The religions of Asia, - Buddhism, Hinduism, and Mohammedanism, - have certainly done much for the sobriety of the Asiatics. In India, where the consumption of alcoholic beverages is largely on the increase, this drink question appears to the natives as of far more moment than opium-eating, which is reckoned as comparatively innocuous. The liquor question to them seems of more importance than the opium one. On this account, they failed to understand the wisdom of the appointment of the Royal Commission to investigate into the lesser evil, while the greater is left untouched. To the minds of many, the consumption of spirits seems almost an integral part not only of our civilization but of our Christianity.

Our Christian religion inculcates temperance in all things. The moderate indulgence in intoxicating liquors is not only not condemned, but rather approved. One thing, however, may be taken for certain, - that, had the Founder of Christianity and St. Paul lived in these days, they must have favoured self-denial and total abstinence. The practice of the Church of Rome does not seem to have had much influence in combating the evil among its adherents, although one of the ornaments of the church, a lately deceased Cardinal, threw the weight of his great influence into the Temperance Movement. The self-denying life claimed for the Roman Catholic priests, as compared with the life of supposed luxury and ease enjoyed by Protestant missionaries, has been often remarked upon. I presume men of the right stamp are to be found within both communions.

But not only is spirit-drinking forbidden by the tenets of the Eastern religions, but it is likewise opposed to the teachings of molality by the ancient Chinese sages. In the Classics, virtue, morality, temperance, - the qualities of the superior man, - are there extolled and inculcated. Filial piety, regard for parents, self-respect, the duties of subjects to their patriarchal form of government, etc., are strongly inculcated; and these are all factors of considerable value against the people becoming sots to intemperance.

We have already referred to the oldest temperance lecture in the world as found in these ancient Classics.

Another set of reasons which make for or against temperance may be found in the temperament and constitution of the people. The peoples of the East and West may be differentiated in their mental and physical characteristics, in their literatures and religions, by the ideas of rest and activity, the lymphatic and sanguine constitutional peculiarities. Opium smoking or eating suits the oriental; spirits, the occidental temperament. Although, speaking generally, there is much truth in this, yet, like so many half truths, much error lurks in it. Opium is taken like spirits, for its first or stimulant action; not so much for its second and after sedative effects, in both of which it resembles spirits. It is the outwardly decent stimulant which public opinion, religion, and customs demand in the East. The Chinese idea of happiness (after possessing wealth, the god of which has the whole nation as devotees, and having posterity in the shape of sons to hand down unbroken the family links, and have his manes not left unhonoured and unworshipped, the greatest calamity that can befall mortal) is that of comfort, idleness, repose, the otium cum dignitate which no one knows better how to enjoy. Give the Chinaman his opium pipe and seraglio, with nothing to disturb the tranquil flow of life, and his blessedness is complete. Every thing about him, the government of his country, the absence of politics, of the Press, of the Nineteenth Century Western civlization with all its activities and worries, the absence of religious controversies, etc., all bespeak a disposition which finds its utmost happiness in repose and stagnation. Hence the chaim which the opium pipe and lamp have for such people.

Much blame is attached to our climate for the prevalence of so much drinking. The Northern cold peoples have become addicted to spirits and animal food from more or less of a felt want; the warm Southerners, to vegetable diet, fruits, and light wines. While it is true physiologically that we require animal food to keep us warm, and we partake more of it in winter than in summer, it is not such a physiological necessity of our systems that we should favour spirit drinking. Warmer and more suitable clothing would render unnecessary the frequent recourse to ardent spirits, to keep out the cold. The sense of heat, when spirits are swallowed and for a short time afterwards, is followed after a brief period by one of depression and a greater sense of cold, the heat of the body being slightly lower; and this suggests a return to the stimulant, and so the habit is thus regularly appeased, and the necessity of constant addiction established.

I do not find any climatic reasons in China to account for the rise of the opium habit or the use of ardent spirits.