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[486] written above a year ago, full of kindness and interesting facts, was as welcome to me as ever, and so was the remarkable ‘Canterbury Report,’ with its marvellously condensed appendix, which came a few days ago. On both I must say a word, for I think, even from your letter, that you like to hear talk on the suppression of intemperance better than on almost anything else. Indeed, it has long been a main object with you in life,—certainly a most worthy one.

And, first, you seem in Great Britain to have got hold of a better and more effective mode of contending against this monstrous evil than we have in Massachusetts and Maine; for you come, as nearly as you can, to the voluntary principle, which seems needful in all virtue, and, perhaps, in all real and satisfactory reform in manners and morals. But when union of efforts is necessary, as it is in this case, the smaller each union is, in moderate numbers,—if the aggregate of all the unions is numerous enough,—the more likely is the main general purpose to be carried. The most formidable political combination of our times was, I suppose, the ‘Tugend-Bund’ of 1808, etc., because it consisted of an immense number of small societies, scattered all over Germany, but little connected with each other except by their one great object, and really knowing little about each other's operations and mode of proceeding.

Now, if I understand the matter, you have in the Province of Canterbury,—embracing, to be sure, a large part of England,—above a thousand parishes, hamlets, etc., where money will not buy the means of intoxication. It is a great thing, and it has been brought about without legislation.

On the other hand, we are attempting to compel the whole million and more of our people in Massachusetts, by the most stringent legislation, to do the same thing,—i. e. to stop the sale of all intoxicating liquors. But no people, and especially no people living under such free institutions as ours, can thus be driven. It is a moderate statement to say, that in Massachusetts the ‘Liquor Law,’ as it is called, is broken a hundred thousand times a day. In Boston, I think any man can get what he wants, from a pipe of wine to a glass of beer, whenever he likes, and as often as he likes. Now this is a bad thing for the law, the courts, and the police generally; and it is the worse because a sort of moral foundation is claimed for disregarding such a law,—I mean, because it is claimed that it makes only one party an offender, when both parties are; since, if I buy a bottle of wine, I tempt the seller to do wrong for gain, and so become a party to the offence.

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