THE CARSON LEAGUE
To the Whole World's Temperance Convention
You have invited me to give an expose of my plan for the Abolition of the Rum Traffic. The annexed brief expose thereof is respectfully submitted for the consideration of the Temperance World.
THOMAS L. CARSON.
City of New York, Sept 3, 1853.
The object of The Carson League is the abolition of Dram Shops and utter extermination of the Rum trade. It proposes to do this by combining the Moneyed power, the Political power and the Legal power of the State. The day of speech and resolution-making is past. All the good they can do is already done. It is time to act, to put our principles and sympathies to the test.
[p. 73]We have spent money enough in payments to lectures and passing resolutions to have abolished alcohol from the State long ago. Our orators have conquered the enemy over and over again. The public mind has been long since convinced, to its utmost capacity, in this matter. Still, the evil continues, and even increases its power and virulence. Like proud steamers on the ocean, our orators pass through the land, and their track is instantly covered by the returning waves. Father Mathew has left no mark on the surface of our population. These impressions for good are effaced and powerless. The failure of the friends of this cause results from the fact, that they have left no power to hold the territory they have conquered. The League locates such a power in every Town and County of the State. The following is its plan:
1. Each member of the League gives the amount of his property on the assessment roll, or as much as he will, to be assessed pro rata for the prosecution of all violations of Excise Laws. Taxed for Rum's doings they must be. Let them be taxed to fine and imprison the murderers of their families, rather than to countenance and support those murderers, and to defray the expense of the imprisonment and ruin of their own children.
3. Through the ballot-box the League is pledged to get possession of all the offices in the Towns, Counties, and Stale, that by them the prohibition of the traffic may be accomplished, and that they be not embarrassed in their efforts. Without the Legislature, we cannot have the Maine Law. Without Judges and Jurors, Sheriffs and Constables, District Attorneys and Poor-masters, nothing can be done to execute such a law, or any other for the prohibition of this trade. Any man who has not this end at heart is not fit to hold office.
3. The Legal Power. This is virtually included in the above. Without the Judiciary, all Temperance laws are unavailing. It is to be had through the ballot-box, and to be set in motion by means of the Monied powers of the Counties and State.
The following is a draft for the Constitution of the League, which may be varied to suit the judgment of the friends in each locality.
Constitution of a County League.
ARTICLE 1. This Association shall be entitled the Carson League of the County of-----, and any person may become a member of the same, by taking one or more shares of the capital stock.
ART. II. The business of the Association shall be conducted by a Board of Directors, composed of one member from each town in the County. The Directors shall be annually elected, and hold their offices until superseded by a new appointment. Three members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
ART. III. The Board shall appoint a President, Vice-President, and an Executive Committee consisting of three members from their own number, a Treasurer and Secretary, and also a General Agent, whose duty it shall be to attend to the prosecutions under the direction of the Executive Committee, and
[p. 74]also perform any other duties they may assign to him to accomplish the objects of the Association. They shall determine from time to time the necessary assessments on the stock notes to defray the expenses of the League, and have power to make their own by-laws, fill vacancies in the Board, make arrangements for the annual meeting of the League, and take such measures as they may deem expedient to promote the interests and accomplish the objects of the Association.
ART. IV. Upon the decease or removal from the County of any stockholder of this Association, his or her stock note held by the League shall be annulled, and any member may have their notes returned or canceled at any time, by paying their dues.
ART. V. This Constitution may be altered or amended at any meeting of the League, previous notice of the same having been given, or having been recommended by the Beard of Directors.
The form of the Note of the League, also to be adopted, is as follows:
For Value Received, I promise to pay to the Treasurer of the Carson League of the County of--, for the suppression of Rumselling,--Dollars, payable in pro-rata assessments on the whole stock of said Company, not to exceed, in any one year, fifty cents on a thousand dollars, according to the provisions of their Constitution.
The Practicability of the League
This is not an experiment. It has been gloriously tested.
A League has been formed in the County of Onondago, on a capital of $3,000,000.
In Yates County, on a capital of $1,500,000.
In Chemung County, on a capital of $1,500,000.
In Seneca County, on a capital of $1,500,000.
In Ontario County, on a capital of $100,000.
In Monroe County, on a capital of $6,000,000.
In Chautauque County, on a capital of $2,000,000.
In Delaware County, on a capital of $1,500,000.
In Tompkins County, on a capital of $1,500,000.
In some of the above counties the stock is continually increasing. In all of them, where the League has been faithfully administered, they have been eminently successful. In Yates County, it has almost entirely rid the county of every alcoholic plague-spot. Whether the friends have faihtfully paid in their assessments (which, with the exception of Ontario, has in no instance exceeded 50 cents on the $1,000), the legal power, through the prosecuting agents, has done, or is admirably accomplishing the work. Rum-sellers and politicians are appalled and rebuked by it. Where the assessments have not been promptly paid, as in the County of Onondago, though much is done, the work has been lamentably delayed.
The Rum power is now possessed of the Moneyed, Political, and Legal powers.
[p. 75]We intend to shift them into the hands of Temperance men. That accomplished, the work is chiefly done. Take a case: The town of Elbridge, Onondaga Co., is assessed on one million of dollars by rum politicians, mainly for the rum interest. The tax is 51 cents on a hundred dollars, 35 cents of which is for the support of rum-sellers and rum politicians and measures. With five cents on the hundred dollars, only, with the aid of the town and county officers, we pledge ourselves to abolish the dram shops, and put the rum-sellers in jail, instead of paying thirty cents on the hundred dollars to imprison our sons and friends--and so through the State.
I conclude my hasty expose, with a notice of the fact that a State Convention of the Carson League is to be held in the City of Rochester, on the 13th October next, at 10 o'clock A. M., not to pass resolutions and make speeches, (we are sick of them), but to devise plans to carry this enterprise through the State; and I invite all who are impatient for the Maine Law and its faithful execution, to be present in it, and let the work be done, to use a homely expression, "right along." We want to open an office in every suitable locality in the State, at once, where the poor drunkards' wives and families may come with their complaints, and be sure of finding a friend, ready and willing to protect them by the strong arm of the law.
We have a newspaper published at Syracuse, called The Carson League, at $1, which weekly issues 4,000 sheets, to advocate this policy, and to inform the Temperance public of the progress of our cause, and the practical workings of our plan.
T. L. CARSON.
Carson League for the City of New York
It is said that illegal rum-selling cannot be prevented in the city of New York. With the countenance and support of the Temperance men of the city, I propose to attempt the suppression of such illegal traffic, by means of what is now generally known through the County as the Carson League. Let there be three or more offices established in the city, or one to every Police Court. Let the Temperance men of the city volunteer to pay, on their assessed property, five cents on the hundred dollars, into the hands of a responsible treasurer, to be used in paying the services of a prosecuting agent, to be appointed for each of those offices, and such other sub-agents as the prosecuting agent may deem it necessary to employ, and I will engage to shut up the illegal rum-selling so soon as the law can be applied, as we have in the Counties where the League has been faithfully administered.
There is now more than 50 cents paid on every handled dollars to sustain this illegal trade; we pledge ourselves to suppress it at an expense of 5 cents only on the hundred dollars.
THOMAS L. CARSON.
City of New York, Sept. 6, 1853.
To the Whole Worlds' Temperance Convention, to assemble in
New York City, on the 1st of September, 1853.
LIVERPOOL, AUGUST, 6TH, 1853.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Convention assembled, Greeting:
Your sisters in England, who compose the "Order of the Daughters of Rechab" in Liverpool, seek permission earnestly to express their most hearty approval of true sobriety, which exists alone in entire abstinence from all intoxicating drinks, as the most certain means, in the hands of God, for improving the mental powers, and moral worth, of the whole human family; and their earnest desire faithfully to discharge their duty to their fellow-creatures, as sisters, daughters, wives, mothers, and Rechabites--employing every means, placed in their power by an all-wise Providence, for the speedy propagation of the most glorious principles of pure sobriety; and they rejoice to add that their labors have not proved unavailing.
Though, for a while, their hopes were partially blighted by their members being decreased, when in the midst of doubt, darkness, and despair, the bright, sun of hope, with lightning speed, shot forth and argued--
"Then whilst their's work for you to do,
Stand not despairing by;
Let forward be the move you make,
And 'Onward' be your cry."
They obeyed the wholesome call, and heaven, smiling upon their labors, has crowned them with success.
The bearer of this humble tribute of good will, from the Liverpool Daughters of Rechab to the TRUE World's Convention, for the sterling character of her teetotalism, the eloquence of her advocacy, and the morality of her life, has, for the last twenty years of her public career, stood high in the estimation of the total abstainers of Great Britain, among whom she faithfully labored.
Trusting that the deliberations of the Convention, under the Divine blessing, will be pregnant with unbounded benefit to the cause throughout the world, they will not further trespass upon the valuable time of the Convention, but cheerfully subscribe themselves their most faithful sisters and co-operators in the regeneration of the world from the deadly evils of intemperance.
Signed, on behalf of the Liverpool Daughters of Rechab,
SUSANA CARTER, P. S. M.
(Liverpool District, No. 13,)
JOHN CARTER, P. C. R.
Letters written to convention
LETTER FROM SAMUEL W. WHEELER
PROVIDENCE, R. I., Aug. 31, 1853.
To the President of the Whole World's Temperance Convention in New York City:--
Having been delegated to your Convention, and circumstances being such as to hinder my being present, (which I very much regret) I take liberty to speak to you by letters.
I have been eighteen years an active laborer (for the most of that time) in the Temperance cause. From the year 1833 to 1841 I think there was in this city a rapid advance among the people in the principle and practice of Total Abstinence from the sale and use of intoxicating drinks; and the cause has never stood to well as it did at the latter date since; that was about the height of the Washingtonian movement with us. The regular systematic licensing had been abandoned by our city authorities; and intoxicating drinks were only sold by authority, by the apothecaries and a few ethers. Legislation has in my opinion retarded the progress of the cause; I do not say or believe that a law prohibiting the sale of intoxicating drinks, would not be of great service, if it could be executed as other laws are; and in this way only; by shutting up the places where liquors were sold, it would hinder the lower classes of people from getting it as a beverage; and would thus prevent much pauperism and crime. But we still have the example of the rich and powerful, whose influence, over-rides all mere law that ever can be made on the subject. Indeed I think the class of persons I allude to, are far more to blame than the mere keepers of tippling shops--but I did not take my pen, for any lengthy communication --my main object was to call attention to a fact in all the MAINE LAWS, that have been enacted--and that fact is, that they all provide for the appointment of agents for the sale of the accursed stuff, for medicinal and mechanical purposes. In my opinion intemperance and its evils can never be done away so long as there are any places authorized to be kept for such purposes. I furnished an article for our temperance paper, about these agencies, and the sale in them of some thirty kinds of liquor for a medicine! The leading temperance men here are evidently in favor of the City Rum Shop.
I enclose an article which was published in July 1852 soon after our City Agency was established. I hope the Convention will be united in condemning the use of liquors as a medicine--and I know there will be men in the Convention who will and can satisfy all who may be present, that there is no need of the use of alcoholic liquors as a medicine.
I hope you will have a Convention of earnest, uncompromising men and women, and who will be the means of much good in the direction in which you are laboring.
May God and his good spirit guide you all.
SAMUEL W. WHEELER.