Remarks of John Cassell, Esq., delegate; from the British National Temperance Society, in Metropolitan Hall
MR. PRESIDENT, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN--When I crossed the Atlantic, I did not expect meeting with such a warm reception as I have experienced, first as regards the weather, and secondly, as regards the speech of my friend, Dr. Patton. (Laughter and applause.) I feel this evening placed in a somewhat strange position, and I am sure, by the spirit you have manifested, I have only to throw myself on your kindness, and that you will bear with me. Dr. Patton has said that he has heard me talk in Yorkshire, but he is mistaken. I am not of Yorkshire; I am a resident of London, but I am a native of Lancashire, and the people of Lancashire speak what they term the Lancashire dialect. Now, a great portion of my life was spent in Lancashire among the operative classes, and, therefore, my speech or dialect is tainted with what is called a little of the Lancashire twang. I will endeavor to make myself understood, and speak as plain as I possibly can. I rejoice exceedingly, that I am present to witness this demonstration. It is worth crossing the Atlantic only to be present, and to look upon this meeting, and the zeal which you manifest. (Loud applause) I scarcely know what course to pursue in addressing you, for the circumstances in which we are placed in England in relation to the drinking system, are very different from the circumstances in which you are placed; and besides, I know that almost every argument which could be adduced in support of the principles of Temperance, have already been brought forward by some of the most able advocates of this cause. Nevertheless, I feel that I am not here this evening, and that it will not be expected of me, to deliver a speech, developing, as it were, the principles and objects of the Total Abstinence Society, or treat upon some abstract doctrines or principles. I can, however, talk to you and tell you of the great and glorious triumphs which have already been achieved in England, by our own great and glorious principles. I myself, though I am, as you may see, apparently a young man, have been a teetotaller for upwards of 18 years. (Applause.) When I first united myself with this Society, our principles were confined to my native county, Lancashire. Teetotalism was taken up by a few working-men--sawyers, blacksmiths, and shoemakers. They had a great deal of opposition to contend against. We had not only the brewers, and the spirit-merchants against us, but we had the clergy of the Christian church against us; but we were determined to persevere amid good and evil report. We have had all manner of objections brought against us, and were but simple young men to discuss
[p. 52]this question with doctors of divinity, and with learned medical men; nevertheless, the men of Lancashire went forth and beat down all opposition, and now I can say that there is scarcely a town or village in the United Kingdom in which there is not a total abstinence society.
Mr. Cassell detailed the miseries inflicted on the slaves of intoxicating beverages in England. The picture was a most painful one--the wives starved and degraded, and so brutally bruised and outraged, that lately a special parliamentary enactment for their protection was considered imperatively necessary.
He deplored the negative position of the English clergy on the Temperance question, and hoped the day would not be far distant when they would lend their powerful aid in support of a cause which would so powerfully second their efforts in the regeneration of their race. He concluded by hoping that the day was not far distant when America and England would both have the Maine Law.