Report of the Committee on Business
In the absence of the President,
Vice-President Hon. SAMUEL F. CARY took the chair.
On motion of Mr. BLACKMER, of New York, Mr. THOMAS CARSON, of New York, had permission to explain the nature of the "Carson League."
On motion of A. F. CUNNINGHAM, ESQ, District of Columbia, Mr. CARSON was requested to submit his plan to the Committee on Permanent Organization.
The unfinished business having been resumed,
Dr. SNODGRASS, of Maryland, offered the following as an amendment to the eighth resolution:
Resolved, That whenever National Revenue laws insure the passage of all "original packages" of foreign beverages through the
[p. 40]Custom Houses, as in the United States, the friends of the Maine Law principle should petition for the privilege to each State or Province to prohibit the importation of intoxicating liquors into its borders, Or to discriminate against those designed for mere beverages, as may be deemed best under the local circumstances.
The resolution was referred to the Business Committee.
The Convention considered and adopted the remaining resolutions. The report of the Committee on Business, which was read by Dr. MARSH, and amended, was now adopted as a whole, and is as follows:
The Committee would recommend to the Convention the adoption and publication to the world of the following resolutions and declarations, as embodying their mind, will, and purpose, in relation to the great enterprise in which we are engaged:
1. Assembled in this commercial metropolis, in behalf of the interests of humanity, from various and distant portions of the world, We, the members of this Convention, would unitedly express our gratitude to HIM from whom all good comes, for the Temperance reformation of this nineteenth century; and, in a full reliance on his wisdom to guide and his power to sustain, we would commit its future to his care, asking that we may be enabled to press it onward in a manner agreeable to his will, and with a self-denial, energy and zeal, which shall speedily insure its universal triumph.
2. While the subject of Temperance is and ever must be, first of all, a personal concern, in which each individual regards strictly the physical laws of his being, and totally abstains from all that poisons and disarranges the functions of his system, it is also a public object, demanding the attention of every member of the community, that none be made a curse to themselves and those around them by evil usages, vile tempters, or corrupt legislation.
3. The protection of the people by civil government from evils brought upon them by the deeds and pursuits of men, for pleasure or for gain, has in all ages and countries been acknowledged as the first of duties; and while our Legislatures and States are active and efficient in guarding against frightful casualties on railroads and steamboats, and the spread of the pestilence from city to city, it is most justly expected of them that they put their hand upon the great cause of most of these casualties, and suppress an evil which sweeps more men prematurely and wretchedly into eternity, than pestilence, famine, or war.
4. The frightful work of intemperance, the destitution, year by year, of 60,000 in Great Britain and 30,000 in the United States, to say nothing of other countries, are traceable, not so much to the natural desires and necessities of men as to the traffic in intoxicating drinks. The supply allures to the most destructive excitements of body and mind, and all attempts to regulate it by license are utterly
[p. 41]profitless. When most controlled, the traffic still eats like a canker; and hence, such license, whatever it may pour into the treasury of the State, should at once be abandoned as wrong by all civilized and Christian governments.
5. The transition state in which we now behold large portions of these United States and the British Provinces, and which is attracting attention in other lands, from a system of legislation which would, if possible, regulate such traffic to one which would entirely prohibit it, is full of promise to the nations of the earth:--we hail, therefore, the Maine Law as the bright and morning star of our age: we are filled with admiration and gratitude at its wisdom and results: we lift up our voices in thankfulness to Him in whose hands are the hearts of men, that so many Legislatures have adopted it, and that where it has been submitted to the people, it has received their sanction by overwhelming majorities: we welcome its early fruits as the harbinger of glorious accomplishments, when it shall be received in all States, and placed on a footing with all other acknowledged wise municipal regulations.
6. While this Convention has a full, firm, and unwavering confidence in the constitutionality, the justice, the political economy and practicability of this new system of legislation which entirely prohibits, they believe that its advance has been as rapid as is consistent with permanency; they commend it, in all its bearings upon the health, the morals, the peace, and the financial prosperity of nations, to the careful examination of all who love their country and their race; and believing its final adoption by every State and kingdom to be only a question of time, they urge upon their friends in every place great patience and forbearance, united to the utmost vigilance, zeal and perseverance.
7. The question in agitation involves all the best interests of society; and while we do not design to disturb political parties, we do intend to have and enforce a law prohibiting the liquor manufacture and traffic, (as a beverage,) whatever may be the consequences to any or all political parties, and we will vote and act accordingly.
8. As men and members of the community, we owe no man anything which should cause us to favor him in a continuance in the traffic in intoxicating liquors, as a beverage; we owe no legislator or magistrate any favor who will make laws which protect said traffic, or who may refuse to enforce laws designed to suppress it The interests of a world call upon us wherever we are, and in whatever we are engaged, to frown upon the traffic as morally wrong, the scourge of the race, and to sustain and enforce every enactment designed for its extermination.
9. As the entire object and end of law is in its enforcement, and as there can be no want of power in the government that enacts to secure that end, we can view all refusal in mayors and corporations of cities and magistrates of towns to execute and enforce a prohibitory statute where it has been enacted, only as a wicked combination
[p. 42]with liquor manufacturers and venders to resist the government for base purposes of gain or the attainment of civil power, and we can view such spirit only with alarm and detestation, as tending to the overthrow of all law and order, and the introduction of universal anarchy.
10. An entirely prohibitory statute, embodying the spirit and principles of the Maine Law, is not the cause of a few individuals who have combined for political purposes; nor is it the cause of wealthy manufacturers and mechanics and shipowners, who wish to thrive on the sobriety of others, but it is the cause of the people; and "if," in the language of Justin Edwards, at whose memory the Convention would drop a tear, "the people prevail, and permanently defend themselves and their children, as they have a right and it is their duty to do, from the evils of the liquor traffic, they will be benefactors, not only of the present generation, but of all future generations of men--not only in Maine, but in every State in the Union, and throughout the Christian world."
11. From the mount of hope on which they are permitted to stand, the Convention look back with sympathy upon the thousands of reclaimed men who were drawn backward by the legalized dram-shops and tippling-houses in all our cities, towns, and villages;--they rejoice that one State after another is becoming a vast Asylum into which the reformed may enter; and they feel encouraged once more to go forth on errands of love, and by all the power of moral suasion reclaim every inebriate, believing that, as the Maine Law progresses, we shall no longer say, "there is no hope," but all shall live, and be blessings to themselves and all around them.
12. With this prohibitory statute in prospect the Convention contemplate with deepest interest the new position of the female sex, no longer to be torn, and scathed, and peeled by drunken husbands, sons, and fathers; and of the rising generation, coming up without the tippling-house and dram-shop to seduce and destroy; and they ask for the powerful exertion of woman in its favor, in every way consistent with the purity and dignity of her character and sex, and that every child may be taught that it is his blessed inheritance, never to be surrendered.
13. While the Convention would express their admiration and thankfulness at the devotedness and talent of numerous public lecturers around the globe, and of the spirit and ability of the Temperance press, they would express also the hope that these moral forces will be greatly increased; that eloquent tongues will be more and more ready to plead for suffering humanity; that gifted pens will be increasingly employed in the Temperance cause; that the medical and legal professions will be yet more active in exposing the poisonous character of alcoholic and drugged liquors, and the iniquity of license laws; and that tracts of pungency and power may be sent forth by the million, like the leaves of the tree for the healing of the nations. And they would recommend to those to whom God has
[p. 43]given wealth, to contribute generously, that, by these instrumentalities, our work may be perfected.
14. To those States and Provinces which have already, in greater or less perfection, obtained the Maine Law, the Convention would say, Rejoice and be exceeding glad. Hold on to your high privilege. You are a spectacle to the world. Let the tide of selfishness roll over you, and the law be repealed, or, which is equally bad, not be enforced, and you put far back the Temperance reformation, and shroud in darkness the hope of the. world. To those which have not yet attained it, Struggle on. The destroying angel quails before you. Your sons shall be saved; and when you shall have gained the object of your toil, and your work is done; "the wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose."
15. As members of the vast family of man, this Convention do deeply and tenderly sympathize with all in every State and nation who are suffering under the influence of intoxicating drinks; with brethren in Great Britain, where, even under the bright light of the gospel, the ravages of intemperance are most appalling; with the millions of Hindoos resisting manfully the British license to sell the poison; with the Sandwich Islanders, driven from their Maine Law by French cannon; and with the poor Indian struggling for his last foothold on this continent, yet drawn to death by the vile trader. We bid all be of good courage in their manly conflicts. We appeal to all human governments for protection from the traffic for the deluded and the suffering, and we ask the blessing of Him without whom we can do nothing, that the time may soon come when the last bushel of grain shall be perverted to the drink of the drunkard, and the last miserable inebriate be hurried to the grave.
Mr. CLARK, of New York, offered a resolution in reference to the selling of grain to distillers, which was referred to the Business Committee.
Adjourned to half-past seven, P.M.
VICE-PRESIDENT BISHOP JANES, of New Jersey, called the Convention to order, and opened the meeting with prayer.
Addresses were delivered by the Hon. J. BELTON O'NEAL, of South Carolina; Rev. R. S. CRAMPTON, New York; Rev. T. P. HUNT, Pennsylvania; Rev. R. M. HATFIELD, New York; and Hon. SAMUEL F. CART, Ohio. A "Maine Law" poem was also delivered by the Rev. JOHN PIERPONT.
Adjourned to Sept 9, A.M.