“Confectioners,” by the Editor (from Parley’s Magazine, July 1836; pp. 213-214)
There are 42 confectioners in the city of Boston. Some of them are dealers on a very large scale; and not only sell to city customers, but supply the smaller traders in the country.
There is a great deal of mischief done by means of confectionery. In the first place it does harm to eat sugar between our meals, if it were ever so pure. The stomach wants time for rest. But, secondly, much of it is impure; and some of it is quite poisonous. Thirdly, those persons who indulge, long, in the use of confectionery, are apt to become intemperate or gluttonous, or both. And lastly, intemperate and gluttonous people are very likely to become, in the end, bestial and filthy. They often stoop to the most shameful deeds, and lose their good name, and finally their health; and not a few of them, it is to be feared, lose every thing for this world and for the next.
I have said that confectionery is sometimes poisonous. Multitudes have been poisoned by it. I could tell you stories enough of this kind to fill up, I think, a whole magazine. The poison is sometimes in the coloring. If you should ever eat confectionery at all, beware of that which is colored. That which is perfectly white is the most safe.
Sometimes the poison is in the frosting. A whole family was poisoned in this way last year in New York. It is strange that we should trade with people whose employment does so much of harm, in this world, and so little of good. And yet we do so; many of us.
There is a story in the “Moral Reformer,” in the February number for last year, of a school in one of our cities,—and who knows but it was Boston?—where the children spend almost all their money at the confectioners. There is a shop only about twenty rods from the school house, and whenever the pupils are out of school, they are very apt to go there and buy “lozenges,” or “molasses candy,” or some other confectionery stuff. The lady who kept the shop told the Editor of the Reformer that she sold them of molasses candy alone, so much, that her own profits on it were seventy-five cents a day. Of course it was fair to conclude the school bought a dollar’s worth of molasses candy a day. This would be about $300 for molasses candy in the whole school in a year. What a waste!—And yet this was very far from being all the confectionery that these scholars bought. The lady kept her windows full of all sorts of sugar toys; and they were of all sorts of colors; and some of these colors, by the way, were poisonous too; though perhaps the lady did not know—for some shop-keepers do not—that she was really selling poison to the children.
I have told you that the use of confectionery is apt to lead people to gluttony, intemperance and other wicked things. I should like to show you how this happens, by relating to you other stories from the Moral Reformer. Perhaps I may do so hereafter. For the present I have only room to say that I never allow myself to go to a confectionery shop, lest I should be tempted to buy things, and not be able, at the moment, to resist the temptation. We should not go, if we can help it, where temptation exists.