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Review Of A Journal Of Eight Days’ Journey
by [?]

“Desperate diseases require desperate remedies: if laws are rigidly executed against murderers in the highway, those who provide a draught of gin, which we see is murderous, ought not to be countenanced. I am now informed, that in certain hospitals, where the number of the sick used to be about 5600 in 14 years,

From 1704 to 1718, they increased to 8189;
From 1718 to 1734, still augmented to 12,710;
And from 1734 to 1749, multiplied to 38,147.

“What a dreadful spectre does this exhibit! nor must we wonder, when satisfactory evidence was given, before the great council of the nation, that near eight millions of gallons of distilled spirits, at the standard it is commonly reduced to for drinking, was actually consumed annually in drams! the shocking difference in the numbers of the sick, and, we may presume, of the dead also, was supposed to keep pace with gin; and the most ingenious and unprejudiced physicians ascribed it to this cause. What is to be done under these melancholy circumstances? shall we still countenance the distillery, for the sake of the revenue; out of tenderness to the few, who will suffer by its being abolished; for fear of the madness of the people; or that foreigners will run it in upon us? There can be no evil so great as that we now suffer, except the making the same consumption, and paying for it to foreigners in money, which I hope never will be the case.

“As to the revenue, it certainly may be replaced by taxes upon the necessaries of life, even upon the bread we eat, or, in other words, upon the land, which is the great source of supply to the public, and to individuals. Nor can I persuade myself, but that the people may be weaned from the habit of poisoning themselves. The difficulty of smuggling a bulky liquid, joined to the severity which ought to be exercised towards smugglers, whose illegal commerce is of so infernal a nature, must, in time, produce the effect desired. Spirituous liquors being abolished, instead of having the most undisciplined and abandoned poor, we might soon boast a race of men, temperate, religious, and industrious, even to a proverb. We should soon see the ponderous burden of the poor’s rate decrease, and the beauty and strength of the land rejuvenate. Schools, workhouses, and hospitals, might then be sufficient to clear our streets of distress and misery, which never will be the case, whilst the love of poison prevails, and the means of ruin is sold in above one thousand houses in the city of London, in two thousand two hundred in Westminster, and one thousand nine hundred and thirty in Holborn and St. Giles’s.

“But if other uses still demand liquid fire, I would really propose, that it should be sold only in quart bottles, sealed up, with the king’s seal, with a very high duty, and none sold without being mixed with a strong emetic.

“Many become objects of charity by their intemperance, and this excludes others, who are such by the unavoidable accidents of life, or who cannot, by any means, support themselves. Hence it appears, that the introducing new habits of life, is the most substantial charity; and that the regulation of charity-schools, hospitals, and workhouses, not the augmentation of their number, can make them answer the wise ends, for which they were instituted.

“The children of beggars should be also taken from them, and bred up to labour, as children of the public. Thus the distressed might be relieved, at a sixth part of the present expense; the idle be compelled to work or starve; and the mad be sent to Bedlam. We should not see human nature disgraced by the aged, the maimed, the sickly, and young children, begging their bread; nor would compassion be abused by those, who have reduced it to an art to catch the unwary. Nothing is wanting but common sense and honesty in the execution of laws.