Drinking Habits in Canada and the United States : 1871

The following is an excerpt taken from George Miller Beard’s “Stimulants and Narcotics; Medically, Psychologically and Philosophically Considered” published in 1871.

Canada – The drinking customs in Canada do not much vary from those of France and England. All classes, high, low and middle, drink some, one or many forms of alcoholic liquors. The number of total abstainers is much less than in the States. At dinner the use of these substances is almost habitual, as in England.

The liquors are purer and cheaper than in the United States, but it is observed that it is not possible to drink as large quantities as in England and Scotland.

The amount of intemperance among the poor and ignorant classes is terrible, just as in England and the United States.

There is no doubt that the greater portion of crime in Canada, is in some way connected with the use of alcohol liquors.

United States. — The drinking customs of the United States are as diverse as are the nationalities that compose it. Here are to be obtained nearly all the forms of alcoholic liquors in use in Europe, besides some that are peculiar to itself. To our ports are brought West India rum, the brandies, gins, champagnes, and wines of the continent ; the porter and ale of Great Britain; while whiskey, and cider, and lager, and other beers, and wines, also, in some variety, are manufactured at home.

All these substances are variously used and abused, according to the race, the social position, and the individual temperament. The general tendency for recent emigrants is to continue the customs to which they were brought up, in the districts from which they came, with this difference, that they are, as a rule, obliged to.

Leo Stepnowsky

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