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THE TEMPERANCE QUESTION., Issue 7978, 6 August 1889
THE TEMPERANCE QUESTION.
TO THE EDITOR. Sfu,— I The determined stand taken by the temperance party ” as to the sale of intoxicating liquors is the rpiestion of “ the day,” and, as it is associated with the increase of crime, naturally deserves some grave consideration from all right-thinking men and women, whose duty it is, individually and collectively, to give the question that serious thought and consideration which it deserves, so that by their experience, by their careful thought, and by their influence they may be the means of helping those who, to all appearance, are sjnkjng lower and lower in the scale of humanity. In thus endeavoring to do our best we must refrain from approaching it in a partial spirit; but, taking every argument for and against it, like a proposition in Euclid, deduct from it a corollary of our own.
To begin wiih, we must coincide with the views of “the temperance party ” that the sale of intoxicating liquors is injurious, “ morally, intellectually, and physica'ly,” to the public good. As a consequence we have an increase of crime, the number in our gaols, the number in our lunatic asylums, the number in our hospitals, and the number of unhappy homes. As one touch of Nature makes the whole world kin, naturally we say we have to regret and bemoan the existence of such a state of things.
Having thus reviewed the temperance question in the only light they would have us do, and having arrived at the conclusion that they are right in principle, consequently right in action, have they then, we ask ourselves, our sympathy and our assistance? Before we can answer this question we must look at the other side of the picture, and as fairly question the motives which prompt or account for the abuse of the sale of intoxicating liquors. This commodity, like everything else, it must be admitted, was created “ through the agency of man,” for our use, and notour abuse; consequently man, in the weakness of his nature, abuses it, not liking to admit, as Milton would have us do, that it is our individual weakness, when he says— Weakness U thy excuse, and I believe it— Weakness to resist. This weakness in individuals leads to crimes, and crimes are the acts of individuals ; and these individuals individually were created and endowed as free agents, with tiie powers of discerning between right and wrong. Then why should one indi
vidual he held responsible for the acts of another, when that one, endowed with the above qualities, will wilfully, of his own free will and accord, commit such acts, knowing what must follow in their wake. Such a one, we must admit, is without a particle of principle, and without principle a man is like a ship without rudder or compass, left to drift hither and thither with every wind that blows. He also knows that it rests with him to live his life nobly or vilely. He lias not his choice to be rich nr poor, to be happy or unhappy, to be in health or in sickness ; but ho has his choice to bo worthy or worthless. There are others, again, who indulge in drink, not for the love of it, but simply for the sake of enjoyment for the time being, in order to depart from the monotony of life ; but while they do so they forgot “the rose soon withers, the perfume soon exhales.” And,lastly,the unhappyhomes are attributed by those who abuse the liquor traffic to their being forced to do so by having unhappy homes. This will continue to be so until the women of the rising generation can be taught “ that home is the first and most important school of character ; that it is there that every human being receives his best moral training, or his worst; for it is there that he imbibes those principles of conduct which endure through mauliood, and cease only with llte n % and, again, until they can be brought to see “ that they, above all other educators, educate humanity. Man is the brain, but woman is the heart of humanity —he its judgment, she its feeling ;he its strength, she its grace, ornament, and solace. Though man may direct the intellect, woman cultivates the feelings, which mainly determine the character. While he fills the memory she occupies the heart; she makes us love what he can only make us believe, and it is through her we are enabled to arrive at virtue.”
I have thus tried to dip into tho question of “the day,” and must conclude by saying tiiat the temperance party do not deserve our sympathies or our assistance, because we do not agree with their mode of work. For every evil under the tun, There is a remedy or there is none ; I there is one, try and find it.
They have not been fortunate enough to find it, because riiey have not gone to the root of it. We have tried to do so, and attribute it to the want of home influence, which, if properly exercised, will never be forgotten, and will act as a shield through JifeT Some may wander astray—there is no tolling—for the worlds temptations are as a running fire, scorching all that venture into its heat, but the good foundation nas been laid, and he will find his way home. This home influence will teach self-control, but the mere fact of abstaining will not teach it. This self-control, conjoined with home influence, will give a man to understand that once he gives the reins to his impulses and passions, from that moment he yields up his moral freedom, that he is carried along the current of life, and becomes tho slave of his strongest desire for the time being. I am, etc., C. B. Dunedin, August 5.
THE TEMPERANCE QUESTION., Issue 7978, 6 August 1889
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