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In Their Own Words

August 13, 1739

Rum Ban Difficult to Enforce

William Stephens, in Georgia as secretary for the Trustees, recorded in his journal the difficulty of enforcing the ban on rum in the colony:

“… In the Afternoon the Magistrates assembled at my House, to enquire into a Riot committed last Night by some drunken People… . I proposed it to them confess where it was they bought the Rum which had occasioned it, and I would intercede with the Magistrates to be milder in their Punishment …and they promised they would another Day; but why not now, I could not tell… .These three men … were all promising to be useful Men in the Colony, and one of them lately married, at whose House they had thus debauched themselves. From whence it is an obvious reflexion [sic], how fatal this Excess of Rum-drinking is likely to prove among the common People; and how ineffectual all Means have hitherto been found, for suppressing the Sale of it… .”

Source: William Stephens, A Journal of the Proceeding in Georgia (no city: Readex Microprint Corporation, 1966), Vol. II, pp. 92-93.