March 27, 1862: Sunday liquor sales?

The Rainbow Temperance Song

Just because there’s a war on is no reason to let people sell liquor on Sunday.

From the New York Times:


The fidelity of the police to their duty and their oaths produces discomfort among the gentlemen of the Sunday tap. They cannot well see why they should not break a dozen laws in peace, if they only do it behind the door. Policemen are required to “prevent crime,” as well as arrest offenders;” and knowing that crime and rum are bedfellows, they are as much bound to stay the unlawful sale of rum as they are to catch the drunkard or the rowdy manufactured by rum, and they arc specially charged by the laws and by their instructions to stop the Sunday traffic in the means of intoxication.

Of late, it appears, various arrests have been made of parties found in the act of violating the Sunday Liquor law — holding them in custody until the opening of Court on Monday morning. This proceeding threatened to interfere with the profits of illicit back-door patronage; and resort has been had to the writ of habeas corpus, issued by Judge MCCUNN. The object of the proceeding is transparent — to nullify all attempts to restrain the Sunday sale of liquors. We do not believe it can succeed. If the attempt is made, on the assumption that public sentiment is any less vigorous now in opposition to that traffic than before the demonstration that it was responsible for seventy-five per cent. of the cases of crime and disorder on Sunday, it is mistaken. If it is thought that the failure of “Prohibition” at Albany indicates any less hostility to drunkenness and to Sunday license on the part of our citizens, it is an error. If it is supposed that the Press, or the public, or the friends of Sunday quiet are so engrossed in the war that old abuses can be reinstated, it will be found that the calculation is baseless.

Every good citizen cannot but applaud the vigilance of the Police in this matter; and if any public officer counts on the indifference of the great mass of orderly citizens not directly interested in liquor selling, to court the favor of those who are, by interfering with the regular administration, of justice and the rigid enforcement of the laws, he counts without his host. The eyes of the City have a vigilant gaze in these times on public servants. The days of immunity for malfeasance in office we may hope to have passed away. While pouring out blood and treasure to put down rebellion at the South, rebellion and lawlessness at home need not reckon on public favor.

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