Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/803

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THE UTILITY OF DRUNKENNESS.

minate. After the insertion of the plug, the whole fuse is dipped in some water-proof composition and thoroughly dried. In use, the wires are connected with other wires leading from a galvanic battery or an electrical machine; when the current is caused to pass through these wires it reaches the bridge, where meeting with greater resistance to its progress, it raises the platinum wire to a heat sufficient to ignite the gun-cotton wisp, which in turn ignites the fulminate. It will be seen that in all cases it is absolutely necessary to keep the ultimate explosive dry, as even those high explosives which are not themselves affected by water require the use of perfectly dry primers. The orders of Cromwell must still be obeyed—to "trust in God, and keep your powder [or primers] dry."

 

THE UTILITY OF DRUNKENNESS.
By W. MATTIEU WILLIAMS.

IN the early argumentative struggles between the advocates of total abstinence from alcohol and their opponents, the latter believed they settled the question by affirming that "these things are sent for our use," and therefore that it was flying in the face of Providence to refuse a social glass. This and many similar arguments have subsequently been overturned by the abstainers, who have unquestionably been victorious "all along the line," especially since Dr. B. W. Richardson has become their commander-in-chief.

In spite of this, I am about to charge their serried ranks, armed with an entirely new weapon forged by myself from material supplied by the late Dr. Darwin, my thesis being that the drunkenness which prevails at the present day is promoting civilization and the general forward progress of the human race.

Malthus demonstrated long ago that man, like other animals, has a tendency to multiply more rapidly than the means of supporting his increasing numbers can be multiplied; he and his followers regarded this tendency as the primary source of poverty and social degradation. Darwin, starting with the same general law, deduces the very opposite conclusion respecting its influence on each particular species, though his antagonism to Malthus does not prominently appear, seeing that his inferences were mainly applied to the lower animals. Darwin shows that the onward progress, the development, or what may be described as the collective prosperity of the species, is brought about by over-multiplication, followed by a necessary struggle for existence, in the course of which the inferior or unsuitable individuals are weeded out, and "the survival of the fittest" necessarily follows; these superior or more suitable specimens transmit more or less of their advan-