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was fearful national drunkenness beyond the excess of all other nations, and the whole country may have been said to have been deluged with spirits." But now let us descend to details. Alison says that at the time of his writing there were "no less than 150,000 manufactories of liquid hell-fire, as they have been well denominated, which distil annually thirty millions of gallons of spirits for the consumption of three millions of people." This estimate, the reader will remark, gives an annual consumption of ten gallons per head of the whole population. Mr. Carnegie, who resided in Sweden from 1830 to 1845, says in his evidence before the Lords' Committee, that in the former year "the number of stills amounted to 173,000, producing, as well as can be calculated, a quanity equal to ten gallons per head of the population."2 Morewood treats the matter differently. speaks of the extent of dram-drinking which prevailed in Sweden in 1830. The population, he says, "was 2,904,538, of whom half may be considered consumers of brandy. These may be divided into three classes, according to the number of drams taken daily :

Canns.

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Half-a-million take 5 drams daily or 60 canns yearly, 30,000,000

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So far we have extracted verbatim. On the following page of his work the author tells us that 100 canns

1 History of Europe, vol. xv. p. 191, 7th ed.

First Report of Lords' Committee, p. 262.

3 In his first edition (1824) he does not refer to the smaller stills; indeed, his remarks are of no interest. His second edition is dated 1838. 4 Morewood, p. 480.

ERRONEOUS SWEDISH STATISTICS.

197

are equal to 691 English wine gallons, and that the cann is computed to hold 30 drams. From this it would appear that, in round numbers, 3,000,000 people consumed, in 1830, 60,000,000 canns, or 41,700,000 gallons of spirits, being nearly 14 gallons per head of the population. But on the same page on which Morewood gives us this rough estimate, there is what appears to be an accurate “return of the number of pans (stills) employed, with the amount of canns of brandy manufactured in Sweden during the years specified." 1 Those years are from 1825 to 1829, and the number of pans or stills agrees pretty well with Mr. Carnegie's statement, fluctuating from 162,733 in 1827 to 173,126 in 1830, the year named by him. But the total quantity of spirits produced in the whole of the five years is set down as 17,623,837 canns, or considerably less than one-third of what the three writers estimate to have been the consumption in the year 1830 alone, in which the total production was 3,542,956 canns. (The imports appear on the same page, and are not worth considering.) This quantity is still enormous, for the reader will find, on reducing it to gallons, that a population of 2,904,538 consumed, in the year 1830, 2,462,264 gallons of spirits, whilst in England in the same year nearly 14,000,000 of people consumed 7,732,101 gallons.2 Whence the writers in question have obtained their statistics we are unable to say, but, in justice to a brave and intelligent race of men, it is only fair to point out what appears to be a grave error affecting the character of a whole nation, and to give an opportunity for its rectification or explanation. In

1 Morewood, p. 481.

2 Rev. Dawson Burns' paper before Statistical Society, p. 17.

addition to spirits, the Swedes drank, at the time mentioned (and continue to consume), almost every kind of wine and a light palatable beer; and in consequence of the excessive drunkenness which prevailed, great efforts were made to promote reform. A temperance society was started in 1835 in Sweden, which Morewood tells us had succeeded, in 1838, in reducing the number of stills to about 150,000 (the number named by Alison), and at length, in the year 1853, a bill was introduced into the Diet which effected a complete reform in the licensing system of Sweden, and which has wrought wonders in the habits of the people. The distinctive feature of the system is, now, that licenses are sold by auction, for a term not exceeding three years, to persons who undertake to pay certain duties annually to the local authorities; "or if a company is formed for taking the whole number of public-house licenses, the town authorities may contract with such company for three years without an auction, subject to the confirmation of the provincial governor." 2

It is upon this part of the law that the Gothenburg "Bolag," or company, was started, which consists of a number of gentlemen whose sole object is to diminish intemperance, and who pay over the profits on the sale of drink to the town and provincial treasuries in reduction of the rates. With the exception of half a dozen licenses which the town authorities have retained in their own hands, the whole licensing system is centred in the "Bolag," which even sublets to the clubs and hotels. The author visited the drinking houses of various classes last year, and investigated the system carefully. It is a success so far as Sweden is concerned, 1 Morewood, p. 481.

2 Carnegie, loc. cit., p. 263.

THE GOTHENBURG LICENSING SYSTEM. 199

and should certainly be tried in some town in England. The houses are strictly regulated and managed. The manager has the greatest interest in maintaining order and propriety. Solid food is supplied with drink, but that is in many cases a mere form; and everything is done to diminish as far as possible the evils attending the sale of intoxicating drink, even the lowest houses being far superior to similar places in England. The system was about to be introduced into Stockholm, and is likely to spread throughout the country. But the fact is that a Permissive Bill is also in operation throughout Sweden. The law as it stands does not fix the minimum number of public-houses, and in many places the local authorities, with the sanction of the governor, have prohibited the trade altogether.1

There is some difference of opinion as to the success of the Swedish system, but it is easily explained. There is certainly still a good deal of intemperance in Gothenburg, but it arises mainly from the fact that the country people are unable to obtain liquor in their own neighbourhood, and therefore they take every opportunity of visiting the town, where they can procure it without difficulty, and the result is that, at certain times, there is a considerable increase of drunkenness visible in Gothenburg.2 That the legislation has been successful, however, arises from the fact that it is popular, and meets with the support of the inhabitants; for during his sojourn in the country the author never heard a single complaint against its adoption. As re

1 We shall find precisely the same state of things to exist in certain parts of America.

2 See the evidence on the "Gothenburg System" in the Report of the Lords' Committee.

gards the middle classes, however, the author formed the impression that they still indulge very freely in drink.

There is a custom in Sweden and other northern countries of taking a kind of preliminary meal immediately before dinner. On a sideboard numerous cold dishes are set out of sardines, ham, tongue, sausages, &c., and invariably two or three decanters of raw spirit, from which each guest takes a "schnapps" or " dram." If an Englishman indulged in these so-called appetisers, as the Swedes are in the habit of doing, he would spoil his dinner, and they are quite astonished to hear the preliminary dram spoken of as provocative, not of appetite, but of intemperance. Then, again, the author saw people in Stockholm, in the middle of summer, in warm weather, drinking hot grog around the cafés listening to the music, a practice which he has never witnessed in any other European capital; and wine appears to be very largely consumed both by gentlemen and ladies.

Two principles are, however, in operation in Sweden which cannot fail to prove effectual in diminishing intemperance. One is, that the people are satisfied of the necessity of adopting legislative measures for discontinuing the drink traffic; and the other that, as in Gothenburg, for example, the profits of the sale are applied to diminish the burdens of the ratepayers. In other words, the trade is being made unpopular and unremunerative, neither of which, unfortunately, is yet the case in England.1

1 A good deal of information concerning the sale of brandy (Bränvin) in Sweden may be gleaned from the Acts of June 26, 1871 (Stockholm, Norstedt & Söner), and from those of 18th September 1874 and 16th May 1877, for which the author is indebted to Mr. Oscar Dickson of Gothenburg.

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