Masons essay contains various poems and images concerning the beer act of 1830. The poem that revealed how the Act was widely discussed is the James Smiths eight-line poem called Beer shops. The poem fits into mason history of the Beer Acts since it called for the repeal of the new law which was associated with an increase in prostitutes, thieves, and radicals at the beer shops. The poem targeted the debates arising from the effects of the law which he termed as having disastrous consequences (Mason).
Moreover, this poem was introduced during a time that the Act had brought huge divisions among the people. The complaints in the poem and other numerous grievances by other parties forced the government to form a Select Committee on Sale of Beer. The committee led to the formation of additional bodies that aimed at summoning magistrates, temperance workers, and physicians to testify regarding impacts of excessive drinking on the less privileged citizens (Mason). The Act was condemned for being the primary cause of crimes. The book stated that four-fifths of the offences committed by the agricultural population are traceable to beer houses.'" (Mason, p.116).Furthermore, the poem connects with a history of industrialization as expressed in the lecture is several ways. The satirical nature of the poem such as using words like I saw a rogue picking a pocket of hops (Mason, p.116) is used intentionally to express the general idea of adverse effects of working-class drunkenness. Additionally, the poem can be linked to the start of an inquiry into drunkenness around the country where witnesses argued that the Beer Act led to the conversion of traditional bars into gin palaces thus harming the locals (Mason). For instance, the effects expressed in the idea is seen through witnesses recounts that the Beer Act increased the number of spirits consumed by employed people. The book stated that "In the course of things, [beer houses] very much interfered with the business of the regular publicans, and the capital laid out by the original houses was materially wasted and damaged. (Mason, p.117)
Moreover, the poem is connected to the history of industrialization as expressed in Misas textbook. The book reveals that there was an industrial revolution in Britain during the period of the 1830s. For instance, the steam-powered cotton spinning meals which were a vast industry had over a thousand employees. However, the Beer Act led to the majority of them attending to their duties while being drunk. The show how beer consumption became so common, the book states that in an age of filthy water, beer was virtually the only safe beverage, and Londoners drank it in huge quantities. (Misa and James, p.65). As the poem put that that beer breeds dishonesty causes no wonder, (Mason, p.116), this became evident since the workers engaged in dishonesty practices due to the influence of spirits. The porter brewers increased their scales resulting to huge amount of working-class drunkenness (Misa and James)
Mason, Nicholas. "The Sovereign People Are in a Beastly State": The Beer Act of 1830 and Victorian Discourse on Working-Class Drunkenness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Print.
Thomas, Misa, and Sumner James. Geography of Industry. Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004. Print.
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