WORLD'S TEMPERANCE CONVENTION
Morning Session . . . Friday, Sept. 9, 1853.
Morning Session . . . Friday, Sept. 9, 1853.
The session opened at 9 A.M. Rev. Mr. Jacobs, of Michigan, offered prayer. In the absence of the President the chair was taken by Gen. Cary; there being at the time about eighty Delegates present, which number increased to about two hundred during the session. The minutes of yesterday's proceedings were read, and after some slight alteration, approved.
The Chair announced that the first business before the Convention was to receive the Reports of Committees.
Rev. Mr. Hill understood that the Delegates from foreign countries were to be heard; but the receiving of Reports was decided to be the first business.
Judge Neil, of South Carolina, took the Chair ad interim, while Gen. Cary read a Report from the Committee on the Proper use of the Ballot-box, to the effect that the subject having been elsewhere fully disposed of, the Committee discharged it from their consideration. The Report was accepted and concurred in, and Gen. Cary resumed the Chair.
Rev. Mr. Hill asked particular attention to the next report as being of great importance.
Rev. Dr. Patten read the Report of the Committee on Permanent Organization; which was accepted to this effect: That there be a National Committee of Nine, to correspond with State and Foreign Committees; that the greater part of its members be residents of Philadelphia; that it report to the National Conventions, and that it call a National Convention at least once every two years: that it have Executive power; that $10,000 be raised and placed at its disposal, and that it report through some temperance periodical the use it makes of the funds.
Mr. Stansby of N.J.--I want to make a motion, and first I beg leave to remark that I have been reported in The Tribune as a clergyman. I have no pretensions to that or any such honor. I am a hard-working mechanic, and I hope that paper will make the correction. It has also been stated from the platform that I am a "Woman's Right's Man." I never was. I am a Temperance man, and that is the subject which absorbs all my energies. I was a Delegate to England, where I spoke in several cities.
Chair.--The gentleman is out of order.
Mr. Stansby took the platform and said; I wish to make a motion, which is, to substitute for the words "National Convention" in that Report the words "World's Convention," and also I wish to know why Philadelphia is selected as the seat of the "National Convention." The Committee best know the reason. Why is it taken from New York or Boston? Those cities would be more central.
Mr. Carr suggested Washington.
The Chair--There seems to be a misapprehension. The place of session is not fixed, only the location of some of the members.
Mr. Patten suggested that, for the words "rum and rumsellers," (they being intemperate,) the words "the manufacture and sale of intoxicating drinks," be substituted.
The Chair again read the preamble of the Report, and the first Resolution,
Mr. Ransom, of New Jersey--I think it would be better to style the Convention "The World's," instead of "National."
Mr. Jackson, (Chairman of the Committee) explained that they could scarcely undertake to call it a World's Convention without the content of other nations, England for example, or Canada. Mr. Duffield, of Philadelphia, suggested that the name of the locality be left blank for the present.
Mr. Jackson--The last thing put into the Report was the word "Philadelphia."
Mr. Howe, of N.J.--Will the Committee give reasons for locating the Convention in Philadelphia.
Chair--Shall the Convention have leave to amend the Report by striking out "Philadelphia?" (This was put to the meeting and passed.)
Mr. R. N. Havens, of New York--I would move an amendment, namely: That the number be made thirteen instead of nine.
Mr. Stansby--I object to the arrangement, as giving the residents of one city immense favor. Let there be a member from each State and Territory.
Dr. Snodgrass--I second the motion of the delegate who spoke last. I think the rights of everybody represented here ought to be protected as far as possible. Why should there not be one member from each State of our Confederacy?
Mr. Keener, of Md.--I suppose the object is to secure the most efficient method of working. Now, unless our plan be a practicable one, it is of no earthly value. I think myself that thirteen is the most practical number, and I admit a majority in any locality is a bad thing if it can be avoided. But look at the practical working of the matter. Can you get a member from every State? Can you get them to come together? I think it is wholly impracticable. An Executive Committee must be a resident of one place, and it must have great power. I hope the number will be confined to thirteen.
Rev. Mr. Hill--I was sorry to hear an insinuation that any members of this body could not be trusted. We want a centralization of power, that rumsellers may feel it.
Mr. Havens--We cannot close our eyes to the fact that State jealousies exist; a Committee from several States will obviate any trouble on that ground. I withdraw my proposal of 13 and accept one for each State and Territory.
Mr. Stansby--That I am satisfied with.
Mr. Warren, of N.Y.--Is not all this premature? The plan itself has not yet been adopted. I think we have already organizations in abundance, and that this now proposed is unnecessary.
The amendment (one member from each State, Territory and District) was read.
Rev. Mr. Jacobs--In Michigan we had several organizations; the result was different applications to the Legislature, and this they made an excuse for dismissing all. We got a Central Committee, and the result was a popular vote in favor of prohibition.
Mr. Ransom, of N.J.--A large Committee never works well. The State I represent has a Central Committee in which we have perfect confidence; so have other States. I think three a better number than seven.
Mr. Long, of Va--We should entertain no unworthy suspicions which would prevent our confiding in our brethren.
Mr. Havens--Let there be no possibility of jealousy. Let there be, if you please, a Central Committee, but give it an infusion of nationality.
Mr. Jackson, as Chairman of the Committee, said there was a very full one, and the matter was well deliberated on. The gentleman from New York mistakes the plan; there are the State Committees, in correspondence with the National Committee; thus the organization is complete.
Mr. Long--There is a suggestion which may reconcile all differences. Let the Chairman of every Central State Committee be a counselor of this Executive Body.
Mr. Haff, of Md.--I would suggest three members from each State, and that 13 be a quorum.
Judge O'Neil here took the Chair for a time, and Gen. Cary spoke thus: I appreciate the remarks of the brother from New York. The first question seems to be, is this new Organization necessary. I think there are arguments on both sides. Each State needs a different kind; milk is good for one, and flesh for another. Again, a Central Organization is advantageous, as it can best distribute the common light. However, I will pass from the question of the necessity of this new organization, and consider the motion before us. Were a legislative body wanted then there ought to be one member from each State; but what is proposed is an executive body. Goodness lies with the people, but wisdom is supposed to be in the heads of a few, and certainly executive power ought to be in the hands of a very few. Thus is the government of our Confederation regulated. Goodness lies in the Representatives, wisdom in the Senate, and power in the President. Looking practically at the matter, never could a committee be got together which consisted of one member from each State. I think nine a large enough number; and to obviate any objection as to locality, let four be a quorum.
Gen. Cary resumed the Chair.
Rev. A. B. Cross, of Maryland, rose to propose an amendment. He opposed the organization as cumbrous, and pleaded his long experience as entitled to give his views much weight; but signs of impatience being manifested, it was moved that the report and both the amendments be laid on the table. After a vain attempt (so nearly was the house equally divided) to obtain the sense of the Convention by voice, and by the delegates standing up pro and con in succession, the votes were counted, and the motion to lay the report and the amendments on the table was carried by a small majority.
Mr. Clark of D.C. here rose, saying that he came here expressly to accomplish the object upon which the Committee reported.
The President called the gentleman to order, as that subject was disposed of.
Mr. Clark--Then I bid the President and my friends good day; I am going home. [Laughter].
Judge O'Neil, from the Committee to whom was referred resolution No. 8, which relates to the expression of opinion as men and members of the community, reported it back with the recommendation to strike out the words "higher law" as not being necessary to the sense of the resolution. The writer of the resolution had agreed to this proposition.
The report of the Committee was agreed to.
The same Committee also having had under consideration the resolution of Dr. Snodgrass in relation to the subject of petitioning Congress to pass a law prohibiting the introduction of intoxicating liquors into the United States, reported that it was not best to touch that subject, and asked to be discharged from its further consideration.
A motion was made to lay the report on the table, which was lost.
A motion was then made to adopt the report.
Dr. Snodgrass took the floor to speak in favor of the adoption of the resolution. He simply wanted a vote of the Convention.
A point of order being raised as to speaking on the adoption of the resolution upon a question pending to adopt the report.
Dr. Snodgrass proposed to amend the report, which the Chair decided to be in order.
Mr. Williams insisted that he was out of order.
Rev. Mr. Marsh commenced to explain the reason why the Committee reported as they did, till he was called to order by the Chair several times, when he took his seat.
Some confusion arose upon the question of order, the Chair claiming the power to have settled it by his decision, and assigning the floor to Dr. Snodgrass, who read his amendment as follows:
Resolved, That whenever National Revenue laws insure the passage of all "original packages" of foreign beverages through the 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 Chair reversed his decision, declaring the amendment out of order, whereupon, upon the suggestion of Dr. Patton, Dr. Snodgrass considered the resolution as a part of his speech, and not as an amendment.
A disposition was plainly manifested to choke off the Doctor, under the supposition that he was going to introduce a subject of contention, which Dr. S. distinctly disavowed, saying that he considered this matter as second to none before the Convention. If the Convention would not come to a vote upon it, he would at some future World's Convention, if he had the pleasure of being a member, bring it again before the Convention for action upon it, believing it would finally be adopted. He complained of nobody for differing with him upon the subject, but would be very glad to have a vote, yea or nay, upon it, without discussion, if such was the pleasure of the Convention.
On motion, all other business was suspended for the purpose of hearing reports from foreign countries.
Dr. Leeds, of England, spoke of the progress of the Temperance cause in Great Britain. The plan adopted there was to divide the country into great associations, the oldest of which, the British Temperance Association, was started by the men of Preston, operating in the middle and North of England. The members of that association were men of energy and long tried faithfulness, and most of them now advocates of the Maine Law. The British Advocate, a journal of 15 years standing, was connected with the Association. They had the assurance that that Association would soon attract very general public attention, from the fact that many peers, members of Parliament, clergymen and professional men of various kinds were lending it their support, and among them Messrs.. Bright and Cobden, the "Neal Dow" of England. (Applause.) The late premier also, Lord John Russell, had expressed an interest in the subject, and Hon. Mr. Villiers had lately embodied in a bill the substance of the Maine Law itself, which was to be embraced in an appendix to a Parliamentary report.(Applause.)
But they had difficulties to encounter, which the people of this country had not. The descendants of the Puritans, Voluntarists as they were called, being opposed from principle to national education, were likewise opposed to parliamentary interference with the liquor traffic. So that the friends of temperance were divided. The Association which he represented held that the Maine Law is no infringement of the largest liberty of man, and were sanguine in the hope that they would attain their object in five or ten years. [Applause] The wedge had already entered G.B. Only a few weeks ago a law had been enacted prohibiting certain bar houses, groceries, and confectionary shops from selling spirituous liquors. Having thus introduced the entering wedge they were determined, by moral and political action to stick it home. [Applause.] He came here to learn the effects of this great law and to receive a stimulus to renewed action, and believed that ere long both England and America would unite in a final victory over the liquor traffic. [Applause.]
Rev. Mr. Scott of Montreal next addressed the Convention. It was a great many years, he said, since the Temperance movement took hold in Canada. The first society formed in Montreal was formed by an American named Cristmas, and had had a powerful influence all over the province. When they had but little sympathy from the Press or Clergy, or any of the learned professions, lecturers went through the land speaking to the people and distributing tracts until now almost every town and hamlet had its Temperance organization. First they had the shot pledge; now it was the total abstinence pledge. Latterly the Sons of Temperance were the most effective organization though the ordinary societies were kept up substantially. Their principles were one and the same with those of the United States and Great Britain; thus they had fully committed themselves to the Maine Law.
When the platform was laid in Saratoga, Canadian Temperance men took their stand upon it, and resolved that nothing short of prohibition of the liquor traffic should satisfy their demands. [Applause.] And at the last session of the Canadian Parliament, Mr. Malcom Cameron introduced the same law literally, with a few additional clauses adapted to their institutions. A firm opposition was made to it, but when it came to a vote, there were 28 for it to 32 against it--only four majority against its passage upon its first trial. [Applause.] There was now established a Prohibitory Liquor Law League, Hon. John Wilson, President, whose operations were substantially the same as those of England and the United States. The subject had already been made a political question by their opponents, and the friends of Temperance could not help meeting the issue if they intended to obtain their law. [Applause.] Not only were they going to meet the issue in the election of Members of Parliament, but in the election of Municipal officers, particularly in Western Canada, where there was a most determined spirit; and if the citizens of the States did not look sharp, they would beat them in Canada. [Applause.] At any rate, they intended to run a race with the State of New York in getting the prohibitory law passed. [Applause.] They must go hand in hand with the border States, and in respect to this question annexation was already carried. [Applause.]
A member who said he was conversant with business at Oswego asked Mr. Scott whether Mr. Cameron's bill did not involve the prohibition of the importation of liquors into Canada.
Mr. Scott--It does. [Applause.] And here let me state that we have already obtained to a certain extent the Maine Law, for when Mr. Cameron found he could not carry that law for the whole country he introduced another bill prohibiting the sale of liquor within three miles of the public works of the country, which was passed by a large majority. [Applause.]
Mr. Cassel, of England, begged the indulgence of the Convention to be heard. He came here as the representative of what is termed the National Temperance Society of England, as well as the British League, Dr. Lees was a representative of what is termed the British Association, and as the Associations which he (Mr. C) had the honor to represent had not been brought before the notice of the Convention, he was afraid if he did not do it, he would return to England with the Committee about his ears for his silence. The two Societies were operatives together with the other National organizations. There was the National Alliance for the suppression of the traffic, and there was the National Society, which operated more especially through the Press. The province of the Temperance League was more particularly to act upon the metropolis, through various movements--large public meetings and
[p. 5]the distribution of tracts. It was that League which brought over to England the celebrated Temperance orator of America, Mr. Gough, who was now creating an agitation there equal to that which he had created in the United States. [Applause.] They had moved upon the masses, particularly the working classes, with whom he was identified, though he had lately become a publisher, having began by first printing Temperance documents.
Mr. C then adverted to the drinking customs among the English clergy as a great obstacle with which they had to contend. And he was sorry to say that temperance men, ay, temperance clergymen of America, when they visited England, yielded sometimes too readily to the temptation of wine at dinners. [Cries of "Shame," "shame."] Whenever he saw an American in England at a dinner party he had his eye upon him. [Laughter.] Such was the strength of this custom that Mr. Cobden himself, though a thorough temperance man in his household, said he could not be so singular as to refuse to drink to a toast at dinners. He had seen a distinguished clergyman of New York respond to a toast with his glass of champaigne before him. [Cries of "Shame," "name him;" "groan him."] I do not choose to name him, but he is not the only one. On other questions your ministers do not receive what may be called altogether the most courteous treatment, but as respects this matter, it cannot be denied that they are well treated. [Laughter.] Let your clergymen see that they bear their testimony and do all in their power to help us obtain the aid of the Christian church of the mother country on the side of temperance. [Applause.]
Now as regards this Maine Law I know you have a great deal of trouble to get it passed. It is hard work to put down this license system, but when you get it down I hope you will do as the Lancashire boys do when they get an antagonist down in a fight--they don't let him get up again. [Laughter.] An anecdote is told of one of them who had another down and was holding him there pummeling him, when a stranger, passing by said: "You great coward, why don't you let him get up and have a fair fight? That may seem very well to you, I dare say," said the man; "but if you had had as much trouble as I in getting him down you would not be for letting him up." [Great laughter.] So when you once get the license system down don't let it up [Applause.]
Mr. Cox, of Georgia, being entitled to the floor, stated to the Convention that he desired to introduce two resolutions with the sentiments of which he believed the Convention would cordially unite. The object was to offer a tribute to the memory of the late Dr. Justin Edwards, and he was sure that the simple announcement would secure for it the attention and respect of the entire body. It was not for him to pronounce an eulogium upon Justin Edwards, for there were far abler and more eloquent lips, more prepared if needs be to do justice on earth to that great and good man, but he simply submitted whether the memory of a man occupying so conspicuous and useful a place in this great and moral enterprise while living, did not deserve from us some grateful recognition--some honorable mention now that he had gone. An incidental and touching allusion had been made to his memory in the resolutions presented the previous day by Dr. Marsh, but he believed that something more definite and formal was called for, and in consideration of which he respectfully begged leave to submit these resolutions the Convention.
Resolved, That the Convention hereby expresses its high and grateful appreciation of the distinguished services rendered the cause of Temperance by the late Rev. Justin Edwards, D.D.; and that while they bow with resignation to the decrees of that unerring will which has removed him from his position of earthly usefulness and toil, we cannot too deeply mourn the loss from our ranks of so efficient and useful a laborer.
Resolved, That this resolution he published in the minutes of the Convention, and a copy of the same be sent to the family of the deceased with an expression of our sympathy with them in their sore bereavement.
Mr. Keener, of Maryland, arose to second the ad[o]ption of the resolutions and to make a few remarks upon the subject. He had never been more sensibly affected on any occasion than he had when hearing the name of Dr. Edwards mentioned in this connection, and I know, "said the speaker," that no word that I can say can do strict justice to the memory of a man so worthy. It was, indeed, in some measure the circumstance of his appearance in Maryland that enlisted my heart so fully in this cause. I would not detail all the circumstances--for they are numerous and peculiar; but it was but a short time after my attention was first drawn to the Temperance cause that Dr. Edwards came to Baltimore. I heard him there, and the words he used became riveted upon my heart and induced me into this glorious cause, ever since which I have been in it as humble laborer. In all the subsequent productions of the worthy man the same wisdom was evident.
I have been associated with him on occasions similar to this. I had the honor of being with him on the Business Committee in the in the first Convention that was called--in 1833—in Philadelphia, and which was held in the Hall of American Independence. I witnessed there the whole progress of that Convention. There and in subsequent Conventions where I was with him, whenever the audience brought forth adverse thoughts and views, whenever feelings were troubled or great contrariety of sentiments were evident, a word or two from his clear mind was like oil upon the troubled waters. I know I can say nothing adequate to his worth, but I do know that the memory of that man will live while ages last. Generations yet unborn will rise and call him blessed, and the beautiful benediction which is found in the words of Holy Writ, "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord-—they rest in their labors, and their works shall follow them" shall in time and eternity apply to his labors.
Dr. Kennedy, of New York, here arose and addressed the Convention as follows:
I cannot forego the opportunity which now offers to accord with the sentiments contained in the resolutions. We look around us and see the formidable obstacle still existing in our way, and which the venerable gentleman who has just spoken remembers, as many others do, when we put our hearts to the work. At that time I was in the State of Delaware, whither I had gone with a young heart devoted to this cause; but the suspicions of almost the entire nation were upon our movement lest it should disturb the public, and in some degree involve the Churches in that which was of a political character. Indeed, in an effort to get up a temperance meeting I had to send as far as Middletown, in Connecticut, to get an advocate to come and address us. To this effort I was impelled, by a conversation with the man whose loss we now deplore, and whose spiritual labors we were so wont to admire. In my own house he encouraged me, and when he told me of the successful movement in Baltimore, where Christian Keener held his banner, my heart and soul became devoted to the work. We held the meeting, and from that day, in the little State of Delaware, the cause has prospered. There were friends of Temperance there before, but too many in the Churches stood aloof; and I say now that the spirit which has animated me since then, when I endeavored, in all forbearance, and amid conflicting circumstances, to persevere in the right, is in no small degree remarks, in respect to his memory, I hope that the resolutions will pass.
The President, pro tem, Gen. Cary, spoke as follows: I desire to say, as Chairman of this Convention, that the name mentioned in the resolutions is a dear one to me. I learned my first temperance lessons from Justin Edwards twenty years ago in his meetings. His virtues are recorded in the living tablets of my heart. Prosperity will honor him; acceding generations will sigh over his ashes, and the children of the future will drop tears of gratitude and plant perennial flowers over his tomb. [Applause.]
Mr. Cassel, of England, stated that among the many American productions in favor of the Temperance Reform, which were circulated in England, there were the productions of the pen of Dr. Edwards. His name and sentiments were well known there, and were highly appreciated, and in conclusion he stated that his remarks could be regarded as an indication of the sentiments of all the Temperance Reformers in Great Britain.
The resolutions were unanimously adopted by a standing vote.
Dr. Patton here read a letter from Edward C. Delevan, Esq., which was accompanied by the following resolution, on which, however, no definite action was taken by the Convention:
Resolved, That the manufacture, importation, sale and use of intoxicating liquors as a beverage in view of their well know[n] pernicious consequences are acts irreconcilable with sound morality, and that such traffic in them is also a grievous and intolerable wrong, conflicting with some of the most important purposes of organized Government and ought therefore to be everywhere effectually prohibited by law.
Rev. Mr. Scott, of Montreal, here addressed the Convention in some interesting and appropriate remarks after which the following resolution was adopted:
Resolved, That Hon. Neal Dow, of Maine, Edward C. Delevan, of New-York; Gen. S. F. Cary, of Ohio; Hon. J. R. O'Neal of South Carolina; Christian Keener, of Maryland, and Hon. Malcolm Cameron, of Canada, be constituted a General Committee, to call a General Convention at least once in two years, to devise such measures as may be desirable for the general cause of prohibition of the sale of intoxicating liquors throughout the world, and that they have power to supply vacancies from death or resignation.
Mr. Isaac Oliver, the Treasurer of the Convention, announced that there was nearly $1,600 in the Treasury, and after paying all the expenses that probably one half would be left, and be desired to know what disposition should be made of it. It was expected by the donors, who had contributed about $1,000 of the whole amount, that it would be appropriated to the publication and circulation of tracts to aid the progress of the cause.
The following resolution was offered:
Resolved, That the Committee of Arrangements with the Secretary of the Convention be authorized to publish the minutes and such other documents of the Convention as the state of the funds will warrant, to be distributed to the members of the Convention under the Committee of Arrangements.
Mr. Jackson, of Pennsylvania, moved an amendment to the resolution, the effect that the money in the treasury be appropriated to the distribution of tracts at cost, but while he was reducing it to writing it was forstalled by the Convention adopting the original resolution, offered as above. A resolution was offered by Dr. Oliver, which, on account of its being contradictory to the one just adopted, was, on motion, laid upon the table.
Dr. Powell, of Alabama, offered the following resolution, which[h] was adopted:
Resolved, That the thanks of this Convention be tendered to Hon. Neal Dow for the able manner in which he has discharged the duties of the Chair during the deliberations of this body.
Judge O' Neal, Chairman of the Committee to prepare an Address to the Manufacturers and Venders of Intoxicating Liquors, submitted a report, which was, on motion and in accordance with the proposition of Judge O'Neal, reported to the proper Committee without being presented to the Convention.
Dr. Williams offered a series of resolutions which commenced with the words Electricity Gas and atmosphere, and ended with the Maine Law--liberty and the Union--now and forever--one and inseparable. They were received with much merriment, and were placed before the business Committee.
A youthful delegate offered the following resolution:
Resolved, That this Convention recommend the friends of Temperance--that they carry with them their Temperance principles to the hills.
The President informed the gentleman that the Business Committee had already anticipated his aim, and therefore his resolution was unnecessary.
On motion it was resolved that the thanks of this Convention be tendered to the gentlemen who have so liberally contributed to aid in the Temperance cause.
The Convention was adjourned sine die by a prayer from Rev. Dr. Patton.