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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 36

Why the Enemy Exists

Why the Enemy Exists.

The startling question hereupon faces us—Why is this subtile enemy thus allowed to go free? He is not recently discovered as a new enemy. Not at all! Solomon detected him, and the good race of preachers who take their lead from that wise man have continued his denunciation. The Esculapians from the first have detected him, and, with a few fluctuating periods of complacency or dalliance, have run him down. The law-makers have denounced him in all ages.

And yet he lives!

There are two reasons why this enemy survives and flourishes, which reasons are personal to man. I mean by this that they belong to man individually, according to his likings and beliefs. These are primary or direct reasons because personal. There are other reasons which have sprung out of the personal, and have slipped into the rule of what is called political necessity. These are indirect reasons, and they rest exclusively on the direct. They hold, therefore, notwithstanding their immense practical importance, a second place. They would speedily be set aside so soon as the first came under the control of the majority of the nation. They may even now be brought under correction with a view to the removal of the errors they sustain.

I am aware that many of those who are most earnest in the cause of Temperance, look to the removal of the primary reasons, by which alcohol retains its place, as the grand remedy; and certain it is that until those primary reasons are removed, the greatest reform in legislative action can be but of slight and temporary service. It seems, how- page 6 ever, to me, that sufficient has already been done in the way of influencing the education of the people towards the truth, to enable the Legislature, backed by the large and increasing constituency which holds to Temperance, to begin to invent some practical measure which shall put suppression of the common enemy under certain forms of legal recognition, so that the moral reformer may have a clear course, instead of being impeded, as he is at this time, by the protection which the law systematically extends to the evil he would root up.

I will return to this topic again, at a later stage of my discourse. Let me recur now to the two primary reasons by which the use of alcohol, with all its attendant calamities, is sustained.