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This volume has not been a hot-bed growth, but is the result of twenty-two years of special attention to the various questions comprised within its scope. It was originally undertaken as a relaxation from the regular duties of the Christian ministry, and, though not pursued continuously, but at irregular intervals, sometimes of more than a year, few days have passed without some serious thought and inquiry with reference to the great problem.
The plan of discussion of the LIQUOR PROBLEM is historical. The argument is quietly implied in the general structure of the book, and gathered to a focus in the three closing chapters. The historical portion of the book is brought down to near the end of 1883.
While the author has made himself acquainted with what has been written by others' upon the topics under consideration, and has fully credited his indebtedness for valuable materials, he has also made extensive original researches, enabling him to bring together much fresh matter not before comprised in volumes of temperance literature.
An important feature of this book is eleven colored diagrams, strikingly illustrating the economic aspects of intemperance, and its relative progress to the population in the British Isles and in the United States.
It has been the aim to make this volume a thesaurus of facts
1 They are so numerous that only a small part of them could be mentioned in this preface. To avoid invidiousness, therefore, all are omitted here.
and principles, so arranged as to show the trend of temperance sentiment, and also to be convenient for use by advocates of the Temperance Reform, now a great multitude.
It is not presumed that any of the questions involved in the scope of this volume have been exhausted, for that would be impossible in so broad a survey of the whole field.
The present century has witnessed some of the grandest moral achievements ever accomplished over evils hoary with antiquity, fortified by conventional sanctions, and fostered by the strongest passions of human nature, dueling, polygamy, cannibalism, and slavery, now nearly or quite removed from large areas where, eighty years ago, they held unbroken sway. This volume is committed to the public in the hope that it may contribute something to our next emancipation ”–deliverance from the bondage of alcohol.
NATICK, Mass., December 15, 1883.