Page images

China from Arabia. After a time the Chinese learned to prepare the juice substantially as it is done today and scores of millions of Chinese have been victims of the opium habit.

For several hundred years the Chinese government has made no laws respecting the use of alcoholic beverages. "So far as the use of alcoholic beverages is concerned," says the Cyclopedia of Temperance and Prohibition, "China is the most temperate of the great nations of the world." Opium has more than supplied the place of liquors. Attempts were made to prevent its use. In 1830 strangling was the penalty for selling the drug and in 1832, in the presence of a crowd of foreigners, one offender was executed at Macao by strangling.

Laws were enacted designed to prevent the production of opium in the Empire; but it was imported, largely from India. Two wars resulted from this importation, known as the Opium Wars. In 1860 the importation of opium into the Empire was legalized and again its production at home was resumed. In 1880 there were more than twelve million pounds of opium imported into China, and the quantity produced there was two or three times as much.

Such, in brief are the results flowing from prohibition of the manufacture and use of liquors in the most ancient Empire of the world.

Turning to another part of the globe, among another race of people, we find that the manufacture and use of spirits were repeatedly prohibited by various early Kings of Sweden. More than four hundred years ago Gustavus Vasa forbid their use. In 1622 Gustavus Adolphus prohibited whiskey. Charles XII, in 1698, prohibited the manufacture of this liquor. Later the prohibition was revoked and, in 1718, he limited the number of distilleries in his Kingdom to four. Thirty-eight years later the party designated the "Hats" succeeded in enacting Prohibition again. Gustavus III, in 1771, begun his reign with Prohibition of the whiskey traffic, and three years later established crown stills on the Russian plan.

During these centuries and to the present day the Swedes have been rather hard drinkers, although they drank much of the time in violation of the law. The Gothenburg system, adopted in the latter half of the last century, while not so detrimental and criminal-making as the Prohibition of former times, is little improvement over the crown stills. Intemperance prevails throughout the country and some phase of the liquor question is constantly in politics.

Having cited instances of Prohibition of the sale and use of alcoholic liquors in southern Asia and again in northern Europe, among

an entirely different race of people and in a different climate, let us turn to America.

In 1663 Governor d'Hinojossa prohibited distilling and brewing in the Delaware colony. But this was abrogated within a few months when the colony came into the possession of the English.

An act was passed in Connecticut in 1715 prohibiting any "person or persons dwelling in any town to drink any strong drink, viz: wine, rhum, cyder, metheglin or brandy in any tavern or house of entertainment;" and about the same time an act of the Connecticut legislature prohibited tavern-keepers from permitting meetings of single persons in the evening before and after Sabbath, or on any day of public fast or lecture, under penalty of 50 shillings. There were no objections to such meetings on other evenings, they not being near the Sabbath.

While Georgia was one of the original thirteen states, it was the last of the American colonies to be colonized. In 1732 George II issued a charter to James Oglethorpe, George Whitefield, John Wesley, Charles Wesley and others, under which Georgia was organized into a colony. Oglethorpe was appointed Governor, who was under the direction of "the Trustees for establishing the colony of Georgia in America."

The second day after his arrival in the new colony with his one hundred and twenty emigrants (in February, 1733), Governor Oglethorpe proclaimed against the importation of ardent spirits into the colony. The English Trustees not only approved the proclamation but forbid the colonists drinking "or even having any rum." The colonists of North and South Carolina persisted in smuggling distilled spirits into the new colony, and at the urgent request of the Trustees Parliament passed an act prohibiting the importation of rum and brandies into Georgia.

These measures were directed only against ardent spirits, the object being to change the drinking habits by substituting the milder beverages of wine and beer for rum and brandy, the former made of molasses imported from the West Indies and being the principal spirits used. These measures were warmly supported by Whitefield and the Wesleys.

Oglethorpe established a brewery at Jekyl, making beer of molasses, sassafras and the tops of fir trees. He encouraged viti-culture, but the climate and soil was not suitable for the extensive growing of grapes. The beer produced in the colony did not satisfy the people and the Trustees sent from England large quantities of beer and Madiera wine. In one letter to the Trustees, Governor Oglethorpe urgently requested them to send him fifty or sixty tons of beer from

Huck's brewery at Southwark, stating that "cheap beer is the only means to keep rum out."

The people were very much dissatisfied in being dictated to in the matter of their drinks, and the prohibition debarred them from trading with the West Indies, an excellent and convenient market for their lumber. Many of them deserted the colony and moved to North Carolina.

By act of Parliament in 1742 this prohibition law was repealed, and Georgia did not try Prohibition again for more than a century and a half.

With the utter failure of Prohibition in Georgia and its abandonment within nine years after the policy was first adopted, no colony nor State, after the formation of the Union, returned to Prohibition for more than a hundred years.

The Murphy State-wide Prohibition bill was introduced in the Illinois legislature in 1840, and was defeated in the House by a vote of 78 against it and 8 votes for it. Abraham Lincoln, then a member of the House, not only voted against the bill, but spoke against it. Upon this occasion Lincoln is quoted as follows:

"Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason, in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles on which our Government was founded."Congressional Record, Sixty-third Congress, Third Session, page 629.

No man has since made a more clear and concise statement of the matter. The far-seeing, honest Lincoln saw in the movement “a blow at the very principles on which our Government was founded." His honesty and frankness were the cardinal virtues that made him the foremost man of the age. In one of the famous Illinois debates Douglas tried to taunt Lincoln by charging him with having, in former years, sold liquor over a counter. Lincoln, instead of ignoring it, replied: "There is just one thing Judge Douglas forgot to relate. He says that I sold liquor over a counter. He forget to tell you that, while I was on one side of the counter, the Judge was always on the other side." In his Ottawa speech, August 21, 1858, Lincoln states that he "did work the latter part of one winter in a little still-house up at the head of a hollow."

In 1851 Neal Dow drafted a prohibition bill, submitted it to the legislature of Maine, made a speech to the members in support of it and the next day after the bill was presented it was adopted by a large majority vote of both Houses.

The Maine law was the beginning of the Prohibition crusade in the United States. By 1855 the following named States had adopted Prohibition: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Delaware, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska, the latter then being a territory. Ohio, Indiana and Illinois repealed the law in 1855, the same year they adopted it. Iowa soon modified it so that its prohibition character was hardly recognizable. Delaware and New York repealed it in 1857; Nebraska in 1861, and Rhode Island in 1863, the other States, except Maine, some years later. The fact that so many States of the Union enacted Prohibition laws more than sixty years ago and later repudiated them, seems to be but little known by the people of the present generation. Discussion upon it is avoided by the Prohibitionists. of today.

The States named, all having Prohibition laws upon their statutes in 1855, contained about forty-eight per cent of the entire population of all the States then in the Union. It will be noted that no Southern State-where the next Prohibition crusade started more than half a century later-is in the list. These laws were enacted apparently without intelligent consideration or debate. It was a fad that spread over a large part of the Northern States from the early part of 1851 until the early part of 1855 when it lost its force. It was similar to the hoop-skirts worn by the women about that time which made them appear like animated cones with a base from twelve to eighteen feet in circumference. Somebody started the one fad as well as the other and both spread over the country with about the same force and the same reason or lack of reason.

During this time nobody seemed to think, write or speak intelligently upon the subject of Prohibition. The real statesmen of the time looked upon it as a fad that would soon wear itself out, and it did.

Members of State legislatures seemed to imagine, without question, that the words "prohibit" or "prohibition," when spoken by a law-making body, had the same force and effect when applied to a man's private affairs, his sleeping, eating, drinking, working, resting, traveling, his recreation, play and amusements, as the words "build" or "construct," when applied to a public court-house or a public high

[ocr errors]

way. And such is the mental caliber of hundreds of legislators today that they can not see the difference between the two kinds of laws.

It has been shown in Chapter V that the per capita consumption of spirits as a beverage in the United States in 1850 was about four and one-half quarts. The Statistical Abstract of the United States gives the total consumption in 1860 at 89,968,651 gallons and 2.86 gallons per capita. As before, deducting 25,000,000 gallons consumed as a burning fluid and allowing for that used in the manufacture of other articles, we find that between seven and eight quarts per capita was used as a beverage in 1860, or nearly double the quantity drank in 1850. And this is not taking into consideration the unknown quantity manufactured and consumed in the States yet retaining Prohibition, viz: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Michigan and Nebraska, and which was not returned to the census-takers through fear of prosecution under the State law. There being no laws on the subject to violate in 1850, there was no more reason to withhold from the government information regarding liquor than there was the quantity of wheat or corn produced or consumed.

The same statistics show that there was a slight increase in the consumption of wine in 1860 and that the consumption of malt liquors in that year was 3.22 gallons per capita or more than twice the quantity in 1850.

This great increase in the consumption of alcoholic beverages in the period of ten years can only be explained upon one theory so clearly and concisely stated by that eminent statesman, Thomas Jefferson, in these words: "Tell any man he shall not do a thing or have a thing, and that thing becomes the very one he wishes to do or have."

Were it not for this independent spirit implanted in the brain of man, the innate consciousness of the inalienable right to liberty, the right to conduct one's private affairs in his own way without dictation from others; the human race today would be covered with hair, living in caves, and chasing a snake for breakfast, instead of the most noble of the race shedding their blood upon the soil of Europe in order tha liberty, democracy, freedom of man, may survive upon earth. Those who endeavor to obliterate that spirit in man are enemies to their race

A great portion of the history of the world relates to the resistanc to prohibition laws. Some centuries ago people were prohibited by lav from being Christians. Many suffered a martyr's death to show con tempt for the law. In a large part of Europe the reading of the Bibl

« PreviousContinue »