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with this truth before us, let us consider that the country contains its forty, or perhaps its hundred thousand thieves, and that the alehouse is their school, and strong drink the fiend that has inspired and corrupted most of them. Let us also reflect that, through the use of these liquors, thousands are annually educated and trained in dishonesty; the number of dishonest females is appalling, and the children of both sexes, from nine years old and upwards, that have been condemned as “incorrigible thieves," present a spectacle terrific in the extreme. To produce proofs on this subject, would be to quote nearly the whole of the evidence given before the Committee of the House of Commons. Every prison, and house of correction in the country testify to the magnitude of the evil, and agree in attributing its increase, in our highly civilized nation, to the prevalence of drinking. To have among us many thousands of thieves, our own countrymen, born on our soil, and that might, but for these venomous drinks, have been the strength and glory of the land, is a solemn fact which ought to make us inquire, whether liquors that have corrupted and destroyed so many valuable citizens, ought not to be expelled from our dwellings ?
We all have felt our blood chilled, as we have watched the progress of the cholera, and the multitudes it slew, and were all anxious and willing to make any sacrifice to drive the pest from the land. Now let us suppose that there was among us a drink which, instead of being an intoxicating beverage, might be termed a cholera liquor, and whose use continued that awful scourge among us, should we deem the man a patriot or a Christian, who, after having looked at fifty or a hundred thousand of his countrymen, including some of his own children who, had been slain by the poisonous bowl, would either continue to drink himself, or commend to his neighbor so deleterious a draught? Now, dishonesty is worse than the cholera, and has been ten thousand times more destructive. The former preys only upon the body, but the latter upon the soul; the former renders our frame a mass of disease, but the latter makes our morals pestilential; and yet the latter, as we have already seen is, in nine cases out of ten, the effect of intoxicating habits. Every thief, and dishonest person, might have been a valuable
member of society, and the state is not in a condition to sacrafice thousands of citizens without feeling the loss, much less can it afford to render them depraved, and expose itself to all the evils that must be attendant upon their crimes. We could not look on a hundred thousand slain without a bleeding heart, but those whom strong drinks have rendered dishonest or vicious, are worse than slain. These are dead while they live; intemperance is therefore a far greater scourge, and a far more expensive evil than the late tremendous war, which cost us so much treasure and blood. It" has cast down many mighty men wounded, many strong men have been slain by it."
In speaking of drinking as originating dishonesty, we must not forget the more refined shufflers and swindlers, who make use of this pernicious beverage, for the purpose of accomplishing the most unrighteous transactions. The following well authenticated tale, may be taken as an example of what has been again and again practised in the commercial world. A gentleman had offered a certain sum per pound, for an article which his neighbor had to dispose of; the price was objected to, but the buyer was requested to sit down and take a glass of wine. After spending the afternoon in a great deal of apparent friendship and familarity, they were about to part without having come to an agreement, when, just as the one had mounted his horse, the very hospitable host insisted upon his having 66 a stirrup glass" before he left. The glass was administered and taken, and the recipient perceived, by its instantaneous effect upon his head and nerves, that it was a draught of no common potency; and now, when the shuffler thought that he had succeeded in destroying the reason of his customer, he informed him that he should have the wool at the price he had offered. Fortunately the buyer, who was a very methodical man of business, had presence of mind enough left to take out his pocketbook, and make as good a memorandum as his hand, palsied by the poisonous glass, would permit. He left, but had a narrow escape with his life while returning home; the liquor unfitted him to maintain his balance, and his horse threw him into a pond. In the course of time the wool was sent home, and eventually the bill; but now mark, the price charged was not that
which had been agreed upon after the glass in question had been administered, but that which had been previously refused, and this sum would have been demanded and enforced, had it not been that the swindler was reminded of the " stirrup glass," and shown the rough memorandum which was made at the time, and which, from the awkwardness of the scrawl, bore witness to his face of the strength of the liquor he had dispensed, and the robbery which he intended that it should enable him to perpetrate.
Now this is not a solitary case. How often have designing travelers invited tradesmen to the inn, to take an evening glass, and then have obtained orders for articles of an inferior quality, at an unjust price, and which were not really wanted by these deluded men ! Often are little tradesmen in great distress to make up the money for these foolish and injudicious purchases, and in consequence of not being able to dispose of a stock, which ought never to have entered their shops, have been brought to ruin. An examination into the various methods of refined swindling, practised in pot-houses and taverns, by the aid of strong drinks, would bring to light a system of knavery and dishonesty, not less heinous in the sight of God, injurious to human society, and dishonorable to the characters of the guilty agents themselves, than the open plunder of the highwayman or the burglar. Indeed of the two thieves, let me have to do with him who boldly practises his dishonesty, rather than with the miscreant, who has not courage to become a highwayman, and who, instead of presenting a pistol to my heart, and publicly demanding my life or my money, presents, under the guise of friendship, the intoxicating cup to my lips, that he may first rob me of my reason and prudence, and then of my money. Here again we cannot but remark on the value of character that is thus sacrificed. The money gained or lost by this shuffling is little, compared with the dishonesty that is cherished, and the integrity that is lost.
Some have said, that an " honest man is the noblest work of God," and if so, what language can sufficiently execrate that infamous poison, which qualifies and prompts thousands to dishonesty, and enables as many thousands more to accomplish, unseen, their nefarious and dishonorable purposes ? We must
again repeat, that if the use of intoxicating liquors were abolished, the incentives, the sinews, the weapons of dishonesty would be destroyed, and with this incontrovertible fact before us, we ask all who profess to imitate that Savior who laid down his life for our redemption, whether the rescuing of thousands of our fellow citizens and brethren from degradation and misery, would not be cheaply purchased, if procured by our individually dashing from our lips a cup of poison, and resolving never to taste again.
3. Prostitution awfully prevails in consequence of drinking. It may be said that this crime has abounded in nations not proverbial for drunkenness. Granted, but, still it must be admitted, that the force of example and education on this subject has rendered countries destitute of the light of the gospel distinguished for chastity. And if such has been the result of mere pagan education, surely we have reason to expect quite as beneficial an effect from Christian tuition. But what, alas! is the fact! Why, that at a period when Christian schools, and Christian efforts of the most promising character are at work, thousands of our deluded countrywomen are seduced from the paths of virtue, and in their turns become the seducers of others. From the evidence on this subject taken before the Committee of the House of Commons on drunkenness, there is reason to believe, that within a few years, the crime has much increased, and all the witnesses were agreed, that a very large proportion must be attributed to beer-houses and gin-shops, and the general increased comsumption of intoxicating drinks.
We need not here stay to prove what to every one must be evident, that these stimulating liquors inflame the passions, and produce an utter recklessness of character. And this, be it observed, is not so much the case with him who is dead drunk, as with those who are partially excited, or thrown off their guard. Aristotle long ago argued, and argued justly, that he who is but partly inflamed with wine, is more injurious to society, than he who is thoroughly drunk. "The sober man," he observes,
reasons correctly; the man who is thoroughly intoxicated does not reason at all; but he who is partially excited by liquor, endeavors to reason, but reasons badly, and therefore falls into mischief." Thousands of unhappy individuals enter the gin-shop
or alehouse, and, after having drunk a portion, sometimes a very small quantity of the intoxicating poison, come out again, not as they went in, but with passions inflamed, their reason impaired, their consciences seared, and their moral feeling destroyed; and consequently, are just ready to be themselves seduced, or to become the seducers of others.
Hundreds of unhappy females can date their ruin to the cause just mentioned, and myriads of youth have, from the same influence, fallen into sin, have become a mass of living putrescence, and have been borne to the grave before they have scarcely arrived at maturity. The scene that the bare mention of these facts presents is one that makes our blood chill in our veins. One's heart sickens at the thought of so many promising youth, slain by sensuality and dissipation, and so many of the softer sex, that might have been the beauty and glory of the land, but who, directly or indirectly, from the use of these poisons, have been doomed to infamy, or have become the pests of society. The value of woman as the "help meet" for man, has perhaps been never as yet duly appreciated. In too many instances, her invaluable powers to bless society have been blighted, rather than elicited and matured. Were her education such as to call forth into exercise the fine perceptions and sensibilities of her nature, and fully qualify her for that station to which she was destined by Providence, her worth would then be more clearly understood. But even in her present condition, degraded and humbled, as in too many instances it is, who can duly estimate the importance of the affectionate sister, the filial daughter, the faithful wife, the tender mother, the kind mistress, the attentive servant, and the assiduous nurse? Take away any of these, and what a wilderness our earth must become. If she tempted to the first act of transgression, she has shed rivers of tears in consequence of that offence, and notwithstanding all, has waited, and still waits, to be our solace and joy, amidst the toils and pains and vicissitudes of life. From her worth, then, let us try to calculate the loss that any nation must sustain, when only a few of its daughters become unchaste and depraved. The ruin of but one female, and the consequences of that ruin, even the tongue of an angel would be inadequate to describe. What then