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the evil, but they certainly reduced it considerably.
At any rate, the authorities did not feel themselves
called upon to extend the restrictions to other parts
of the country. Much valuable work has been done
in this matter of promoting temperance in the new
Army by such organisations as the Young Men's
Christian Association. These realised that many
recruits were falling into intemperate habits for the
simple reason that they had nothing else to do. In
many districts the recruit had only three ways of
filling in his spare time. He could go to the canteen
or to the public-houses of the nearest town or village,
or he could wander about the streets. None of these
was a very desirable occupation and the obvious
remedy was to provide a better counter-attraction.
Quite apart from its religious activities, the Y.M.C.A.
has done splendid work in this direction. In every


encampment it has provided spacious marquees and
huts, in which the men find an abundant supply of
writing materials, a post office, concerts, games, and
non-alcoholic refreshments. Hundreds of thousands
of men have found these establishments an inestimable
boon. Not a little of their success is due to the fact
that the average man knows that he can go and write
a letter and listen to a concert, without being preached
at all the time. The Y.M.C.A. is strictly undenomina-
tional and its keynote is Practical Christianity.

The problem of temperance in the new Army, as
elsewhere, would be much more easily solved if only
some genius would invent a really palatable and
attractive temperance drink. The thirsty man can
go into any public-house and rely upon obtaining a
glass of good beer, especially if he cares to order a
bottle of some well-known brand. He may not have
the slightest craving for alcoholic stimulant and may
be solely concerned in quenching a quite legitimate
thirst. But many would rather remain thirsty than
risk the average temperance concoction. Ginger
beer, lemonade, and all the other drinks known as
minerals cannot compare with good class beer for
thirst-quenching and refreshing properties. They
are generally far too gassy and far too sweet. Of
course, there are the various non-alcoholic beers,
but for flavour these will not compare with the most
moderate of ales. The only satisfactory temperance
drink is tea, and that suffers under the disadvantage
of being hot. A thirsty man naturally prefers a
cold beverage to one that he can only sip. As for
coffee it is even better than tea, when it is obtainable.
For some obscure reason drinkable coffee is rarely
to be found in Britain. As made in England,
coffee has neither aroma nor flavour. The stuff
which passes by the name is either comparable only
with diluted varnish or else is full of grits and atro-
ciously strong. It is not to be wondered at that just


as in ordinary life the average man prefers the drink
he can rely upon in the public-house, to the unknown
quantity obtainable in the tea-shops, many recruits
prefer beer to the various temperance drinks.

It seems strange that the authorities which so
sternly denounced the treating of soldiers by civilians
should provide the soldiers with canteens in which
they can treat one another. It is even stranger that
they should force canteens upon troops who do not
want them. The Canadian and other Colonial con-
tingents were practically teetotal when they arrived
in England. In their training at home and during
the voyage to England all alcoholic liquor was
rigorously banned. Nevertheless they were, at what
is officially described as " the urgent request of the
military authorities," provided with canteens.
Doubtless they were intended as a means of keeping
the men from the temptations of the public-houses.
But the criminally thoughtless treating on the part
of civilians soon changed the canteen from a safe-
guard into a further facility for obtaining drink.
The tragedy thus started was in some cases played
out to a pitiful conclusion.

The problem of drink and the new Army has been
forced upon the attention of the public and the
authorities in various other ways. For instance,
a small number of men contracted the habit of patron-
ising the night clubs. Dancing until five o'clock
in the morning and buying drinks at treble their
proper price is good neither for the pocket nor the
efficiency of the young soldier. Therefore stern
measures had to be taken.

Mention of the night clubs leads us to what is
perhaps the most important of all the dangers that
lurk in the alcoholic drink. It has already been
remarked above that the recruits of the new Army
are to a very large extent freed from the usual
restraining influences and are, therefore, more easily


led astray than was the case when they were following
their ordinary civil occupations. Drink is not the
only peril that besets the soldier, but it undoubtedly
renders him a comparatively easy prey for other evils.
Sexual immorality has no attraction for the average
decent-minded man unless he is under the influence
of alcohol. He must be drunk before he will stoop
to it. It is also a scientific fact that a man under
the influence of alcohol is far more liable to contract
certain diseases that the man who is sober. It is
sufficient to indicate this aspect of the question here.
All that need be said is that questions have been
asked in Parliament as to the percentage of recruits
who have been refused because of such diseases and
the numbers of those who have fallen victims to them
while in the Army. The answers to those questions
have not been and probably never will be made



ONE of the most obvious results of war is that it
makes serious inroads into the manhood of the
nations who wage it. The trouble is aggravated by
the fact that it is the flower of the manhood that is
affected. The aged, the physically unfit, and every
class of man which is least likely to be of any practical
use to the community remains at home. The men
who fall on the field of battle are those who are
essential to the prosperity of the country. At the
present moment millions of men, who in ordinary
times of peace would be workers supplying produc-
tive necessities for mankind, are engaged in the
organised slaughter of their fellows.

When the war is over every worker in Europe will
be needed to make good the wastage in every direc-
tion. Men will be required to supply not merely
temporary needs, as the munitions of war, but
permanent needs, the munitions of peace and civilisa-
tion. The war will of necessity be followed by a
period of commercial and industrial activity. It is
draining the financial resources of Europe and the
only way in which the losses can be made good is
by trade. The Napoleonic war resulted in an enor-
mous increase in the commercial prosperity of Great
Britain, which more than repaid her for the sacrifices
she had made in financing Europe's resistance to the
Corsican. Napoleon made Britain the greatest com-
mercial nation in the world ; and, unless she is care-



ful, the Kaiser will hurl her from the proud position
she holds. A century ago Britain had matters all
her own way, but it will be very different after the
present war. During the past hundred years the
world has become commercial, and Britain will be
forced to contend with rivals possessing an advantage
over her. The commercial war will be as bitter as the
present military struggle. When at last peace is
restored Europe will be gasping with exhaustion, but
the United States will be in practically the same
position as when the war started. Neither her in-
dustrial nor her financial resources will have been
drained. For years past she has been an increasingly
successful rival of Britain in the world's markets.
Will she outstrip us after the war?

If Britain is to maintain her commercial prestige
and make good the wastage of war she must look
ahead. The war may be over in six months or six
years, but the commercial struggle which will follow
will last for generations. We are so taken up with
present perils that we fall into the habit of regarding
the soldier as the most important person in the land.
He is nothing of the kind. In the long run the worker
is an infinitely more important person. The worker
produces wealth, the soldier can only destroy wealth.
That lesson is being more or less forcibly impressed
upon every man, woman, and child in Europe to-day.
The honour of defeating the Kaiser will lie primarily
with the workers of Britain. But for the wealth
they have created in the past, Britain would not
have been able to afford a navy which would strangle
German sea power, nor could she have raised and
equipped an army of some 3,000,000 fighting men.

It behoves us, therefore, to look to our supply of
men. Efficient workers for the future are as essential
to Britain as efficient soldiers for the present. We
must have able-bodied, industrious men, not merely
now, but for the next two or three generations. This


is not a question of greed, but simple self-preservation.
We are spending money at the rate of some millions
of pounds sterling per day. The natural thing to do
is to get rid of the cause of this expenditure as effec-
tively and as soon as possible, and then to set to
and make good the losses. Everybody, presumably,
would be glad to see the war taxes reduced as soon as

The present war has given us ample proof that
alcohol is not good for the soldier, we have now to
consider whether it will be a serious handicap to
Britain in the commercial struggle of the future. In
the first place, the function of fatherhood is at present
left of necessity to the more or less unfit, the men who
can serve no useful purpose in the trenches. This in
itself is a danger which may seriously impair the
qualities of the next generation, especially if the war
be prolonged. In ancient Rome the finest men were
sent to the legions to fight the empire's battles. The
unfit were told : " You are not fit to be a Roman
soldier; stay at home and be a Roman father."
The result of this policy was that Rome degenerated,
and the once sturdy people became a race of weaklings
whose cry was for " panem et circenses," or, in modern
language, " football and refreshments free." Thus
have all the great military empires died. But we
have no excuse for following their example. The
Romans did not possess the same scientific knowledge
that we do, and were unacquainted with the laws of
heredity. We know that the sins and diseases of the
father are visited upon his children unto the third
and fourth generation. Lunacy, consumption, de-
generacy, and a whole host of diseases and defects,
all of which absolutely destroy the utility of the
citizen, are communicated from parents to their
children. We also know that many of these scourges
which produce drones instead of workers and are
responsible for the greater part of human suffering


and misery are seriously aggravated by the excessive
consumption of alcohol.

Ever since it was realised that the fitness and
efficiency of the next generation depended on the
fitness of the present, the world has been tinkering
with eugenic reform. These reforms have for the
most part proved a fiasco, for the simple reason that
the people on whom they were forced did not under-
stand the matter or appreciate its gravity. The only
practical method of eugenic reform is to make the
tainted man and the tainted woman realise that they
have a duty to humanity and must avoid parenthood.
Those who are fit must also be made to realise that
their duty to humanity is to maintain their fitness
and thus qualify themselves for becoming the fathers
and mothers of a healthy generation. The greatest
nation of the future will be the one in which public
opinion first becomes sufficiently educated for the
causes of disease and defectiveness to be voluntarily
removed. Reform can only be built up on the basis
of public opinion.

There are, of course, many factors other than drink
which tend to impair the efficiency and the parenthood
of the present generation. But drink undoubtedly
plays a very large part in the spreading of disease
and the general lowering of the physical efficiency
of the nation. This could not be more strikingly
emphasised than by the following Report of the Chair-
man of the American Medico-Actuarial Mortality
Investigation. This investigation was of a strictly
scientific and non-partisan character, and the state-
ments may be accepted with complete reliance.

" The investigations undertaken by the companies
were primarily intended to assist them in determining
which types of persons could be safely accepted for
insurance at the regular rates of premium, which
types should be charged an extra premium, and which


should be declined. The purpose of the preparation
of these statistics was not to excite public interest
or curiosity, but for actual use in a great business.
No haphazard methods have been used, but the most
approved and scientific known to actuaries and medical
directors ; their knowledge of mortality is based upon
the actual experience of companies with all sorts and
conditions of men and women, and naturally appears
in the form of statistics. True progress in any science
is made through recording the result of actual experi-
ence or of experiments, and my statistics will be of
this nature. They will constitute, in fact, a brief
record of what has happened to mankind under
certain conditions, and will not be difficult for the
layman to follow.

" Forty-three of the leading life insurance com-
panies in the United States and Canada agreed in
1909 to prepare their collective experience on many
different classes of insured. They decided to put the
investigation into the hands of the Actuarial Society
of America and the Association of Life Insurance
Medical Directors. The companies supplied their
records on about 2,000,000 lives, covering a period
of 25 years. It is the largest and most compre-
hensive investigation ever undertaken by insurance
companies anywhere. The object of the investiga-
tion was to determine from past experience the types
of lives among which the companies had a higher
mortality than the average. The results of the in-
vestigation have appeared in four volumes, and the
fifth is in the Press.

" The insured were divided into many classes, of
which the following are the chief groups

"1. Those who were in occupations involving

" 2. Those who had a family history of consump-


" 3. Those who had a defect in their personal
history, such as an attack of appendicitis, renal colic,
rheumatism, syphilis, etc.

" 4. Those whose physical condition was not
normal, as shown by indications such as a high pulse,
irregular pulse, albumen in urine, etc.

"5. Those whose habits with regard to alcoholic
beverages were not satisfactory in the past, or who
used liquor steadily at the time of application of

" 6. Those who were distinctly overweight or

" Before describing these classes I should like to
emphasise the fact that all the lives involved in the
investigation had been carefully examined by com-
petent physicians, and that, in general, the more
hazardous the occupation, or the greater the defect
in physical condition, in family history, or in personal
history, the more care was taken in selecting the lives.
In order to determine the relative mortality, a
standard or ' measuring rod ' was prepared, repre-
senting average mortality among insured lives, based
upon the experience of the forty-three companies
among all their insured. When a class is said to
have 10 per cent, extra mortality, it means that where
the experience of the companies would have resulted
in 100 deaths among their insured as a whole there
were 110 deaths in the specified class. Another
way of making the needed comparison is by showing
the number of years by which the average lifetime
will be reduced, and this manner of exhibiting the
degree of hazard will be used in some cases. In this
connection it may be well to point out that a reduc-
tion in the average lifetime of, say, five years among
a large group of men is a serious matter. It does not
mean that five years is taken off the lifetime of only
those who have reached age 65 or 70, but that the


average lifetime of all men is reduced by five years.
If in an occupation employing many men, such as
mining, there were such a reduction, it would mean
an economic waste in the United States equivalent
to about five years of the lifetime of one million
men, or a reduction of their productive lifetime by
about one-sixth. . . .

" There is a general impression that saloon keepers
do not live as long as persons in non-hazardous occupa-
tion, but it is not generally known that most classes
which are connected with either the manufacture or
sale of liquor have a high mortality. Among saloon
proprietors, whether they attend the bar or not, there
was an extra mortality of 70 per cent. ; and the causes
of death indicated that a free use of alcoholic bever-
ages had caused many of the deaths. The hotel pro-
prietors who attend the bar either occasionally or
regularly had as high a mortality as the saloon
keepers i. e. the lifetime was reduced about six
years on the average on account of their occupation.
The mortality among those connected with breweries
was about one-third above the normal. The large
class of proprietors of wholesale liquor houses had an
extra mortality of about one-fifth. In the fourteen
subdivisions of the trades connected with the manu-
facture or sale of alcohol, there was only one class
which had a normal mortality, and that was the
distillery proprietors.

" The facts regarding the adverse effect on longevity
of engaging in the liquor trade are such that, if they
were generally known, young men who are easily
tempted would be deterred from entering this business.

" The high mortality in some of the occupations to
which reference has been made must not be ascribed
to the men having other defects, such as a tuber-
cular family history. When there was any defect in
the physical condition, in the family record, in the
habits of life, etc., the insured was not included in


the investigation of the mortality of men in the
occupation. In the same way, in investigating the
mortality of insured with a defect in family record
or personal condition, no men in hazardous occupa-
tions were included in the groups investigated. . . .

" Nothing has been more conclusively proved than
that a steady free use of alcoholic beverages, or
occasional excesses, are detrimental to the individual.

" In my judgment it has also been proved beyond
peradventure of doubt that total abstinence from alcohol
is of value to humanity ; it is certain that abstainers
live longer than persons who use alcoholic beverages.
The low mortality among abstainers may not be due
solely to abstinence from alcohol, but to abstinence
from tobacco and to a careful regard for one's physical

" Among the men who admitted that they had
taken alcohol occasionally to excess in the past, but
whose habits were considered satisfactory when they
were insured, there were 289 deaths, while there
would have been only 190 deaths had this group been
made up of insured lives in general. The extra
mortality was, therefore, over 50 per cent., which was
equivalent to a reduction in the average life of these
men of over four years.

" If this means that four years would be cut off
the end of the average normal lifetime of each man,
there are many who would consider that ' the game
was worth the candle ' ; but it means that in each
year a number of men will die at an earlier age than
they should. For example, at age thirty-five, the
expectation of life is thirty-two years; in the first
year after that age, instead of, say, nine persons
dying, there would probably be twelve deaths that
is, three men would each lose thirty-two years of
life; in the next year probably four men would each
lose thirty-one years of life, etc. As a matter of fact,
many immoderate drinkers would live longer than


thirty-two years but not nearly so many as would live
if they had been moderate drinkers, and far fewer than
if they had been total abstainers from alcohol.

" With regard to men who had used alcoholic
beverages daily but not to excess, the experience of
the companies was divided into two groups : (a) Men
who took two glasses of beer, or a glass of whisky,
or their equivalent, a day; (b) men who took more
than the foregoing amount but were not considered
by the companies to drink to excess. The mortality
in the second group was found to be fully 50 per cent,
greater than in the first an excellent argument for
moderation in the use of alcoholic beverages. The
foregoing result does not mean that the large excess
mortality in class (b) was due to their drinking a
little more each day than those in class (a). It is
probable that among those who were very moderate
users of alcoholic beverages there were comparatively
few who eventually used liquor immoderately; but
among those who took more than a glass of whisky,
or its equivalent, a day L there were probably a goodly
number who increased their daily consumption after
having applied for insurance, and who eventually
drank to an immoderate extent. Part of the hazard
from alcoholic beverages lies in the user's losing the
power to limit himself to a moderate consumption.

" Among the men whose habits were formerly in-
temperate but who had reformed for at least two
years prior to their acceptance by the insurance
companies, the extra mortality was fully 30 per
cent. i. e. their average lifetime was reduced by about
three years. This excess mortality is partly due to
the effect of previous intemperate habits in under-
mining the system and partly to a proportion of the
persons relapsing into their old habits.

" In the foregoing classes men who were in the
liquor business, or in any other occupation involving
hazard, were excluded.


" The Committee of the Medico -Actuarial Mortality
Investigation did not make a report on the mortality
among total abstainers, but sufficient statistics have
been published by individual companies to justify the
statement that persons who have always been total
abstainers have a mortality during the working years
of life of about one-half of that among those who use
alcohol to the extent of at least two glasses of whisky
per day.

" In conclusion, it should perhaps be stated that
the statistics of the Medico-Actuarial Mortality
Investigation were not compiled with intent to prove
or disprove a particular theory, as so frequently
happens when partisans engage in the preparation
of statistics in support of their point of view. The
companies put their records in the hands of a com-
mittee of actuaries and medical directors, and asked
them to determine what the true experience has
been. The statistics, therefore, represent the facts."

That Report is well worthy of study by Britons
to-day, not merely on the personal ground that every
man desires a long and healthy life, but on the broad
patriotic ground that Britain demands that her
sons of the next few generations shall be fit and
industrious and worthy of her, in order that she may
keep her place among the nations.



THE war has forced the peoples of Europe to realise
that they are mainly dependent on the outside world
for their food supply. Already as a result of the
throttling of its trade Germany is living on reduced
rations, and bread especially is being most sparingly
distributed. The bread, too, is not wheaten or even
the famous black bread of the peasants. It is com-
posed of potatoes and other roots with an admixture
of a small quantity of grain. It is neither palatable
nor nourishing. In Britain matters are not so bad
as in Germany. Thanks to the Navy, the trade
routes have remained open and there has been no
serious interference with the food supply. But
every housewife knows from experience that food
prices have risen considerably and are at an abnormal
level. How serious the problem of feeding the

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Online LibraryMarr MurrayDrink and the war from the patriotic point of view .. → online text (page 6 of 12)