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is astonishing to see how tenaciously and with how much vitality a popularized evil, known, felt and confessed to be an evil, will cling to a community. Such was the array of immorality, idleness and criminality justly proved on this system that Parliament refused any act of incorporation for a lottery after 1823, and forbade the sale of tickets in foreign lotteries within the realm under high penalties. And so having “proved eminently prejudicial to public morals by fostering among the peoa propensity for gambling,” the last legal lottery in England came to an end October 18, 1826.
We need not detail the steps for their suppression in France. They were similar to those in England, only that as French morals are much lower than the English the effects of the system in France were more violent and offensive and deadly against public virtue. The lottery was legally abolished in France in 1836. A single fact will indicate and suggest a wide gathering of results. The following year the deposits by the poor
in the Savings Banks exceeded the amount of the last lottery year by more than half a million of dollars.
Legislation in the United States on lotteries and raffles has been quite as marked and much more prompt and to the point than in the mother country. As these schemes were in much popularity in England during our colonial period, and when we were instituting sovereign state governments, it was a matter of course that they should come into favor here.
But our practical fathers early saw their injurious effects, and the Congress, during the Revolution, gave the key note to the general and prohibitory legislation that followed in the most of the States. The American Congress adopted the following resolution, October 12th and 16th, 1778:
“ Whereas, True religion and good morals are the only solid foundation of public liberty and happiness,
“ Resolved, That it be, and it is hereby, earnestly recommended to the several States to take the most effectual measures for the encouragement thereof, and for the suppressing gaming, and such other diversions as are productive of idleness, dissipation, and a general depravity of principles and manners."
We have not at hand the dates of the absolute prohibition of these vicious schemes in the several States that we are about to
mention. This general date, however, may be given, that the system went through abolition here, as a whole, about the time and soon following its abolition in England. For the same evil results were made apparent here at the same time, and the two countries made common stock of the facts and reasonings. on the subject.
As late as 1832, there were in nine of the States four hundred and twenty lottery schemes in action, with an aggregate of prizes amounting to $66,420,162. In 1830 a scheme was drawn in New York of $9,270,000, but in 1833 that State abolished the system. Uuder the agitation, tempting publication and circulation of such an immense lottery capital, no doubt the evils of the system, in blighting industry, morals and domestic happiness, came to a crisis and climax, and the State, in alarm and abhorrence, swept away the whole demoralizing system three years afterward.
A similar fact in England stirred the people, moved Parliament and precipitated its overthrow there. A little before its abolition a mammoth scheme was drawn, in which the prizes ranged from twenty pounds sterling up to one hundred thousand pounds. So diffused was the chance interest in this, that one of the smallest tickets would have perhaps fifty share owners, six-penny, and even penny rights, in the hoped for prize. Children's mouths, clerks' tills and heavy treasuries were robbed for purchase money. Of course the drawing dashed thousands of hopes, and revealed a vast amount of theft, peculation and breaches of pecuniary trusts, that were to have been covered over by prize money.
In the mortification, fear and despair consequent on so many ruined ticket holders, fifty suicides occurred on the night following the drawing. It is such facts as these that have driven the system to the wall in legislative halls.
Brief references to the statutes in some of our States will indicate the tone of the law and the status of the Lottery or Raffle in our own country. The laws of Massachusetts are as follows:
“Whoever sets up or promotes any lottery for money ; or by way of lottery disposes of any property of value, real or personal; or under the pretext of a sale, gift or delivery, of any other property,
or any right, privilege, or thing, whatever, disposes of, or offers or attempts to dispose of, any real or personal property, with the intent to make the disposal of such real or personal property dependent upon or connected with any chance by lot, dice, numbers, game, hazard, or other gambling device, whereby such chance or device is made an additional inducement to the disposal or sale of said property; and whoever aids, either by printing or writing, or is any way concerned, in the setting up, managing, or drawing, of any such lottery, or in such disposal, or offer, or attempts, to dispose of property by any such chance or device; shall for each offence be punished by fine not exceeding two thousand dollars.
And whoever knowingly suffers money or other property to be raffled for in such house, shop or building, [under his control]
shall for each offence be punished by fine not exceeding t:70 thousand dollars.” And whoever sells or offers to sell any ticket, certificate, bill, token, number, chance or any other device, to property or parts of it so offered in lottery or raffle, is subject to the same fine. A second offence, under conviction subjects one to imprisonment in the house of correction.—Revised Stat. 1860, ch. 167, SS 1, 2, 3.
The Constitution of Rhode Island has the following clause: “All lotteries shall hereafter be prohibited in this State, except those already authorized by the General Assembly.” Fine, two thousand dollars. Art. 4, § 12.
The Connecticut statutes, by the code of 1866, have the same laws for substance, excepting a variation in the measure and mode of punishment.
New York has this in her Constitution : "Nor shall any lottery hereafter be authorized, or any sale of lottery tickets allowed within the State." Art. 1, § 10.
The following, in her General Statutes, shows how New York makes the lottery and raffle identical : "No person shall set up or propose any money, goods, chattels or things in action to be raffled for, or to be distributed by lot or chance," etc. Code of 1859, Pt. 1. c. 20, Art. 4, § 29.
New Jersey sets her •law against the system thus : “All lotteries for money, goods, wares, merchandize, chattels, lands, hereditaments, or other matters or things whatever, shall be and hereby are adjudged to be common and public nuisances,"
etc. Punishment, two thousand dollars. Nixon's Code of 1861, 3d Ed., p. 338.
Maryland forbids them totally, under fine, or imprisonment, or both, defining the lottery and raffle to be one and the same thing. Code of 1860, Art. 30, SS 107–19.
Vermont unites the lottery and raffle as one in principle and result and forbids totally. Gen. Stats. of 1863, pp. 692—3.
Maine, Iowa, Michigan, and probably the most of the other States, are on the same basis in their prohibitory legislation. Virginia unites the lottery and raffle, and licenses the sale of tickets, but the price of a license is almost prohibitory, being one thousand dollars.
Thus have we the experience of about three centuries in lotteries by the three leading nations in morals, social culture, commerce, the arts and mechanics. We have, too, their legislation and final prohibition of all such schemes, as hostile to industry, thrift and good morals, and promotive of poverty and misery, vice and crime. Even the morality of France could not bear lotteries and raffles. It is true other nations still sustain them, but to only name three of them is to confirm our argument and settle our conclusion. Mexico, Spain and Italy are the three. They are intensely Roman Catholic countries,
, whose religious and moral code teaches them that the end justifies the means, and whose physical, political, mental, industrial, commercial, social and moral power is hardly worth the reckoning among the forces of the age for a progressive civilization.
It is instructive to see how both abroad and at home legislation has undertaken to regulate a practice inherently wrong, and make it safe for the community by a license system. The parallel between the legislation on the lottery system and on the liquor traffic is striking in their similar methods and failures. All the power of the British Parliament could not devise and enforce a morally safe license system for raffles and lotteries. We have had the same defeat in legislative struggles with intemperance in its aids and sources. A licensed evil can not be transmuted into a public good. Nothing but educating the public conscience up to a good legal system can make that system of any practical worth ; and it will have intrinsic worth only as it abandons the futile idea of regulating an intrinsic evil.
If there be nothing inherently and morally wrong in this gaming, why have not England, France, and the United States been able to adopt, regulate and sustain the system for purposes of revenue, public works and recreation? If gaming by the lot is a mere policy, having no essentially vicious moral principle, why has it been defeated and abandoned in these nations wholly for its immoral influences ? It has been found so to weaken the Christian virtues as to disorganize moral, social and industrial life. How could an innocent policy, no way wrong in itself, work so much wrong, and by its own injurious results overthrow itself? We obtain no satisfactory answer to this question till we discover in the essential principle of the Lottery or Raffle a perverted moral truth and a profaned religious usage. As this is a point vital to the defence or overthrow of the system we will give it a more careful attention.
The use of the lot was primarily a sacred and religious act, and of the nature of prayer. Therefore it is that a perverted and gaming use of it is so demoralizing. For sacred things profaned are the most powerful means to undermine morality and piety., The lot, like prayer or the oath, had a good use.
The right use of the lot was in cases of real importance, that must be decided, and yet could not be decided satisfactorily by the judgment of man. It must be more than a trivial case, and more than an important yet difficult case. It must be an important case, so difficult in its pressure for immediate decision, that the best reasoning and intentions of man could not bring an issue satisfactory to those concerned. In such cases the Scriptures record and sanction the use of the lot; for it was a direct and sacred appeal to the judgment and final decision of God. It is cast into the lap that he may end human questionings and difficulties on the thing at issue. So the proverb says: “The lot causeth contentions to cease and parteth between the mighty."
The promised land was thus assigned by lot among the tribes of Israel. Saul was chosen by lot as the first king of Israel, though the Lord had previously and secretly pointed him out to Samuel. A very striking illustration of its use is found in the choice of Matthias to the apostleship made vacant by Judas. The apostles went as far as they could toward an election, and