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Prohibition In Rhode Island

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The Governor of Rhode Island in his last message to the legislature says that prohibition in that state is not a success. The New York Times summarizes the state of facts as set forth by the message and it is so pertinent to the question now before the votéis of this county that we quote it here. "The legitímate inferencetobe drawn from the message of Gov. Davis, of Rhode Island, is that prohibition, which has been grafted as a principal of statecraft on the constitution of that Commonwealth, is not a startling success. On the contrary the defective operation of the law, which apparently enforces itself only to the extent of takmg from the state treasury the money formerly received from licenses, threatens to increase the financial burdens of Rhode Island at an alarming rate, if it does not end in bankrupting her altogether. The am-Hint of the réceipts credited to the licenses decreased last year by jsico,ooo, and the expenses of the government for the year were $114,953 more than the income, the deficiency being slightly less than $15,000 more than the sum lost to the state in the shape of license money. This is not a cheerful showing from a financial point of view, especially when the Governor assures the legislature that there is no prospect whatever of the revenue in the future equaling the expenses of the state; but it might be regarded with some measure of philosophical complacency if the temperance people could point to any really good result which has flown from the prohibitory amendment. It is a matter of fact, however, to which any sojourner in Rhode Island can testify, that the prohibition law in nowise prohibits. lts only appreciable effect is seen in an empty state treasury and convenient screens, behind which unlicensed drinking goes on as freely as open tippling proceeded in licensed bar-rooms before the constitution was amended, Gov. Davis says that the law lacks the moral support of the community, and for this reason it is almost impossible effectively to enforce it. He promises, however, like a good governor, to do his best to make prohibition work, but warns the legislature that it will be called on annually to appropriate large sums of money for deficiencies. Possibly after a few more years of this costly and inefïective experiment Rhode Island's wise men will conclude to give high license a t: lal. It will certainly accomplish as much in the way of temperance reform as the present prohibition law, and it will do away with the annual deficiency in the budget which threatens to wipe out the little state unless somethipg be done to stop the leak in her treasury." '


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News