
eye in a way that none of the statuesque attitudes exhibited in the
ballets at the Opera-house, though so ostentatiously complex, had
ever done. In a cottage kitchen, but panelled on the wall with dark
wood that from age and rubbing resembled oak, and looking more like
a rustic hall of entrance than a kitchen, stood the Malay--his
turban and loose trousers of dingy white relieved upon the dark
panelling. He had placed himself nearer to the girl than she seemed
to relish, though her native spirit of mountain intrepidity
contended with the feeling of simple awe which her countenance
expressed as she gazed upon the tiger-cat before her. And a more
striking picture there could not be imagined than the beautiful
English face of the girl, and its exquisite fairness, together with
her erect and independent attitude, contrasted with the sallow and
bilious skin of the Malay, enamelled or veneered with mahogany by
marine air, his small, fierce, restless eyes, thin lips, slavish
gestures and adorations. Half-hidden by the ferocious-looking Malay
was a little child from a neighbouring cottage who had crept in
after him, and was now in the act of reverting its head and gazing
upwards at the turban and the fiery eyes beneath it, whilst with one
hand he caught at the dress of the young woman for protection. My
knowledge of the Oriental tongues is not remarkably extensive, being
indeed confined to two words--the Arabic word for barley and the
Turkish for opium (madjoon), which I have learned from Anastasius;
and as I had neither a Malay dictionary nor even Adelung's
Mithridates, which might have helped me to a few words, I addressed
him in some lines from the Iliad, considering that, of such
languages as I possessed, Greek, in point of longitude, came
geographically nearest to an Oriental one. He worshipped me in a
most devout manner, and replied in what I suppose was Malay. In
this way I saved my reputation with my neighbours, for the Malay had
no means of betraying the secret. He lay down upon the floor for
about an hour, and then pursued his journey. On his departure I
presented him with a piece of opium. To him, as an Orientalist, I
concluded that opium must be familiar; and the expression of his
face convinced me that it was. Nevertheless, I was struck with some
little consternation when I saw him suddenly raise his hand to his
mouth, and, to use the schoolboy phrase, bolt the whole, divided
into three pieces, at one mouthful. The quantity was enough to kill
three dragoons and their horses, and I felt some alarm for the poor
creature; but what could be done? I had given him the opium in
compassion for his solitary life, on recollecting that if he had
travelled on foot from London it must be nearly three weeks since he
could have exchanged a thought with any human being. I could not
think of violating the laws of hospitality by having him seized and
drenched with an emetic, and thus frightening him into a notion that
we were going to sacrifice him to some English idol. No: there was
clearly no help for it. He took his leave, and for some days I felt
anxious, but as I never heard of any Malay being found dead, I
became convinced that he was used {17} to opium; and that I must
have done him the service I designed by giving him one night of
respite from the pains of wandering.

This incident I have digressed to mention, because this Malay
(partly from the picturesque exhibition he assisted to frame, partly
from the anxiety I connected with his image for some days) fastened
afterwards upon my dreams, and brought other Malays with him, worse
than himself, that ran "a-muck" {18} at me, and led me into a world
of troubles. But to quit this episode, and to return to my
intercalary year of happiness. I have said already, that on a
subject so important to us all as happiness, we should listen with
pleasure to any man's experience or experiments, even though he were
but a plough-boy, who cannot be supposed to have ploughed very deep
into such an intractable soil as that of human pains and pleasures,
or to have conducted his researches upon any very enlightened
principles. But I who have taken happiness both in a solid and
liquid shape, both boiled and unboiled, both East India and Turkey--
who have conducted my experiments upon this interesting subject with
a sort of galvanic battery, and have, for the general benefit of the
world, inoculated myself, as it were, with the poison of 8000 drops
of laudanum per day (just for the same reason as a French surgeon
inoculated himself lately with cancer, an English one twenty years
ago with plague, and a third, I know not of what nation, with
hydrophobia), I (it will be admitted) must surely know what
happiness is, if anybody does. And therefore I will here lay down
an analysis of happiness; and as the most interesting mode of
communicating it, I will give it, not didactically, but wrapped up
and involved in a picture of one evening, as I spent every evening
during the intercalary year when laudanum, though taken daily, was
to me no more than the elixir of pleasure. This done, I shall quit
the subject of happiness altogether, and pass to a very different

Let there be a cottage standing in a valley, eighteen miles from any
town--no spacious valley, but about two miles long by three-quarters
of a mile in average width; the benefit of which provision is that
all the family resident within its circuit will compose, as it were,
one larger household, personally familiar to your eye, and more or
less interesting to your affections. Let the mountains be real
mountains, between 3,000 and 4,000 feet high, and the cottage a real
cottage, not (as a witty author has it) "a cottage with a double
coach-house;" let it be, in fact (for I must abide by the actual
scene), a white cottage, embowered with flowering shrubs, so chosen
as to unfold a succession of flowers upon the walls and clustering
round the windows through all the months of spring, summer, and
autumn--beginning, in fact, with May roses, and ending with jasmine.
Let it, however, NOT be spring, nor summer, nor autumn, but winter
in his sternest shape. This is a most important point in the
science of happiness. And I am surprised to see people overlook it,
and think it matter of congratulation that winter is going, or, if
coming, is not likely to be a severe one. On the contrary, I put up
a petition annually for as much snow, hail, frost, or storm, of one
kind or other, as the skies can possibly afford us. Surely
everybody is aware of the divine pleasures which attend a winter
fireside, candles at four o'clock, warm hearth-rugs, tea, a fair
tea-maker, shutters closed, curtains flowing in ample draperies on
the floor, whilst the wind and rain are raging audibly without,

And at the doors and windows seem to call,
As heav'n and earth they would together mell;
Yet the least entrance find they none at all;
Whence sweeter grows our rest secure in massy hall.
Castle of Indolence.

All these are items in the description of a winter evening which
must surely be familiar to everybody born in a high latitude. And
it is evident that most of these delicacies, like ice-cream, require
a very low temperature of the atmosphere to produce them; they are
fruits which cannot be ripened without weather stormy or inclement
in some way or other. I am not "PARTICULAR," as people say, whether
it be snow, or black frost, or wind so strong that (as Mr.--says)
"you may lean your back against it like a post." I can put up even
with rain, provided it rains cats and dogs; but something of the
sort I must have, and if I have it not, I think myself in a manner
ill-used; for why am I called on to pay so heavily for winter, in
coals and candles, and various privations that will occur even to
gentlemen, if I am not to have the article good of its kind? No, a
Canadian winter for my money, or a Russian one, where every man is
but a co-proprietor with the north wind in the fee-simple of his own
ears. Indeed, so great an epicure am I in this matter that I cannot
relish a winter night fully if it be much past St. Thomas's day, and
have degenerated into disgusting tendencies to vernal appearances.
No, it must be divided by a thick wall of dark nights from all
return of light and sunshine. From the latter weeks of October to
Christmas Eve, therefore, is the period during which happiness is in
season, which, in my judgment, enters the room with the tea-tray;
for tea, though ridiculed by those who are naturally of coarse
nerves, or are become so from wine-drinking, and are not susceptible
of influence from so refined a stimulant, will always be the
favourite beverage of the intellectual; and, for my part, I would
have joined Dr. Johnson in a bellum internecinum against Jonas
Hanway, or any other impious person, who should presume to disparage
it. But here, to save myself the trouble of too much verbal
description, I will introduce a painter, and give him directions for
the rest of the picture. Painters do not like white cottages,
unless a good deal weather-stained; but as the reader now
understands that it is a winter night, his services will not be
required except for the inside of the house.

Paint me, then, a room seventeen feet by twelve, and not more than
seven and a half feet high. This, reader, is somewhat ambitiously
styled in my family the drawing-room; but being contrived "a double
debt to pay," it is also, and more justly, termed the library, for
it happens that books are the only article of property in which I am
richer than my neighbours. Of these I have about five thousand,
collected gradually since my eighteenth year. Therefore, painter,
put as many as you can into this room. Make it populous with books,
and, furthermore, paint me a good fire, and furniture plain and
modest, befitting the unpretending cottage of a scholar. And near
the fire paint me a tea-table, and (as it is clear that no creature
can come to see one such a stormy night) place only two cups and
saucers on the tea-tray; and, if you know how to paint such a thing
symbolically or otherwise, paint me an eternal tea-pot--eternal a
parte ante and a parte post--for I usually drink tea from eight
o'clock at night to four o'clock in the morning. And as it is very
unpleasant to make tea or to pour it out for oneself, paint me a
lovely young woman sitting at the table. Paint her arms like
Aurora's and her smiles like Hebe's. But no, dear M., not even in
jest let me insinuate that thy power to illuminate my cottage rests
upon a tenure so perishable as mere personal beauty, or that the
witchcraft of angelic smiles lies within the empire of any earthly
pencil. Pass then, my good painter, to something more within its
power; and the next article brought forward should naturally be
myself--a picture of the Opium-eater, with his "little golden
receptacle of the pernicious drug" lying beside him on the table.
As to the opium, I have no objection to see a picture of THAT,
though I would rather see the original. You may paint it if you
choose, but I apprise you that no "little" receptacle would, even in
1816, answer MY purpose, who was at a distance from the "stately
Pantheon," and all druggists (mortal or otherwise). No, you may as
well paint the real receptacle, which was not of gold, but of glass,
and as much like a wine-decanter as possible. Into this you may put
a quart of ruby-coloured laudanum; that, and a book of German
Metaphysics placed by its side, will sufficiently attest my being in
the neighbourhood. But as to myself--there I demur. I admit that,
naturally, I ought to occupy the foreground of the picture; that
being the hero of the piece, or (if you choose) the criminal at the
bar, my body should be had into court. This seems reasonable; but
why should I confess on this point to a painter? or why confess at
all? If the public (into whose private ear I am confidentially
whispering my confessions, and not into any painter's) should chance
to have framed some agreeable picture for itself of the Opium-
eater's exterior, should have ascribed to him, romantically an
elegant person or a handsome face, why should I barbarously tear
from it so pleasing a delusion--pleasing both to the public and to
me? No; paint me, if at all, according to your own fancy, and as a
painter's fancy should teem with beautiful creations, I cannot fail
in that way to be a gainer. And now, reader, we have run through
all the ten categories of my condition as it stood about 1816-17, up
to the middle of which latter year I judge myself to have been a
happy man, and the elements of that happiness I have endeavoured to
place before you in the above sketch of the interior of a scholar's
library, in a cottage among the mountains, on a stormy winter

But now, farewell--a long farewell--to happiness, winter or summer!
Farewell to smiles and laughter! Farewell to peace of mind!
Farewell to hope and to tranquil dreams, and to the blessed
consolations of sleep. For more than three years and a half I am
summoned away from these. I am now arrived at an Iliad of woes, for
I have now to record


As when some great painter dips
His pencil in the gloom of earthquake and eclipse.
SHELLEY'S Revolt of Islam.

Reader, who have thus far accompanied me, I must request your
attention to a brief explanatory note on three points:

1. For several reasons I have not been able to compose the notes
for this part of my narrative into any regular and connected shape.
I give the notes disjointed as I find them, or have now drawn them
up from memory. Some of them point to their own date, some I have
dated, and some are undated. Whenever it could answer my purpose to
transplant them from the natural or chronological order, I have not
scrupled to do so. Sometimes I speak in the present, sometimes in
the past tense. Few of the notes, perhaps, were written exactly at
the period of time to which they relate; but this can little affect
their accuracy, as the impressions were such that they can never
fade from my mind. Much has been omitted. I could not, without
effort, constrain myself to the task of either recalling, or
constructing into a regular narrative, the whole burthen of horrors
which lies upon my brain. This feeling partly I plead in excuse,
and partly that I am now in London, and am a helpless sort of
person, who cannot even arrange his own papers without assistance;
and I am separated from the hands which are wont to perform for me
the offices of an amanuensis.

2. You will think perhaps that I am too confidential and
communicative of my own private history. It may be so. But my way
of writing is rather to think aloud, and follow my own humours, than
much to consider who is listening to me; and if I stop to consider
what is proper to be said to this or that person, I shall soon come
to doubt whether any part at all is proper. The fact is, I place
myself at a distance of fifteen or twenty years ahead of this time,
and suppose myself writing to those who will be interested about me
hereafter; and wishing to have some record of time, the entire
history of which no one can know but myself, I do it as fully as I
am able with the efforts I am now capable of making, because I know
not whether I can ever find time to do it again.

3. It will occur to you often to ask, why did I not release myself
from the horrors of opium by leaving it off or diminishing it? To
this I must answer briefly: it might be supposed that I yielded to
the fascinations of opium too easily; it cannot be supposed that any
man can be charmed by its terrors. The reader may be sure,
therefore, that I made attempts innumerable to reduce the quantity.
I add, that those who witnessed the agonies of those attempts, and
not myself, were the first to beg me to desist. But could not have
I reduced it a drop a day, or, by adding water, have bisected or
trisected a drop? A thousand drops bisected would thus have taken
nearly six years to reduce, and that way would certainly not have
answered. But this is a common mistake of those who know nothing of
opium experimentally; I appeal to those who do, whether it is not
always found that down to a certain point it can be reduced with
ease and even pleasure, but that after that point further reduction
causes intense suffering. Yes, say many thoughtless persons, who
know not what they are talking of, you will suffer a little low
spirits and dejection for a few days. I answer, no; there is
nothing like low spirits; on the contrary, the mere animal spirits
are uncommonly raised: the pulse is improved: the health is
better. It is not there that the suffering lies. It has no
resemblance to the sufferings caused by renouncing wine. It is a
state of unutterable irritation of stomach (which surely is not much
like dejection), accompanied by intense perspirations, and feelings
such as I shall not attempt to describe without more space at my

I shall now enter in medias res, and shall anticipate, from a time
when my opium pains might be said to be at their acme, an account of
their palsying effects on the intellectual faculties.

My studies have now been long interrupted. I cannot read to myself
with any pleasure, hardly with a moment's endurance. Yet I read
aloud sometimes for the pleasure of others, because reading is an
accomplishment of mine, and, in the slang use of the word
"accomplishment" as a superficial and ornamental attainment, almost
the only one I possess; and formerly, if I had any vanity at all
connected with any endowment or attainment of mine, it was with
this, for I had observed that no accomplishment was so rare.
Players are the worst readers of all: --reads vilely; and Mrs. -,
who is so celebrated, can read nothing well but dramatic
compositions: Milton she cannot read sufferably. People in general
either read poetry without any passion at all, or else overstep the
modesty of nature, and read not like scholars. Of late, if I have
felt moved by anything it has been by the grand lamentations of
Samson Agonistes, or the great harmonies of the Satanic speeches in
Paradise Regained, when read aloud by myself. A young lady
sometimes comes and drinks tea with us: at her request and M.'s, I
now and then read W-'s poems to them. (W., by-the-bye is the only
poet I ever met who could read his own verses: often indeed he
reads admirably.)

For nearly two years I believe that I read no book, but one; and I
owe it to the author, in discharge of a great debt of gratitude, to
mention what that was. The sublimer and more passionate poets I
still read, as I have said, by snatches, and occasionally. But my
proper vocation, as I well know, was the exercise of the analytic
understanding. Now, for the most part analytic studies are
continuous, and not to be pursued by fits and starts, or fragmentary
efforts. Mathematics, for instance, intellectual philosophy, &c,,
were all become insupportable to me; I shrunk from them with a sense
of powerless and infantine feebleness that gave me an anguish the
greater from remembering the time when I grappled with them to my
own hourly delight; and for this further reason, because I had
devoted the labour of my whole life, and had dedicated my intellect,
blossoms and fruits, to the slow and elaborate toil of constructing
one single work, to which I had presumed to give the title of an
unfinished work of Spinosa's--viz., De Emendatione Humani
Intellectus. This was now lying locked up, as by frost, like any
Spanish bridge or aqueduct, begun upon too great a scale for the
resources of the architect; and instead of reviving me as a monument
of wishes at least, and aspirations, and a life of labour dedicated
to the exaltation of human nature in that way in which God had best
fitted me to promote so great an object, it was likely to stand a
memorial to my children of hopes defeated, of baffled efforts, of
materials uselessly accumulated, of foundations laid that were never
to support a super-structure--of the grief and the ruin of the
architect. In this state of imbecility I had, for amusement, turned
my attention to political economy; my understanding, which formerly
had been as active and restless as a hyaena, could not, I suppose
(so long as I lived at all) sink into utter lethargy; and political
economy offers this advantage to a person in my state, that though
it is eminently an organic science (no part, that is to say, but
what acts on the whole as the whole again reacts on each part), yet
the several parts may be detached and contemplated singly. Great as
was the prostration of my powers at this time, yet I could not
forget my knowledge; and my understanding had been for too many
years intimate with severe thinkers, with logic, and the great
masters of knowledge, not to be aware of the utter feebleness of the
main herd of modern economists. I had been led in 1811 to look into
loads of books and pamphlets on many branches of economy; and, at my
desire, M. sometimes read to me chapters from more recent works, or
parts of parliamentary debates. I saw that these were generally the
very dregs and rinsings of the human intellect; and that any man of
sound head, and practised in wielding logic with a scholastic
adroitness, might take up the whole academy of modern economists,
and throttle them between heaven and earth with his finger and
thumb, or bray their fungus-heads to powder with a lady's fan. At
length, in 1819, a friend in Edinburgh sent me down Mr. Ricardo's
book; and recurring to my own prophetic anticipation of the advent
of some legislator for this science, I said, before I had finished
the first chapter, "Thou art the man!" Wonder and curiosity were
emotions that had long been dead in me. Yet I wondered once more:
I wondered at myself that I could once again be stimulated to the
effort of reading, and much more I wondered at the book. Had this
profound work been really written in England during the nineteenth
century? Was it possible? I supposed thinking {19} had been
extinct in England. Could it be that an Englishman, and he not in
academic bowers, but oppressed by mercantile and senatorial cares,
had accomplished what all the universities of Europe and a century
of thought had failed even to advance by one hair's breadth? All
other writers had been crushed and overlaid by the enormous weight
of facts and documents. Mr. Ricardo had deduced a priori from the
understanding itself laws which first gave a ray of light into the
unwieldy chaos of materials, and had constructed what had been but a
collection of tentative discussions into a science of regular
proportions, now first standing on an eternal basis.

Thus did one single work of a profound understanding avail to give
me a pleasure and an activity which I had not known for years. It
roused me even to write, or at least to dictate what M. wrote for
me. It seemed to me that some important truths had escaped even
"the inevitable eye" of Mr. Ricardo; and as these were for the most
part of such a nature that I could express or illustrate them more
briefly and elegantly by algebraic symbols than in the usual clumsy
and loitering diction of economists, the whole would not have filled
a pocket-book; and being so brief, with M. for my amanuensis, even
at this time, incapable as I was of all general exertion, I drew up
it will not be found redolent of opium; though, indeed, to most
people the subject is a sufficient opiate.

This exertion, however, was but a temporary flash, as the sequel
showed; for I designed to publish my work. Arrangements were made
at a provincial press, about eighteen miles distant, for printing
it. An additional compositor was retained for some days on this
account. The work was even twice advertised, and I was in a manner
pledged to the fulfilment of my intention. But I had a preface to
write, and a dedication, which I wished to make a splendid one, to
Mr. Ricardo. I found myself quite unable to accomplish all this.
The arrangements were countermanded, the compositor dismissed, and
my "Prolegomena" rested peacefully by the side of its elder and more
dignified brother.

I have thus described and illustrated my intellectual torpor in
terms that apply more or less to every part of the four years during
which I was under the Circean spells of opium. But for misery and
suffering, I might indeed be said to have existed in a dormant
state. I seldom could prevail on myself to write a letter; an
answer of a few words to any that I received was the utmost that I
could accomplish, and often THAT not until the letter had lain weeks
or even months on my writing-table. Without the aid of M. all
records of bills paid or TO BE paid must have perished, and my whole
domestic economy, whatever became of Political Economy, must have
gone into irretrievable confusion. I shall not afterwards allude to
this part of the case. It is one, however, which the opium-eater
will find, in the end, as oppressive and tormenting as any other,
from the sense of incapacity and feebleness, from the direct
embarrassments incident to the neglect or procrastination of each
day's appropriate duties, and from the remorse which must often
exasperate the stings of these evils to a reflective and
conscientious mind. The opium-eater loses none of his moral
sensibilities or aspirations. He wishes and longs as earnestly as
ever to realize what he believes possible, and feels to be exacted
by duty; but his intellectual apprehension of what is possible
infinitely outruns his power, not of execution only, but even of
power to attempt. He lies under the weight of incubus and
nightmare; he lies in sight of all that he would fain perform, just
as a man forcibly confined to his bed by the mortal languor of a
relaxing disease, who is compelled to witness injury or outrage
offered to some object of his tenderest love: he curses the spells
which chain him down from motion; he would lay down his life if he
might but get up and walk; but he is powerless as an infant, and
cannot even attempt to rise.

I now pass to what is the main subject of these latter confessions,
to the history and journal of what took place in my dreams, for
these were the immediate and proximate cause of my acutest

The first notice I had of any important change going on in this part
of my physical economy was from the reawakening of a state of eye
generally incident to childhood, or exalted states of irritability.
I know not whether my reader is aware that many children, perhaps
most, have a power of painting, as it were upon the darkness, all
sorts of phantoms. In some that power is simply a mechanical
affection of the eye; others have a voluntary or semi-voluntary
power to dismiss or to summon them; or, as a child once said to me
when I questioned him on this matter, "I can tell them to go, and
they go -, but sometimes they come when I don't tell them to come."
Whereupon I told him that he had almost as unlimited a command over
apparitions as a Roman centurion over his soldiers.--In the middle
of 1817, I think it was, that this faculty became positively
distressing to me: at night, when I lay awake in bed, vast
processions passed along in mournful pomp; friezes of never-ending
stories, that to my feelings were as sad and solemn as if they were
stories drawn from times before OEdipus or Priam, before Tyre,
before Memphis. And at the same time a corresponding change took
place in my dreams; a theatre seemed suddenly opened and lighted up
within my brain, which presented nightly spectacles of more than
earthly splendour. And the four following facts may be mentioned as
noticeable at this time:

1. That as the creative state of the eye increased, a sympathy
seemed to arise between the waking and the dreaming states of the
brain in one point--that whatsoever I happened to call up and to
trace by a voluntary act upon the darkness was very apt to transfer
itself to my dreams, so that I feared to exercise this faculty; for,
as Midas turned all things to gold that yet baffled his hopes and
defrauded his human desires, so whatsoever things capable of being
visually represented I did but think of in the darkness, immediately
shaped themselves into phantoms of the eye; and by a process
apparently no less inevitable, when thus once traced in faint and
visionary colours, like writings in sympathetic ink, they were drawn
out by the fierce chemistry of my dreams into insufferable splendour
that fretted my heart.

2. For this and all other changes in my dreams were accompanied by
deep-seated anxiety and gloomy melancholy, such as are wholly
incommunicable by words. I seemed every night to descend, not
metaphorically, but literally to descend, into chasms and sunless
abysses, depths below depths, from which it seemed hopeless that I
could ever reascend. Nor did I, by waking, feel that I HAD
reascended. This I do not dwell upon; because the state of gloom
which attended these gorgeous spectacles, amounting at last to utter
darkness, as of some suicidal despondency, cannot be approached by

3. The sense of space, and in the end the sense of time, were both
powerfully affected. Buildings, landscapes, &c., were exhibited in
proportions so vast as the bodily eye is not fitted to receive.
Space swelled, and was amplified to an extent of unutterable
infinity. This, however, did not disturb me so much as the vast
expansion of time; I sometimes seemed to have lived for 70 or 100
years in one night--nay, sometimes had feelings representative of a
millennium passed in that time, or, however, of a duration far
beyond the limits of any human experience.

4. The minutest incidents of childhood, or forgotten scenes of
later years, were often revived: I could not be said to recollect
them, for if I had been told of them when waking, I should not have
been able to acknowledge them as parts of my past experience. But
placed as they were before me, in dreams like intuitions, and
clothed in all their evanescent circumstances and accompanying
feelings, I RECOGNISED them instantaneously. I was once told by a
near relative of mine, that having in her childhood fallen into a
river, and being on the very verge of death but for the critical
assistance which reached her, she saw in a moment her whole life, in
its minutest incidents, arrayed before her simultaneously as in a
mirror; and she had a faculty developed as suddenly for
comprehending the whole and every part. This, from some opium
experiences of mine, I can believe; I have indeed seen the same
thing asserted twice in modern books, and accompanied by a remark
which I am convinced is true; viz., that the dread book of account
which the Scriptures speak of is in fact the mind itself of each
individual. Of this at least I feel assured, that there is no such
thing as FORGETTING possible to the mind; a thousand accidents may
and will interpose a veil between our present consciousness and the
secret inscriptions on the mind; accidents of the same sort will
also rend away this veil; but alike, whether veiled or unveiled, the
inscription remains for ever, just as the stars seem to withdraw
before the common light of day, whereas in fact we all know that it
is the light which is drawn over them as a veil, and that they are
waiting to be revealed when the obscuring daylight shall have

Having noticed these four facts as memorably distinguishing my
dreams from those of health, I shall now cite a case illustrative of
the first fact, and shall then cite any others that I remember,
either in their chronological order, or any other that may give them
more effect as pictures to the reader.

I had been in youth, and even since, for occasional amusement, a
great reader of Livy, whom I confess that I prefer, both for style
and matter, to any other of the Roman historians; and I had often
felt as most solemn and appalling sounds, and most emphatically
representative of the majesty of the Roman people, the two words so
often occurring in Livy--Consul Romanus, especially when the consul
is introduced in his military character. I mean to say that the
words king, sultan, regent, &c., or any other titles of those who
embody in their own persons the collective majesty of a great
people, had less power over my reverential feelings. I had also,
though no great reader of history, made myself minutely and
critically familiar with one period of English history, viz., the
period of the Parliamentary War, having been attracted by the moral
grandeur of some who figured in that day, and by the many
interesting memoirs which survive those unquiet times. Both these
parts of my lighter reading, having furnished me often with matter
of reflection, now furnished me with matter for my dreams. Often I
used to see, after painting upon the blank darkness a sort of
rehearsal whilst waking, a crowd of ladies, and perhaps a festival
and dances. And I heard it said, or I said to myself, "These are
English ladies from the unhappy times of Charles I. These are the
wives and the daughters of those who met in peace, and sate at the
same table, and were allied by marriage or by blood; and yet, after
a certain day in August 1642, never smiled upon each other again,
nor met but in the field of battle; and at Marston Moor, at Newbury,
or at Naseby, cut asunder all ties of love by the cruel sabre, and
washed away in blood the memory of ancient friendship." The ladies
danced, and looked as lovely as the court of George IV. Yet I knew,
even in my dream, that they had been in the grave for nearly two
centuries. This pageant would suddenly dissolve; and at a clapping
of hands would be heard the heart-quaking sound OF CONSUL ROMANUS;
and immediately came "sweeping by," in gorgeous paludaments, Paulus
or Marius, girt round by a company of centurions, with the crimson
tunic hoisted on a spear, and followed by the alalagmos of the Roman

Many years ago, when I was looking over Piranesi's, Antiquities of
Rome, Mr. Coleridge, who was standing by, described to me a set of
plates by that artist, called his DREAMS, and which record the
scenery of his own visions during the delirium of a fever. Some of
them (I describe only from memory of Mr. Coleridge's account)
represented vast Gothic halls, on the floor of which stood all sorts
of engines and machinery, wheels, cables, pulleys, levers,
catapults, &c. &c., expressive of enormous power put forth and
resistance overcome. Creeping along the sides of the walls you
perceived a staircase; and upon it, groping his way upwards, was
Piranesi himself: follow the stairs a little further and you
perceive it come to a sudden and abrupt termination without any
balustrade, and allowing no step onwards to him who had reached the
extremity except into the depths below. Whatever is to become of
poor Piranesi, you suppose at least that his labours must in some
way terminate here. But raise your eyes, and behold a second flight
of stairs still higher, on which again Piranesi is perceived, but
this time standing on the very brink of the abyss. Again elevate
your eye, and a still more aerial flight of stairs is beheld, and
again is poor Piranesi busy on his aspiring labours; and so on,
until the unfinished stairs and Piranesi both are lost in the upper
gloom of the hall. With the same power of endless growth and self-
reproduction did my architecture proceed in dreams. In the early
stage of my malady the splendours of my dreams were indeed chiefly
architectural; and I beheld such pomp of cities and palaces as was
never yet beheld by the waking eye unless in the clouds. From a
great modern poet I cite part of a passage which describes, as an
appearance actually beheld in the clouds, what in many of its
circumstances I saw frequently in sleep:

The appearance, instantaneously disclosed,
Was of a mighty city--boldly say
A wilderness of building, sinking far
And self-withdrawn into a wondrous depth,
Far sinking into splendour--without end!
Fabric it seem'd of diamond, and of gold,
With alabaster domes, and silver spires,
And blazing terrace upon terrace, high
Uplifted; here, serene pavilions bright
In avenues disposed; there towers begirt
With battlements that on their restless fronts
Bore stars--illumination of all gems!
By earthly nature had the effect been wrought
Upon the dark materials of the storm
Now pacified; on them, and on the coves,
And mountain-steeps and summits, whereunto
The vapours had receded,--taking there
Their station under a cerulean sky. &c. &c.

The sublime circumstance, "battlements that on their RESTLESS fronts
bore stars," might have been copied from my architectural dreams,
for it often occurred. We hear it reported of Dryden and of Fuseli,
in modern times, that they thought proper to eat raw meat for the
sake of obtaining splendid dreams: how much better for such a
purpose to have eaten opium, which yet I do not remember that any
poet is recorded to have done, except the dramatist Shadwell; and in
ancient days Homer is I think rightly reputed to have known the
virtues of opium.

To my architecture succeeded dreams of lakes and silvery expanses of
water: these haunted me so much that I feared (though possibly it
will appear ludicrous to a medical man) that some dropsical state or
tendency of the brain might thus be making itself (to use a
metaphysical word) OBJECTIVE; and the sentient organ PROJECT itself
as its own object. For two months I suffered greatly in my head, a
part of my bodily structure which had hitherto been so clear from
all touch or taint of weakness (physically I mean) that I used to
say of it, as the last Lord Orford said of his stomach, that it
seemed likely to survive the rest of my person. Till now I had
never felt a headache even, or any the slightest pain, except
rheumatic pains caused by my own folly. However, I got over this
attack, though it must have been verging on something very

The waters now changed their character--from translucent lakes
shining like mirrors they now became seas and oceans. And now came
a tremendous change, which, unfolding itself slowly like a scroll
through many months, promised an abiding torment; and in fact it
never left me until the winding up of my case. Hitherto the human
face had mixed often in my dreams, but not despotically nor with any
special power of tormenting. But now that which I have called the
tyranny of the human face began to unfold itself. Perhaps some part
of my London life might be answerable for this. Be that as it may,
now it was that upon the rocking waters of the ocean the human face
began to appear; the sea appeared paved with innumerable faces
upturned to the heavens--faces imploring, wrathful, despairing,
surged upwards by thousands, by myriads, by generations, by
centuries: my agitation was infinite; my mind tossed and surged
with the ocean.

May 1818

The Malay has been a fearful enemy for months. I have been every
night, through his means, transported into Asiatic scenes. I know
not whether others share in my feelings on this point; but I have
often thought that if I were compelled to forego England, and to
live in China, and among Chinese manners and modes of life and
scenery, I should go mad. The causes of my horror lie deep, and
some of them must be common to others. Southern Asia in general is
the seat of awful images and associations. As the cradle of the
human race, it would alone have a dim and reverential feeling
connected with it. But there are other reasons. No man can pretend
that the wild, barbarous, and capricious superstitions of Africa, or
of savage tribes elsewhere, affect him in the way that he is
affected by the ancient, monumental, cruel, and elaborate religions
of Indostan, &c. The mere antiquity of Asiatic things, of their
institutions, histories, modes of faith, &c., is so impressive, that
to me the vast age of the race and name overpowers the sense of
youth in the individual. A young Chinese seems to me an
antediluvian man renewed. Even Englishmen, though not bred in any
knowledge of such institutions, cannot but shudder at the mystic
sublimity of CASTES that have flowed apart, and refused to mix,
through such immemorial tracts of time; nor can any man fail to be
awed by the names of the Ganges or the Euphrates. It contributes
much to these feelings that southern Asia is, and has been for
thousands of years, the part of the earth most swarming with human
life, the great officina gentium. Man is a weed in those regions.
The vast empires also in which the enormous population of Asia has
always been cast, give a further sublimity to the feelings
associated with all Oriental names or images. In China, over and
above what it has in common with the rest of southern Asia, I am
terrified by the modes of life, by the manners, and the barrier of
utter abhorrence and want of sympathy placed between us by feelings
deeper than I can analyse. I could sooner live with lunatics or
brute animals. All this, and much more than I can say or have time
to say, the reader must enter into before he can comprehend the
unimaginable horror which these dreams of Oriental imagery and
mythological tortures impressed upon me. Under the connecting
feeling of tropical heat and vertical sunlights I brought together
all creatures, birds, beasts, reptiles, all trees and plants, usages
and appearances, that are found in all tropical regions, and
assembled them together in China or Indostan. From kindred
feelings, I soon brought Egypt and all her gods under the same law.
I was stared at, hooted at, grinned at, chattered at, by monkeys, by
parroquets, by cockatoos. I ran into pagodas, and was fixed for
centuries at the summit or in secret rooms: I was the idol; I was
the priest; I was worshipped; I was sacrificed. I fled from the
wrath of Brama through all the forests of Asia: Vishnu hated me:
Seeva laid wait for me. I came suddenly upon Isis and Osiris: I
had done a deed, they said, which the ibis and the crocodile
trembled at. I was buried for a thousand years in stone coffins,
with mummies and sphynxes, in narrow chambers at the heart of
eternal pyramids. I was kissed, with cancerous kisses, by
crocodiles; and laid, confounded with all unutterable slimy things,
amongst reeds and Nilotic mud.

I thus give the reader some slight abstraction of my Oriental
dreams, which always filled me with such amazement at the monstrous
scenery that horror seemed absorbed for a while in sheer
astonishment. Sooner or later came a reflux of feeling that
swallowed up the astonishment, and left me not so much in terror as
in hatred and abomination of what I saw. Over every form, and
threat, and punishment, and dim sightless incarceration, brooded a
sense of eternity and infinity that drove me into an oppression as
of madness. Into these dreams only it was, with one or two slight
exceptions, that any circumstances of physical horror entered. All
before had been moral and spiritual terrors. But here the main
agents were ugly birds, or snakes, or crocodiles; especially the
last. The cursed crocodile became to me the object of more horror
than almost all the rest. I was compelled to live with him, and (as
was always the case almost in my dreams) for centuries. I escaped
sometimes, and found myself in Chinese houses, with cane tables, &c.
All the feet of the tables, sofas, &c., soon became instinct with
life: the abominable head of the crocodile, and his leering eyes,
looked out at me, multiplied into a thousand repetitions; and I
stood loathing and fascinated. And so often did this hideous
reptile haunt my dreams that many times the very same dream was
broken up in the very same way: I heard gentle voices speaking to
me (I hear everything when I am sleeping), and instantly I awoke.
It was broad noon, and my children were standing, hand in hand, at
my bedside--come to show me their coloured shoes, or new frocks, or
to let me see them dressed for going out. I protest that so awful
was the transition from the damned crocodile, and the other
unutterable monsters and abortions of my dreams, to the sight of
innocent HUMAN natures and of infancy, that in the mighty and sudden
revulsion of mind I wept, and could not forbear it, as I kissed
their faces.

June 1819

I have had occasion to remark, at various periods of my life, that
the deaths of those whom we love, and indeed the contemplation of
death generally, is (caeteris paribus) more affecting in summer than
in any other season of the year. And the reasons are these three, I
think: first, that the visible heavens in summer appear far higher,
more distant, and (if such a solecism may be excused) more infinite;
the clouds, by which chiefly the eye expounds the distance of the
blue pavilion stretched over our heads, are in summer more
voluminous, massed and accumulated in far grander and more towering
piles. Secondly, the light and the appearances of the declining and
the setting sun are much more fitted to be types and characters of
the Infinite. And thirdly (which is the main reason), the exuberant
and riotous prodigality of life naturally forces the mind more
powerfully upon the antagonist thought of death, and the wintry
sterility of the grave. For it may be observed generally, that
wherever two thoughts stand related to each other by a law of
antagonism, and exist, as it were, by mutual repulsion, they are apt
to suggest each other. On these accounts it is that I find it
impossible to banish the thought of death when I am walking alone in
the endless days of summer; and any particular death, if not more
affecting, at least haunts my mind more obstinately and besiegingly
in that season. Perhaps this cause, and a slight incident which I
omit, might have been the immediate occasions of the following
dream, to which, however, a predisposition must always have existed
in my mind; but having been once roused it never left me, and split
into a thousand fantastic varieties, which often suddenly reunited,
and composed again the original dream.

I thought that it was a Sunday morning in May, that it was Easter
Sunday, and as yet very early in the morning. I was standing, as it
seemed to me, at the door of my own cottage. Right before me lay
the very scene which could really be commanded from that situation,
but exalted, as was usual, and solemnised by the power of dreams.
There were the same mountains, and the same lovely valley at their
feet; but the mountains were raised to more than Alpine height, and
there was interspace far larger between them of meadows and forest
lawns; the hedges were rich with white roses; and no living creature
was to be seen, excepting that in the green churchyard there were
cattle tranquilly reposing upon the verdant graves, and particularly
round about the grave of a child whom I had tenderly loved, just as
I had really beheld them, a little before sunrise in the same
summer, when that child died. I gazed upon the well-known scene,
and I said aloud (as I thought) to myself, "It yet wants much of
sunrise, and it is Easter Sunday; and that is the day on which they
celebrate the first fruits of resurrection. I will walk abroad; old
griefs shall be forgotten to-day; for the air is cool and still, and
the hills are high and stretch away to heaven; and the forest glades
are as quiet as the churchyard, and with the dew I can wash the
fever from my forehead, and then I shall be unhappy no longer." And
I turned as if to open my garden gate, and immediately I saw upon
the left a scene far different, but which yet the power of dreams
had reconciled into harmony with the other. The scene was an
Oriental one, and there also it was Easter Sunday, and very early in
the morning. And at a vast distance were visible, as a stain upon
the horizon, the domes and cupolas of a great city--an image or
faint abstraction, caught perhaps in childhood from some picture of
Jerusalem. And not a bow-shot from me, upon a stone and shaded by
Judean palms, there sat a woman, and I looked, and it was--Ann! She
fixed her eyes upon me earnestly, and I said to her at length: "So,
then, I have found you at last." I waited, but she answered me not
a word. Her face was the same as when I saw it last, and yet again
how different! Seventeen years ago, when the lamp-light fell upon
her face, as for the last time I kissed her lips (lips, Ann, that to
me were not polluted), her eyes were streaming with tears: the
tears were now wiped away; she seemed more beautiful than she was at
that time, but in all other points the same, and not older. Her
looks were tranquil, but with unusual solemnity of expression, and I
now gazed upon her with some awe; but suddenly her countenance grew
dim, and turning to the mountains I perceived vapours rolling
between us. In a moment all had vanished, thick darkness came on,
and in the twinkling of an eye I was far away from mountains, and by
lamplight in Oxford Street, walking again with Ann--just as we
walked seventeen years before, when we were both children.

As a final specimen, I cite one of a different character, from 1820.

The dream commenced with a music which now I often heard in dreams--
a music of preparation and of awakening suspense, a music like the
opening of the Coronation Anthem, and which, like THAT, gave the
feeling of a vast march, of infinite cavalcades filing off, and the
tread of innumerable armies. The morning was come of a mighty day--
a day of crisis and of final hope for human nature, then suffering
some mysterious eclipse, and labouring in some dread extremity.
Somewhere, I knew not where--somehow, I knew not how--by some
beings, I knew not whom--a battle, a strife, an agony, was
conducting, was evolving like a great drama or piece of music, with
which my sympathy was the more insupportable from my confusion as to
its place, its cause, its nature, and its possible issue. I, as is
usual in dreams (where of necessity we make ourselves central to
every movement), had the power, and yet had not the power, to decide
it. I had the power, if I could raise myself to will it, and yet
again had not the power, for the weight of twenty Atlantics was upon
me, or the oppression of inexpiable guilt. "Deeper than ever
plummet sounded," I lay inactive. Then like a chorus the passion
deepened. Some greater interest was at stake, some mightier cause
than ever yet the sword had pleaded, or trumpet had proclaimed.
Then came sudden alarms, hurryings to and fro, trepidations of
innumerable fugitives--I knew not whether from the good cause or the
bad, darkness and lights, tempest and human faces, and at last, with
the sense that all was lost, female forms, and the features that
were worth all the world to me, and but a moment allowed--and
clasped hands, and heart-breaking partings, and then--everlasting
farewells! And with a sigh, such as the caves of Hell sighed when
the incestuous mother uttered the abhorred name of death, the sound
was reverberated--everlasting farewells! And again and yet again
reverberated--everlasting farewells!

And I awoke in struggles, and cried aloud--"I will sleep no more."

But I am now called upon to wind up a narrative which has already
extended to an unreasonable length. Within more spacious limits the
materials which I have used might have been better unfolded, and
much which I have not used might have been added with effect.
Perhaps, however, enough has been given. It now remains that I
should say something of the way in which this conflict of horrors
was finally brought to a crisis. The reader is already aware (from
a passage near the beginning of the introduction to the first part)
that the Opium-eater has, in some way or other, "unwound almost to
its final links the accursed chain which bound him." By what means?
To have narrated this according to the original intention would have
far exceeded the space which can now be allowed. It is fortunate,
as such a cogent reason exists for abridging it, that I should, on a
maturer view of the case, have been exceedingly unwilling to injure,
by any such unaffecting details, the impression of the history
itself, as an appeal to the prudence and the conscience of the yet
unconfirmed opium-eater--or even (though a very inferior
consideration) to injure its effect as a composition. The interest
of the judicious reader will not attach itself chiefly to the
subject of the fascinating spells, but to the fascinating power.
Not the Opium-eater, but the opium, is the true hero of the tale,
and the legitimate centre on which the interest revolves. The
object was to display the marvellous agency of opium, whether for
pleasure or for pain: if that is done, the action of the piece has

However, as some people, in spite of all laws to the contrary, will
persist in asking what became of the Opium-eater, and in what state
he now is, I answer for him thus: The reader is aware that opium
had long ceased to found its empire on spells of pleasure; it was
solely by the tortures connected with the attempt to abjure it that
it kept its hold. Yet, as other tortures, no less it may be
thought, attended the non-abjuration of such a tyrant, a choice only
of evils was left; and THAT might as well have been adopted which,
however terrific in itself, held out a prospect of final restoration
to happiness. This appears true; but good logic gave the author no
strength to act upon it. However, a crisis arrived for the author's
life, and a crisis for other objects still dearer to him--and which
will always be far dearer to him than his life, even now that it is
again a happy one. I saw that I must die if I continued the opium.
I determined, therefore, if that should be required, to die in
throwing it off. How much I was at that time taking I cannot say,
for the opium which I used had been purchased for me by a friend,
who afterwards refused to let me pay him; so that I could not
ascertain even what quantity I had used within the year. I
apprehend, however, that I took it very irregularly, and that I
varied from about fifty or sixty grains to 150 a day. My first task
was to reduce it to forty, to thirty, and as fast as I could to
twelve grains.

I triumphed. But think not, reader, that therefore my sufferings
were ended, nor think of me as of one sitting in a DEJECTED state.
Think of me as one, even when four months had passed, still
agitated, writhing, throbbing, palpitating, shattered, and much
perhaps in the situation of him who has been racked, as I collect
the torments of that state from the affecting account of them left
by a most innocent sufferer {20} of the times of James I. Meantime,
I derived no benefit from any medicine, except one prescribed to me
by an Edinburgh surgeon of great eminence, viz., ammoniated tincture
of valerian. Medical account, therefore, of my emancipation I have
not much to give, and even that little, as managed by a man so
ignorant of medicine as myself, would probably tend only to mislead.
At all events, it would be misplaced in this situation. The moral
of the narrative is addressed to the opium-eater, and therefore of
necessity limited in its application. If he is taught to fear and
tremble, enough has been effected. But he may say that the issue of
my case is at least a proof that opium, after a seventeen years' use
and an eight years' abuse of its powers, may still be renounced, and
that HE may chance to bring to the task greater energy than I did,
or that with a stronger constitution than mine he may obtain the
same results with less. This may be true. I would not presume to
measure the efforts of other men by my own. I heartily wish him
more energy. I wish him the same success. Nevertheless, I had
motives external to myself which he may unfortunately want, and
these supplied me with conscientious supports which mere personal
interests might fail to supply to a mind debilitated by opium.

Jeremy Taylor conjectures that it may be as painful to be born as to
die. I think it probable; and during the whole period of
diminishing the opium I had the torments of a man passing out of one
mode of existence into another. The issue was not death, but a sort
of physical regeneration; and I may add that ever since, at
intervals, I have had a restoration of more than youthful spirits,
though under the pressure of difficulties which in a less happy
state of mind I should have called misfortunes.

One memorial of my former condition still remains--my dreams are not
yet perfectly calm; the dread swell and agitation of the storm have
not wholly subsided; the legions that encamped in them are drawing
off, but not all departed; my sleep is still tumultuous, and, like
the gates of Paradise to our first parents when looking back from
afar, it is still (in the tremendous line of Milton)

With dreadful faces throng'd, and fiery arms.


From the "London Magazine" for December 1822.

The interest excited by the two papers bearing this title, in our
numbers for September and October 1821, will have kept our promise
of a Third Part fresh in the remembrance of our readers. That we
are still unable to fulfil our engagement in its original meaning
will, we, are sure, be matter of regret to them as to ourselves,
especially when they have perused the following affecting narrative.
It was composed for the purpose of being appended to an edition of
the Confessions in a separate volume, which is already before the
public, and we have reprinted it entire, that our subscribers may be
in possession of the whole of this extraordinary history.

The proprietors of this little work having determined on reprinting
it, some explanation seems called for, to account for the non-
appearance of a third part promised in the London Magazine of
December last; and the more so because the proprietors, under whose
guarantee that promise was issued, might otherwise be implicated in
the blame--little or much--attached to its non-fulfilment. This
blame, in mere justice, the author takes wholly upon himself. What
may be the exact amount of the guilt which he thus appropriates is a
very dark question to his own judgment, and not much illuminated by
any of the masters in casuistry whom he has consulted on the
occasion. On the one hand it seems generally agreed that a promise
is binding in the inverse ratio of the numbers to whom it is made;
for which reason it is that we see many persons break promises
without scruple that are made to a whole nation, who keep their
faith religiously in all private engagements, breaches of promise
towards the stronger party being committed at a man's own peril; on
the other hand, the only parties interested in the promises of an
author are his readers, and these it is a point of modesty in any
author to believe as few as possible--or perhaps only one, in which
case any promise imposes a sanctity of moral obligation which it is
shocking to think of. Casuistry dismissed, however, the author
throws himself on the indulgent consideration of all who may
conceive themselves aggrieved by his delay, in the following account
of his own condition from the end of last year, when the engagement
was made, up nearly to the present time. For any purpose of self-
excuse it might be sufficient to say that intolerable bodily
suffering had totally disabled him for almost any exertion of mind,
more especially for such as demands and presupposes a pleasurable
and genial state of feeling; but, as a case that may by possibility
contribute a trifle to the medical history of opium, in a further
stage of its action than can often have been brought under the
notice of professional men, he has judged that it might be
acceptable to some readers to have it described more at length.
Fiat experimentum in corpore vili is a just rule where there is any
reasonable presumption of benefit to arise on a large scale. What
the benefit may be will admit of a doubt, but there can be none as
to the value of the body; for a more worthless body than his own the
author is free to confess cannot be. It is his pride to believe
that it is the very ideal of a base, crazy, despicable human system,
that hardly ever could have been meant to be seaworthy for two days
under the ordinary storms and wear and tear of life; and indeed, if
that were the creditable way of disposing of human bodies, he must
own that he should almost be ashamed to bequeath his wretched
structure to any respectable dog. But now to the case, which, for
the sake of avoiding the constant recurrence of a cumbersome
periphrasis, the author will take the liberty of giving in the first

Those who have read the Confessions will have closed them with the
impression that I had wholly renounced the use of opium. This
impression I meant to convey, and that for two reasons: first,
because the very act of deliberately recording such a state of
suffering necessarily presumes in the recorder a power of surveying
his own case as a cool spectator, and a degree of spirits for
adequately describing it which it would be inconsistent to suppose
in any person speaking from the station of an actual sufferer;
secondly, because I, who had descended from so large a quantity as
8,000 drops to so small a one (comparatively speaking) as a quantity
ranging between 300 and 160 drops, might well suppose that the
victory was in effect achieved. In suffering my readers, therefore,
to think of me as of a reformed opium-eater, I left no impression
but what I shared myself; and, as may be seen, even this impression
was left to be collected from the general tone of the conclusion,
and not from any specific words, which are in no instance at
variance with the literal truth. In no long time after that paper
was written I became sensible that the effort which remained would
cost me far more energy than I had anticipated, and the necessity
for making it was more apparent every month. In particular I became
aware of an increasing callousness or defect of sensibility in the
stomach, and this I imagined might imply a scirrhous state of that
organ, either formed or forming. An eminent physician, to whose
kindness I was at that time deeply indebted, informed me that such a
termination of my case was not impossible, though likely to be
forestalled by a different termination in the event of my continuing
the use of opium. Opium therefore I resolved wholly to abjure as
soon as I should find myself at liberty to bend my undivided
attention and energy to this purpose. It was not, however, until
the 24th of June last that any tolerable concurrence of facilities
for such an attempt arrived. On that day I began my experiment,
having previously settled in my own mind that I would not flinch,
but would "stand up to the scratch" under any possible "punishment."
I must premise that about 170 or 180 drops had been my ordinary
allowance for many months; occasionally I had run up as high as 500,
and once nearly to 700; in repeated preludes to my final experiment
I had also gone as low as 100 drops; but had found it impossible to
stand it beyond the fourth day--which, by the way, I have always
found more difficult to get over than any of the preceding three. I
went off under easy sail--130 drops a day for three days; on the
fourth I plunged at once to 80. The misery which I now suffered
"took the conceit" out of me at once, and for about a month I
continued off and on about this mark; then I sunk to 60, and the
next day to--none at all. This was the first day for nearly ten
years that I had existed without opium. I persevered in my
abstinence for ninety hours; i.e., upwards of half a week. Then I
took--ask me not how much; say, ye severest, what would ye have
done? Then I abstained again--then took about 25 drops then
abstained; and so on.

Meantime the symptoms which attended my case for the first six weeks
of my experiment were these: enormous irritability and excitement
of the whole system; the stomach in particular restored to a full
feeling of vitality and sensibility, but often in great pain;
unceasing restlessness night and day; sleep--I scarcely knew what it
was; three hours out of the twenty-four was the utmost I had, and
that so agitated and shallow that I heard every sound that was near
me. Lower jaw constantly swelling, mouth ulcerated, and many other
distressing symptoms that would be tedious to repeat; amongst which,
however, I must mention one, because it had never failed to
accompany any attempt to renounce opium--viz., violent sternutation.
This now became exceedingly troublesome, sometimes lasting for two
hours at once, and recurring at least twice or three times a day. I
was not much surprised at this on recollecting what I had somewhere
heard or read, that the membrane which lines the nostrils is a
prolongation of that which lines the stomach; whence, I believe, are
explained the inflammatory appearances about the nostrils of dram
drinkers. The sudden restoration of its original sensibility to the
stomach expressed itself, I suppose, in this way. It is remarkable
also that during the whole period of years through which I had taken
opium I had never once caught cold (as the phrase is), nor even the
slightest cough. But now a violent cold attacked me, and a cough
soon after. In an unfinished fragment of a letter begun about this
time to--I find these words: "You ask me to write the--Do you know
Beaumont and Fletcher's play of "Thierry and Theodore"? There you
will see my case as to sleep; nor is it much of an exaggeration in
other features. I protest to you that I have a greater influx of
thoughts in one hour at present than in a whole year under the reign
of opium. It seems as though all the thoughts which had been frozen
up for a decade of years by opium had now, according to the old
fable, been thawed at once--such a multitude stream in upon me from
all quarters. Yet such is my impatience and hideous irritability
that for one which I detain and write down fifty escape me: in
spite of my weariness from suffering and want of sleep, I cannot
stand still or sit for two minutes together. 'I nunc, et versus
tecum meditare canoros.'"

At this stage of my experiment I sent to a neighbouring surgeon,
requesting that he would come over to see me. In the evening he
came; and after briefly stating the case to him, I asked this
question; Whether he did not think that the opium might have acted
as a stimulus to the digestive organs, and that the present state of
suffering in the stomach, which manifestly was the cause of the
inability to sleep, might arise from indigestion? His answer was;
No; on the contrary, he thought that the suffering was caused by
digestion itself, which should naturally go on below the
consciousness, but which from the unnatural state of the stomach,
vitiated by so long a use of opium, was become distinctly
perceptible. This opinion was plausible; and the unintermitting
nature of the suffering disposes me to think that it was true, for
if it had been any mere IRREGULAR affection of the stomach, it
should naturally have intermitted occasionally, and constantly
fluctuated as to degree. The intention of nature, as manifested in
the healthy state, obviously is to withdraw from our notice all the
vital motions, such as the circulation of the blood, the expansion
and contraction of the lungs, the peristaltic action of the stomach,
&c., and opium, it seems, is able in this, as in other instances, to
counteract her purposes. By the advice of the surgeon I tried
BITTERS. For a short time these greatly mitigated the feelings
under which I laboured, but about the forty-second day of the
experiment the symptoms already noticed began to retire, and new
ones to arise of a different and far more tormenting class; under
these, but with a few intervals of remission, I have since continued
to suffer. But I dismiss them undescribed for two reasons: first,
because the mind revolts from retracing circumstantially any
sufferings from which it is removed by too short or by no interval.
To do this with minuteness enough to make the review of any use
would be indeed infandum renovare dolorem, and possibly without a
sufficient motive; for secondly, I doubt whether this latter state
be anyway referable to opium--positively considered, or even
negatively; that is, whether it is to be numbered amongst the last
evils from the direct action of opium, or even amongst the earliest
evils consequent upon a WANT of opium in a system long deranged by
its use. Certainly one part of the symptoms might be accounted for
from the time of year (August), for though the summer was not a hot
one, yet in any case the sum of all the heat FUNDED (if one may say
so) during the previous months, added to the existing heat of that
month, naturally renders August in its better half the hottest part
of the year; and it so happened that--the excessive perspiration
which even at Christmas attends any great reduction in the daily
quantum of opium--and which in July was so violent as to oblige me
to use a bath five or six times a day--had about the setting-in of
the hottest season wholly retired, on which account any bad effect
of the heat might be the more unmitigated. Another symptom--viz.,
what in my ignorance I call internal rheumatism (sometimes affecting
the shoulders, &c., but more often appearing to be seated in the
stomach)--seemed again less probably attributable to the opium, or
the want of opium, than to the dampness of the house {21} which I
inhabit, which had about this time attained its maximum, July having
been, as usual, a month of incessant rain in our most rainy part of

Under these reasons for doubting whether opium had any connexion
with the latter stage of my bodily wretchedness--except, indeed, as
an occasional cause, as having left the body weaker and more crazy,
and thus predisposed to any mal-influence whatever--I willingly
spare my reader all description of it; let it perish to him, and
would that I could as easily say let it perish to my own
remembrances, that any future hours of tranquillity may not be
disturbed by too vivid an ideal of possible human misery!

So much for the sequel of my experiment. As to the former stage, in
which probably lies the experiment and its application to other
cases, I must request my reader not to forget the reasons for which
I have recorded it. These were two: First, a belief that I might
add some trifle to the history of opium as a medical agent. In this
I am aware that I have not at all fulfilled my own intentions, in
consequence of the torpor of mind, pain of body, and extreme disgust
to the subject which besieged me whilst writing that part of my
paper; which part being immediately sent off to the press (distant
about five degrees of latitude), cannot be corrected or improved.
But from this account, rambling as it may be, it is evident that
thus much of benefit may arise to the persons most interested in
such a history of opium, viz., to opium-eaters in general, that it
establishes, for their consolation and encouragement, the fact that
opium may be renounced, and without greater sufferings than an
ordinary resolution may support, and by a pretty rapid course {22}
of descent.

To communicate this result of my experiment was my foremost purpose.
Secondly, as a purpose collateral to this, I wished to explain how
it had become impossible for me to compose a Third Part in time to
accompany this republication; for during the time of this experiment
the proof-sheets of this reprint were sent to me from London, and
such was my inability to expand or to improve them, that I could not
even bear to read them over with attention enough to notice the
press errors or to correct any verbal inaccuracies. These were my
reasons for troubling my reader with any record, long or short, of
experiments relating to so truly base a subject as my own body; and
I am earnest with the reader that he will not forget them, or so far
misapprehend me as to believe it possible that I would condescend to
so rascally a subject for its own sake, or indeed for any less
object than that of general benefit to others. Such an animal as
the self-observing valetudinarian I know there is; I have met him
myself occasionally, and I know that he is the worst imaginable
HEAUTONTIMOROUMENOS; aggravating and sustaining, by calling into
distinct consciousness, every symptom that would else perhaps, under
a different direction given to the thoughts, become evanescent. But
as to myself, so profound is my contempt for this undignified and
selfish habit, that I could as little condescend to it as I could to
spend my time in watching a poor servant girl, to whom at this
moment I hear some lad or other making love at the back of my house.
Is it for a Transcendental Philosopher to feel any curiosity on such
an occasion? Or can I, whose life is worth only eight and a half
years' purchase, be supposed to have leisure for such trivial
employments? However, to put this out of question, I shall say one
thing, which will perhaps shock some readers, but I am sure it ought
not to do so, considering the motives on which I say it. No man, I
suppose, employs much of his time on the phenomena of his own body
without some regard for it; whereas the reader sees that, so far
from looking upon mine with any complacency or regard, I hate it,
and make it the object of my bitter ridicule and contempt; and I
should not be displeased to know that the last indignities which the
law inflicts upon the bodies of the worst malefactors might
hereafter fall upon it. And, in testification of my sincerity in
saying this, I shall make the following offer. Like other men, I
have particular fancies about the place of my burial; having lived
chiefly in a mountainous region, I rather cleave to the conceit,
that a grave in a green churchyard amongst the ancient and solitary
hills will be a sublimer and more tranquil place of repose for a
philosopher than any in the hideous Golgothas of London. Yet if the
gentlemen of Surgeons' Hall think that any benefit can redound to
their science from inspecting the appearances in the body of an
opium-eater, let them speak but a word, and I will take care that
mine shall be legally secured to them--i.e., as soon as I have done
with it myself. Let them not hesitate to express their wishes upon
any scruples of false delicacy and consideration for my feelings; I
assure them they will do me too much honour by "demonstrating" on
such a crazy body as mine, and it will give me pleasure to
anticipate this posthumous revenge and insult inflicted upon that
which has caused me so much suffering in this life. Such bequests
are not common; reversionary benefits contingent upon the death of
the testator are indeed dangerous to announce in many cases: of
this we have a remarkable instance in the habits of a Roman prince,
who used, upon any notification made to him by rich persons that
they had left him a handsome estate in their wills, to express his
entire satisfaction at such arrangements and his gracious acceptance
of those loyal legacies; but then, if the testators neglected to
give him immediate possession of the property, if they traitorously
"persisted in living" (si vivere perseverarent, as Suetonius
expresses it), he was highly provoked, and took his measures
accordingly. In those times, and from one of the worst of the
Caesars, we might expect such conduct; but I am sure that from
English surgeons at this day I need look for no expressions of
impatience, or of any other feelings but such as are answerable to
that pure love of science and all its interests which induces me to
make such an offer.

Sept 30, 1822


{1} "Not yet RECORDED," I say; for there is one celebrated man of
the present day, who, if all be true which is reported of him, has
greatly exceeded me in quantity.

{2} A third exception might perhaps have been added; and my reason
for not adding that exception is chiefly because it was only in his
juvenile efforts that the writer whom I allude to expressly
addressed hints to philosophical themes; his riper powers having
been all dedicated (on very excusable and very intelligible grounds,
under the present direction of the popular mind in England) to
criticism and the Fine Arts. This reason apart, however, I doubt
whether he is not rather to be considered an acute thinker than a
subtle one. It is, besides, a great drawback on his mastery over
philosophical subjects that he has obviously not had the advantage
of a regular scholastic education: he has not read Plato in his
youth (which most likely was only his misfortune), but neither has
he read Kant in his manhood (which is his fault).

{3} I disclaim any allusion to EXISTING professors, of whom indeed
I know only one.

{4} To this same Jew, by the way, some eighteen months afterwards,
I applied again on the same business; and, dating at that time from
a respectable college, I was fortunate enough to gain his serious
attention to my proposals. My necessities had not arisen from any
extravagance or youthful levities (these my habits and the nature of
my pleasures raised me far above), but simply from the vindictive
malice of my guardian, who, when he found himself no longer able to
prevent me from going to the university, had, as a parting token of
his good nature, refused to sign an order for granting me a shilling
beyond the allowance made to me at school--viz., 100 pounds per
annum. Upon this sum it was in my time barely possible to have
lived in college, and not possible to a man who, though above the
paltry affectation of ostentatious disregard for money, and without
any expensive tastes, confided nevertheless rather too much in
servants, and did not delight in the petty details of minute
economy. I soon, therefore, became embarrassed, and at length,
after a most voluminous negotiation with the Jew (some parts of
which, if I had leisure to rehearse them, would greatly amuse my
readers), I was put in possession of the sum I asked for, on the
"regular" terms of paying the Jew seventeen and a half per cent. by
way of annuity on all the money furnished; Israel, on his part,
graciously resuming no more than about ninety guineas of the said
money, on account of an attorney's bill (for what services, to whom
rendered, and when, whether at the siege of Jerusalem, at the
building of the second Temple, or on some earlier occasion, I have
not yet been able to discover). How many perches this bill measured
I really forget; but I still keep it in a cabinet of natural
curiosities, and some time or other I believe I shall present it to
the British Museum.

{5} The Bristol mail is the best appointed in the Kingdom, owing to
the double advantages of an unusually good road and of an extra sum
for the expenses subscribed by the Bristol merchants.

{6} It will be objected that many men, of the highest rank and
wealth, have in our own day, as well as throughout our history, been
amongst the foremost in courting danger in battle. True; but this
is not the case supposed; long familiarity with power has to them
deadened its effect and its attractions.

{7} [Greek text]

{8} [Greek text]. EURIP. Orest.

{9} [Greek text]

{10} [Greek text]. The scholar will know that throughout this
passage I refer to the early scenes of the Orestes; one of the most
beautiful exhibitions of the domestic affections which even the
dramas of Euripides can furnish. To the English reader it may be
necessary to say that the situation at the opening of the drama is
that of a brother attended only by his sister during the demoniacal
possession of a suffering conscience (or, in the mythology of the
play, haunted by the Furies), and in circumstances of immediate
danger from enemies, and of desertion or cold regard from nominal

{11} EVANESCED: this way of going off the stage of life appears to
have been well known in the 17th century, but at that time to have
been considered a peculiar privilege of blood-royal, and by no means
to be allowed to druggists. For about the year 1686 a poet of
rather ominous name (and who, by-the-bye, did ample justice to his
name), viz., Mr. FLAT-MAN, in speaking of the death of Charles II.
expresses his surprise that any prince should commit so absurd an
act as dying, because, says he,

"Kings should disdain to die, and only DISAPPEAR."

They should ABSCOND, that is, into the other world.

{12} Of this, however, the learned appear latterly to have doubted;
for in a pirated edition of Buchan's Domestic Medicine, which I once
saw in the hands of a farmer's wife, who was studying it for the
benefit of her health, the Doctor was made to say--"Be particularly
careful never to take above five-and-twenty OUNCES of laudanum at
once;" the true reading being probably five-and-twenty DROPS, which
are held equal to about one grain of crude opium.

{13} Amongst the great herd of travellers, &c., who show
sufficiently by their stupidity that they never held any intercourse
with opium, I must caution my readers specially against the
brilliant author of Anastasius. This gentleman, whose wit would
lead one to presume him an opium-eater, has made it impossible to
consider him in that character, from the grievous misrepresentation
which he gives of its effects at pp. 215-17 of vol. i. Upon
consideration it must appear such to the author himself, for,
waiving the errors I have insisted on in the text, which (and
others) are adopted in the fullest manner, he will himself admit
that an old gentleman "with a snow-white beard," who eats "ample
doses of opium," and is yet able to deliver what is meant and
received as very weighty counsel on the bad effects of that
practice, is but an indifferent evidence that opium either kills
people prematurely or sends them into a madhouse. But for my part,
I see into this old gentleman and his motives: the fact is, he was
enamoured of "the little golden receptacle of the pernicious drug"
which Anastasius carried about him; and no way of obtaining it so
safe and so feasible occurred as that of frightening its owner out
of his wits (which, by the bye, are none of the strongest). This
commentary throws a new light upon the case, and greatly improves it
as a story; for the old gentleman's speech, considered as a lecture
on pharmacy, is highly absurd; but considered as a hoax on
Anastasius, it reads excellently.

{14} I have not the book at this moment to consult; but I think the
passage begins--"And even that tavern music, which makes one man
merry, another mad, in me strikes a deep fit of devotion," &c.

{15} A handsome newsroom, of which I was very politely made free in
passing through Manchester by several gentlemen of that place, is
called, I think, The Porch; whence I, who am a stranger in
Manchester, inferred that the subscribers meant to profess
themselves followers of Zeno. But I have been since assured that
this is a mistake.

{16} I here reckon twenty-five drops of laudanum as equivalent to
one grain of opium, which, I believe, is the common estimate.
However, as both may be considered variable quantities (the crude
opium varying much in strength, and the tincture still more), I
suppose that no infinitesimal accuracy can be had in such a
calculation. Teaspoons vary as much in size as opium in strength.
Small ones hold about 100 drops; so that 8,000 drops are about
eighty times a teaspoonful. The reader sees how much I kept within
Dr. Buchan's indulgent allowance.

{17} This, however, is not a necessary conclusion; the varieties of
effect produced by opium on different constitutions are infinite. A
London magistrate (Harriott's Struggles through Life, vol. iii. p.
391, third edition) has recorded that, on the first occasion of his
trying laudanum for the gout he took FORTY drops, the next night
SIXTY, and on the fifth night EIGHTY, without any effect whatever;
and this at an advanced age. I have an anecdote from a country
surgeon, however, which sinks Mr. Harriott's case into a trifle; and
in my projected medical treatise on opium, which I will publish
provided the College of Surgeons will pay me for enlightening their
benighted understandings upon this subject, I will relate it; but it
is far too good a story to be published gratis.

{18} See the common accounts in any Eastern traveller or voyager of
the frantic excesses committed by Malays who have taken opium, or
are reduced to desperation by ill-luck at gambling.

{19} The reader must remember what I here mean by THINKING, because
else this would be a very presumptuous expression. England, of
late, has been rich to excess in fine thinkers, in the departments
of creative and combining thought; but there is a sad dearth of
masculine thinkers in any analytic path. A Scotchman of eminent
name has lately told us that he is obliged to quit even mathematics
for want of encouragement.

{20} William Lithgow. His book (Travels, &,c.) is ill and
pedantically written; but the account of his own sufferings on the
rack at Malaga is overpoweringly affecting.

{21} In saying this I mean no disrespect to the individual house,
as the reader will understand when I tell him that, with the
exception of one or two princely mansions, and some few inferior
ones that have been coated with Roman cement, I am not acquainted
with any house in this mountainous district which is wholly
waterproof. The architecture of books, I flatter myself, is
conducted on just principles in this country; but for any other
architecture, it is in a barbarous state, and what is worse, in a
retrograde state.

{22} On which last notice I would remark that mine was TOO rapid,
and the suffering therefore needlessly aggravated; or rather,
perhaps, it was not sufficiently continuous and equably graduated.
But that the reader may judge for himself, and above all that the
Opium-eater, who is preparing to retire from business, may have
every sort of information before him, I subjoin my diary:-

First Week Second Week
Drops of Laud. Drops of Laud.
Mond. June 24 ... 130 Mond. July 1 ... 80
25 ... 140 2 ... 80
26 ... 130 3 ... 90
27 ... 80 4 ... 100
28 ... 80 5 ... 80
29 ... 80 6 ... 80
30 ... 80 7 ... 80
Third Week Fourth Week
Mond. July 8 ... 300 Mond. July 15 ... 76
9 ... 50 16 ... 73.5
10 } 17 ... 73.5
11 } Hiatus in 18 ... 70
12 } MS. 19 ... 240
13 } 20 ... 80
14 ... 76 21 ... 350
Fifth Week
Mond. July 22 ... 60
23 ... none.
24 ... none.
25 ... none.
26 ... 200
27 ... none.

What mean these abrupt relapses, the reader will ask perhaps, to
such numbers as 300, 350, &c.? The IMPULSE to these relapses was
mere infirmity of purpose; the MOTIVE, where any motive blended with
this impulse, was either the principle, of "reculer pour mieux
sauter;" (for under the torpor of a large dose, which lasted for a
day or two, a less quantity satisfied the stomach, which on
awakening found itself partly accustomed to this new ration); or
else it was this principle--that of sufferings otherwise equal,
those will be borne best which meet with a mood of anger. Now,
whenever I ascended to my large dose I was furiously incensed on the
following day, and could then have borne anything.


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