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money which is so many thousand times' worse than wasted, in building colleges, supporting schools, improving roads, encouraging manufactures, extinguishing the national debt, increasing our navy, fortifying our seaboard, sending out missionaries, and disseminating the scriptures.
Less than a fifth part of it would support 7,230 ministers of the gospel, with an average salary of 700 dollars, supplying every thousand inhabitants, with one minister. A little more than one third part of the whole amount, would pay 43,380 school teachers, giving each a salary of 300 dollars, and allowing six schools to every thousand inhabitants. The remainder, would, we believe, more than defray all the ordinary expenses both of the general and state governments. Or the whole sum of 33 millions of dollars, would purchase 2,750,000 barrels of flour, at 12 dollars a barrel, which would supply 458,333 families with bread for the year, allowing six barrels to each family. Or it would found one hundred and ten colleges, apportioning to each 300,000 dollars : or it would build a city of between five and six thousand houses, at an average cost of 6000 dollars. Or according to an estimate, submitted to Congress sometime last winter, by the Secretary of the Navy, it would in a single year build one hundred ships of the line. Or it would handsomely support 100,000 students at public seminaries. Or it would establish between 50 and 60 manufactories, with an average capital of 600,000 dollars. Or, if applied to the improvement of roads, and making canals, the one half of it would complete 135 turnpikes, each 200 miles in length, at a cost of 600 dollars a mile; and the other half would cut 50 canals, 100 miles long, and costing 6000 dollars a mile. Or, if devoted to that object, 33
millions of dollars would establish 16,500 young families in our new settlements, on the same number of farms, at an average cost of 2000 dollars. Or, finally, if expended in the great and good work of christianizing the heathen, one half of it would support 25,000 missionaries in foreign lands, and the other half would purchase from 15 to 20 millions of bibles.
We have said, that upon a very moderate computation, 80,000 gallons of ardent spirits are consumed yearly, in the western district of this country ; and that the average cost cannot be less than one dollar a gallon. 80,000 gallons, then, costs 80,000 dollars, of which Fairfield pays according to the present estimate, 14,118 ; Norwalk, 9,905 ; Stamford, 15,240; Greenwich, 12,179; New Canaan, 5,345; Ridgefield, 7,197 ; Weston, 8,960; and Wilton, 5,914!
Now what would be thought, what would be said, if these towns were required to pay one fifth part of this sum, for public service? Why, every man would cry out against the burden as intolerable. Your tax-gatherers would be mobbed at noon day in the streets. And if there was no other way to get rid of paying such unheard of taxes, would you not abandon your establishments, sell your farms, and remove to some distant region ?
Brethren, and friends, we invite you to calculate for yourselves. Take 80,000, or even 40,000 dollars annually, and think how much good might be effected, by expending it in public improvements, within our own limits, or by devoting it in a wider field, to the advancement of arts, sciences, and religion. Then reflect, that so far from doing any essential good, as now laid out for ardent spirits, it actually goes to buy gout, apoplexy, fevers, consumption, and a host of other fatal diseases, together
with shame, poverty, stupidity, distraction, death, and perdition.
Let us pursue this train of reflections a little further. How many thousands of families are literally reduced to beggary, by intemperance ! Business neglected, shops deserted, windows patched and stuffed with rags, buildings decaying, long court dockets, crowded prisons, children crying for bread, and shivering with cold. These, these, are some of the unimpeachable vouchers for the truth of what has been advanced. These distressing facts show from whence a very large part of the revenue of Bacchus is drawn. It is money which should feed the hungry, and clothe the naked; which should educate poor children, support the institutions of the gospel, disseminate religious books, and spread the light of divine truth throughout the dark places of the earth.
5. Intemperance is the parent of every crime. It is when men are heated with strong drink, that they are prepared for deeds of wickedness, at which they would shudder in their sober moments. It is then that they set their mouth against the heavens, and make the air ring with the most outrageous profanations of God's holy
It is in fits of intoxication, that many are hurried on to blasphemy, robbery, rape, manslaughter, and murder. Judge Rush, in one of his excellent charges to the Grand Jury of Pennsylvania, solemnly declares, that he does not remember a single indictment before him for manslaughter, and very few for murder, which were not occasioned by intoxication.
6. Intemperate drinking is the high road to perdition. It is a fiery stream which empties into the bottomless pit. All who travel on this road, or embark on this flood, are in danger of hell fire. Though here and there a drunk
ard has been reclaimed, now and then a brand has been snatched from the burning, it is agreed on all hands, that the case of the habitually intemperate, is all but hopeless. How fast is this single enemy filling the world of woe. The scriptures declare, that drunkards shall not inherit the kingdom of God. And how dreadful, how overwhelming the thought that so many thousands of immortal beings should stagger into the grave and into hell, under such a load. How amazing, that rational creatures can consent to make brutes and maniacs of themselves, and thus prepare with terrible activity and perseverance, for the blackness of darkness forever.
We hasten to inquire, what can be done to check the torrent that is sweeping us away, and dry up the streams by which it is fed? If any thing can be done, benevolence will certainly prompt to important sacrifices for effecting a reformation.
But before we venture to propose remedies, it seems necessary, to investigate the nature and causes of the dis
Whence is it then, that the drinking of spirits has become so common, and the number of intemperate people so great ?
Multitudes learn to drink, we are persuaded, first moderately, and then to excess, by using spirits as
a medicine. Persons out of health, says Dr. Rush, especially those who are aflicted with diseases of the stomach and bowels, are very apt to seek relief, from ardent spirits. Let such people be cautious, how they make use of this, dangerous remedy. I have known many men and women of excellent characters and principles, who have been betrayed by occasional doses of gin and brandy, into a love of those liquors, and have afterwards fallen sacrifices to their fatal effects.'
Domestic trials, hypocondriacal affections, worldly disappointments, produce sorrow and despondency in the minds of many. Under these circumstances, instead of seeking relief in the consolations of religion, where alone it can be found, not a few madly attempt to drown their sorrows in the wide, troubled sea of intoxication! How many thousand times worse is the remedy than the dis
It is as if a man should set fire to his own house, to divert his mind from a slight tooth-ache; or, should pluck out both his eyes, to rid himself of the momentary sight of some painful object ;-or should lie down in a bed of glowing embers, to allay the heat of a fever.
O let all who are in trouble, beware how they move a step, towards the yawning and bottomless gulf of intemperance. Let them watch and pray that they enter not into temptation. Let them resist the devil and he will flee from them.
To the great and increasing numbers of taverns and dram-shops, may be traced many of the evils of intemperance. They are at once, causes and effects of these mischiefs. Their very existence proves, that the thirst for ardent spirits is already insatiable ; and while they strongly indicate, they greatly increase the disease. That houses of public entertainment are necessary, we readily admit. Every town should provide the stranger and the traveller with a home; but surely, it is not necessary or safe, to licence half a dozen taverns in one small village. It cannot be safe, to provide so many facilities for hard drinking.