Professor Huxley On Smoking

At a debate upon "smoking" among the members of the British Association, many speakers denounced and others advocated the practice. Professor Huxley said, "For forty years of my life, tobacco has been a deadly poison to me. [Loud cheers from the anti-tobacconists.] In my youth, as a medical student, I tried to smoke. In vain! at every fresh attempt my insidious foe stretched me prostrate on the floor. [Repeated cheers.] I entered the navy; again I tried to smoke, and again met with a defeat. I hated tobacco. I could have almost lent my support to any institution that had for its object the putting of tobacco-smokers to death. [Vociferous applause] A few years ago I was in Brittany with some friends. We went to an inn. They began to smoke. They looked very happy, and outside it was very wet and dismal. I thought I would try a cigar. [Murmurs.] I did so. [Great Expectations.] I smoked that cigar - it was delicious! [Groans.] From that moment I was a changed man; and now I feel that smoking in moderation is a comfortable and laudable practice, and is productive of good. [Dismay and confusion of the anti-tobacconists. Roars of laughter from the smokers.] There is no more harm in a pipe than there is in a cup of tea. You may poison yourself by drinking too much green tea, and kill yourself by eating too many beef steaks. For my own part, I consider that tobacco, in moderation, is a sweetener and equalizer of the temper." [Total rout of the anti-tobacconists and complete triumph of the smokers.]


Anonymous said...

Do you know if that was Thomas or Aldous Huxley?


Evan Gunn said...

Which ever one you feel is more likely. I would have no authority to say one or the other.