Page images

than can be found from any other cause in the universe. True liberty exists only for the renewed in soul-all are slaves beside :

"True freedom is, where no restraint is known,
That Scripture, justice, and good sense disown;
Where only vice and injury are tied,

And all, from shore to shore, is free beside:
Such freedom is."


He who is our Redeemer has said, "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed," Matt. viii. 36.

My missionary experience respecting the slavery of drunkenness has been very large indeed. Condensation, a difficult matter under many aspects, I find to be especially so in writing this chapter. I have studied the subject intensely for many years-physiologically, politically, mentally, and morally-and the lowest depth of this curse to our nation, and to the world, I find I have yet to fathom.

From all I have read and seen, I am compelled to coincide with the generally received opinion, that we are yet the most drunken people on earth.*

* London contained, according to the Post Office Directory, in 1848, Chambers' Journal informs us :

The object of the present work, however, does not include a theoretical treatise on drunkenness.

The clinical studies of the hospitals are apt to convey knowledge in one hour, that could not be amassed by much laborious reading, although that reading is also indispensable in its place. I have to present the reader with a few specimens of my clinical studies of drunkenness, pursued, not in the hospital, but on my district-a very few, selected from a large mass.

The following is a brief extract from my Annual Report for 1850. It discloses an awful fact in relation to a neighbourhood yet replete with violence and degradation:

"There are upon my district sixteen publichouses, beer-shops, and gin-shops. The number of bakers, and butchers, and shops where bread is sold, (bread is sold at several general dealers,)

2,500 bakers

990 buttermen and cheesemongers 1,700 butchers

3,000 grocers and tea dealers

900 established dairy keepers

400 fishmongers

1,300 greengrocers and fruiterers

Total 10,790

and 11,000 public-houses!

is sixteen also. many shops devoted to the sale of intoxicating liquors, as shops devoted to the sale of the common necessaries of life, argues the existence of fearful demoralization and misery."

That there should be found as

I am informed by reformed characters, that the cheapest way of getting drunk is to mix spirits and beer. Some persons inform me they formerly got drunk in this manner for twopence halfpenny, provided they had eaten but little. It would require ten times that amount to make some persons intoxicated, particularly those who do not smoke.

A very large proportion of the intoxication prevalent amongst the very poor, arises from insufficiency of food, in which condition the nerves and brain are most readily excited by alcohol. I know a large number of persons who become intoxicated with a pint of beer drank fasting through poverty-with this they are very often treated by companions, who would not give them a penny loaf. "I have nothing in the cupboard-will you give me a penny loaf instead of the drink?" "No; but I'll treat you handsomely if you like.” Such is a melancholy sample of the conversation common between those


who, to use their own language, "are in luck," And the very

and those that are "out of luck."

absence of food, that causes a small quantity of liquor or beer to produce intoxication, is often itself a consequence of the expenditure of that money in drink which should have been laid out in food. All forms of vice and misery run into one another, and act by replication.

On my first appointment to the Cow Cross District, in conjunction with good friends, I was made instrumental towards the establishment of a Total Abstinence Society.

This institution was made the means, under Providence, of enlightening the minds of numbers respecting the blessings of sobriety.

Many reformed drunkards from these courts and alleys around, might afterwards be counted, listening to the speeches and prayers of the bi-weekly meetings. Sweeps, costermongers, etc., etc., became reformed characters, and some of the speeches delivered by such individuals are very characteristic. I will extract the substance of one from my Journal::

"Our Total Abstinence Meeting this evening was addressed by Mr. B., Mr. W., Mr. T., and Mr. B., (a second.)

"The last speaker, a bricklayer, possesses one of the most extraordinary, powerful, and masculine voices I ever heard. He used to be called 'drunken Bob,' but now he is a teetotaller, he says, folks call him Mister Baldwin-before, he had only a hand snack to his door, but now, if you wish to call upon him, you must pull a bell -his pocket was once so empty that he had not the cash to pay toll for a walking-stick, but now he has a pound or two laid by against a rainy day --all this, and many more strange contrasts and facetious allusions, appeared to take with the people exceedingly."

The observation which follows in my Journal I may well insert :

"I suppose we must be content to get on step by step, and by the grace of God it is not hard to become all things to all men, that we may by all means save some,' 1 Cor. ix. 22; but the less of this seeming nonsense, the better I like itstill it conveys a powerful moral.”

A club was afterwards connected with this institution. I am sorry to add, that in consequence of friends leaving the district and other causes, I was not enabled to carry this institution Some of its members, however, joined


« PreviousContinue »