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Ir is a matter of interesting inquiry, to investigate the various modes of inebriation as they exist in different countries; and the examination becomes serious and important, when it is undertaken with a view to address a cure to the intemperance of any given community.
In entering upon this topic, it will be found that there are strong shades of difference in the occasions on which intoxicating liquors are used in various nations: so much so, as to nake it manifest that the mode of cure of national intemperance must, in the nature of things, vary with these circumstances. To those who are habituated to attend to the power of peculiar customs on the morals of a people, these considerations will appear of no mean importance; and I humbly hope, that the views of the wise and intelligent in Great Britain will soon be universally and intently directed to this subject.
In the United States of America, the grand source of temJerance reform, it was, previous to the introduction of tempeance societies, considered as nothing shameful for men to rink liquor by themselves. Indeed, at that period, solitary
drinking was there an admitted practice. We wish, at this early stage, to suggest to the reader the striking and characteristic difference that subsists, as to this particular point, in the views and opinions of the inhabitants of this country, when contrasted with those of the Americans. For here so strong is the general feeling upon the subject, that even many open drunkards would abhor the idea of being convicted of solitary drinking. In America, if we may trust the narratives of travellers, there is scarce such a thing known as men sitting together in company at wine or liquor after dinner and much of the day's allowance of spirits is, so far as the progress of temperance still permits it, discussed before meridian has passed. Of course inebriation is less mixed up there with the socialness and courtesy of life, than is the case in the United Kingdom; a circumstance to which the reader's attention is particularly requested, as on it great part of our future argument will be founded.
Were we to treat the matter methodically, we might give an exposition of the use that is made of spirituous liquors in the way of compliment; as between the upper and lower orders, or between individuals of either class among themselves. But we shall be content with stating some miscellaneous facts, earnestly entreating the reader's consideration both of these and their tendencies.
The system of rule and regulation, as to times and occasions of drinking, pervades all branches of society in Great Britain-at meals, markets, fairs, baptisms, and funerals; and almost every trade and profession has its own code of strict and well-observed laws on this subject. There are numerous occasions when general custom makes the offer and reception of liquor as imperative as the law of the land. Most other. countries have, on the whole, only one general motive to use! liquor-viz. natural thirst, or desire for it; but in Great Bri tain there exists a large plurality of motives, derived from 1 etiquette and rule. This fact may be considered by most readers as extremely inconsiderable and unimportant; never theless it is one which it will be necessary to keep in mind i 1 the course of the perusal of the following sheets, being the peculiar distinction between the modes of inebriation of thi country and most other nations of Europe.
There has been constituted with us a conventional and arti ficial connexion between liquor and courtesy and business and this unnatural conjunction is not, as in some other place: occasional, but nearly universal; and I hope to show that it ha