The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. TUESDAY JUNE 25, 1889. EXTREME MEASURES.
Our attitude on the temperance question has, we think, been sufficiently clear and consistent to be misunderstood by none, We hold that the greatest evils of the day are those caused by drink, and our support has always been given to any movement or measure tending to diminish those evils. Temperance societies have, without doubt, done much
both by precept and example, to restrain individuals from undue indulgence m drink, and their exertions have resulted m some beneficial amendments being made m the licensing laws. Ihe Good Templars bate, iv fact, become a power m the land, and their power has on the whole been used for the good of society. While this has been the case the Order has had our sympathy, and whatever encouragement we have been able to afford it ; but there is a point beyond which we cannot follow its lead, and m a case which is just now exercising the Ashburton lodges of the Order very considerably we think that point has been passed. It is fresh m the memory of our readers that at the recent sitting of the Licensing Committee for Ashburton
Borough, an application for a license was opposed, presumably on behalf of the Good Templars, and a petition bearing twenty-one signatures was lodged m support of the opposition. This petition we may say contained the names of some highly respected residents, but did not appear to be representative of the temperance community as a whole. No evidence was adduced to show that the hotel opposed was either badly conducted or not required, indeed the opposing solicitor admitted that the house had been well conducted, and that it was required was proved by the evidence of several independent witnesses. One of these witnebses was a promi nent Good Xemplsr, one who had held the highest office m his Lodge, and who is well-known as a zealous
worker m the cause of temperance, and a hearty supporter of Good Templary. For his conduct m giving this evidence he was called to
account m hie - Lodfir®, «»«l— «»ftw a -lioate^ and prolonged discussion was expelled, by barely the requisite majority, on the charge of having broken his pledge. A reference to the consti-
tutions of the Order shows the pledge to be as follows :— "No member shall make, buy, sell, use, furnish, or caused to be furnished to others as a beverage, ' any spirituous or malt liquors, wine or cider, and every member shall discountenance the manufacture, sale and use thereof, m all proper ways." What are <l proper ways" is apparently loft to individual conscience, and we know that the offending brother's course of action has the approval of many men of influence
m temperance and templar circleß. jNo attempt has been made to show that his evidence was incorrect m th"c smallest detail. No resolution of any lodge was passed binding members to oppose the granting of the license m iqacstion, and the brother was consequently entitled to the exercise of his right as a free subject m giving evidence that the hotel was lawfully and respectably conducted. 'If by any if proper means" the
license could have been taken from tbe hotel, and a Good Templar bad attempted to defeat such, means he would have been guilty of a grave offenoe against the order ; but the utmost that coukj be done was to harass the present respectable tenant, a oourse of aotion that we feel sure was neyer contemplated by the founders of the order, and which certainly does not meet with the approval of the great body of temperance men, nor will it tend to advance the influence of Good Tempi ary. We hope to hear that the decision of the lodge will ba reconsidered and revoked, and further proceedings towards the restriction of the liquor traffic be confined to what there can be no doubt about being k proper means."
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