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"We are convinced that when the lead workers take
pains to be tidy, stop rolling cigarettes with hands soiled with
toxic substances, and when, finally, they abandon alcoholic
drinks for which they have now so marked a predilection,
the cases of professional lead poisoning will be only memories
of the past."

We make no comment on this sweeping statement further
than to mention a referendum carried on by Dr. Treille among
6,750 professional painters on the use of white lead. This
was made for a senatorial commission report. In one chapter
on the relation of the sickness to the use of tobacco and alcohol
one gets constant testimony of this sort: "A workman who
is clean and sober does not have lead colic,'' "It would be
more hygienic to suppress alcohol and tobacco," "Let them
look for the evil where it really is, — ^in (defective) hygiene
and alcoholism."

Dr. Treille divides the saturnism of France into two zones, —
the northern and the southern. The northern with 33 de-
partments counts, in ten and a half years, 2,215 lead poison-
ings among building painters brought to hospitals, and 57
deaths. In the south in 55 departments, 957 entrances and
40 deaths. The average alcoholic consumption of the de-
partments of the northern zone was 5.61 liters, of the southern
1.9 liters. The painters themselves insisted on the importance
of the alcohol factor.

The five departments in Normandy which represent the most
alcoholised areas of France constituted one-sixth part of the
northern zone. They g;ave a third of the entrances to hos-
pitals and a third of the deaths from lead intoxication.
Seventy-seven of the 130 cases from all France were from
alcoholised Brittany and Normandy. Normandy gave 59 of
these, nearly as many as all France together.

In view of these intimate reactions of alcoholism upon other
social disorders one is constantly astonished at the indifference
with which the alcohol question is treated by American social
workers. One can read their organ. The Survey, for months
without finding allusions to this subject, so central to all
social study. The causes are various. Perhaps the chief is
an academic fear of being identified with a movement which,
though in no sense specifically religious, is in America gallantly
championed by the churches. Professor Forel, surprised when

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For the Death Sentence 295

visiting America, at the indifference which university men
showed to the anti-alcohol movement, laid his finger on this

" There appears very plainly the animosity against the kind
of procedure of the religious women who direct the movement,
and especially the fear of compromising one's scientific posi-
tion by siding with such elements. The fear of compromising
one's scientific position is unscientific, it is disgraceful human

Then there is this further rather humiliating consideration.
Social workers are ordinarily university trained. Now Amer-
ican college graduates are much in the state of the intellectnels
of Bolivia, whom the French journalist, M. Yves Quyot, de-
scribed as having once learned to read, but having forgotten
for lack of practice in later life. Hardly a considerable
minority are able to get through a volume of scientific German
comfortably. Hence their difficulty in keeping abreast of
scientific movements.

(/). ''For the German bourgeoisie there could hardly be a
more severe blow than for the Social Democracy to take up
the fight against alcohol before we had really made an earnest
fight against it on our side. Not only would the Social
Democracy have an agitation weapon of an incomparable
effectiveness, with the cry that Socialism had succeeded where
the bourgeoisie could, or would, not, — in freeing the people
from its deadliest enemy. It would, which is far worse, stand
free from alcohol and the alcohol interest, opposite a bour-
geoisie which remained in dependence on this capital and
sought to continue the people's blood-taz to it. Then, for
the first time in our long fight, would the Social Democracy
have won a position of moral superiority, and therewith would
our defeat be sealed." — Judge Popert, '^Hamburg und der
Alkohol/' p. 78.

(g). Ninety persons, mostly members of this parliamentary
group, have organised a company to take over Aftontidningen,
a Stockholm liberal daily, in order to make it the mouthpiece
for the national prohibition movement. It took just three
weeks to get together the required capital. We note a gift
from Professor Dr. Frey Svenson, Professor of Psychiatry

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296 The Anti- Alcohol Movement in Europe

in the University of Upsala, of 10,000 Kroner. The prologue
to prohibition has been played in the legislation of May 23,
1913. The entire income from the sale of spirits is taken
from the communes and passes to the national treasury, all
above 30,000,000 Kroner being turned over to a fund for the
fighting of alcoholism. The cities and towns have, therefore,
now no further financial interest in retaining the Bolags. The
Swedish temperance press characterises this as ^ the beginning
of the end.'' In the 1913 Prohibition Congress of the Four
Scandinavian Nations, the Swedish Prime Minister, the Hon.
Karl Staaff, announced his adhesion to prohibition.

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^' To the Women of Hungary.

" We wish to put heart and life into the words with whieh
we here address you. We wish that those who read them may
have souls to understand the greatness of the end whieh we
pursue. We would that we might press to our hearts the
mothers, the betrothed, the children, in order to convince tbem
that our cry comes with love from the depths of our being.
Magyar women! Realise the responsibility which the fight
against alcohol imposes on you, on your families and on

" Remember the tears which secretly redden your eyes and
burden your hearts when you think of a father, a husband,
a son, a fianc^ fallen to drink. This man holds you to himself;
his fate is bound to yours.

'' It is not the men chiefly who suffer from drink. It is the
souls and strength of the women which are worn down with
this sorrow. Do you not realise that alcohol engulfs not only
the country and the nation, but all your happy, womanly
hopes t

^'Come to our help, Hungarian women! Come from all
parts of the land — poor and rich, happy and unhappy, women
of station and of humble position, you whom alcohol has made
to weep, you who know and feel your obligations to religion,
to God, to country and to humanity yet unborn.

"We wish to uplift the coming generations, which, not
knowing alcohol, will belong to a morally purer and more
warm-hearted world.

" We seek the aid of all for this task. We trust that there
may not be a single Hungarian woman who will not hearken
to us. None shall be so humble in our eyes that we will not


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298 Appendix

be grateful to see them join us; none too high to have a right
to look down on the work to which we invite you.

"We affectionately beg you, suggest everywhere the idea
of fighting alcohol. Make sentiment for it in high and low
circles, for the odour of alcohol is found in both — in drawing-
room and in cottage. Our social organism is sick. Our
physical, moral and economic forces are on the way to de-

" Above all, give no alcohol to your children and unselfishly
aid the husbands of other women, the children of other mothers,
the betrothed of other girls.

"Draw attention of mothers to the great danger which the
medical prescription of wine to children entails. The theory
that alcohol makes blood is long out of date. Let the words
of Dr. David Fa jer be always present in our minds : ' A mouth-
ful of bread produces more blood than a cask of wine.'

"And we beg you earnestly and sincerely, at the coming
Easter festivities, not to offer alcohol, but flowers, to the young
people who take part in the traditional ceremonies. These
young people are themselves the flower of humanity, and
alcohol kills flowers. It slays the health of the body and the
purity of the soul, and opens the way to an infinity of evils.

" We pray you, aid us in the holy war for the Sabbath which
we have declared. Let Hungarian women be of one heart
and one soul to demand — ^better still, to bring about — ^the
closing of the drink-shops from Saturday evening to Monday

"We demand of you, with deepest affection, women and
pure-souled maidens, stand guard at the family door. Do not
let a quibbling alcohol philosophy, so ready to excuse and
tolerate the most evil things, enter. Join yourselves in the
Anti-alcohol Union. This will give you the right never to offer
alcohol at your own board.

" Perhaps they will mock you. There are those whose spirits
never rise to the height of a pure, moral idea. Perhaps the
one nearest you will be irritated. Use all the resources of the
feminine soul; make appeal to the highest sentiments; employ
all your powers of charm and grace to deliver from the yoke
of alcohol those who are dear to you.

" We love to think, noble women, beloved daughters of Hun-
gary, who have so well understood the words our hearts

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Appendix 299

dictate, that we can, with your aid, give more poetry to life
and permit society to develop in a truly harmonious way.

" We implore you ; we appeal to you ; we wait on you, tender
mothers, troubled wives, betrothed maidens ! Stephanie, Coun-
tess Elemer Lonvay, Princess Royal of Belgium, the Marquise
Pallavicini, n^ Countess Majlath, the Countess Csaky, the
Countess Albert Apponyi, Princess Clovis de Hohenlohe, n6e
Countess de Majlath, the Countess Bissengen, the Baroness
BaHntitt, the Countess Dominique Teleki, the Countess Alex-
andre Teleki, Etelka Kamenytzky, president of the Women's
Anti-alcohol Union, and twenty others."


The Statement of Eight Hundred German Professors and

In view of the devastation caused by the constantly growing
use of alcohol, the undersigned, representing the medical pro-
fession in the temperance movement, feel themselves bound to
make the following public declaration.

Science has shown that alcohol, even in moderate quantities,
causes disturbance in the brain's action and paralyses critical
capacity, power of will, the ethical and lesthetic sense, and
lowers self-control. For this reason one should realise that
it is a poison and no longer to be classed with foods.

Science has further shown that the continued use of alcohol
lowers the body's power of resistance to all kinds of sicknesses,
especially of infectious diseases, and shortens life.

Those who abstain wholly from all alcoholic drinks have a
greater capacity for work and endurance in all sorts of in-
tellectual and physical effort. They fall sick more rarely
and are cured more quickly (especially from infectious dis-
eases) than moderate drinkers.

Every kind of physical and intellectual work is accomplished
better with entire abstinence. All data to the contrary have
been shown by exact proofs to be deceptive and due to the
alcoholic paralysis of the judgment.

The greatest danger, however, in the regular use of alcohol
is the degeneration of the race. The progeny of the regular
drinker inherit a generally inferior physique, especially a

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300 Appendix

weakened nervous system. This danger has been increased
more recently by the fact that women have gradually fallen
more and more under the influence of the general drinking
customs. So long as they did not drink the blood inheritance
was at least half sound. Since the mothers of the coming
generation have been attacked by this chronic poisoning, de-
generation must proceed at a considerably quicker pace.

Drinking customs bring degeneracy, poverty, sickness, vice,
crime, madness, and death and this not only to those who
succ^mb to them. They also endanger those who personally
have not yielded to them. Thousands die yearly because of
the drunkenness of others. We recall the many accidents
caused by drunkenness, — ^railway accidents, shipwrecks, acci-
dents on buildings, in factory, in workshop. We recall crime
committed in drunkenness, the endless cases of assault and
murder. We remember the unnumbered families who have
been maltreated by drunken fathers. We recall the hundreds
of thousands born sick and wretched, because of drunkenness,
who fall a burden on society, passing down their misery to
children and grandchildren. Therefore it is not only a duty
to fellowmen but incumbent on all who would hold themselves
upright, to help in doing away with alcoholic drinks, and this
by the personal example of abstinence.

We are convinced that with the banishing of alcohol other
causes of human misery would be easily suppressed, that
abstinence would contribute essentiaUy to the solution of the
great social question.


M. Georges Clemenceau, ex-Minister of State, has published
in the recently issued work of the French engineer, M. Louis
Jacquet, UAlcool, Etude Economique Generale (943 pp., Paris,
Masson et Cie.) an introductory essay from which we take
a few sentences:

'' The indictment against alcohol has long since been drawn.
The sentence has been pronounced with such sharpness, and
so loudly, in all the territories of civilisation and savagery,
that it is unnecessary to reopen discussion concerning the
results of experiences, so dearly paid for.

''It is definitely settled that alcohol, in the quantity in

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Appendix 301

which a too great number of our contemporaries are in the
habit of taking it, is a poison; a poison destructive of human
energy and, for this reason, of society as a whole.

'^ Alcohol, observes the author of the present work, ravages
the wage-working class, — ^the class which absorbs nearly four-
fifths of the alcohol consumed, and in this social stratum it
is an important factor of tuberculosis, criminality, insanity,
and mortality. And Dr. Lucien Jacquet, physician to the
Hopital St. Antoine, adds: ' Alcoholisation, other things be-
ing equal, increases general morbidity and mortality in enor-
mous proportions. Alcohol is the great purveyor of suffering
and human misery. It is one of the sovereign factors in the
world's suffering.'

^' Such is the verdict in its frightful simplicity. At a period
when a universal criticism has conducted us, over ruins, to
experiments more or less co-ordinated, looking to an uni-
versal reformation, it is astonishing that in the face of this
scourge, whose origins are known and whose effects have been
exposed in all directions, individual action seems struck with
impotency; while the state, with all the powerful weapons
at its disposal, stands an indifferent spectator of an evil, be-
side which the great epidemics of the past are no more than
commonplace incidents in the human drama. . . . Every
newspaper offers us pictures of the sufferings and death which
the alcoholist inflicts not only on himself, but on his innocent
victim. We read, we see, we at times philosophise on the
matter, and we pass on, while everything gives way before
the torrent of devastation.

'' And this is only one of the aspects of an immense tragedy.

'' Alcohol, M. Jacquet tells us, takes more or less time to
kill its victim, but it very quickly makes of him an individual
of poor quality.

^' So the evil with its frightful train of miseries and crimes
increases, and together with it, — ^and on what a scale, — the
obscure phenomena of slow degeneration which transforms the
apparently sound individual into an agent of disturbance.
This is the more dreadful in that nothing warns us to be on
guard against faculties disordered. It can further happen that
these states of unconscious morbidity can be found in the
tumult of public action, bursting at times into violent explo-
sion. Irreparable damage, then, for the entire social organ-

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302 Appendix

ism I Who will take up the subject, ^Alcohol, Agent of
National Decline in a Democracy 't

'^ The destiny of that people which is unable to react against
a moral and physical degeneration accepted in exchange for a
degrading pleasure, is sealed. All men of good will without
distinction of party should unite in a common effort for the
relief of the country threatened at so many points and at one


From Alkoholforhrugets InflydeUe paa Livsvarigheden, by
Professor Harald Westergaard of the University of Copen-

'' What effect would it have on human longevity if the causes
of death, which can be immediately related with drinking, such
as delirium tremens and chronic alcoholism, should disappear?
The official death attests, as ordinarily drawn up, often avoid
naming these sicknesses. This Dr. G. Poulsen of Copenhagen
has strikingly proved. As there are other sicknesses, such as
cirrhosis of the liver, which are characteristic death sicknesses
among drunkards, we can safely assume that the statistics
for delirium tremens and chronic alcoholism represent a min-
imal expression of alcohol's action. A calculation based on
the official death lists of the Danish market towns shows that
if these causes of death were removed, the medium length of
life for a twenty-year-old man in Copenhagen would increase
more than a year. When one remembers that one has here
only a fraction of the effects of alcohol's ravages, and that
the comparison is made with men who themselves use drink,
we can understand that there can really be a very great
difference between the mortality of temperance people and
of drinkers, and that the statistics of life insurance in this
direction have the stamp of great probability.

''The calculation here sketched can, as far as Denmark is
concerned, be carried out on a broader basis, since the Danish
Ck)vemmental Temperance Commission collected, some years
ago, highly interesting material for the consideration of alcohol
mortality. A request was sent to all the physicians of the
nation asking for information concerning all deaths among
adult men and women in the year 1905, with especial reference

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as to whether these were given to drink and as to whether
alcohol was the chief or co-operative cause of death. Answers
came concerning 4,390 dead men over fifteen years of age
and 4,280 women, — ^a little over one-third of all the deaths for
the year. The result was that not less than 23 per cent of
male deaths and 3 per cent of women deaths were shown to
be occasioned by the misuse of alcohol directly or indirectly.




















15 8





























In all cases



''The relative number of alcohol deaths among men rises,
therefore, from a very small nimiber up to over a third and
stands on this level for a long period of life, — ^from 36 to
65 years. It then goes down, presumably because a part of
drink's victims have disappeared at this stage. Women's
showing is far better. As a consequence of this greater male
mortality one finds that, on throwing out drink cases, men
have, up to a high age, a lower mortality than women, which
is otherwise not the case. If there were no alcohol, men would
really show themselves to be the stronger sex.

"If, then, all these alcohol deaths were eliminated, the
medium longevity of a man of 20 years would rise from 45.4
to 49.3 years and of a woman from 47.5 to 48.1, i.e. respec-
tively 3.9 and .6 years. It is obvious that the increase of
the average male life by some four years would mean an
addition of immense value to the people's productive power.

"With these statistics as a point of departure one could
put the question, 'How much, on the average, can a liter of
brandy, or a corresponding quantity of beer, be said to shorten
a man's life?' This, of course, is only a mental experiment,
but such an experiment can be as completely defended as the

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304 Appendix

asking what every convicted criminal on the average costs the
state, or what it costs per diem for a patient in a hospital.
A single liter of brandy can, under favourable conditions, cause
death in the course of a few hours, while under other con-
ditions a large use of alcohol can be continued to a high age.
The figures, therefore, are only illustrative of what we have
previously developed. They show that, as far as Denmark
is concerned, every liter of brandy causes a diminution of
life by about 11 hours, and every half -bottle of beer by about
25 minutes.''

From a speech of M. Joseph Reinach, deputy, delivered Jan-
uary 23, 1910, in the great amphitheatre of the Sorbonne
before a joint meeting of the National League against
Alcoholism and the National Federation of Mutual In-

'' I do not believe, gentlemen, and I will not tire of repeating
it, that there is at this moment for men of courage and good-
will, for all parties and pre-eminently for the government
itself, a single duty which is more pressing than that of en-
gaging in a systematic and irresistible fight against alcoholism.
For many reasons, of which some only are honourable, we
have lost precious time in which the evil has not ceased to
grow. The hour has come for action. I know the importance
of the political questions which press for solution, of the
social problems, which weigh each day more heavily on the
hearts of those who are able to sympathise with human misery
and who understand the evolution which modem societies are
making towards justice and righteousness. But, first of all,
one must live, and I say what I think with the sad conviction
that I am not exaggerating the danger. If France does not
wish to die, and who can doubt but that she still desires to
live, and that her genius will yet give the world marvellous
surprises, she must begin by burning out the cancer which
gnaws within her, which is making greater ravages in the
twentieth century than ever famine and the Black Death made
in the Middle Ages.

'^Oh! assuredly, the battle will be long and hard! I do
not need to say that to you, who for years have fought the

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Appendix 305

hard fight^ nor to those others, more humerous, who have
accepted resignedly the evil, decorating with the name of
prudence their fear of being hit in battle. You all know the
number and the ugliness of the private interests which are
here banded together against the public weal. This poison,
which ruins and slays some, feeds and enriches others. These
interests have a political power to be feared and we are yet
a rudimentary democracy, dominated by electoral anxieties.
The public authorities know well enough that alcoholism is
one of the principle reasons for the impoverishment of vast
areas, that it is a weighty contributing cause of the depopula-
tion, which, from year to year, diminishes the productive forces
of our land. But the state draws from drink an immense
immediate income, and we have not come across many gov-
ernments which see further ahead than the evening of a day
on which the vote of confidence is to be taken which will
decide their fate. Yet the time has come for action, for,
judging from certain symptoms, the very nation itself seems
to be struck with sickness.

" Michelet has related how the advance of coffee, the popu-
larisation of that sober and stimulating drink, suggestive of
the lavas of Bourbon and Martinique, contributed to the
warmth and lucidity of the eighteenth century, the century of
esprit, which gave us the Encyclopaedia and out of which came
the Revolution. These words haunt me! After the reign of
coffee that of alcohol! Shall the future historian say that
the coming of alcohol, the widespread and inveterate abuse
of toxic essences, changed and modified in another direction
the temperament and spirit of our race; that it ended by
thickening the whole atmosphere of these new times into which
we entered with hearts full of hope; that it dulled the brain
and gave to this so kindly France, brutal habits, making
our people, who never knew barriers to their ambitions and
their dreams, incapable of willing their own salvation?

''We have become the most drunken nation on earth and
that, gentlemen, in thirty years. The number of drink shops

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Online LibraryErnest Barron GordonThe anti-alcohol movement in Europe → online text (page 23 of 26)