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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 83

National Temperance Congress

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National Temperance Congress.

The report is before us of the National Temperance Congress, held last year at Liverpool. We would like to see something of the kind in Australia.

A brewer restored Dublin Cathedral. A brewer presented the Church of England, in Victoria, with a Clergy Sanatorium. A brewer is the champion of the religious crusade against the Victorian Education Act. The Mayor of Melbourne is a liquor merchant, and the last Mayor was a maltster.

We are struck with the extraordinary hold which the liquor interest has over the clergy, the press, the magistracy, and the constabulary. The maxim of the press appears to be that the most valuable members of the community are the liquor-seller and the theatrical manager. It is impossible to insinuate a word into any one of the Melbourne newspapers about the terrible danger of the Melbourne theatres in the event of fire. What would happen if the front premises of the Theatre Royal caught fire, during a performance, or the ramshackle premises at the back of the Opera House, or the Bijou Theatre, which is all upstairs?

We attended the annual licensing meeting of the Melbourne City Bench, last December, and could not help noticing the depraved look of the trade in general, as there massed together. Yet the Bench seemed to be overwhelmed with its respectability. Only two hotels were nipped out, with infinite trouble. Infamous places were left to carry on. The impression conveyed was that the Bench did all they could to avoid punishing liquor-sellers. "Vested Interests" is the word. We ourselves are afraid to write. With a handful of truth we only dare to open a little finger. The Old Man of the Sea, in the shape of the Alcohol Trafficker, sits firmly on the shoulders of the taxpayer, wielding every engine of the law, besides the forces of piety.