WORLD'S TEMPERANCE CONVENTION
Continued Excitement—-Rights of Delegates
Continued Excitement—-Rights of Delegates
MORNING SESSION . . . Thursday, Sept. 8, 1853. The exciting proceedings which had characterized the deliberations of the Convention of Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, were again renewed this morning, but the gag law prevailed, and the rights of Delegates were proscribed. None but Delegates were admitted on the floor of the Hall, but the first gallery was crowded with spectators.
The Convention was called to order by the President, Hon. Neal Dow, who called upon Rev. Dr. Kennedy, of New York, to open the proceedings with a prayer.
The minutes of the previous meeting were read by one of the Secretaries, Rev. Mr. Duffield, after which Wendell Phillips, Esq., of Mass., objected to the reception of the minutes of the Convention as read, and was about to state the grounds of his objections, when:
Judge Hoar, of Mass., rose to a point of order, which was the beginning of the general disorder which followed. Several members attempted to speak which only tended to create additional confusion.
The President-—Gentlemen take seats.
Judge Hoar—-I rise to a point of order.
A voice—-Take the platform.
Mr. Jackson—-If the gentlemen will keep their seats and not disturb the meeting with manifestations of applause, cheers, hisses, stampings, and similar demonstrations, there will be no difficulty but that any speaker can be heard from the body of the house, and I beg the friends of good order to act in accordance with the suggestion.
The President said that he thought the suggestion was well worthy the consideration of the members of the Convention.
Judge Hoar—-My point of order is this, that the gentleman-—learned, powerful and eloquent-—whose aid is desirable and desired in every cause in which his heart is concerned, is no member of this Convention, and that the form of becoming such, which has been passed through (and I am informed in such a way as I cannot doubt)-—I do not wish to use a harsh word, but I wish to say that a misunderstanding of the facts of that form has been communicated to the Committee to whom the gentleman's credentials were furnished. I wish for his sake, or if he does not wish me to say this, I wish for the sake of the reputation of this body, and for my own reputation, that an opportunity should be afforded the gentleman to remove the imputation against him, and therefore, I move that the credentials of the gentleman be recommitted to the Committee for investigation. I desire, and the Convention desires, that all the gentleman's rights shall be preserved to him. My ground of making this motion is that a fraud violates the judgment of any court or body, and if, therefore, the facts were misunderstood when the gentlemen's credentials were accepted, that his admission into Convention would pass for nothing.
The motion of Judge Hoar was seconded.
Mr. Comstock, of New York—-I rise to a point of order.
The President—-Take your seat. [Much confusion.]
Mr. Phillips with much difficulty obtained a hearing. He said: Sir, I contend that under an appeal for order, it is entirely out of order to make a motion and that whatever Judge Hoar's difficulty may be is to be settled by you.
The President—The question of the right of a member to this floor is always in order.
Dr. Snodgrass here attempted to speak, but was ordered to take his seat by the President.
Mr. Phillips—-Have I a right to speak upon the point of order raised?
The President—-You have a right to speak directly to that point.
Mr. Phillips—-I understand that you have already decided the point of order. If so, I appeal from that decision. [Cries of question: I rise to a point of order, &c.] and Sir, I desire to speak upon the subject of that appeal. I contend that a call to order and a motion are in their nature inconsistent. A call to order is not debatable. The President must make a decision and there must be an appeal from that decision before debate is admissible. Now every motion is, ordinarily, debatable. The two things are therefore inconsistent. They cannot be mixed.
The Convention sustained the President.
The Chair decided that Mr. Phillips had the floor and upon which, he spoke as follows:
Mr. President, we are here under a temporary basis of organization. No man's credentials have been inspected; the name of no society which sent delegates has been asked, and, not until some other basis of organization than a general one. Is it pertinent for any body to raise a point of order. When this is done, it will be proper for Mr. Hoar to do so. I came to this Convention with my credentials which were placed in the hands of the Committee. And such has been the act of every member of the Convention. Sir, by what rules and laws am I to be tried? You give me no rules by which your decisions and the decision of the Convention are governed, and at the expiration of my ten minutes ask that my credentials from the North Ward Neal Dow Total Abstinence Association of this City, and on which name of the Society, my own name and the names of one of the Editors of The Tribune and a son in law of the late venerated Isaac T. Hopper are to be found.
You decide that I am to be tried when no rules exist by which I can defend myself. I have the same paper that any delegate has. No kind of paper is proscribed, and yet an effort is made to go behind my credentials. But tell me some rule by which the Convention is to be guided in the matter, and I will furnish just what is required, but I shall contend at the same time that it is unjust that you should thus ex post facto oblige me to furnish a certain set of credentials when a call is issued for a World's Temperance Convention, to be composed of delegates of Temperance Societies.
If Judge Hoar, however, thinks that may credentials are forgery, then I am prepared to prove the signatures and existence of the Society, but I stand on my rights in this Convention, which are precisely the same as the rights of any other member.
Judge Hoar here interrupted the speaker, and stated that he had charged the gentleman with no such thing as forgery, but that the facts connected with the credentials were misunderstood by the Committee on Credentials.
Mr. PHILLIPS (resuming)—-Sir, the gentleman used the word fraud in connection with my appearance in this Convention. It is a hard word coming from him whom I have labored with in many a cause in the State of Massachusetts; and were I there now, I should not need to reply to any gentleman, however venerable, who saw fit to charge me with fraud. I ask, Mr. President, what constitutes the eligibility of a gentleman to sit in this Convention? If the Society he represents must be ten years old, then let it be stated, if it must be a Society sending the Delegate by a unanimous vote, let the rule be made known, and I will be ready to produce the proper credentials.
Cries of question, mingled with hisses, stampings, &c., were next heard, after the subsidence of which
A member moved the previous question, and the decision of the Chair was sustained. [Applause and hisses.]
The question of recommitting the credentials of Mr. Phillips and others, affected by the motion of Judge Hoar, to the Committee on Credentials, was carried by a vote of the Convention.
Mr. Phillips asked whether he was still a member of the Convention or not.
The President stated that his rights were suspended until the deliberations of the Committee were known.
The member moved that the credentials of all the members from Massachusetts be recommitted to the Committee on Credentials, with instructions to report upon the right of the delegates to seats in the Convention. The motion was submitted to the Convention and lost.
Dr. Snodgrass moved that the minutes of the Convention for Wednesday be so amended that instead of its reading "The delegates having been admitted." &c., after the hall had been cleared by the police, during the latter part of the morning session that it should read, "A part of the "delegates having been admitted," &c.
At this point the excitement was again renewed and amid the general noise and racket pervading the Hall we heard Mr. Williams of Alabama raise a point of order relative to the admissibility of Dr. Snodgrass' amendment. The President decided that it was admissible.
Mr. Booth of Wisconsin arose to speak upon the amendment. He stated that the previous day he had been subjected to an indignity.
The President—-That question is not before the House.
Mr. Booth—-I am speaking to this amendment, [much confusion, hisses, stamping, &c.,] and I wish to state the facts in relation to clearing of the hall and the admission of delegates. I state, that at the time when the minutes state that the delegates had been admitted, that in point of fact only two thirds or three fourths were in the hall.
The speaker was here interrupted by the greater portion of the delegates rising, several of whom essayed to speak. The President, however, advised them to take their seats, and Mr. Booth left the stand.
The President stated what the amendment proposed by Dr. Snodgrass was, when a member moved the previous question, which was lost. Considerable clamor followed, and several individuals said that they had voted without understanding the question, and reconsideration was moved. The Chair paid no attention to it, and the motion for the previous question being lost, a gentleman made an effort to speak, but the Chair interrupted him by putting the amendment to a vote of the meeting. It was then moved that the minutes of the Convention be approved, which was carried by a small majority.
On motion, the regular business of the Convention was suspended to take up a resolution to be introduced by Gen. Sam F. Cary, of Ohio. As Gen. Cary was about to read his resolution a Mr. Hemming from Mo., asked some questions relative to the admissibility of delegates to participate in the deliberations without their credentials being acknowledged by the Committee or the meeting.
He was ordered to take his seat.
Gen. Cary then introduced the following resolutions:
Resolved, That the common usages of society have excluded woman from the public platform and whether it be right or wrong. It is not our province now to determine, but we will conform our action during the present Convention to public usage, and exclude females from participating in the public discussions of this Convention.
A delegate from New York City moved that the resolutions be laid on the table, which was seconded amid loud hisses and stampings, proceeding alike from the platform and the floor. After quiet was measurably restored, Dr. Snodgrass called for a division on the question, but efforts were made to cry him down.
The President entertained his demand, and put the motion on the first resolution, which was carried.
The second resolution was then put to a vote of the Convention, and amid great disorder, was also carried.
Rev. T. L. Cuyler, of New Jersey, the Chairman of the Committee appointed to draft an address to Young Men, announced his readiness to report. The report was read and accepted by the Convention.
Rev. Thomas Hunt, of Pa., asked of the Convention that a valuable and active worker in the Temperance Reform, whose feelings had been injured, should be permitted to speak. The gentleman had been many years in the service of the cause, and now as the Editor and proprietor of an influential journal, refused to insert the advertisements of Rum-sellers and Rum-dealers in his paper. [Applause.] Mr. Hunt moved that leave he granted for Mr. Booth to address the Convention—-which motion was carried.
Mr. Booth, being introduced by the President, addressed the Convention as follows:
Mr. President, I did not come here with a design of making an issue. When the room was cleared by the Police, I went with the rest, but observing that the Reporters remained, and being myself in the habit, when absent from home, of writing letters for a daily paper in Milwaukee, of which I am Editor and proprietor, I returned into the body of the Hall, believing that my position as Reporter was not invalidated by the fact of my being a delegate. A policeman, however, ordered me out and after the explanation of my position, still insisted, when I offered to refer the matter to the President, but he refused and used violent force in pushing me out so much so that two or three gentlemen were nearly knocked down by my being thrown against them. I have labored in this cause arduously twenty years. Thirteen years ago I lectured for nearly two years and in nearly every school house between New York and Albany, on both side[s] of the river. At the present time my paper is the only journal in the principal city of Wisconsin, which advocates the Maine Law, and the only one also which refuses to publish rum advertisements though by which means I suffer the loss of several hundred dollars worth of patronage. I came into this Convention delegated by a State Conference organization of Wisconsin, organized last October for the express purpose of procuring the enactment of the Maine Law. [Applause.]
Rev. Mr. Wolcott moved a reconsideration of the question on the passage of the resolutions. He was impelled to make this motion to save the integrity of the Convention and the sacred interests of the cause. The Convention were assembled to consider the subject of temperance only, and not those subjects on which they were heaven wide apart, and which were in no way connected with temperance.
The gentleman was here interrupted by an inquiry if he voted in the affirmative, which he said he did.
Mr. Hunt said the motion to reconsider was not debatable.
The President—-That is true; the gentleman cannot discuss his motion to reconsider.
The previous question was then ordered, and the question being taken on the motion to reconsider, it was lost, amid much applause and many hisses.
Rev. Mr. Duffield, from the Committee directed to report on the subject of peculiar difficulties in the way of the progress of Temperance submitted a report, concluding with the following resolutions:
Resolved, That the cause of Temperance, in its original and legitimate relations, is equally above sect as it is above party, and that it is no other than the great cause of humanity itself.
Resolved, That it is alike according to the dictates of common sense and the experience of the world at large, that the platform of this cause should be confined to as few and simple principles as possible.
Resolved, That it is injurious to any causes when it is made to subserve ulterior and subordinate purposes—-party or personal.
Resolved, That they are traitors to the cause of humanity who endeavor to subvert our cause in order to advance what they consider to be another.
Resolved, That this Convention, as they would not put the shadow back ten degrees upon the dial, and jeopard[ize] important elections in different parts of the land, feel now called upon to take a last and desperate stand, and by a strong and determined arm elevate once more this glorious cause, high and far above associations that are as uncalled for as they are ruinous.
Resolved, That the cause of Temperance is a question altogether separate and apart from the question of Woman's Rights, Abolition, Land Reform or any other, and it must stand or fall upon its own merits.
Mr. Clark, of Rochester, moved to strike out the last resolution, for the reason that its substance was included in the preceding ones. It was degrading in this Convention to go into particulars, and mention this or that other little ism, after having said that it would have nothing to do with any.
Rev. Mr. Wolcott said that nothing could be further from his intention than to wish to occupy the time of the Convention, but his responsibility, as a member was not his own seeking, and could not be evaded. He seconded the motion to strike out the last resolution most heartily, not that he differed in opinion with those who felt that this platform was not the proper place for woman, for that was his own opinion. He cheerfully conceded to everyone the free exercise and expression of personal judgment, but his deliberate conviction was in accordance with those who held that if woman rushes into the thick fight like Pallas with her armor on, her sex and divinity will be forgotten by the combatants, and she will be shorn of that influence which is not so potent. But his private sentiments were not to override the rules of the Convention, nor the courtesies of debate, and while, if the question could have been kept out, no one would have insisted more strenuously than himself upon doing it, he would not violate a single principle nor trench a hairs breadth upon the in the rights of any member. He would not do the shadow of injustice to any mortal to save this Convention or a thousand like it from volcanic explosion. [Applause.] It was a blemish upon their proceedings to introduce any other topics than such as were legitimately involved in the subject of Temperance, and the result of their introduction would be that the expression of the views of the Convention would go forth without authority, and reform without respect. [Applause.]
Mr. Teasdell, of Washington, moved an amendment, by recommitting the whole report, with instructions to the Committee to leave out all of an invidious nature pertaining to other organizations. He concurred with the views of Mr. Wolcott. He wished that all that was objectionable in the resolutions-—all that was calculated to throw into the Temperance organizations throughout the land and the world a firebrand—-
A Delegate wanted to know what Society in the District of Columbia the gentleman represented.
Mr. Teasdell—-One of the Vice-Presidents can answer that.
The President—-The Freeman's Vigilant Total Abstinence Society.
The Delegate making the inquiry sat down, muttering a few words.
Mr. Teasdell did not wish to enter into an elaborate argument, but simply to submit the motion to recommit.
Mr. Clark was in favor of a recommitment. He thought the resolutions misrepresented the friends who had maintained equal rights here. He had introduced resolutions day before yesterday upon this subject, for this purpose of laying down a broad platform, and disavowed entirely any intention then or now to meet the question of Woman's Rights or of Abolitionism.
Here the speaker was interrupted by a Delegate, who raised the point of order that he should not turn his back to the Chair. [Laughter.]
Mr. Clarke repelled the charge that any Individual had introduced the abstract question of Woman's Rights or Abolition, as intimated in the resolutions. What he and others had maintained from the first was simply the right of delegates regularly sent here to the privilege of membership in the Convention; whether male or female, white or black.
Cries of "order," "order."
A Delegate—-The gentleman is discussing the action of the Convention which has heretofore taken place.
Mr. Clark—-I am confining myself strictly to the question of recommitment. The report is not a truthful representation of the sentiments of the Convention, and in my opinion, they cannot indorse it. It misrepresents those who have contended here for equal rights of all delegates with proper credentials. The cause cannot be promoted by such action. The resolutions are uncalled for, since no one, I believe, desires or wishes to introduce or advocate the question of abolition or woman's rights. I advocate the equal rights of woman because she was sent here, not the abstract question of woman's rights at all.
Calls to order and confusion.
A Voice—-Your time is up.
The President—-Not quite.
Cries of "go on."
Rev. Mr. Marsh—-The gentleman is out of order; he has his back to the Chair. [Laughter.]
Judge O'Neil moved to lay the amendment and the proposition on the table, which motion was carried.
The question then recurring on the adoption of the report resolutions, the report and resolutions adopted. [Applause.]
A reconsideration was moved and lost.
Rev. Mr. Marsh, from the committee to whom was referred the credentials of Wendell Phillips and others, reported as follows:
"That certificates were handed them from the Nineteenth Ward Neal Dow Association of New York-—one bearing the name of Wendell Phillips, and the Committee received them, supposing the Association to be a regular Total Abstinence Society, existing in this City; but having since learned from good authority that it was a new creation, formed after this Convention had assembled, for the purpose of sending Delegates to this Convention, they cannot consider such certificates as regular credentials, nor, therefore, as entitling their holders to a seat."
The previous question was called and sustained on the adoption of the report, and it was accordingly adopted amid applause and hisses.
Mr. McClure, of New Jersey, from the committee to whom was referred the subject of the economy of the Maine Law, submitted a report in favor of that law, and maintaining that it has been sustained wherever it was fairly tried.
Mr. Keener thought a report of that sort ought to be carefully scanned and purged of any expression calculated to give offense unnecessarily, and therefore, moved that it be recommitted, with instructions accordingly.
Rev. Dr. Patton suggested a committee of three to revise all the reports, and afterwards moved that the committee on publication have power to make verbal alterations in all, which was agreed to.
The report was then adopted.
Mr. Teasdell desired to explain the motion he made a little while ago to recommit a certain report and resolutions. He had no sympathy at all with the associations referred to in that report.
Mr. Williams, of Ala., moved to reconsider the motion to submit the various reports to the Publication Committee for verbal alterations.
The question of reconsideration was lost.
A report was then read from the committee to whom was referred the subject of an address to the governments of the world, recommending the enactment and execution of the Maine Law.
The report was adopted.
Mr. Cary moved to take up the report presented by Mr. Marsh, which was laid on the table yesterday-—which was agreed to.
Dr. Patton then proceeded to read the resolutions one by one.
A Member wished to have them adopted in gross.
Dr. Patton—-O no; they are all separate and independent as icicles. [Laughter.]
The first six resolutions were adopted, and the question being stated on the adoption of the seventh.
Mr. Ransom, of N.J., moved to strike out the clause "and here we repel the charge of mingling temperance with politics," for the reason that he looked upon the temperance question as a paramount political question. Involving all the relations of government to the government, and the reciprocal rights and duties of allegiance and protection. They must mingle with politics in order to enact a prohibitory law.
Cries of "Good, good, let us have a separate political party."
Rev. Mr. Marsh thought the gentlemen misunderstood the case; they did not say nor mean that this was not a political subject, but what they meant was that it was no more a matter of party politics than the question whether we should have vaccination, inoculation or small pox-—whether we should have mad dogs or yellow fever. It was not a question belonging to Whiggery, Locofocoism, or Woolyheadism, but was one of humanity, to be decided by the people. He repelled the charge sometimes brought against him of making the question one of party politics. If parties did not grant them what they wanted they did not vote with them. In this way, he had been able to shut the mouths of opponents.
Mr. Ransom said it was the report the Convention wished to send out, not Dr. Marsh's speech.
Mr. Blackmer thought it would suit all simply to insert the world "party" before "politics."
Mr. Ransom and Dr. Marsh assented.
Mr. Cary moved to strike out the latter part of the resolution, commencing with the words "should ever be presented," and including the words already objected to.
Mr. Cunningham, of Washington, desired to "submit a few remarks, and thought this a proper time to do so. He would rather that this resolution should be referred back to the Committee for amendment. There was on one who knew him but knew he was a strong party man. Here he had a holier duty to perform and wo[e] to him if he did not act as well as speak temperance. His position was different from that of most men. Residing in the District of Columbia, which was upheld along by party politics, he had no idea of stultifying himself by putting a bit upon his tongue and saying he would not introduce temperance into politics. [Applause.] The District of Columbia depended upon the political action of the general Government for its very existence, having justification over its own affairs only in name. Temperance men there, though but few, had fought a great fight, surpassing that of Maine, Michigan or any other State in the Union. [Applause.] But it was a bootless victory after all. They had to fight or be scouted from the field, and after a three months' battle, two thirds of the voters were found on their side. [Applause.] The resolution of Temperance men was this: that if the citizens of Washington voted "no license" they would then appeal to the representatives of the nation to grant them power to abolish the sale of liquor. That the representatives would not do, and therefore it was a bootless victory. The citizens of Washington had now got up a petition with thousands of names ready to be presented to a drunken Congress [great applause] and they now ask you as party men, Whigs and Democrats, when you send men to Congress to ask them the question if they are Temperance men. [Applause.] The Temperance men of Washington are like the beautiful virgin beneath the hoofs of the horses, ready to be trampled to death, and unless sustained by you, must be crushed. Now do you suppose I will vote for a resolution, which says I must not mix Temperance with party politics? Government is formed for the good of the whole, and we ask you as part of that whole so to frame your party organizations as to protect us where we have no vote. I will never vote for any man who is not a pledged friend to the Total Abstinence cause. [Loud applause.] I am a Democrat, and will not vote for a Whig any way, but rather than vote for a rum drinking Democrat I will let the election go by default. [Long continued applause.] Now then let the Whigs say the same thing. I have desired to say so much because our fate is dependent upon you. I tell you your representatives in Congress are a set of debauchees.
A VOICE—-All of them!
Mr. Cunningham—-Ah, no, thank God, there are some noble exceptions. [Laughter.] There are some temperance men there—-some thirty or forty out of 234; and how many would you think were avowed Sons of Temperance out of that number? Only two men who have dared to acknowledge themselves as such! They throw away their principles when they take a seat in Congress. Now friends, when you go home tell your neighbors that what I assert as true concerning your representatives in Congress that with a few exceptions they are a set of debauchees. [Laughter and applause.]
Rev. Mr. Pierpont rose and was greeted with applause. He was in favor of recommitment with instructions to exclude everything in regard to political action for the purpose of showing to the world that the Temperance Convention does not veil its face before political organization—-does not stand in awe of any political party nor ask favor of any, and that it assumes grounds superior to political party and depends for its efficiency and final success on political action. We ask at the hands of our civil legislatures a prohibitory law, which we cannot get except at the hands of political action. It is therefore to me absurd to reject or renounce all pretensions to mingle in politics. We mean to carry it to the polls and to carry the polls in our favor. [Applause.] We do it upon the principle that it is a moral question, paramount in God's eye to questions of office holding, of finance, of policy. We have up to this time been timid before politicians, and the moment we have been touched by the cadences of the politician, we have said, "We didn't mean you." We say now "We do mean you," [Applause.] and we will put you down if you don't give us what we ask. "Them's our sentiments." [Great laughter.]
Mr. Lines, of New Haven, differed somewhat from the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Cunningham). The idea was not that we repudiated the accomplishment of our object through the medium of votes, but repudiated the notion of promoting any party interest by means of the Temperance movement. I happen to be on the other side from the gentleman in politics, and my doctrine is that if the Whig party will present me a man I can consistently vote for to do so; but if not, and the Democrats present such a man, then I will vote for the Democrat. [Great applause.]
Mr. Cunningham explained that his principle was that every Temperance Whig and every Temperance Democrat should refuse to vote for their respective party candidates if they were not pledged to Temperance, and let the election go by default. By that means they could bring both the parties to the mark.
Judge Hoar considered the various views presented substantially the same, differing only in the manner of stating them.
Mr. Cary moved to strike out all after "resolved," and substitute the following:
"That this question 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, and whatever may be the consequence to all political parties, we will vote accordingly."
Mr. Carson, author of the Carson League, wanted to know whether it was the object of the Convention to make speeches, or to do something to get rid of the damnable curse of intemperance. He got sick of this kind of proceeding forty years ago.
There seemed to be not much disposition to hear Mr. Carson, so that what little he said was almost inaudible.
Mr. Hyde, of Va, hoped the resolution would be re-committed—-it involved too many points.
Mr. Jackson, of Pa., expressed the same wish.
Mr. Morris, of L.I., wanted to have a more thorough-going, judicious resolution.
Mr. Molton, of N.H., said the temperance men had been living upon resolutions adopted from year to year, which effected nothing. He hoped there would be a disposition to proceed to business. [Laughter.] There are some who do not seem to want action.
A member—-What is action?
Mr. Molton—-I will come to that presently. I have been connected with the temperance movement for twenty-five years, and we have had Convention after Convention, with nothing but resolutions and speeches. I want to see those resolutions disposed of and come to some definite action. Resolutions amount to but little if not carried out.
Judge O'Neil thought there was no necessity for the recommitment of any amendment to the resolutions. He was satisfied with the original proposition as it came from the Committee. The Southern Temperance men desired simply to stand on the platform of Temperance, and whenever a party interfered with them, to take such a course as will best secure the interest of temperance. The adoption of any bold decided language would be utterly destructive of the cause in the South.
Mr. Williams, of Ala., made a strong speech in favor of meeting the question at the ballot boxes. It was not necessary, he said, to define what they meant by political action. As a Democrat, he would say to his party, "Give us right men upon the Temperance question, or we will not vote for them [applause] we will vote for the Whig candidates, if Temperance men, rather than for Democratic candidates that do not stand right upon the question." [Applause.]
Mr. Cary made an explanation concerning the drafting of the resolutions, in the midst of which Mr. Carson wanted to know what the object of this Convention was? [Cries of "Order."]
Rev. Mr. Chambers said he was a Democrat inside and out, yet he would vote for his satanic majesty before he would vote for a rum Democrat [great laughter.] He referred to the fact that the steamboat chartered to escort the President of the United States to the City of Philadelphia, was almost steeped in rum, and when one of the committee men was spoken to about taking the rum away, he said "O no, it will ruin our party." The parade of liquor would have been an insult to Billy Bowlegs. [Laughter.]
Dr. Paton—-Hear my amendment, and that is my speech in favor of recommitment.
"That while the Convention disavow all intention to disturb present existing parties by the formation of a third party, they still avow their united and unalterable determination to vote for no candidate of either party who is not wholly committed to the great principle of the Maine Law."
Some persons are afraid of the word politics. Call it Susan-tics if you don't like Polly-tics. [Laughter.]
Rev. Mr. Hunt—-It affords me pleasure to see all the Convention of one mind. I am an old fashioned out-and-out Federalist [laughter], but if you will give me a real, thorough teetotal Temperance candidate I will go him. I can't go to the length, however, of Brother Chambers, who says he will vote for his Satanic Majesty sooner than a rum-sucking Democrat. Union Chambers will go down below and convert the old serpent he certainly can't vote for him, for he is the father of the whole system. [Great laughter.]
There is a great mistake in this country in regard to parties. We have no need of Whigs and Democrats now. For what do they propose to do? Take the Baltimore Platforms? They don't differ except on the subject of internal Improvements, and Gen. Pierce goes for the Pacific Railroad. I don't see but he stands on the Whig platform on that subject, after all. [Laughter.] There is no need of two parties any how, except to have one watch the other. When the old Federal[ist]' party was formed, it didn't want watching. [Laughter.] Washington and Adams never had to be watched. But when you got in a set of rogues, it was necessary to get up another act, on the principle that it was necessary to set a rogue to catch a rogue. [Great laughter.] Nevertheless, there seems to be a sort of necessity in the case. There is the Rum party and the Temperance party. I belong to that all over. [Laughter.] I mean to disturb every sort of organization you can conceive of in Church and State, not excepting that to which my brother Chambers thinks of joining. [Great laughter.] I avow to the whole world that I am an one-idea man. [Laughter, calls to order, and "Go on," "Go on," from every party of the house.]
Re[v]. Mr. Hunt--Mr. President, I come to order. [Great laughter.] Now it is said of us temperance folks, "You are a one idea set." There is the beauty of it. There has been a great mistake in the political parties. When Thomas Jefferson stood alone as the founder of the Democratic party, he had but one idea, and he stuck to it and carried it through. Now the Democratic party have entirely too many ideas. Words they say are signs of ideas. What does "Old Hunker" mean? It don't mean Democrat. What does "Barnburner" mean? Or to come to my own localities, what does "Bob-tail" and "Switch-tail" mean? [Great laughter.] These are the terms the Democrats give each other. They have got too many ideas; if they had'nt only one--taking care of the interests of the country and the morals of the people, they would suit me to a shaving. The Whigs have also got too many ideas--how many I can't tell; but if they would only get a single solitary idea in their brains and stick to it--an idea looking to the good of the people at large, I might shine up to them. When our forefathers refused to pay the tea tax it was but a single idea. They boarded the vessel and poured the tea overboard into the ocean; they were actuated with but one idea. My friend Neil Dow, when he framed the liquor law had but one idea. We have but a single idea, and by the blessing of God, we mean to persevere in it until Whigs, Democrats and all shall have but one idea with us, or we will have but one idea and kick the whole concern overboard. [Great laughter and applause.]
Mr. Clark undertook to speak but was interrupted by cries of order.
Mr. Cary wanted leave to withdraw the resolution.
Cries of "No, no."
The previous question was then ordered, and the question being taken on recommitment, it was not agreed to.
The question was then taken on the substitute of Mr. Cary, which was adopted.
The Convention then adjourned to 3 o'clock P.M.
During the morning Dr. McCune Smith presented his credentials from a City Temperance Association to the members of the Convention at the door, and was rejected.
There was a very slim attendance of Delegates at the Convention in the afternoon. At 3 o'clock it was called to order, in the absence of the President, by Gen. Carey, one of the Vice Presidents.
Mr. Blackmer, of New York, moved that the regular business of the afternoon be suspended, to enable Mr. Thomas Carson to explain the plan of the movement organized by him, and called the Carson League. The motion was carried, and Mr. Carson took the platform and spoke as follows.
Mr. PRESIDENT: For many years, the friends of temperance have been endeavoring in various ways to do something to rid the country of the curse of Rumselling. We have made speeches, passed resolutions and sung songs, but our efforts have been unsuccessful. Parties have been organized but no definite plan of action has been adopted, and the rum power, embodying the money power, the political power and the logical power of the country, has been able to successfully attack friends, fathers, and children, and to make us to pay them for it. We propose in our plan to combine the money, the political, and the legal power, for the benefit of temperance. To illustrate, we will suppose the existence of a town having one million dollars of taxable property. The taxes upon the property amount to fifty cents upon one thousand dollars, and that of this amount it has been shown by authentic statistics that thirty five cents is swallowed up either directly or indirectly in supporting the results of rumselling, the pauper's courts, criminal lawsuits, assaults and batteries, penitentiaries and jails. The rum power have the assessors and collectors, and the taxes must be collected or the property sold under the hammer. There are generally from fifteen to forty rum shops in every country town, and in these rum shops, the ballot box is controlled. Every grog shop can produce from five to fifty votes, and politicians, understanding this, seek to get the influence of as many grog shops as possible, and the man that gets the influence of the most grog shops is generally the successful candidate. We have a law in the State against rumselling. Supervisors under the influence of the rum interest, select drunken Grand and Petty Juries, and with drunken Judges the law becomes as a cypher. Here it will be seen that rum has also the political and legal power also.
The statute law prescribes that at least twenty five dollars can be collected for every glass of liquor sold, and thus the man who sells four glasses of liquor becomes indebted to the town in the sum of $100, and yet no judge or jury can bring himself to the resolution to bring in a verdict of guilty in such cases. Again, we have a law of the State constituting it a misdemeanor to sell liquor, and any citizen can, by going before a Justice of the Peace, get a warrant issued for the individual guilty of the offenses, and the Grand Jury can indict and a Judge fine him in the sum of $200, and imprison him likewise. We propose in the League to assess the property of the town and take thirty five cents out of every $1,000 worth of property, if need be (which is the amount now paid to support rumselling) and apply it to the suppression of the traffic. There is economy in the method, for the causes are taken care of instead of the effects. Wherever we can concentrate the money, political and legal powers, and a few men to use that power, there is no difficulty in shutting up the rumsellers immediately.
There are very few men especially those in our cities or villages who will work in the cause of Temperance. They may hold meetings, sing songs, and pass resolutions, but when it comes to practically apply the means at their command, they shrink back because they fear the influence of the Rum power.
In Yates County in this State, about the middle of last December, there were forty six rumsellers in the County Site, Penn Yann. After having suffered for years a meeting was held to adopt means to put an end to the traffic. Our plans were there discussed and explained to the people, and were received with favor. We requested that the ministers should on the next Sunday preach each a sermon on individual responsibility. This was done. On the next Tuesday evening a meeting was held wherein $100,000 worth of property was entered for assessment. A committee of ladies and gentlemen canvassed the place, and the amount was increased to a million of dollars of property to be taxed to put down the Rum traffic. We taxed this to the amount of $500, and when we had proceeded so far the Rumsellers shut up their shops. There was the evidence not simply of a moral sentiment in the community but also of a moral power. The directors of the league formed, came together and hired a man whose sole duty was to prosecute Rumsellers. The drunkard's wife and children were notified that if the husband or father got drunk that information as to who sold the liquor could be left with the agent of the league. In a short time the organization was perfected throughout the county, and soon every grogshop was shut up except those which were licensed, and then men who sold liquor had to do it according to law. A few days after some half dozen young men left a groggery drunk about 12 o'clock on Saturday night, where they had been silly drinking, and one of them fell before railroad cars and had his arm cut off by its being run over. He was taken to his father's house, and as soon as he was able, the agent went to him, procured the names of those who had sold the liquor, and some two or three men were arrested and bound over to appear before the Grand Jury. They were tried and convicted, and one fined $25, and the other $50. One paid up, being satisfied that it was a sin to sell rum; the other refused and was sent to jail, but at the end of two or three days he also became satisfied that it was a sin, paid up, and finding that he could not sell rum, he swore that nobody else should if he could not, and now he is one of the most efficient man engaged in the work. No temperance man can equal in usefulness a well-whipped rumseller, though he might sing songs from June to January.
In Chautauqua County they have $4,000,000 worth of property which may be taxed to put rumsellers in jail, but not to pay them with, and the excellent workings of the plan may be seen wherever it has been tried; and if the people of New York are willing to pay a small tax on their property, and desire to have the rum traffic stopped, it can be stopped completely in 60 days.
In some parts, where it has been tried, the jails have ceased to be occupied, except by rumsellers, and that in what is wanted. The Maine Law is a good enactment but we want some means of enforcing it, or else it will be paid for nothing.
The rest of the remarks of the speaker went further to illustrate the workings of the movement. He was listened to with much interest.
Mr. Cunningham, of the District of Columbia, moved that Mr. Carson should submit his "League" to the Committee on Permanent Organization. The motion was seconded and passed.
It was proposed to read all the remaining resolutions in a mass, but the sense of the meeting appeared to be to the contrary. The President read the 8th resolution.
Dr. Snodgrass having succeeded in getting himself recognized by the Chair, rose amid a general buzz of curiosity on the part of all present, and of opposition on the part of some, and spoke as follows:
Mr. Chairman: I have a few remarks to make to this Convention, which I can perhaps make as well to the text of this 8th resolution as any other.
In order that I may be the better heard, I should like to have the privilege of speaking from the platform. "No, no" from some voices, but "yes, yes! Go up on the stand," from others.) The Chairman (Gen. Cary) nodded assent, and Dr. Snodgrass ascended the platform, where he continued:
Mr. Chairman: I have a resolution in my hand, ("Order, order.")
President: A resolution would not be in order.
Dr. Snodgrass: To take the number of the eighth resolution, but not to superscede [sic]or substitute it?
President--No, Doctor, only as an amendment.
Dr. Snodgrass--Then I offer it as an addition, by way of amendment to the eighth resolution.
A Voice--I rise to a point of order.
The Chairman directed the speaker to proceed, and he did so:
Mr. CHAIRMAN: I was about to say that I had a resolution to offer, with the hope of getting it fitted in somewhere--I am not particular as to the where or the how--which contains a proposition of paramount importance to the world in connection with our common cause. But, before I proceed to read it, I wish to make a preliminary statement personal to myself, without raking the past of our proceedings--a statement which will surprise some of those present, while relieving their minds of a misapprehension of the motives which have controlled my course as a delegate on this floor. It is, that I should have supported that part of the first resolution of General Cary's two, passed this morning, which declared that the great and only purpose of a Temperance Convention should be to prohibit the manufacture and traffic of intoxicating liquors as beverages, and joined heartily in "protesting against and resisting any effort from any quarter to involve this with any other question, moral, social, political, or religious." [Cheers and laughter.] Gentlemen need not laugh. That has really been my position from the first, and of those who have acted with me in past doings. Could I have gotten the privilege from the gentleman who occupied the Chair (Mr. Dow) this morning, when Gen. Cary's resolutions were pending, I should have said so, then; and I should also have voted for the last part of his first resolution [Applause] already referred to, while voting against the first part, as stating what I was not prepared to declare, could I have secured the parliamentary right of a division of the question, which I demanded of the Chair. [Hear, hear, and cheers.]
I have only to say further, as an act of justice to myself, that my position from first to last has been this. That we should have known no individual here, as such, but as a delegate only. It was not a question of a woman's right, or a man's right, but of representative rights. I looked upon the delegate of whatever race or sex as the chosen agent of the society sending him or her here. It is with me a common law question-—the question of the rights and privileges of the principal, acting through the agent, being the only one at issue. It is for each society to choose its own agent and certify to the fact. Behind that certificate, in my opinion, we could not go. Here I have stood throughout the exciting scenes, and here I stand still. And now for this proposition which I desire to make, thanking you, sir, for your indulgence.
Mr. Chairman, we shall need something besides the Maine Law to consummate our glorious work. We shall have to turn our attention to the laws of the national governments of the world which we profess to represent. Their revenue laws are against instead of for us, and are throwing barriers in the way of State reform, in read of other offering aid, as they should, to their States and Provinces. [Cheers, and true, true as Gospel.] There is not a nation on this broad earth, Sir, but has laws which would thwart local prohibition, wherever attempted by the individual States forming its nationality. How is it in our own country! Let us look at the master for a moment. Maine has been compelled to bow to the General Government. The original and unbroken packages of foreign liquors go through the custom houses along her cost, in defiance of her wishes. She may say to Massachusetts—-a sister State—-you shall not bring your domestic manufactures into our borders. But from foreign States these liquors will still continue to roll in poisonous flood of ruin! [Hear, hear, and applause.]
Sir, is this consistent and just? Is it to be submitted to longer? I want this Convention to consider and settle this important question, and I hope it will do it without delay. My attention has been for some time directed to this subject, as my friend, the Chairman, [Gen. Cary] is aware, for I have, some time since, secured his favorable consideration of it, [the President nodded assent] and I have no fear of securing that of this Convention, if I can get a fair presentation of it.
Rev. A. B. Cross, of Md., was sorry to interrupt his colleague.
Dr. Snodgrass was speaking so earnestly that he did not seem to notice him for a moment. On noticing him, he paused.
Mr. Cross—-I desire my colleague, whom I regret to interrupt. ["Oh! Let him proceed." "Go on, Snodgrass;" and cheers.] to state where he expects to make his proposed amendment fit in. It seems to me that he is out of order, because not speaking to the question, though I admit the importance of his suggestions.
Dr. Snodgrass—-I understand the purpose of my colleague very well. I know him well. [Laughter.] I will tell him how I expect to make my proposition fit. The 8th resolution closes thus:
"the one higher law, the interests of a world, call upon us, wherever we are and in whatever we are engaged, to frown upon the traffic so morally wrong, the scourge of the race, and to sustain and enforce every enactment designed for its extermination."
Now, I think the measure I propose-—the "National Maine Law," as some have called it-—indispensable to "sustain" the "enactment" of local laws, and as such I commend it to your attention. Thanking you, sir, and the Convention for the patient and respectful attention given to me, I will now read my resolution. [Order, order! I call the gentleman to order!]
The Chairman—-Order! The gentleman proposes to amend. It will be in order for him to read his resolution. Dr. Snodgrass read as follows:
Resolved, That whenever National Revenue laws insure the passage of "original packages" of foreign beverages through the Custom Houses 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.
Now, Mr. Chairman, I prefer a still higher ground than this—-petitions to Congress and Parliaments to prohibit foreign liquors coming into any part of the territories under their legal control, thus giving the benefits of the legitimate traffic for uses of medicine and the other arts, incidentally, to domestic manufactures, or at the least to forbid beverages as such, to roll in on the tide of demoralization and crime. (Applause." I am done, Mr. Chairman. I again thank the audience for their attention.
The amendment was seconded as an addition to the 8th resolution.
Mr. Cunningham—-I wish to show that this amendment is unnecessary. The subject was fully discussed in a Court in Massachusetts, where both Webster and Choate were present; and the Judges of the Supreme Court of the United States were 7 to 9 in averring that any state may prohibit the importation of intoxicating drinks into its ports. I refer to Howard.
Mr. Stacy, of Boston—-I beg to explain that the last speaker's statement is not accurate; the Supreme Court decided that the imported liquors might be sold in their original packages.
The motion to refer Dr. Snodgrass's amendment was seconded and passed.
Rev. Mr. Marsh—-The proceedings of the Convention will be published in a pamphlet; price 25 cents, or 6 for a dollar.
The President read the 9th Resolution.
Mr. Clure, of Boston—-This resolution, above all, demands serious attention. Never was there so much drunkenness in Boston as at present, although the Maine Law is there on the statute book. And the reason is, because the Mayor and I think all the City Government, (there may be exceptions,) are on the side of rum. I am placed in a position to know much of their movements. Every day except Sunday I am in the Police Office; every Sunday I am from three to five hours in the Jail; in the evenings, I am at the homes of the drunkards, unless lecturing. More than nineteen twentieths of the persons sent to jail are sent there by intoxicating liquors. I know a case of a man charged with the murder of his wife. The policeman who took him, (who is in favor of Temperance, though instructed to wink at the doings of the rum-sellers) told me that, when arrested, the man was in delirium tremens. The man obstinately persisted in refusing to open his lips to any one; I sent my little girl, a child of nine years old, to his cell; she put her little hand through the bars, and said, handing him a temperance paper, "Mr. Wilson, I am sorry for you;" and then, for the first time, he spoke, and said "God have mercy on me!" He told me afterward that rum was the cause of his fall. When I was coming here, he took my hand and said, "for God's sake warn all against the fatal draught!" [Applause]. A woman died in 15 minutes after being in the police court at Boston; her last words were, "If you had executed the law against rumsellers rigidly as that against me, I would not have been brought to this." Oh, the terrible responsibility of those who spare the rumsellers, but limit his victim to death! I am the agent of a Temperance Society who have placed me in that court to watch over those men, and while we have a City Government that screens rumsellers, it must mercilessly follow their victims up to their wake. Within a few months I have gone bail for 60 men and women who wore drunkards, and not a man or woman has deceived me. [Hear, hear, and cheers]. I am the agent of the Shakespear[e] Division of the Sons of Temperance, and I have seen many poor creatures rescued from a death on the granite floor of the prison and take a happy place on the carpet of that Society.
Now, Sir, we have had some quarrels here, quarrels between men and women; but let that not make our enemies glad, for though man and wife may fight, when any one interferes they unite in pitching into him. [Laughter.] Our little confusion will show we know how to fight, and it should be a warning, not a comfort, to the enemy. [Laughter and applause.] We will batter down the castle of Old Alcohol and bury him in the ruins. [Loud plaudits.] The cause advances; there will be twenty five delegates from one society at a Convention next week in Massachusetts. Mr. Clure closed amid long continued applause.
Rev. E. W. Jackson, of Pa.—-I have many letters in my possession relating to the statement of John Neil that drunkenness is greatly increased in Maine. I wish to make some reference to that statement. John Neil is a quite eccentric man, I once saw him pursuing a little boy through the streets; I asked the boy what the reason was, he said he had only opened his office door, and shouted [?] shingles. [Laughter.]
The meaning of this is well understood in Portland. Now, at first he advocated Temperance, and was Chairman of a Temperance meeting, and belonged with me to a Society to aid the cause of Temperance; but his change of mind is all owing to a personal pique against Neil Dow, whose reply to his letter is a most crushing one. [Cheer.] John Neil defended in Portland a woman known as Kate Kentuck, accused of selling rum, or some other disreputable act, and in his defense asserted the unconstitutionality of the Maine Law. I wrote to him on that point and received, in reply, fourteen pages of the most vile [page ripped] that man could pen. The cause of his charge is nothing but pique.
The President read the ninth resolution again, and it was adopted.
The 10th resolution was read and adopted.
Mr. Clare added to explain that in what he said of the Boston City Government, he meant no temptation on the
[p. 6]police officers; they were excellent officers--always gave ready access to the prisoners; were friends of the cause and humane men.
The 11th and 12th resolutions were read and adopted.
On the 13th being read, the Rev. Mr. Allen, of Rhode Island, proposed to strike out the word "department" and insert "professions," so as to read "legal and medical professions." The amendment was adopted.
Mr. Blackmer proposed to substitute "case" for "tale." Adopted. The resolution was then adopted.
The 14th resolution was read and adopted.
The 15th resolution was read by the Chair, when Rev. Mr. Graves, of New York, came forward and said; I think one great mistake has been made in overlooking that Being who guides and gives efficiency to all our operations and plans. Our main reliance should be in God, the author and completer of all good. Let us pass the resolution, and go home with the confidence of success which trust in the Lord gives.
Mr. Evans, of Canada West, moved an amendment. He would substitute for "British cupidity," "British influence." He said: We of Canada know Neil Dow and all engaged in this good work; but my objection is, in a World's Convention, to any expression of local feeling. Another objection is, the drug brought into China is opium; and where Great Britain is wrong is in permitting the sale of alcohol at home. I press my amendment, for the reason that I wish to have my hands strengthened when I go back to Canada. This is a World's Convention; let it not make a fling at British policy. [Hear, hear.] I agree with the spirit of the passage; but my friends in Canada would say, "Is that the Catholic spirit of your Convention?"
Some members wanted to know why France, and the United States even, should not be delicately handled as well as Great Britain. However, Mr. Evans's amendment was passed.
Dr. Snodgrass--I would suggest a verbal amendment. This is a World's Convention; why speak of "foreign lands?" No lands are foreign to it. I would suggest the phrase "other lands."
The suggestion was accepted and the change made.
Mr. George Savage, of D.C.--Speaking of China, I don't see why you should not do something for a little spot on this continent, which is perhaps not generally recognized as belonging to the United States--I mean the District of Columbia. Why not do something for it? You send your best men there. [Several voices, "No!"] I mean those whom you think your best. [Renewed laughter.] A venerable gentleman from Massachusetts called it a sink. Now, a sink may be clean or filthy, and it is clean--when Congress is out of it. [Laughter and cheers.] Do not send drunkards to Congress. ["We don't mean to here "after," from several.] If half the pillars supporting this roof were taken away, the remaining half would have to bear all the weight. Now, I tell you half your Congressmen are so drunk that they leave all the weight to the other half; they are not pillars at all.
Lucian Burleigh--They are caterpillars.
Mr. Savage--I don't think there are sober men enough in Congress to pass a Temperance measure. Tis only through you that any good can be done. [Cheers.]
Rev. Mr. Hill, of Maine--Would petitions help?
Mr. Savage--They would.
Mr. E.W. Jackson--I should like to hear Rev. Mr. Hill, from Maine, as to the truth of J. Neal's assertion. I was for six weeks lately through my native State, and never saw nor smelt liquor, nor witnessed any of its effects. Prisons, almshouses, schools, all showed increased sobriety. Here is a practical proof: A man in Boston brought sixteen into Maine; the[y] stopped a day at Portland, and he could not at night detect the least sign of their having drank alcohol. If there were a drop sold in the society, those seamen would make it out. John Neal's assertion is humbug and false; the men of Maine and Portland know it is, and he knows it himself.
Rev. Mr. Hill, of Maine--I am sorry for the letter of John Neal. I am asked if it is true; I would rather defer my reply till tomorrow. [Go on, go on now.]
Rev. Mr. Marsh--According to our resolution of last night, foreign Delegates should be heard.
President--Mr. Hill may speak to the resolution, and hitch on his remarks as he best can. [Laughter.]
Rev. Mr. Hill--I could get a statement from 500 men, yes, and from John Neil's pastor, Mr. Chickering, that his assertions are unqualifiedly false. I know from observation that John Neil did lie, and that the devil, the father of lies, helped him. [Laughter.]
We hunt down the rum sellers in Maine! One was pursued by 12 men; he had an old rusty sword and said, "I'll kill the first that advances." One cried, "You can kill only one when the rest will be upon you." He tried to creep away like a skunk under the floor, but he was unearthed. Another, hunted likewise, betook himself to his bed, and his wife threw herself across him. [Laughter and cheers.] The wife of the third asked him, "John, why don't you eat!" "Ah! Nancy, said he, "I am discouraged." The rum sellers are all discouraged. I am ashamed of John Neil, and I invite him to emigrate.
Voices--Where to? [Laughter.]
A Voice--Is he not chawed up enough?
Mr. Hill--Probably; I finally wish to say, that for the last three months, the Maine Law has been most particularly followed out in that State. [Loud applause.]
Mr. Barnaby--A man sent $400 worth of rum from Boston to Waterville in Maine; it was telegraphed and seized on its arrival. The owner went to a lawyer saying, "it was directed to the agent appointed by the State to receive liquor for medical purposes," and asked what he could do; bribe the agent; but that agent was a friend of temperance, and all his wealth could not bribe him.
Rev. Mr. Reed objected to the word "Fatherland." "Great Britain" was substituted, after some discussion. This was a suggestion similar to the one which Snodgrass had made, and it was adopted in the same way. A gentleman suggested that "State" should be inserted before "Nation;" this was agreed to, and then the resolution was adopted.
Mr. Clark, of New York, with some difficulty, obtained a hearing for a resolution, to the effect that all who sell grain to distillers or rent property to dealers, are equally guilty with the maker and seller, and that public sentiment should declare them so. Referred to the Committee on Business.
Mr. Clark here stated the rumor that a Delegate, properly authorized, was rejected by the Committee on Credentials, because the color of his skin differed from theirs. [Commotion.] A voice: What's his color?
Mr. Clark--I allude to the learned and justly distinguished colored man of this City, James McCune Smith, M.D. Is it so, sir?
Calls to order, and for adjournment, were quite plenty just now. The announcement of Mr. Clark had evidently produced some fluttering in the opposition camp.
President--On that subject I must beg leave to refer Mr. Clark to the Committee on Credentials. I can't answer his question.
Some one on the platform answered with the assertion, by way excuse, that Dr. Smith was not duly authorized (how he did not explain) by the Fifth Ward Alliance, from which he professed to come, and charged that he was sent to make dissension.
Mr. Clarke essayed to press the matter, while several prisons, including Dr. Snodgrass, were seemingly eager to get the floor. But "order, order," from the body of the Hall, and "I won't entertain that question," from the Chairman, cut them off. Dr. Snodgrass was understood to desire to put a similar inquiry as to the fate of the credentials of another worthy and intelligent colored men. [Rev. Mr. Ray, of this City,] whose credentials had been handed in through him.
Mr. Oliver announced the exercises of the evening meeting, and the Convention adjourned till 7 ½ o'clock.
At 7 ½ P.M., the Chair was taken by Bishop James, of New Jersey. After a prayer by Rev. Mr. James, two songs were sung, accompanied by the piano, "Behold the Day of "Promise," and "Of all the mighty nations, in the East or in the West."
Judge O'Neil, of South Carolina, was then introduced to the meeting, and spoke as follows:
Ladies and Gentleman: I wish some other had been called on to address you tonight. You and I, Mr. President, have almost served out our time in the cause, and we might leave the work to younger hands; yet, while anything remains to be done, I do not feel authorized to retire. Being confined to 20 minutes, I will run as rapidly as possible over a few topics connected with our purpose. A friend said to me today, "I hope you will make a speech tonight, do not fear; I will be there, and stand by you." Fear! What should I fear? The rowdyism I have seen here? No! I am a Southerner, and we of the South have never learned what fear is. [Great Applause.] I will not follow the beaten track pursued during the course of this day; I will not talk of my principles as a political man, for I have none but those of the nation; I came not to seek popularity but to advance the truth. I believe that Temperance is everywhere acknowledged to be right. The very man of the dram shop will say, "Yes, I believe Temperance is a good thing, but I do not like total abstinence." Now, in this acknowledgedly good cause, why do we not succeed better? Because we do not stand by one another. Discipline alone gives efficiency to military force. A small detachment of Napoleon's army at the fort of Tabor, fought and defeated a large force of Turks; the brave Kleber commanded the French; their discipline prevailed and they were victorious. We must provide our muniments; a ship going to sea prepares her provisions for the voyage; we must equip ourselves for our moral warfare. Well equipped, we need fear nothing. A solitary traveler, well armed, was attacked by six Indians in Kentucky. He killed five and the sixth ran away. The fugitive thus told the story; "He fired his big gun" once, and killed one; he fired it again, and killed another; he fired two little guns, and killed two more; he then drew out his pocket knife, fired it, and killed another--and then I ran." [Laughter.] Thus we should be well equipped, and we need not fear even cowardly odds.
I maintain that total prohibition is necessary. Why not have it? What is the objection? Did rum selling ever do any good? What is the good of keeping a grogshop? Let the murderer whose hands drip with gore, let the inmate of the Poor-house and the Lunatic Asylum answer! Not even the seller himself gains by it. I have watched the subject long, and never saw any man gain by the traffic in the long run. He drinks himself and becomes a drunkard,--he and his wife, and his sons and his daughters, and in the end he and they lose all, virtue, character, and even the money so badly acquired. [Applause.]
The learned speaker related several racy anecdotes illustrative of his views, which we regret our limited space does not allow us to give.
Now, go home, think of all these things, and set your seal to the truth at the ballot box. Then you are free. Did I say free! No! the dram shop is master; and in its fatal tide sweeps away the virtue and happiness of millions! It leads to horrible abuses. I don't know how it is here, but in my section of the country men have been, at the approach of an election, shut up, made drunk, and kept so till they were carried to the polls to vote, for whom they know not. I know the objection made by your Legislature! "We have not public opinion!" Public opinion! A shadow! Men who are sent to think and act for you, should not wait for it. I have not been very methodical in my arrangement, but, perhaps, as we say at the South, I have blazed a tree here and there, so that the track can be followed. I now ask the attention of the ladies. Ladies of New York, looking at you I could think myself in Charleston, for you remind me of the beautiful audiences I have sometimes addressed there at our Temperance meetings. Ladies, be prepared to go with us. I do not stand here to advocate the doctrine of Women's Rights [great applause and a few hisses]--save, indeed, their rights as rightly understood, and by which they are loved, honored, and protested under the arms of their male friends. What others do you wish for? [Loud applause.] I look on you as friends, but do not ask you to mount the stand; let your influence follow us like the gentle dew from Heaven; let it pervade the family circle, in which let the daughter, the wife and the mother lead their male relatives to virtue. Let the wife say to the husband, "Never shall it be written on our grave." John Barleycorn sent one of these to an early tomb. [Great applause.] Mothers, influence your sons. The greatest men have been made great by the teachings of their mothers. Young women, aid us? What you insist on the young men must do. Give me the women and I do not want the men. For twenty-one years I have served the public. I was bred a quaker and now I stand here to represent freedom and temperance. [Tremendous applause.]
At the conclusion of Judge O'Neil's remarks, Mr. Oakley favored the Convention with a song, which was loudly encored.
Rev. John Pierpont, Mass., then commenced the recital of a Maine Law poem, which was listened to attentively, and at its conclusion was warmly applauded. During the reading, a gas pipe blew out in the upper gallery, and on the discovery of the flame, there was a general rush to the parts of egress, but an individual near immediately extinguished it, and persons on the platform were in this instance instrumental in quieting the excitement, by announcing that the danger was over. The person having charge of the lights not knowing what the difficulty was with the gas turned it entirely off, and the Hall was left in total darkness. It was soon, however, relighted, and order was restored.
The President announced that Mr. Crampton, of New York, would reveal certain secrets connected with a barrel which stood on the stage before them.
Mr. Crampton said--Once upon a time the peace of the world, so far as civil and religious liberty was concerned, was on board a frail bark on the broad Atlantic. In this cask which stands by my side are the hopes, not of the world exactly, but of one of the States of our Union. The groans and the tears and the sighs and the sorrowings of women and children, of widows and orphans are here, to be dispelled by the contents of this cask. What are they? Not rum, nor gin, nor brandy; not that which will curse but bless. Here is a diploma showing that this cask received the first premium at the State Fair in Wisconsin, having been decided to be the best cask, and containing the best flour exhibited on the occasion. The Temperance men of Milwaukee have sent this cask to the World's Convention, desiring that it should be exposed for sale to the highest bidder, and the avails expended for Maine Law tracts to be circulated gratuitously in the State of Wisconsin. [Applause.] The Legislature of that State has called upon the people to decide by their vote at the ballot box, on the 8th of November next, whether they will have the Maine Law or not. It is exceedingly desirable, in the estimation of the friends who have sent this cask, that it should be sold, and the profits go to the enlightenment of the people of Wisconsin, by circulating at least 100,000 tracts. Rev. Thomas B. Hunt will perform the duty of auctioneer.
Mr. Hunt here put on his hat and took the hammer in his band amid great merriment, his somewhat hump-backed figure, attitude and comical manner presenting a grotesque appearance. He commenced by saying he had never sold anything in his life, hardly. [Laughter.] He had his own flour and wheat stolen, and went three nights in succession to preach--[Laughter, and a call to speak louder.] Wait till I get started now; fair play. [Laughter.] Now I must sell this barrel, and I will make the proposition to you. I propose the terms of sale as follows, and want you to agree to them, if you will; if you don't, I will change the terms. After the first bid is made, every man who bids shall pay the amount of his bid above it. For instance, suppose we start it at $5, the man who bids twenty five cents over must send up the twenty five cents, forfeiting it for not bidding more. [Laughter.] And the man who makes the highest bid is to pay the whole sum. Now all you who agree to those terms please to say "Aye."
Only two or three ayes responded, followed by a burst of laughter.
A Voice--Try again. [Laughter.]
Mr. Hunt--No I don't; there are enough who agree to it. [Laughter] And those of you who don't agree to it--will you agree to pay double? [Laughter.]
The gentleman then proceeded with the sale, receiving bids in rapid succession, of $5, $10, $20, $25, $30, each bidder sending up amount of his bid over the last one, until it was struck off to Bowen & McNamee at $100.
The President next announced that Rev. Mr. Hatfield, of Brooklyn, would address the Convention. Mr. Hatfield took the stand and stated that he desired to speak of the essential justice of the legal enactment proposed to suppress the rum traffic. Were he satisfied that it did injustice to any man he would not for a moment support it, but would oppose.
The speaker adverted to the fact of enactments being made to prevent the taking of clams and oysters from their beds out of season, and the laws passed to prevent the shooting of snipes and game at certain seasons of the year, and which were not complained of; but that when an enactment was talked of to protect women and children from suffering, the country was pronounced to be in danger. He was not an advocate of Woman's Rights, but he believed that woman being accorded a share in the triumphs of man, that she should be protected in the enjoyment of those triumphs. But people were sensitive to the rights of Rum jugs and Whisky barrels.
He had heard members speak fearfully in contemplating the success of their movement. He did not fear the success, for nothing could stop its progress. It must prevail. To the friends who had already obtained the passage of the Maine Law, he would only ask that they enforce the law there, and it would pass without difficulty throughout the length and breadth of the land. Practical results would be a far better argument than all the reason that could be urged in its favor.
Mr. Oakley again sung a new Temperance Hymn, set to the "Marseillaise," which was loudly applauded.
A collection was here taken up, alter which Gen. Cary being loudly called for, took the stand. He was engaged in the delivery of an eloquent Temperance address when our reporter left.