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advocates of sobriety, and virtue, that they may be enabled to pour forth their moderate libations in honour of the drunken god!
When the happy period shall arrive, in which our country shall be delivered from its present practical heathenism,* it will be difficult to convince its, then, enlightened, and virtuous inhabitants, that their predecessors were ever guilty of such preposterous extravagance, as that by which we are now distinguished.t
But some of the particular modes, by which our property is wasted, demand especial attention, since they are affecting exhibitions of the folly, and guilt of our idolatry. It would, surely, be bad enough, were we to employ the silver, and the gold, which the Almighty has given us, for nobler purposes, in piling stone upon stone, and in adding ornament to ornament, in honour of some imaginary deity, or of some departed hero. It would, surely, be bad enough, were we, merely, tɔ support some hundreds of thousands of selfish, idle, and domineering priests, and impure priestesses, for performing a number of absurd, and unprofitable rites and ceremonies; but we do infinitely worse than all this. We employ a vast amount of money, in erecting enormous establish
* See appendix B,
† See appendix I.
ments, wherein we may destroy the produce of more than a million acres of fruitful land*wherein we may convert the blessed fruits of the earth into liquid poisons, and from which we may pour them in ten thousand streams, to corrupt, to impoverish, and destroy ourselves, our families, our neighbours, and our friends.
Were we rich enough to make these sacrifices of property, without material injury to ourselves or others, our strange infatuation might, in some degree, be excused. But, what is the fact? Multitudes are reduced by these sacrifices to beggary and starvation. The empty houses, the ragged attire, and the emaciated looks of vast numbers of men, women, and children, and, especially in unhappy Ireland, attest, with irresistible eloquence, that the god of our idolatry is an all-devouring, and insatiable monster. Let us not, then, talk of the sacrifices of the heathen. Let us not affect surprise at the devotion which prompts them to make those sacrifices, when, at the same time, we are yearly squandering an amount of money, equal to the entire revenue of the empire, on the vile produce of the still and the brewery!
INTEMPERANCE OCCASIONS AN ENORMOUS WASTE
OF HUMAN LIFE.
* About 40,000 acres of the richest land are, every year, devoted to the growth of the hop-a weed which The sacrifice of human life is not an evil which, necessarily, results from heathenism, but has often been found in connexion with it. There is no reason to believe, that the average duration of existence among the idolaters of ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, was ever materially shortened, by their superstitions; while it must be admitted, that Druidism, and modern Hindooism, as well as the false religions of the South Sea Islanders, and of other idolaters, have been fatal to the
affords not the least nourishment—which, when used habitually, is positively injurious, and which, though possessing medicinal qualities, may be wholly dispensed with, since all its virtues are contained in other vegetable substances.
The quantity of land thus rendered useless is capable of producing nearly 200,000 quarters of wheat.
One million acres are devoted to the growth of the barley, which is converted into intoxicating drink. One third of this quantity of land would produce a million quarters of wheat: so that the land devoted to hops, and one-third of the land employed in growing barley, to be made into a comparatively useless, and positively dangerous liquor, would maintain one million, six hundred thousand human beings, including men, women, and children! For want of the grain, which this land is capable of producing, we have now to pay an exorbitant price for bread, and are dependent on foreigners for the means of our preservation, at least as far as the poor are concerned, from the horrors of famine,
longevity of many of the human race. Let it, however be conceded, that the Moloch of heathenism has been glutted with human blood—that its altars have been stained with the gore of many a human victim—that Juggernaut is still permitted to roll his murderous car over the crushed and mangled bodies of our fellow-men—that the plains of India are white with the bleached bones of the victims of its idolatry-in short, that “the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty," still, intoxicating drink is occasioning a greater waste of human life, in one year, in Great Britain, alone, than we have any reason to believe has ever been occasioned, in the same space of time, by the aggregate idolatries of the known world!
What are a few widows immolated on the funeral pile, or buried alive in the graves, of their dead husbands ?-what are a few infants, strangled in the islands of the Pacific, or thrown into the Ganges, by their own parents ?what are a few aged, and helpless beings, left to perish by the banks of some sacred stream ? —or, what are a few miserable devotees, who have consigned themselves to a violent, or lingering death, for the purpose of securing the favour of their gods, compared with the tens of thousands, , who, year after year, offer themselves, as victims, on the
altar of our British Moloch ? It has often been asserted, and never denied, that from forty to fifty thousands perish, annually, as acknowledged drunkards. But these are not the only victims, whose death has been accelerated, to gratify the god of our idolatry.* Intemperance has its degrees, from the first stage of unnatural excitement, when the spirits are but just unduly elated, and the harmony of the mental faculties is but just disturbed, to that point, in the progress of the inebriate, when he is either raving like a maniac, or is sunk into a state of stupid idiotism. Vast numbers, who drink intoxicating liquors are, doubtlessly, enabled to stop short, in their dangerous career, before they can be justly charged, with what is, usually, termed drunkenness; but, as every degree of intemperance, or of unnatural and unhealthy excitement, produced by those liquors, is injurious to human health, and brings on premature mortality, there is reason to believe, that out of a people, so universally addicted to the constant use of those liquors, as are the inhabitants of Great Britain, some hundreds of thousands must be regarded, as, every year, swelling the number that have, already, been sacrificed to our national idol. So insatiable are the demands of the
* See appendix K.