The Mounties’ pain killer

Booze 1829 — 1920

John A. Macdonald in 1881 on reports of alcoholism in the Royal North West Mounted Police, as cited in the Winnipeg Free Press, July, 5, 1904.

As regards the habits of the men, I think, on the whole, they are in a very fair state, but there is still a good deal of drinking. As the hon. gentlemen knows, some of the force is stationed on the frontier, and there has been, I am afraid, a laxity in granting [liquor] permits. Besides… I have reason to believe also that there has been a great deal of use of that most noxious alcoholic drink, Perry Davis’ Pain Killer. It contains a great quantity of alcohol, and has not only affected the physical health of the men, but the mental health of some of them. That has been used largely under the pretense of being medicinal, but, really, I am afraid, as a stimulant. There has been, and there will be hereafter a more rigid discipline preserved among the men.

Unfamiliar Canadian history stories 022

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