18 DECEMBER 1886, Page 3

Drunkenness having greatly increased in Switzerland, the Swiss are about

to try a new experiment for restricting the sale of alcohol. The manufacture of spirits has been made a Federal monopoly, all distillers being required to sell their produce to the State, which will then resell it to the consumer. The quality will be improved, strict regulations being en- forced as to the substances used in distillation ; but the retail price will be raised, the Federal Government expecting to raise 2400,000 a year from the monopoly, 7i per cent. of which must be spent by the Cantons on measures calcu- lated to check the abuse of alcohol. It will be interesting to watch the effect of this experiment, which is the first effort ever made on a great scale to reduce the consumption of concen- trated alcohol, while leaving that of diffused alcohol, as in wine and cider, untouched. English teetotallers will think the effort thus limited very foolish ; but doctors, we suspect, will be of a different opinion. It will be observed that when the State has once obtained the monopoly, it will be possible, if that is thought wise, to sell spirits on doctors' orders only—say, for two years— and see what is the result of that.