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TEMPERANCE DEMONSTRATION

PRESBYTERIAN ASSEMBLY’S RALLY. A large number were present at last night's rally, held undn- tl-.o nu.qiicEs of the : Presbyterian Assembly in the first Church, j when three addresses were delivered on differ ei;t phases of tho Prohibition question. The Rev. Alex. Grant, Moderator of the General Assembly, who presided, said that in this country wo enjoyed a large measure ot civil and religious ,-iberty, which brought with it great rcapousibtilies. 1 lie r.-ponsi-bilitics were such that they put it within empower to say whether certain evils should continue in our midst. These evils continue by onr wish. That is so with regard to the ( liquor traffic. Hc-v. John Paterson ehoio as his subject ‘ Tho Economic Aspect of the Liquor Question.’ He said the reason he. had chosen tins particular phase of the question was because many other phases of the question were a good deal better known than the economic aspect. The No-ltwnse. party realised that they were up against a number of men who were not going to become Prohibitionists unless it. comd be proved to them that it was not gointj to touch their pockets. It was his intention to show 1 hat. the liquor business was a bad business for the pocket, it bud been -said that if New Zealand were to go dry tho country would go bankrupt. 'I ho drink bill of tho Dominion last year was, roughly speaking, about £6,000.1)00. This was based on Uio wholesale price of tho liquor, and it would not be extravagant to say that tho people of the Dominion spent at least £7,000,000 on liquor; in other words, £7,000,G00 <f the, earnings of the people went into the pockets of the trade in olio year. This showed at once that it was a serious economic problem. If £1 was spent iu liquor only 4s went ill wages, whereas a pound spent in boots returned about 12s to the worker; -therefore, ;f tho seven millions referred to were-pent iu ordinary commodities it would give employment tp throe times as many people as wem at preseiu. employed in the trade. There v.ano business in the Dominion that gave ihc remunerative return chat tho liquor trade did. If two millions of ihc seven spent in liquor were diverted to Iho furniture or clothing trades it would give employment to a large number ot people. ’the moncy saved m the way indicated would 110; v-nimhi uuronu iterative, but would be invc" T in such a way that it would add to the wealth of the country. If the liquor traffic-were done away with poverty wan’d be diminished. He did not say that poverty would dt-appear, but ks quoted statistics to show that in nine cases out of ten drink was the direct cause cf poverty. There was really no reason why tho average man should not be able to make adequate provision for old age it tho drink habit were abolished. He know of one gaol where 92 per crut. iho prisoners were there through drink. Lao great majority of children brought to orphanage?. were then because of thiq drunken Habits of their parents. The wealth of a nation depended on its growing girls and boys, and no man could estimate the latent possibilities that lie before our young people. Rev. Ales. Doull spoke on -Tho Shortest Road to Victory.’ Ho prefaced his remarks by Slating that'as far as argument and campaigning were concerned the light w-as practically over. Tho causa of the Prohibitionist could’ bo likened to the attitude of Britain in the present war—they were there to protect the weak. If they were in Russia it would bo quite possible for 0110 man to sweep away the entire drink traffic, and that in a country noted for it,; atuouracy. In New Zealand a majority ot 60,000 favored the entire abolition If tlio liquor traffic, yet the will of tho people could not bo given effect to; and this was a democratic country. Democracy moved with painful slowness. Tho majority of 50.000 could not bo said to be a small one; it was quite sufficient to warrant a change of Government by constitutional means if the votes had been cast at a parliamentary election. The Prohibition party had to submit, to one vote. 1 in every three cast for No-licensc being set aside, whilst every vote on tho other side was counted. It was a shame that tho parly should have to submit to ibis wholesale disfranchisement. Tho three-firths majority was claimed by opponents of the movement as a stable majority, it was argDt-d by come of their own friends that in the event of Pr"hibitiou being carried the Liquor party would find if difficult to secure the necessary_ threefifths majority iu older In revert lo license. Hu ventured if* assort that in the event nf National Prohibiiion bc-ng carried it would bo suddenly discovered by iho Liquor party that 11 would i.e a monstrous injustice, and an agitation would bo sot 011 foot to get tho bare majority. The shortest road to victory lay iu their doing everything within 1 rfiotr power to destroy the liquor i refill-, and i they should first of all vote for Nq-licenso on the Local Option ballot paper. Tho second slioi, wa*: Tote for National Prohibiiion. The third was; To do ail within their power to have the three-fifths handicap removed. Let Diem endeavor to return to Parliament, men who favored the abolition of tin? handicap. Ho did not say that they should support a man for Parliament simply because ho favored tho bare majority; but, provided the candidate was an upright, honest man, and a man of principle, and was prepared to concede the bare majority, a strong effort should be made to return him to Parliament.

Rev. A. Miller (Auckland) took as his text ‘ Our Prospects at, the Poll.’ He contended that although tho 60 per cent, majority required to carry No-liecusn was a big hurdle, (he Prohibition party were not without hope. At tho last election, when National Prohibition was submitted to the pcoplo of New Zealand for the first time as an issue, on which they could vote, £5.82 per cent, cf tho electors voted in favor of Prohibition, which meant that if the 55 per cent, compromise had been in vogue the issue wouid have been carried. He argued that it was not an impossible thing (hat the vole cast for National Prohibition should show an increase of 44 per cent, at the next time of asking. A largo number of young pcoplo would be exercising their votes for the first time at tho forthcoming election, and it would not bo unreasonable to assume that from 70 to 75 per cent of those would vote Nn-liceiise. Again, there had been considerable development during the past three years. The big strike of la-it year had materially assisted the cause. The speaker then went on to refer to the closing of tho hotels in Auckland for 16 days during a period of tho strike. During seven days of that period there were only yeveu ca s es of drunkenness before the Police Court. Tho first wattle after tho opening of tho hotels there were 124 convictions for drunkenness. He centonded also that tho war had been a very powerful influence in the direction of educating tho people. Tho atrocities committed by Gormans were largely tho result of tho perpeuators having fir?t had access to whit cellars, if it were necessary that soldiers and sailors should be prohibited from using liquor during the currency of the war, as was being wisely done at present then it- was equally reasonable that they should do without it all their lives. Again, what was good for soldiers and sailors was equally good for the people at large- He concluded by stating that the Prohibition party had a reasonable ebnnco of winning at the forthcoming poll, despite ilia three-fifths majority handicap. He then moved— “ That, those present undertake to go to the poll, and to vote both for local No-license and for National Prohibition, and also undertake to do what thev can to influence others to vote in that V *Th(j motion was carried unanimously. During the evening a vocal solo was efficiently rendered by Mr James. Thu singing of tho National Anthem and the pronouncing of tho Benediction concluded the meeting.

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Bibliographic details

TEMPERANCE DEMONSTRATION, Evening Star, Issue 15660, 26 November 1914

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1,397

TEMPERANCE DEMONSTRATION Evening Star, Issue 15660, 26 November 1914

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