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poet. “ His poetical pieces blend with alternate happiness of description the frolic spirit of the flowing bowl, or melt the heart to the tender and impassioned sentiments, in which beauty always taught him to pour forth his own. But who would wish to reprove the feelings he has consecrated with such lively touches of nature ? And where is the rugged moralist, who will persuade us so far to chill the genial current of the soul, as to regret that Ovid ever celebrated his Corinna, or that Anacreon sung beneath his vine?” Such language as this, about the genial current of the soul,' (the love of strong drink and debauchery,) reminds us of the affectionate concern of the drunkard, for the reputation of the good creature, in his view so cruelly slandered.
Musicians, poets, painters, and statesmen, have fallen victims to this vice, and mainly because all the habits of society have been such as to encourage it. Music, painting, and poetry, have all been brought under contribution to foster the appetite of the drunkard. The celebrated pictures of Teniers, withdraw the mind's notice from the immorality of their subject, just in proportion to the exquisite humor, originality, and minuteness, with which the scene is delineated. The power of the artist makes the delighted spectator, though ever so temperate, almost wish, for a moment, to be one even of the drinking company on the canvass.
In some of the German and English drinking songs, music and poetry have been allied in so exquisite a manner, that they would, without any other temptation, be enough to beguile any young and susceptible being into this dreadful vice. Think now of influences like these, passing through society in the pleasantest shapes in which the soul is accustomed to receive her moral impressions! Even if each were very small in itself, combined together their power would be very great. The temperance reformation will never be victorious, till such sources of the evil as these are utterly cut off. And let it be remembered, that this reformation aims to turn that whole amount of talent and genius, that hitherto, in the midst of these influences, has swept onwards in a tide of moral ruin, into a channel where it shall be preserved for the whole world's good, and diffused in streams of benevolence. As in all other ways put together there has not been a greater waste of intellect than by this single vice, so in no other way can there be such a saving of the world's intellect as in the promotion of this temperance reformation.
It would be interesting and instructive to detect the influence of ardent spirit in the policy of nations; to show how many intrigues, involving the misery of multitudes, it has occasioned; of how many wars it has been the author, and how many it has been the chief agent in waging; how much cruel legislation it has caused; how much national iniquity in every shape.* How has it swept our own aborigines to destruction ! We have ministered to them the element of death, and with what fatal rapidity has it done its work, even on the noblest of their race! It is as if at the verge of some vast American forest, we had lighted fires all along its border, and then stood to gaze at the devouring progress of the conflagration as it wrapped the growth of centuries in a sheet of flame. The use of intoxicating liquor is the one grand vice, by whose instrumentality civilized and Christian nations have conquered and destroyed the uncivilized and the savage.
In the appalling disclosures made by the progress of the cholera, God seems as it were to have taken the advancement of this temperance reformation into his own hands. That disease has been stalking through the land, like a vast skeleton of death, holding up its skinny finger and pointing its dart, to warn the drunkard that his hour has come. A dreadful temperance agent is this Pestilence. There are no terms of exemption with him, but entire abstinence. Let the drunkard and the drinker of ardent spirit remember he may come again; and intemperance is a qualification he never overlooks. And let the vender of ardent spirit ask what right he has by this infamous traffic to put the lives of all his fellow-men in jeopardy, by thus inviting the approach, extending the ravages, and augmenting and perpetuating the malignity of the cholera, and multiplying all mortal diseases through the community. He ought to be confined in a madhouse, as much as any frenzied being whatever, whose liberty endangers the life and happiness of his neighbors. Last spring, in very self-defence from the sickness and death occasioned by vending ardent spirits, the Board of Health in the city of Washington proclaimed the selling of it in any quantity to be a nuisance, and prohibited it for ninety days. It ought to have been for ninety years. Every drunkard we have among us is like a barrel of gunpowder in a conflagration ; and every vender of the liquid fire, is like a man heaping coals upon the head of it. When the cholera, or any dreadful pestilence is in the land, it is the vender and the drinker of ardent spirit who are its allies. Both invite it ; the drunkard's very breath is a conductor for the pestilence; the village where he dwells is endangered ; and if it comes, it lights upon him, and spreads all around him.
* The celebrated author of the Declaration of American Independence, after long and painful experience, in the discharge of his arduous duties as chief magistrate of the nation, said with great emphasis : “The habit of using ardent spirit, by men in public office, has occasioned more injury to the public service, and more trouble to me, than any other circumstance which has occurred in the internal concerns of the country, during my administration; and were I to commence my administration again, with the knowledge, which, from experience, I have acquired, the first question which I would ask, with regard to every candidate for public office should be, 'Is he addicted to the use of ardent spirit?'”
As long as there are men in every town hardened enough to sell ardent spirit, as long as legislation sanctions it, as long as the community permit dram-shops to be licensed, the temperance reformation has accomplished comparatively nothing. It is like one solitary pump in a distressed vessel at sea in a storm, throwing out but a drop of water for the ocean that enters at every opening seam. In our whole land the reformation, great as it already is, is yet in its infancy. If now we relax our efforts, if we do not follow them
the tide of ruin will come back, with a force the more tremendous for being a little while resisted by a temporary dyke. There is nothing done to what may be done, must be done. What we have accomplished is to see and feel in some measure the greatness of the evil. Now let us set at work in earnest, to root it out utterly.
Next after the so called temperate drinkers, the whole weight of opposition this reformation meets with is from those who sell. But one word first in regard to these same temperate drinkers. Who are they? We mean, what are they? What are the temperate drinkers? They are the millions from whom the drafts of actual drunkards are yearly drawn. They are the corps-de-reserve, the unfailing resort, from whom come hourly new recruits, to supply the places of those whom death is taking constantly at his meals. They are moreover, the magazine of heaven's wrath, in offering materials for the rage of the pestilence. But are they not drunkards ? Can they be considered in any other light ? Who will mark out the line of distinction between temperate and intemperate drinking? It has been well remarked that there is no fact in the whole history of the temperance reformation, brought more powerfully into view than this;—that the moment the first impression of habit is made on the physical constitution by this destroying agent, that moment the individual's moral sense is perverted; he becomes insensible to his own state ; unwilling to acknowledge it even to himself; and as he goes on from step to step in the way to ruin, he is all the way indignant to be thought a drunkard, indignant to have his liberty of drinking infringed upon, and perfectly certain, in whatever light he may view the influence of ardent spirit on the community around him, that for him a little is necessary; at least his course can do no harm. Such is the infatuation of all who become addicted to its use. And but for those who will, despite of all remonstrance, persist in buying and using distilled liquor temperately, the traffic in this poison would be abandoned; for, the company of drunkards, however great, is rapidly diminishing, and if not increased from the ranks of those who call themselves temperate drinkers, would entirely disappear.
It is absolutely certain, that if all the temperate now in the land would adopt and adhere to the remedy of total abstinence, the vice of intemperance would totally vanish. It is equally certain that this remedy does not subject the members of temperance societies to the least sacrifice or inconvenience. It is certainly no self-denial to a temperate man to connect himself with a temperance society. And yet this simple, easy remedy, and one of unfailing efficiency, is neglected by multitudes. It is rejected, in many instances, even by professors of religion; and that too, in some cases, because the sale of sin and death is so profitable in this dying world ; because he finds the promotion of this horrid traffic one of the most prolific sources of earthly gain.
It has been feared that injury might result from the too reckless exposure of professors of religion. We have no such fears. They ought to be exposed. It is duty we owe God and our fellow-beings. The profession of religion never has been a cloak in which men could wrap their sins with impunity; at least not since the dark ages; we hope it never will be, as long as the world stands. God forbid ! Let us remember, that the mere profession of religion does not constitute Christianity now, any more than when our Lord declared he should one day say of many, that called him Lord ! Lord !-"Depart from me! I never knew you, ye that work iniquity.” In such a cause as this, it is both piety and wisdom to expose those first, who, under the garb of religion, are traitors to her holy cause.
The truth is, the guilt of this horrid traffic can scarcely be overstated. Its enormity defies exaggeration. Eternity will reveal it, when the graves shall have given up their dead, to stand at the bar of judgment, and witness against the soul of the vender of ardent spirit. That passage applies to him with awful significancy, “ Treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath;” for, the money gained by every drop of liquor he has sold for the perdition of his fellow-beings is added to the treasure of coming wrath, and the rust of his riches will eat into his own soul like a canker of fire.
- To the pauperism, crime, sickness, insanity, and death temporal and eternal, which ardent spirit occasions, those who knowingly furnish the materials, those who manufacture, and those who sell it, are all accessory, and as such will be held responsible at the divine tribunal." “ Disguise that business as they will,” say the New York State Society, at the head of which is the Chancellor of the State, “ disguise that business as they will, it is still, in its true character, the business of destroying the bodies and souls of men. The vender and the maker of spirit, in the whole range of them, from the pettiest grocer to the most extensive distiller, are fairly chargeable, not only with supplying the appetite for spirit, but with creating that unnatural appetite ; not only with supplying the drunkard with the fuel of his vices, but with making the drunkard.” Seller of Rum! remember that “to all the evils consequent on the use of ardent spirit, those who continue to traffic in it, after all the light which God in his providence has thrown upon the subject, are knowingly accessory. Whether they deal in it by wholesale or retail, by the cargo or the glass, they are, in their influence, drunkardmakers." “ There was a time,” the report of the American Temperance Society continues, “when the owners did not know the dangerous and destructive qualities of this articlewhen the facts had not been developed and published, nor the minds of men turned to this subject; when they did not know that it caused such a vast portion of the vice and wretchedness of the community, and such wide spreading desolation to the temporal and eternal interests of men ; and although it then destroyed thousands for both worlds, the guilt of the men who sold it was comparatively small. But now, they sin against light pouring down upon them with un