« ZurückWeiter »
wrong habits, that I direct my hopes of a radical reformation of morals.
15 Accept these counsels of your sincere friend. Obey them with fidelity, and peace, contentment, good will, and gladness, shall be the companions of your lives. J. T.
ESSAYS ON THE USE OF INTOXICATING LIQUORS.
Public calamities produced by Intemperance.
1 THE following Report of the Moral Society of Portland, is a correct miniature of the blackest cloud, probably, that now desolates and threatens ultimate destruction to the only political family on the Globe, which assumes the preeminent rank of being enlightened, virtuous and free.
2From a report of an association in Portland, called the Moral Society, it appears that out of 85 persons subject to the public charity in that place, 71 had become so from their intemperance; and that out of 118 supplied at their own houses by the town, more than half are of that description. The expenses of the town in its charities exceed 6000 dollars, and more than two thirds of that sum went to support such persons as were made poor by their vices. Of consequence, 7000 persons are taxed 4000 dollars for the vices of their neighbors.
3From these well known facts the report proceeds to calculate almost half a million of dollars paid in the same way in this state only, and if in the same proportion in the United States, the whole amount must be millions. We all inquire what can be done. We cannot take away personal liberty. We cannot prohibit spirituous liquors. We cannot punish persons not convicted of any breach of the laws. We cannot distinguish in the business of life, because the rich are sometimes as blame-worthy as their less wealthy neighbors.
4 "We can say that when any persons are committed to the public charity, they shall be properly guarded against temptations. That their habits shall be considered, and all restraints which can consist with health, shall be laid. We might hope that some laws of education and life might obtain. But as no love of fame, no great talents, or public trust, can
be said to have been sufficient to prevent men and nations from the guilt and the shame of intemperance, we have a right in the administration of charity, to regard not only the health and hopes of the sufferers, but the safety and the economy of civil society."
5 One of the principal funnels to the insatiable vortex of intemperance, is the generally prevailing popular error, that the temperate use of ardent spirits, is innocent, and even healthful and necessary.
6 It is gratifying and encouraging to see the several agricultural societies, commence their labors with a bold attack upon this noxious deep-rooted weed.
7 Extract from the Anniversary Address of J. Le Ray de Chaumont, Esq. President of the Jefferson county Agricultural Society:
"Gentlemen of the Society:
"I do not know a more laudable end our society could have in view than that of preventing the use of ardent spirits. I wish I could without tiring the patience of my audience, represent here all their pernicious effects upon the human mind and body. Poverty and ruin, crimes and infamy, diseases and death, would be found the leading features in this woful detail.
8 "Every reflecting man is sensible of the infinite advantages which would result in favor of humanity and of morality, if some efficient plan were devised for preventing the too general use of spirituous liquors. To those who believe, that they increase the strength, and fortify the body against fatigue and hardship, I would oppose the opinion of many observing and experienced men, particularly the celebrated General MOREAU, who asserts, that from long experience in his army, he has found, that those soldiers who abstained entirely from the use of ardent spirits, and used altogether water, beer, or such simple drinks, were not only more healthy, but much stronger, could endure greater fatigue, were much more moral; more obedient to orders; and in a word much better soldiers.
9"If, then, spirituous liquors are really so injurious to the health and morals of men, what reason can be alleged for continuing the use of them, and who will be their advocate?"
10 It is surprising that the Government of our Republic, should annoy the army with a more pitiless enemy than any human foe of the civilized world, by constituting whisky an article of daily distribution to the soldiers.
11 The following extract from the address delivered recently at the meeting for organizing an agricultural society in the county of Saratoga, by Doct. Billy J. Clark, contains several moral and political truths, which deserve the serious consideration of every American citizen :
12For us as Americans, who boast the republican simplicity of our habits and our manners, there is, in the catalogue of our expenses, a number of items that require the bold and decisive use of the amputating knife: Amongst these, are the extravagant and almost daily use of many luxuries, the epidemic mania of following the fashions of the day, through all their various changes, and those too, so plausibly imposed on us, as the latest importations from the nurseries and hot-beds of monarchy and dissipation.
13 The occasional and habitual use of ardent spirits, the unnecessary use of which costs the inhabitants of this county several thousand dollars in a year, imperiously calls for immediate retrenchment. The train of evils that grow out of its habitual use, are too well known to require a description from me at this time.
14 "The laborer's plea of necessity, the plea of the man of business and of pleasure, of innocence, in its temperate indulgence, are equally futile, and unfounded in truth."
15 "Let us then reflect on the dire consequences that have resulted to individuals, to families, and to communities, and those of us at least, who can boast exemption from the iron grasp of habitual tyranny, from the organization of this society, firmly resolve to abandon its use, not only from a regard to our own individual benefit, but from a consideration of the advantages that our children will derive from our example."
16 The following extract of a report of one of the Massachusetts Societies for the suppression of intemperance and other vices, is inserted here, in the hope that their honorable example may be imitated as far as it may circulate, by every agricultural and moral society, and farmer, and manufacturer.
17 To abolish the custom of giving stated potations of ardent spirits to hired laborers, which has been a prolific source of intemperate habits, the members of this association have agreed not to furnish to the men they employ, a daily allowance of spirit; nor to give it, except in cases of particular necessity. We have the pleasure to state, that no difficulty, to our knowledge, has arisen on this account in procuring faithful laborers. Some, who are not members of the society,
have adopted the same rule; and there is good reason to believe, that the pernicious custom is gradually wearing away, and will eventually become entirely obsolete."
18 Extract from Darwin's Zoonomia, Sec. 30. "When the expediency of laying a further tax on the distillation of spirituous liquors from grain was canvassed before the House of Commons some years ago, it was said of the distillers, with great truth, they take the BREAD from the people and convert it into POISON!". Yet is this manufactory of disease permitted to continue, as appears by its paying into the treasury above £900,000,* near a million of money annually. And thus, under the names of rum, brandy, gin, whisky, usquebaugh, wine, cider, beer, and porter, alcohol is become the bane of the Christian world, as opium of the Mahometan.
19 "I shall conclude this section on the diseases of the liver, induced by spirituous liquors, with the well known story of Prometheus, which seems indeed to have been invented by physicians in those ancient times, when all things were clothed in hieroglyphic, or fable. Prometheus was painted as stealing fire from Heaven, which might well represent the inflammable spirit, produced by fermentation; which may be said to animate or enliven the man of clay: whence the conquests of Bacchus, as well as the temporary mirth and noise of his devotees. But the after punishment of those who steal this accursed fire, is a vulture gnawing the liver; and well allegorizes the poor inebriate, [drunkard,] lingering for years under painful hepatic [liver] dis
20 But it is almost as useless to expostulate with veterans in the ranks of Bacchus, as with those who are confident that they are under the power of witchcraft. This fact is well illustrated by the reply of a boozy tippler to a Friend, who was representing to him the terrible consequences of intemperance, "I have no doubt, said he, but that all you say is true, but you might as well sing psalms to a dead horse as to talk to me."
21 Yet let us not forget that these unfortunate victims of their own weakness and imprudence are still men, and claim our sympathy and commiseration for their want of discretion. And if warnings and entreaties will not prevail, let us resort to more efficacious means for their relief, as well as for the protection of the common interest against the effects of
* About 4,000,000 dollars.
their conduct. Reproachful denunciations, however, are not only useless, but injurious and uncharitable.
22 Too often, it is true, men of genius and learning, are seen whirling, with delirious apathy, in the frightful vortex of intemperance and destruction;-but much the greatest proportion of the cases of mental debility and disease of this kind, must be attributed to the want of proper education, and an early taste and opportunity for reading. It is lamentable, as well as astonishing, that so few of our citizens have granted this subject its lawful weight either in the scales of policy, morality, physics, or religion. It has been too long treated with levity and scorn.
23 Is there an individual who is not now affected, more or less, in some shape or other, from the immense deficit in the national wealth, occasioned by the appropriation of 20,000,000 dollars annually, during the last twenty years, to a threefold worse purpose than annihilation? Twice we have bravely resisted and spurned political despotism, and at length we have prostrated our necks under the sceptre of king Alcohol.*
24 With an incredible infatuation, we have sacrificed the golden presents of Ceres on the hissing copper altars of crazy Bacchus. Were I allowed the privilege of obliterating the two greatest scourges of mankind, I would select the art of distilling food, and the art of war.
25 I am not disposed to attach any degree of moral turpitude, to manufacturers or sellers of ardent spirits; but it does seem to me, that if they would revolve and scrutinize the subject in its real genuine character, they would not hesitate to renounce an employment which involves in its consequences, the propagation of so much human misery and wretchedness.
26 A merchant of Virginia, by the name of Sholfield, listened to his conscience, and burnt all his distilled liquors publicly on the summit of a mountain. Another in Delaware, beat in the heads of his rum casks. A respectable French gentleman having purchased an estate at Buffalo, (N. Y.) on which was a distilling establishment, demolished it immediately on taking possession, saying he "had done one good deed."
27 And it would undoubtedly be a national benefit if ninetenths of the wholesale and retail merchants and distillers in America, would adopt "this great and universal truth, that
* Intoxicating spirit distilled from wine, beer, cider, &c.