« PreviousContinue »
"If the thirty-two States in which the combined number of saloons is less than the number in Chicago alone, together with four others, ratify an amendment to the Federal Constitution, the liquor traffic in this country will be at an end. The AntiSaloon League is laying definite plans to effect the passage of such amendment."
The conservative Independent (New York) makes this comment: "The progress of prohibition is seen in the fact that there are now in this country more than 500 cities and towns with a population of 5,000 or more in which the sale of alcoholic liquors is forbidden, and nearly 200 of them have over 10,000 population. There are nine States with a population of nearly 15,000,000, whose people have adopted prohibition. They begin to talk of a prohibition amendment to the Constitution, but the time for that is not yet, although nearly the last law under President Taft was to aid prohibition States to prevent the introduction of the poison. And yet people still say, what they say of the social evil, that the alcoholic evil has always existed, always will exist, and that the only way is to segregate it, localize it in poor quarters, and shut it out of the respectable residence districts."
In this connection it is interesting to notice
WHAT PROHIBITION HAS DONE FOR TENNESSEE, according to the Nashville Democrat. That journal reads the following vigorous lesson on the moral and political evils which have attended prohibition in Tennessee:
"Tennessee has now had three years of prohibition and fusion. A little over three years ago the laws went into effect closing down distilleries and breweries, destroying the large values which had been invested in them, and extending prohibition to the large cities. Since these confiscatory and prohibitory statutes were enacted, what has happened? To what conditions has the State been reduced? The principal cities, Republican and Democratic-that is to say, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Nashville and Memphis-have been and now are "wide-open" towns. The traffic has not diminished and the consumption of liquors has increased. As a "prohibitory" measure, the statute is an acknowledged failure, and why? Because the people of Tennessee are not in favor of Statewide prohibition. They do not want these laws enforced, and therefore, they are not enforced. But while the laws are dead
letters, save at short, spasmodic intervals, they have brought about conditions that were unknown under Democratic and antiState-wide rule. There is a growing disregard for law, because men are accustomed to observe its non-enforcement. While the authorities of the cities can close the open saloon, they cannot suppress clandestine traffic, and, making the best of a bad condition, they overlook the open saloon; but the power to close an open saloon and break up the proprietor of an expensive establishment is a power that even an honest but ambitious officer can exert with tremendous political effect, and it is a power which a dishonest officer can use to suppress and to 'graft.' It is a condition which breeds the worst kinds of political machines, and the strongest of city 'bosses."'
ANTI-SALOON LEAGUE TROUBLES.
The Prohibition Party has taken the field against the AntiSaloon League. A war of extermination, with the State of Maryland as the beginning of the conflict, is shortly to be waged between these two organizations. Eugene Chafin, who is considered the ablest speaker and campaigner among the Prohibitionists, is to lead the forces under the Prohibition Party. He has selected Maryland as the beginning of his campaign. He purposes to challenge the State superintendent of the Anti-Saloon League to show cause why that organization should exist at all. In a recent statement Mr. Chafin publicly declared:
"The Anti-Saloon League of Maryland is merely an organization whose business it is to mulct money from church-going people. Similar organizations have existed in other parts of the United States. They disbanded when I got after them, and I drove their superintendents to work. Instead of living off the fat of the land, they had to leave the places in which they were operating and get a job somewhere else.”
After Mr. Chafin disposes of Anderson he threatens similar campaigns in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York, where the League has been more or less a political nuisance.
At the Detroit Methodist Episcopal Conference, held at Alpena, Mich., on September 13th, 1912, a memorial was presented, urging that body to sever all connections with the Anti-Saloon League of America. The memorial, which set forth various
damaging charges against the League, was vigorously supported' but failed to influence a majority of the delegates.
The Western Yearly Meeting of Friends, a church organization of Indiana, lately voted to sever relations with the Anti-Saloon League.
A DRASTIC PROHIBITION LAW.
The West Virginia prohibition law, which goes into effect July 1, 1914, is the most drastic that has been written in the statutes of any State.
The word "liquors" is construed to embrace all malt, vinous or spirituouos liquors, wine, porter, ale, beer or any other intoxicating drink, mixture or preparation of like nature; and all malt or brewed drinks, whether intoxicating or not, shall be deemed malt liquors within the meaning of the act; and all liquids, mixtures or preparations, whether patented or not, which will produce intoxication, and all beverages containing so much as one-half of one per centum of alcohol by volume, shall be deemed spirituous liquors. Under the provisions of the new law private consumers of whisky or other alcoholic drinks are not permitted to have more than half a pint of such intoxicants on their premises at any time and this amount can only be obtained as medicine on a physician's prescription. Only one prescription can be filled for each examination by a physician, who must also make affidavit that the person receiving such prescription is not known to be addicted to the use of intoxicants or narcotic drugs. The new law carries with it for any violations a fine of from $100 to $500 for the first offense in addition to a jail sentence of from 30 days to 6 months. The second offense is to be prosecuted as a felony and carries a much heavier fine and penitentiary sentence of from one to five years. Clubs are not exempt and churches are permitted but a small quantity of wine for sacramental purposes.
The express companies and common carriers are restricted to the amount of liquor and alcoholic stimulants they carry into the State. The records for such transportation must be kept in separate books and open to officers of the law. These officers do not have to secure search warrants, but can forcibly enter any building under suspicion and make an investigation. Drug stores are also included and are not permitted to import, handle or sell patent medicines containing more than one-half of one per cent. of alcohol.
The people of West Virginia will, however, have to pay the fiddler for their folly. Governor Glasscock calls attention to the need for additional taxes to make up the deficiency in public revenues that will follow the extinction of the licensed saloon.
The loss of liquor revenue is particularly unfortunate at this time, because of the fact that the old litigation known as the "Virginia Debt" is now in the United States Courts, and should a decision be rendered against the State of West Virginia, the amount of the judgment rendered will be somewhere from ten to twentyfive millions of dollars.
THE COLUMBUS CONVENTION.
At its National Convention, held at Columbus, Ohio, in November, the Anti-Saloon League adopted a declaration of principles, from which we quote the following:
"It is wrong for the Government to accept revenue from the liquor traffic or to issue liquor or dealers' tax receipts in 'dry' territory.
"In order that Federal Legislation relating to the inter-State shipment of intoxicating liquors may be made effective, we urge upon the legislators of the various States the passage of laws prohibiting common carriers from transporting and delivering such intoxicating liquors into Prohibition territory.
"We urge Congress to enact a law forbidding the use of the mails to the liquor traffic for advertising or soliciting the purchase of intoxicating liquors in such territory.
"We declare our settled conviction that license and regulation are inadequate to exterminate the liquor traffic. The license system, instead of eliminating the evils of the traffic, has become its. last and strongest fortress.
"We, therefore, declare for its national annihilation by an amendment to the Federal Constitution which shall forever inhibit throughout the territory of the United States the manufacture and sale, and the importation, exportation and transportation of intoxicating liquors to be used as a beverage."
Included in the declaration was a pointed rebuke to Secretary Bryan for his interference in the Maryland Senatorial election, expressed as follows.
"We declare it to be the sense of the League that when officials of the National Government interfere in an election in a State, the people have a right to expect them to take care that a candidate for whose election they intercede upon National issues shall not be out of harmony with the convictions of the people upon moral issues in that State."
DISCUSSING THE SALOON.
EV. KARL REILAND, rector of St. George's Church, New York, contributes a statement of his views on the same general subject of the drink evil and social reform to the New York Sun. He says in part:
"I have been quoted as saying that I favor the existence of the saloon. That is true, with qualifications.
"In the first place it seems to me there are two things we may try to do with reference to the liquor traffic. One is to suppress it and the other to regulate it. To abolish the liquor traffic altogether is, in my judgment, out of the question, because it is impossible. To regulate it is within our power, and because it is immediately possible we should give ourselves to the establishment of such practical measures as will ameliorate the conditions we so justly deplore.
"We are not satisfied with the saloon as it exists to-day. Physically and socially it is a secluded and seductive institution, and in its lower form is the breeding place of every species of vice and crime. But before we can dispense with it we must furnish a substitute.
"As it now exists it seems to be necessary for a distinct class of people, and in a way it seems to satisfy a definite demand. It has been referred to by many writers on the subject as 'the poor man's club.' For a comparatively small sum of money and upon a generous invitation he can obtain what he wishes to drink. He can eat at the free lunch counter and can meet and chat with his friends. There is no other place in the world offering so much for so little.
"Persons of sufficient means can afford to belong to clubs the membership of which is carefully guarded. Generally speaking, whoever has the money and the influence can acquire membership. The more fortunate classes of our people find beautifully appointed clubs all over the city. They are welcome to all the better hotels and restaurants, and a general air of privileged respectability appears to exist both as to places and the people one meets there.