I saw this engraving by Hogarth at the Foundling Museum the other day. Not the original: It was a copy reproduced on one of the display boards. As you can see, in the early 18th century gin wasn't quite the artisan product that the marketeers are trying to sell it as today. No rhubarb infused loveliness served with Fevertree tonic. Just good old flavoured ethanol to self-medicate away misery.
Despite the horror this picture portrays my reaction when I saw it was hopefulness for our own times. For despite the fact that there are still pockets of abject suffering we have come a long way. Babies are not routinely abandoned, bodies are not hanging from gibbets and we do not have to avoid a pissy shower thrown from the windows above when walking down the street. Sure there's still much work to do and setbacks as well but maybe the world evolves into being a better place - in spite of what those constant news reports that in the main, I'm still managing to avoid tell us.