Prohibition in Canada.
In the March number of ‘ Macmillan ’ is an article by Professor Goldwin Smith, on ‘ Prohibitionism in Canada and the United States.’ He states that the Scott Act, which passed the Canadian Parliament in 1878, enables any county or city adopting it by a simple majority of the electois to prohibit the sale of any liquor within the district for local consumption under penalty of a fine of fifty dollars for the first offence, a hundred for the second, and two months’ imprisonment for the third. When adopted, the Act remains in force for three years, after which, upon a petition signed by onefourth of the electors, it may again be submitted to the yote, and if there is a majority against it, repealed. Professor Goldwin Smith discusses the operation of the Act; and contends that it has been the cause of enormous mischief. We quote a passage of the article in which the writer deals with the argument used from Scripture“ To force the sentiment the people into accordance with the law is the mojre difficult, aippp all the time their church is holding up for their imitation a model of character which is not ‘temperate’ in the Prohibitionist sense of that term. In commenting on the miracle i.S Cana, Archdeacon Farrar contraft* ilie ‘genial innocence of Christ’s system ’ with the ‘crushing asceticism of iiva' apt. ms.’ By way of reconciling this
discrepancy, desperate efforts are made to uphold the astonishing theory that oinoH of the Gospel was not fermented wine, but syrup. The ruler of the feast at Cana, it seems, expressed his surprise that the best syrup had not been produced till the guests had well drunk : the accusers of Christ in calling Him a winebibber meant only that Ho was a syrup drinker. It was on syrup that the Corinthians got drunk at the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Paul advised his friend to take a little syrup for his stomach’s sake; and the same apostle enjoined the church in electing deacons not to choose those who were given to excess in syrup! To such paltering with what everyone educated enough to be a clergyman must know to be the truth, we rather prefer the preacher who said boldly that if Christ were again to come on earth and persisted in celebrating the Eucharist with wine He would have to be excluded from His own church. To drag the Gospel into this discussion on the Prohibitionist side is hopeless. There is no more of fanaticism than there is of formalism in that volume. When St. Paul bids us not drink wine if thereby our brother is made to stumble, he couples eating meat with drinking wine, showing that in his opinion both in themselves are innocent. The Gospel bids us have regard to the weakness of our brother ; but it does not bid our brother be weak or us to countenance his weakness by unjust and unwise legislation.” The article gives a large amount of information in respect to the working of the Act in those districts in which it has been introduced, and concludes by an appeal to the British Parliament that before it commits itself to prohibitive legislation it should send a commission of inquiry to the United States and Canada.
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Prohibition in Canada., Evening Star, Issue 7906, 14 May 1889
Prohibition in Canada. Evening Star, Issue 7906, 14 May 1889
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