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Salmagundi [Christmas Accidents.–American Custom Of "treating"]
by [?]

. . .

The American custom of “treating” is receiving some severe criticism from the European press. It deserves it. It is one of the most ridiculous and hurtful that ever cursed mankind. It is responsible for the bulk of the crime and pauperism usually accredited to John Barleycorn. Where there is no treating there’s usually little intemperance. When a man steps into a “resort” for a glass of beer he’s pretty apt to find a party lined up at the bar. He wants to pay for his beer, drink it and take his departure. But this is not permitted. He may have no more than a passing acquaintance with any of those present, but he must drink with the crowd, and having done so feels obligated to ask the crowd to drink with him. It does so, and he’s “out” from one to three dollars. Having drunk with Tom he must drink with Dick and with Harry, and when he departs he’s more than half drunk. The chances are that he could ill afford the expense incurred–that if left to himself he would have taken one drink instead of a dozen. “Treating” is a foolish custom that should be abolished in the interest of sobriety. It is good neither for the saloon nor for society. It is not good for the saloon because it occasions drunkenness and disorder and causes it to be avoided by thousands of otherwise good paying patrons. It is not good for society because weak men waste their substance, and a drunken man is an unsafe citizen. But the treating habit has too strong a grip on the American people to be eliminated by magazine essays–it must be made a misdemeanor. I am told that in Germany it matters NOT how friendly the members of a symposiac may be, everybody is expected to order and pay for his own booze. The result is that the German drinking place is respectable as the average restaurant and is patronized by almost the entire people. Temperance is the rule–stimulants are freely used but seldom abused. The treating habit is born of the American desire to “splurge.” It means an enormous waste of money. It likewise means a sinful waste of good wine, for when a crowd of men belly a bar and pour stimulants into themselves as swine absorb swill it really matters little whether they drink Pomeroy See or barrel-house booze. They do not enjoy their potations–their only desire is to make drunk come. The treating habit is making of us a swinish people and strengthening the hands of the Prohibitionists. . . .

The “Rev.” Sam Jones of Jawgy has broken loose again. This time he sets his cornstalk spear in rest and charges full tilt at the public school system and pretty much everything else in sight. His pathway is strewn with a gruesome wreck of the English grammar. Sam discussing the merits of education suggest a brindle mule criticising the Venus de Milo or a scavenger expatiating on the odors of Araby. His reverence (?) has become imbued with the idea that it spoils a boy to educate him, which goes to prove that the less a man knows the more he despises knowledge. But we can scarce blame Sam for railing at education. He is but obeying the law of self-preservation. When the people learn to distinguish between a hawk and a heron-saw they will drive this putrid-mouth little blatherskite from the pulpit. . . .

The New York Press wants all niggers holding federal offices in the South “armed to the teeth” for their own protection. It has an idea that the South is peopled only by “white savages” whose favorite sport is the shooting of nigger officer-holders from ambush. Like the erstwhile Artemus Ward’s monkey, the editor of the Press is “a most amusin kuss.” The South never gets angry at that kind of an animal. Occasionally a corrupt Republican administration appoints some ignorant Ethiopian to office who becomes insufferably insolent to his white neighbors and is called down with a six-shooter; but for every negro office-holder “assassinated by Southern savages” at least five white women are dragged from their homes by Northern white-caps and brutally abused. Who says so? I do; and I stand ready to prove it by the files of the leading Republican paper of this nation for ten years past. I refer, of course, to the St. Louis Globe- Democrat, the best all-around newspaper in the world. The South has very little affection for nigger office- holders, but they are full as safe as any other class of citizens so long as they behave themselves. The black man is not to blame for accepting an office, it is the Republican administration that deserves censure in thus making him the political superior of his white brethern. It is not the nigger who deserves killing, but the meddlesome Yankee editors who encourage him to be insolent.