Having said this, he sent out for pen, ink and paper, and a pledge was carefully drawn up, of which the following is a copy:
“We, whose names are hereunto affixed, knowing by sad experience that the use of wine, beer, cider, rum, brandy, gin, and all kinds of intoxicating drinks, is hurtful to man, beast and reptile, do hereby pledge ourselves most solemnly to abstain now, henceforth, and forever, from the use of them in whatever shape they may be presented; to neither eat, drink, touch, taste, nor handle them; and in every place, and on every occasion, to use our influence in inducing others to do the same.”
The speaker was the first to place his name to this document; and the keeper of the cellar started when he read the name of “Edward Dayton.”
“Is it possible!” said he, and, grasping his hand, he shook it most heartily.
Edward was as much astonished as he. Such a change had taken place that they could not at first recognize each other.
“Yes,” said Edward, “you tempted me to drink. I forgive. I now tempt you to sign this pledge.”
No words were required to induce all present to sign.
They all spake of their past lives, related the sorrows they had felt, the misery they had endured; and such was the interest manifested by each in listening to these plain, unvarnished tales, that they resolved upon meeting in that same place the next night.
The next day, the report spread like wild-fire about the city that drunkards themselves were reforming. Many doubted, and would not believe such to be the case.
“They are past reforming,” said public opinion; “let them die; let us take care of the young.”
They met in the same place the next night, but the next they did not. Their numbers had so increased that the cellar would not contain them; and they engaged a large hall, and gave public notice that a meeting would be held at which reformed drunkards would speak. Those who before doubted did so no more; yet from many the sneering, cold-hearted remark was heard, “They will not hold on.”
At the hour appointed, hundreds thronged to the place, and hundreds departed, being unable to gain admittance. That night, nearly five hundred signed the new pledge, and new additions were made daily.
It had a power which no previous pledge had possessed; a power, with God’s, aid, to bring man from the lowest depths of woe, place him on his feet, and tell him, “Sin no more.”
The new society increased in numbers. In other cities the same feeling arose, and societies of the same kind were formed. The papers were filled with accounts of their meetings, and the cause spread, to the astonishment and grateful admiration of all.
Days of prosperity gladdened the heart of Edward. Joy took the place of sorrow in his family. He, like his thousands of brethren, had been snatched as a brand from the burning, and stood forth a living monument to the truth that there was a hope for the fallen.