FEW and far between are
the individuals in this country who can claim complete exemption from
the effects of the liquor traffic. In no direction can we turn so as not
to cross the slimy trail of this monstrosity. It draws itself over the
threshold of the peaceful, happy home, and peace and happiness flee from
its presence. It drags itself into the workshop, and blows its foul
breath into the face of the mechanic, and he exchanges his tools for the
drunkard’s maddening bowl, and barters his workshop for the drunkard’s
It goes to the
cultivator of the soil and whispers to him of gain and gold, and he
turns his acres into sources of supply to the man with the capacious
abdomen, the brewer, and the red-faced and blear-eyed distiller.
It sneaks into the
grocery store and points its proprietor to the largeness of the profits
of the traffic, and he places the whiskey cask in the cellar beside the
pork barrel, and the butter firkin, and puts the brandy bottle on the
same shelf with mottled soap and friction matches. It gets to the ear of
the man who keeps a boarding house and a travellers home and persuades
him that his house and his business will go to ruin unless he connects a
bar-room with his dining-hall, and mixes the sale of poison with the
sale of food.
It shakes its brawny
fist in the face of the politician, and, like Peter in the “judgment
hall,” he dare not tell nor act the truth. The lawyer is made to believe
that his case is made clearer when he wets his brief with whiskey. The
doctor is told that his patient has a better chance for life with
alcoholic medication than without it. Thus in all directions has it
spread its delusions and in every locality has it placed its snares.
This Moloch has set up
its shrines upon the hilltops and in the valleys. They are to be found
along the country roads and beside the city streets. Everywhere they are
to be found. And to these places people go to pay their homage to this
deceptive and deceiving demon, and to caress and hug their destroyer.
The mind of a
philosopher would fail to grasp, and the imagination of a poet would
fail to describe, the dark catalogue of woes that lie concealed in the
secret recesses of some of these temples where the rum-god is
We will stand awhile
and watch the door of one of these inviting places and see who enters.
We see that old man of seventy or eighty years, bending upon his staff
as he moves along with tottering steps to the bar, were he has often
been before. He has become so familiar with the place that he seems like
a fixture there more than like a visitor. Poor old man! he will soon go
where bar-rooms cease to be a snare. But will the old drunkard be at
Next goes in a man just
in his prime. He has a wife and family at home. He loves them. He would
shudder at the very thought of harming them. But he has made an entrance
in the way that leads to the drunkard’s doom. He tarries long and late
at night; he then comes out and goes staggering to his home. A dark
shadow henceforth hangs over that home for a few years. Then it is
broken up. The mother dies with a broken heart. The children are
scattered, to find a home among strangers. A few years later the father
goes down to the drunkard’s and the pauper’s grave.
Next there comes
strutting up the street a fast youth. He has between his teeth the stump
of a cigar at which he is sucking away as if his very life depended on a
certain number of draughts per minute.
He swings himself with
his cane and cigar into the bar-room. While he dawdles around the tavern
he gets the finishing touches to a dissipated character and learns some
lesson in vice and uselessness that he did not know before.
He goes from this out
into the world to find a thoughtless girl who will be silly enough to
link her destiny with his; and when he finds her he will blight her
prospects in life, crush all hopefulness out of her heart, drive the
roses from her cheeks, turn her cheerfulness to sadness, and send her,
as a mere wreck of her former self, to a premature yet welcome grave.
But here comes a woman.
See how wistfully she looks into the face of every one she meets. She is
seeking some one that she dreads to meet. See how she peers into that
bar-room. Some absent one is weighing heavily upon her heart. Who is it?
Is it husband, son or brother? We do not know. Or perhaps she is a
member of the “Woman’s Christian Temperance Union,” seeking to save the
idol of some other woman’s heart.
Look, look! Do you see
that little bundle of rags coming up the street ? Those rags are
intended to cover the person of a little girl, but in this they are only
very partially successful. See how she shrinks from those she meets; she
pulls up the old rag of a shawl that she wears so as to hide her face
from the rude gaze of the men and boys who are idly standing on the
sidewalk in front of the bar-room. See again how she tries to conceal
that bottle, in which she is forced to carry to her thrice wretched home
the devilish stuff that poisoned with its offensive odours the first
breath of air that ever entered her lungs, and by its Satanic influence
has embittered every moment of her life from then to the present time.
When I think that the
poor little creature before us may grow up to be a woman under all the
bad influences of a drunkard’s unblest home, it makes me sad of heart.
But, dear me, where am I getting to? I did not start to write a
temperance lecture, but simply to gather up a few pebbles from among the
hard rocks that lie along the trail of the rum traffic.
No. 1.—He Wanted a
I was once sitting in a
barber shop enjoying a shave when a young man entered. He was very
tipsy, as we used to say when I was a boy. I think that the word used
now to convey the same idea is “tight.” Well, we will say he was
“tight.” As I said, he came in and began to stagger about the shop,
coming once very near where I was sitting. I shoved the barber’s hand
aside and said to him, “My friend, it makes me nervous to have that
sharp razor about my face under existing circumstances.” He took the
hint, and told the party to sit down and keep quiet. He sat down for a
short - time; then he began to walk the floor and sing,
“I will eat when I am
I will drink when I am dry,
And if whiskey does not kill me,
I will drink it till I die. ”
Then, turning suddenly
to the barber, he called out, “I say, Bob, what will you charge to go to
McMurchy’s on Wednesday night and fiddle? We are going to have a regular
old Virginia breakdown, minus the curly heads and black faces. What will
you take and go?” “Well,” said the other, “I will go for six dollars. Is
that too much?” “No; come along.”
He started out, but at
the door he turned about and said to me, “I say, mister, do I look like
a man that has spent one thousand dollars in six months?”
I answered by saying,
“When a man drinks whiskey as you seem to do, it is not easy to say how
much he will spend.”
“Well, six months ago,
I had one thousand dollars in cold cash, and to-day I have not one
little dime left.”
After he went out the
barber said, “That fellow has one of the best mothers that the Lord ever
gave to a young man, but he is breaking her heart by his dissipation. He
has two beautiful sisters who have no superiors in the town, but they
are almost distracted about him, their only brother. His father is a
good man, too. Six months ago the young scapegrace offered to go to
Dakota and take up land, and go to work on it, if he could get the means
to do so. His father, taking his words as truth, counted him out the
money that he told you of; but he did not go West, and now his money is
gone and he is a nuisance to the place. Before I would do as he has done
I would hire, some big man to tie a stone to my neck and then put me in
a wheelbarrow and trundle it to the end of the wharf and dump me into
No. 2.—She did not Know
what Ailed the Baby.
While passing a house
one Sabbath my attention was arrested by hearing my name called with
much vehemence. I stopped until a woman came out and said, “O, mister,
will yes plase come in and see if you can tell what is the matter wid me
darlint of a baby.” Now, I knew that this house was one of the lowest
kind of groggeries, kept by a man who prided himself on being a
Protestant. He could curse the Pope by the hour, and sing about “
William of immortal memory,” until he was hoarse. He knew as much about
the Boyne and William and the Pope as a goose knows
about driving a baker’s cart, and not much more. I tied my horse to a
post and went in to see the “baby.” In an old rickety cradle was an
infant of a few months old, lying in a stupor. The poor little thing had
every appearance of being drunk. In the room were two or three other
children, whose pinched and starved appearance was enough to make one’s
heart sick to look at them. “What do you think is the matter with the
babe?” I said to the mother. The father was in a corner sleeping off the
effects of an all-night carouse with some companions in dissipation.
In answer to my
question the woman said, “We do not know what is the matter with the
little dear. It will lay sometimes for hours just as you see it now.
Thin it will wake up and act as if it was wantin’ somethin’. Thin it
will pull away at me bosom until I have no more for it. Thin it will
turn sick at its stomick and throw up all that it took, and after a
little it will cry, and I give it some more of the doctor’s stuff, and
in a little while it goes into one of the ‘spells’ again.”
I said to her, “Show me
some of the doctor’s stuff.” She went to a little cupboard and brought a
bottle and handed it to me. When I smelt of it, I said “Why, this is
“Shure, and that is
all, sir!” was her answer.
“And do you give this
to your baby every time it cries?” I asked.
“Yes; I make it nice
and swate for the little darlint.” “Well, my good woman, do you not know
that you are killing your baby with this stuff. If you were to strike it
on the head with a hammer and knock out its little brains, it would be
sure to kill it. But to feed it with this whiskey, as you say you do,
will kill it just as surely, though more slowly.” The little one died in
a few days, and people said, “Poor little thing, it was never strong,
and it is well that the Lord has taken it.”
No. 3.—A Baby in the
In a certain locality
there lived a farmer who had a drunken wife. Do what he could he could
not keep her sober if she could get liquor.
One day they went to
town. She had an infant of a few months old in her arms. When they were
ready to start home, she had managed to get enough of her favourite to
make her tipsy. The man put her and the baby in and wrapped them nicely
up in the sleigh robes, and charged his wife to hold on to little Nellie
as he had to look after the horses. The snow was deep and the wind was
drifting it up in heaps. They had ten or eleven miles to go.
When they got home the
man went to help his wife out and found her fast asleep. But worse than
that, there was no baby to be found. It had slipped out of its mother’s
arms and was lost somewhere along the road. The man got one of his
neighbours to go with him and they started out to hunt up the lost
After scanning every
rod of road for six miles they saw something that looked like the corner
of a shawl flopping above the snow. There they found the baby all buried
under, but one corner of the wrap that was around it. When he took it up
and shook off the snow, the child looked up at him and cooed and laughed
as though it was being taken out of its cradle.
No. 4. As good a farm
as could be found in the county was the one left to No. 4 by his father.
He had learned to drink in early life. Sometimes he would take too much.
But not much was said about it. But the habit grew upon him. At
fifty-five years of age his farm was gone, his wife was dead, and he was
homeless and penniless and almost a vagrant. All through rum!
No. 5 had a good farm
given him by his father. He married a good wife. For some years he was a
leading man in the Church. Then he lost his wife and took to drink. He
married another good wife. He got along for a few years pretty well. But
the drinking habit increased. He became reckless about his business; got
to horse-racing and other bad ways. He mortgaged his farm for money to
spend foolishly. He died while still comparatively young, leaving his
wife with his first wife’s children and her own to provide for as best
No. 6 kept a hotel on a
splendid farm that his father and mother had hewed out of the solid
wilderness. He married into a respectable family. He took to drink, and
in middle life died a raving maniac, requiring three strong men to hold
him in bed while whiskey and delirium tremens did their terrible work.
No. 7 was a school
teacher without wife or family, He was a man of large intelligence. He
was a member of a Church. He gave way to the appetite for drink. He
joined the Sons of Temperance to try and get the mastery over this
habit. He broke his pledge after having kept it for a year or two. He
got on a drunk and never sobered off until deliriums took hold of him.
He died, shouting at the top of his voice, “O take away these snakes!”
No. 8 owned a good two
hundred acre farm and kept a store. He was a very clever man. He stood
high in the estimation of his neighbours. He was county warden for a
number of years. He was a candidate for parliamentary honours, and would
have been a very useful man if he had kept sober. He became more and
more the slave of drink, and finally died, leaving a large property so
involved that his family could not redeem it. His wife in a few years,
as I am told, followed him to an untimely grave through strong drink.
No. 9 was a doctor,
said to be well read up in medical science. He took to drink. Lost his
wife; he married another. She would not allow him about the place when
he was drunk. He lost his practice. He became discouraged, and in a fit
of despondency he went into a hotel stable, cut his jugular vein, and
was found by the hired girl when she went out to milk the cow. He had
No. 10 was a druggist,
and a man of many fine characteristics. He was honest, kind-hearted and
truthful ; but drink got the mastery over him, and he died before the
frosts of age had begun to bleach his hair, leaving a noble woman to
lament his untimely end.
No. 11 was a woman and
a wife and a mother. Her husband was a very fine man and an intelligent
manufacturer, doing a prosperous business. She took to drink through
taking liquor from a doctor as medicine. Everything was done that loving
solicitude on the part of husband and friends could prompt or devise to
save her. But all to no purpose. Respect for her sex forces me to close
the story and draw a veil over the scene.
No. 12 was a man who
long took a leading part in everything that was good. But he never could
be made to see anything wrong in taking a glass of liquor. As he grew
older the love of drink increased so that he was frequently intoxicated.
One day while drunk he fell out of his waggon and was killed. The man
who, as a class-leader, had formerly often pointed others in the way to
heaven, came to his end through drink.
No. 13 was a
hotel-keeper. He owned a corner house in a town where I once lived. He
took no pains as to what sort of house he kept. He was hardly ever found
sober. He became one of his own best customers. One day he became
speechless while drunk. He lay in this condition two or three days and
No. 14 was said to be
worth twelve or fifteen thousand dollars. When he was getting old he
married a widow much younger than himself. He became a hard drinker. He
got careless in his business. He would lend his money without security
or vouchers. At length he was never sober. He was stricken with
paralysis one day and never spoke any more. He died and left his widow
to unravel the tangled skein of business as best she could with the help
of two or three lawyers. They were quite willing to help her, but
somehow it seemed that the most of the ravellings got into the wrong
pockets, as usual, and the widow’s share was not very much.
No. 15 was a mechanic.
He was an honest man generally, but he was given to drink. One night he
went home from work and he took with him a jug of whiskey. He asked his
wife to drink with him ; on her refusing to do so, he produced a bottle
of laudanum and commenced to take it. His wife, seeing the
word poison on the bottle, sprang forward and took it from him. But he
took it from her again after a desperate struggle, in which he scratched
her hand at a fearful rate to force her to let go the bottle. He
swallowed the poison in his drunken madness and died before anything
could be done, as no doctor could be got.
No. 16 was a veterinary
surgeon. He was a man who would have been a good and useful citizen only
for drink. But his appetite controlled his judgment and overruled his
conscience. He struggled with his enemy for a while and then fell a
victim to this destroyer of thousands. He died, while still a young man,
leaving a wife and family to weep over a drunkard’s grave.
No. 17 was a medical
doctor. He was a man of great skill, and at one time he had a very large
and lucrative practice, but he became dissipated in his habits. He lost
much of his prestige and patronage. He went on from bad to worse until
he died at the age of fifty, leaving a family behind him.
No. 18 was the wife of
a doctor. When I commence to write about her it seems to me that I can
hear the whispers of a sainted mother and two sisters, and three
daughters, now in glory, saying, “Spare our sex. Don’t write bitter
things about them.” My heart refuses to dictate, and my hand declines to
pen the sentences that portray a woman’s sins and sad, sad fate through
drink. She died, and that is enough to say.
No. 19 was a capitalist
and money-lender. He was one of the most manly men I ever met, but
alcoholism was his weakness and his bane. And all the influence of a
kind wife and lovely children and every consideration that pointed to
domestic felicity and financial success failed to check his downward
course. His sun of life went down at noon, and the grave received its
victim from the hands of the rum-seller ere the hand of age had made a
wrinkle upon his brow.
No. 20 was a lawyer who
stood well in the profession, with as fine a little woman for a wife as
ever presided over a peaceful home. He was trusted and honoured by his
fellow-citizens. He was successful in his business until the great giant
that has conquered so many noble men got him in his grasp. That grasp
was never relinquished until the poor victim died. Then weeping friends
and mournful neighbours carried him to the grave. Everybody knew that
the lamp of his life had been blown out by the foul breath of the
No. 21 was a model
young man. He grew up under the careful training of a very strict
religious mother. At twenty-one lie had never tasted strong drink of any
kind. Mothers would point their sons to him as an example of what a
young man ought to be. He married a most amiable and excellent wife. The
old homestead in which he was born and reared had been put into his
hands, along with the care of his aged parents, who were both living.
About the age of twenty-five he commenced to drink. At thirty-two he was
tippler, a spendthrift, and a rake. At forty his farm was gone, his wife
was dead, and the old people had gone in sorrow to their grave. His
eldest son died a drunkard before he reached the age of twenty-five. At
last accounts the unhappy cause of this wretchedness was still on the
road to destruction.
No. 22 was an old man
when I first saw him. He had owned a farm, but it had passed out of his
hands. He was a very hard drinker. He lived on the outskirts of the
town. One terrible night in winter he left the hotel and started to go
home ; he never got there. The next spring he was found in a gully on
the back end of a farm, nearly a mile from his home. He had gone past
his own gate, got lost, and wandered off into the fields and died in a
A poor old man one
Seeking his home with all his might,
While no kind helper was in sight,
Sank down beneath the snow.
How oft he strove to rise again,
And seek his homeward path in vain;
How lone he lived to suffer pain,
No one on earth can know.
’Tis said that he was fond of drink,
And sellers did not stop to think
How soon their customer might sink
And die beneath the snow.
They seem to have but little care,
If they could but his coppers share,
Where he might go, how he might fare,
At bedtime he must go.
No. 23 was a man of
strange history. He married quite young, and went at an early day to one
of the back townships and secured three hundred acres of bush land of an
excellent quality. He faced the difficulties of pioneer life like a
hero; he worked like a slave till he got a large clearing and good
buildings. In fact, he had one of the best farms in the county of Grey.
At last he took to drinking so hard that he made a complete fool of
himself. He was a nuisance in the neighbourhood and a terror to his
family. His farm passed out of his hands; he and his wife parted; the
children were scattered; he sank lower and lower, and the last that I
heard of him he was a homeless wanderer, beloved by no one, and
remembered only to be despised.
No. 24 was left with a
fine property by his father. He was always fond of drink, and took no
pains to conceal or control the appetite. He married young. After a few
years of fast living and recklessness in spending his money, he found
himself a poor man. He went to hotel-keeping for a while, but in a short
time he died and left his wife in poverty.
No. 25 was a genius; he
had a good farm, and for a long time got along as well as his neighbours
; but he foolishly sold his farm and bought a hotel in a little village
near by. He took to drinking and in a few years died through drink. So
far as natural endowments were concerned, this man was capable of
becoming anything almost, but the light of intellect and fires of genius
were extinguished by the liquid that has darkened so many pages of human
No. 26 was an old man
when I first met him. He was a general favourite, especially among the
children and youths of his acquaintance. He was a slave of the drinking
mania. He had neither family nor friends in this country. He was a
Frenchman. At length he became a sort of promiscuous helper at two
hotels about a mile apart, going from one to the other as necessity or
inclination demanded. One stormy night in winter, while in a state of
almost helpless intoxication, he started to go from one hotel to the
other ; but he never got there. The people where he started from did not
know but that he got through in safety, and the people where he was
going did not know that he had started, so he was not missed for a week
or more. Next spring, when the snow went off, his remains were found in
a drift along the fence beside the road. Part of the face had been eaten
by the foxes.
No. 27 was an English
lady of good social position; but culture, refinement, social standing,
womanly dignity, and religious principle were not a safe environment to
save her from the allurements of the liquor traffic. She died.
No. 28 was a tailor by
trade, and a number one workman. He got entangled in the snares of this
deceiver. He lost his wife, then sank lower in his habits. Afterward he
married again. In a few months he died calling for drink, and left a
wife and family of children to mourn without hope.
No. 29 was a young man,
or rather a large boy; but he was fond of drink, and was often
intoxicated. In one of his drunken bouts he sat down on the railway
track when a train was coming, and he was killed. His career was a short
one; but it was long enough to add one more to the hundreds of thousand
of the victims of this traffic.
No. 30 was a Canadian
woman and the mother of a family. She gave way to drink, and died in a
No. 31 was a man of an
influential position in his municipality. He had a good farm. He had a
superior wife and a very fine family. He was for years a member of the
Church, and an office-bearer in it. He gave way to the appetite for
drink and became an inebriate. He sold out his farm, left his family,
and went off no one knew where, a wicked and ruined man. Where he is, if
alive, or where he died, if dead, are things unknown to his friends.
No. 32 was a doctor
well read in medical science. At one time had a large practice. He
became a drunkard, and died through drink before he was much past middle
No. 33 was a man who
had but few equals either as a business man or as a citizen. For a
number of years he was at the head of municipal affairs in his township.
He owned a very fine property, but drink proved his bane. He died
comparatively poor. Through the mercy of God, he was led to seek and
obtain forgiveness after he had destroyed his constitution and
squandered much of his property. He died lamenting the folly of his
No. 34 was the wife of
No. 32. She was an exceedingly interesting person; was refined,
intelligent and amiable in her manner, and good-looking, if not
beautiful in her appearance. She drank, and she died.
No. 35 was a farmer. He
was a man of more than average intelligence; he was a hard worker; he
cleared up his farm, and raised a large family; but he always loved
drink. At last it destro}red him in every way, and he died a poor
No. 36 was of the same
name as No. 35, though their homes were in different counties, and they
were no relation to each other. He was a genial, rrood-natured man when
sober, but when under the influence of liquor he was quarrelsome; but he
broke himself down, and died before he was old. He left a wife and
family behind him. He was missed by his neighbours when he died.
I shall close this dark
catalogue. I might add many more, who have either been entirely
destroyed, or greatly injured by the use of legalized poison ; but I
think that three dozen is enough for one list. I could give the name and
location of every person enumerated here, if it were necessary to do so;
but it could serve no good purpose to give needless exposure to the sins
and follies of the departed. Some in this sad list were relatives of my
own, and others were relatives of my friends. I would not like to have
their names published to the world.
These unfortunate ones
are all relatives of somebody who would not like to have their names
made public. For this reason the names are withheld; but that does in no
way affect the truthfulness of the statements made in the above
descriptions. The question that meets us right here is, “Who slew all
these?” The only truthful answer that can be given is: these were slain
by the legitimate results of a traffic that the Christians of this
country have protected by Act of Parliament and licensed for money. The
day is coming when the blood of these people must be accounted for.
Where, then, will the responsibility rest ? Can all the blame be thrown
on the unfortunates themselves, and on their destroyers, the
liquor-sellers? No, not all. The man who upholds the traffic by vote or
otherwise will have to bear a share. The woman who favours the traffic
by her words or by her actions will have to take a part of this
Another question comes
up closely related to the former. It is this: “What slew all these?”
These were all slain by a substance that the Rev. Dr. Carry, and others
who think with him, claim to be an indispensable ingredient in
sacramental wine. The learned Doctor repudiates the use of any
unfermented liquid in the administration of the sacrament. In fact, he
seems to think it is almost sacrilegious to use the unfermented juice of
the grape in that solemn rite.
Let us examine the
position of those who assume so much and prove so little on this
important and interesting subject. The only new ingredient introduced
into grape juice by fermentation is alcohol. So if wine must be
fermented before it is fit for sacramental purposes, it must be the
presence of alcohol that imparts to it that fitness. Now, if it be the
presence of alcohol that gives the fitness, then why not use any other
liquid in which this qualifying ingredient is found.
For instance, “What is
fermented wine?”—It is alcohol and something else—mostly water.
“What is whiskey?”—It
is alcohol and something else—mostly water. .
Alcohol is the only indispensable ingredient in sacramental wine.
Fermented grape juice contains alcohol, and hence it is equal to the
demands of sacramental wine. Whiskey contains alcohol, and it is equal
to the demands of sacramental wine. Now, since things equal to the same
are equal to each other, it follows that whiskey and fermented wine are
equal to each other for sacramental purposes.
Doctor Carry and his
friends may please themselves in the selection of what they will or will
not use in administering the sacrament, but 1 am happy to be able to say
that years ago I gave up the use of alcoholic wine and whiskey for
sacramental or any other purposes, only when given as medicine by an
honest medical man.