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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 71

Operation of the High License in Chicago

Operation of the High License in Chicago.

In Chicago the operation of the High license system has increased the annual revenue from £40,000 to nearly £400,000. The fee before this system was £10 10s. per annum; it is now £100. Under the operation of the old rate there were in 1882 nearly 6000 drinking saloons in the city; there are now 3900. The diminution in number is apparently small, but it must be borne in mind that the city has enormously increased in population and business since 1883. It is held that the brewers, who largely control the saloon traffic, pay the license for nearly half the number of saloons. Were they to discontinue to do so, a large decrease in the number of drinking places might be looked for. In this city High license has doubtless considerably diminished the consumption of spirituous liquors. Its first effect was the disappearance of bars in groceries, which put temptation in the way of the poorer classes. Small saloons in localities occupied by those classes have been done away with. Such places could pay their way under a £10 10s. license, but had to disappear under one of £100. Intemperance has, it is generally believed, diminished of late years in the city, and this decrease may certainly be attributed for the greater part to the High license system. The almost universal opinion of the citizens is that it has been most beneficial to the community, and as far as legislation can work in furtherance of temperance, it has done so.