ELSEWHERE I have illustrated the curious truth that while an evil is very great it attracts little or no attention; that when, from one or other cause, it is mitigated, recognition of it brings efforts to decrease it; and that when it has much diminished, there comes a demand that strong measures shall be taken for its extinction: natural means having done so much, a peremptory call for artificial means arises.
One of the instances I pained was the immense decline in drunkenness which has taken place since the 18th century, followed, during recent times, by a loud advocacy of legislation for suppressing it. The occasion for recalling this instance has been the discovery of some evidence showing how extreme were the excesses of our great-great-grandfathers. In one of a series of diocesan histories on the shelves of a country house, I found some extracts from the diary of a Thomas Turner, a mercer, &c. in a Sussex village. His entries show him to have been a reader of good literature and a religious man. The compiler says of him--
"When he has not got too drunk on Saturday evenings he goes to church on Sunday. He always makes some criticism
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Publication information: Book title: Facts and Comments. Contributors: Herbert Spencer - Author. Publisher: D. Appleton and Company. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1902. Page number: 29.
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