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The public papers, not many years ago, relaxation.* It need not excite surprise if stated, that at one election, in a small village the measures of this assembly were not in England, there were consumed 7,200 characterized by wisdom. gallons of ale and porter, 740 gallons of The use of intoxicating liquors has often spirits, and 1,470 bottles of wine. This, been productive of injurious results, in unfortunately, is no solitary instance. regard to national relations; indeed this fact "Nothing was more common a few years was so well understood, during the drinking ago," says a distinguished American, "in our days of the Romans and Greeks, that those part of the country, than for candidates for individuals who could bear much drinking, public offices to furnish electors with spirit. and at the same time transact matters of They did it to obtain their votes, and elections state, were held up as examples worthy of were scenes of dissipation, outrage, and imitation. Few persons, however, possess riot."* this uneviable distinction. Strong drink is The known intemperate habits of many well known to be in the highest degree of the British legislators of the present injurious to the free exercise of reason and day, is a circumstance calculated to excite judgment; and many are led by its influence feelings of regret and dismay. How can undesignedly to betray the interests of their the interests of a nation be expected to country. Bonosus, according to his historian, prosper, when some of the publicly ap- Vopiscus, became so habituated to vinous pointed guardians of her welfare not only indulgence, that he could at any period countenance and encourage the sources of indulge to great excess without fear of losing national decay, but are known to enter the his usual diplomatic caution and selfsolemn and deliberate assembly of the nation, command.† It was the common practice of in a state of intoxication. In 1834 a this monarch, to make those ambassadors petition was presented to the House of drunk who were deputed by foreign nations Commons, complaining of the prevalency to attend his court. By this means he of crime and drunkenness. In the course of readily discovered the instructions confided a debate which ensued, an honourable legis- to them, of which he afterwards availed lator made the following remarks:-"There himself in state negociations. Such were were persons who looked with jealousy on the bibulous powers of Bonosus, that it was every enjoyment of the poor. If a poor said of him, that he was born not to live but man did get tipsy, what great harm was to drink. there in it? Gentlemen did so ("No," was Aurelius Victor informs us, that Galerius the reply.) He had seen members of that Maximus frequently had occasion when sober, house in that state; aye, and within the to repent of orders given during a fit of inhouse too." temperance, on which account, he gave strict Mr. O'Connell, some few years ago, commands, that in future, no mandates of during a discussion in the House of Com- importance issued in such a state, should mons, on the admission of ladies into the be executed. It has already been seen, that galleries of that House, said, that in former the Persians reconsidered on the following days, hospitality of a particular kind was day those matters on which they had exercised to such an extent, that the mem- deliberated during moments of vinous exbers of the Irish House of Commons, used citement.
to come drunk to the House. A resolution Addison, in more instances than one, was passed to admit ladies into the gallery, adverts to the fact, that individuals when and from that moment not a single drunken under the influence of strong drink, commit man ever presumed to make his appear- acts of which afterwards they have no recollection, and which in a state of sobriety The deplorable examples of the Greek would not have taken place. He remarks, and Roman empires may surely be recurred that the person you converse with, after he to as subjects of serious warning and has drank too much, is not the same man who first sat down with you. Upon the strength of this maxim is founded a saying, ascribed to Biblius Syrus, " He who jests with a man that is drunk injures the absent."
The love of strong drink penetrated even the legislative assembly of Barbadoes, West Indies. Pinckard relates, that during his visit to that island, punch was drunk in the The influence of strong drink on public senate-house. On one occasion, when that business was a subject which excited grief traveller was present, two persons suddenly and comment in Mr. Jefferson, the late appeared with a large bowl, and a two-quart distinguished president of the United States. glass filled with punch and sangaree. These Not long before his death he made use of were in the first place, presented to the these remarkable words :-"The habit of speaker, who after dipping deep into the using ardent spirit, by men in public service, bowl, passed it forward among the members has occasioned more injury to the public of the house. Strangers were also per- service, and more trouble to me, than any mitted to participate in this senatorial other circumstance which has occurred in
* Amer. Temp. Soc., Sixth Report, 1833.
Pinckard's Notes on the West Indies vol. i. p.
The result of war and the fate of nations has been determined by drunkenness in more than one instance in modern times, as the page of history sufficiently testifies.
the internal concerns of the country, during by this means, public business comes to my administration. And were I to commence suffer by private infirmities, and kingdoms my administration again, with the knowledge or states fall into weaknesses and distempers which from experience I have acquired, the or decays of those persons that manage them. first question I would ask with regard to This distinguished writer then proceeds to every candidate to public office, should be, remark that "if intemperance be allowed to is he addicted to the use of ardent spirit ?" be the common mother of the gout, or In this country, of course, the question dropsy, and of scurvy, and most other would have been, is he addicted to the use lingering diseases, which are those that infect of intoxicating liquors. the state," then "temperance deserves the It requires little effort to show that the first rank among public virtues, as well as use of strong drink is inimical to the political those of private men,' ," and he "doubts relations of any country. There is no doubt whether any can pretend to the constant that national interests have suffered much steady exercise of prudence, justice, or forfrom this cause; and, in all probability, titude without it."* empires, previously in a state of comparative peace and prosperity, have, from the same pernicious influence, been thrown into war and confusion. These consequences did not escape the acute mind of the late Dr. Trotter. It is painful to mention," says Mr. The following observations were written, Pinkerton, "that even our campaigns are when considering the effects of improper defeated with the low vice of intoxication, diet on the nervous temperament, and the which, in a French general or officer, would influence it had on national prosperity: meet with the sharpest reproach and execra"It must be unfortunate," he remarks, tion, and would be infallibly followed by the "for any nation to be governed by a man of loss of his rank or employment. A venerable capricious temper, even though his passions French marquis, formerly general of the are gentle and mild. A nervous statesman Mousquetaires, and commanding a body of could not easily divest his public measures emigrants, during our last war in Flanders, of some portion of his constitutional dis- said to Mr. Pinkerton, in confidence, positions. He would, at times, view things Nothing was wanted but prudence and through a false medium; and, by judging secrecy. We were defeated by punch. I from mistaken premises, would conduct the cannot recover my astonishment when I business of government with imbecility and think that the most sensible nation in supineness, and thus bring it into contempt. Europe should be slaves of such a habit. Every plan he devised would partake of the An invasion at ten o'clock at night would mood he happened to be in at the moment; find you all intoxicated." Mr. Pinkerton it would be liable to defeat, and exposed to adds, that this satirical effusion may be paropposition; in hazard of being divulged doned to the worthy general's keen feelings before execution, and open to derision. The of disappointment. "Certain it is," he
morbid sensibility of a deluded hypochondriac remarks, "that the Russians were twice might alarm a people by imaginary dangers, defeated in Switzerland, by the mere drunkand in the season of disaster might bring enness, and consequent want of secrecy, in ruin on affairs by irresolution and despon- the leaders."+ dency. By such men nations have been Napier, in his Military Life, narrates the plunged into unnecessary wars, and inglorious following instructive example, "The whole peace concluded, when advantageous terms French army was drunk the night after the might have been obtained. Men, endued battle of Wagram. It lay in vineyards; and with an exquisitely nervous temperament, in Austria the cellars are situated in the ought to be banished from the councils of all sovereigns, however respectable their talents; for consistency and fortitude are incompatible with their physical character."*
grounds upon which the wine is grown. The vintage was good, the quantity abundantthe soldiers drank immoderately; and the Austrians, had they but known that we were Sir W. Temple laments the national con- overcome with liquor and sleep, and made sequences of those diseases which arise from a sudden attack upon us in the night, might intemperance, and which influence the have put us to the rout. It would have actions of persons engaged in public affairs, been impossible to make one-tenth of the and great employments, upon whose thoughts soldiers betake themselves to arms. On what and cares, he remarks (if not their motions threads hang the destinies of empires! All and their pains) the common good and might that day have been changed-the fifth service of their country so much depend. act of the great drama, which had been so Vigor of the mind, he further observes, ong performing in Europe, might have had decays with that of the body, and not only a wine-cellar for a denouement." humour and invention, but even judgment and resolution, change and languish, with ill constitution of body and of health; and
*Trotter on Nervous Temperament, p. 162.
Statistical evidence shows, that a great
* Essay on the Gout, Miscellanea. Part i. + Pinkerton's Recollections of Paris. Vol. ii. pp. 342-3.
proportion of the crime, disorder, and im- Recorder's and Supreme Courts at Madras, morality which exists in the army and navy no less than thirty-four British soldiers have department, both in this country and in forfeited their lives for murders, and most America, arises from the use of inebriating of them were committed in their intoxicated liquors. moments,"*
The Duke of Wellington, during an exami- Captain H. Davies states that the soldiers nation before the Commissioners appointed in the East Indies, have had their minds so to enquire into the subject of military excited on a march by drink, as to have punishments, in reply to the question of been known, for mere amusement, to fire at Lord Wharncliffe, "Is drunkenness, in a black man going up a cocoa nut tree."+ your opinion, the great parent of all crime The same officer makes the following in the British army?" said "Invariably.” statement: "I cannot recollect a single An officer, of nine years experience, states, instance of a man (having been twenty years that he can "call to mind many instances of in the service) having been brought before the grossest insubordination and minoracts of me in the interior management of my comdisobedience, committed by men when under pany, or before a court-martial, whose crime the influence of intoxicating liquors, who, in did not originate in drunkenness; or if the their sober moments, were remarkable for crime was theft, that drunkenness was not strict compliance with the rules and orders the cause, directly or indirectly, of its comof the service, and whose whole line of mission; drunkenness was the cause of every conduct, taking it generally, has been so crime I can recollect. I never knew the case unexceptionable, as to make one curse the of a man brought before a court-martial, means that have produced their crime, dis- except for some crime connected with grace, and punishment."* This officer drunkenness, unless it was that of a nonrepresents intemperance as the great cause commissioned officer behaving disrespectfully of want of punctuality among soldiers. occasionally. I do not recollect three inThe soldier is enticed in his leisure hours stances in all my professional career, where into the tap-room, "drinking becomes a the crime did not originate in drunkenness, matter of course, and, seduced by the or where the crime of theft was not committed drowsiness which follows the potations, or for the sake of obtaining the gratification of rendered forgetful of the passing moments, drunkenness, or when under its influence." he loiters at the pot-house, until a friend or some sudden recollections awaken him to the true state of things; off he then goes to the stables, finds them already begun, perhaps ten, twenty, or thirty minutes; is questioned as to the cause of his absence; half-drunken, he gives a saucy reply, staggers to his horse, and the next moment is marched off to the guard-room, under the treble charge of being late, insolent, and drunk.”
I can conceive there would be no punishment, scarcely, necessary were it not for drunkenness; ninety-nine out of one hundred punishments in the army take place in consequence of drunkenness."+
Colonel Stanhope expresses his opinion that nine-tenths of the crimes committed in the army for which soldiers are flogged, originate in drunkenness.||
Dr. Cheyne made the following statement Again the same officer remarks, "I might October 18th, 1833. "I examined returns enumerate many cases of riot and disturbance from upwards of fifty regiments, to queries in barracks and in the streets, horses injured, which I drew up relative to the influence of accoutrements destroyed, bruises and more ardent spirits in relaxing discipline and serious accidents received, one and all arising leading to punishment; and it appears that from intoxication, and which would never nearly all the crimes in the army are owing have occurred had the authors of them been to the use of spirits, and that flogging might sober." "I do not hesitate to say that be dispensed with, could any method be drunkenness is the bane of the British army; discovered of preventing the soldier from nine offences out of ten are cases of drunk-drinking ardent spirits."§ enness, ninety-nine out of a hundred are Such was the drunken state of the British connected with it. All the trouble, all the army at Halifax, Nova-Scotia, that according anxiety which an officer experiences in com- to the testimony of Captain T. H. Davies, mand of troops, arises, I may say, from this if any sudden emergency were to arise, to vice; for the soldier, when sober, rarely require the presence of an army, to quell a acts contrary to his known duties, and it is mutiny, or to suppress a riot when drunkenonly when deprived of the balance of his ness is prevalent-more than half the soldiers mind by intoxication, that he becomes would be incapable of duty.¶ riotous, disorderly, and troublesome."+ The select committee on drunkenness, in Colonel Stanhope informs us that in their report of 1834, in reference to the British India there are more enormities. comparative inefficiency of the navy and committed by the soldiers, than in any other army," state the following as the result of an part of the world. "Since," said a learned examination of eminent naval and military judge on the bench, "the institution of the
*Parl. Evid. p. 183. [id. p. 184.
Ibid. p. 193.
*Parl. Evid. p.
Ibid. p. 178. || Ibid. p. 194.
officers:-"Intemperance is a canker-worm The expense was about seventy dollars to that eats away its strength and its discipline each man.
to the very core; it being proved, beyond all A distinguished officer of the army in the question, that one-sixth of the effective United States says, "nearly all the trouble strength of the navy, and a much greater we have with the men arises from drinking," proportion of the army, is as much destroyed and again, "Probably more than five-sixths as if the men were slain in battle, by that of all military offences tried before our most powerful ally of death, intoxicating courts-martial result from intemperance." drinks; and that the greater number of One communication from a military post accidents occurring in both branches of the states, "about one-fourth, on an average, service, seven-eighths of the sickness, in- were unable to do duty on account of drunkvalidings, and discharges for incapacity, and enness, which caused sickness, punishments, nine-tenths of all the acts of insubordination, and desertions not a few.' Lieutenant and the fearful punishments and executions Gallagher, described by Major General to which these give rise, are to be ascribed Gaines, as one of the most excellent and exto drunkenness alone."* emplary officers of the army, remarks,
In the Report of the select committee of "I have served extensively as the recorder the House of Commons on shipwrecks, 1836, of Regimental Courts-martial, and do not we are told that "almost all the cases of hesitate to say that five out of six cases of insubordination, insolence, disobedience of the crimes which are proved before these orders, and refusal to do duty, as well as courts have resulted from intemperance.' the confinements enforced as correctives, both of which must for the time greatly lessen the efficiency of the crews, are clearly traceable to the intoxicating influence of the spirits used by the officers and men."+
The secretary of the navy declares the use of spirituous liquors to be one of the greatest curses to that department, and a distinguished officer gives it as his opinion that nine-tenths of all the difficulties which the officers have Captain E. P. Brenton assures us that with the men arise from this cause.† there is "great loss of strength, vigor, and Captain T. H. Davies states, that the East energy in the crews of British ships from India Company's army, composed of Hindoos intemperance," and again, says this officer and Mahometans, whose only beverage is of forty-six years active experience, If we water, in point of discipline is very are ever to have a good set of men in the navy, and men that know and will do their duty, and can protect the navy and merchant service, they must be regularly trained without the use of spirituous liquors."+
superior to that of the British army."+
A recent writer relates a remarkable instance of discipline in the British troops, during the capture of Ghuznee, which he attributes to their abstinence from intoxicaThe secretary of war in the United States, ting liquors. It forms a striking contrast affirms that of more than one thousand to the examples previously adduced: "Let desertions from the army, during the year it be recorded, to the honour of the captors, preceding the period he made this statement, that though Ghuznee was carried by storm, nearly all were occasioned by drinking.|| after a resistance stout enough to have From January 1st, 1823, to December roused the angry passions of the assailants, 31st, 1829, the number of desertions in the Affghans were everywhere spared when America was five thousand six hundred and they ceased to fight; and it is itself a moral sixty-nine. This was an average of more triumph, exceeding in value and duration than eight hundred every year, or nearly the praise of the martial achievement of the one-seventh part of the whole army which troops, that, in a fortress captured by assault, consisted of about six thousand. The following table exhibits the loss to the country by these desertions, during that period, exclusive of the expences of convening court martials, and other important items.
Cost Tried by Dollars. Courts-Martial. 1093.
1825 803 67,488
1826 636 54,393
* Report of Select Committee. p. 5.
not the slightest insult was offered to one of the females found in the zunanu within the walls of the citadel. This forbearance, and these substantive proofs of excellent discipline reflect more credit on officers and men than the indisputable skill and valour displayed in the operation. But let me not be accused of foisting in unfairly a favourite topic, or attempting to detract from the merit of the troops, when I remark in how great a degree the self denial, mercy, and generosity of the hour may be attributed to the fact of the European soldiers having received no spirit ration since the 8th of July, (the place was captured on the 23rd) and having found no intoxicating liquor amongst the plunder of Ghuznee. No candid man, of any military
+ Select Committee on Shipwrecks. August 15th, experience, will deny that the character of
the scene in the fortress and citadel would Pliny well describes the physical effects have been far different, if individual soldiers of intemperance, as manifested in a pallid had entered the town primed with arrack, countenance, sunken cheeks, ulcerated eyes, or if spirituous liquors had been discovered trembling hands, restless nights and disin the Affghan depots. Since, then, it has turbed dreams. been proved that troops can make forced marches of forty miles, and storm a fortress in seventy-five minutes, without the aid of rum, behaving after success, with a forbearance and humanity unparalleled in history, let it not henceforth be argued that distilled spirits are an indispensable portion of of British history are exceeding limited and a soldier's ration."* meagre. It is reasonable however, to infer,
Pallor, et geno pendulæ, oculorum ulcera,
The statistics on health in the early part
VII. Effects of intemperance on national that intemperance could not exist to so health and longevity.-1. Effects of strong great an extent among our ancestors, withdrink on health in former times.-Physical out something like proportionate physical development is as necessary to national injury. Numerous historical facts also lead welfare and enterprise, as mental vigor and us to this conclusion. In the reign of Henry cultivation are essential to intellectual VIII. for instance, the plague raged to a superiority. Indeed it is now universally great extent, and appeared to depend not a acknowledged that physical development little on the filthy and intemperate habits of has considerable influence on the cultivation the people. Erasmus attributes it to the of the mental powers. "nastiness" of the streets and houses of National industry and commercial activity London. In speaking of the English, he cannot exist independently of health and says, "Their floors are commonly of clay, slavery. Idleness and poverty, are the strewed with rushes, under which lie ununavoidable concomitants of physical enerva- molested, a collection of beer, grease, fragtion. "No truth, in political economy," ments, bones, spittle, excrements of dogs observes Dr. Trotter, "is better proved, and cats, and everything that is nauseous.' than that a nation of sedentary people, can Erasmus omits to mention the prevailing never be a nation of heroes."+ intemperance of those times, a vice which A survey of the state of health in the contributes, not only to physical debility, various nations of the globe in the present (a state peculiarly favourable to contagious day, and a comparison of the result, with that of a similar investigation into ancient states, will lead to the inevitable conclusion that certain causes, either of a new description, or of a more potent influence, must now be in operation.
disorders,) but to the neglect of industrious habits and cleanliness, and to the consequent production of poverty and filth.
Howel, in a notice which he makes of Sir Henry Blount's "Organon Salutis," 1659, observes, in relation to the introduction of The habits of the ancients were simple, one of our national beverages, "Coffee and their diseases few, so long as the severity drink hath caused a great sobriety among all of their primitive regulations were rigorously nations; formerly apprentices, clerks, &c., enforced. In course of time, however, used to take their morning draughts in ale, luxurious customs were introduced, and beer, or wine, which often made them unfit diseases multiplied. Seneca pointedly alludes for business. Now they play the good to the influence of wine on the physical fellows in this wakeful and civil drink. Sir appearance of the Roman females, who, in James Muddiford, who introduced the the earlier period of the Commonwealth, practice hereof first in London, deserves were forbidden, under serious penalties, to much respect of the whole nation." In use any kind of fermented wine. This this passage there is a distinct and unsalutary interdiction became less and less equivocal acknowledgment of the injurious observed, until Seneca complains, that in effects which ensue from a practice so his time the prohibition was almost univer- common to our ancestors, and the benefits sally violated. The weak and delicate which were found to result from the subcomplexion of the women, he remarks, is stitution of a more innocent beverage. not changed, but their manners are changed, The athletic habits of our ancestors, and no longer the same; they value them-operated no doubt as a sanatory means of selves upon carrying excess of wine to as modifying the injurious effects arising from great a height as the most robust men; like the free use of intoxicating liquors. This them they pass whole nights at table, and observation naturally leads to the inquirywith a full glass of unmixed wine in their hands, glory in vieing with them, and if they can, in overcoming them.
Seneca immediately afterwards adds :-
how it is that strong drink does not se powerfully injure the constitutions of those who reside in the country, and in particular, that class of persons who belong to the labouring part of the community? Dr. Macnish affirms, that "Sailors and soldiers, who are hard wrought, consume enormous quantities of drink without injury. Porter