G. H Stockham.

Temperance and prohibition online

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magistracy the right of giving certificates, whichalone




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should entitle the grantees to obtain licenses for the
sale of malt liquors. The magistrates of small towns
and rural districts receive no salary, and are generally
chosen from the most wealthy and influential class in
the township. Owing to the great patronage they
possessed, and having the exclusive privilege of grant-
ing licenses, many designing and unscrupulous persons
secured appointments. As a consequence, monopo-
lies were created by them to establish, control and
prevent competition, and so corrupt did this system
of licensing become, that a strong desire for some
kind of reformation was engendered in the minds of
the people. Their efforts to bring about a change
were strenuously opposed by the powerful body of
liquor manufacturers and dealers.

The House of Lords appointed a select committee,
in 1877, to investigate the subjoined practical ques-
tions bearing on the subject :

"First Has past legislation been effective in
diminishing the amount of drunkenness which un-
fortunately prevails in the most populous districts of
the country?

"Second Are we likely to effect this object either
by amending the provisions of the laws now in force,
or by introducing some entire new system of licens-

The report of the committee on these questions was
substantially as follows : To the first proposition
they gave a distinctively negative answer ; and to the
second they recommended that legal facilities be given
to municipalities for adopting either Mr. Chamber-


Iain's plan or the " Gothenburg system,'* neither of
which they positively indorsed.

Up to the appointment of this committee, two
classes of licenses, as before said, were granted by
Justices of the Peace, to sell excisable liquors by re-
tail : One class to be drunk on the premises and the
other to be drunk off the premises. The former were
issued under magisterial discretion ; the latter he had
not the power of refusal. These were granted under
the system of free trade, which after experience
proved to be a failure, they not being sufficiently re-
munerative, because like privileges were contained in
those issued by magisterial discretion. The committee
recommended some change of doubtful importance
for the amendment of the licensing laws, with little
hope that any legislative enactment could materially
diminish the consumption of spirituous liquors. They
proposed the following bill :

" That on Sundays licensed houses in the metropo-
lis should be open from 1 to 3 p. M. for consumption
off the premises, and from 7 to 11 P. M. for con-
sumption on the premises. That in other places in
England they should be open from 12:30 to 2:30
p. M. for drinking off the premises, and for consump-
tion on the premises from 7 to 10 P. M., in popular
places, and from 7 to 9 P. M. in other places." This
bill was rejected.

On the 15th of November, 1876, at a meeting of the
"Birmingham Liberal Association" in England, the
annexed resolution, presented by Mr. Chamberlain,
was adopted:


" That in the opinion of this meeting it is desirable
that local representative authorities should be em-
powered to acquire, on payment of fair compensation,
on a principle to be fixed by Parliament, all existing
interests in the retail sale of intoxicating drinks,
within their respective districts, and thereafter, if
they see fit to carry on the trade for the convenience
and on behalf of the inhabitants, but so that no in-
dividual shall have any pecuniary interest in, or de-
rive any profit from, such sale."

The adoption of this resolution called out a speech
from Mr. Chamberlain, in which he proposed a plan
for the suppression of intemperance ; it ran as fol-
lows : " Town councils might be empowered, after
giving the usual notice, and on payment of fair com-
pensation, based on the average profits of the last
three years, to acquire any or all of the licenses
within its jurisdiction. At the same time the powers
possessed by the licensing justices and committees
might be vested in the councils, only with an appeal
to the high court of justice, and subject to the pro-
vision that no new license should be granted until the
proportion had been reduced to, say, one in five
hundred of the population.

"Power should be given to the councils to deal
with all, or any, of the houses acquired by them, in
any of the following ways, namely : (a) To abandon
them altogether ; (6) to grant licenses to the highest
bidder under conditions to be fixed by the council, and
fora period not exceeding five years ; (c) to carry on
the trade in the present premises, rented or purchased


for the purpose, under the conduct of managers, with
remuneration independent of the amount of, or profit
on, the sale of intoxicating drinks.

" In the last two cases the amount received from the
sale of licenses, or as profit from the traffic, should be
carried to a license fund, to be applied as follows:
(1) To pay interest on all loans contracted for pur-
chase of license on premises; (2) to create a sinking
fund to extinguish loans in twenty years from date ;
(3) to pay all costs of management and expenses of
carrying out the act ; (4) to buy up and extinguish
licenses till the maximum proportion of one to five
hundred of the population has been reached ; (5) the
surplus, if any, to be used, first, in securing the earlier
repayment of the loans contracted till these are
wholly liquidated, and chen the balance to be carried
to the credit of the education-rate, and poor-rate, in
fixed proportions."

These were the views of Mr. Chamberlain at that
time. Afterwards he modified them in various par-
ticulars. He relinquished the plan of compensating
the publicans on the profits of the last three years,
discarding the idea of granting licenses to anyone,
and leaving the entire matter to Parliament. Instead
of buying up a part of the public drinking houses he
proposed to buy them all ; and in the place of a
fixed principle of valuation, he insisted that the town
should be ready to pay whatever Parliament may
choose to decide.

The forcible suppression of a trade, made lawful by
the possession of licenses from competent authorities,


would establish a principle on which Parliament dare
not venture; consequently Mr. Chamberlain's plan
was not carried into effect. To do so would have
given an immense influence to the town council,
who are too often the paid subjects of the liquor ring.
Such monopolies are dangerous to individual and
political interests. Any law that is founded on taking
forcibly from a man his legitimate means of livelihood,
no matter how disreputable it appears in the eyes of
the community, is an unjust one and does not deserve
the support of the people. The privilege he enjoys
was granted him by the constituted authorities, for
which he paid the sum they demanded of him ; and
to deprive him of the right to maintain a business
made lawful by such legal enactments, is a violation
of every principle of equity, and could not fail 'to
be disastrous in its effects, and do no good whatever
in reforming the drinking habits of the community.

The other system of licensing recommended by the
committee appointed by the House of Lords, was one
that had its origin in Gothenburg, Sweden. Some
wealthy citizens of that city formed a company for
controlling the sale of liquor in their district. They
purchased enough for the demand of the town and
allowed none but their own employes, or parties au-
thorized by the association, to sell it out to the people.
All intoxicating liquors had to be procured from the
company, and no person was allowed to profit by the
sale, except as it indirectly increased his trade in other

The larger cities of Sweden did not adopt the


Gothenburg plan. A monopoly of any kind is not
usually relished by the masses. A law that is not of
permanent benefit or of universal application, will
not command the support of the people at large.

Another method . of licensing worthy of notice is
one that is practiced in Brattleboro, England. A
detail of a particular case will show the practical
workings of the plan :

A is intoxicated, and because of such intoxication
becomes a disturber of the peace. He is arrested
and sent to the lock-up, and when sober is brought
before a magistrate and fined $5.00 and costs. In de-
fault of payment he is committed to the county jail,
where he remains until the fine is paid. In his ex-
amination he is compelled under the law to disclose
where he obtained his liquor (the law is imperative
on this point). The liquor- seller is then arrested, and
if the offense is proved, he is fined $10 and costs, and,
if the case is aggravated, a larger fine is affixed.

This law was practically in the hands of the bailiffs
of the villages, or the common council of larger
towns. Another of its features was the closing of all
saloons on Sundays.

In other places than Brattleboro the enforcement
of this law has been attended with only partial suc-
cess. Every form of deception and perjury was re-
sorted to by the people to defeat its establishment,
thus developing a condition of morals that could
hardly be worse than intemperance itself.

France, Italy, Spain, Hungary and Germany have
no restrictive laws as regards intoxicating drinks, and


still there is very little immoderate drinking in these
countries ; while our statute books and those of Great
Britain are filled with prohibitory laws, and yet in-
temperance is a national vice.

To raise a revenue by the sale of that which de-
bases the people, is not only a prolific source of crime
and pauperism, but the cost to the country, annually*
is many times more than the sums received there-
from. Therefore it will be seen that from a pecun-
iary point of view, even, the policy of these laws is

As regards high and low license, the basis of the
two is the same, the only difference being that high
license decreases the number of saloons ; but, it is a
practical illustration of the vicious principle of one
law for the rich, and another for the poor.

No valid objection can be raised against the licens-
ing system per se as a means of raising the necessary
governmental revenue; but there is just cause for
censure when discriminations are made. There should
be an equal taxation on every business in proportion
to the amount of capital employed and the income
derived therefrom. Such uniform licensing would
render every occupation legitimate in the eyes of the
law. It is no extenuation to say that the business
for which the higher license is charged, is not con-
sidered equally reputable. If this is really the case,
a license should not have been granted, but if granted,
this act of the authorities renders the business, by
law, thoroughly respectable, and they have no right
to go back of their own action. Their discrimination


against saloons, therefore, is unjust and not in ac-
cordance with the spirit of the law.

Admitting that saloons are, as a rule, disreputable,
and saloon-keepers notoriously bad citizens, yet they
have a right to equal privilege and protection under a
law that has licensed their business.

After a careful examination of the subject, we are
forced to acknowledge- that no method of licensing so
far employed, has been a successful means of over-
coming the evil of intemperance. We must look to
other ways for its accomplishment.



LONG before the temperance movement was afoot,
English and American statesmen thought it an abso-
lute necessity to place legal restraint on the liquor
traffic, and so inaugurated special license systems, to
meet the exigencies of the case. This arrangement
undoubtedly led to fewer numbers of dealers, for
previously the profits of the business were so great,
and the amount of capital and skill required so little,
that there was a constant pressure into it of the
indolent, shiftless and vicious; but it also lent moral
support to the traffic by giving it the sanction of law
It may well be asked if society, as a corporate body,
is justified in legalizing the office of tempter in plac-
ing before the weak and untrained, temptations to
which they in their present moral condition, must
inevitably succumb; then afterwards adding to the
misery of such unfortunates a penalty, while at the
same time upholding by law the cause of their degra-

For more than forty years a persistent and ener-
getic agitation has been maintained in the more pop-
ulous States of the Union on the liquor problem.
There is hardly a remedy suggested by the mind of
man that has not been used to stay the growing evil
of intemperance.


It may not be generally known that the Federal
Government asserts the right to grant licenses through
its own officers for the sale of spirituous liquors in
every State in the Union. The United States Com-
missioners will grant a license to any citizen in the
State, on the payment of $25, to sell spirituous
liquors in their original packages as imported, which
cannot be seized by the State authorities.

It will be readily seen that this law must, from
its very nature, thwart in a great measure the suc-
cess of any local or State prohibitory law.

Maine has been the leading State in the prohibition
movement. The. following is a synopsis of the laws
adopted in her Legislature in 1851 :


Prohibits the manufacture or sale of intoxicating
liquor except as is hereinafter provided.


Authorizes Select Men, Mayor and Aldermen, to ap-
point an agent to sell intoxicating liquor for medic-
inal and manufacturing purposes and no other.


Gives bonds for faithful performance.


Describes penalties for violation.


Prescribes the mode of applying the law to offenders.


Treats of appeal.



Treats of agents who perfect their bonds.


Treats of makers and common sellers.


Excludes persons engaged in unlawful traffic in in-
toxicating liquors from juries and cases arising under
this act.


Gives precedence in court over all other business on


Authorizes a Justice of the Peace or any Municipal
or Police Judge to grant a warrant of search to any
Sheriff, City Marshal, or any constable who shall pro-
ceed to search the premises described in said warrant
on the affidavit of three reputable persons. If any
spirituous or intoxicating liquors be found, such
liquors are forfeited to the State.

The other sections describe the mode and manner
of proceedings on appeal, convictions, forfeitures and

So completely does the list cover the entire ques-
tion that escape by the quirks and subtleties of law
is almost an impossibility. The punishment of the
first offense is $10 fine; of the second, $20 fine and
costs; of the third offense, $20 fine and costs, and
in addition, imprisonment of from three to six months.

This law was tried and subsequently abandoned


in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.
It still remains in the statutes of New Hamphire,
but is not enforced. In Vermont it is as stringently
carried out as in Maine. Similar laws have been
enacted with more or less success in Iowa, Kansas
and several other States.

Massachusetts has recently passed a law under pro-
vision of which licenses of five different classes are
granted :

First , To sell liquors of any kind to be drunk on
the premises.

Second, To sell malt liquors, cider, and light wines
to be drunk on the premises.

Third, To sell malt liquors and cider, to be drunk
on the premises.

Fourth, To sell liquors of any kind not to be drunk
on the premises.

Fifth, To sell malt liquors, cider and light wines not
to be drunk on the premises.

The penalties for selling to minors and for any
injury done by an intoxicated person, or loss sustained
on account of such intoxication, are similar to those of
the State of Ohio. In the latter State and in Michigan,
there are clauses in their constitutions, forbidding the
granting of licenses " to sell in any quantity intoxi-
cating liquors to be drunk in, upon, or about the
building or premises, or to sell such intoxicating
liquor to be drunk in any adjoining room, building,
or premises, or other place of public resort connected
with such building."

Places where intoxicating liquors are sold in viola-


tiou of this act, are declared nuisances, and power is
given to the authorities to close them.

The seller of such liquors to minors, or to any in-
toxicated person, or to those who are in the habit of
drinking to excess, is subject to a fine and imprison-
ment, and to damages which the wife, child, parent,
guardian, or other party who shall be injured in per-
son, or property, or means of support in consequence,
can lawfully collect.

The prohibitory laws of Michigan are more effect-
ive than those of any other State in the Union.
When appeal is taken to her Superior Court, the
accused has to file bonds in the sum of two thou-
sand dollars, with not less tha/i two good and suffi-
cient sureties, conditioned that during the pending of
the suit he will not sell intoxicating drinks.

In considering local option from a superficial
standpoint, it seems perfectly 'right that a majority in
any town or district should be justified in deciding
whether spirituous liquors should or should not be
sold in their particular locality.

This subject, however, does not come within the
province of law or politics ; it is one of individual
rights. In a question of law, the people have the
privilege of duly electing their chosen men for the
Legislature and of sending their representatives to
Congress to decide by a majority vote if such and such
a law shall be passed. Laws are not made to prevent a
man from doing either right or wrong. He is always
at liberty to do what he pleases, but if his act violates
a law, he must suffer the penalty which the law inflicts
for such violation.


In politics, also, the people have the right to de-
cide by vote which party shall hold the reins of gov-
ernment in towns, cities, State and nation ; but the
question of drinking liquor is a personal one, and
cannot be regarded as a crime, per se. For a majority,
then, in any community to deny the minority the
right to do what is not a crime, would be interfering
with individual rights. Such interference is always
despotic and not to be tolerated by a free govern-
ment. The establishment of local option under pro-
hibitory laws can only be considered as a far greater
evil than that of intemperance, for it attacks the
fundamental and most vital principle of civil liberty.

A bill on this question was submitted to the Par-
liament of Great Britain a few years ago by the
"United Kingdom Alliance for the Keform of the
License Laws/' which reads as follows : " That inas-
much as the ancient and avowed object of licensing
the sale of intoxicating liquors is to supply a sup-
posed public want, without detriment to the public
welfare, the House is of opinion that a legal power of
restraining the issue or renewal of licenses should'
be placed in the hands of persons most deeply inter-
ested and affected, namely, the inhabitants them-
sellves, who are entitled to protection, from the in-
jurious consequences of the present system, by some
effective measure of local option."

Two hundred and fifty-two of the members voted
against the bill, and one hundred and sixty-four for
it. The objections urged against it were, first : that
it would not be just to make a general law to


vent the innocent use of an article because some
had abused it; second: that it would be less just
to intrust such power to a local majority ; third :
that this same power to choose between enforcing or
withdrawing this prohibition, would not be a practi-
cal remedy for intemperance."

It is difficult to see wherein it would be more just
for a majority to dictate to the people what they
should drink, than to say what they should eat, or
to prevent the minority from procuring that which
they may consider necessary to their health and hap-
piness, so long as they respect the rights of others.



EFFORTS are being continually made by various
clergymen and members of churches to compel the
Legislatures of different States to pass laws to prevent
what they regard as the desecration of the Sabbath.

It is not in our province to discuss polemics any
farther than to comprehend in what religionists elect
to deprive the people. Has the term " desecration "
any specific meaning alike interpreted by all classes,
or is it variously understood ?

In discussing this question we are confronted at the
outset with the undoubted fact that what one consci-
entious person esteems a wrong, may be regarded as
perfectly right and justifiable by another equally

Religious people, as a rule, believe that attendin:; 1
church is an important external evidence of their
moral status that must be observed, no matter at
what cost or deprivation. They set their disapprov-
ing seal on the indulgence of all recreations or amuse-
ments of any kind on the Sabbath day, hoping to
resist the tide of unbelief, and to be an aid to the
temperance cause.

In Philadelphia, in 1860, through the influence of
these Sabbatarians, the Crystal Palace, Zoological
Gardens, libraries, picture galleries and all other


places of amusement, were closed under the mistaken
idea that people would consequently flock into the
churches. On the contrary, a lower order of recrea-
tion was patronized, the saloons and beer-halls be-
came overcrowded ; the masses must have amuse-
ment and were not particular where they went to
get it.

A much better plan would be to encourage all in-
nocent diversions, especially cheap excursion trains to
the open country. California is particularly favored
in her suburban retreats for the toil-worn city
laborer and his wife and children. Our elegantly
fitted cable-cars furnish an unrivaled mode of transit
to our parks, beaches and numerous picnic grounds,
where Nature, in this climate, is ever prodigal in her
gifts. In a recent sermon by Dr. Harcourt, of San
Francisco, we find the following excellent remarks on
the subject of amusements:

"Many of us have drawn our somber ideas of
religion from paganism. We have somehow formed
the idea that black is the color most pleasing to
heaven. Most of us have lingering around us the
idea that a good laugh is not heavenly, and therefore
ought to be suppressed. Away with such nonsense.
We may be very happy and not irreligious, and we may
be very solemn and not a bit religious. In man's nature
there is a demand for amusement and recreation, and
the church of the future cannot afford to overlook
this fact nor fail to meet it. I believe in a healthy
Christianity, a Christianity with sunshine in it. We
have had enough of the sixteenth century sort. I


only know of it from history and the traces of it yet
lingering around some creeds, but the more I know
of it the less I think of my ancestors. I do not want
the church of the nineteenth century to drift back
to the moldiness and the stupidity of the Dark Ages.
I believe in all natural and healthful amusements.
The more the better when under proper restraints.
The great danger of the American people is not over-
play but overwork. We have little time for any-
thing else in our pursuit after the almighty dollar."

Dr. Harcourfr further stated that he steadfastly be-
lieved that the theater might be made to serve as
noble an end as the pulpit, but that it ever would, .he
seriously doubted.

At the best, the working classes can have but one
day out of the seven to spend in such health-giving
recreations, and the week's work afterwards will be
more cheerfully resumed. A ride or walk through a
flower-fringed park or along a glorious sea-beach is of-
ten an inducement to people to forego a less innocent
pleasure, and, therefore, should be esteemed an aid to

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Online LibraryG. H StockhamTemperance and prohibition → online text (page 4 of 8)