[1860 Maine Temperance Manuscript Address mentioning Slavery and discussing the Role of Women in Temperance Associations].
Temperance address delivered by Thomas Small, Esq. of Andover, Oxford County, Maine¹ at the annual meeting of the Union Temperance Association of Woodstock, in the same county. The author adroitly links the evil of intemperance to slavery and points to the need for the expanded role of women in temperance societies.
Small’s address begins by railing against intemperance:
A few noble hearted men…observed that the habitual use of alcoholic drinks, in all their various forms, renders thousands miserable; that they blasted, like the poisonous winds of the desert, the health, happiness and peace of the people—destroying brightes[t] intellects, and crushing the fondest hopes of man, by its withering influence—clothing mothers in misery and children with rags—Men ‘lectioneered with the infernal glass and road [rode, i.e. ridden] into office on the tide of intemperance. (pp5–6)
Small mentions “Maine Law” and the “license system” and easily segues from the evil “traffic in ardent spirits” to the traffic in human beings—slavery:
We cannot treat the traffic in ardent spirits with too much abhorrence. An evil which has caused so much misery and death; which is so malignant, as to associate with all other evils; which does so much to agrivate [sic] the sorrows of African slavery, that scourge of this country—In a word, we would say to all, beware of its pernitious [sic] influence. Shun all the dens of intoxication. They, to millions are the avenues of infamy and crime. (p24)
Violence and ill treatment of women follow too:
The rehearsal of the bloody massacres; and the cruel treatment of inof[f]ensive women and children, which are recorded in the annals of Intemperance—even the perusal of such a gloomy gazette[e]r would startle our blood with horror; and make one sick at heart. (p25)
From this turning point in the manuscript Small adroitly pivots again, this time to the role of women. For three pages he urges them to join the Union Temperance Association, and “sign the pledge.” He declares: “Come mothers and bring your knitting work, if you please.” (p28) He praises the Association for admitting women:
There is a beautiful significancy in the very name [of the Association]. And there is a peculiar significancy in its provision to admit the ladies as members. If women hold the political power of Society, women have mainly in their hands the more important moral power. It is obvious there cannot be a moral community where women are licentious. There can not be a refined society, where Females are neglected and ignorant. (p26)
An interesting and artifactual temperance manuscript address from Oxford County, Maine. The address was written there, delivered there and carefully preserved in a wrapper re-purposed from local job printer, J. Alden Smith, in Bethel, in the same county.
Description: [1860 Maine Temperance Manuscript Address mentioning Slavery and discussing the Role of Women in Temperance Associations].
[Andover, Maine, 1860]. ff., comprising 36½ manuscript pages. Booklet. 7¾ x 5¼ inches. With dark blue, near-contemporary supplied wrapper comprised of an 1861 broadside or advertisement leaf for Bethel, Maine job printer, J. Alden Smith. Wrappers with folds, creases, and some losses; mild offsetting from wrappers onto terminal leaves; some leaves with creases and minor rubbing along fore-edge; small loss to final leaf, affecting one word; overall, good with manuscript accomplished in a neat hand.
Note. 1. Small appears in the 1850 Census, age 18, in Andover, Oxford County, Maine, the son of Joshua and Dorothea Small; see 1850 Federal Census Oxford County, Maine (Town of Andover: File 1 of 2) accessed online.