Document 11: Excerpt from Mary C. Leavitt, "Reconnoissance for the World's W.C.T.U," Minutes of the National Woman's Christian Temperance Union, at the Thirteenth Annual Meeting In Minneapolis, Minn., October 22 to 27, 1886, with Addresses, Reports, and Constitutions, (Chicago, Ill.: Woman's Temperance Publication Association, 1886), pp. cxxxiii-cxxxix.


The full text of the Minutes of the National Woman's Christian Temperance Union, at the Thirteenth Annual Meeting [was2.object.details.aspx?dorpid=1000637261] is also published on this website.


   Just before departing on 31 August 1886, Mary C. Leavitt wrote another report about her organizing tour in Japan. The report, read at the WCTU's annual meeting held in October 1886, provides an overview of her activities and her impressions of Japanese gender relationships, and refers to American missionaries and Japanese, who supported her organizing effort in Japan. On the one hand, Leavitt was grateful to missionary women in the Tokyo-Yokohama area, who provided her with basic support and linked her to "foreign ladies" and students of female mission schools. On the other hand, Leavitt felt that she had "no foothold" until she was introduced to Rev. Hiromichi Kozaki, a Japanese minister, through the efforts of Rev. Orramel Gulick and Rev. John Hyde DeForest, both Congregational ministers stationed in the western part of Japan. Once introduced to Kozaki, Leavitt had opportunities to talk to a broader audience of men and women, and to interact with a variety of individuals, including high government officials, and the reformer and editor, Yoshiharu Iwamoto.

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Reconnoissance for the World's W. C. T. U.

A report from this Department was due for 1885. My only apology is that I was so busy doing the work, that I did not think about reporting it, until a request came from Miss Willard to that effect. This request did not reach me till October, quite too late for the convention. In consequence, this report covers the entire period since I sailed from San Francisco, Nov. 15, 1884.

Nothing could exceed the warm Christian friendliness and courtesy with which I was received at Honolulu, Mr. Athurton coming out to the steamer on the pilot boat, as he said, "that you might not feel lonely as you came up to the city." Mrs. Dr. Whitney received me into her family, and everything was done that possibly could be to make the work successful. After a course of lectures in Honolulu, a union was formed which has had no infancy. Hilo and Wailuku were visited and unions formed in each. I appointed Mrs. Dr. Whitney Provisional National President. While at Hilo I took three days to visit the "Great Crater." I could only repeat as I looked at it, "Wonderful are Thy works, O Lord; in wisdom hast Thou made them all."

After a few days waiting in Honolulu for a delayed steamer, I sailed June 1, 1885, for Auckland. This journey had been made possible by the unexpected generosity of the people of Honolulu, for on arrival there, I possessed only $35. I landed, a stranger in a strange land, and for a little time I felt all that these words mean. But Christian friends soon rallied around me, and solid work was done in New Zealand, with results which have already proved most beneficial to the interests of that island. Eleven unions were formed in an area as large as that east of the Alleghanies from Maine to Georgia, and much the same shape. Mrs. Judge Ward of Christchurch, was appointed Provisional Colonial President. This appointment has been ratified by election at the First Annual Convention, held in February last, at Wellington. Mrs. Ward succeeded in organizing at Wellington, where I failed, and has been doing excellent work throughout the year. For the first three months in New Zealand, not money enough was received to pay expenses, but at the end of that time a friend published the following article:

To the Editor of the New Zealand Times:

Sir-There seems to be a misunderstanding with some of our citizens in regard to the financial basis of Mrs. Leavitt's mission around the round. We have the statements below from Mrs. Leavitt herself. Like Miss Willard, the President of the National Woman's Christian Temperance Union of America, Mrs. Leavitt has never had a shilling from its treasury; but both ladies give their entire time to the work, receiving what the people choose to give. Both would rejoice to make an entirely free-will offering of themselves

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and their work for humanity and to God, had they property to live upon. Mrs. Leavitt thinks it quite enough for her own society to spare her for a season from home-work, and incur the loss consequent, for she was constantly forming new unions, or enlarging those already existing; thus by their system of division of annual fees continually adding to the income of National, State and Local Woman's Christian Temperance Unions. Mrs. Leavitt left her own country with the determination to go forward as long as the funds contributed by the various nations are sufficient to carry her forward and support her youngest daughter, the only child now dependent upon herself. The people of the Sandwich Islands, and of New Zealand, thus far, have made it possible for her to continue her mission. She therefore thanks God and them, and moves forward. I am, etc.,

Blue Ribbon.

At the time this was published I had received no assurance of funds from America, though Miss Willard was already exerting herself, and funds soon after began to arrive. The people of New Zealand began to give in a missionary spirit. Before I left Australia I had enough in hand, with that portion of the "Leavitt Fund" forwarded to me by Miss Pugh, and the $100 each from Dr. McDonald and Gen. Bidwell, of California, to make the journey around the world a possibility. Honolulu, Christchurch, Brisbane and Adelaide should be mentioned as taking the lead in contributions to this work.

I have not used any money that came from America. The thought strengthened in my mind that American money must be spent for the benefit of Africa. We wrought her great harm in the past by the slave trade; we are doing her worse harm now by the rum sent every year to the western coast. I want to go to Africa. Pray over it and in due time the Lord will make his will plain in regard to it. My kind host and hostess, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Wilson, of Auckland, invited me to visit the "Wonderland of New Zealand" with them, and I took nearly two weeks for that purpose. The Pink Terrace and White Terrace surpassed all I have seen in the combination of wonder and beauty. The terrible earthquake and volcanic eruption of June 10, of this year blotted them out of existence.

June 28, 1885, I sailed for Australia, and landed in Sydney, July 3. A W. C. T. U. had existed for three years, but was small and weak. Additions were made to the number, but not as much was accomplished as I had hoped on arrival. The hindrances were lack of countenance by the clergy and Christian workers of the place. There were a few notable exceptions whom the Lord rewarded for their noble endeavors on our behalf. An excellent union was formed at Bathurst, with Mrs. Webb as President, and a most efficient board of officers. These two are, so far as I know, the only unions in New South Wales.

I next went north to Queensland, visited seven towns and formed five unions, appointing Mrs. Brintnall, of Brisbane, wife of Hon. Mr. Brintnall, M. L. C.-Provisional Colonial President. The last letter from her gives an account of her plans and arrangements, all of which are excellent, for the first Annual Convention, to be held in October of this year.

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My next work was done in Tasmania, where I formed two unions. It was in this island that the women, who had given their names for a union, so largely withdrew them, because, as a lady wrote me afterward, they thought I "was forming a secret society to overthrow the government." My correspondent added, "I thought this very discouraging, when you had made it all so plain in your lecture." I spoke but once in this town as I was passing through. I hope this lady. Miss Searle, a very talented and consecrated girl, will eventually accept the Colonial Presidency, which she as yet declines.

I worked in only one place in Victoria-its capital, Melbourne. The call came from the Y. C. W. A., and the W. C. T. U. was formed under its auspices, the board of officers being nearly identical. I appointed Miss Booth, as provisional Colonial President. In Melbourne I met the largest audience I have yet spoken to in the colonies-3,500 in the Theatre Royal, of a Sunday night.

South Australia remained and after eight happy days in Adelaide, its beautiful capital, where I formed a union and appointed Mrs. Rev. Rice, wife of the Baptist pastor. Provisional Colonial President. My work, for the present in these colonies seemed to be finished, therefore, on Tuesday, April 15, I turned my face northward, and with a day or two in Melbourne and Sydney each and four in Hong Kong, finished a journey of nearly 8,000 miles, at Yokohama, Japan, June 1, 1886.

The missionaries in this country had not expected me till after my work in China, but a change of plan being necessary I came upon them unawares. I was received most cordially, however, by Mrs. Theodore Gulick, Mrs Ville and Mrs. Elmer, and later by Mrs. VanPettin, Mrs. Pierson, Miss Crosby and Miss Dr. Kelsey. Until the hour I sailed for Yokohoma, these ladies showed an unvarying kindness and helpfulness, entertaining me in their houses, and forwarding my plans in every way. Mrs. Dr. Hepburn worked most energetically in bringing foreign ladies to my first meeting, took me to Tokijo and introduced me to her sister, Miss Leete, principal of Graham Seminary, a boarding school for Japanese girls, where I found a delightful home during my stay in that city. Mr. Gulick and Mr. Elmer of the Bible Society, gave me all the help in their power, but I seemed to gain no foot-hold, make go progress, till the Rev. Orramel Gulick and Rev. Mr. DeForest, of the western mission, passing through Yokohama, consulted with Mr. T. Gulick. In consequence, Mr. Orramel Gulick went up to Tokijo, where I was at the time, and brought a Japanese pastor, Rev. Mr. Kosaki, to see me. Mr. Kosaki asked me to speak in his church the next day, interpreting for me himself. The Vice Minister of Justice was present and several other gentlemen of note. The next day Mr. Kosaki took me to Mr. Mari, Minister of Education, to whom I explained our school work. I have strong hopes that through his power, as well as influence, the plan will be introduced into the schools of Japan. After this interview we visited other high officials and the Countess Oyama, and arranged for a public meeting of English-speaking Japanese, where over one thousand persons were present, less than twenty of them being foreigners. After this, the opportunities of speaking to the Japanese through interpreters, were limited only by the time at my command. M. N. Whitney,

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M. D., Interpretor to the American Legation, and member of the Sai I Kwai, or Medical Society of Japan, procured me an opportunity to speak to that body. Afterwards, Dr. Takaki, its president, invited me to speak before a club composed of Naval Surgeons and their wives. This society was organized by Dr. T., and is the first in Japan to whose meetings wives accompany their husbands, sit by their side at table, etc. Fifty-two ladies were present and more gentlemen. Two ladies were in foreign costumes, and all the gentlemen. The latter all wore the naval uniform. Dr. Whitney also arranged that I should be one of three speakers at the semi-annual meeting of the Scripture Reading Union. This organization is widely spread in the empire, and has 3,300 members, not all of whom are Christians. Nearly one thousand persons were present. My theme was, "The Bible and Temperance." Mr. Iwamoto, editor of the "Woman's Magazine," who had already translated and published my tract, "Heredity and Alcoholism," and an article, "Woman and Her Work," written expressly for that magazine, arranged for a meeting for ladies only, at which over eight hundred were present.

A W. C. T. U. was formed in Yokohama, and another in Tokijo among the missionary ladies, to take up such lines of work, educational, social purity, tobacco, etc., as they can bring into their regular school work, and which will the better equip the women they send out as workers. In Tokijo a Japanese union was formed, but my last letter mentions the death by cholera, of Mrs. Kimura, the lady to whom all were looking as the leader. This is causing a break in the work, but my correspondent believes it will be only temporary.

The habit of drinking sake, the National beverage, is almost universal, and there is much drunkenness. Tobacco is universally used, by women as well as men. But drinking is almost entirely confined to the evening hour, and largely to the home circle and social gatherings in the homes. The pipe is a minute affair, giving "three whiffs at a filling," but it is filled very often. I am told that most, but not all the churches formed by missionaries, refuse admission unless sake is given up. Many Christians are giving up tobacco, also, because it defiles the temple of the Holy Spirit.

A great work is needed in this country in regard to chastity. Concubinage is legal. A man may put away his wife for a multitude of causes, and indeed for no cause, and she has no redress. Although the government has forbidden parents to sell their daughters for immoral purposes, still as the feeling of the populace is not yet against it, the law is many times evaded. It is thought meritorious for a girl to give herself to such a life to support her parents, to pay their debts, etc. But the beauty of a Christian family life is making a great impression, and more especially since the people see it lived in Japanese homes, thus making it evident that it is Christian, and not simply foreign. A most detrimental and shameful thing is the scandalous lives of so large a proportion of the foreign merchants in these open ports. Nor do all representatives of Christian government, live according to Christian morality. A large class of curasian children are growing up, and "what is to be done with them" is a great problem.

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The influences that have made cholera so deadly in this country for the last three months, told seriously on my health in July, so that I was obliged to hasten my departure from Tokijo. I sailed for Kolu the 23d of July, and landed the 25th. I had received a most cordial invitation from Mrs. John T. Gulick and Rev. and Mrs. DeForest to spend the summer with them in their "camp of tents" of their mission, on Hieizan, (pro. Hee-ay-zan) the sacred mountain, par excellence, of Japan. I proposed to begin work again about the 20th of August, but Dr. Berry, the physician of this mission, has persuaded me that it is best to wait until September 10th, as the heat and cholera still prevail, and my own health is scarcely reinstated. My judgment approves, but my desire to get on with the journey, made the decision a difficult one.

I have promised to give a week each to Kioto, Kolu, Osaka and Nagasaic. When I think of the 38,000,000 people in this empire, the scores of cities where my work would be welcomed and effective, I wish to remain a full year, but the regions beyond call loudly. "The field is the world" for us, emphatically, to-day.

I rejoice at the news that the British Woman's Temperance Association has come into this movement, and that Miss Gray is already organizing in in Europe. The money contributed to this work in the United States, called the "Leavitt Fund," received that name, doubtless, because at the time I was the only one at work outside of the country. I now propose that at this annual convention it be made the "World's Fund," and that it be used for Miss Gray and other ladies, as may be needed. Miss Pugh continued to send to me as the money came in till I begged her to desist. I have not yet used a penny raised in America. The contributions, by the way, are not yet exhausted.

I did not at first keep a record of miles traveled, but as Miss Willard requested that item in this report, I have gathered distances from time tables, maps, etc., as carefully as I could; but I am sure the reported distance falls off the real, as I have lost the little daily journeyings, and these count up fast, as I find since I began keeping the daily record. I estimate all numbers from this date until the work in Japan will be complete. If changes are necessary I will telegraph before time of convention: Miles traveled 27,235 Meetings held 493 Towns visited 48 Unions formed 31

Beside this public work I have interviewed or written to all rulers, thus far on my journey. I have been refused audience only in two instances, by the Royal Governor of Tasmania himself, and by the minister of the household for the Empress of Japan.

Everywhere I have laid great stress upon our educational work, and it recommends itself to all. Throughout the Colonies and in Japan I have made the work for social purity a prominent point. As a help to mothers who said they could neither speak nor write to sons whom they felt to be in great peril, I wrote the following letter. The pledge it contains I have presented

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in all meetings for young men, and I have held them in nearly every place I have visited:


My Dear —

I am sure you will not question my love for you, nor my desire to promote your happiness, your safety, in this life and in that which is beyond the grave.

I have frequently spoken with you about truthfulness, honesty, industry, and other good qualities, which I wish to see become a part of your character.

But there is one subject of even greater moment than any of these, upon which I have been silent, but which I ask you now to consider. I refer to chastity, or social purity, and may God enable you to keep to the right way.

Without any question you will be solicited to evil sometime in the course of your life, and forewarned is many times forearmed. You will be told, perhaps, that it is unmanly to live a pure life, that it is girlish — you may be told that your health will suffer if you maintain your purity.

Can it be unmanly to live in such a way that you do not fear to have every act proclaimed in the presence of any listeners? Is it not rather the most unmanly course possible to live in such a manner that a thick veil must be drawn over a portion of your life, and that you tremble at the thought of its being withdrawn? The manliest way of living is that which will enable you to look every person in the face, and to stand guiltless before God.

Again you will have better health, and maintain it to a far later period, if you remain chaste till your wedding day, which should not occur till about the twenty-fifth year. Direct your thoughts and emotions, and conversation in right channels, interest yourself in, and practice open air sports of the more vigorous sort, and thank God if your calling is one that takes you out into God's free air. The falling off in health which the life insurance tables show between eighteen and twenty-five, at just the period when there ought to be the greatest gain in firmness and solidity of health, proves the truth of the above statement, when coupled with the declaration of physicians as to the cause of the deterioration. Be assured God has not written one law in His book and another contrary to it in your own constitution.

Will you consider another view of the case. You men call us "weaker vessels," yourselves the "strong" sex. Should you not then be manly enough to protect the weak from the greatest injury possible to a woman, nor add to the soil if she is already fallen.

You are looking forward to marriage at some future day. The girl is now living, in all probability, who will some day be your wife. Will you not live your life as purely as you wish her to live hers? Have you any right to demand of her when you stand at the marriage altar more than you bring to her?

Take the White Cross pledge; read the works written for young men, and recommended by these societies; spread its principles. I entreat you, by my own motherhood and care for you, use your influence to induce every man to take the following pledge: —

Henceforth, God helping me, I will keep myself pure in thought, word and action, and I will treat every woman as I wish other men to treat my mother, my sister, my wife, my daughter.

Thus honoring womanhood you will honor yourself, your father, and more especially your mother.

Your loving mother, — — —

Dear sisters, do not cease to pray that my strength may continue till the work is finished, that I may have increasing wisdom and power from Him

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who is wisdom and might. It would be an invaluable refreshment, help and inspiration could I be present at this convention. But I can only send from afar my wishes, which are indeed prayers for each individual, whether from our own country or from foreign lands, couched in the words of inspiration: "The Lord bless thee and keep thee; the Lord make his face to shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee; the Lord lift up His countenance upon thee and give thee peace."

Mary Clement Leavitt, Superintendent.

Hieisan, Japan, Aug. 31, 1886.

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