A beer drinking city.
Toledo is essentially a beer drinking city. The German population is very large. Five of the largest breweries in the country are here. Probably more beer is drank, in proportion to the population, than in any other city in the United States. The practice of these physicians is, therefore, largely among beer drinkers, and they have had abundant opportunities to know exactly its bearings on health and disease.
Every one bears testimony that no man can drink beer safely, that it is an injury to any one who uses it in any quantity, and that its effect on the general health of the country has been even worse than that of whiskey. The indictment they with one accord present against beer drinking is simply terrible.
The devilfish crushing a man in his long, winding arms, and sucking his blood from his mangled body, is not so frightful an assailant as this deadly but insidious enemy, which fastens itself upon its victim, and daily becomes more and more the wretched man’s master, and finally dragging him to his grave at a time when other men are in their prime of mental and bodily vigor.
Dr. S. H. Burgen, a practitioner 35 years, 28 in Toledo, says: “I think beer kills quicker than any other liquor. My attention was first called to its insidious effects, when I began examining for life insurance. I passed as unusually good risks five Germans—young business men—who seemed in the best health, and to have superb constitutions. In a few years I was amazed to see the whole five drop off, one after another, with what ought to have been mild and easily curable diseases. On comparing my experience with that of other physicians I found they were all having similar luck with confirmed beer drinkers, and my practice since has heaped confirmation on confirmation.
“The first organ to be attacked is the kidneys; the liver soon sympathizes, and then comes, most frequently, dropsy or Bright’s disease, both certain to end fatally. Any physician, who cares to take the time, will tell you that among the dreadful results of beer drinking are lockjaw and erysipelas, and that the beer drinker seems incapable of recovering from mild disorders and injuries not usually regarded of a grave character. Pneumonia, pleurisy, fevers, etc., seem to have a first mortgage on him, which they foreclose remorselessly at an early opportunity.
“The beer drinker is much worse off than the whiskey drinker, who seems to have more elasticity and reserve power. He will even have delirium tremens; but after the fit is gone you will sometimes find good material to work upon. Good management may bring him around all right. But when a beer drinker gets into trouble it seems almost as if you have to recreate the man before you can do anything for him. I have talked this for years, and have had abundance of living and dead instances around me to support my opinions.”