Early 20th c.
100 Compressed Tablets No. 524 Lead and Opium Wash Opium Extract ‘ Gr. Lead Acetate 5 Grs. To prepare ‘Lead and Opium Wash’ dissolve one tablet in a fluid ounce of warm water. The amount of warm water may be increased if desired. A slight residue will always be noticable, which is due to the use of insoluble diluents in making these tablets. Poison Parke Davis & Co. Detroit, Mich
‘While in my sophomore year in college I read DeQuincey’s Confessions of an English Opium Eater and also his later utterence, Suspira de Profundus. The first essay kindled within me a desire to experience for myself the grand dreams to which the drug gave birth in him. The latter did not warn me-I had not the remotest intention of becoming an opium eater, nor could a special divine revelation have then made me believe that my sighs would ever ascend from the midnight depths. I procured one or two grains of crude opium, and took it ‘just for fun,’ as I should have then said.
‘The effects were delightful indeed! I had plucked the fruit of a forbidden tree, but it was very sweet to the taste, and seemed to open my eyes. I did not know that with the first taste, there was thrown lightly around me a coil of the serpent whose folds were at last to envelop me with rings of terrible strength. From time to time I repeated the experiment, but at considerable intervals. It seemed to me that I had found a new source of mental inspiration, and that I need no longer be dependent on whatever fickle god or goddess it may be who presides over the mind and directs its varying conditions.
‘Simply by swallowing a small lump of opium-or a minute powder of morphia, which I soon came to use generally, instead of gum-I was (or rather I believed that I was) lifted up into high regions of intellectuality and had vivid imaginings. I therefore gradually came to use morphine when pressed by literary work. In time, I had frequently to address public meetings extemporaneously and I found that a small dose of the drug took away the nervous embarrassment, and enabled me to face an audience without physical or mental tremor. I did not percieve, till afterward, that the influence which prevented preliminary trepidation, also prevented that natural, healthy and fruitful excitement which enables a speaker to ‘think on his legs,’ take advantage of the varying moods of his listeners, and to throw into his speech all the weight of his individuality and character. A speaker whose oratory is inspired by morphine may indulge in what are called ‘flights of eloquence’ and thus astonish ‘the ears of groundlings’-but, if not ‘Full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing,’ it will be more ornamental than useful; it will exhibit more display than power and effect.’
From Leslie Keeley, The Morphine Eater; or From Bondage to Freedom, 1881