Friday Morning's Session
At half-past ten, Metropolitan Hall was attended by about 2,000 persons, and the numbers continued to increase during the sitting. The Rev. T. W. HIGGINSON again occupied the Chair, and after calling the meeting to order, proceeded to read over the resolutions introduced by HORACE GREELEY yesterday morning, after which the Amphions opened the proceedings by singing the Temperance Hymn commencing with
"Intemperance, like a raging flood."
The PRESIDENT said the resolutions which had been read were then open for discussion by the members of the Convention. It would be understood, of course, that all who might bare information to convey to the Convention, from whatever County or State they might come, would not keep back on account of not being called upon by the Chair, as there were many unknown to the Committees. They were ready to listen to the remarks of any member on the resolutions. [Cheers.]
Mr. BERNARD, of Pennsylvania, then addressed the meeting.
He said that he understood it to be the duty of the religious organizations of the land to co-operate with the temperance men and women in the advancement of this cause. I consider this to be a self-evident truth, which may be admitted without demonstration, inasmuch as the action of the religious bodies of a different character is desirable. I have desired that all who are members of those religions organizations should compare their acts with those of the Great Founder, and act in accordance with His teachings and example. You are all aware that his life, from the cradle to the grave, was devoted to doing good; and the churches that bear upon their forehead the name of Christian, if they are walking in his footsteps, are indeed worthy of the title, but if they act otherwise, they cannot justly lay claim to it. I feel that they are false to their name. I stand here as one of a delegation from a religious organization which has given its support to due cause, and I call upon all religious denominations to follow their example, and the example of Christ himself. By doing so they would feel as he felt--that it is their meat and drink to do good, to build up the right and throw down the wrong, and if they have not His conduct in view, and act not in accordance with the principles they profess, they are not only recreant to their profession, but they are worse--they are hypocrites. Mr. Bernard dwelt at considerable length on the necessity of the different religious denominations taking part in the efforts of the temperance people to procure the passage of the Maine law.
Rev. WM. H. CHANNING was announced as the next speaker. Mr. Channing took the platform, and addressed the Convention as follows:
The song which our friends favored us with this morning had reference to a flood of Intemperance. Is not the assembling of this Convention a sign that the flood is retiring from the face of the earth, and that not only has the dove gone forth on its mission from the ark formed by the Lord, but has returned with the olive bough? According to my view, that dove is Woman, and the word of Woman is a word of peace and power. [Applause.]
The characteristics of this Convention, which I would briefly sum up in these words, (and let it not be considered that I am irreverent of great ancestors,) is the disappearance of Mrs. Adam and the reappearance of Miss Eve--or, in other words, the disappearance of Woman in a position of subjection to Man, and her reappearance as she was sent fresh from the hand of God. However Woman may have been looked upon as typical of the fall, she is now regarded as typical of the resurrection. She was once looked upon as an angel of death, dragging man to the dust, she can now be looked upon as an angel of Heaven, leading him onward.
This is the whole subject of which I propose to speak this morning: The full and free co-operation of Women, as the special characteristic of the Convention--it being the whole world's, and not half a world's convention. A friend alluded yesterday in his speech to the position of man alone as being similar to that of an individual rowing with a single oar. If it is allowable for a man in a masculine boastfulness to speak of himself as the "right hand," then I say it has always been the misfortune of the world that the "left hand--the left side" has been always paralyzed, and woman has been a cripple and unable to co-operate in progress to but a limited extent. If Michael Angelo would make a figure, his left hand would hold the chisel and shape the marble, while the right hand would supply the power. The painter with his left hand holds the pallet, and with the right uses the brush. Ole Bull, though, with his right hand he secures a sound on the violin, yet with his left he secures the delicacy and brilliancy of tone, and the touch of the left hand is as necessary as the motion of the right; if we are to have music in society, Woman, as the left hand, must manage the keys. [Applause.]
As it is urged that this meeting should sustain the character of practicability, I have some practical projects to offer for its consideration. First, to enable us to carry out effectively prohibitory law, we must have the full co-operation of women--we should gain the influence of her example and power, and if it is true that man is her agent, then she should see that her agents do their duty. As mother, sister, wife, and friends, she possesses power for good, and if she send man out and he comes home without having accomplished that which he was deputed to do, he reads in her face the consciousness of his shame.
As regarded the execution of that law, it was sometimes asked, whether the prohibitory law, having been successful, it could not be made more thoroughly effective. Now he thought this depended more on the co-operation of woman than on any other cause. They had an example of this the other day, not certainly in the specific form which he could at all times sympathize with. They undoubtedly had been tried as a mob; but still he should very much like
[p. 39]to see women tried for such a mob proceeding in New York, on the same principles--that was, that the law having passed the Legislature, and man being backward in enforcing it, women should come forward to compel him; he would like to see them come forward even as axe-men, to break in the head of the barrel or pull out the spiggot and let the liquor run. [Cheers.] The cause of intemperance--that is the indulgence in low excitement--was the want of high excitement. The reason persons indulged in low stimulants was because there were no healthful stimulants supplied to the heart and conscience. Who were the rowdies? They were young men, and their companions were young women, who, if they had been supplied with high excitement, would never have indulged in low passions. They might observe the truth of this by going to the National Theatre, and there they would see by the expression of sympathy, during the performance of "Uncle Tom's Cabin," and tears and sights, how the heart of man could be made to rise responsive to the kindly touch, and how woman had the power to raise it. [Cheers.] The fact was they wanted amusements to minister to the mind healthful stimulants. If they did not make this a point it was all in vain for them to have prohibitory legislation. They must have it in the exalted drama, and lectures, and social gatherings, where the healthful influences may be brought together. They needed too, pleasure grounds and large halls in their great cities, and, indeed altogether a new spirit to leaven society. In conclusion, it appeared to him that the meeting should not close without some proof of a continuation of the movement thus commenced. Let the present Convention institute a series of others without any distinction of sect, or sex, or color, race or country. Woman would thus co-operate in the work, not only of restraining intemperance, but also of bringing back the public to that hearty tone of high health which should take the place of the feverish delirium caused by drunkenness.
The speaker concluded by proposing a resolution, to the effect that the only effective means of preventing the indulgence in low excitement was the supply of high employment; and that the best antidote for the artificial stimulant of alcohol, was the mutual stimulant of social enjoyments,--the supplies of libraries, museums, pleasure-grounds, &c., &c.,
Joseph Dougdale then briefly informed the meeting, as a proof that at least one body in the land had taken up the question, that a Pennsylvania yearly meeting of progressive Friends had given their expression of adherence to the enactment of laws for the suppression of intoxicating liquors.
Mr. Clark, of Rochester, having just entered the Hall, he was again called upon for a song. He then sang
"The World is on the move,"
with excellent effect, and was loudly applauded. After which he offered the following sentiment, with he drank in iced water:
"The Health and Memory of the man that chopped down the trees, that cleared the land, that ploughed the ground, that raised the corn, that fed the goose, that bore the quill, that made the pen, that wrote the pledge of total abstinence from all intoxicating drinks." [Loud cheers.]
Mr. Arnold Buffum, of Rhode Island, then proposed the following resolution:
"That all preachers of the Gospel, who have in their congregation persons who let houses or stores to be used for the sale of intoxicating drinks, are earnestly invited by this whole World's Convention to preach a sermon on the text, ‘every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, but the corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit; wherefore by their fruit ye shall know them.’" He thought clergymen and preachers of the Gospel, throughout the whole land, should preach one sermon from this text, for in this useful parable of the blessed Jesus there is a great deal of instruction directly applicable. The term tree, here spoken of, would apply to the distiller, that brought forth evil fruit, and to all those who dealt in it, as well as used it, for their fruits were indeed evil, and that continually. It would apply to the bar-owner of the splendid hotel, and to the keeper of the low groggery. It would apply also to the general custom of using intoxicating drinks, and to the men who stood so high, and so respectably in the public estimation, as the owners of real property and houses and stores, that they would be ashamed to be seen indulging in intoxicating drinks themselves, and yet let out their shops and their houses for the sale of intoxicating drinks. These, too, were the trees that were seen by their fruits.
Rev. Mr. Armstrong, of Saratoga, having here risen to a point of order, in which, however, the meeting did not agree with him.
Rev. Mr. Whitney, of Massachusetts, addressed the Convention. He made a long speech, which was attentively listened to.
He referred to the manner in which men became drunkards. It was a very simple process, and if we avoided the beginning, we should always avoid the ending. There were three things, either natural in the first place, or produced by art, that were disagreeable in the beginning--Alcohol, Tobacco, and Opium. When they were taste at first, they were invariably disagreeable. There might be one exception in a thousand; but, generally speaking, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, or even more, their taste at first nauseated. Next day, however, it might be, they touched them with a feeling that was less disagreeable; and by and by, the repeating them day after day made the taste become reconciled to them, and their consumption an agreeable thing. The great plan, therefore, was the keeping from them altogether in the first place. It used one to be said by the advocates of Temperance, for that reason: "Only give us the young, and we will prevail." But, alas! this might no longer be said, for now the children learned to consume tobacco and alcohol.
He should speak of the early effects of Rum. Friends! avoid the tasting. While your taste is simple and natural and healthy, don't destroy it. They say all the children are with us; but they must be very small children, for I see, Sir, that the children, too, in this your city, are given to tobacco, and perhaps to rum, too. Is it not better to prevent the thing, than to cure it? It was said years ago, Give us these children and we will prevent them learning this vice; but we have not taught them. He would say to parents, and all having the care of the young: See that you do not deceive them. There is no danger of their plunging into drunkenness if they never learn to taste. A clergyman once sent a boy to purchase some cigars, and the boy tried them, got sick, and was satisfied with one trial. The danger with the rum, though, is, that if they taste it once, they want to try it again. The office of Woman is to help us "learn" [probably meaning teach] the young. He had learned that there was a gentleman here who had taken a prominent share in the work of sustaining the Maine Law in this State. He, the Speaker, wanted to say a few words about the workings of the law in his own State, Massachusetts. He proceeded to consider this point at length, but was interrupted by
A Voice--Will the gentleman allow me to ask a question? Whether the violations of the law in Massachusetts are the rule, or the exception?
The speaker gave it as his impression that the majority of those who are prosecuted escape. He considered the present law the best one we ever had. He hoped it would be carried forward to speedy success. He called special attention to the necessity of a concert of action among the friends of Temperance. He next considered the experiment of prohibitory laws. In all large cities, they will do very much as the public sentiment goes. If the law is a popular one, it will be executed: if not popular, it will not be executed. [Applause.] This was all the explanation he could give. We should, Mr. President, band the whole human family against this universal evil. It takes the most developed, and the least developed. It takes them all, it ruins them all, it spoils them all. [Applause.] Never forget, that the vilest man and woman you can find, even in this great City, are members of the great family of God; and that, vile they seem, they are capable of being fed and clothed; and being in their right mind, to be restored to the blessings of home and family.
Two or three voices began to ask questions; some on the floor; others from the gallery.
Mr. Oliver Johnson objected to this Socratic method of discussion; every speaker was interrupted, and he deemed it proper that friends should not be required to stand and answer queries. They should be first allowed to finish their remarks. [Cheers and hisses.]
The Chair sustained the right of the questioners, and of the speaker
[p. 42]to answer. If the speaker demanded the protection of the Chair, it should be accorded to him. [Sensation.]
Mr. Whitney said it did not disturb him in the least to answer questions. He would say to the gentleman in the gallery, that he did not vote, but he did all he could otherwise for Temperance. He then sat down.
The President, having requested Mr. Greeley temporarily to occupy the Chair, said he wished to answer the question as to the position of Massachusetts. All he had to say was:
That if you want to test the public sentiment there, just ask the people of the State to repeat that Law! [Laughter and applause.] The law had been modified in some respects from the Maine enactment. The cities and large towns demanded a somewhat different system. It was now in argument before the Supreme Court whether the Police Court have jurisdiction in cases of liquor prosecution. When this principle is settled, which it will soon be in favor of Temperance, then look out for action. The matter is now under advertisement in the cases of men in Salem and Lowell. At this moment, therefore, you must not look to the cities of Massachusetts for indications of the public sentiment regarding the law. You must look back six months, when the Act was really enforced as it should be. And you must look forward six months, to the time when it will be again enforced thoroughly. A gentleman had inquired whether the execution of the law was the rule or the exception in the speaker's State. He would reply that there were many towns and villages already in Massachusetts where no liquor is openly sold. The friends of the Law must work. The Law is not like the boy's whistle, that whistles itself; it must be executed carefully and conscientiously.
I won't speak of Boston; I don't live there. Boston is a commercial city; millions there are involved in the liquor traffic. Do you tell me you can execute the Maine law in large cities like this? I hope you may; but you will have a hard time of it.
Mrs. C. I. H. Nicholas, Editor of the Windham Co. (Vt.,) Democrat, was then introduced to the audience amid loud applause.
I am not (said she) unconscious, friends, that I stand as yet upon a contested platform--that my woman's foot presses ground denied to her to maintain--so you will allow me to make some reference to this point. There are subjects which it is not relevant to allude to upon this platform; but, friends, in presenting to you the necessity for the Maine Law, I must show you the deep and great need of women for its enactment. I cannot present to you woman's
[p. 43]claim to the Maine Law, to restore the sweet harmonies of domestic life, without presenting to you the discord intemperance has made upon the heart-strings of women and children. You will therefore allow me in my remarks to state my positions and to maintain them as in my judgement is best. I has been a common remark, and one which is entertained both by church members and members of the State, that woman is the greatest sufferer from intemperance--woman, who is not herself convicted of the crime or intemperance--who is not herself given to intemperance--as a class, woman is the greatest sufferer. Yet few have found who have asked why,--why does woman, who is not herself the victim of vice, suffer more than man, who is? Here, my friends, is the point to which I wish to call your attention. Woman is the greatest sufferer, because she belongs and is bound hand and foot, and given to the protection of her husband. I say that woman is the greatest sufferer, because the laws of the land have bound her hand and foot, and committed her soul and body to the protection of her husband; and when he fails to protect her through imbecility, misjudgment, misfortune, or intemperance, she suffers. It is because the mother of humanity cannot hold in her own hand the bread she earns to feed her babes and children--it is because of the crimes of her inebriate husband, if he be one, that she suffers. It is because that the babes that she rears are given to the custody of the drunken husband. And, friends, if intemperance did not invade our homes--if it did not take from us now clothing, our bread, and the means for our self-development, and for the training of our children to respectability and usefulness--if it did not take the babes from our bosoms,--I would not stand here. [Applause.] And friends, although it be woman's right, I must present to you as mu justification for addressing you upon this occasion. I feel, friends, that man cannot row the boat of humanity aloe, for when he does so, it goes round and round in a circle, until at length his arm tires, and he, with all his craft on board is engulphed. It seems to me that the great cause of humanity is very much in the position of a little child, of whom I will state a little anecdote in illustration. A friend of mine, a few weeks ago, taking a journey in a state coach met in it a man with a little infant in his arms--an infant of months--in the arms of the father. My friend was exceedingly interested in that child, and was filled with wonder and many apprehensions for the reason that this father should be carrying that infant a long journey in his arms, and no mother with it. She fancied that the mother was dead. How could she think anything else? She inquired of him "Where is the baby's mother?" Said he, "She would not come along with us;" when husband and wife disagree they must separate. She said, "And you take the little babe?" "Yes" said he. He had the right and the power. Said my friend, "When the child is hungry, can you feed it?" Oh yes," answered he, "I can feed it, for I have a pocket full of cakes."
After a man has gone through the world into every department of life--into the Legislature--and has been engaged in all the social improvements carried out for humanity--a pocket full of cakes--and humanity is dyspeptic, and all
[p. 44]the intelligence and the morality of the country has been fed upon cakes from a man's pocket. [Laughter and applause.] It is dyspeptic; and what we now ask is that it may be restored to the mother-fountain of humanity, and drink the milk of human kindness that God has stored in the breast of woman. [Applause.] In my remarks this morning, I wish to bear particularly upon the responsibility of Christians in this movement, and upon the responsibility of Church members and the Church of Christ. As a member of a Christian Church, I appeal to my brethren and sisters with a heart full of love and yearning that they may meet me upon this ground, that I may find a response in their souls which will give me courage to move onward in the course of self-denial and duty in this cause. I know the churches of different denominations act with different power upon the great reforms of the day. The churches of which I am a member act in their separate capacities. The churches are independent bodies, and act separately,--one church cannot control the action of another church. I speak of the Baptist denomination, and it is so with many other bodies of Christians. I have noticed with a great deal of pleasure that as this movement has progressed, the churches have come up and passed resolutions endorsing the Maine Law, and pledging themselves to give their influence and their power to the work. But it strikes me that it is not the whole duty of the Christian Church to pray and talk upon it. I have conversed with some of our clergy, who are among the foremost friends of the Maine Law--who have given us sermon upon sermon, line upon line, and precept upon precept, which they nobly dared to do; yet I have not found the first one of them--and I say it with a sad heart--who will recommend political action, and who will recommend that the Church should take cognizance of the political action of its members upon this question. You may think me ultra; but first carry it to the throne of God--stand before the bar of the Almighty--and then can you convict me, my friends, when I say that the Church should take cognizance of the political action of its members? No one, for a moment, can then, I think, suppose that God himself does not take cognizance of political acts as Christian duty. They say they do not see how we could recognize the political action of our members. We do not see how we could discipline them as to the manner in which they should vote upon the question. Now, friends, what is the organization of Christianity worth, if you cannot reach a member of that body in all his actions--if you cannot reach him, and bring the force of the Church, as an organization, to bear upon every individual member, in his action in any department in life? What is that organization worth? I think that much of the embarrassment upon this point arises from the association of the past. In the past, a man might drink rum and sell rum and be a good Christian, but you must recollect these were days of darkness. Perhaps when God winked at sin and ignorance, then his Church might; but now there is no sin or ignorance to be winked at, and you will understand that now we are responsible to God for all our ability and all our influence; and by-the-bye, if we are responsible to use all our influence for God, we are under obligation to acquire all the influence we can for the same high and holy purpose--the Church as a body, as
[p. 45]well as the individual members. In the past we have given all that we had to the good work. We have pledged ourselves to the Almighty that we will be one with humanity, and give our life and all our efforts for its salvation from wrong done and wrong doing. We have made the application just so far as we could see the wrong done, and we have come up to the work, and given ourselves to it unreservedly; but in the course of time--for we know that he that runs shall read--light shall break in upon our path, and we shall see more room for truth, and unless the Church comes up as a body, and every individual member of it, and gives the whole to God, they are failing in Christ and not doing their duty. If the Church has more knowledge and more light upon the evils of intemperance to-day--if the Church knows as well as the individual member knows, that the vote of every man fixes upon us the sin of intemperance, or goes to carry it from the land, then his church is responsible to come up to that point of discipline, and enforce it against every man who votes against the Maine Law. I may be in advance upon you on this point, but I doubt whether there is one in this assembly who will not endorse this principle. If this be so then you are bound by every consideration, as Christians and as human beings' to carry out those principles--for when will principles become of use to the world until they are made practical? The Church has more to do in this matter than this, or rather they are more deeply interested than to the extent I have stated. Nearly two-thirds of our Church are made up of women, and woman is the greatest sufferer from intemperance. I have for more than thirty years been a member of a Christian Church; I joined it in my childhood, and side and side I have sat with aged women who had been obliged to procure divorces from drunken husbands. The fair orator concluded her remarks by calling upon her hearers to sustain the principles of the Maine Law.
The President said there was another lady whose labors in the New York Women's organization for the promotion of Temperance had perhaps been no less arduous or less efficient than those of the last speaker were in Vermont. He referred to Mrs. Vaughn, the President of the Woman's State Temperance Society of New York.
Mrs. Vaughn said:--
I shall be obliged to make the request, on account of my weak voice, that the audience will be as quiet and still as possible. My province has been to work more by the pen than by the tongue, and with it I have been able sometimes to make myself heard. As the President of the Woman's State Temperance Society I ought to say something of what we have done. We have been laboring for the Maine law in this; we have held conventions, we have presented petitions, and we applied to politicians, and we have thought that we were right is so doing, and right in out opinions. The right to vote is withheld from us women, and therefore we must appeal to the voters to do what they in their conscience think is right. We would like to have the temperance
[p. 46]sentiment which has sprung from the women of New York spread over the whole broad world. We want to have it understood that our work is the advancement of temperance--that it is our right, and if we cannot on our own behalf urge self sufferings, then we urge the sufferings of our sisters, and ask that they may be protected in all the affections which cluster around the fireside. It is not for the women of New York alone we work but the women of the world. (Applause.) And I would also plead for the men of the world, that they may be free from this curse. (Applause) This temperance reform lays at the basis of other reforms. Our society is laboring for this reform, and all over the world woman is laboring for this. And I rejoiced yesterday to hear the pioneer from the Old World, who has fought and acted with us. I desire to see the temperance women banded together some way, that they may throw their influence in the political scale for the Maine law. Let them go from house to house, if necessary, and ask each voter if he can refuse woman his protection; and when the time comes for the election I want the women to go to the polls and electioneer. I was going to say they ought to vote too, but they cannot do it legally. In this way woman can control the election; for I don't believe there is a man in this State that woman cannot reach in some way or other. We want the women to aid the men in freeing the world from this great evil. (Applause.)
A German gentleman then got on the platform, and requested to be heard for a moment. Permission being accorded, he said. "I believe that this is a World's Temperance Convention. It appears that the American side of the question has been pretty well shown. I would like to speak on the European side." He was informed that he could do so then, or in the afternoon. He preferred the afternoon.
Mr. Wollaston, of Vermont, followed:--
He had formerly been a general. He was now a general too, but there was this difference. He was then a general in the army of king Alcohol; but now, he thanked God, he was a general representative to this Convention from the beautiful little state of Vermont. Before the passage of the law in Vermont, they had another law there, which, however, was of no use. It was left to the Justices of the Peace to give license to sell liquor to such as they might deem best entrusted with it; but that was of no earthly use; so it was abandoned, and the people were now satisfied with the Maine law, which was substituted for it. He did not mean to say, that because the Maine law was passed by the legislature of Vermont there was no liquor sold there. There was a good deal used, but the Sons of Industry were working with industry and success to put a stop to it.
If a man out to the State of New York to get liquor, these Sons of Temperance, of whom there is a Division in the place, from which he came, lie in wait for him, and search his wagon, and require to be informed of what
[p. 47]is kept there. If he is found to have liquor with him, he is take before the Justice; and when he is convicted of having violated the law, he is fined, or put in prison, in default of the fine being paid, and his liquor is thrown into the ditch. In the little town of Rutland, to which he belongs, they have spilled already some 600 to 800 gallons of rot-gut. [Cheers.] On the fourth of July it was said that a large quantity of liquor had been sent for to New York, in order to be sold on that day. The Sons of Temperance had got the wind of it, the liquor was spilled, and the conductor of the train that brought it, was sent off to jail by the Justice.
The speaker concluded by referring to the happy effects of the Temperance law throughout the State of Vermont, and, in his own town, Rutland, in particular.
The Convention then adjourned to 3 o'clock P.M.