This volume has been compiled chiefly for the benefit of opium-eaters. Its subject is one indeed which might be made alike attractive to medical men who have a fancy for books that are professional only in an accidental way; to general readers who would like to see gathered into a single volume the scattered records of the consequences attendant upon the indulgence of a pernicious habit; and to moralists and philanthropists to whom its sad stories of infirmity and suffering might be suggestive of new themes and new objects upon which to bestow their reflections or their sympathies. But for none of these classes of readers has the book been prepared. In strictness of language little medical information is communicated by it. Incidentally, indeed, facts are stated which a thoughtful physician may easily turn to professional account. The literary man will naturally feel how much more attractive the book might have been made had these separate and sometimes disjoined threads of mournful personal histories been woven into a more coherent whole; but the book has not been made for literary men. The philanthropist, whether a theoretical or a practical one, will find in its pages little preaching after his particular vein, either upon the vice or the danger of opium-eating. Possibly, as he peruses these various records, he may do much preaching for himself, but he will not find a great deal furnished to his hand, always excepting the rather inopportune reflections of Mr. Joseph Cottle over the case of his unhappy friend Coleridge. The book has been compiled for opium-eaters, and to their notice it is urgently commended.
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