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TO HIS ESTEEMED FRIEND
SIR JOHN LUBBOCK, BARONET, D.C.L. (Oxon), F.R.S.,
Vice-Chancellor of the University of London,
Author of The Origin of Civilisation and the Primitive Condition of Man," and of various other valuable Contributions to our Scientific Literature,
The following Pages
No apology would be necessary for the publication of a good and comprehensive work on the history of intoxicating drinks; for, strange to say, although the subjects of drinking and drunkenness have attracted the attention of writers in every age, there appears to have been only one treatise which has attempted to deal with the whole question in a systematic and historical manner, and that was "An Essay on the Inventions and Customs of both Ancients and Moderns in the use of Inebriating Liquors" (&c.), "by Samuel Morewood, Surveyor of Excise." This book, containing considerably less matter than the present volume, was originally published by Longmans in 1824, and in 1838 it was republished under a somewhat changed title by William Curry, jun., Dublin, with Longmans and others. Its dimensions had then
increased twofold, and it certainly contains an enormous collection of curious and interesting facts concerning the drinks and drinking customs of all times and nations. Numerous references to it will be found in the following pages, but the book itself, which has been out of print for some time, is no longer suited to modern requirements. At the time it was written, all the facts relating to the pre-historic existence of mankind, the habits of the ancient Chinese, and the history of the Aryan nations, were still unrevealed; whilst the modern developments of social reform, such as the temperance movement and various other aids to selfculture, had only just commenced, and are barely noticed by the author of the work.
But whilst this hiatus in the world's literature would justify the publication of an elaborate treatise on the subject, the author desires to have it clearly understood that this essay makes no such pretensions. To deal with the question fully would necessitate a lifetime of careful study and industrious labour, and all the author has attempted to do is to sketch in the form of a popular essay the plan or outline of such a treatise, and to indicate a few of the sources from which information may be obtained for its effective composition.