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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 36

Extends only to Distilled

Extends only to Distilled

alcoholic liquors. The advocates of temperance are themselves yet somewhat divided upon the question whether the use of fermented and brewed liquors as a beverage is or is not beneficial to the country. I have before alluded to the fact that there is high medical authority for the position that domestic wines, cider, ale, and beer are not hurtful in themselves, when not used in positive excess, and rendered so in the same way that the system is injured by gormandizing and gluttony. There is also a strong impression, however groundless it may be, that a mild stimulant is essential to the civilization of the nineteenth century, and that its use in the milder forms named prevents more general indulgence in distilled liquors, with their terribly destructive powers. Such a belief is a fact, although the ground for it may be false.

But all men who believe in restrictive legislation of any kind concur in the assertion that the use of distilled alcoholic drinks is the source of the great mass of the evil which intemperance inflicts upon the country, and all classes of men who advocate legislation of any kind will, it is believed, support this proposition; some because they believe it goes just far enough, others because they believe it is better page 30 than nothing, and will lead ultimately to the desired end. The latter class may well ask themselves the question: "If we prevent the country from taking the first step, how can we expect it ever to take two?"

No doubt the extinction of distilled liquors as a beverage will increase, at least for the time being, the consumption of brewed and fermented drinks; but, on the other hand, it should be remembered that the general improvement of public sentiment, which must attend the long and earnest agitation of the subject before even this proposition will become a part of the law of the land, will strengthen the hands of those who oppose the intemperate use of the milder intoxicating beverages.

The third section relates to the first, and is designed to keep this proposition