Lottery, a kind of public game at hazard, which, in this country, is managed by commissioners appointed by parliament. It consists of a certain number of tickets, that are drawn out of two different wheels, one of which contains a limited proportion of blanks and prizes ; and the other, the corresponding tickets.
Lotteries were originally instituted with a view to raise money for the service of the State; but this method appears to have been contrived by persons, who possessed no practical knowledge of mankind ; as it encourages a spirit of gambling, that cannot be too severely censured. One. of the most cogent arguments to discourage this practice, appears to be the disproportion between the distant gain, and the probable loss of the numerous adventurers : nay, it is an indisputable fact, that if a club of infatuated persons (indeed, there are too many of this description) were to purchase the tickets of the whole lottery, they would necessarily lose about fifty per cent, of their money ; and in a similar situation is the single share-holder, who, besides, incurs the risk of losing the whole.
It is to be regretted, that the consequences of this evil are not confined to the more opulent class of society; but extend even to those industrious members, whose utmost exertions are frequently inadequate to furnish their families with bread. Yet such is their infatuation, that nearly the whole of their weekly earnings is squandered on insurances : and it is melancholy proof of the folly of mankind, that of the bread usually consumed, one-third only is eaten during the eventful period of drawing the lottery. Hence we think it our duty to state abuses of such magnitude; as they prey on the vitals of the community : and we trust that the wisdom of the legislature will shortly be induced to reform, or, if possible, to abolish the whole department of the lottery, and to adopt a less hazardous, and more dignified plan of finance.