Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/754

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these specifics for the cure of inebriety are without any practical interest except as phases of the psychology of the drink disease. It is very evident that they could not attract attention on their merits, and the means and appliances used to bring them into notice. Their existence depends on a psychological subsoil, which would favor the growth and culture of any remedy involved in mystery, and promising marvelous cures in a brief time. This subsoil is simply the expectant credulity of a large number of persons, who recognize the possibility of disease in inebriety. Without this all specifics, no matter how wisely and shrewdly presented, would fail. The conditions are all ripe for such empiricism, and its growth, life, and death are governed by causes unknown to and beyond the control of its boastful authors.

Every temperance revival movement depends on some psychological subsoil of expectant credulity, and is followed by the same dogmatic empiricism and the same wonderful cures, and hysterical confidence of permanent results. Certificates of cure, and enthusiastic praise of means and methods of far greater magnitude than that which follows any specifics, could be gathered and noted after every temperance revival.

The specific cures of inebriety to-day have appeared many times before in the history of the past. Often the empiricism associated with it has been entirely moral and ethical, and at other times it has been pecuniary and selfish. The old Washingtonian movement was a good illustration of a great specific cure, bound up with a great tide of moral empiricism, which for years created intense interest.

The presidential campaign of 1840 was notorious for the excessive use of hard cider, whisky, and rum. Every political meeting was marked by the free use of these spirits, and as the excitement of the struggle increased, temperance men drank, moderate drinkers became drunk and delirious, and never before or since has the excitement of politics been so intimately associated with inebriety in all its forms.

At the close of the campaign it was estimated that over half a million voters were practically inebriates, or had been repeatedly intoxicated during the excitement and excesses of the campaign.

Newspapers and court records showed clearly that a high tidal wave of drunkenness and moderate drinking existed at that period. Then followed the inevitable reaction, and at this moment the Washingtonians appeared. A few months before, a small drinking club in Baltimore changed to a temperance society, and called themselves Washingtonians. Its members were reformed men, and its leader, John Hawkins, was an enthusiastic, passionate orator, who urged the pledge as a remedy for