BLUE JACKETS AND BLUE RIB SON ISM.
Although the teetotallers have not yet succeeded m converting the world to the belief that the only wholesome tipple is of the brand known as " Adam's ale," and although irlir Julius VogeFs forecast of "The Year Two Thousand" does not include the entire discontinuance of the consumption of strong waters, the disciples of Father Matthew hare reason to congratulate themselves that their doctrines and example and their persistent advocacy, m season and out of season, have wrought and are working a wonderful change m the customs of society— one indeed which it would be scarcely an exaggeration to ! describe as a social revolution. Fashion and even speech m relation to this matter have silently undergone a radical change, for while it w»b once deemed " the thing " to indulge m wine by the bottle, or two, or three, and the genius of the bard sang the praises of whisky and eau de vie, the race of two and three bottle men has ceased to be, and j the phrase " as drunk as a lord " has become as obsolete as the fact. People used to write and talk of " going to bed drunk like a gentleman," but we have changed all that, our very statutes have wedded the words " drunk " and " dis- i orderly " together, and not only intoxication but even drinking, save m the most moderate quantity, is universally voted bad form. It may be that the general spread of education has had something to deb.with all this, but there were plenty of educated drunkards " when George the Third was King;'* and beyond question the chief factor m the great reform m our drinking customs as a people has been the temperance— or rather the teetotal— -movement, with its Blue Ribbon Army, its Bands of Hope, its Rechabites, and Good Templars, and, other, and many, its organisations and ramifications. Even those who maintain that wines and spirits are " good creatures of God," m the sense that they were intended to cheer and invigorate mankind, and that used m moderation and not abused they are blessings and not curses, will nevertheless freely admit that drunkenness is a gigantic evil and the fruitful parent of poverty and crime, of want and misery, insanity and disease, and even those who decline to abstain themselves will rejoice m the spread of temperance, and even of abstinence, as minimising immensely the sorrows and Buffering and sin of humanity. And that temperance, and total abstinence too, are spreading greatly, there are many •nd encouraging signs, not the least pleasing and hopeful of the successes of the reformers being found m connection with the Army and Navy. Of the temperance or teetotal movement m the Army, it is not our present purpose to write, but m referring to the spread of blue-ribbonißm among our blue-jackets, we may remark that the writer of the naval songs of the near future will have to discard the Bacchanalian choruses of the songs of the days of Nelson as altogether out of place. The typical sailor of the past, who when offered the opportunity of three wishes, wished first for an ocean of rum, and next for a mountain of tobacco, and who—having then exhausted his ideas of the summum bonum of human happiness — was compelled for his third wish to fall back upon " a little more rum," has become of a verity the sailor of the past, and although many of the Jack Tars of to-day are given to sprees ashore, there is a general feeling growing up among them that drunkenness even when off duty is a discredit to the service, while year by year increasing numbers are going over altogether to the side of the total abstainers. As an example of this we may refer to a very interesting report of " The tern • perance movement among the Australian squadron," which is published m the Auckland " Leader " as the outcome of an interview between a representative of that paper and Lieutenant Bisk, and Mr George (chief artificer) of Her Majesty's ship Orlando. From this we learn that there is a Temperance Society on board each vessel (save one) of the squadron, connected with the Royal Naval Temperance Society. This Society was started by Miss Weston m Devonport, and has spread with wonderful rapidity among the fleets, having (says Lieutenant Risk) " branches on nearly every vessel m the whole Navy. There are also 1.0. G.T. lodges established on the ships.. They work well together, and generally combine their entertainments." The officers and authorities generally approve of these lodges, and " most officers are desirous that such should be formed where they do not already exist," and "judging from the progress made m the past, and from the fact that the number of members is still increasing, the future is very hopeful." Of the advantages to the men and to the service the Lieutenant goes on to say : — " I would far sooner have abstainers with me on a misßion than moderate drinkers. This is the opinion pfmoßt officers m the Navy, and abstainers are generally more to be trusted than the otnWo. By a man becoming an abstainer he gains many small privileges.- For instance, a man is to be sent on shore on an errand ; it is customary to send a petty officer m /charge of him, but if he is an abstainer ho is .often trusted to go alone. He has more shore liberty granted, for the officers, knowing him to be an abstainer, know well enough that he will not mis* his boat through being drunk, and that he will conduct himself when on shore m a better manner than his ' moderate ' shipmates. It is really to the men's own advantage to become total abstainers, most decidedly the men are physically, mentally, and as regards their social comfort, moph the better for total abstinence." It is pleasing feo read further this officer's testimony to the fact tha|; the men when they take the pledge do po j solemnly, and as a rule keep it honorably, j only a small percentage breaking their pledges; but we think the Government would do well to give them a larger sum than the farthing a day extra pay, which they receive m lieu of the usual allowance pf rum. The following are the figures given #0 pq the number of Blue Ribbon men m the Squadron, go far as they could be supplied at the interview referred to, viz. :— 180 on the flag ship, 45 on the Calliope, 45 on the Raven (being more than half the ship's crew), 40 on the Rapid, 30 00 the Opal, and 20 1 op the Lizard— making a idisi for these vessels of $JjQ tofcal abstainers. Inhere ard also Lodges on board the other vessels of the Squadron, but the returns were not available. ?he following is a list of the LO.GT. Lodges on the Btation,:— Light of the Ocean Lodge, . Nq. £8, B,H.S. Opal 5 Sea Nymph
Lodge, No. 70, H.M.S. fcapid ; Gem of the Sea Lodge, No. 74, H.M.B. Diamond ; Vanguard Lodge, No. 117, H.M.S. Dart ; Orlando Lodge, No. 176, H.M.S. Orlando ; Union Jack Lodge, No. 399, H.M.S. Calliope; White Ensign Lodge. H.M.S. Egeria ; Guard of Honor Lodge, No. 546, H.M.S. Raven ; t-tar of the tfast Lodge, No. 575, H.M.S. Myrmidon ; Royal Standard Lodge, No. 576, H.M.t-*. Swingnr ; The Pennant Lodge, No. 577, H.M.S. Lizard.
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BLUE JACKETS AND BLUE RIBSONISM., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2065, 16 February 1889
BLUE JACKETS AND BLUE RIBSONISM. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2065, 16 February 1889
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