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That a universal people should at once be smitten with the sense of the evil of a national vice, and should so suddenly and effectively take measures for retrieving themselves from destruction, is a new case in the world. No nation, with the exception of the Hebrews, has ever yet produced such a wondrous phenomenon in its moral economy.

"When the children of Israel left the cistern of living waters, and served Baal, then did dissoluteness and spiritual rebellion overwhelm their land. When that people awoke, as from a feverish sleep, and turned themselves in sincerity to their everlasting, forgiving, and protecting Father, then a sudden and amazing change moved swiftly over the whole kingdom. I do not presume to say the cases are quite parallel; but Ireland's present change approximates more to this scriptural instance than that of any other nation on record. I conceive that Theobald Mathew is at the head of philanthropism: no human hand of modern times seems to have been so blessed of Heaven for national advantage."

But even although Ireland had for ever abrogated, annulled, and cancelled her drinking usages, there seems to exist this other reason for continuing the record of these. Every authentic memorial of the manners and customs of a great nation, at any period of its history, is worthy of being preserved. And therefore it is hoped that the reader will allow us to proceed as before; particularly as, besides, there is too much reason to fear that extensive drinking usage still retains a hold over the Irish nation.

I may be permitted to premise, that not in Ireland only, but in all parts of the United Kingdom, I have met, even among friends of temperance, at every point, with an unaccountable disinclination to enter upon any investigation on this subject, and still greater unwillingness to proceed to active operations, even after the necessity of such procedure had been proved and admitted. But although up till nearly the present time the friends of temperance did not generally see ground for assuming that the difference of our artificial state of society from that of the United States of America, made a variation in the rules and conduct of Temperance Societies necessary in order to adapt them for British operation and use; I find from my notes that the subject of our peculiar usages, and the necessity of applying remedies in this special direction, were always present in my mind as necessary and proper to constitute part of the regulations and agency of British societies for suppressing intemperance. I take the


liberty of quoting a passage in my first Essay on the subject, published in 1829.** "Much of the inebriation that prevails, commences in the course of certain etiquettes, courtesies, and signs of hospitality, which are considered as quite imperative. Although courtesy and hospitality ought not to be violated, yet the outward expression of these, in certain cases, can and ought to be changed." I remember also that when in 1829 I was asked by some partial friends to proceed from Scotland to England to lecture on the subject of Temperance Association there, I declined, upon the ground of ignorance of the drinking usages and modes of inebriation in South Britain; because I conceived that little benefit could result from operations that had no reference to peculiarities of British modes and manners in this matter. Although, however, it is only very lately, and after years of friendly strife, that my coadjutors in the temperance reformation have acceded to my views on this subject, I must do the founders of the Glasgow and Edinburgh Societies the justice to say, that in 1829 and 1830, they, at my request, suspended the final adjustment of the regulations of the respective associations for a number of weeks, in order, if possible, to get all the incipient members to join against the British wine courtesies, although in this they were not successful. My universal experience in the three kingdoms, in every city, town, village, or district, which I have investigated, has been, that it was at first denied to be possible that any system of drinking usage could exist there to any extent whatever, worth inquiring after. Much of the difficulty of investigation in the search for professional usages, arose from applying in the first instance to employers and individuals in the upper classes, who are generally quite ignorant of the facts connected with the subject among their workmen; and still more with the energy and power of the usages on national intemperance. At the same time, I for some years found it difficult to get access to operatives for examination, unless through the medium of their employers; and on various occasions, although this may seem strange, I have been cautioned by well-wishers not to be seen prying among factories and workshops, for fear of personal danger to myself, if it were supposed I was attempting to restrain the enjoyments of the operative classes; but especially in certain places, not to be seen in conversation with particular workmen, as this might assuredly be a matter of very dangerous

*Extent and Remedy of National Intemperance. Glasgow, 1829. P. 19.

consequence to them. The late progress of Teetotalism has, however, greatly assisted both my usage inquiries, and antiusage operations. I shall, however, reserve what has occurred to me as necessary to be said on the connexion of drinking usage and Teetotalism, to a later part of this Essay. In 1831, I had some correspondence and conversation with the foremost leader in the ranks of the Temperance reformation in Ireland, on the subject of the Irish usages, who, with his characteristic benevolence and zeal, made some investigations at that time, and transmitted the results to me. These formed part of a tract I published in that year on the Wine System of Great Britain. In 1837, however, I had an opportunity of passing some time in Ireland on this subject, and with the generous assistance of Dr. Edgar, and other temperance friends, made an investigation, of which the following is the result.

My readers, in the course of consideration of this subject, will by this time be prepared to acquiesce in one division that may be made; viz. first, usages connected with the workshop, with handicrafts, and with general business; and second, domestic usages, or those that shadow forth the courtesy and complaisance of social life.

First, we shall begin with the consideration of some of the former class.

Carpenters. In the North of Ireland some of the drinking usages of this class of artificers are as follows. Although the habit of taking a dose of whisky in going to work, technically called a "morning," be not in general compulsory, yet it is rendered somewhat of this character, when the custom of treating in reference to the morning dram has obtained in any workshop. A. treats B. or more persons to-day, and is treated in return to-morrow, or after days, till it come to his turn again. In one case I found it had created considerable illwill, when one of the party broke up the morning treat system in this instance. There is much drinking on the pay-night. Some masters or foremen keep a public-house, where they excite the men to take drink upon credit (tick), and stop it off the week's wages: this is said to be "bringing sucken to their own mill." There is a union in this trade; the men meet at a public-house rent free, because the drink taken pays the room. This will at once be seen to be a fertile source of drunkenness. Footings are quite general for apprentices at entry to their business, and for journeymen on shifting from

*Rev. John Edgar, D.D.

one workshop to another. These, it will be remembered, are called "entries" in Scotland. The apprentice footing is stated to be what will give the whole workshop a "decent drink." It may average from 10s. to 20s. At expiration of apprenticeship, another drink is claimed. If the apprentice be dilatory in coming forward with the footing, the men will show him nothing of the business; if he ask a question, they will "shy the answer;" they will cease to teach, and the master not being always present, the boy will remain untaught: this circumstance is what weighs most with parents, and even widowed mothers will stretch every nerve to provide for the apprentice footing. Sometimes the parents of a lad who are affluent, according to their station, give the men a supper at entry. On one occasion, a boy whose parents kept a publichouse, having come as an apprentice, was pressed for the footing. He at last invited the men, as if by the bidding of his mother, to come to drink the footing on a certain night: for what reason does not appear, he had not consulted his parents, and by the time the men had arrived, the apprentice, to avoid being present at the éclaircissement, fled. The men sulkily paid for the drink they got, but the boy of course, as it was expressed, had “no trade among them ever after: and any boy refusing the footing, I was informed, "would be knocked about like a pair of old boots."

A variety of measures of severity are resorted to, with a view to ensure the regular payment of the apprentice and journeymen's footings, and drink fines; as the last resort, the master would be applied to for the regulation amount, that it might be stopped out of the wages; and the consequence of his refusal, I was assured, would be a strike and turn out.

If a stranger touch or partially use a tool in the shop, this in the usage of the trade subjects him to a fine for drink.

When a new house is finished, a flag is hoisted, and a treat of drink is demanded; and the flag will not be taken down till this is given by the owner or contractor. The same thing takes place at laying the foundation of a house, where not the masons only, but all the hands engaged in any part of the work, are expected to be treated. If this were refused, I was assured some parts of the building would be left spoiled or defective.

When a carpenter does a job, the proprietor frequently gives him a dram to attempt to soften him, and thereby avert a heavy charge. When one workman recommends another to a job or place, a treat of whisky is expected for this exercise

of patronage. Those dealers that supply a workshop with articles necessary in the trade, find it absolutely requisite to treat or "6 mug" the men, otherwise they will complain of the items supplied; thus in the trade of nails, wood, putty, and other articles, lovers of drink have it in their power, in various ways, to deprive sober men of their place or job, by false complaints, and oblique hints. We shall often have occasion to notice this circumstance.

Another ingenious Irish method of supplanting a rival is recorded, which though not altogether to the purpose, I shall mention here. "In one of our villages, there lived sometime since a respectable man, who held a lucrative situation.. One of his neighbours envied his prosperity, and resolved to use his best efforts to turn him out of his situation, and put himself into it. How did he effect his purpose? Was it by circulating tales of slander? No; he treated him, treated him to distilled spirit. He treated him himself, and employed a brother-in-law to do the same. He succeeded. The wretched man became a drunkard, was turned out of his situation, and the treacherous seducer succeeded him."*


When a child is born to an operative, he must give money to the men for drink; this is called "socket money. At marriage the same is exacted. If refused, the men taunt, ridicule, and "turn turk on the defaulter. The iron of the plane is sometimes glued to the wood, for non-compliance with drink usages.


In the central parts of Ireland the same usages among carpenters obtain as in the north. At apprentice and journeymen's footings, and at the marriage drink, not only the principals pay the regulation amount, but each man in the work has to pay 3d., 4d., or 1s. in addition, on his own account. I beg particular notice to this circumstance, because it marks the compulsory nature of the system; and in this manner no individual connected with the work can escape, but is necessarily and continually within the verge of a vortex ever inclining to inebriation. Instead of a flag being put up on an occasion of a marriage here, to indicate the claim for the usage drink, a bridegroom delaying to conform has a pole thrust between his legs, and he is lifted up and carried roughly about in this manner.

The same fatal system of payment of wages obtains here also; that is, in a public-house, or not in exact change for

* London Temperance Advocate.

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