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CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF STATE CENTRAL COMMITTEE.
The answers to the inquiries sent out by our committee show that a large majority of the common school teachers believe in this study, appreciate its importance and object, and, as we have already shown, are doing faithful work that will make every lover of humanity glad and grateful for their service as the results of their labors are known.
From the answers received to our inquiries it is also evident that where dissatisfaction exists or where children are said not to enjoy the study, an explanation is to be found in one or more of the following causes :
First. The failure of school officials properly to arrange the course of study, with the result that the teachers feel this branch a burden.
Second. The selection of books unadapted to grade and the use of the same book through too many grades which leads to the charge of “ repetition.”
Third. The personal habits of teachers, in some instances not in harmony with the desired end of this instruction.
Fourth. Misconception of what the law really requires.
We rejoice in the measure of success that has attended our present system of teaching physiology and hygiene. The testimony in our possession as to this success in our State shows that as an educational force for right living this study has passed beyond the experimental stage to that of results justifying the expectation that this form of education is destined to overthrow the greatest evil and peril of our times. Therefore we are opposed to any effort to change the law requiring this study. In order that the State may receive the greatest amount of benefit from it we urge :
First. Cessation of destructive criticism of the las and the instruction it requires by school authorities whose duty it is to enforce the law.
Second. A sincere, conscientious, and earnest endeavor on the part of educators, normal school principals, institute instructors, and teachers to carry out the provisions of the law in a constructive spirit, to fit themselves to make the subject interesting and to present it properly graded in such a way as to inculcate the principles of hygiene in the lives of the youth of our State and make them intelligent total abstainers.
Third. The appointment of institute instructors who are in sympathy with the law and whose personal habits conform to the teaching; who have made a study of physiology and hygiene, as required by law, and who will apply to this subject up-to-date methods of teaching.
Fourth. That superintendents of schools and school officials prepare suitable courses of study, naming text-books and supplementary helps adapted to grade.
The report of the State Science Teachers' Association has been sent out to the teachers of the State, and the State central committee submit the foregoing reply in the best interest of the children of the State, and respectfully ask for its careful consideration on behalf of the committee for scientific temperance instruction.
DAVID Jas. BURRELL,
Chairman. JAMES H. DARLINGTON,
First Tice-Chairman. WM. T. WARDWELL,
Second Vice-Chairman. ALFRED L. MANIERRE,
Secretary and Treasurer.
THE BATTLE AGAINST ALCOHOL IN TIIE UNITED STATES.
[From the French of F. Dupré La Tour, in the Musée Social for June, 1903.) The problem of alcoholism is among those which occupy the first rank in the minds of thinkers in the United States.
A commission of fifty distinguished persons, appointed six years ago to inquire into the moral condition of the American people, began with one accord by a study of alcoholism. Under the direction of such men as Messrs. Carroll D. Wright, Charles W. Eliot, Seth Low, James C. Carter, and Doctors Peabody and Atwater, the work was divided among four subcommittees, who were to consider the problem in its physiological, economic, moral, and legislative aspects.
The four volumes, the result of this collaboration,a which were prepared by such conscientious editors as Messrs. Koren, Calkins, and Wines, form an inexhaustible mine of information for the economist and the legislator. It would be presumptuous to attempt to add anything to them.
But for the foreigner, more interested in the struggle itself, with its ricissitudes and its maneuvers, than in its origin and legislative steps, this vast inquiry needed a commentary. It remained to observe on the spot the army of temperance, to follow it on the field of battle, and to try to discover the secret of its victories. This is the task which the writer took upon himself, and he gives here a brief résumé of the results obtained from an observation of three months.
The United States is a country farorable to alcoholism. The climate, with its extremes of temperature, there being no transition whatever from one season to another, invites the use of stimulants and tonics. The dry atmosphere makes the fortune of all dealers in thirst-quenching liquids. The dietary methods are execrable, and how could it be otherwise, since the workman or employee, obliged to take an hour on the “ elevated ” for his trip to and from the factory or the business place in the city, has no time to eat at his leisure, and has but a half hour at most for his midday lunch? So he pretends to satisfy his hunger with cold pie with a thick crust of flour and sweets, and it is not long before he feels the necessity of assisting bis rebellious digestion with something healing to his weakened stomach.
The high rents (an average of $3 a week for two rooms in the outskirts of New York) make it necessary for the workingman to limit the size of his lodging and increase the charm and social attraction of the public house.
Finally, that country is the rendezvous of emigrants from the four quarters of the world, some belonging to the sober races, as the Jews, Italians, and negroes; others carrying the weight of several centuries of intemperance, as the Irish and Scandinavians; but nearly all of them rendered incapable through poverty, loneliness, and even by the covetousness engendered by their small wages ($10) of resisting the allurements of the vice which lies in wait for
© Published by Houghton, Mifflin & Co. (Boston).
He wishes to acknowledge the cordial welcome given and assistance rendered by Dr. W. H. Tolman, correspondent of the Musée Social, New York; Dr. W. T. Harris, United States Commissioner of Education; Talcott Williams, editor of the Philadelphia Press ; Father Doyle, Paulist, secretary of the C. T. A. U. of America, New York; Father Eliot and Doctor Shephard, Brooklyn; Miss Claghorne; Rev. Mr. Curran, pastor at Wilkesbarre, Pa.; 0. Stewart, member of the State legislature of Illinois ; Al. E. Wilson, Chicago; Rev. Mr. Noon, secretary of the Massachusetts Total Abstinence Society, Boston ; Mr. Pearmain, broker, Boston ; Mr. Koren, editor of the reports of the Committee of Fifty ; Doctor Beach, Binghamton, N. Y. ; Mrs. Anna Gordon, vice-president, and Mrs. $. Fry, secretary, of the W. C. T. U.; the professors of the University of Pennsylvania : the members of the Lyonnaise colony at New York; Mr. Ingres, president of the Alliance Française, Chicago.
them. Each year the newcomers form å new mass of citizens to be converted to temperance, thus keeping in full vigor the zeal of the apostles in spite of all the victories which have been gained.
Moreover, the race which results from so composite a mixture of blood is particularly active and nervous, riolently attracted, when days of dejection occur, by the excitement which alcohol procures for them and implacably vanquished by it.
The breaches thus opened by the existing conditions are still more widened by certain social customs. That of " treating," for instance, which corresponds to the “ tournée” of our public houses, with this difference, that every participant there is obliged to return the courtesy immediately. There is also the peculiar institution of the free lunch," a kind of buffet gratuitously opened in the public houses to every buyer of a drink. The greater part of the dishes which are placed within reach of the hand are ingeniously chosen to excite an inextinguishable thirst in the customer who allows himself to be tempted by them. Yet they attract a great many poor people, happy to find for the small sum of 5 cents (price of a drink) the means of getting an actual dinner. From this point of view it can not be denied that here they really play a philanthropic rôle. At any rate this is a service which the public houses in the cities of the United States render and which attracts to them a great number of passers-by.
For some inscrutable reasons, which are not those of economy, the municipalities exclude from the streets certain public conveniences. The saloons and the hotels are the only recourse. But in performing an act of charity they find their recompense, for there is more than one passer-by whom the sight or simply the odor of whisky holds for an instant near the bar.
In order to render clear the character which alcoholism assumes in the United States and the remedies which are necessary, nothing can be more instructive than to observe a drinker in the exercise of this habit.
Let us then enter a public house, a “saloon" of a large city, Brooklyn, for instance, and see how the Americans drink. Generally situated in a populous street, its outward aspect is somewhat engaging. The glittering architecture contrasts with the poverty of the neighboring houses ; a screen before the door and curtains at the windows keep outsiders from seeing what goes on inside.
We enter; not a chair in the shop. The bar occupies the farther end, with waiters in white aprons who attend to the customers. On the walls are hung mirrors and pictures representing nude figures which the artists in this specialty have been obliged to sell there cheaply, there being almost no other place at present where they can dispose of them. On the counter are some gambling or slot machines where cigars or drinks may be won.
There seem to be very few people there and at first one wonders how the saloon keeper can make expenses. Two minutes of patience give us the key to the mystery. The customer does not remain. He enters, goes straight to the bar, drinks, and departs. Ten times in a few minutes the bell of the cash register machine has announced a receipt and yet the saloon always seems empty. Twice a day only, at lunch time and at the closing of the workshops, it will be filled for some time by the lovers of the free lunch, who come to dip into the dishes.
& Even the best known and most wealthy families are not spared from this scourge, and sometimes one hears it said that such or such a member of some family has suddenly disappeared from society, his future sacrificed to a sudden passion for alcohol. The only means of safety for him thereafter is through some of the agencies for redeeming drunkards.
On Friday a great number of the public houses replace meat with fish to satisfy their Irish Catholic customers.
The delicate manner in which the habitués of our cafés sip their absinthe is not known, nor the long idling over an empty glass on the terrace of our boulevards. The cocktails themselves are beginning to disappear from their native soil, their skillful preparation requiring too much care. Beer or whisky is drunk, not to kill time, but to satisfy an ungovernable thirst.
In undertaking the warfare against such an enemy two kinds of tactics have been combined. The first undertakes the reformation of the drunkard and the formation in the younger generation of sober habits; the other is especially directed to the suppression or restriction of the traffic in liquor by legal methods, and attacks the saloon as the source of every evil.
Far from being in opposition the two methods complement each other wonderfully. If it can be said that the drinker creates the saloon, and if the first care of the reformer should be a campaign of individual reformation, on the other hand the absolute lack of restraint of the places of temptation seems too severe a test for even the best disposed.
The writer proposes to review successively the two great phases of the antialcoholic war.
1-SAFETY AND REFORMATION OF THE INDIVIDUAL.
The religious denominations, the temperance societies, and the public schools devote themselves specially to the preservation of the individual, seconded powerfully in their efforts by the necessities of the struggle for existence.
AGENCIES WHICH OPERATE TO SAVE.
The temperance preached in the United States is very different from that championed by its apostles on the European continent. No American is entitled to the right of being called temperate if he uses beer or wine, and still less so if he sells it. Temperance in that country occupies itself exclusively with total abstinence from all sorts of drinks containing alcohol in any degree whatever, fermented or distilled. We are so far from having this one of the rules of our antialcoholic societies that certain ones have been found excessively severe in prohibiting alcohol altogether, and we remember having greatly scandalized the “ temperance men” in America in letting them know that the president of one of our most important temperance societies is a large proprietor of vineyards and sells, besides, some excellent wines.
It may be asked if there is not a certain sign of weakness in the pledge of total abstinence to which the adept of temperance of the Anglo-Saxon race flees for refuge, and if the position which discerns strength in moderation is not the better one.
Should this reasoning, recognized to be false as regards the drinking of distilled liquors on account of their terrible property of increasing the desire which they pretend to assuage, apply to fermented drinks? This depends, in the first place, on the temperament of different peoples. The distinctive character of the American is a lack of moderation in everything that he undertakes, good or bad. Moreover, as we have seen, alcohol is particularly attractive and injurious to him. It is thought that for him, under these conditions, it is more profitable and easier to abstain totally than to stop or limit the abuse when it has
* A third method has often been pointed out as very efficacious in combatting alcohol. ism. This is to take away from the saloon all of its attractions by providing better institutions for the needs of rest and recreation of the people, such as cheap dwelling houses, popular universities, libraries, sporting clubs, etc. The Committee of Fifty has made this the object of a special inquiry contained in the fourth volume,“ Substitutes for the saloon." This study, which embraces the entire philanthropic field in the United States, exceeds the limit of this sketch.
commenced. Environment and habits play also a great rôle. In France we drink during the meal wine produced on our own soil, clear and light liquids, which are commonly used at the family table with the addition of water. In the United States fermented drinks are generally absent from the meal, and the stranger who for the first time takes a seat at a table in a New York restaurant is astonished to have a glass of water offered as the first mark of hospitality.
The explanation of this general abstinence is very simple. The native wine, the greater part of which comes from California, is mediocre, and if it is imported from beyond the sea is too much charged with alcohol. On the other hand, the water is very pure in nearly all the large centers, and this quality, added to the good habit they have of always serving it cool, makes anything else unnecessary.
Moreover, the greater part of the popular restaurants do not care to pay the liquor license, and the customer who wishes to drink beer or wine is obliged to go to a neighboring saloon and there submit to the dangerous contact of the saloon keeper and the drinker of alcohol. They have thus been led to adopt a radical programme for temperance.
Finally, the radicalism of the American apostle of temperance becomes still more comprehensible when it is remembered that the temperance movement was born fifty years ago when whisky was the favorite drink. Despite the progress accomplished since the start, the plan and the banner remain the same.
Role of the religious denominations.--If, landing on a Saturday evening at New York, the inquirer into antialcoholism has the curiosity on the following morning to go to a church in the outskirts, Methodist or Presbyterian, the chances are even that he will hear a temperance sermon. If, in the afternoon, he should promenade the length of First, Third, or Ninth avenues, he will infallibly perceive, forming a circle, the Salvation Army; when he draws nearer he hears an orator improvising a public speech, who recounts his conversion to total abstinence. And in the evening, in the most miserable localities—the Bowery, for example—he will see here and there a wooden chapel bearing the inscription, “ Christian Temperance Mission,” which opens its doors on that evening. There are a great number of people coming and going. They hear a sermon on temperance here also, but one managed with such art that at any hour of the evening, without a single exception, they are sure to hear within five minutes the entire series of customary arguments. At the end of the day the inquirer returns pursuaded that in that country alcoholism has reached immeasurable proportions. The fact is that it is not alcoholism, but the antialcoholic movement, which holds such an exceptional place. The Protestant churches have always been specially devoted to the cause of temperance, possibly because there can always be a certain agreement on that subject between the pastors and the members of the congregation; more probably, however, on account of the apostolic zeal with which they are animated. In the first rank are the Methodist and Presbyterian churches. These two sects exclude from membership the manufacturers and sellers of alcohol and all those who are silent partners and guarantee the establishments or who lease them their locations.
The Methodist Church goes still further and makes total abstinence a religious precept, the violation of which entails a reprimand from the pastor the first time and at the third offense a dismissal from the church, at least unless there is sincere repentance.
a Unsuccessful attempts were made about the year 1850 to organize in the United States temperance societies of the French type of to-day.
Book of the discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church, article 248. Minutes of the Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, 1877, page 558.