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sale of ardent spirits stands on entirely different ground. If it can be had for consumption, without being exposed for sale, - be it so; let every man carry on a distillery in his own house, if he pleases. But, if all the ardent spirit which is consumed, is first sold; if the sale is the cause, and the consumption the effect, - then a most fortunate and legitimate mode is provided for suppressing the use by suppressing the sale.

The objection, which questions the right of government to interfere on this subject, never assumes a form so palpably absurd, as in claiming some peculiar immunity from legislative interference for the business of selling. Wherein this mysterious exemption consists, it might be somewhat difficult to point out. Trade, commerce, is in its very nature, emphatically public, and a proper subject of public direction and control. That government never existed on earth, the records of whose legislation will not show, that one of its earliest and simplest duties was understood to be the regulation of commercial intercourse, not only with foreigners, but among its own citizens. When all civil government shall have come to an end, and that state of nature, --- falsely called “the reign of God," wherein law is denounced as tyranny and savage license called freedom, once more spread its raven wing over the world ;

“ When the murderer waits not for the night,

But smites his brother down in the bright day,” and government can neither interpose its shield, nor wield the sword of vengeance, because all have an inalienable right to do what they please:- then, and not before, will it be time to maintain, that all have an inalienable right to sell what they please.

IV. We have endeavoured to show, that the interference of the law for the suppression of intemperance is practicable, expedient, and right. The further question remains, whether it is also necessary, to accomplish the object in view, — for we are ready to admit, that the spirit of a republican government does not sanction the enactment of any restraining or prohibitory laws, except such as the public good absolutely requires. It is maintained, that no such exigency exists in the case which we are considering ; that intemperance, regarded as a prevailing vice, has its foundation in erroneous belief and wrong inclination, and, when these shall have been

rectified by a plain and universal exhibition of wliat is true and right, will quietly pass away from among men; - in other words, that public opinion, without other means, will eventually accomplish the reformation.

But what, we would ask, is meant by “public opinion”? No phrase is more common, and none, we believe, has a more definite signification. It means, undoubtedly, the opinion of a majority; the popular, prevailing sentiment. Who ever dreamed of effecting absolute unanimity on any subject ? If public opinion meant universal opinion, there would be an absurdity in talking of its influence ; because that which all agree in approving, and all have power to do, will be voluntarily done by all. If every man, woman, and child in the community incurred and fulfilled the obligations imposed by a temperance society, the great work of reformn would have been accomplished, and the friends of humanity might repose from their efforts. But supposing a majority only, which is all we can reasonably expect, to be of this description, how are they to bring about the triumph of virtue over vice, and purify the world from gross and ancient pollutions ? There is but one way; and that consists in the inestimable institution of a free government; under which, and in reference to matters that admit of positive regulation, public opinion, — the soul, the vital principle, the moving energy of society, but nevertheless impalpable and powerless till material instruments are supplied to it, — assumes the form of law, and thereby becomes imperative and absolute.

The application of these remarks to the subject under consideration is obvious. The temperance cause now has, or soon will have, a majority of the community enrolled in its ranks. What then? Is there not, — will there not always be, - a numerous minority that oppose? While there remain in the world bad men as well as good, enemies as well as friends to human improvement, it must be so. So long as the traffic in ardent spirit shall continue to yield its farthing of gain, there will be those, whom no argument or persuasion can induce to abandon it ; upon whom light and truth will fall as powerless, as the moonbeam upon the cold rock and insensible clod; who " neither fear God nor regard man," but are given over to base and sordid avarice, even though human life and salvation should be the horrid sacrifice. We avow our full conviction, that mere moral influence can never

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put an end to this traffic. We would as soon trust any other offence against society, — murder, the slave-trade, lotteries, to the same corrective. Moral influence has indeed wrought, and will continue to work, wonderful effects. The records of the temperance reformation abundantly show, in the numerous instances of distilleries closed, and stores purified from rum, that the power of conscience alone, quickened by the exhibition of clear but hitherto forgotten truth, is sufficient to divorce from an unholy calling all in whom that divine principle has not been long quenched ; and encourage the expectation, that, in process of time, all honest and respectable men will cease to sell this poisonous liquid. But it is surely shortsighted fully, instead of charity, not to inquire whether all the sellers of rum, or the greater part of them, are honest and respectable”? And if the better portion abandon'the business, are there not those who stand ready to take it up and fill their place; or else will not one sell now, nearly or quite as much as tivo sold before ? It is sometimes said, that, when the traffic shall have become so disreputable as to fall exclusively into bad hands, the consumer will of course take the level of the seller, the use of rum be confined to those already degraded past hope, and the inroads of intemperance upon the community come to an end. Nothing can be more fallacious. It is as the corrupter of innocence that rum is most to be dreaded ; it is because he ensnares innocent victims in his toils, that the seller of rum is most to be abhorred. It would almost seem, as if the mere diffusion of this poison through society had the effect to deaden the moral sense, and create an unnatural appetite. We need contend, however, for no such subtle and mystical influence. All observation proves, that, with regard to intemperance, more than any other in the catalogue of vices, it is the presence of temptation which creates the desire for indulgence. “God made man upright.” No instinct, im

, planted by his Creator, hurries him on to self-destruction; but the fatal instruments of evil spread out before him by his treacherous fellow-man. The presence of temptation awakens within hirn artificial desires which nature never knew. Passion, solicitation, example, all blend their influence to overcome his original antipathy ; till, at last, habit becomes stronger than instinct, - enduring as life itself. Intemperance is of such a nature, that, until the means of gratification are withheld, it will be for ever perpetuating its own e xistence. The friends of temperance will not indeed cease from doing all that can be done, by exhortation, by moral influence, by example. But alas! there wanders through the land an agent of evil, which would undo more than all their exhortations can accomplish. While they yet utter the warning voice, the angel of destruction, with his deadly charm, deafens the youthful ear, and hardens the tender conscience, against it. Moral influence is invisible ; but this tempter, brilliant as the serpent in Eden, and having power to call up visions of uneartily beauty before the excited fancy, is every where seen, and every where invites the unwary victim to his embrace. Example, -- the example of virtue, - is calm and silent; but around this fatal deceiver is heard the tumultuous laugh of gayety ; and the buoyant spirit,“ burning for pleasure,” rushes wildly forward to partake of the intoxicating cup, and bathe itself in Elysiumn. Against such a subtle and deadly foe, all mild expedients are powerless; the omnipotent law alone can banish him from the land.

We have endeavoured, in the preceding pages, to express our views

upon what seems to us a grave and solemn subject. The time, we think, has now come, when the question of the temperance reformation must be settled, and settled for ever. The dark age of ignorance has passed away. The clouds have rolled off, and hardly a speck remains visible even in the distant horizon. We do not now stand where we stood ten years ago. Then, when Christian philanthropy first imagined that great moral emancipation, for which it has since so earnestly and faįthfully labored, the work to be done was indeed a mighty one, but the means for effecting it more obvious and at hand, and therefore it was not impossible. Ignorance, thoughtlessness, fashion, education, — these were the great sources or

uphold of intemperance; and the great instrument for overcoming them all, was knowledge, light, exposure of evil deadly but unnoticed, of truth plain but forgotten. The remedy has been tried to the utmost; the country has been flooded with light; the subject is now understood, and neither argument nor information can ever make it clearer. If the experiment fail, the case is desperate; — “there remaineth no

more sacrifice for sin.”

It has been our object to show, that, although little more can be done for this great cause in the way of light and knowledge ; yet, the door is now opened, and the time urgently calls

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for action, — legislative, compulsory action. We regard all past measures as chiefly valuable in having been the necessary precursors to this final consummation. Without it, the reform seems to us partial, temporary, and unworthy of the arduous efforts which have been used in its behalf.

There is, we fear, in some minds, a growing skepticism with regard to the final success of the temperance cause,

which arises from the contrast between the speculative principles and high pretensions set forth in addresses and publications, and the actual superficial condition of society. Representations of a wonderful change and improvement are regarded as extravagant, because outward appearances do not correspond with them. While the country resounds from one end to the other with lectures, and is inundated with pamphlets and newspapers; while new accessions to the pledge are trumpeted far and wide as conclusive proof that “the work goes bravely on”; - rum still continues to be sold at every corner of the streets; and each passing day, with its calendar of crime and woe, bears witness to the fatal results. While the eloquent discourse is pronounced in the hall above, there is a merry crew in the shop below, whom the ministering priest at that altar is entertaining with the story of his doubled profits since his frightened neighbour gave up the business. We say, there are those, who grow discouraged in contemplating this melancholy contrast ; who begin to feel, as if the temperance cause, however noble in theory, were wanting in the practical, and would turn out, after all, a visionary though benevolent scheme of human perfectibility ; who, beholding sober counsels contending at such odds with alluring and deceptive forms of evil, - the virtuous principle corrupted, the fixed resolve broken, even the solemn pledge violated, through the mere presence of surrounding temptation, -are convinced that something more decisive must be done, or all is lost.

These impressions seem to be gaining ground ;— and, in consequence, some of the intelligent and influential friends to the cause become lukewarm through despondency. Practical, sensible men grow dissatisfied with an institution, which professes for its object the moral reformation of the world, but seems to have engaged in an unequal and unsuccessful warfare, and expended its strength in words. Every thing gives token, that the cause must be carried forward by some new and vigorous effort, - or else it will begin to ebb; and public opinion,

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VOL. XVIII.

- N. S. VOL. XIII. NO. I.

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