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TEMPERANCE AT PORT CHALMERS.

TO THE EDITOR, Sir,—l have to thank Ur Drysdade for his prompt reply to my letter published by you on the 29th nit, and to apologis? for not having noticed his letter on an earlier date, other engagements haying prevented me.

Dr Drysdalo is mistaken. I am quite satisfied with his “bare word” when that word is given. I have not once questioned his word in any degree, nor have I given evidence of any wish to draw the doctor “ into a discussion of the whole drink question.” It is true that this subject has been threshed out by men much ahlej than I am —I express no opinion as to the relative ability of Dr Urysdale. I wonder if the conclusions to which these abler men have arrived are concurred in by him ? It would

be interesting to know with whose conclusions and with how many of them the doctor agrees. What I have done in this correspondence has been to comment on the doctor's “few remarks” at the licensing meeting, and to criticise his interpretation and administration of the Licensing Act. The friendly controversy into which we have been led, and to which his lust letter refers, the doctor himself originated. I commented on the fact of the coincidence of the large diminution in the apprehensions for drunkenness and the suspension of bottle licenses, and said it would be interesting to note the results of the reissue of these licenses on the social condition of Port Chalmers. The doctor then said, in effect, that the policy adopted by the Licensing Committee has no practical influence on the drunkenness of the people of Port Chalmers, This is determined by the spsnding power of the people, as they may be prosperous or the reverse. If the people are fairly prosperous the evidence of their prosperity is to be found in the record of the arrests for drunkenness. I did not venture to question the doctor’s word, but said had we more information, we would be in a better position to judge of the soundness of the doctor’s opinion as to the influences which determined the social condition of the people. The doctor has been kind enough to furnish me with information asked for. I have looked at the figures furnished by him, hut am not quite convinced that they warrant the conclusion at which ho arrives. I think it is what the school men call a non seqnitur. Even if the doctor’s figures proved—which I don’t think they do—“ that the color of the Licensing Committee has little or nothing to do with the matter,” it does not follow “ that the convictions for drunkenness are in a direct ratio to the prosperity of the community.” This idea is by no means peculiar to Dr Drysdale. It has been again and again urged by anti-temperance men as satisfactorily accounting for a decreased consumption of liquor and other indications of an advancing temperance sentiment. Experience, however, both in the Old Land and in these colonies, affords evidence to the contrary. Since 1882 an increase of deposits in the savings banks has been coincident with a decreasing colonial liquor bill, and in the House of Commons the Chancellor of the Exchequer testified to a diminishing expenditure on liquor, which is not checked by a revival of prosperity among the people, I have made note of the figures given by Dr Drysdale, and for which I thank him. I find, however, that they do not agree with the reports made from year to year by the police at the annual licensing meetings. I do not, however, cast any reflection on Dr Drysdale’s veracity or accuracy because of this. The difference may arise from the fact that the figures relate to different terms. I will reserve these to be dealt with in another letter, or this one will grow to undue proportions.—l am, etc., Veritas Viscit. Dunedin, July 8.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890711.2.26.9

Bibliographic details

TEMPERANCE AT PORT CHALMERS., Evening Star, Issue 7956, 11 July 1889

Word Count
658

TEMPERANCE AT PORT CHALMERS. Evening Star, Issue 7956, 11 July 1889

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