T. De Witt Talmage eBook

Thomas De Witt Talmage
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 389 pages of information about T. De Witt Talmage.
in the dark alley smote down the great orator and the great legislator.  The one you wrapped in a rough cloth, and pushed into a rough coffin, and carried out in a box waggon, and let him down into a pauper’s grave, without a prayer or a benediction.  Around the other gathered the pomp of the land; and lordly men walked with uncovered heads beside the hearse tossing with plumes on the way to a grave to be adorned with a white marble shaft, all four sides covered with eulogium.  The one man was killed by logwood rum at two cents a glass, the other by a beverage three dollars a bottle.  I write both their epitaphs.  I write the one epitaph with my lead pencil on the shingle over the pauper’s grave; I write the other epitaph with a chisel, cutting on the white marble of the senator:  “Slain by strong drink.”  The time came when dissipation was no longer a hindrance to office in this country.  Did we not at one time have a Secretary of the United States carried home dead drunk?  Did we not have a Vice-President sworn in so intoxicated the whole land hid its head in shame?  Judges and jurors and attorneys sometimes tried important cases by day, and by night caroused together in iniquity.

During the war whiskey had done its share in disgracing manhood.  What was it that defeated the armies sometimes in the late war?  Drunkenness in the saddle!  What mean those graves on the heights of Fredericksburg?  As you go to Richmond you see them.  Drunkenness in the saddle.  In place of the bloodshed of war, came the deformations of character, libertinism!

Again and again it was demonstrated that impurity walked under the chandeliers of the mansion, and dozed on damask upholstery.  In Albany, in Harrisburg, in Trenton, in Washington, intemperance was rife in public places.

The two political parties remained silent on the question.  Hand in hand with intemperance went the crime of bribery by money—­by proffered office.

For many years after the war had been almost forgotten, in many of the legislatures it was impossible to get a bill through unless it had financial consideration.

The question was asked softly, sometimes very softly, in regard to a bill:  “Is there any money in it?” And the lobbies of the Legislatures and the National Capitol were crowded with railroad men and manufacturers and contractors.  The iniquity became so great that sometimes reformers and philanthropists have been laughed out of Harrisburg, and Albany, and Trenton, and Washington, because they came empty-handed.  “You vote for this bill, and I’ll vote for that bill.”  “You favour that monopoly of a moneyed institution, and I’ll favour the other monopoly of another institution.”  And here is a bill that is going to be very hard to get through the Legislature, and some friends met together at a midnight banquet, and while intoxicated promised to vote the same way.  Here are $5,000 for prudent distribution in this direction, and here

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T. De Witt Talmage from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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