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are held the saturnalia of modern England. All the eloquence of the first orators of the age has been levelled at these abominations, and yet our magistrates, who are charged with the responsibility of limiting their number to meet "the wants of their neighbourhood," allow so many of them to exist that, in one street in a large northern town, a missionary says that he "counted. seven public-houses out of eleven consecutive tenements, to say nothing of two or three on the opposite side of the street!" Over and over again they have been denounced as the fruitful sources of every evil— of drunkenness, of wretched poverty and destitution, of the worst forms of insanity, of prostitution, robbery, rape, infanticide, manslaughter, and deliberate murder.1 And yet, what is the position which their proprietors occupy

1 Whilst writing these pages the author read the following narrative in the "Liverpool Daily Post,” April 25, 1878, which illustrates the condition of the poor in some of the lowest parts of that town :

"On Tuesday afternoon the attention of a constable was drawn to the not very unusual phenomenon of a drunken man and woman in Johnstone Street. The woman had a child in her arms. It was taken from her, and found to be in a shockingly diseased and neglected state. The constable afterwards visited the 'home' of the inebriates. The sole piece of furniture was an old table. In the top room the woman's father was lying on the bare boards, without a vestige of clothing upon him, and covered only by an old rug. In another part of the house was an aunt, who was much the worse for drink. Around her were three young children. There was not a particle of food in the whole place, and when the children were given some buns to eat, they devoured them savagely. Drunken parents reeling in the street with an unhealthy and neglected baby; a house in a court, with only an old table in it; an old man lying on the bare boards, with simply a rug for clothing or covering; a tipsy aunt, and three hungry, dirty children around her, make up a picture which would be considered unusually terrible if the scene were laid in the hut of a savage, and which is certainly a bitter satire on nineteenth century civilisation. The father and mother were brought up at the Police Court yesterday, and remanded; and the court ordered that the children should be removed forthwith to the workhouse."

in the state? They are promoted to the highest offices in our municipalities, and honours are heaped upon. them which should be reserved only for those who render eminent services to the community. They are courted as political supporters; and even those who are reluctant to avail themselves of their aid uphold their influence because they dread their enmity. Their trade interests are protected with greater solicitude than those of any branch of respectable industry, because they are the source of great revenue to the national exchequer. The attempt made by one party in the state to restrict their dangerous traffic within such reasonable bounds as to prevent breaches of the law and ensure order and decency in our public streets at night, has secured for them the approving smile of the opposite political party, who now reign with their aid, and who will find it difficult to sever the odious alliance when the national conscience is once more awakened to its duties and responsibilities on the great question of drunkenness.

And as to their social influence, why it is impossible nowadays to sit at the table of a friend or relative without committing one's self by a passing remark upon the drink traffic, and thus giving unpardonable offence to a publican, or a publican's brother, or his sister, or some one of his intimate friends who may happen to be present!

And yet, notwithstanding the deplorable condition of the lowest ranks of our population, and the great social and political influence of those who are enriching themselves at their expense, the author does not hesitate to repeat his conviction that, whilst in some of the neighbouring countries intemperance is said to be increasing,


it is in England descending lower and lower in the scale of society. And there is every reason to hope that the spread of education and the means which are being employed to counteract the evil are already operating to check its growth, and that they will before long raise the moral and social status of our country to a level with her commercial, intellectual, and political standing amongst the nations.




It was not our object, in entering upon this inquiry, to deal with the drinking habits of every nation, nor even of every race of mankind, but rather to select those countries and peoples whose history presented features of special interest bearing upon our subject. Thus we considered, in some detail, the customs of those ancient races in which the subsequent drinking habits of the world appear to have originated. We dwelt upon the social life of ancient Rome, an empire whose fall was attributable mainly to the effeminacy, self-indulgence, and tyranny of its patrician element, and the abject servility and ignorance of its plebeian population. We have somewhat carefully noticed the changes in the social history of Germany, a country in which a system of national education, the love of music, and the use of innocuous beverages have all tended to convert a whole people from intemperance to sobriety; and we have devoted considerable space to the consideration of the drinking life, if we may so call it, of our own country. There are two other existing nations whose condition at the present time calls for special notice-the Swedes and the people of the United States of America.

During the first half of the present century, the




Swedes are considered by some persons to have been the most drunken people on the face of the earth;1 and one well-known historian says that about the year 1828 the amount of crime over all Sweden was equal to that of the most depraved cities in Great Britain, whilst the illegitimate births in Stockholm were "one in two and three-tenths, exceeding even the proportion of Paris itself." This state of things the author in question attributed to the destructive passion for ardent spirits. Other writers have regarded the accounts of drunkenness in Sweden as somewhat exaggerated, but all are agreed that the production and consumption of spirituous liquors were out of all proportion to the number of its inhabitants, and that the upper classes especially were most intemperate. We may state at once that the worst accounts of Swedish intemperance in former times have been based upon certain statistics which need further elucidation, for at present they appear to be erroneous, but of that the reader will presently judge for himself. Gustavus III. attempted to make the distillation of spirits a royal monopoly, but this created such a dissatisfaction that a modification was soon made in the law, and every little landowner who was prepared to pay a small fee for a license was allowed to distil spirits. This sytem continued to expand until at length nearly every one in Sweden who felt disposed to turn distiller was enabled to do so. Every burgher in the towns, we are told, had the right to retail spirits. "The effect

1 Mr. Carnegie's evidence before the Lords' Committee on Intemperance, First Report, p. 262.

2 Alison's History of Europe, vol. xv. p. 191, 7th ed. Blackwood.

3 Morewood, p. 477.

♦ A.D. 1771-92.

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