The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 36
Census of 1870
Census of 1870,
which contrasts the systems of prohibition and stringent license; and it such are the comparative results between these, what would be the consequence of the removal of all restrictions, save only as moral suasion might oppose the whirlwinds and tornadoes of universal ruin with the gentle putterings of the mellow-voiced philanthropist?
|Liqouors and wines||36||665|
|Brewers and maltsters||25||573|
|Distillers and rectifiers||8||43|
In Maine the keepers of restaurants do not sell liquors, while in New Jersey they almost universally do. "Liquors and wines" in Maine refers to State liquor agents. The population of Maine was 626,915; that of New Jersey was 906,096.
The increase of drunkenness and crime during the last six months, as compared with the same period of 1867, is very marked and decisive as to the operation of the law. The State prisons, jails, and houses of correction are being rapidly filled, and will soon require enlarged accommodations if the commitments continue to increase as they have since the present law (a license law) went into force.
Although this amendment does not propose to interfere with the fermented liquors any more than to remit their management more fully to the several States, it not being believed by me to be sufficiently clear that the prohibition of the manufacture and use of such liquors should be attempted by national enactment, so long as public sentiment is so considerable in favor of their beneficent effect when properly used, and in consideration of the comparatively small injury and danger which arise from their abuse, yet upon the question of the actual effect of prohibitory laws upon the traffic the statistics of the trade in fermented drinks are as logically illustrative as in case of dis page 36 tilled liquors. Take then the testimony of the brewers themselves. In the fifteenth annual report of the United States Brewers' Association, held at Cincinnati, June, 1875, they passed these resolutions:
Resolved, That where restrictive prohibitory enactments exist, every possible measure be taken to oppose, resist, and repeal them.
And it is further resolved, That politicians favoring prohibitory enactments, who offer themselves as candidates for office, be everywhere strenuously opposed, and the more so if it be found that their personal habits do not conform to their public profession.
Very severe is the injury which the brewers have received in the so-called tempeoamiœ States.
Then follow data from various States proving the assertion.
This testimony shows the hollow insincerity of the absurd pretense that prohibitory laws do not tend to eradicate the evils of intemperance. Legal prohibition and moral suasion operate like the law of Moses and the Gospel of Christ. They act and react upon and fulfill each other. And to assert that law does not destroy this evil and therefore there should be no law, is to assert that there should be law against no evil whatever, since not one based upon the abuse of any appetite or passion of man has ever yet been absolutely extirpated. Doubtless the appetite for stimulants will always seek gratification by excess; but society can protect itself against the evils of that excess only by the most strenuous measures to remove alcohol, that terrific agency which the last two hundred years has brought into such common use that its blasting power over the fairest regions and highest civilizations of earth has become the bane of both, and threatens with destruction the future of the race. So far as the United States are concerned (the people of each State dealing with it as they please), even then there will remain alcohol in its fermented forms which were the most powerful used for five thousand five hundred years, and in this form alcohol was the curse and calamity of mankind. Evasions of this law as of all other laws will take place, and there need be no sentimental refinement upon the practical loss of any right which a confirmed toper may desire to cherish for his own personal comfort. Sources of gratification though limited will still be found. But it is to be hoped that something would be accomplished for the mass of our fellow-men, and particularly for those innocent ones to whom the great future belongs, and toward whom he that would bequeath to them the awful inheritance of drunken woe which is amassed and increasing daily on American soil, must be a brute indeed.