1 FEBRUARY 1919, Page 11


[To TM Easter or roe " SPECTLTOZ."] E112,—I feel very grateful to you, as do I think moat advocates of temperance, for your leading article upon " A Dry America." No more remarkable event has occurred within living memory in the civil history of peoples than the declara- tion of thirty-seven among the forty-eight United States in favour of a policy of total abstinence from intoxicating drinks. It is idle to carp at such a declaration as having been engineered by political wirepullers. The men who pull the wires in politics are generally found, whenever the light of day falls upon them, to be mon aiming at the gratification of some personal or sectional interest. Bat what interest do the Prohibitionists seek to advance except the welfare of their country P The taste for wine or beer or spirits, not of course in excess, is natural to them as to other people; but it is conquered or subdued by their patriotism. For, rightly or wrongly, the American people have satisfied themselves by a long experience, of which the war is the crowning incident, that strong drink is injurious to efficiency as well as to morality, and that, if a nation would rise to the highest level not only of personal conduct but of industrial and commercial prosperity, it must above all else become and remain a sober nation. May I add, as a lesson of practical importance to the Church and schools of Great Britain, that it is the systematio teaching of temperance to the children within the lost half- century which has, according to the information sent to me, been one of the most powerful factors in swelling the wave of temperance which has so wonderfully swept over the United States

It is difficult to forecast the issue of the experiment which will now almost certainly be made in the wide field of the great Western Republic. There may come a reaction soon or late. but the reflux of the tide, even if it takes place, will not mean the lose of all the ground that has been won. For Prohibition in the United States is an example, as inspiring as it is con- vincing, of the irresistible effect which the public conscience, when it is stirred to its depth, may and does exercise upon the eocial and political life of a free commonwealth.—I am,