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where open ridicule could hardly be encountered. One does not always like to be at issue with those about him concerning any matter, and especially on a question of doing, or abstaining from doing, that which in one's own individual case may be indifferent, and becomes important only as it may contingently operate as example. Still the case was met with sufficient firmness, but with no ostentation ; with no forth-putting of acting upon other or better principles than one's friends. It was an easy and conciliating exercise of what was selt to be a virtue, so that what was at first strictly voluntary, soon became what all right conduct ought to be in order to be safe, entirely habitual.
We can hardly refrain from commenting distinctly on these interesting facts in the history of the temperance reform. How wisely did it begin? In what beautiful proportions have its various parts been developed ? It has had, and the fact is a most important one, a growth in perfect correspondence with all occasions and all demands. It has not gone on too fast. Its progress has been that of all great and permanent institutions. It appealed to the constitution of man's whole nature, both the intellectual and physical, and in never overstepping the modesty of that nature, it has coinmended itself to every one who could be induced to bestow on it almost the least attention. When once thought on seriously, the thought has remained, it has become deeper and deeper, the father of many and kindred thoughts. Individuals who observe in themselves the progress, the developments, the changes which their minds experience on all important matters about which they will think, have been surprised at the results at which they have arrived, on this great subject, the temperance reform. They are surprised when they look back on the state they were in regarding it, when it was first suggested to them, and compare that truly with their present views. They can hardly believe that they are the same men, who admitted the thought with reluctance, and dismissed it without regret. They now become the active agents in the reform, and occupy themselves about all good and tried means to carry it forward, and at the same time study to discover new ones. How important to this cause that the number of such friends should be daily added to it! Light, information, only are wanted to secure to it the willing co-operation of every good man in every community.
It is proposed in the next place to state at such length as the
subject demands what the temperance reform truly is, upon what principles it has proceeded, and what are its claims. The subject is not without its difficulties. It is not easy for its friends to speak of it without at least the appearance of enthusiasm. This to many always prejudices a cause, however good it may be. It is difficult, very difficult to present truth, obvious truth, in just such an aspect as it shall strike all to whom it is addressed in the same way. This is true where no prevalent prejudice is in its way. Let us however only have such prejudice ready to meet us at all points, and the task of the philanthropist becomes discouraging indeed. He meets with trouble on all hands. There may be cool friends to his cause, and these may have more or less influ
These shake the head, and list the hand, with that eloquence of action which moves more than words, and then wonder that so much mistake and error are mingled even with the truly good of human striving. They have not found a perfect scheme in the necessarily imperfect system, and this is good cause for shutting their eyes on all, about the real value of which they feel no sort of doubt. In the history of the temperance reform, few circumstances have been so discouraging as this. These cool friends, with their minds only occupied about really trivial mistakes in the detail of a vast enterprise, have kept aloof from all active concern in the matter; have done nothing to correct the evil; but in some instances have exerted a most unhappy influence by recounting their disappointments and regrets, and these as often to the disaffected and opposing, as to the true friends of the cause. Such men want light. They should be made to understand that it is not the part of wisdom to look only on the questionable and uncertain, when a blaze of light and of truth surrounds them on all sides. Especially should they be cautioned not to aid the cause of opposition where a vast matter is at issue, nor to argue against a good because it is not wholly and exclusively a good; for what is this but to make war upon the most valuable institutions of
Besides this class of indirect opposers or unfruitful friends of this reform, light is wanted concerning it by a very large class who have in no measure or sense been its friends, who have looked upon it as inexpedient and ill-timed, and as designed to interfere with concerns which are wholly personal to the individuals of every community. In this class are included
men of all ranks and conditions. It has wealth, knowledge, benevolence, yes, true philanthropy in its ranks, and claims to be approached with respect and kindness. No friend of the reform would for a moment withhold from them what of both of these they have the power or opportunity to bestow. He honors them truly and deeply for the wide and noble interest they have displayed in most important directions. They feel that they have done so much, so filled the measure of many claims, that it is alınost asking too much of them to give a new direction to their beneficence or their influence. But this cause is so great a one that its friends most earnestly ask for it the help, the powerful aid of the class now referred to, and they are certain, if the nature of this reform were developed to them as it should be, that they would be numbered amongst its truest supporters.
What now is this reform, or rather what does it propose to do—what are its principles, and what are its prospects? We have to consider the nature, the true character of the temperance reform, what it has done, and what it is to do.
In the first place, this reform proposes a great and entire change both in the habits of the mind and of the body. Modes of thinking, and modes of acting, the feelings and the principles are all of them so many objects to which it directs its special regard. It recognizes distinctly in every individual of its regard a susceptibility to influence,—that the mind and all its powers, the heart and all its affections, are still possessed, and all of them capable of all their ordinary manifestations and uses. These are indeed obscured, and overlaid, pressed down by a vast weight, but still the power remains. " It not only remains, but is always ready to declare itself. It does declare itself, and for periods of different length, after a manner so unequivocal, and with an energy so effective, that the individual again recognizes it. He even welcomes its return, and mourns over the waste which he has allowed it to experience, and the ruin to it which has impended. He will tell us with fearful eloquence with what unmixed wretchedness he looks back upon his folly and his guilt, and with all this, will acknowledge, with shuddering, his conviction that he wants power to resist temptation, and that he may in an hour be as degraded as he has ever been. He feels that a physical malady has been produced by intemperance, and that a diseased body has been made the abode of his infirm mind. The action of each upon the
other has become perfectly reciprocal, and amid such an association he looks with despair for moral courage or moral health. In some individuals, so perverted is the whole moral and physical condition, that alcohol will be sought for as the supreme good, while it is acknowledged by the same men, that it is most disgusting in its taste, and most revolting in its effects. They will commit theft to obtain it, and when every thing else fails, will drink it though mixed with most nauseous drugs, or matters still more disgusting. In some it is in no sense a social habit. They will go away from home or their friends, and pass the day or the week in a state of unbroken drunkenness, and return as squalid and wretched as are the victims of neglected disease. In some of the strongest of these cases, is the conviction deepest of the loathsomeness of the vice, and the consciousness of inability to overcome it.
It is the purpose of this reform to come to such men with sympathy and respect.
It has for such a charity that never faileth. The bad habit may have been produced by a neglect of principle, a total heedlessness of conscience. Warning may have been disregarded. The strong claims of kindred and friendship may have been unheeded or treated with contempt; a wilful negligence of all good and kind and wise influence may have been unhesitatingly practised, and the career of intemperance been madly run. But the times of other and better thoughts which come to all, will happen to such even as these. It is for such times that this reform is ever looking and for ever laboring. These it is which it respects, it is for these it offers its sympathy and its best aids. It is for these it began, and it is for these it has ever labored, and been blessed in its labors. And what more certain success can crown human effort ? What higher purpose can any reform propose? Who will not enter into its labors ? What valid objection can be made to it? What is this reform? What more than the union of good men of all orders for the single purpose of expressing to whole communities that they are deeply interested in the moral good and happiness of all men ? It knows how strong is the power of habit. It sees this in every victim of intemperance. Its sole purpose is to release men from this most oppressive chain. To give freedom to that power of doing good, and being so, which all possess. It is by example it mainly acts, and by this it aims to teach not only how diffusive is excellence, but how universal it may be.
One species of intemperance has been referred to. Another and a much larger one, it is equally the purpose of this reform to meet and to abolish. In this class are comprehended all those in whom the habit is equally confirmed, but in whom the moral sense was never very active, and in whom it has in a good measure become extinct, at least almost wholly inoperative. There may be moments of true feeling in many of this class, but they are rare, and the opportunities for bringing out this feeling, and of giving it useful vigor, do not often occur, nor are they, from the condition of the class, very likely to be suggested. Habit in these has been confirmed by time-by a reckless indulgence-by the power of evil example, by the want of all opposing influences. Perhaps no cases are more unpromising, but even for these much has been done. The means which the reform has employed to accomplish its purposes towards this class are peculiarly interesting, and deserve distinct notice. I say the reform, for it is to this I most willingly ascribe all and every kind of effort which has been made, no matter what has been its distinctive character, for the suppression of intemperance.
To meet this class of cases, the friends of the reform have adopted such measures as have prevented-made it impossible for the intemperate to obtain alcohol in any of its forms. This has been done in many villages, nay, in many large towns in this commonwealth, and so effectually, that the entire traffic. in ardent spirits has, by a simultaneous movement, been abolished. The extent of this has been truly extraordinary, hardly to be credited. Not only have the temperate in such places come forward in the promotion of this great measure, but the grocers, the taverners, and victuallers, have lent their most important and deservedly honored aid. And I can add to all this, which is most important of all, drunkards themselves, as if incapable of resisting so mighty a power of truth and good,-or rather, in obedience to the moral power in their own nature, have yielded their willing assent to the same measures, and pledged themselves to abstain. How easy now has the sacrifice been. They could not obtain ardent spirits. The day, the week, and the month, have passed by without the indulgence. They have ceased to desire it. The habit of temperance, of total abstinence, has taken the place of habitual intemperance, and its new friends have waked as from a dream, to the sense of self-respect, of their honest claim to the kindred respect of all the wise