Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/791

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LIQUOR LAWS NOT SUMPTUARY.

noting the ancient colonial legislation against liquor-selling, and judgments against drunkenness. 1630, Massachusetts: "It is ordered that all Rich: Cloughe's strong water shall presently be seazed upon, for his selling greate quantytie thereof to severall men's servants, which tvas the occasion of much disorder, drunckenes, and misdemeanour." If we are to believe Dr. Hammond, "the Massachusetts Court of Assistants and General Court," who passed this order, either did not know why they passed it, or deliberately falsify the record, giving certain fictitious reasons for their action in place of the one constant, true one for all such action, known to Dr. Hammond now, but absent from the history of the case. This is reconstructing history with a vengeance. For our own part, we prefer to believe the Massachusetts actors and witnesses themselves. 1632: "It is ordered that the remainder of Mr. Allen's stronge water, being estimated about two gallands, shall be delivered into the hands of the deacons of Dorchester, for the benefit of the poore there, for his selling of it dyvers tymes to such as were drunke with it, hee knowing thereof." Neither the recording officer, nor the Dorchester deacons, nor the General Court, seem to have known that the real reason here was that those who made themselves drunk could not afford the expense!

Dr. Hammond gives a couple of instances of colonial punishment of drunkenness. Here are others. 1633. Massachusetts: Robert Coles fined £10 for "abusing himself shamefully with drink," and enjoined to stand with "A Drunkard" in great letters on a white sheet on his back, "soe longe as the Court thinks meete." [The penalties for repetition next year—disfranchisement, etc.—referred to by Dr. Hammond, were remitted, May, 1634, on submission and testimony of good behavior.] T. Hawkins and John Vauhan fined 20s for a similar offense and selling "strong water, contrary to an order of Court." In 1643 and 1650 the colony made the harboring of drunkards penal. But there is not the slightest evidence that the proceedings in these cases were for sumptuary reasons. 1639: Wm. C——  was fined 40s. "for misdemeanor in drinking, and corporal punishment remitted upon his promise to avoid such occasions." The same year, in New Haven, John Jenner, "accused of being drunk, was acquitted, it appearing to be of infirmity, and occasioned by the extremity of the cold." "Mr. Molenour, accused, but not clearly proved, was respited." It could hardly have been the object in these cases to prevent the expenditure for the liquor, or to dictate what the persons concerned should or should not drink! Nor when Thomas Frankland was punished "for drinking strong liquors to excess and entertaining disorderly persons into his cellar to drinking meetings." The First Code of Connecticut, 1650, mentions "divers abuses that