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Teetotal war

20 March 2015

THE Archbishop of Canterbury's appeal to the nation in favour of a pledge to abstain from alcohol during the continuance of the war brought out a further appeal from Sir Edward Clarke. Sir Edward invited the clergy to take the pledge, so that they might be able to tell the laity, when exhorting them to self-restraint, that they were themselves practising what they taught. In yesterday's Times his Grace the Archbishop courteously told Sir Edward that he was going the wrong way to work. His own intention, when he put forth his appeal, was not to influence only a section of the people, but the mass of them. A very large number of the clergy are already abstainers, and his Grace is of opinion that, however excellent their example, it would not have the effect of making converts on the scale imagined by Sir Edward Clarke, and we think he is right.

At the end of his letter, the Archbishop expresses the wish that, either by legislation or by administrative action, the Government would do something drastic for the enforcement of temperance. He points to the example of our Allies, and desires that we should emulate them. We have never believed in trying by Act of Parliament to make people abstainers, but we are living in such abnormal circumstances that we have acquiesced already in some curtailments of our liberty which we could not tolerate under normal conditions.

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