Document 5: Excerpt from Frances E. Willard, "Address of the President," Minutes of the National Woman's Christian Temperance Union, at the Eleventh Annual Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, Oct. 22d to 25th, 1884 (Chicago, Ill.: Woman's Temperance Publication Association, 1884), pp. 62-63.


The full text of Minutes of the National Woman's Christian Temperance Union, at the Eleventh Annual Meeting is also published on this website


   Across the Pacific in the United States, the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) was renewing organizational efforts for the internationalization of the WCTU movement. Having encountered what she viewed as "oriental degradation" during her organizing trip to the U.S. Pacific Coast in 1883, WCTU President Frances Willard felt compelled to extend WCTU activism across the Pacific (see Document 22). To uplift the world to the standard of American women of her class, Willard appealed to the evangelical impulse of American churchwomen who had been supporting women's foreign missionary work in Asia and other parts of the world. She counted on the cooperation and support of women's missionary boards for the realization of her new enterprise.


Letters have been sent out to the leading missionaries of Christendom, asking their advice and co-operation as to the best

[p. 63]

methods of initiating this great enterprise, which will require years for its fulfillment. Representative leaders of the women's boards have been conferred with; responses show good will and interest, but action must come from our own ranks. The next step I would suggest is the designation of leading speakers, who shall be empowered to present an address from us to each of the women's missionary boards during the coming year, asking the appointment of one of their number on a general committee of conference, whose report shall be presented at our meeting in 1885.

A reconnoisance of the field is essential to success, and I am glad to announce that Mrs. Mary Clement Leavitt, one of our ablest and most trusty superintendents, has already arranged to visit the Sandwich Islands, and hopes to go thence to Australia, India, China and Japan. For the necessary funds for this enterprise we must look to a few wealthy friends, chiefly on the Pacific coast. In working up this enterprise we must carefully study the adaptation of methods to varying climates and nationalities, no less than to prevailing habits of brain poison. One of the best results to be attained by this broader generalization will, perhaps, be this: That all stimulants and narcotics will finally be included in our pledge, as alike the enemies of that sacred instrument of thought, the human brain.

This great endeavor to belt the world with the organization whose keynote is gospel temperance, can have no basis so sure as a union of Christian womanhood in prayer. That is its truest precursor; its happiest harbinger. I have grieved to notice that the noon hour of prayer, bequeathed to us by the crusade, is falling into disuse. Let me affectionately urge its observance at all our meetings and conventions by our individual members. This "recollectedness" at the day's most busy hour, will make us no less "fervent in spirit" than we are "diligent in business," "serving the Lord" so steadily that every day shall be to us one of the "days of the Son of Man." I hope that this convention may emphasize anew the noontide call to prayer, and that Thursday afternoon, which in the years just following the crusade was generally observed by a concert of prayer, may be anew dedicated to that object, our local auxiliaries, so far as possible, meeting on that day, and systematic efforts being made to secure its observance as a time of prayer by women, for the overthrow of the poison habits of all lands.

By co-operating in this effort with the Woman's missionary boards, this can be done within the next year.

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