The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 36
The statistics of crime are even more astounding. In the report of page 20 the United States Commissioner of Education for 1871, page 541, I find this statement: "The fourth fact is, that from 80 to 90 per cent, of our criminals connect their courses of crime with intemperance. Of the 14,315 inmates of the Massachusetts prisons, 12,396 are reported to have been intemperate, or 84 per cent." Ninety-three per cent, of those confined in Deer Island house of industry are confined for crimes connected with liquo "In the New Hampshire prison sixty-five out of ninety-one admit themselves to have been intemperate. Reports from every State, county, and municipal prison in Connecticut made in 1871 show that more than 90 per cent, had been in habits of drink by their own admission." The warden of the Rhode Island State prison estimates 90 per cent, of his prisoners as drinkers. These relate to those who have been guilty of the more serious offenses, not mere every-day arrests for drunkenness and disorderly conduct.
The report of the Board of State Charities of Pennsylvania for 1871 says, page 89:
The most prolific source of disease, poverty, and crime observing men will acknowledge is intemperance.
An evidence of the bad effects of this unholy business may be seen in the fact that there have been thirty-four murders within this city (Philadelphia) during the last year alone, each one of which was traceable to intemperance, and one hundred and twenty-one assaults for murder proceeding from the same cause. Of over 38,000 arrests in our city within the year, 75 per cent, were caused by intemperance. Of 18,305 persons committed to our prison within the year, more than two-thirds were the consequence of intemperance.
In our criminal courts we can trace four-fifths of the crimes that are committed to the influence of rum. There is not one case in twenty where a man is tried for his life in which rum is not the direct or indirect cause of the murder.
And Philadelphia is the city of brotherly love. She is excelled by no large city in the world in all the elements and evidences of enlightened Christian civilization. She has immortalized herself in our centennial year by a queenly majesty of municipal deportment and a magnificence of patriotic hospitality which are a source of love and pride to her countrymen and have won for her the cordial and unstinted admiration of mankind. And it is a delightful relief for my aching head, as I copy and compile these statistics of damnation, to record the illuminating and illustrative fact that on those centennial grounds, from which intoxicating liquors were rigidly excluded, and where the aesthetic and diviner cravings of humanity were fed as from the gardens of God, among all the millions who wandered through that world of the last and highest results of civilization on earth, not one arrest was made for intoxication during the whole term of the exhibition. The infinite significance of that philosophy which not only demands prohibitory laws to restrain evil, but also the provision of food for the mind and stimulants to all the innocent, enlarging, and ennobling tendencies of the soul, could not be more strikingly illustrated and enforced.
Mr. Speaker, the records of New York, with her more than ten thousand liquor shops, one-half of which are unlicensed, and which Mr. Oliver Dyer says would line both sides of a street running from the page 21 Battery out eight miles into Westchester county, having by the report of Superintendent Kennedy, made some years since, an average of one hundred and thirty-four visits each daily, with 50,844 arrests for intoxication and disorderly conduct in the single year 1868, and with 98,861 arrests for crimes of every description, nine-tenths of which were the result of drink; all these I have examined, but I have no heart to dwell upon them. I can not endure their longer contemplation. The mathematics of this infinite evil are only paralleled by the tremendous calculations of astronomy, and as I quit the appalling theme, I feel as though I had been calculating eclipses on the firmament of the pit.
If we can do no more for this agonized land, groaning and travailing in despair, than to institute the commission of inquiry into the statistical evidences which are waiting everywhere for proper authentication, and a bill for which, having passed the Senate, reposes in the embrace of a committee of this House, we shall have accomplished something for which the ages to come will rise up to bless our memory; for I sincerely believe that nothing is required to work out our salvation from the great evil which we are considering but authentic knowledge, generally diffused among the people. In the pressure of the momentous affairs by which we are surrounded, I have not been able to summarize and classify as I would otherwise have done this statement of such facts as appear to me to be derived from reliable sources; but I have done the best I could, hoping that abler minds will turn their attention to the subject, and that Congress will no longer neglect to institute official inquiries, with a view to such ultimate legal action as may arrest an evil which, if not arrested, will go far to destroy the American people.