Tag Archives: Temperance
Can you measure your moral and physical health by reviewing what you imbibe? At least one eighteenth-century doctor thought so.
In 1790 Dr. Benjamin Rush, Founding Father, Surgeon General for the Continental Army during the Revolution, and later professor at the University of Pennsylvania, published An Inquiry into the Effects of Spirituous Liquors on the Human Body and the Mind. He included this thermometer to help his readers gauge their level of health through their drinking habits. Cider comes in midway up the temperance side of the thermometer, too low to engender happiness but high enough to cause cheerfulness.
For more Temperance art, check out this 1838 temperance map which suggested that cider was a gateway drink to harder beverages.
How does one get to the land of Inebriation? According to C. Wilterberger, Jr’s 1838 Temperance Map it all starts with cider.
The map is an allegory of one’s descent into drunkenness and the (one and only?) route to salvation. As you’re floating on the Ocean of Animal Appetites, you enter Cider Inlet, which leads you into Inebriation. Inebriation consists of the territories of Indulgence, False Security, False Pleasure, False Comfort, False Hope, Total Indifference, and Ruin. However, from Ruin you can sail up the Ocean of Eternity to the land of Self Denial, and it’s territories of Plenty, Enjoyment, Prosperity, Improvement, and Industry, where Adam’s Ale seems to be the most common drink.
It’s clear from the lake names that as you travel from west to east in Inebriation, the drinks, and presumably your life, get harder. Cider, mead, and perry are all on the west coast, at the very beginning of your trip, seemingly harmless but leading you to danger.
As mentioned above, there is Cider Inlet, which entices you in from the Ocean of Animal Appetites.
Perryville is the capital of Hospitality Island.
Meadville is on Indulgence Island.
And finally Cider River leads into Wine Lake.
Having now seen the implication of our work, we apologize for leading you to Inebriation. It’s really not all bad though. At least we have Quoit Town.