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1911 Encyclopedia Britannica
The word "temperance," which strictly means moderation, has acquired a particular meaning in connexion with intoxicating liquor, and it is here used in that limited sense. The "temperance question" is the equivalent in English of l'alcoolisme and Alkoholismus in French and Germanspeaking countries respectively; it embraces all the problems that arise in connexion with the use or abuse of alcoholic drink. This usage has arisen from the practice of societies formed for the purpose of suppressing or reducing the consumption of such liquors, and calling themselves Temperance Societies. Their activity is often spoken of as the Temperance Movement, though that term properly covers very much wider ground.
Ever since man in some distant age first discovered that process of fermentation by which sugar is converted into alcohol and carbonic acid, and experienced the intoxicating effects of the liquor so produced, there has been, in a sense, a temperance question. The records of the ancient Oriental civilizations contain many references to it, and from very remote times efforts were made by priests, sages or law-givers in India, Persia, China, Palestine, Egypt, Greece and Carthage to combat the vice of drunkenness. But the evil appears never to have been so great or the object of so much attention in the ancient world as in Western countries and our own era. Two circumstances mainly differentiate the modern problem; one is the use of distilled waters or spirits as a beverage, and the other the climatic conditions prevailing in the more northern latitudes which are the home of Western civilization. The intoxicating drinks used by the ancients were wines obtained from grapes or other fruits and beers from various kinds of grain. These products were not confined to the East, but were known to the ancient civilizations of Mexico and Peru and even to primitive peoples who used the sugar-containing juices and other substances indigenous in their country. In the time of the Romans the barbarians in the north of Europe used fermented liquors made from honey (mead), barley (beer) and apples (cider) in place of grape-wine. All such drinks produce intoxication if taken in sufficient quantity; but their action is so much slower and less violent than that of distilled spirits that even their abuse did not give rise to any opposition that can properly be called a movement, and the distinction has repeatedly formed the basis of legislation in several countries down to this day. Extremists now place all alcohol-containing drinks under the same ban, but fermented liquors are still generally held to be comparatively innocuous; nor can any one deny that there is a difference. It is safe to say that if spirits had never been discovered the history of the question would have been entirely different. The distillation of essences from various substances seems to have been known to the ancients and to have been carried on by the Arabians in the dark ages; but potable spirits were not known until the 13th century. The distilled essence of wine or aqua vitae (brandy) is mentioned then as a new discovery by Arnoldus de Villa Nova, a chemist and physician, who regarded it, from the chemical or medical point of view, as a divine product. It probably came into use very gradually, but once the art of distillation had been mastered it was extended to other alcoholic substances in countries where wine was not grown. Malt, from which beer had been made from time immemorial, was naturally used for the ' Hence 'it used to be called "water-work"; see Shakespeare. Hen. IV., part ii. act ii. sc. t.
purpose, and then gin or Geneva spirits and whisky or usquebagh (Irish for "water of life") were added to grape brandy; then came corn brandy in the north and east of Europe, rum from sugar canes in the Indies, potato spirit, and eventually, as the process was perfected, rectified ethyl alcohol from almost anything containing sugar or starch.
The concentrated form of alcohol, thus evolved, for t long time carried with it the prestige of a divine essence from the middle ages when chemistry was a mysterious art allied to all sorts of superstitions. It had potent properties and was held to possess great virtue. This view is embodied in the name "water of life," and was at one time universally held; traces of it still linger among the very ignorant. Ardent spirit seemed particularly desirable to the habitants of the cold and damp regions of northern Europe, where the people took to it with avidity and imbibed it without restraint when it became cheap and accessible. That happened in England, as related in the article on Liquor Laws, in the early part of the 18th century; and out of the frightful results which followed there eventually arose the modern Temperance Movement. The legislature had been busy with the liquor traffic for more than two centuries previously, but its task had been the repression of disorder; the thing was a nuisance and had to be checked in the interests of public order. It is significant that though drunkenness had been prevalent from the earliest times, the disorder which forced legislative control did not make its appearance until after the introduction of spirits; but they were not cheap enough to be generally accessible until the home manufacture of gin was encouraged towards the end of the 17th century, and consequently their use did not cause visible demoralization on a large scale until then. When, however, the spirit bars in London put up signboards, as related by Smollett, inviting people to be "drunk for one penny" and "dead drunk for 2d.," with "straw for nothing" on which to sleep off the effects, the full significance of unlimited indulgence in spirits became visible. Speaking in the House of Lords in 1743 Lord Lonsdale said: "In every part of this great metropolis whoever shall pass along the streets will find wretchedness stretched upon the pavement, insensible and motionless, and only removed by the charity of passengers from the danger of being crushed by carriages or trampled by horses or strangled with filth in the common sewers.
. These liquors not only infatuate the mind but poison the body; they not only fill our streets with madness and our prisons with criminals, but our hospitals with cripples.... Those women who riot in this poisonous debauchery are quickly disabled from bearing children, or produce children diseased from their birth." The latter part of this quotation is particularly interesting because it proves the participation of women in public drunkenness at this period and shows that the physical ruin caused by excess and its national consequences were then for the first time recognized. It was the first step towards the inauguration of the Temperance Movement in the sense of a spontaneous and conscious effort on the part of the community as distinguished from the action of authority responsible for public decency. The need was only realized by degrees. Intemperance was one of many questions which we can now see were struggling into existence during the latter half of the 18th century, to become the subject matter of "social reform" in the 19th. Like the majority of them it was a question of bodily welfare, of health. A breach had been made in the unthinking traditional. belief in the virtue of alcoholic liquor by the experiences referred to; and medical thought, as soon as it began to busy itself with health as distinguished from the treatment of disease, took the matter up. In 1804 Dr Trotter of Edinburgh published a book on the subject, which was an expansion of his academic thesis written in 1788; Dr Benjamin Rush of Philadelphia, a distinguished American physician and politician, who had studied in Edinburgh and London, wrote a striking paper on the same subject in the same year; and very soon after this the organized Temperance Movement was set on foot in the United States, where the habit of spirit-drinking had been transplanted from the British Islands.
In 1808 a temperance society was founded at Saratoga in the state of New York, and in 1813 the Massachusetts Society for the Suppression of Intemperance made its appearance. These seem to have been the earliest organizations, though the device of a pledge of abstinence had been introduced in 1800. The movement made rapid progress mainly under the influence of the Churches. In 1826 the American Society for the Promotion of Temperance was founded in Boston, and by 1833 there were 6000 local societies in several states with more than a million members. The campaign was for the most part directed against the use of spirits only, and the proposal to include all alcoholic drinks in the pledge of abstinence, though adopted by a few societies, was rejected in 1833 by the American Society, but accepted in 1836 and retained ever since.
In Europe the earliest organizations were formed in Ireland. A temperance club is said to have been started at Skibbereen in 1818, and others followed; but it was in 1829 that the organized movement began to make effectual progress with the formation of the Ulster Temperance Society. By the end of that year there were twenty-five societies in Ireland and two or three in Scotland. In 1830 the movement spread to Yorkshire and Lancashire, and supported a newspaper called the Temperance Societies' Record, according to which there were then 127 societies with 23,000 paying members and 60,000 associated abstainers. In 18 3 1 the British and Foreign Temperance Society was founded in London with the Bishop of London (Blomfield) for president and Archbishop Sumner for one of the vice-presidents. This important society, of which Queen Victoria became patron on her accession in 1837, came to an end in 1850, when the whole cause was under an eclipse. At the time it was formed temperance meant abstinence from spirits, as at first in the United States; but very soon afterwards the more drastic form of total abstinence began to be urged in the north of England and acquired the name of teetotalism from "tee-total," a local intensive for "total." It led to strife in the societies and damaged the cause, which suffered in public estimation from the intemperance of some of its advocates. The early promise of the movement was not fulfilled; it ceased to grow after a few years and then declined, both in the United Kingdom and in the United States. The most remarkable episode in the temperance campaign at this period was the mission of the Rev. Theobald Mathew of Cork, commonly known as Father Mathew, the greatest of all temperance missionaries. He travelled through Ireland in the years 18 3 8-42 and everywhere excited intense enthusiasm. People flocked to hear him and took the pledge in crowds. In 1841 the number of abstainers in Ireland was estimated to be 4,647,000, which is more than the entire population to-day. In three years the consumption of spirits fell from io,815,000 to 5,290,000 gallons. This was not all due to Father Mathew, because great depression and distress prevailed at the same time, but he unquestionably exercised an extraordinary influence. In 1843 he went to England, where he had less, though still great, success, and in 1850 to America. He died in 1856, by which time the cause had fallen into a depressed state in both countries. In the United States a flash of enthusiasm of a similar character, but on a smaller scale, known as the Washingtonian movement, had appeared about the same time. It was started in Baltimore by a knot of reformed drunkards in 1840 and was carried on by means of public meetings; many societies were formed and some half-million persons took the pledge, including many reformed drunkards. But the public grew weary of the agitation and enthusiasm died down. The decline of moral suasion and of the societies was followed by a tendency to have recourse to compulsion and to secure by legislation that abstinence from alcoholic drinks which the public would not voluntarily adopt or would not maintain when adopted. In 1845 a law prohibiting the public sale of liquor was passed in New York State but repealed in 1847; in 1851 state prohibition was adopted in Maine (see Liquor Laws). The same tendency was manifested in England by the formation in 1853 of the United Kingdom Alliance "to procure the total and immediate legislative suppression of the traffic in intoxicating liquors as beverages." Since that time the organized movement has embraced both elements, the voluntary and the compulsory, and has combined the inculcation of individual abstinence with the promotion of legislation for the reduction or suppression of the traffic. On the whole the latter has predominated, particularly in the United States, where organized agitation has for more than half a century made temperance a political question and has produced the various experiments in legislation of which an account is given in the article on Liquor LAWS. In 1869 a National Prohibition Party was formed. In Great Britain the political element has been less predominant but sufficiently pronounced to form a distinguishing feature between the early and more enthusiastic stage of temperance agitation, which after lasting some twenty years suffered a reaction, and the later one, which began between 1860 and 1870 and made way more gradually. In addition to combining the moral and the political elements the modern movement is characterized by the following features: (1) international organization, (2) organized co-operation of women, (3) juvenile temperance, (4) teaching of temperance in schools and elsewhere, (5) scientific study of alcohol and inebriety.
(1) International organization appears to have been started by the Order of Good Templars, a society of abstainers formed in 1851 at Utica in New York State. It spread over the United States and Canada, and in 1868 was introduced into Great Britain. Some years later it was extended to Scandinavia, where it is very strong. Temperance societies had previously existed in Norway from 1836 and in Sweden from 1837; these seem to be the earliest examples on the continent of Europe. The Good Templar organization has spread to several other European countries, to Australasia, India, South and West Africa and South America. There are several other international societies, and international congresses have been held, the first in 1885 at Antwerp. A World's Prohibition Conference was held in London in 1909. It was attended by about 300 delegates from temperance societies in nearly all parts of the world, and resulted in the foundation of an International Prohibition Federation, which embraces every country in Europe with three or four minor exceptions, the United States, Mexico, Argentina, the British self-governing Dominions, India, China, Japan, Palestine, Tunisia and Hawaii. The formation of this body indicates the growth of the most uncompromising form of antagonism to the liquor traffic. Its object is the total abolition of the legalized traffic throughout the world.
(2) The organization of women, which has also become international, dates from 1874, when the National Women's Christian Temperance Union was founded at Cleveland in the United States. In 1907 it had branches in every state in the Union and in about io,000 towns and villages with an aggregate membership of 350,000. It employs all means, educational and social as well as political, but it has exercised great influence in promoting that drastic legislation which characterizes the United States. It has also taken up many other questions relating to women, in addition to temperance, and has adopted the badge of a white ribbon. About the year 1883 Miss Frances Willard, who had been the moving spirit of the Union, carried the organization of women into other lands and formed the World's Woman's Christian Temperance Union, which now possesses branches in some fifty countries with a total membership of half a million. It has held several conventions in America and Europe and circulated a polyglot petition, said to be the largest on record, which has been presented to a large number of sovereigns and other heads of states. There are several other female organizations in the United Kingdom.
(3) The inclusion of children in temperance organization goes back to 1847, when a society was formed at Leeds, in Yorkshire, of juvenile abstainers who had taken the pledge; it took the name of Band of Hope. The practice spread, and in 1851 a Band of Hope Union was formed. There are now a number of such unions, for the United Kingdom, Scotland, Ireland and separate counties in England; the Bands of Hope are said to number 15,000 in all. There are also several other juvenile organizations, some of which are branches of the adult societies. By far the largest is the juvenile section of the Church of England Temperance Society, which has 485,888 members (1910). Children's societies in the United States are usually called the Loyal Temperance Legion, but there are some Bands of Hope also. On the continent of Europe juvenile organizations exist in several countries and notably in Sweden and Belgium (societes scolaires). (4) The teaching of temperance in schools, which has become a great feature of the moral propaganda, was begun by private effort in 1852, when the late Mr John Hope inaugurated a regular weekly visitation of day-schools in Edinburgh. In 1875, at the invitation of the National Temperance League, the late Sir Benjamin Richardson wrote his Temperance Lesson Book, which was adopted by many schools as a primer. In 1889 school-teaching by travelling lecturers was taken up by the United Kingdom Band of Hope Union, and the example was followed by many other societies. The Band of Hope Unions in England alone have spent over X3000 a year.for the last twenty years in itinerant lectures; object-lessons on the nature and effects of alcoholic drinks are given to children in the higher standards. The Church of England Temperance Society carries on similar work in diocesan schools, and examines the children in the subject of temperance; in 1909 it had in use 6000 lantern slides for lectures,, and set 7598 examination papers. The voluntary temperance teaching having grown continuously and become very extensive, has led to action by central education authorities. In 1906 the Board of Education in Ireland made "Hygiene and Temperance" a compulsory subject in the public schools. In 1909 the Board of Education for England issued a syllabus of temperance teaching, the adoption of which in elementary schools is optional. In Scotland also courses of teaching in hygiene and temperance are permissive and have been adopted by many local educational authorities. In the United States compulsory teaching is of much longer standing and more advanced. The question was first taken up by the Women's Christian Temperance Union (see above) in 1879; it was believed that by teaching the physiological effects of alcohol to all children the problem of intemperance would be effectually "solved," and a systematic political campaign was planned and carried out for the purpose of obtaining compulsory legislation to give effect to this idea. The campaign was successful in New York in 1884, in Pennsylvania in 1885 and subsequently in other states. Laws have now been passed in every state and territory, making anti-alcohol teaching part of the curriculum in the public schools, and tobacco is usually included. The manner of teaching has given rise to much controversy and opposition. Temperance is taught in connexion with physiology and hygiene, but the promoters of the movement insisted that prominence should be given to it and that the text-books should be adapted accordingly. Consequently a class of text-books came into use which were offensive to men of science and well-educated teachers because they contained false statements and absolute nonsense. The effect of forcing teachers to teach what they knew to be untrue was very unfortunate, and in some states the laws have undergone revision. With regard to other countries the practice varies greatly. Schoolteaching is compulsory in Canada, except in Quebec and Prince Edward Island, where it is permissive; in France since 1902; in Sweden since 1892, and in Iceland. It is recognized by authority but optional in Australia, South Africa, some provinces of India, Belgium, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Austria-Hungary and Switzerland. The movement in favour of school-teaching is continuously and generally advancing.
(5) The scientific study of the physiology and pathology of alcohol is a very large subject in itself. As has been shown above, the pioneers of the temperance movement were medical men; and though the Churches soon became the chief moving force, doctors have always exercised an influence, and in more recent times since people learnt to bow down to the name of Science there has been a marked tendency to have recourse to scientific authority for arguments and support, of which the teaching of temperance as a branch of physiology or hygiene is an illustration. At the same time the increasing interest taken in all questions relating to health has directed the attention of scientific investigators to this subject, while advancing knowledge of physiology, pathology and chemistry in general and improved means of investigation have enabled them to pursue it in various directions. Consequently a large amount of research has been devoted to alcohol and its effects both by experimentation on animals and plants and by observation of the morbid conditions set up in human beings by excessive and longcontinued indulgence in alcoholic drinks. Another field of inquiry which has been actively worked is the statistical study of drink in relation to nationality, occupation, disease, insanity, mortality, longevity, crime, pauperism and other aspects of social life. In London there is a society, consisting chiefly of medical men, for the scientific study of inebriety; it holds periodical meetings at which papers are read and discussed. But the subject is being worked at in every country, and a vast mass of information has been accumulated. An attempt will be made later on to summarize the more important results of this activity. There is no doubt that it has exercised a strong influence on public opinion and on the whole in the direction of temperance. A great change of attitude has taken place and is still going on. The ill-effects of excessive drinking, especially of distilled spirits, have long been recognized, but the tendency now is to question whether any alcohol-containing drinks are of any value at all and to deny any valid distinction between distilled and fermented liquors. Medical abstinence societies have been formed in England, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
Present State of the Movement
No comprehensive data are available for estimating the numerical strength of the temperance organizations or the number of abstainers at the present time; but the Alliance Year Book contains a directory of societies, which at least give some idea of the wide distribution of the movement. The following summary figures are extracted from the list; they relate to distinct organizations, exclusive of branches and sub-sections, having for their object the promotion of individual abstinence or of legislation: The United Kingdom, 62; Australasia, II; Canada, 2; South Africa, 3; India, 2; United States, to; Austria-Hungary, 8; Belgium, 2; Denmark, 5; France, 4; Germany, 12; Holland, 6; Sweden, 6; Switzerland, H. The figures are no doubt very imperfect and must not be taken in any way to represent the relative strength of temperance organizations in the several countries. The list for the United Kingdom is much more complete than for the other countries. The Alliance Year Book indeed gives the names of 130 organizations in the United Kingdom connected in some way with temperance work; but these include local branches, juvenile sections, insurance companies, orphanages and so on. An attempt has been made to pick out the temperance societies as ordinarily understood; but some of those included are merely committees for promoting particular pieces of legislation, and on the other hand bodies like the Salvation Army and the Church Army, which do a great deal of temperance work but are not primarily and principally engaged in it, have been omitted. Altogether the subject is full of confusion and not susceptible of exact statement. The number of societies is no guide to the number of individuals, for many persons belong to several organizations. There can be little doubt that the organized movement is numerically strongest in the United States and next strongest in the United Kingdom, but no reliable estimates can be made.
Some of the British societies call for particular notice. The two principal ones are the Church of England Temperance Society and the United Kingdom Alliance. The latter, founded in 1853, is the chief fighting political organization, having total prohibition of the liquor traffic for its object; its income is about 12,000 a year. The Church of England Temperance Society is much the largest of the British societies. It was founded in 1862 and reconstituted in 1873 on a dual basis of total abstinence and general Consumption Per Head Of' Population anti-intemperance. Its objects are (I) the promotion of habits of temperance, (2) the reformation of the intemperate; (3) the removal of the causes which lead to intemperance. Thus it embraces both the moral and the legislative spheres, but the former takes first place; and this was emphasized in 1909 by the inauguration of a "forward movement" in spiritual activity. On the legislative side the society supports measures of reform rather than prohibition, and particularly reduction of licences and popular control of the traffic. Its activity is many-sided; it carries on an extensive publication department and educational courses, police court and prison gate missions, missions to seamen, travelling vans, and inebriate homes, of which there are 4 for women and 1 for men. It works locally through 36 diocesan branches, of which the aggregate expenditure in 1909 was £41,353, exclusive of the central office. It has Church temperance societies in Scotland and Ireland affiliated to it, as are the missions to seamen, and it has given birth to a temperance mission for railway workers and a Church benefit society. Its comparative moderation contrasts strongly with the extreme views of many temperance bodies. One of its departments is a semi-teetotal association, which was founded separately in 1903, but came under the society in 1904; the members pledge themselves to abstain from alcoholic liquor between meals. This department, which revives an old form of pledge, has been very successful; it is found that members frequently go on to take the full pledge. The total membership of the Church of England Temperance Society in 1909 was 636,233, thus distributed :-General section, 35,901; total abstainers, 114,444; juvenile members, 485,888. The enormous number of juvenile members is significant. The numerical strength of the temperance societies in general, which is often greatly exaggerated, seems to be largely made up by the juvenile contingents, so far as information is available. Other noteworthy British societies are the Royal Army Temperance Association and the Royal Naval Temperance Society. The special liability of soldiers and sailors to intemperance makes the work of these bodies particularly valuable, and it is strongly supported by the king and many officers of the greatest distinction. Very striking results have been obtained in the army. Twenty-five per cent of the Home Forces and 42 per cent. of the Indian army belong to the association; and the movement is growing. In the navy 25,000 men have joined the Temperance Society.
Like other propagandist causes of the day the temperance movement is supported by an enormous output of literature, including books, pamphlets, leaflets and periodicals. The Alliance Year Book gives a list of the latter. It names over 40 in the United Kingdom; the great majority are penny monthly magazines, but three societies conduct weekly journals-namely, the Church of England Temperance Society (Temperance Chronicle), United Kingdom Alliance (Alliance News) and the International Order of Good Templars (Good Templars' Watchword). Several Nonconformist churches have weekly papers in which temperance work is specially noted, as in the War Cry, the journal of the Salvation Army. For other countries the number of journals is given as follows :-Australasia, io (one weekly); Canada, 7 (3 weekly); India, 5; South Africa, 2; U.S.A. 15 (2 weekly); Austria, 2; Belgium, 2; Denmark, I; France, 2; Germany, 8; Holland, 2; Italy, I; Norway, 2; Russia, I; Sweden, 7; Switzerland, 3. The list is no doubt imperfect. In the United States newspapers of all kinds are many times more numerous than in the United Kingdom, and the American Prohibition Year Book names 21 "leading" prohibition papers, of which 16 are weekly and i daily. There are probably hundreds of temperance journals in the United States.
Effect of the Temperance Movement.-The organized agitation against the abuse and even the use of alcoholic liquors thus briefly described is a very interesting feature of social life in the present state of civilization; but when a serious attempt is made to ascertain its results the inquiry is found to be beset with difficulty. It has no doubt been largely instrumental in procuring the varied mass of legislation described in the article on Liquor Laws, particularly in the United States, the United Kingdom and Scandinavia; and these laws are in a sense results. Ardent advocates of legislation, who are always apt to substitute the means for the end, point to them with satisfaction. Those who demand prohibition regard its adoption by this or that community as an end in itself and a proof of "progress"; more moderate reformers view the reduction of public-houses in the same light. Facts of this kind can be stated with precision, but they go a very little way. The real point is not the law or the number of houses, but the habits of the people, and what we want to know is the effect on them of legislation, of organization, moral persuasion and the other influences that go to make up the Temperance Movement. To this question no clear or general answer can be given. There is a good deal of information about the United Kingdom, where the subject has been much more fully studied than anywhere else, and about Norway and Sweden, but for other countries valid data are lacking to show whether intemperance has increased or diminished. The fullest statistical evidence available relates to the consumption of drink.
Consumption of Drink. International Statistics.-In 1906 a return was published by the British Board of Trade giving the production and consumption of alcoholic beverages in different countries for the years 1891-1905. The table on p. 581 is compiled from it. Information is also given in the returns for Spain, Portugal, the Balkan States and South Africa, but it is very imperfect and has therefore been omitted.
The only considerable movement during the 15 years covered by the table is a marked increase in the consumption of beer. It has occurred in some measure in the following countries :- Russia, Sweden, Denmark, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand. The rise is notably large in Sweden, France, Switzerland, United States and Canada; and the upward movement has been particularly steady since 1898 in the United States, Canada and New Zealand. Exceptions are the United Kingdom and Norway, in both of which the consumption has fallen largely and steadily since 1899. In Germany it has also fallen somewhat since 1900, but not so steadily, and over the whole period it has risen in that country. It is impossible to connect these various movements either with legislation or with temperance organization. If the fall in Norway is ascribed to them, it must be pointed out that they are much more directed against spirits than against beer in that country, and the consumption of spirits shows no such movement, having risen since 1897. No one who has studied the subject in the different countries affected can doubt that the general rise is due to the introduction and growing popularity of the light beers originally brewed in Germany and Austria, and commonly called "lager." This is notably the case in France, Belgium, Sweden and North America. It is an instance of the force of popular taste. The increase in beer has not been accompanied by a corresponding reduction of other alcoholic liquor. Wine might be left out of account in this connexion. It is largely consumed only in countries where it is extensively grown, namely, in France, Italy and Switzerland, out of the countries enumerated. The consumption is very irregular and dependent mainly on the abundance of the crop. But the tendency of wine has also been to rise; it has risen in France, Belgium, Italy, Austria, the United States and Australia. With regard to spirits, the only general movement is that consumption has fallen in most European countries since 1900. But this does not appear to be compensatory to the rise of beer, which extends over the whole period and went on when spirits were rising too. Exceptions to the downward movement of spirits since 1900 are offered by the United States and Canada, and to a less extent by Russia, Italy and Norway. The only country in which all classes of drink have steadily fallen is the United Kingdom; this singular fact will be discussed presently, but its peculiarity should be noted here in connexion with other countries.
Attempts have been made to express the total consumption of each country in terms of alcohol by allowing a certain percentage of spirit for wine and beer and reducing all three to a common denominator. The calculation yields a simple and uniform measure of comparison and permits the classification of the countries in the order of their alcoholic consumption; but it must be regarded as a somewhat arbitrary estimate, because the strength of both wine and beer varies considerably. The Brewers' Almanack gives the following table based on the returns quoted above: Consumption of Alcohol at Proof Strength in Gallons. Annual Average per Head, 1901-5.
Apart from the gaps in the information, which speak for themselves, allowance must be made for other defects. In no case is the nominal consumption per head a valid index to the relative temperateness of different peoples unless other conditions are fairly equal. The distribution of the drinking has to be taken into account, and this is conditioned by the age and sex constitution of the population and by the habits of the people. A country in which every person except infants takes a minute quantity of drink at every meal every day will have a far larger consumption per head and yet may be far more temperate than one in which a large proportion of the population takes none at all and the drinking is concentrated in regard to both time and person. The Portuguese and Spaniards, for instance, are more temperate than any of the nations below them on the list; drunkenness is never seen in Portugal and in the south of Spain (the bishop of Birmingham has publicly borne testimony to the sobriety even of such a large seaport as Barcelona). The aggregate consumption is brought up to a comparatively high level by the national practice of drinking a little wine freely diluted with water, a beverage which contains less alcohol than many "temperance" drinks. In like manner the French and Italians, whose high place is due to wine, are more sober than most of the nations ranged below them. The writer has made extensive inquiries on this head in France. There is drunkenness, to which Zola's l'Assommoir bears testimony, but outside Paris and the seaports it is rare. Employers of labour in all the principal industrial centres, including the mining districts of the north, agree on this point. The very high position of Belgium is mainly due to a prodigious consumption of beer, which is explained by the general practice of giving it to children. On the other hand, drunkenness is exceedingly prevalent in Russia, which is near the bottom of the list, and is due to the consumption of vodka. The comparatively small amount per head put down in the returns may, if it is correct, be explained by the very large proportion of children in the population. The opposite condition is illustrated by Western Australia, which has a consumption per head nearly thrice that of any other Australian province. These instances will show the conditions that must be taken into account in making international comparisons and the fallacy of measuring national sobriety by consumption per head.
Consumption in United Kingdom.-Statistics of consumption for a longer period of time than that covered by the table given above are available for the United Kingdom, the United States and Scandinavia, and they are of particular interest because these are the countries in which the Temperance Movement has been most active and productive of most legislation. The United Kingdom is distinguished by being the only country in the list which shows a distinct fall in the consumption of all three kinds of liquor since 1899. To estimate the significance of this interesting fact it must be placed in historical perspective. The following table, compiled from the official returns, gives the annual average consumption per head in decennial periods from 1831 to 1890, and subsequently for each year to 1909. No continuous record of beer was kept until after 1856.
United Kingdom: Average Annual Consumption per head in Gallons. It will be observed that the consumption has oscillated up and down during the whole period of 79 years. More spirits were drunk in 1831-40 than in the three following decades, and more wine than in the two following decades. The decennial period of greatest consumption was 1871-80; and the highest points reached were: wine, 0.56 gal. in 1876; beer, 34.0 gals. in 1874; spirits, 1.29 gals. in 1875. Since then the consumption has always been lower, though with fluctuations. The up and down movement is always associated with the state of trade, and the connexion is well marked in the last ten years. The progressive fall is striking, particularly in regard to beer, which is the staple drink of the people; but the period is too short to warrant the inference that it represents a permanent movement which will continue. The fluctuations shown by the decennial table given above suggest the probability of a subsequent rise with a revival of trade. Chronic depression and unemployment have prevailed in many industries since 1900, and these conditions always cause a diminished consumption. Nevertheless they do not fully account for the movement here shown, because the fall in consumption has been progressive, whereas the state of trade has fluctuated considerably; the curves do not coincide. Some other factor has been at work, and there is reason to think that it is a gradual change in the habits of the people. The facts of consumption agree with much other evidence in pointing to this conclusion. The expenditure in drink is not so high as it used to be in the past, whether 'periods of prosperity or adversity are taken. The calculation of annual expenditure prepared for the United Kingdom Alliance, and commonly called the National Drink Bill, points to that conclusion. It is based on an arbitrary estimate of the cost of drink to the consumer and must not be taken to represent established facts; but it has some comparative value. The following table gives this calculation for the last 26 years: National Drink Bill, United Kingdom. The table begins and ends in two periods of marked depression, with one of marked prosperity in between; but it is to be noted that in the earlier term of depression, although it was very acute, the expenditure never sank so low as in the later one. During the four lowest years (1885-88) the mean expenditure was nearly 4s. a head more than in the five lowest years (1905-9). At the other end of the scale the high-water mark in the table, which is the year 1899, shows an expenditure of £4, us. 8d.; but the previous highwater mark comparable with it, namely 1876, showed an expenditure of £5, Is. 9d., when calculated on the same basis. The figures, therefore, rather confirm than contradict the general belief that the people have grown more temperate during the last 30 or 40 years. With regard to the expression "national drink bill," which tacitly suggests so much money thrown away on drink, it must be remembered that a large proportion is devoted to public purposes and would have to be found in some other way. In the year ending March 1909 the trade paid a direct contribution of £37,404,575 to the national exchequer in excise and customs duties, in addition to income-tax and local taxation; all this comes back to the public pocket. Then it also maintains directly and indirectly a population reckoned at 2,000,000. The net amount spent on drink which might have been saved and spent on other things is not more than a third of the total sum.
The United States.-The movement in the United States has been totally different. The figures below are taken from the statistical abstract of the U.S. government as quoted in the American Prohibition Year Book. The figures, it may be noticed, differ widely throughout from those given for the same years in the Board of Trade returns of international consumption quoted on p. 581. The discrepancy is too great and too constant to admit of any explanation, but that the two sets of returns are calculated from different bases. It illustrates the defects of these statistics and the need of caution in using them. The American figures show a far larger consumption in the United States than the English.
The most noticeable fact here shown is the continuous and large increase in the consumption of beer. Every year shows a rise down to 1908, when for the first time in 70 years a fall was recorded. It was continued in 1909, and being accompanied by a fall in spirits and wine also is no doubt mainly attributable to the financial state of the country. Down to 1880 beer was to a considerable extent taking the place of spirits, the consumption of which had previously been very high; but after that the steady increase in beer was not accompanied by a reverse movement in spirits; and from 1896 to 1907 all three kinds of liquor rose together, though not with equal steadiness. The rising consumption of beer has been accompanied by an enormous increase in home production, the capital invested in breweries having risen from 4 million dollars in 1850 to 515 million dollars in 1905. The consumption of spirits is at a much higher level than in the United Kingdom, and two considerations add greatly to the significance of the fact-one is that drinking takes place more between meals and less at them, and the other that it is more confined to men. Women, other than prostitutes, Consumption per head Gallons, United States. do not frequent the bar as they do in the United Kingdom, and children not at all. The expenditure in drink, so far as it can be calculated, has fluctuated somewhat, but shows a general tendency to rise. The following table has been prepared by Mr G. B. Waldron, an American statistician. It is taken from the Prohibition Year Book, with the American currency converted into English on the basis of 4s. to the dollar, omitting fractions of a penny, for purposes of comparison with the British statistics given above.
Annual Drink Bill, United States. Comparison with the British table shows at a glance an opposite movement in the two countries. While expenditure has steadily fallen in the United Kingdom since 1899, it has as steadily risen in the United States; and whereas in 1888 the expenditure in the former was 41 per cent. higher than in the latter, the two had drawn equal in 1906 and since then have changed places. Moreover the different system of taxation brings back a much larger proportion of the whole expenditure into the exchequer in the United Kingdom (see Liquor LAws). The comparison is of much interest in view of the very different laws and regulations under which the trade is conducted in the two countries. It may be objected that the statistics are merely estimates, but both sets are put forward by the advocates of prohibition and are of equal authority, so that they hold good for comparison.
Norway and Sweden.-The statistics for these countries are imperfect, because there is no record of wine, and in recent years the use of spirits has been supplemented or replaced to a considerable extent by artificial wines heavily loaded with spirits. But, as they stand, the statistics derive special interest from the peculiar conditions under which the traffic is conducted. The Scandinavian company system was started in Sweden in 1865 and in Norway in 1871 (see Liquor Laws).
Consumption per head in Litres, Norway. Consumption per head in Litres, Sweden. The difference between these contiguous countries is remarkable. The consumption of spirits has always been much higher in Sweden than in Norway. In the old days before any legislation the estimated consumption was in Sweden 46 litres (1829) and in Norway 16 litres (1833) a head. In recent years, under the company system, the figures for both countries are vastly less, but the Swedish consumption has hardly ever been less than double the Norwegian and sometimes three times as great. This difference, observed over a long period before regulation and after, points to different conditions and national habits; but such constant differentiating factors hardly explain the strikingly dissimilar movements shown by the tables. Both countries are obviously affected by the state of trade. The high-water mark of spirit-drinking in modern times for both was the same period, 1874-76, as noted above for the United Kingdom; Sweden then averaged 12.4 litres a head and Norway 6.6. Both show also the influence of the 1900 boom in trade and the subsequent decline. But in Sweden the increase of beer-drinking, which in 1871-80 was less than in Norway, has been enormous. If the two drinks are put together it cannot be said that the consumption in Sweden was appreciably less in1896-1905than in 1871-80, whereas in Norway it was distinctly less. This may in part be explained by the substitution of the made wine, called laddevin, to which reference has already been made. The marked fall in the consumption of spirits which occurred in 1896-98 is attributed to this cause (Rowntree and Sherwell); the importation of wine rose from 2,320,300 litres in 1891-94 to 5,876,750 litres in 1898. Subsequently importation was checked by heavier duties and reduced consumption followed. In 1886-90 the quantity consumed per head in litres averaged o88; in1896-1900it was 2.49, with a maximum of 2.75 in 1898; in 1905 it had fallen again to o88 (Pratt).
A careful study of the foregoing statistics of consumption in the three countries-United Kingdom, United States and the Scandinavian peninsula-which have paid most attention to the problem and have for a long period applied forcible but widely different methods of control, does not permit any confident conclusion upon the comparative merits of any particular system. The United States, in whose multitudinous liquor laws prohibition plays the most prominent part, has most conspicuously failed to check consumption. Norway and Sweden, both of which combine the principle of disinterested management, though not in the same form, with a certain amount of prohibition, show markedly different results. The British licensing system has been at least as successful as any of the others. The most probable conclusion to be drawn from the facts is that the movement in each country has been mainly determined by other forces; the rise of consumption in the United States by the rapid and progressive urbanization of the people and the great increase of wealth; the diminution of consumption in the United Kingdom by a change in the habits of the people due to many causes, to which further reference is made below; while the difference between Norway and Sweden is largely due to differences of national character and habits already noted, though some influence must be attributed to the superior system and greater stringency of control in Norway. But if we go back to earlier periods there is no doubt at all that an incomparably worse state of things existed in the United Kingdom and in Scandinavia when the spirit traffic was under little control or none at all.
Intemperance.-Police statistics are the best evidence we have of the prevalence of drunkenness, which is the most visible and direct result of intemperance. Like other statistics, they must be used with due regard to the circumstances of origin and compilation. They vary according to (I) the laws relating to drunkenness; (2) the administration by police and justices; (3) the method of compiling returns. All these vary in different countries and towns and at different times, so that the statistics must not be used for minute comparisons. But properly handled they are of great value, and the discrepancies are less than might be supposed, because it is found on inquiry that the actual behaviour of the police towards drunken persons does not greatly differ. Neither exceptional zeal nor exceptional laxity lasts very long. The general practice is only to interfere with those persons whose violence causes disturbance or whose helplessness creates obstruction or annoyance. The mode of compiling returns is the most serious cause of error. Many countries have no returns, and in others they are incomplete. Those available, however, throw considerable light on the subject. The following quinquennial table shows the movement in England and Wales since the drunken period 1874-78. The important act of 1872, which increased the number of offences, vitiates comparison with the earliest returns, which are, however, given in the article On Drunkenness.
Drunkenness, England and Wales. Number of Persons proceeded against per io,000.
There has been a marked improvement since 1874-78, and on the whole a progressive one, though interrupted by a moderate rise in the period of prosperity about 1900. The figures for the most recent years would be considerably lower but for the Licensing Act of 1902, which altered the police procedure and caused a sudden rise, as shown by the following table, for the last to years: When allowance is made for the act of 1902 it is seen that the movement of drunkenness corresponds broadly with that of consumption, but the decline of drunkenness is more marked; the level is lower than it used to be whether good or bad times be taken. This plainly shows a large change in the habits of the people, which is further emphasized by the fact that police procedure has become more stringent and the returns more complete. The exceptional figure for 1909 (estimated) is ascribed to the heavy increase of spirit duties in that year. The change has been accompanied by a continuous fall in the number of public-houses in proportion to population. Between 1870 and 1909 the number of "on" licences was reduced from 53.3 to 26.3 per 10,000 of the population; but the correspondence between the two movements is not exact. The number of public-houses has fallen steadily from year to year, whereas drunkenness, like consumption, has fluctuated with the state of trade. The facts, therefore, demonstrate a connexion, but hardly establish one of cause and effect. The principal causes which have brought about the general decline of drunkenness are wider and deeper. The standard of behaviour has gradually changed with education and the provision of alternative recreations in many forms, among which the chief are games, theatres, locomotion, public libraries, institutes, tea shops and eating houses. At the same time great social changes have taken effect and have tended to remove class barriers and foster the aspirations of the working classes, who have more and more adopted the standard of conduct prevalent among the more highly educated sections of society. The old drinking habits of the latter, which were notorious at the end of the 18th century, began to give way to greater sobriety early xxvi. 19 a in the 19th century; and the movement was greatly promoted, as a feature of social life, by the influence of Queen Victoria's reign. Drunkenness went "out of fashion," and the social standard has gradually permeated downwards. All this has no doubt been stimulated by temperance organization and teaching, which has constantly kept the question before the public and exercised an educational influence in spite of ridicule and abuse. The change has been very gradual, but far greater than can be shown in figures. It can be better realized by contrasting the present state of things with that described in the past, as in the evidence given before a select committee of the House of Commons in 1834, when witnesses described the scenes that regularly occurred on Sunday morning in London-the crowd round the public-houses, women with babies to which they gave gin, and people lying dead drunk in the streets. The evidence given at this inquiry and by contemporary writers reveals a condition of things to which modern times afford no parallel; and in particular it disposes of the current belief that female drunkenness is a comparatively new thing and increasing. The practice of frequenting public-houses and drinking to excess in England has been noted for centuries and repeatedly denounced. It was described at a meeting of the Middlesex magistrates in 1830, when the chairman said that of 72 cases of drunkenness brought up at Bow Street on the previous Monday the majority were women "who had been picked up in the streets where they had fallen dead drunk." At the inquiry of 1834 Mr Mark Moore gave the number of customers counted entering 14 public-houses in a week; out of a total of 269,437 there were 108,593 women and 18,391 children. Of late years the proportion of female drunkards to the whole has been perceptibly diminishing. In 1870 the proportion of females to the total number proceeded against for drunkenness was 25.9 per cent.; in 1890 it was 23.4 per cent. The percentage of convictions credited to women in the last few years is: 1905, 20.42; 1906, 20.60; 1907, 20.26; 1908, 20.13; 1909, 19.79 The foregoing observations on drunkenness apply only to England and Wales. The returns for Scotland and Ireland are less complete, but they show the movement in those parts of the kingdom. In Ireland a diminution has taken place in recent years, but in Scotland an increase.
Number of Charges of Drunkenness. It is worthy of note that police drunkenness is higher in Wales, Scotland and Ireland than in England. The respective number of proceedings per 10,000 in the year 1907 was: England, 59.8; Wales, 65.2; Scotland, 123.3: Ireland, 175.6. The figures for Wales are strictly comparable, those for Scotland and Ireland less so; but the coincidence is striking. The greater prevalence of spirit drinking as a national habit, particularly in Scotland and Ireland, may account in part for the discrepancy. Other points which distinguish the three countries from England are their Celtic blood and Sunday closing. No connexion can be shown between the number of licensed houses and the prevalence of drunkenness; they are fewer in Scotland than in England and Wales, but more numerous in Ireland, though there has been a diminution there since 1902, which may have something to do with the fall of drunkenness. The same lack of correspondence is shown more fully by the detailed figures for England and Wales published in the official volume of licensing statistics. Taking the county boroughs in groups according to the number of licences in proportion to the population we get the following: Licences and Drunkenness, County Boroughs, 1905.
The corresponding figures for the counties are as follows :- Licences and Drunkenness, Counties, 1905.
Licences per 10,000 Convictions per 10,000 under 30 57.39 30 to 40 36.74 40 to 50 40.0 over 50 I 33.2 If any other year be taken similar discrepancies are shown. In 1909 the six counties with the highest and the six with the lowest number of licences exclusive of county boroughs, gave the following results: It is curious that the mean figures for these two groups at opposite ends of the scale almost exactly reverse the number of licences and convictions; but the individual discrepancies show that other factors really determine the results. The chief of these is unquestionably occupation. All the counties with the highest number of convictions are pre-eminently mining counties. Year after year Northumberland, Durham and Glamorgan occupy the same place at the head of the convictions, and other mining counties are always high up. These areas are not drunken because the public-houses are few, but vice versa; the licences are kept down because of the drunkenness. The influence of occupation and character is further revealed by a broader survey. The following table from the judicial statistics for 1894 brings out these elements very clearly Persons Proceeded Against for Drunkenness per 10,000.
In other countries the same distribution is observed; drunkenness is most prevalent in seaports and mining districts. It is further fostered by a northerly situation, and these three factors go far to explain the condition of Scotland, as of Northumberland and Durham.
The United States.-The Census Bureau at Washington issues from time to time statistics of cities, which contain a good deal of information concerning drunkenness. The last return, published in 1910, contains details of 158 cities having a population of over 30,000 in the year 1907, to which the statistics relate. It appears from these returns that drunkenness is exceedingly prevalent in American towns. The figures are not comparable with the English ones, because they relate to arrests, which are more numerous than "proceedings" and still more than convictions. The number of women included is very considerable, but the data are too imperfect to permit the calculation of a general percentage. In New York the proportion of women arrested for drunkenness and disorder was 24.3 per cent. of the whole number. The cities are divided into four groups according to population:-(t) over 300,000, (2) 100,000 to 300,000, (3) 50,000 to 100,000, (4) 30,000 to 50,000. The average number of arrests per to,000 inhabitants in each group and in all cities together is-(I) 191.0, (2) 1 93.6, (3) 2 45.8, (4) 244.8 mean of all cities, 205.1. The comparatively small range of difference between the groups is remarkable, and indicates a general prevalence of police drunkenness. The higher figures for groups (3) and (4) are explained by the excessive number of cases in certain manufacturing, mining and Southern coloured towns of small and medium size. These figures are for drunkenness alone, so that they cannot be confused with other offences; but on examining the details of individual cities it becomes clear that the practice varies considerably in making up the returns, and that in some places nearly all the arrests of drunken persons are charged to drunkenness whereas in others a large proportion are returned under the head of disorderly conduct. In considering the relation between drunkenness and the number of licensed houses, therefore, it seems desirable to put both sets of figures, as in the following table. It will be seen that there is no correspondence between the number of licensed houses and the amount of drunkenness alone or of drunkenness and disorderly conduct together, except that the fourth group has the largest number of licences and the most disorder.
Arrests and Licences per 10,000.
There are large discrepancies between different cities, but not greater than among British towns. The following table gives the figures corresponding to the above for each of the great cities included in group 1, with the exception of San Francisco, the population of which could not be estimated: Arrests and Licences per to,000.
To a certain extent the same inverse relation appears here as in England; the places with the smallest proportion of licencesnamely, Philadelphia, Boston, Pittsburg and Washington-are conspicuous for drunkenness and disorder, while those with the largest proportion of licences-namely, Detroit, Cincinnati, Milwaukee and New Orleans-are distinguished by the lowest amount, with the exception of New Orleans, which is a special case by reason of the large coloured and Creole population. The exceptional position of Boston is obviously due to exceptional police activity and that of Chicago to the opposite. At Boston and Cleveland, it will be noticed, the police prefer the charge of drunkenness; at Baltimore the opposite. The position of Washington is explained by the very large coloured population and the strength of the police force, which is greater in the capital than elsewhere and very strict in regard to order in the streets. Philadelphia, Pittsburg and Cleveland are great manufacturing centres with a large population of foreign workmen; the vast influx of European immigrants, consisting of men disposed to drink by age, occupation, race and habits, and receiving higher wages than they have been used to, must always be borne in mind with regard to drunkenness in the United States. It is interesting to note the condition of those cities in which there is no licensed trade. There are none such in the first two groups, but 14 in the third and fourth groups. The following are the figures: Arrests for Drunkenness and Disorder per 10,000.
The majority are prohibition cities in Massachusetts, the only state in which this measure was applied to any place of considerable size in 1907. In all of them the drunkenness is below the mean for the group and considerably below that of similar and neighbouring towns. For instance, Brockton is a boot-manufacturing town, comparable with Lynn in the same state; the respective figures are 240.9 and 561.1. The evidence here, so far as it goes, is in favour of local prohibition. On the other hand there are a number of licensed cities with lower figures, and two of those on the list - Chelsea and Salem - are very high up. State prohibition does not make such a good showing. Portland is one of the most drunken places in America - a fact confirmed by many observers - and Wichita in Kansas is above the mean. Kansas City is better. This place is peculiarly situated, being continuous with Kansas City in Missouri; the boundary between the two states passes through the town. Consequently the inhabitants have only to go into the Missouri half to obtain drink. Cambridge is very similarly situated in relation to Boston. Charleston, which is above the mean for the group, was under the state dispensary system. In sum, these police figures furnish some argument for prohibition and some against; but they clearly demonstrate the limits of compulsion. Altogether the statistical evidence from the United States, whether of consumption, expenditure or drunkenness, offers no inducement to the United Kingdom to adopt any of the American methods of control in place of its own system.
Norway and Sweden. - Police statistics for some of the principal towns in Norway and Sweden, which are the seats of the company system or disinterested management applied to spirit bars, are frequently quoted and we will therefore give them here. When all allowances have been made they show that drunkenness is very prevalent in these seaport towns, and that it fluctuates as in England but exhibits no general tendency to improvement.
Convictions per moo in Gothenburg. The principal feature of this table is the much higher level in the second 20 years than in the first, though the police procedure has been the same. Several times in recent years the figure has exceeded that of 1865, which was practically the year before the company system was introduced, as it did not begin operations until October. Once more the influence of trade oscillations is well marked, particularly in the prosperous period of 1897-1900. To convert convictions into arrests for comparison with the following tables about 3 per 1000 should be added; this difference is very evenly maintained in Gothenburg.
Arrests per moo in Bergen. Use and Abuse of Alcohol. The evils caused by the abuse of alcoholic liquors have always been recognized by mankind; they are too obvious to be ignored. Intoxication produces imbecility, bestiality, violence and crime; continued excess produces incapacity, poverty, misery, disease, delirium, insanity and death. But all these effects are produced by other causes and it is very difficult to estimate the precise share of this particular agent. In modern times scientific investigation has attempted to do this and to give precision to the conclusions drawn from ordinary observation. We will briefly summarize some of the results.
Drink is associated with crimes against the person, but not with crimes against property, which form in England ninetenths of the whole (Judicial Statistics, 1901). Dr W. C. Sullivan; medical officer in the prison service, calculates that "alcoholic intoxication is answerable for about 60 per cent. of indictable crimes of violence and for a rather higher proportion of minor offences of the same class"; and further that "it is probably the cause of nearly half the crimes of lust," but it "makes no appreciable contribution to crimes of acquisitiveness." He gives the following table: - Annual Average per 100,000-1891-1900.
This does not show a regular connexion. The mining areas, which have the most drunkenness, are only second in violence and lowest of all in suicide. Dr Sullivan explains this discrepancy by the theory that chronic alcoholism is less prevalent among miners, and that this form is chiefly responsible for the crimes in question. It is impossible, however, to establish any constant relation between drink and violent crime; the two do not vary together. It was pointed out in the Judicial Statistics for 1901 that whereas in the drunken year 1899 consumption of drink was 8 per cent. higher and the police records of prosecutions for drunkenness 15 per cent. higher than in the, previous quinquennial period, crimes of violence were 162 per cent. lower. These statistics apply only to England. When other countries are taken it becomes still clearer that other factors are more important. Mr W. D. Morrison gives the following table of homicides in proportion to population in different countries (Crime and its Causes) Persons Tried for Homicide per 100,000.
Except that England, Scotland and Ireland are in the order of relative drunkenness, the table shows no correspondence between drink and homicide. National character and climate are evidently more important determining factors. Some calculations of the proportion of crime associated with drink have been made in different countries. In Germany 36.5 per cent. of the prisoners in one gaol were found to be drunkards (Baer); assaults, 51.3 per cent.; resistance to the police, 70.1 per cent.; offences against morality, 66 per cent. (Aschaffenburg). In Italy 50, 60, and 75 per cent. of crimes against the person have been attributed to drink. In Switzerland 4 0 per cent. of male criminals in 1892 were found to have been under the influence of drink when their offences were committed. In Denmark 43 per cent. of the men convicted in 1903 were drunkards. These estimates, some of which are official, suffice to confirm the connexion between drink and a great deal of crime, but the basis of investigation is too narrow to permit more than a general conclusion. There is, however, one form of crime for which drink is almost wholly responsible, and this furnishes the blackest of all indictments against it. The intensity of suffering and injury inflicted on children by the atrocious cruelty and neglect of drunken parents cannot be overstated. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children finds that 90 per cent. of the cases which come under its notice are due to drink.
Much poverty, is undoubtedly caused by drink, but it is even less possible to establish any constant connexion between the two than in the case of crime. Pauperism and drink stand to a great extent in inverse relation; in good times the first diminishes and the second increases, in bad times the reverse takes place. For instance, pauperism in England, which has had a general tendency to fall for many years, rose rapidly in the period of low consumption after 1860, fell still more rapidly in the great drinking years 1870-77, and rose again when they gave place to depression. With falling consumption after 1891 (see the table above) it rose till 1894, when the opposite movement began; and during the steady fall of drink since 1900 pauperism has been rising again. The only exception to this regular inverse movement is the very depressed period 1884-1888, when pauperism was stationary. The conclusion to be drawn is that while drink is a chief cause of poverty in many cases and the sole cause in some, it is swamped in the aggregate by the larger influence of work and wages. Mr Charles Booth's statistical investigation in East London resulted in the following estimates of the percentage of poverty caused by drink: "great poverty" (the two lowest classes) - drink, 9 per cent., drunken or thriftless wife, 5 per cent.; "poverty" (the two next classes) the figures were - drink, 7 per cent., drunken or thriftless wife, 6 per cent. These results can hardly be said to confirm the opinion that drink is the chief cause of poverty; they rather agree with the conclusions drawn from the movement of pauperism. Mr Rowntree's investigation of poverty in York did not enable him to make any numerical estimate; drink was not among the chief causes of "primary" poverty (the lowest class), but he thought it the "predominant factor" in producing "secondary" poverty. Alderman McDougall's inquiry in Manchester (1883) resulted in the following proportions of drink-pauperism: - Male drunkenness, 24.32 per cent.; female, 4.40 per cent.; widows and children of drunkards, 21.84 per cent. An inquiry conducted in 1894-95 by the Massachusetts Bureau of Statistics of Labour found that 39'44 per cent. of paupers attributed their position to their own intemperance and about 5 per cent. to that of their parents. All these inquiries are on a very small basis, and the last is particularly deceptive. Drink is commonly confessed by criminals and paupers, as a venial offence to serve as a plausible excuse for a condition really due to dislike of work. When poverty is examined by local distribution it is found to have very little connexion with drink. In 1901 the average proportion of pauperism to population in England was 5.3 per cent. The exceptionally drunken districts of Northumberland and Durham were all below it, the sober eastern counties all above it (Blue-book on Public Health and Social Conditions, Col. 4671).
Dr Robert Jones finds that 16 per cent. of all the persons (7182 out of 43,694) admitted into the London asylums during the twelve years1893-1905"were definitely ascertained to owe their insanity to drink or intemperance." The proportion in Claybury Asylum during the same period was 17 per cent., being 22 per cent. of the men and 12 per cent. of the women. Dr R. H. Crowley says: - "One may safely assert that from 20 to 25 per cent. of all cases of insanity under the poor law are directly due to intemperance." Dr T. B. Hyslop says: - "With regard to insanity there is some difference in experience as to the relative frequency of alcohol in its causation. This difference ranges from between to and 30 per cent.... My own experience leads me to believe that alcohol is either a direct or an indirect factor in the causation of at least 50 per cent. of the cases of insanity." Dr T. S. Clouston estimates that alcoholic excess is the cause of about 20 per cent. of all the insanity in Great Britain and Ireland. These are the opinions of experienced medical men in charge of the insane. On the other hand, those in charge of inebriates are inclined to attribute inebriety to a great extent to mental deficiency of some kind. Dr Branthwaite, government inspector under the Inebriates Acts, observes in his Report for 1908, published in 1910, "There is no doubt whatever in detaining and treating persons sent to us under the Inebriates Acts that we are dealing to a large extent with a class known as ` feeble-minded.' ... It would be difficult to find many more than about a third of all persons under detention capable of passing muster as of average mental capacity." In support of this statement he gives the following classification of 3032 cases: - Classification. Number. Percentage.
(I) Insane; persons since admission certified and sent to asylums 63 (2) Very defective; persons more or less con-. 14.51 genitally imbecile, degenerate,or epileptic 377 (3) Defective; eccentric, silly, dull, senile, or subject to periodical paroxysms of un governable temper 1487 49'04 (4) Of average mental capacity, on admission or after six months' detention ...
1105 36.45 Insanity is therefore a cause as well as a consequence of excessive drinking, and the estimates given about it must be qualified accordingly. The following are given for foreign countries. In Italy a report from 26 asylums returned 18.6 per cent. as directly or indirectly (by heredity) due to alcoholism. Professor Seppili reports from the Brescia asylum the following: 1894-98, 15.7 per cent.; 1899-1903, 19'8 per cent.; 1904-08, 27.6 per cent. Experts in such statistics will recognize at once in this enormous rise a change in the method of classification. In Switzerland, of the admissions in 1900-04, 21-I per cent. among males and 4.37 per cent. among females were alcoholics. In Denmark, of the admissions in 1899-1903, 21.37 per cent. were alcoholics. In Austria, of the admissions in 1903, 14.0 per cent. were alcoholics. In France the proportion of all persons in asylums in 1907 with an alcoholic history was 12.5 per cent.
The influence of drink on mortality is an unascertainable quantity, because it may be associated with other causes to an extent which varies in an infinite series of gradations. All attempts to estimate it are more or less plausible guesses. We have, however, some positive data. The Registrar-General's Returns contain the heading "alcoholism, delirium tremens," as a cause of death. The following are the rates per million recorded in quinquennial periods from 1870 to 1905: 37.6, 4 2.4, 4 8.2, 56.o, 67.8, 85.8, 78.2. This is unsatisfactory for two reasons: the first is, that alcoholism does not nearly cover all the mortality directly caused by drink; and the second is that, being a very vague term, its use in certifying the cause of death depends largely on the views of the practitioner and current opinion in the medical profession. The attention paid to the subject has led to a growing recognition of alcoholism, which, indeed, does not appear at all in the older textbooks. This accounts for the steady increase of deaths ascribed to it, which is otherwise inexplicable, being quite at variance with the consumption of drink during the same period. The Seventy-first Annual Report of the Registrar-General states that the mortality from alcoholism in the years 1900 and 1901 was materially increased by the transference of deaths that had been originally certified as from neuritis. It is now usual to classify alcoholism and cirrhosis of the liver together, since the latter is most frequently caused by intemperance. The following are the crude death-rates for twenty years Death-Rates to a Million Living - England and Wales. These figures dispose of the current belief in an enormous increase of female intemperance based on the progressive rise of the deathrates. Discussing this question some years ago the present writer pointed out the defects of the statistics and said that the returns of the next few years might upset the whole argument. They have done so.
The statistics of alcoholism and cirrhosis, however, are very far from covering all the mortality due to drink. Dr Newsholme calculates by inference from the returns of Denmark and Switzerland that the deaths directly attributed to alcohol in England and Wales should be some six times higher than they appear in the returns, and that they would then amount to 5 per cent. of the total deaths of adults instead of about o 8 per cent. He adds: "This percentage probably greatly understates the real facts." It may be so, but the calculation is based on too many assumptions to be accepted with confidence. In addition to the direct mortality there is an unknown score against alcohol in predisposing to other diseases and in accelerating death. Consumption is one of the diseases thought to be particularly associated with alcohol, but there are several others. The following table shows the comparative mortality of males aged 25 to 65 from certain classes of disease in different groups of occupations. They include those with the highest and those with the lowest mortality. The heading "diseases of the circulatory system" includes heart disease and aneurism; diseases of respiratory system include bronchitis, pneumonia and pleurisy, but not phthisis, which is separately given; diseases of urinary system include Bright's disease. The table is compiled from the supplement to the Sixty-fifth Annual Report of the RegistrarGeneral, published 1908. No other country has similar statistics. There are some partial ones for Switzerland, which attribute 2.47 per cent. of the deaths of males over 20 years directly or indirectly to alcohol, and for Denmark, where the corresponding figure is 42 per cent.
The association of a high degree of alcoholic mortality with weakness of all the organs is clearly shown by the figures for unoccupied males, general labourers, dockers, costermongers, innkeepers and inn-servants. Potters and file-makers, with a comparatively low degree of alcoholic mortality, alone show a similar condition, Comparative Mortality-England and Wales. and it is no doubt due to the inhalation or absorption of irritating or poisonous particles through the nature of their occupation. The clergy, who have the lowest alcoholic mortality, show a remarkably low level of organic disease of all kinds; railway engine-drivers, who come next, suffer more from circulatory and respiratory diseases, navvies and coal-miners still more, while civil servants are more susceptible to phthisis. Agriculturists, though with a higher alcoholic mortality, nearly equal the clergy in general healthiness, which must be attributed to the open-air life. The low alcoholic level of coal-miners and navvies is striking, because both are hard-drinking classes; their position can only be explained by the fact that they drink beer, and it goes far to prove the innocuousness of beer when combined with hard work. The enormous and absurdly disproportionate mortality from diseases of the liver among innkeepers, and in a lesser degree among unoccupied males, is obviously due to a preference for stating that cause on certificates in place of alcoholism. The condition of unoccupied males revealed by this table is worth a volume of sermons. The mortality among them between the ages of 25 and 65 is higher than that of any other class of the community. It is also worth noting that poverty is good for health. The clergy are the poorest of the educated and professional classes; and agricultural labourers, who are the poorest of the manual working classes, are nearly as healthy all round except that they are somewhat more liable to phthisis; their comparative mortality figure from all causes is only 621.
Longevity.-A great deal of statistical information with regard to the comparative longevity or expectation of life at different ages among abstainers and non-abstainers has been collected by life-insurance companies and friendly societies. The following table is given in the syllabus of temperance teaching in elementary schools issued in 1909: Expectancy of Life. Similar statistics have been prepared showing the relative mortality experience among insured persons. Mr R. M. Moore gives the following proportional figures at different ages for all the societies embraced in the Institute of Actuaries tables, as compared with the abstaining section of the United Kingdom Temperance and Provident Institution, which is taken as 100: Mortality Experience of Non-Abstainers to Abstainers oo.
The United Kingdom Temperance Institution has a general as well as an abstaining section. The experience of the twenty-two years1884-1905gives the following result: percentage of actual to expected deaths-general section, 79'53; temperance section, 54.25. Other offices having abstaining sections show similar results, thus: General. Temperance.
Sceptre Life Association (25 years). 79' 6 7 53.05 Scottish Temperance Life Assurance Co.
(25 years) 64 46 Pathology.-Dr Sims Woodhead thus summarizes the results of experimental investigation into the direct action of alcohol upon living cells and tissues.
Alcohol plays a prominent part in bringing about degeneration of nerves, muscles and epithelial cells; it determines the accumulation of waste products in the tissues by paralysing the tissue cells, interfering with oxidation, with secretion and with excretion; it induces the proliferation of the lower forms of tissue, often at the expense of the more highly developed tissues, which in its presence undergo marked degenerative changes; it interferes directly with the production of immunity against specific infective diseases, and reasoning from analogy it may be assumed that it plays an equally important part in impairing the resistance of tissue to the advance of the active agents in the production of disease that may have already obtained a foothold in the body.
With regard to this aspect of the subject it must be remembered that laboratory experiments by which alcohol is placed in direct contact with cells and tissues are an entirely different thing from the dietetic use of beverages containing dilute alcohol with other things. It would be interesting to know how the tissues would behave when similarly treated with common salt, lemon juice, vinegar, theine, caffeine or other substances in general dietetic use, -or with ordinary tonics such as quinine, quassia and dilute acids.
Inebriety.-Much study has been devoted to inebriety as a diseased condition. It generally results from long-continued and excessive indulgence in alcohol and is characterized by dipsomania or a craving for alcohol, which is chronic or periodical and which the subject cannot resist. It is accompanied by organic changes in the nervous system, which probably begin in the stomach, but end in disintegration of the brain cells with the development of alcoholic insanity. LThe only chance of cure lies in complete abstinence from liquors with, at first, suitable medical treatment. The recognition of this fact has led to the establishment of special institutions for this purpose, both of a voluntary and a compulsory character. An account of the laws relating to the subject is given under the heading of Inebriety. In accordance with the law three classes of institutions have been established in the United Kingdom :-(i) Certified inebriate reformatories, to which patients are committed by the courts for various periods of detention. They are II in number, and during 1908-the last year reportedthe committals to them numbered 262 (218 women and 44 men). The total number committed since their establishment in 1897 is 3002 (2548 women and 484 men); the highest number in any one year was 493 (4 28 women and 65 men) in 1907. (2) State Inebriate Reformatories, more of a penal character, for persons committed but too refractory for the previous class. There are two, one for women and one for men; the average number under detention in 1908 was 74 women and 42 men; the admissions were 27 women and 10 men. (3) Licensed retreats, for voluntary patients. In 1908 they numbered 20, and had under treatment 493 patients (288 women and 205 men). In all about Boo habitual inebriates are thus treated. The results cannot be stated with any precision, but they are certainly disappointing. The Inebriates After-Cure Association gives the following analysis of 407 cases discharged from reformatories and looked after in the years 1903-8 :-Satisfactory result, 82 (50 women, 32 men); unsatisfactory, 114 (78 women, 36 men); not known, 221 (162 women, 49 men). One explanation of the failure of treatment and the frequency of relapses which has been revealed by longer and closer study of the problem is that many inebriates are really mental defectives, as already noted in connexion with insanity. Such cases constantly reappear in the police courts after discharge.
It has long been generally assumed that the children. of alcoholics suffer in body and mind for the sins of their parents, that they are weak, diseased and defective; and it is very often assumed that they inherit an alcoholic craving. The latter assumption is not admitted by scientific students of the question, but the former has been generally held, though without any proof. It has been made the subject of a statistical investigation (1910) in the Eugenics laboratory of London University by Miss E. M. Elderton and Professor Karl Pearson. The object was to "measure the effect of alcoholism in the parents on the health, physique and intelligence of their offspring," whether by toxic or environmental influence, but not by the transmission of original defective characters, which is omitted from the inquiry. The material used is a report by the Edinburgh Charity Organization Society on the children in one of the Edinburgh schools and one by Miss Mary Dendy on those in the special schools of Manchester. The number of children is not stated, but so far as can be gathered from the tables the Edinburgh inquiry covered about woo and the Manchester inquiry about 2000. The ages were from 5 to 14 (Edinburgh report), and both sexes are included in approximately equal numbers. The general conclusion reached is that "no marked relation has been found between the intelligence, physique or disease of the offspring and parental alcoholism in any of the categories investigated." The principal particular conclusions reached ate as follows: - Higher death-rate in alcoholic than in sober families, more marked in the case of mother than of father, but alcoholic parents more fertile, and therefore nett family about equal; height and weight of alcoholic children slightly greater, but when corrected for age slightly less; general health of alcoholic children slightly better, markedly so in regard to tuberculosis and epilepsy; parental alcoholism not the source of mental defect in children; no perceptible relation between parental alcoholism and filial intelligence.
These conclusions, which run counter to current opinions, have been much criticized, and it is true that the scope of the inquiry is inadequate to establish them as general propositions. Moreover, the chronological relation of parental intemperance to the birth of the children is not stated. But so far as it goes the investigation is sound and it is the first attempt to treat the subject in a scientific way. Nor is there anything in the conclusions to surprise careful and unbiassed observers. The existence of a broad relation between superior vigour and an inclination for alcoholic drinks was pointed out years ago by the writer; drinking peoples are noticeably more energetic and progressive than non-drinking ones. It is the universal experience of shipmasters that British seamen, whose temperance causes trouble and therefore induces a preference for more sober foreigners, exhibit an energy and endurance in emergency of which the latter are incapable. Similar testimony has repeatedly been borne by engineers and contractors engaged in large works in the south of Europe. And that acute observer, Miss Loane, has related a particular and striking case in regard to offspring from her own experience, which is curiously in keeping with the conclusions of the Eugenics laboratory. The question, however, needs much more elucidation.
The whole subject has, in truth, got somewhat out of perspective. The tendency. of the statistical and experimental investigations, summarized above into the relations of alcohol with crime, mortality, disease, &c., has been to obliterate the distinction between the use and abuse of alcohol, between moderate and excessive drinking, and to bring into relief all the evils associated with excess, while ignoring the other side of the question. It is legitimate and desirable to emphasize the evils, but not by the one-sided and fallacious handling of facts. Alcoholic excess produces the evils alleged, though not to the extent alleged, but there is no evidence to show that its moderate use produces any of them. Yet they are all put down to "alcohol," and the inference is freely drawn that its abolition would practically put an end to crime, vice, poverty and disease without any counterbalancing loss whatever. The facts do not warrant that inference, nor has mankind at large ever accepted it. Both the statistical and experimental evidence is full of fallacies, and especially the latter. The pathological investigations on the action of alcohol referred to above elucidate the organic changes which the tissues undergo in the chronic inebriate who is saturated with spirit, but to draw the inference that alcoholic liquors taken in moderation and consumed in the body have any such action is wholly fallacious. In point of fact we know that they have not. But there is more than that. These experiments only take cognizance of alcohol; they ignore the other substances actually consumed along with it. Some of these, and notably sugar, are recognized foods; the balance of opinion on the vexed question whether alcohol itself is a food - which really depends on what is meant by a food - is now on the side of alcohol. But in addition to the principal constituents, easily separable by analysis, are many other substances of which science takes no cognizance at all; they are not identified. They may be in minute quantities yet extremely powerful, as are many other vegetable extractives.
We know that they exist by their taste and their effect; they make the difference between port and sherry, between claret and Burgundy, between one vintage and another, between brandy and whisky, differences unknown to chemistry - which only recognizes alcohol, and knows very little about that - but vastly important to the human organism. Another group of experiments are equally fallacious in a different way. The effect of alcohol in mental operations is tested by the comparative speed and ease with which work is done after a dose and without it. The effect has been found to be diminished speed and ease; but these experimenters do not apply the same test to a good meal or a sound sleep or hard exercise. The writer finds in concentrated mental work that the immediate effect of even a small dose of alcohol is to impair efficiency, but the other three do so in a much higher degree. The inference is not that these are injurious, but that the proper time for each is not just before work; after work he finds them all, alcohol included, beneficial. The mortality statistics are treated in a similar one-sided way. They clearly show the injury done by the abuse of alcohol, but what of its moderate use? Agricultural labourers are the most typical moderate drinking class, and they are one of the healthiest in spite of exposure, bad housing and poverty. If all the unhealthiness of those who drink hard is referred to their drink, then the healthiness of those who drink moderately should be referred to it too.
The absolute condemnation of alcoholic drinks has never been endorsed by public opinion or by the medical profession, because it is contradicted by their general experience. That many persons are better without any alcohol, and that many more would be better if they took less than they do is undeniable; but it is equally undeniable that many derive benefit from a moderate amount of it. Sir James Paget, than whom no man was more completely master of his appetites or better qualified to judge, drank port wine himself because he found that it did him good. He represents the attitude of the medical profession as a whole and of temperate men in general. Attempts to support the case for abolishing the use of alcoholic liquors by denying them any value and by attributing to them effects which spring from many other causes, do not carry conviction or advance the cause of temperance. A much stronger argument lies in the difficulty of drawing a definite line between use and abuse; they tend to merge into one another, and it may be urged that the evils of the latter are sufficiently great to justify the abandonment of the former. But the use of most things is open to the same objection, and mankind at large has never consented to forego the gratification of a natural appetite because it is liable to abuse. Nor is there any sign of an intention to make an exception in favour of alcohol. On the other hand, moderation is attainable by every sane individual. It is in fact observed by the great majority and to an increasing extent. There is a line between use and abuse, and every one really knows where it is in his own case. If he cannot draw it let him abstain, as Dr Johnson did for that reason. But society can do much to assist the individual by inculcating moderation, setting a standard, promoting its maintenance by helpful environment, discouraging excess and diminishing temptation. All the evidence points to those means as the effective agents in securing the improvement which has taken place in Great Britain.
This article should be read in conjunction with that on Liquor Laws, and it will therefore be in place here to give some additional information regarding the latter. The policy of prohibition has recently gained ground in several countries. In 1910 nine American states had adopted it - namely: Maine, Kansas, N. Dakota, Georgia, Oklahoma, Alabama, Mississippi, N. Carolina and Tennessee; and it was estimated that nearly half the population of the United States were living under state or local prohibition. In Canada the province of Prince Edward Island has adopted complete prohibition. In 1908 Iceland by a popular vote resolved to prohibit the manufacture, importation and sale of intoxicating liquor. In Norway nearly half the towns have adopted prohibition under the law of 1906. In Belgium and Switzerland the manufacture, importation and sale of absinthe was forbidden in 1908. In New Zealand the principle of prohibition has gained ground, and in 1910 was in force over one-seventh Of the colony.
Licensing Statistics Home Office (annual); Statistical Tables of Alcoholic Beverages, Board of Trade, 1905; Report of Inspector under Inebriates Acts (annual); Judicial Statistics (annual); Registrar-General's Annual Report; Statistics of Cities, United States Census Bureau; Alliance Year Book; Church of England Temperance Society Annual Report; American Prohibition Year Book; Brewers' Almanack; New Encyclopaedia of Social Reform; " The Drink Problem" (New Library of Medicine); Eugenics Laboratory Memoirs; Morrison, Crime and its Causes; Pratt, Licensing and Temperance in Sweden, Norway and Denmark; Rowntree and Sherwell, The Temperance Problem and Social Reform; A. Shadwell, Drink, Temperance and Legislation. (A. St-)
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Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Temperance'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/bri/t/temperance.html. 1910.