Fools of Fortune or Gambling and Gamblers
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John Philip Quinn
FOOLS OF FORTUNE
Of all the vices which have enslaved mankind, none can reckonamong its victims so many as gambling. Not even the baneful habit ofdrink has blighted so many lives or desolated so many homes. Its fascinationis insidious and terrible, and its power is all the more to be dreadedin that it appeals to a latent instinct in nearly every human breast. Inview of these considerations it appears strange that English literaturecontains no authentic work specially devoted to this subject; while thereexists literally no exposition of its allurements and its dangers writtenfrom the standpoint of one on the inside.
It is to fill this vacant place in literature that the author offers thisvolume to the public. For a quarter of a century he has witnessed andpracticed every variety of gambling known to the professional. From theshores of the Atlantic to the canons of Colorado, from the frozen lake ofthe North, drained by the mighty Mississippi, to the sunken bayous thatskirt its delta, he has journeyed to and fro, plying his nefarious calling.At times realizing the success of his schemes, at times a penniless wanderer,he has tasted all the joys of a gambler’s career and drained to thedregs the wormwood which lurks at the bottom of the cup of illusive,hollow happiness. No art of the fair gamester is unknown to him, nor isthere any device of the sharper with which he is unacquainted. Withshame and remorse he confesses his fault, and it is in the hope of measurablyatoning for his wrong doing, that the present volume has beenprepared.
On the general question of the evil of gaming, there is no differenceof opinion among reflecting men. The problem is, how to check thealarming increase of the vice? The pulpit fulminates denunciations of itssinfulness; the press points out its folly; and the legislators affix penaltiesto its practice. Yet gambling houses multiply and flourish, and the yawningjaws of the “tiger” are daily closing upon fresh victims. The clergyare powerless to restrain young men from tasting for themselves the fascination8of the green cloth; the public prints serve but to whet and stimulatecuriosity; and the professional gamblers openly set at defiance lawswhich have long since become dead letters upon the statute books.
Where, then, is the remedy? In the opinion of the author, it is readyat hand. Gaming-hells cannot prosper without new victims; show menthat success is impossible in an unequal contest between inexperience onthe one hand and skill and chicanery on the other, and the ranks of thevictims will soon be thinned through the lack of new recruits.
Curiosity has ever been peculiarly a characteristic of youth since theday when the arch tempter wrought the downfall of the race through anappeal to the desire for “knowledge of good and Young men areanxious to investigate, to discover, to “find out for themselves.” Givethem a certain knowledge that loss is the inevitable consequence of enteringupon any designated path, and they will hesitate long before enteringupon that path. Satisfy their curiosity as to what is concealed behind aclosed door, and the chief temptation to open that door will be removed.
Herein consists what the author cannot but believe will make thesepages a powerful agency for good. In them are faithfully portrayed thevicissitudes of a gambler’s wretched life, while at the same time they presenta full and true disclosure of all the dishonest artifices employed byprofessionals to delude and victimize their dupes. It is not only a thirstfor excitement that leads men to gamble, another powerful incentive isthe hope of winning. Convince any man, young or old, that instead ofhaving a chance of winning he is confronted with a certainty of loss, andhe will place no wager. This is the conviction which must be broughthome to the intelligence and reason of every thoughtful man who carefullyreads the exposition of dishonesty which this book contains.
No graver responsibility can be conceived than that which rests uponthe shoulders of the parent to whom is intrusted the training of a youngman. Upon the manner in which is fulfilled this sacred trust, dependsnot only the economic and moral value of the future citizen, but also thewelfare, for time and eternity, of a priceless human soul. The gamingresort opens wide its doors, the entrance to which means ruin, of bothbody and soul. Of what vital importance is it, therefore; that around theyouth of the Republic every safeguard should be thrown, and that theyshould be shielded from temptation by exposing its fatuous character.“Forewarned is forearmed.”
9The volume is not only a recital of personal experience and anembodiment of the lessons to be derived therefrom. It also presents ahistory of gambling from remote antiquity, and a description of the viceas practiced in every clime. The latter portion of the work is the resultof careful and painstaking research among the best sources of informationavailable, and is believed to be at once authentic and complete. It hasalso been the aim of the author to add to the interest of Part II by impartingto it, as far as practicable, a local coloring through incorporating asuccinct view of the vice of gaming, as conducted at the chief Americancentres of civilization and commerce.
Rev. Professor David Swing, of Chicago, the eminent thinker, hascontributed an interesting chapter on the nature and effects of gaming,and Rev. Robert McIntyre, of the same city, who has held spell-bound somany audiences throughout the land, has added one in which he eloquentlyand forcibly portrays the moral aspects of this soul-destroyingvice.
The author desires to return heartfelt thanks to those who have aidedhim in his self-imposed task. He acknowledges his indebtedness for thewords of encouragement which he has received from the many eminentclergymen and educators who have endorsed his work.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
|Introduction:—By Charles P. Johnson.||26-28|
|” By Rev. John Snyder, D. D.||29-30|
|Autobiography of John Philip Quinn,||33-64|
|The Three Stages of a Gambler’s Life,||65|
|PRELIMINARY REMARKS, FOOD FOR REFLECTION.|
|Gaming Indefensible—A False Idea of Happiness—Oriental Knowledge of Ethics—Origin of the Gaming Instinct—Blackstone’s Definition of Gaming—Gambling and Commerce Contrasted—The Gambler’s Philosophy—His End—The Gaming Table an Incentive to Suicide—Gambling Subversive of Social Order—The Gamester an Ishmaelite—Hereditary Vice—The Practice Condemned by Legislative Enactment—Jewish and Egyptian Statutes—How Gaming was Regarded by the Greeks and Romans—The Code of Justinian—The Common Law and Statutes of England Compared—The Enactments of American Legislatures Examined and Compared—The True Theory of Repression||67-73|
|HEBREWS, PERSIANS, CHINESE AND JAPANESE.|
|The “Lot” Among the Hebrews—The Putative Sacred Origin of Gaming—Egyptian Legends—Mercury Gambling With the Sun—Artaxerxes and Paracletus—An Assassin’s Life at Stake—Gambling Prohibited by the Mohammedan Code—Gaming Among the Hindoos—Worship of the Goddess of Wealth—Ancient Dice Throwing—Antiquity of Loaded Dice—A Game For a Kingdom and a Wife—A Persian Legend—The Wrath of Duryodhana—The Vengeance of the Pandavas—Gambling Among the Chinese—Favorite Frauds Among the Celestials—Chinese Gambling Implements—The “Poetical” Game—Gaming Prohibited by Chinese Statutes—Oriental “Hells”—The Tan-Koon, the N’gan, and the Ho-Koon—Favorite Chinese Games—“Ching Low”—“Nim”—Women as Gamesters—How “Koo Yan” is Played—Betting on Enigmas—Frauds—“Striking the White|