One of the Middle States has a representative who very rarely appears in his seat, for the reason that he is so great an inebriate that he can neither walk nor ride. He is a good Democrat.
As God looks down on our State and national legislatures, he holds us responsible. We cast the votes. We lift up the legislators.
Will the time never come when this nation shall rise up higher than partisanship, and cast its suffrage for sober men?
The fact is that the two millions of dollars which the liquor dealers raised for the purpose of swaying State and national legislation has done its work, and the nation is debauched. Higher than legislatures or the Congress of the United States is the Whiskey Ring!
The Sabbath has been sacrificed to the rum traffic. To many of our people the best day of the week is the worst. Bakers must keep their shops closed on the Sabbath. It is dangerous to have loaves of bread going out on Sunday. The shoe-store is closed; severe penalty will attack the man who sells boots on the Sabbath. But down with the window-shutters of the grog shops. Our laws shall confer particular honors upon the rum traffickers. All other traders must stand aside for these. Let our citizens who have disgraced themselves by trading in clothing, and hosiery, and hardware, and lumber, and coal, take off their hats to the rum-seller, elected to particular honor. It is unsafe for any other class of men to be allowed license for Sunday work. But swing out your signs, oh ye traffickers in the peace of families, and in the souls of immortal men! Let the corks fly, and the beer foam, and the rum go tearing down the half-consumed throat of the inebriate. God does not see, does he? Judgment will never come, will it?
People say—“Let us have some law to correct this evil.” We have more law now than we execute. In what city is there a mayoralty that dare do it? There is no advantage in having the law higher than public opinion. What would be the use of the Maine Law in New York? Neal Dow, the Mayor of Portland, came out with a posse and threw the rum of the city into the street. From the alms-house a woman came out and said, “Oh! if this had only been done ten years ago, my husband would not have died a drunkard, and I would not have been a widow in the almshouse.”
But there are not enough police in the city of New York to stand by its Mayor in such an undertaking; public opinion is not educated.
I do not know but that God is determined to let drunkards triumph; and the husbands and sons of thousands of our best families be destroyed by this vice, in order that our people, amazed and indignant, may rise up and demand the extermination of this municipal crime.
There is a way of driving down the hoops of a barrel until the hoops break.