Prohibition in Britain
Lord Kinross describes how, during the first half of the eighteenth century, gin-drinking became a serious social evil.
The accession to the English throne of William and Mary marked a “Glorious Revolution,” not only in English political institutions but also in English drinking habits. In effect, it turned England from a country of ale- and wine-drinkers into a country of spirit-drinkers.
The impulse behind this change was the introduction from Holland of Geneva, otherwise juniper or genièvre, otherwise gin, for which King William was given the credit. A rhymester and distiller named Alexander Blunt thus apostrophized him:
Immortal name! Britain’s deliverer
From slavery, from wooden shoes and chains,
Dungeons and fire; attendants on the sway
Of tyrants bigoted and zeal accurst,
Of holy butchers, prelates insolent,
Despotic and blood thirsty! He who did
Expiring liberty revive (who wrought Salvation wondrous! God-like Herd!)
He it was, who to compleat our happiness
With liberty restored, Geneva introduced.