Sir,—Have we realised how much of the over-drinking that may have gone on in certain industrial districts connected with the making of munitions of war is the result of over-pressure and over-fatigue? Would there have been this increased craze for alcohol if all the workers had worked in shorter shifts? Next, have we considered how much might have been done by supplying at the works abundance of non-alcoholic beverages—meal-water, cocoa, tea, &c.? I know how, during hard work under a hot sun, men have been enabled to stand the extra strain by being supplied with buckets of hot water into which oat meal and molasses have been stirred. The cry for total prohibition is a natural one, but is it a wise one? We as a nation are not built that way. We have neither the discipline of the Germans nor the docility of the Russians, and it is quite certain that the duplicity which is found in the dry States of America, the artful dodges to evade the law, do not really make for public morality. On the other hand, it seems to be proved to the hilt that what really paralyses the will of the worker and drives him to a madness of desire for more drink is the rank poison that is too often supplied by the retailer, and any Government would be justified to-morrow in making it penal to supply this liquid flame of new and immature spirit to a customer. Meanwhile we can all voluntarily become abstainers. We can thank God for a good example, and follow the King.
(Times, 5 April 1915, p. 8)