Page images

compare the present with former come occasionally intoxicated. This times, and seem scarcely to know would bring us to the same results that there is a greater proportion of

-one habitual drunkard to every drunkards now than there was fifty forty persons. According to these years ago, or that more ardent spirits calculations, there are, in the Uniare now consumed, than in the days ted States, not inuch short of three of our fathers. Facts and documents hundred thousand drunkards. on this subject, though to many they These examples are taken from may seem trite, must be exhibited small towns, in the most moral and again and again, to produco a gene- best instructed parts of the commural conviction, and awaken a gene, nity. If we take into consideration ral sensibility. The mass of the the greater prevalence of intempepeople have never yet been roused : rance in our large towns, and in they sleep quietly, wuile the enemy those parts of the country which are is drawing his lines of circumvalla- less under the restraints of Christtion, and raising his ramparts. The ian institutions, the amount will be heralds must “cry aloud and spare still more appalling. not,” and they must cry long, as Three hundred thousand ! a forwell as loud, or the people will not midable army! not indeed to the apprehend the danger and be pre- foes of our country, but to all her pared to make vigorous efforts for best interests; an army who wage their escape.

war against her wealth, her domes“ No one knows,” says a corres- tic peace, her social happiness, and pondent in the National Philanthro- her hopes of eternal felicity. The pist, “what a deep and dreadful destruction of human life, by this hold intemperance has obtained, till vice, is immense.

Mr. Palfrey he has examined for himself. I states the annual number of deaths made something of an accurate es- in the United States, which are timate of the number of the habit produced directly by intemperance, ually intemperate in two towns to be ten thousand. So say the comin New-England, each containing mittee of the American Society for about one thousand two hundred in- promoting Temperance. But by habitants. In one, the amount was data which Mr. P. introduces, it apthirty-five, and in the other, forty.” pears that this estimate is much too These towns, he represents, as by small ; that from the bills of mor. no means distinguished for intem- tality, in several places, the numperance. Taking them as an ex.

ber of deaths produced directly by ample, with a large abatement, al- this cause cannot be less than lowing only thirty drunkards to ev. thirteen thousand. From data, ery one thousand two hundred in- which, he says, seem to bave been habitants, he calculates that the accurate as far as they went, he number of drunkards in New-Eng. computes, that intemperance was land is nothing short of thirty-seven the remote or proximate cause of thousand. We are confirmed in the death of about three persons the opinion, that this estimate is not yearly, in a population of a thoubeyond the truth, by our own cal- sand; and accordingly the number culation. Out of a population of of deaths thus caused annually, in two thousand, in a place whose the United States, is thiriy-six standard of morality is above the thousand. This computation is ordinary level of towns in New- corroborated by two documents, England, we found it easy to select preserved in a note. “In Ports. fifty habitual drunkards, leaving out mouth, twenty-one persons died by of the account numbers who drink excess in drinking last year, (1826.) extravagantly, and some who be. This place had, at the last census,

a population of seven thousand, thirty millions of dollars, Mr. P. three hundred and twenty-seven observes, it is a sum greater than The Medical Association of the that levied for the support of the city of New Haven, in a late pub- general government in allits branchlication, say, “on referring to the es, in the proportion of five to two. list of deaths in this town during According to his estimation, the the year 1826, we find, that of the State of Massachusetts pays annu. ninety-four persons over twenty ally six hundred and fifty thousand years of age, more than one third dollars for the maintainance of the were, in our opinion, caused, or joint interests of learning and relihastened, directly, or indirectly, by gion, and one million five hundred intemperance; and on referring thousand dollars, at the lowest comfurther back, we find a similar pro- putation, for ardent spirits. If we portion imputable to the same add to the above fifty millions of cause for the two years prece. dollars, the charities bestowed upon ding.”

the intemperate and their families, Assuming these documents as the waste, loss of labor, and the the basis of a calculation, it will cost of the legal prosecutions, occalead to nearly the same result. sioned by intemperance, the amount Thirty-one deaths by intemper- would be swelled beyond our susance in a population of eight thou- picions. Such is the price of our sand three hundred and twenty- degradation and misery. Verily seven, which is that of New-Haven, “the way of transgressors is hard.'' is a small fraction less, than one to The above estimates, though not two hundred and seventy, and this arithmetically accurate, have been proportion in ten millions, would be cautiously kept within the truth. more than thirty-seven thousand. Such then is the prevalence of the No disease, then, is so destructive vice which has caused alarm. And to human life, in our country, as in- is there not reason? Thirty-six temperance. No pestilence spreads thousand lives are annually sacri. so wide a desolation, or causes so ficed to this Juggernaut, near three deep a lamentation. Above thirty hundred thousand masses of living six thousand in our country every corruption are stalking among us, year are guilty of voluntary sui- polluting the moral atmosphere, cide!

and scattering pestilence among The expense of ardent spirits, those who are not yet contaminato the country is enormous.

ted; and for this we pay more than According to the estimate of Mr. fifty millions of dollars. Palfrey's discourses, and several “ It is a scourge, which has come other respectable documents, the up upon the breadth of the land," quantity consumed annually in the and has entered our pleasant plaUnited States, is not less than for- If it be permitted to proceed ty-five millions of gallons, and the but a little longer, resistance will expense he calculates at thirty be unavailing. millions of dollars. The estimation Dr. B., in his first discourse, has of the committee of the American given a definition of intemperance, Society for the promotion of tem- to which he seems to attach considperance, is forty millions of dollars, erable importance, as he recomand the expense of the pauperisn mends it to be read frequently, in occasioned by the improper use of the family. spirits, is twelve millions of dollars ; Though we agree with him, that making an annual expense of more this sin, above most others, is dethan fifty millions of dollars. Con- ceitful, and that this is one great sidering this expense to be only cause of its prevalence; that the



foolish and the wise are alike be- produce cheerfulness, and pleasguiled by it; and that “it is not urable sensations, and vigor of unfrequent, that men become irre- body, if not of mind, and that the claimable in their habits without Scriptures sanction such a suspicion of danger,” we doubt The psalmist, speaking of the bounwhether this definition will enable ty of God's providence, says " That bis readers, to detect the deceit, or he may bring forth food out of the will add any thing to the wisdom of earth; and wine that maketh glad past experience. It will fix the the heart of man."

Our Saviour charge of intemperance on many ministered to the “ cheerfulness who may justly plead not guilty; and the pleasurable sensations” of and will be regarded by most sober a large company by a miraculous men, as an intrenchment upon the production of wine. Dr. B. bimlawful enjoyments, with which, a self would not suppose that he dekind Providence has blessed us. signedly ministered to their intem

The first four particulars, in this perance. Now if wine may be used definition, are,

to produce cheerfulness, and pleas“ The use of ardent spirits daily, urable sensations, and bodily vigor, as ministering to cheerfulness, or may not ardent spirits occasionally be bodily vigor, ought to be regarded used for the same purposes? It may be as intemperance."

replied that ardent spirits are

more “ All such occasional exhilara- liable to produce intoxication. True; tion of the spirits, by intoxicating but wine may produce it, and exliquors, as produces levity and fool. posure to temptation is not sin, is ish jesting, and the loud laugh, is not intemperance. According to intemperance.”

the notions contained in this defi“A resort to ardent spirits, as a nition, it is by far too long; it would means of invigorating the intellect, be better said at once, that the use or of pleasurable sensation, is also of ardent spirits in any form, or deintemperance."

gree, or for any purpose, except as “Let it be engraved on the heart medicine is intemperance ; for eveof every man, that the daily use of ry purpose for which spirits are ever ardent spirits, in any form or de- used, except this, is excluded by gree, is intemperance."

the terms of this definition. To the second of these particu- In the closing part of this definilars there can be no objection; but nition, Dr. B. says, the justness of the others may ad- proach now a state of experience, mit of some question.

in which it is supposed, generally, Had it been said, that the use of that there is some criminal intemardent spirits daily, as ministering perance. I mean, when the empire to cheerfulness, or bodily vigor ; of reason is invaded, and weakness or daily in any form or degree, or and folly bear rule; prompting to on any occasion as a means of in- garrulity, or sullen silence; inspirvigorating the intellect, or of pleas- ing petulance, or anger, or insipid urable sensation, is dangerous, is good humor, and silly conversation ; tampering with the tempter, we pouring out oaths and curses, or should have given our assent. But opening the store-house of secrets, we should hesitate to fix the charge their own and others. of crime, to stigmatize as intemper- some, all these have been thought ate, all who do thus use ardent spir- insufficient evidence to support the its. We should hesitate to deny charge of drinking, and to justify a that many may have so used spirits, process of discipline before the without guilt in the sight of God. church.”

It is certain that wine is used to Tbe only objectionable thing here

" But we ap

And yet, by is, the intimation, or more than inti. The fact is that spirituous liquons mation, that the above named symp- possess the remarkable, the mysterious tons are sufficient evidence to sus- property to practise on minds, other. tain a charge of intemperance be- wise most clear and wary, that decep

tion of which our text calls the subject fore a church. There is no ration- unwise. Administered to the humas al question, that a vast proportion of constitution, they so affect it, as to disthose in whom these symptoms ap- pose it powerfully to an excessive inpear, are guilty of drunkenness; dulgence in them. They invite the but there is no less doubt, that folly, appetite urgently, when a relish for garrulity, &c. sometimes proceed them has once been formed, to overstep from other causes than the excite. the limits of a strict temperance, and ment of ardent spirits. The evi. when that step has been taken, they

have depraved the appetite. They dence, therefore. is equivocal, and have given it a vigour, which is nonthough it will excite strong suspi. strous. They have created an unnatcion, it will not, in many cases, beural craving, which growing contingfull proof to a candid mind. Human ally as it is fed, hurries the victim en tribunals are often incompetent to with a strength which is all but irrediscriminate nicely; they are, there- sistible. I do not undertake to desfore, required to judge and condemn cribe the physical process. That only on palpable and unequivocal of treatise. But 1 speak nothing but

would be the subject of another kind evidence. Judge Rush, in remark. most painfully familiar truth, when I ing upon the legal definition of

say, that with more certainty than racdrunkenness, observes, “ If it could cination changes the constitution, sa be supposed, that the laws were that the subject cannot suffer from that otherwise, and that a degree of in- disorder against which it is a precautoxication less than that which pro- tion, a certain degree of indulgence, duces a species of mental absurdi- towards which every degree of indul. ty and disorder, was comprehended gence tends, so alters the constitution, in the act of the legislature, it might that the subject cannot agair be a

We know of nothing be the means of proscribing inno- which so takes away the freedom of cent mirth. The penalty of the the will. A certain point passed, law might be inflicted where noth- which no one is conscious of having ing else could be discovered but the approached, till it is passed, and to all effusions of joy and festivity." Ec- human expectation, though not indeed clessiastical tribunals are, usually, to human effort, he must be given up

as lost. It is all but certain, that he is less competent judges of the nature

soon to go down to his grave a disof evidence, than civil courts.

honoured, undone man. Motives are Perhaps it is impossible to draw

no longer any thing to him. Dread of the line of demarkation between disease and want in their most revolttemperance and intemperance so ing forms; shame; pity for his best exactly, as to enable us to distin- friends ; fear and hope of a hereafter,guish the smallest degrees of it in to all that can touch a manly heart, and others. All excitement or exhila- that once touched his, to all he is as ration by ardent spirits, is not in

insensible as a rock. pp. 54, 56. temperance, but every one may conclude for himself that when the in his philosophical analysis, is sub

Dr. Beecher's description of it, use of them diminishes judgment, stantially the same, though clothed or when they are used in large quan- in a more scientific garb. ties, though the excitement do not rise so high, as to produce this ef

Experience has decided, that any fect, he is intemperate.

stimulus applied statedly to the stomThe real cause of intemperance ach, which rajses its muscular tone is well described by Mr. Palfrey. above the point at which it can be suse

tained by food and sleep, produces, A vast proportion of the cases of when it has passed away, debility—a confirmed intemperance may be traced, relaxation of the over-worked organ, not so much to any innate depravedproportioned to its preternatural ex- ness, as to the crafty workings of the citement. The life-giving power of unreproved usages of society; and we, the stomach, falls of course as much who continue to follow these usages, below the tone of cheerfulness and even while we laugh at them, are ourhealth, as it was injudiciously raised selves more or less chargeable with the above it. Ifthe experiment be repeat- evils we lament over, and are bound ed often, it produces an artificial tone to exert our efforts for the alleviation of stomach, essential to cheerfulness of them.--Sprague. p. 5. and muscular vigour, entirely above It is truly astonishing to behold how the power of the regular sustenance of completely the habit of unnecessary natureto sustain, and creates a vacuum, drinking pervades the various classes which nothing can fill, but the destruc- of our community. In one way or tive power which made it—and when another it is their morning and evenprotracted use has made the difference ing devotion, their noonday and midgreat, between the natural and artifi. night sacrifice. From the highest cial tone, and habit has made it a sec- grade to the lowest, from the drawingond nature, the man is a drunkard, and room to the kitchen, from the gentlein ninety-nine cases in a hundred, is man to the labourer, down descends irretrievably undone. Whether his the universal custom. Froin those tongue falter, or his feet fail him or who sit long at the wine that has been not, he will die of intemperance. By rocked upon the ocean, and ripened whatever name his disease may be cal beneath an Indian sky, down to those led, it will be one of the legion which who solace themselves with the fiery lie in wait about the path of intempe- liquor that has cursed no other shores rance, and which abused heaven em- than our own-down, till it reaches ploys to execute wrath upon the guilty. the miserable abode, where the father pp. 13, 14.

and mother will have rum, though the

children cry for bread-down to the The appetite for ardent spirits is, bottom, even to the prison-house, the except perhaps in a few unhappy ca

forlorn inmate of which hails him his ses of hereditary descent, entirely ar

best friend, who is cunning enougi to tificial. The child loathes spirits,un. convey to him, undiscovered, the all

consoling, the all-corroding poison. til its disgust is overcome by artful

Young men must express the warmth mixture. Though we cannot ac- of their mutual regard, by daily and count for it philosophically, yet it nightly libations at some fashionable seems to be a fact established by hotel-it is the custom. The more adobservation, that artificial appetites vanced take turns in finging open have a much greater tendency to

their own doors to each other, and the excess, and are more difficult of purity of their esteem is testified by the

number of bottles they can empty togovernment, than those which are natural. The ultimate cause of this band deems it but civil to commemorate

The hus

gether-it is the custom. fact is not occult. A kind Provi- the accidental visit of his acquaintance dence would confine us to indul- by a glass of ancient spirit, and the gences which are

not injurious, wife holds it a duty to celebrate the and prevent us from wandering for flying call of her companion with a sensual enjoyment out of those re

taste of the latest liqueur-for this, gions where he has furnished a

also, is the custom. The interesting healthful supply. The fact that

gossipry of every little evening coterie

must be enlivened with the customary artificial appetites have this tenden- cordial. Custom demands that idle cy, renders even the moderate use quarrels, perhaps generated over a of ardent spirits dangerous. friendly cup, another friendly cup must

The temptations which induce a drown. Foolish wagers are laid, to habit of intemperance, are well ex- be adjusted in foolish drinking—the posed by each of our authors.

rich citizen stakes a dozen, the poor Vol. 1.--No. XI.


« PreviousContinue »