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In the second place, children are to be subtracted. In the state of Connecticut, there are about 73,000 children, under ten years of age. Now, calculating that the proportion of children under ten years is the same in all the States, we have about 1,670,000 to be subtracted from the 6,000,000 above; leaving not far from 4,330,000 persons to consume between 33 and 34 million gallons of ardent spirits, in a single year; and making an average of more than seven gallons and a half, for each consumer!
Here, probably some of your readers will stop short, and exclaim, "It is impossible! Here must be some grand mistake in the preceding calculations. The result is too alarming, too humiliating, to be admitted as correct." I confess, Mr. Editor, that I, too, am astonished at the result. Gladly would I have presented one materially different. But facts and figures are stubborn things.
Few people are aware, how much those truth telling rules, addition and multiplication, are capable of effecting. Few think, how soon a small bottle will drain a hogshead; or how soon a very small glass will exhaust a bottle.. Many may be surprised to hear, that only one half gill of spirits, taken daily, amounts at the year's end, to more than five gallons and a half; a gill to more than 11 gallons; two gills to 22 gallons, and a pint to the enormous quantity of 45 gallons! But let every one go over with the process for himself. It is very simple and very short. Half a gill of spirits a day seems to be hardly worth reckoning; and yet 365 half gills amount to between 5 and 6 gallons. How many who think themselves extremely temperate, drink a gill, or more, upon an average, every day of their lives. Further, how many people in our country drink more than twice or thrice that quantity, and yet maintain a respectable standing in society.* Surely then it can be no very difficult thing to conjecture what becomes of the 33,000,000 gallons so often mentioned. Subtract from our whole population, all the slaves and all the children under ten years of age; then let the remainder drink but about two thirds of a gill, upon an average, daily, and the whole will be consumed, before the end of the year. From the quantity, let us now turn our attention to the annual cost of ardent spirits to the people of this country.—
* We question whether many persons, who drink more than three gills of ardent spirits a day upon an average, maintain a respectable standing in society. That there are some persons who consume this quantity, and yet mingle with society, transact business, and avoid the reputation of downright sots, admits not of a doubt. A few persons have been known to drink a quart of rum a day without ever being completely intoxicated,
When we take into consideration the high price of all imported liquors; when we consider what quantities of domestic spirits are disguised and sold for French brandy, Holland gin, &c.; when we recollect that every retailer must make a profit on what he sells; that thousands of hogsheads are soid in taverns and tippling shops at from two to five or six dollars a gallon, and that the original quantity is greatly increased by the many liberal dilutions which it undergoes, before it reaches the consumer; when all these things are considered, the average expense cannot be less than one dollar a gallon, or 33,365,529 dollars annually! But not to insist on a few hundred thousand dollars, we will let the sum stand in round numbers at 33,000,000. Thirty-three millions of dollars paid out in one year for strong drink! The weight of this sum in silver dollars, would exceed 970 tons. posing each of two men to count 60 dollars a minute, during twelve hours of every day, they would not supply the drain. One fourth part of the sum, if levied upon the inhabitants of the United States by direct taxation, would revolutionize the government. How much good might be done with this money, the greatest part of which is now so many thousand times worse than wasted. How surprisingly would it change the face of our country; how largely might it contribute to the convenience and prosperity of the nation; if it were expended in making roads, building colleges, hospitals, almshouses, bridges, aud ehurches; encouraging useful manufactures, forming canals, fortifying our sea-ports, augmenting our navy, instructing the poor, distributing the Bible and other religious books, in our new settlements, establishing libraries, and sending out missionaries.
To illustrate and enforce these considerations, let us descend to particulars: 33,000,000 of dollars, would establish 110 public seminaries, giving to each, a fund of 300,000 dollars; which fund would be amply sufficient to ereet the necessary buildings, purchase libraries, and support instructors. Or if expended in the education of young men, it would handsomely support more than 100,000, in such seminaries. Less than the fifth part of 33,000,000 of dollars, would support 7230 ministers of the Gospel, with an average salary of 700 dollars; and this would furnish one clergyman to every thousand inhabitants, (including slaves,) in the United States. Much less than half of what is now expended for strong drink, would support 43,360 schools, allowing each instructor a yearly salary of 300 dollars; which would be 6 schools for every thousand inhabitants. The simple interest of $8,000,000 of dollars, is more than half sufficient to pay the
interest of the national debt, as it stood in 1810; and the principal would totally extinguish that debt, in less than two years. According to an estimate submitted to Congress, by the Secretary of the Navy, last winter, 33,000,000 of dollars would build no less than NINETY-NINE ships of the line, so that by appropriating to this grand national object what is expended for ardent spirits, we might, in five years, have a navy superior to that of Great Britain!
Half the sum which is made the basis of these calculations, would maintain more than 25,000 Missionaries among the heathen; and the other half would print, for gratuitous distribution, more than 20,000,000 Bibles. Estimating superfine flour at 12 dollars a barrel, the whole sum would purchase 2,750,000 barrels, which, allowing 5 barrels to a family, would supply 550,000 families with bread, through. the year. With coarser bread the same sum would supply 1,000,000 families. It would also, if appropriated to that object, make 55,000 miles of turnpike road, at 600 dollars a mile; a distance more than twice the circumference of the globe or it would complete 20 canals, each 100 miles in length, at an expense of 16,500 dollars a mile. Or if employed in founding a city, it would build 5000 houses, at an average cost of 6600 dollars. The one five hundreth part of it, (viz) 66,000 dollars, would make up the late loss sustained by the Missionaries at Surampore. Or, to present the subject in a little different light, two millions of the thirtythree, would build 200 churches, at an average cost of ten thousand dollars; 5,000,000, would pay nearly one fifth part of the national debt, as it stood in 1810; 10,000,000 would feed and clothe 100,000 poor children, at 100 dollars each per annum; 8,000,000 would establish 8000 of our industrious young men on farms, each worth 1000 dollars, in our new settlements; and after all we should have no less than eight millions left for other public and charitable contributions.
These calculations, might, with great ease, be varied to almost any assignable extent; but enough and more than enough has been said, to demonstrate, that incalculable good might be done with the property, which being laid out for ardent spirits, actually prepares victims, by thousands, for a never ceasing pestilenee.
Before 1 conclude this number, however, I would invite your readers to return with me, from the wide excursion which we have taken, and apply some of the preceding calculations to their own towns, societies, and families. Take for example, a town containing 2,000 inhabitants. If they consume their share of the whole quantity of ardent spirits,
On Superstitious Observances.
which is drunk in the United States, annually, it cannot cost them less than 9,000 dollars! What an immense sum for one small town to pay for strong drink in one year! More than enough to support five ministers, ten schools, and pay every town, state and country tax. Suppose a tax of 9,000 or 5,000 dollars were laid, for the public benefit, upon such town: What would the people say? Why every man would cry out against it as intolerable. And yet how cheerfully is the burden sustained for the sake of gratifying an inordinate thirst for strong drink. While it would be impossible in many places to collect 500 dollars for charitable purposes, voluntary contributions of more than twenty times the amount are made in the same places, every year, to purchase fevers, consumption, and a host of other diseases, together with poverty, wretchedness, infamy, and death.†
It will be remarked, that in the foregoing calculations, I have made no account of the loss of time, which is inseparable from such an amazing consumption of ardent spirits.This, it is presumed, must amount to many millions of dollars annually. With such facts in view, it is easy to account for much of the poverty that exists in this land. Thousands and thousands of families are literally reduced to beggary by intemperance. Business neglected, shops deserted, buildings going to decay, sheriff's' fees, long court dockets, crowded prisons, houses stripped of their furniture, and at length sold to pay tavern bills, children crying for bread and shivering with the cold, these, these are some of the vouchers, for the truth of what has been advanced. Facts of this distressing character show, from whence a very large part of this impoverishing revenue is drawn. It is made up of money which should feed the hungry, and clothe the naked; which should cherish the fatherless, and cause the widow's heart to sing for joy. It is money which should educate the poor, support the gospel at home, and assist in extending the light of Divine truth among the heathen, in every part of the world. z. x. Y. Continued on Panoplist.
ON SUPERSTITIOUS OBSERVANCES. HABITS and practices of immoral tendency often exist in Christian communities, of such a nature as to render it difficult to state them with clearness, or to censure them with dignity. The divine and the moralist generally lay hold on
A respectable minister of the Gospel informed me, that, out of twenty-four deaths which occurred last year in the small town where he lives, four were occasioned by intemperance.
the more prominent vices and foibles; and too often permit those, which have a less obvious, and more undefined, character, to escape without animadversion. But conceiving that every fault deserves reprehension, and that nothing morally wrong can be innoxious, I propose to make some remarks on certain opinions and practices, which seem to have an extensive prevalence through our country.
Enjoying the oracles of Divine truth, and the blessings of an enlightened education, as the people of this country do, one could have hoped that we might," clean escape" from those errors of paganism and superstition in which our heathen ancestors were once, and the beathen world are still, involved. But the fact appears otherwise. Relics of pagan superstition still adhere to us in spite of all our advantages; and men who call themselves Christians, do and believe many of the same things which their pagan forefathers did, and believed; and probably for no better reason than that such were the faith and practice of their ancestors. Men, whose minds were elevated much above the ordinary level, have been tinctured with the same superstition, and have aided its perpetuation, while the more ignorant have clung to it with a pertinacity peculiarly their own. Some who are ready to laugh at the superstition, as they call it, of Christians, are themselves arrant slaves to superstitions of a most ridiculous character. But the great misfortune is, that Christians, and sober people, should become dupes to the same error. Christians should be cautious that they bring no reproach on their profession, and should remember that they ought to serve God and not idols. While bound to avoid even the appearance of evil, they ought to stand aloof from things remotely tending to idolatry; they should cease to consult stars, to look after omens, to observe days and regard visions, while they have the Bible in their hands, and profess to have Him, who guideth into all the truth, in their hearts.
When men, who had been previously idolaters, and wrapped in the mists of pagan superstition, embrace the Christian religion, it is no wonder that they should retain for a while, some portion of their former habits of thinking, without perceiving their conduct to be reprehensible. But, persons who have enjoyed from their infancy the light of revelation, and lived all their days in a Christian community ought surely to understand their obligation to avoid every appearance of an idolatrous attachment to the vanities of the heathen. Even the dictates of reason rightly informed, would teach them to avoid such errors; and the fear of ridicule, one might think, would deter most persons from the stupid ob