Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/790

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earlier, on "removing want and poverty" through. "the repressing of waste and excess by sumptuary laws." The definition has never changed down to our day. (Cf. Webster, Worcester, and others.) So Skeat's Etymological Dictionary—"relating to expenses (L.). It is rather Englished from Latin, sumptuarius, belonging to expenses, than borrowed from the French. Formed from crude form of sumptus, expense, cost" [so "sumptuous"]. It is therefore simply evidence of lack of discrimination to call any law a sumptuary one whose object is not the prevention of cost, expense, and waste. One might as correctly pronounce the proclamations in the colony of New York against any but the Dutch Reformed worship (1656, 1662), or those of Virginia against absence from the Episcopal service (1623, 1652), or those of Maryland against blasphemy and denying the Trinity, and using anything in public worship save the Book of Common Prayer (1649, 1700), sumptuary laws as those of to-day against the traffic in intoxicating beverages. They have nothing in common. The colony of Maryland provided that "every ordinary keeper that shall demand or take above 10 lbs. of tobacco for a gallon of small beer, 20 lbs. of tobacco for a gallon of strong beer, 4 lbs. for a lodging, 12 lbs. for a peck of Indian corn or oats, 6 lbs. for a night's grass for a horse, 10 lbs. for a night's hay or straw, shall forfeit for every such offense 500 lbs. of tobacco." It would be an unnecessary blunder to assert that this had nothing to do with restraining what was deemed undue cost of living and traveling. But Maryland enacted the same year (1699) that "No inhabitant of this Province shall sell without license any cider, quince drink, or other strong liquor, to be drunk in his or her house, upon penalty of 1,000 lbs. of tobacco for every conviction." Is the reason and principle of this the same with the reason and principle of measures adopted to keep down prices, such as several colonies adopted—e. g., that just cited, restraining innkeepers from overcharges? Both are prohibitory. But is the restraint of unlicensed liquor-selling fitted to lower the prices of intoxicating drinks, or—other things being equal—does the cost of a license to sell tend to raise prices? If, then, this latter Maryland law could not have been sumptuary, has not the free sale of intoxicants been repressed, whether by license or prohibition, for other reasons r-viz., those of public policy—that is to say, the duty of "every independent State" to have "a regard for the welfare of society"? But this is just what Dr. Hammond takes it upon himself to say has not influenced the legislation of certain great commonwealths, East and West, forbidding the sale and manufacture of alcoholic beverages. Is it quite sure that he knows their ends and motives better than they know them themselves?

The point will be made still clearer—if this is possible—by