In mid 19th century Britain, there were some pretty interesting pharmaceuticals. There were no controls back then; if you wanted to make a drug, well, you went out, mixed it up, and sold it wherever you could, in grand capitalist fashion. One of the most interesting drugs was a mixture called Godfrey's Cordial, a drug made expressly to calm children. It was just molasses... molasses liberally salted with opium, that is.

Well, many lower-class women wanted this fine little tincture. This would allow them to actually rest at night after a hard 12-hour shift at the local widget factory, rather than spend time with their hyperactive, attention-starved babies. People knew that their infants liked it - they were able to identify the bottle in the store, often before they could talk. They would grab for the bottle and attempt to chew the cork off.

As they grew up, kids would often go to the store to buy some cordial (with the money and blessing of the parents) and they would drink it all on the way home. Sure, their parents would get angry at them, but nothing could get these kids down.

As a plus, the opium in the molasses would often settle to the bottom of the bottle. Imagine getting the recommended dose as an infant, except the opium content was magnitudes larger than normal...

This olde-tyme Everything 1-style node series assimilated into a singular edifice on 23 October 2000. If'n my head is on straight, I think that this information was gained from the History House.

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