Page images
PDF
EPUB

societies, mentioned and answered. Those who make objections have been treated as tenderly as the nature of the argument and of their objec- tions would permit. The facts stated in this work are derived from documents of the most unquestionable authority, or have come under the personal observation of the writer. In relation to the few quotations made in these pages, it may be remarked, that persons qualified to criticise know where to find them. Those who are not qualified for this cynical task, will be excused from it by the AUTHOR.

NOTE.-Many of the remarks made in this little book, concerning the use of ardent spirits, may, in their fullest extent, be applied to the habitual use of all narcotic or stupifying substances, such as tobacco, opium in all its preparations, &c.

[ocr errors]

THE COLD-WATER-MAN.

PART FIRST.

THE EVILS OF INTEMPERANCE.

I. Its Extent.

INTEMPERANCE has long been the crying sin of our land. It is a demon of destruction. Its very breath withers every blossom of temporal happiness, and destroys the last lingering hope of bliss beyond the grave. When, with bloated face, and haggard eyes, and pestilential breath, it passes over any land, though all before it may be fair as the garden of Eden, the blank of moral desolation will be spread over all in its train. Like a tide of liquid fire, it has rolled over our country. Every excellence within its reach has drooped, and faded, and died. No class of our citizens has been exempt from its baneful influence. It has found its way into every department of civil society. Intemperance has staggered into the workshops of industry. Its touch has paralyzed every effort of the mechanic to become a useful and respectable citizen. It has approached the bed of distress, and with trembling nerves, dis

tracted thoughts, and more than half deranged intellect, it has attempted to administer the healing balm to those whom sickness had brought to the borders of the grave. It has stood at the bar pretending to plead the cause of innocent, suffering virtue. It has sat on that bench where stern, unyielding justice should always sit, and pronounced sentence againt those very crimes which are the legitimate offspring of intemperance. It has entered the sanctuary of the farmer's happiness; and all pure, unaffected, substantial pleasures have fled before it. It has found its way into our legislative halls, and there, with a ridiculously affected sobriety and gravity, it has attempted to deliberate on the affairs of state. It has been seen in the lady's parlour, preying upon the very vitals of all that innocence, good sense, kindness, and affection, which alone can throw an irresistible charm around those whose enviable lot it is to divide the sorrows and double the joys of human life. It has extended its evils even farther than this. Judas-like, it has appeared among the disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. It has wept the crocodile-tear, while the friends of the Redeemer have agonized in prayer for the salvation of sinners. It has even entered the sacred desk, and there, in the name of the great Jehovah, preached the solemn truth, that the "drunkard shall not inherit the Kingdom of God."

Thus we see that this irreptitious monster has already begun to suck the life-blood of the nation, to undermine the corner stone of the republic, to throw the cold blank of desolation over the warm and generous feelings of the heart, to freeze up the fountain of kindness in the soul, to make the heart colder than a mountain of ice and harder than a rock of adamant, to put an extinguisher on vital piety, and to spread an impenetrable gloom over all beyond the grave. The horror-stricken conscience of those who have madly and voluntarily fallen victims to it, must render this gloom doubly dismal. Since intemperance, when held up to view in its naked deformity, is evidently such a destructive monster, where is the man that would not use all his influence to banish it from his neighborhood? Since it is such a sea of liquid fire rolling over our land, withering and destroying in its course, whatever is excellent, where is the individual that will not do something to stay its progress, that will not strive to plant before it a barrier which it cannot pass, and which shall remain unmoved as a diamond pyramid in the waste of time, while rolling years are passing by? Who that does not hate his fellow creatures with perfect hatred, will refuse to assist in staying the ravages of such an evil as intemperance? Who that has the least particle of good feeling for man, will not strive to banish it from our land?

NOTE. In the United States there are 300,000 habitual drunkards, 200,000 occasional drunkards, 400,000 hard drinkers, and several millions

of self-styled temperate drinkers. What a picture of moral depravity! These several numbers, no doubt, fall short of the truth. Let any one enumerate the habitual drunkards, &c. in the circle of his own acquaintance, and ask himself; if the number of my acquaintance give so many drunkards and drinkers, how many will be found, according to that proportion, in 13,000,000 of persons, or in the whole United States? Unless the person making the calculation, lives in a very favored neighborhood, he will discover a fearful increase to the numbers mentioned in this

note. In this way the accuracy of every numerical statement made in this book may be tested. II. It Wastes Property.

The evils of intemperance are incalculably great and numerous. The fortune of the intemperate man melts away, he knows not how. Whatever is valuable in his estate, soon finds its way into the possession of others. Like a sieve, he soon scatters what is desirable, and retains only what is worthless as chaff.

The amount of money wasted or worse than wasted for ardent spirits,* in the United States, is most astonishing. What is paid for this one

*Nearly 150 millions of dollars in time and money, are spent annually in the United States for spirituous liquors.

« PreviousContinue »