But if adults who perspire freely do not require much drink, children certainly do not; and above all, young children. And if they do require any thing, it is only simple water. The following remarks of Dr. Oliver, of Hanover, N.H., are extracted from Dr. Mussey’s late Prize Essay on Ardent Spirits:
“Who has not observed the extreme satisfaction which children derive from quenching their thirst with pure water? And who that has perverted his appetite for drink, by stimulating his palate with bitter beer, sour cider, rum and water, and other beverages of human invention, but would be a gainer, even on the score of mere animal gratification, without any reference to health, if he could bring back his vitiated taste to the simple relish of nature?
“Children drink because they are dry. Grown people drink, whether dry or not, because they have discovered a way of making drink pleasant. Children drink water because this is a beverage of nature’s own brewing, which she has made for the purpose of quenching a natural thirst. Grown people drink anything but water, because this fluid is intended to quench only a natural thirst; and natural thirst is a thing which they seldom feel.”
There is a great deal of truth, as well as of sound philosophy, in these two paragraphs, and little less of truth in the following paragraph from Dr. Dewees:
“We have witnessed very often, with sorrow, parents giving to their young children wine, or other stimulating liquors. Nature never intended anything stronger than water to be the drink for children. This they enjoy greatly; and much advantage is occasionally experienced from its use, especially after they have commenced the use of animal food.”
Two things are to be observed in the last remarks, which are, that children demand drink of any kind but seldom, and that even this occasional demand is often the special result of the use of animal food. Here comes out an important secret. It is the use of animal food, to a very great degree, in adults and children both, that creates so much of that unnatural thirst which prevails in the community. When we shall come to lay aside animal food, in childhood, youth, manhood and age, much that is now called thirst will be banished; and much of the intemperance and other kinds of sensuality which follow in its train.
It has been sometimes said that there is but one kind of drink in the world—and that is water. This is strictly, or rather physiologically true. For, though many mixtures are called drinks, it is only the water which they contain that answers any of the legitimate purposes for which drink was intended by the Creator.
The object of drink, besides quenching our thirst, or rather while it quenches it, is, not to be digested, like food, but to pass directly from the stomach into the blood-vessels, and dilute and temper the blood, rendering it more fit to answer the great purpose of sustaining life and health. Now, there is nothing that can do this but water. Alcohol cannot do it, nor can turpentine, oil, quicksilver, melted lead, or any other liquid.