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DRINKING AMONG THE CLASSES.

TO THE EDITOE. Siu,— The idea is very prevalent that under the influence of advancing enlightenment and modern civilisation drunkenness has become an unknown vice among the upper classes. The apologists for the so-called moderate use of alcoholic beverages point to the contrast existing between the drinking of the classes during the earlier years of this century and that which presently obtains, and predict a like reform among the masses if the methods and influences which have worked the reform among the higher be continued among the lower ranks of the people. Temperance reformers who view society with clearer vision, who have more carefully studied the nature and effects of alcoholic beverages and noted the quantities of these consumed by the classes, doubted very much the accuracy of these representations of their social condition. That their doubts were justified has been amply proved by a parliamentary paper recently published in England containing the annual report of Her Majesty’s Retreats under the Inebriates Act. Writing of the Grove Retreat for Inebriate Women the Inspector says : “ The experience of the Committee at the ‘Grove’ confirms the general opii.i m of tempeiance workers that the number of habitual drunkards existing in English society is strangely underestimated by most of those who speak or write on this subject.” Dealing with the subject generally it is said-; ?‘ There is an easy optimism which is fond of repeating the statementjthat excessive drinking ,has ceased among the ‘ upper ’ classes, and will in time die out likewise among the ‘ lower orders.’ There is painful reason to believe the statement to be fallacious. Less wine is drunk at the dinner table, but it may be otherwise at the club, the billiard room, the smoke room, and the bar. There is ground for believing that immoderate drinking, though frightfully common among the industrial classes, is yet mare prevalent in the classes usually contrasted with them. One reason why the fact is obscured is that drunkenness soon precipitates a man to the bottom of the social scale. Our tramp,, wards and labor bodies number among their (inmates nd small proportion of ‘gentlemen.’” It is also affirmed that drunkenness is on the increase among women classes. The report from the Dalrymple Home bears out the above conclusions. Out of 442 persona treated and discharged since this home was opened 316 wore described of good education, 9 were elengymen, 27 were lawyers, 37 medical meu, al merchants, 14 farmers, 3 journalist?, and 99 were “gentlemen of 1

no occupation.” In 374 cases the drunkard was a smoker as well. How true is it that alcohol ia no respecter of persons, and, given the use of alcoholic beverages, representatives of all sorts and conditions of men sooner or later will become their victims.—l am, etc., Anglo-Saxon. Dunedin, November 8.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18971112.2.59.3

Bibliographic details

DRINKING AMONG THE CLASSES., Issue 10469, 12 November 1897

Word Count
469

DRINKING AMONG THE CLASSES. Issue 10469, 12 November 1897

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