SOLDIERS AND TREATING
Mr J A. Steuart (author a.nd journalist ■. in the, ' Daily Chronicle.' says, apiopos the above, thai tin- bc>t impuk-.'s may lead to error, and in <air /.< a! we have unfortunately fallen inf. one surer which is resulting "in grave cons, queiices -I mean our too eager desire to slmw <air appreciation ci the men who are training in our midst tractive service. The other day 1 talked with a man from AitFrsha. a, sergeant in a crack regiment, ami he spoke bitterly of what lie'called "the treating nuisance." "I cannot stand three minutes at a street corner," he dcelaitd. " without being invited bv some stranger to come and havo a drink, and 1 know it is .just the same with other men in uuifoim." As it happens, mv friend is a teetotaller, and the invitation is politely declined. But the vast majori'.v .if his comrades arc not teetotallers, and th-.-. constant temptation to drink when off duty is a i-eri'l which is causing tho authorities much anxiety. Lord Kitchener's app-a: not to give soldiers liquor v. as not made hastily or without I cause. An experi-'mv of nearly half .: century has taught our Wat Seeretarv th.--dire e'u'eots of strong drink on an army. "Soldiers who drink cannot be efficient,'' he has told us in effect, and eiiok a, wan; ing from stud' a quarter ought not to fail on needles* cars. For at no period of out history, not even dining th-- Napoleonic wars, teas the eilicicncy of our army so vital to the national .safety as it is to-day. The Archbishop of Canterbury has sup. ported the appeal in words which cannot be too well pondered. "1 have undisputed testimony." His Grace stated at a public meeting.''" from at least six or f.even different counties of how men who were, ordinarily l+'iup--rate and self-restrained, and who ordinarily possessed siu-h t-elf-respeet as would make public or gross drunkenness quite impossible, bad. wliilo wearing the Kind's uniform, been found in a condition that they themselves would have regarded as impossible a short time ago. The whole cause of this was treating by friends, who in an exciting moment thought that by ottering men drink they weie giving them kiudlv encouragement." --Danger of Intemperance.— Auv man who goes about with his ryei open'knows all t'>> well that far from being exaggeration* these statements <-i----piess a b-rribie truth mildly. Th© ' British Weekly." indeed, declares in one of its singularly v.e!l-informed 'War Notes,' that we are "at present in grave, danger of a serious breakdown in '-he direction of intemperance as regards both men and women." inevitably women are drawn int-o the vortex. Every night and often throughout the day one sees public-houses crowded with women, too often, alas! wives of men service, \ v 'itb tire colors, who are spending: or misspending their maintenance allowance on liquor. It is time the public at, large should know and realise these facts. The authorities are perfectly well aware of what is going on, ami the early-closing order has doubtless been issued as a possible abatement, of the evil. But much more vigorous measures must be adopted if the homes of absent men are to be preserved for them. It, has been suggested that, publicans should bo forbidden under heavy penalties to sell drink to women directly or to others for their consumption on licensed premises. This, interested people immediately reply, would be unreasonably drastic. The rejoinder is that nothing is too drastic that may be necessary either in tho public interest, or for the protection of those who are away fighting their country's battles. It is gratifying to learn that the. Government have the whole matter under consideration, and l hat effective measures may be expected shortly. Associated with the question of drunkenness is another with which the authorities are dealing. tt need not bo described heiv ; but. those who wish to understand the problem .and what it involves will find it treated with remarkable force and candor in a recent issue of the 'Spectator.' And thereof of the whole evil is just goodfellowship run wild, a desire to treat every man in uniform, to encourage him, to be friendly and show him that he is appreciated. It is poor appreciation to rtxluce a. man's power of work or temporarily destroy it altogether. —Russia's Wise Example.— But we are told that this outcry against liquor its injurious to "tho trade."' Already it has suffered grievously through tho action of the fanatics in closing publichouses a little earlier each night than they did before the war. Now what is tho truth? That the liquor trade is one. of the few trades that have actually benetitcd by the war. Treating has been on an unprecedented scale. Men have gone about seeking occasion to allay a. supposed, thirst in our soldiers; and women who never before had money to spend are spending it recklessly in drink. Temperance advocates are accused of making capital out of the war for their own fanatical ends. This is hard on Lord Kitchener, who is not generally regarded as a fanatic. Tho reports of intemperance among soldiers, says " the U-ade," are grossly exaggerated. Again this is hard on Lord Kitchaner —tho man of fow words. There is much hysterievtd talk of " the enemy in our aiidst." Hurt; is. a real enemy, thouy;h sedulousjy disguising itself as a friend. Ku>.sia has had the and the resolution to close her liquor shops. What is the result? A reformed army, an- .army that is literally carrying all before it. Why should we not take a leaf out of LfiteSia's hook?
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SOLDIERS AND TREATING, Evening Star, Issue 15708, 23 January 1915