Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/792

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fall out by several persons that sell wine and strong water, as well in vessels on the river as also in several houses"; and the Orders of the General Court of Massachusetts, 1643, forbidding continuance "above half an hour at a time in any common victualinghouse" for the purpose of tippling, justifies this "for the preventing that great abuse which is creeping in by excess in wine and strong waters." Were these bodies entirely mistaken in supposing they were actuated by "a regard for the welfare of society M instead of sumptuary considerations? On the other hand, in 1637 the record" it hath appeared unto this Court (Mass.), upon many sad complaints, that much drunkenness, waste of the good creatures of God, mispence of precious time, and other disorders have frequently fallen out in the inns and common victualing-houses, "includes sumptuary considerations, with others (as did the prohibition two years later, cited by Dr. Hammond), as reasons for regulating the price of liquors and meals at inns.[1] Need any one confound this with laws simply to prevent drunkenness? Perhaps the confounding of these two different things has arisen from the mendacious forgery of Peters (Blue Laws, 26). "A drunkard shall have a master appointed by the selectmen, who are to debar him from the liberty of buying and selling" (published in 1781). Under the head of "Innkeepers," etc., the New Haven Laws and the First Connecticut Code provide penalties, ten shillings or less, for drunken behavior, etc., at inns, and for the "disorder, quarreling, or disturbance" resulting. And here the colonies—the Northern ones, for those of the South seem to have laid no such restriction—followed the laws of England; for example (4 James I, ch. 5) "Every person convicted of drunkenness shall forfeit, for every such offense, five shillings; and if unable to pay, shall be set in the stocks six hours." The law of Minnesota against drunkenness may be more severe in amount of penalty—"from ten to forty dollars for the first offense"—but is no more "sumptuary" than the old statute of James I—no more so than the French and German military prohibition of tobacco. Is it the expenditure made by the soldiers for cigars or cigarettes that these army orders are intended to prevent, or the unfitting of their nerves and muscles for military service? What an absurd bugbear the word "sumptuary" is, to be sure!

We can now readily see that the law of Iowa, twice referred to by Dr. Hammond, is not a sumptuary law at all; did not have for its prototype the partly sumptuary colonial enactment of Massachusetts of 1639, or the previous one of 1636; and is intemper-

  1. In an age when prices, wages, and expenses were regulated frequently by law, mixed regulations of this kind would naturally at times be passed; at present, when we have nothing of the kind, they would not be, and those of a totally different character can not be made such by construction or assertion. Cf. Maryland law, 1699, above.