The Beverly Overseers of the Poor reported in the 1822 Quincy Report (10.81 MB) on the consideration of the pauper laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, that in Beverly:
Intemperance is the most fruitful source of pauperism: more than half the adult persons … have been addicted to the excessive use of ardent spirits. As an amendment to the existing laws upon this subject it is suggested that drunkenness be made punishable either by fine and imprisonment, by a summary process before a Justice of the Peace or by commitment to the Workhouse by the Overseers of the Poor; that the use of ardent spirits in Workhouses, or by Paupers, who are supported or relieved by their towns, should be prohibited; that retailers of spirituous liquors by prohibited, under a penalty to be recovered in a summary way, from selling any spirituous liquors to any person who is supported or relieved by any town as a pauper; that Overseers of the Poor by prohibited from affording any relief to any person as a pauper, who is habitually intemperate in the use of ardent spirits, unless such person by confined in some Workhouse or House of Correction; that the number or retailers of spirituous liquors should be restricted in a certain proportion to the number of inhabitants in each town, and that the duty on licenses to retailers by increased.
1. What is the purpose of a Temperance Society?
2. When was the Massachusetts Temperance Society founded?
3. List four of its founders:
4. What is the definition of ‘spirituous liquors’?
5. Were all alcoholic beverages considered spirituous liquors?
6. What were the regulations concerning alcoholic beverages in the Boston and Beverly Almshouse and/or Workhouse(s)?
7. What were the regulations concerning alcoholic beverages in your hometown’s Almshouse and/or Workhouse?
8. Explain 2 ways in which the Beverly Overseers suggestion to increase the duty on licenses to retailers of liquor would help prevent intemperance: