Lord Roberts And General Miles Discourage Drinking
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
ON a certain public occasion Lord Roberts was met by a large concourse of people, the average boy of the period, of course, being in the front row. One of the most insolent of these boys proudly puffed a cigarette, feeling that next to the hero welcomed, he himself was the largest person in the crowd. Lord Roberts, noticing his pride at his tobacco and smoke, said to him, " It is a very rude thing for a boy like you to smoke." The blush of mortification came to the boy's cheek and he threw away his cigarette, justly humiliated. It is to be hoped that the boys of England will be profited by the rebuke from such a source.
Some years ago Field-Marshal Roberts was stopping at Dunbar. Walking along the road one afternoon, he met a soldier who saluted him. He asked the name of the man and the regiment to which he belonged, and they were given. The General exclaimed : " Ay, I mind you, there were two of you of the same name in your company." The General continued, lowering his voice, " But why have you been drinking?" " Only a glass and a half, and a mug of ale, my lord." " Too much, my man ! Don't you do it !" Putting his hand in his pocket Lord Roberts took out a silver piece and placed it in the man's hand. " Don't you do it." " No, I won't, my lord," replied the man. " You pass your word? " " I do, my lord." " That's well, and I trust you. Don't do it. You have passed your word; keep it. Be true to yourself, and prove yourself to be a man—a brave man ! "
General Miles said: " One of the principal evils undermining the character of the youth of the country, and destroying the intelligence and strength of men, not only in the army but in nearly every business and profession, is the use of tobacco and alcohol. If a young man would retain his clear brain, his manly voice and sound health, he had better eschew both."
Tobacco is a poison, and its excessive use unquestionably shortens the life of many good people, and its moderate use could be dispensed with without damage to the world.
The passion for strong drink nurses every vice, and produces every woe. The opinions of the head of the army of the British Empire, and the chief general of the army of the United States, on the danger of the drink habit, are powerful temperance lectures which ought to impress the conscience of the civilized world. Ministers and moral teachers are continually warning the people against the dangers of rum ; but here we have the two most conspicuous representatives of the military departments of the two greatest nations of the world, who are interested in building up, not only the strongest bodies, but the bravest hearts for victorious battle, advising their soldiers to let drink alone. And the advice which these two commanding generals give to the soldiers and sailors of the nations under them can be wisely received by those in civil life as well, and especially by the young, whose habits are being formed, habits that will determine their present and eternal destiny.