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morality and a legitimate right to city residents. This
privilege to the poor is of inestimable value, and
should not be underrated by the wealthier class, who
may enjoy themselves as they please during the week,
and can, therefore, be better contented to remain
housed up in church on Sundays. Viewed in this
light it is not an easy matter to convince working
people that the Sabbath should not be rightfully
regarded a day of rest and recreation rather than
of austere observances. Many of them are Ger-



76 TEMPERANCE AND PROHIBITION.

mans, or of German extraction, and have been care-
fully trained in these habits. They are notedly
fond of music and the drama, and are never so happy
as when enjoying both, surrounded by their entire
family, and it is a beautiful trait in his character that
such a pleasure would be incomplete to him without
his "frau" and " kinder" Any law abridging their
Sunday liberties must, therefore, be especially ob-
noxious to them, and they comprise a large portion
of our most desirable population. That their social
habits are not particularly derogatory to morals the
German character demonstrates. They are an hon-
est, industrious, home-loving people, who seldom find
their way to our almshouses or jails.

Coming to our country with habits and customs al-
ready formed, Germans naturally prefer mutual asso-
ciation where they can introduce among themselves the
peculiar enjoyments to which they have been accustomed
for generations past. As all these simple recreations
are peaceable and law-abiding, it is unjust to legislate
them out of existence. It is interfering with the divine
prerogative of man and is both arbitrary and unconstitu-
tional. No one has a right to dictate to another how
he shall spend his Sundays so long as his habits do
not infringe on those of his neighbor. Such dictation
will not be endured by any class of American citizens,
and only tends to create antagonism between the two
extremes of society. The pages of history are dark-
ened with the wrongs committed on the people by
the enforcement of sumptuary laws established by
clerical power, Now, however, the scepter has been



SUMPTUARY LAWS. 77

wrested from their grasp, and is delegated to the public
press, who hold omnipotent sway.

In the earnest efforts of the temperance advocates to
abolish saloons, etc., they must not omit the establish-
ment of reading-rooms, concert-halls, lunch-parlors, in
fact, any home-like place where rest and innocent amuse-
ment can be had as cheap as the vicious pastimes
furnished in the saloons and low dives. The latter
are crowded by the ruder elements of society and are
among the greatest evils in our large cities. They are
usually underground, and here a low order of theatrical
performance, with villainous music and bad whisky and
beer are furnished to frequenters at cheap rates. A
law prohibiting the keeping of such places would
simply pave the road for the creation of like amuse-
ments in some other way equally objectionable.
The class that visit these dives would be out of their
element in more refined surroundings. It would be
just as reasonable to expect a Digger Indian to appre-
ciate the rapturous chords of Beethoven or the enchant-
ing notes of Jenny Lind, as for one of these people.
They have been born- and reared in circumstances of
poverty, vice and wretchedness. Their moral faculties
are in abeyance to their habits of drinking, carousing
and passional indulgences.

All progress and cultivation must be made by slow
degrees. A child cannot be advanced from simple
arithmetic to the higher branches of mathematics at
a single step. Time works marvelous changes, but
does it by gradual processes. One great reformation
that could be made in these dives would be the pre-



78 TEMPERANCE AND PROHIBITION.

vention of the sale of spirituous liquors therein.
Whisky is most frequently the cause of disturbances,
and only' wine and beer, and these unadulterated,
should be sold to the habitues.

A proper conception of these Pariahs of the body
politic ought to suggest that barbarous tribes alone
do not need our missionaries, for the most debased of
God's creatures are often our immediate neighbors.

A few years ago, in this State, the passing of laws
to close up all places of public resort on Sundays was
made an issue at the polls. It was voted down, and
the zealous advocates of this step have never made
a similar attempt.

An ancient authority has wisely said, " The Sab-
bath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath."



CHAPTER XV.



PROHIBITION.

THE fearful results of intemperance are so sadly
true that the welfare of every household in the land
may be considered involved in the settlement of this
question. There is an almost unanimous sentiment
among all classes that this state of things should not
go on ; that some kind of restriction must be placed
on the sale of intoxicating drinks. No one will deny
that their excessive use is an unmixed evil, a vice
without a single redeeming feature. Thus far a rea-
soning mind is on the side of the prohibitionist ; but
when he passes beyond the ground of pure ethics into
that of practical, every -day life, another element is
introduced into the question, and men seek to know
what success prohibitory laws have already had.
They naturally look to Maine, as she has had more
than thirty years' experience in suppressing the liquor
traffic. In these efforts she has been systematically
upheld by her Legislature. Civil and penal statutes
have been enacted and enforced, as thoroughly as
was possible by human agencies, and yet Maine
cannot be regarded as remarkable for sobriety. That
the people drink less than they did, may be true; but
this is equally true of the whole United States. In
this respect it is admitted that there has been a
material change in the habits of the people, and
Maine has been no exception. (79)



80 TEMPERANCE AND PROHIBITION.

It is no easy matter to obtain statistics as to the
amount of liquor consumed in a State where its sale
and use are looked upon as a crime ; but enough is
known to furnish proof positive that if prohibitionists
seek to build their cause on the successful operation of
the law in Maine, they will find but a weak support
in her history of the past third of a century.

Michigan has the most efficient of all the pro-
hibitory laws, and yet they cannot be enforced in
any of the cities, or larger towns and villages. In
the more populous portions of the State it has be-
come a dead letter.

Owing to the large proportion of foreign-born
citizens in Iowa, the prohibitory laws of that State
are not in successful operation.

The Governor of Rhode Island, in his message to
the State Legislature, declares that - u prohibitory laws
are sadly inefficient for want of a proper public senti-
ment to support them. The attempt to enforce pro-
hibition is a thankless undertaking, for, though it
may represent public opinion, yet the carrying out
of a law is almost wholly dependent upon the public
will, as contra-distinguished from the public opinion.
Without a will, the way cannot be found.'*

The above message is an expression of the common
experience in every State that has prohibitory laws.

A writer in the Philadelphia Review says :

"In Portland, Maine, and in Portsmouth, New
Hampshire, I have seen more drunkards, in propor-
tion to the population, than I ever saw in Phila-
delphia, where there are 1,500 saloons too many.



PROHIBITION. 81

No matter how the liquor business is prohibited,
liquor will be sold as long as there is a profit in the
business. Old drunkards will have their dram, no
matter what it costs. Neal Dow has fought the liquor
interests here for thirty years or more, and yet there
is as much sold and drunk here to-day as in other
cities of its size in the country. An American citizen
is an independent being. If you say he shall not,
he will, in spite of all law, restrictions, etc., to the
contrary notwithstanding. I have been a personal
observer of prohibition in Maine, New Hampshire,
Kansas, and towns in Colorado, and must confess
that it is a farce that often does more harm than
good. There is not a practical man in the nation
but t'o-day is convinced that prohibition is a failure."

As an evidence of the many subterfuges and ex-
cuses resorted to in order to secure liquor, we insert
the following somewhat humorous account taken
from a Kansas paper :

" Whisky solo? in drug-stores, that are gin-mills on
the sly, is not usually very good stuff. Your old
drinker has no faith in the cocktail cure of the
apothecary shop. In one Kansas county, where the
prohibition law is in force, 2,812 sales of liquor for
one month are recorded in the drug-stores ; an amount
of nine cases, 788 quarts, and 2,154 bottles. Almost
every man pretended that something was the matter
with him. Lager beer was the most popular medi-
cine. Of all the ailments affected, indigestion was
the most common. It appeared to be epidemic
throughout the county. After it came biliousness,
6



82 TEMPERANCE AND PROHIBITION.

and whisky was claimed to be its only antidote.
Heavy colds, also, accumulated, and there was much
general debility, and a fearful lot of ague. One could
be sure that it was the latter by the way the old
hands shook.

" What we most admire about these Kansas people
is their wonderful ingenuity in devising complaints
that required the immediate application of some
spirituous mixture. One man wished whisky to bathe
his wife ; another needed it for his horse's shoulder ;
a humane individual desired it for his cow, which had
some peculiar disorder, and his friend thought his
colt was similarly afflicted ; while a third man wished
to try it on a favorite mule. In fact, during a single
week more than a dozen horses required whisky or
brandy, three men had a touch of sun-stroke, and
one more feared he had been bitten by a mad dog,
while the calls from women for brandy and wine for
mince pies and puddings were an every-day occur-
rence."

That prohibitory laws have disappointed the san-
guine hopes of their honest advocates, and done little
to reduce the number of drunkards, few can question.
No one doubts the zeal and indefatigable energy of
the noble men and women who have brought about
this movement, and wherever they have lessened the
number of saloons, and thus been the means of re-
moving temptation from the people, they deserve the
thanks and " Godspeed " of every true heart in the
nation. If they have in a great measure failed in
their cherished object, they have worked from a good
motive.



PROHIBITION. 83

"We insert the following excerpts taken from articles
published in the New York Nation several years ago,
which give some very excellent reasons why prohi-
bition cannot be successfully carried out :

" Such a law, if enforced, would be disobeyed and
evaded to an extraordinary degree, even by people
of reputable character. It is a matter of history that
the drinking habits of society are as old as the race
itself, and to attempt their eradication by special
legislation, is an absolutely hopeless undertaking.

" The instincts of personal freedom are so indelibly
instilled into the American mind that prohibitory
laws are naturally more objectionable to them than
they could possibly be to any other people. Any
police interference with their customs is odious and
offensive, and cannot fail to engender a spirit of oppo-
sition.

"/$& taking of some kind of stimulating drink is
as^deiated with the most important events in the lives
of a great many. On occasions of births, marriages,
and happy meetings of friends, the social glass together
has been esteemed for ages the most effective mode of
expressing feeling. There is nothing in the history
of human nature to warrant the conclusion that it
will ever be possible to prohibit acts by law which
in themselves are considered harmless, because based
on the fact that excess in the commission of them is
hurtful. We all should set a good example, but
w l.i ether we are called upon to refrain from doing
that which is not wrong in itself, for the sake of pre-
venting others from over-indulgence, is a question



84 TEMPERANCE AND PROHIBITION.

that must be left to each, individual to decide for him-
self. It is argued that alcohol is a poison, and there-
fore its use should be prohibited. So are quinine,
morphia, and most other drugs, when taken in excess,
yet no one would expect their use to be prohibited by
law.

" To strive to promote the interests of what is con-
ceived to be a good cause, is highly commendable;
but the intolerant- spirit with which the disciples of
total abstinence too often seek to enforce their doc-
trines and practices upon other members of society,
is very reprehensible."

All human laws, to be of benefit to the people,
must be based upon the divine law of right and justice.
The founders of the Constitution of the United States
aimed to have this law as its governing principle.
Liberty of thought and action is insured to every
man thereby, so long as he does not trespass on the
rights of others.

All laws, State or federal, must be in accord with
the Constitution of the United States, and no State
lias the right to pass any law which- conflicts with it.
A law, to be just and reasonable, must be capable
of universal and impartial administration. These
postulates we think will not be disputed.

The question now arises, Will laws for the pro-
hibition of the manufacture and sale of intoxicating
liquors stand these tests? Maine, and some other
States, have passed laws prohibiting within their
boundaries the manufacture, sale, and importation of
spirituous liquors, either wholly or under onerous



PROHIBITION. 85

restrictions. As a consequence, distilleries and brew-
eries have been closed, and this, too, without com-
pensating their owners. Can such laws be equally
felt by these men and the rest of the community?
They were engaged in a business made legal by the
laws of the United States, for neither of these indus-
tries is prohibited thereby.

There are not less than one million of the popu-
lation of this country that are lawfully employed in
making and selling intoxicants. In those States
where distilleries and breweries are allowed to carry
on their trade, every gallon of beer or spirits manu-
factured is taxed by the Federal Government, yield-
ing in the aggregate an enormous revenue. It is not
to be supposed that the United States is thus legal-
izing, and profiting by, what should be regarded as
an unlawful calling. Therefore, no State has a right
to close up industries that are made lawful by the
laws of the United States, thus rendering valueless
property that can only be used in the business for
which it was intended. Such laws on the part of the
State are arbitrary, tyrannical, and unconstitutional.
These establishments supply a want in the commu-
nity which, from the immense consumption of their
products, must rather be considered a necessity than
an article of luxury, as prohibitionists contend when
urging their extinction.

People who do not feel disposed to forego the use
of these beverages are compelled to provide themselves
clandestinely by evasive means. This patronizing of
other States for what should be manufactured in their



86 TEMPERANCE AND PROHIBITION.

own, not only increases the cost of liquor, but also
encourages the crime of smuggling if in this case it
should be esteemed such. No law, however stringent,
can deter a man in this country from obtaining what
he wants if he has the money to pay for it.

The closing up of these industries is a pecuniary
loss to the State as well as to the r individual, as it
prevents both foreign and interstate commerce, the
investment of capital, and lessens taxation, thus di-
rectly and indirectly injuring local trade, and in
various ways acting as an irritant to the people.

Some prohibition States have not closed their dis-
tilleries and breweries, but have allowed them to be
carried on under certain restrictions. They are per-
mitted to manufacture, but only for medicinal and
manufacturing purposes, and for exportation to other
States. This disregard for the moral welfare of
their neighbors, while protecting their own State
from demoralizing influences, is hardly in accordance
with the principle, " Love your neighbor as yourself."
Then again those States where prohibitory laws are
not in force enjoy more or less monopoly in these
industries, which has the effect of increasing their
own wealth at the expense of the others.

Total prohibition is absolutely impossible under
the existing laws of the United States, which legalizes
the manufacture of intoxicants, and grants licenses
for the sale of spirituous and other liquors in original
packages in any State in the Union upon payment
of a specified sum.

In preceding pages we have given a synopsis of



PROHIBITION. 87

the prohibitory laws of different States, all of which
have a like basis, and need not, therefore, be dis-
cussed seriatim under this heading. The principle
involved in each of them is that of coercion. It was
this principle which instigated the religious intoler-
ance of the so-called Dark Ages, where for more than
a thousand years unsuccessful efforts were made by
cruel and tyrannical laws, to force people into one
groove of religious thought.

It is to be hoped that in this more enlightened
age we shall not be equally slow in making the dis-
covery that coercive laws will not compel a people to
adopt a universal belief, whether it be- in total absti-
nence, religion or politics. It is the application of this
element of force to crush out free thought and free action
that has done much to retard the growth and progress
of knowledge and civilization in the past centuries.
Man can only advance in both when he is in the
enjoyment of physical and mental freedom. He
must have his choice from the good and evil fruits
spread before him, and his reward or punishment is
naturally evolved from the selection he makes. The
effect oft an act is always the direct consequence of
the existing cause.

Moral suasion cannot make a favorable impression
on the mind while repressive laws are in force, es-
pecially when they trammel the personal liberty
guaranteed to every citizen by our Government. A
man natt^ally says, " This is tyranny, and I will not
submit to it." Even if the advice given is good, and
suggests what he voluntarily would have done if left



88 TEMPERANCE AND PROHIBITION.

to himself, the attempt to compel him arouses a spirit
of combativeness which is more or less inherent in
every individual. Indeed, there is no attribute of
the humah mind more firmly engrafted and more
easily aroused than this determined opposition to force.

What is the result of the attempt to enforce pro-
hibitory laws upon the drinking classes ? It arouses
such a spirit of indignation and hostility that they have
resort to every manner of subterfuge and evasion.
They meet together to discuss plans for opposition
and defense, form clubs for mutual support, and
drink more now from very defiance than they ever
did from inclination. And the liquor sellers struggle
desperately to carry on the traffic in spite of the law.
A business which has a profit of eight cents on every
ten-cent drink is too good a one to give up witho it
a strenuous effort.

Thousands of intelligent people, temperate and
even total abstainers, do not uphold prohibition on
principle; not because they are opposed to the cause
of temperance, but they say that it is an infringement
of individual liberty, both unjust and unconstitutional;
that it has a tendency, also, to create lawbreakers,
and to cultivate a general disrespect for all laws when
they conflict with personal interests. Such condi-
tions engender a hostile agitation and a spirit of
unrest in the minds of the people.

There is probably no class of citizens who oppose
prohibition more zealously than our foreign-born
population, particularly the German portion. We
have stated before the reasons for this, which ought



PROHIBITION. 89

to command the consideration of every unprejudiced
advocate of temperance. Nor does all the injury of
this coercive system fall alone on the parties whose
liberties are abridged There is a reactive effect, in
nowise beneficial, felt by the prohibitionists them-
selves. They evince a violence of opposition that
has often more of combativeness than of principle.
In a late election in California so aggressive was this
feeling that on several occasions it almost led to the
commission of crime.

In summing up the foregoing facts on this subject,
we arrive at the following conclusion : That pro-
hibitory laws have not been a success in redeeming
the drunkard, but they have branded him as a
criminal. The calling of the seller of intoxicants has
been rendered infamous, and both he and the con-
sumer are classed in the same category with thieves
and other disturbers of the peace. And of what
crime are they guilty, since neither the selling or
drinking of liquors is prohibited by the laws of the
United States?

There is a movement now on foot in Maine to over-
throw the prohibitory policy. It has its origin in
Waldo County, and undoubtedly means the forma-
tion of a license law party. Those interested declare
the present prohibitory law is subversive of the per-
sonal liberty of the citizen, is thoroughly impracti-
cable in its principles, and is a violation of the most
important provisions of the Constitution. There is
every indication that this opinion but voices the sen-
timents of a large number of both Republican and



90 TEMPERANCE AND PROHIBITION.

Democratic voters. The great preacher, Henry Ward
Beecher, says:

" Prohibitory laws are right in principle, but as
they ca*nnot be enforced it is useless to enact them.
You may make regulations, but total prevention you
can never have. Arguments used by temperance
men are often absurd. They say that stimulants of
every kind are bad, and that all kinds of alcoholic
drinks are inevitable poisons. In trying to combat
intemperance, physiology is a good weapon, good
cooking is another, rational amusements another. If
a man thinks it right to drink, he ought not to be
denounced by those who do not. Calvin said to his
students, ' Observe the Sabbath ; but if any man says
to you, you must keep it, then break it as a token of
your Christian liberty.'

" The story that was gotten up, and is still in cir-
culation, that the wine which our Saviour made at
the marriage at Canaan was not fermented liquor,
but fresh grape juice, is an example of the sacrifice
of personal integrity to the interests of the church.

" There is reason to fear that the final result of the
attempt to suppress the use of liquors by prohibition
may be a relapse into a worse condition of things
than prevailed before the temperance reform began."



CHAPTER XVI.



CAUSES OF INTEMPERANCE,

IN discussing this branch of our subject we shall
find it necessary to repeat the substance of former
statements in order to impress certain things upon the
mind of the reader.

The causes of intemperance may be treated under
two heads, the esoteric and the exoteric. In considering
the first we are bound to emphasize the vast impor-
tance of hereditary influences as being fruitful sources
of a craving for intoxicants. Few parents realize that
they transmit tastes and habits to their offspring
along with a physical resemblance. In fact, these are
often more marked than any facial likeness. Espe-
cially is this true of a love of stimulating liquors.
The confirmed habit of the father or mother is, alas !
too often a direct heritage to the child.

The desire for intoxicating drinks, thus transmitted,
is often so powerful as to make the fight with it of
life-long duration. A physician, eminent in the pro-
fession, once told me that so great was this inborn
craving in him that as far back as he could remember
the very odor of whisky would cause the saliva to
stream from his mouth. Let it be said to the credit
of this brave man that before he had reached maturity
he made a solemn vow never to taste a drop of liquor,
and kept it up to a hale and hearty ;i




[VlTl'BSXTf



92 TEMPERANCE AND PROHIBITION.

Many physicians, honest in their belief, are fre-
quently responsible for the cultivation of intemperate
habits, by their practice of prescribing spirituous
liquors for trivial complaints. Ninety-nine times out
of a hundred, however, the patient would have fared


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Online LibraryG. H StockhamTemperance and prohibition → online text (page 5 of 8)