Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/403

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is not as oppressive as in the North, though the air is as balmy as that of Italy. History does not show that a softer air and sky are less favorable to intellectual growth in any line than a more harsh and uncongenial clime. Italy is not only the land of Michael Angelo, of Raphael, and of Titian, but of Volta, Galvani, Torricelli, and Galileo as well, and the atmosphere that excites the imagination is as favorable to inventive genius, as applied to natural science or mechanics, as to painting, sculpture, or music. Of the Southern States we may say that no section of the Union gives promise of greater achievement; indeed, none is so rich in what the future has in store.



WE have met to study together the means of combating alcoholism, to which we can not refuse the well-merited title of the scourge of the nineteenth century, for it has produced and is still producing more victims than the plague and the cholera combined. We all know that it is what multiplies assassinations and suicides, populates insane asylums, crowds hospitals, and contributes to the sterilization of the race. We are not here to repeat what has been said over and over again till it has become tedious, since the days of Magnus Hus, or to indulge in sterile lamentations over the ravages of alcoholism, but to seek a remedy for the terrible evil.

I do not bring you this remedy, but come to ask for it; for I hope that this congress—more fortunate than its predecessors—may be able, if not to shape the details of a law or of measures applicable to all civilized states, at least to point out, in a more precise fashion than has hitherto been done, a way to reach most promptly and surely the end we are all aiming for. We ought then, first, to inquire into what has already been attempted in some of the states of Europe: and I shall begin with the country I know the best, France, which has not, more than the northern states, escaped the invasion of alcoholism. It is of recent origin there, it is true, but its progress has been frightfully rapid; yet it was not till after the delirium and crime of the Commune, during which it played a terrible part, that our thoughts became fixed on the study of the means of arresting the spread of the scourge.

It was toward the end of 1871 that M. Théophile Roussel pre-

  1. A paper read at the Fourth International Congress against the Abuse of Alcoholic Drinks, held at The Hague in August, 1893.