Why and How : a hand-book for the use of the W.C.T. unions in Canada - Part 2

Part 2

In the organization of this Provincial Union, Mrs. E. McLaughlin, of Boston, Miss Anna Gordon (Miss Willard's secretary) and Mrs. S. W.

Foster, of Knowlton, rendered valuable a.s.sistance.

The departments of work arranged by this Provincial Union, are as follows:--

Heredity and Hygiene, Mrs. D. V. Lucas, Supt., Montreal.

Scientific Work, Mrs. Norton, Montreal.

Juvenile and S.S. Work, Miss Rhynas, Montreal.

Temperance Literature, and Influencing the Press, Mrs. Jack, Chateauguay Basin.

Evangelistic Work, Miss Knowles, East Farnham.

Prison and Police Work, Mrs. Dean, Quebec.

Work among Intemperate Women, Mrs. Barker, Knowlton.

Social Work, Mrs. C. T. Williams, Montreal.

Legislation, Mrs. Geggie, Quebec.

Each County Vice-President is, to a certain extent, responsible for the work in her county, and in this Province as well as in Ontario, they have proved themselves to be a band of faithful and efficient workers. In the short time which has elapsed since the formation of the Provincial W.C.T.U., and the election of county vice-president, with the a.s.sistance of their president, twenty new Unions have been added, making, in all, thirty-seven Unions, with a total membership of about 2,300. Of this number, more than 1,300 are in the City of Montreal. In this particular Union the fee is optional, which may account, in some measure, for the seeming disproportion in members.


The first local union in the Province of New Brunswick was organized in the town of Moncton, in December, 1875, Mrs. (Rev.) J. E. Brown being president. Work among the children has largely engaged the attention of this society, while they have been faithful and persevering in their efforts to educate the public mind by means of lectures and distribution of temperance literature. They have also visited those engaged in selling liquors, and have reasoned with them, to some purpose, on the unrighteousness of their course.

Unions were formed shortly after in St. John, Fredericton, Portland, Carleton and St. Stephen's. In all these places much work has been done, and general temperance sentiment very materially advanced.

In October, 1879, in compliance with a call issued by the Fredericton Union, the delegates of the local Unions in that Province met to form a Provincial Union. Twenty delegates and visitors were present, representing five Unions, and the Prov. Union was at once organized, the following officers being elected:

President, Mrs. Dunham, Portland, N.B.; Vice-Presidents, Mrs., March, St. John, Mrs. McWilliams, Carleton, Mrs. Cunard, Portland, Mrs. Philips, Fredericton, Mrs. Wade, Woodstock; Secretary, Mrs.

Steadman, Fredericton; Treasurer, Miss Lockhart, St. John; Auditor, Miss Carr, Carleton.

Since that time the work in this Province has gone steadily forward, some new Unions have been added, and a deeper interest in temperance shown, by many who were formerly indifferent.

In September, 1883, the Annual Meeting of this Provincial Union was again held in Fredericton, at which, invited delegates from N.S. and P.E.I. were present. Here it was decided that for the best interests of the Union work in those Eastern Provinces, the organization should be made Maritime instead of Provincial, representing Nova Scotia and Prince Edward's Island, as well as New Brunswick. This was done, and the following officers were elected:

President, Mrs. Dr. Todd, St. Stephen. Vice-Presidents, one from each Local Union. Secretary, Miss Ella L. Thorne, Fredericton, N.B.; a.s.sistant Secretary, Mrs. Denistadt, Moncton, N.B.; Auditor, Mrs. W.

W. Turnbull, St John, N.B.; Treasurer, Miss Jane Lockhart, St. John, N.B.

There are ten Unions in these Provinces. The exact number of members is not furnished, but if we may judge by the work accomplished, there must be very many workers in behalf of this cause in these Eastern Provinces.

The lines of work followed have been similar to those laid down by the other Provincial Unions. The ladies of St John Union have, however, with the a.s.sistance of other Unions, and private subscriptions, erected a drinking fountain in their city at a cost of about $850. This is the first fountain erected by W.C.T.U. in Canada.

The Portland Union has built a hall for its own use, where all Union meetings are held.

Coffee houses and temperance hotels have been established, libraries have been opened, and much attention paid to the scientific instruction in temperance to the children of the public schools.

The Provincial Union of British Columbia was formed in 1883, and comprised two local Unions, one in Victoria, organized at the same time as Provincial, and the other in New Westminster. Total membership 120. In addition to the branches of work undertaken by the other provincial Unions, this society has declared in favor of the ballot for women.

President, Mrs., (Rev.) Pollard, Victoria, B.C., Cor. Sec. Mrs. D.

A. Jenkins, Victoria, B.C.

In Manitoba two local Unions have been organized. One in Winnipeg, Mrs. Monk, president, Mrs. Somerset, Secretary; and one Union in Brandon, President, Mrs. Davidson; Secretary, Mrs. Bliss. These are just beginning the good work, but at the end of another year, will have, doubtless, a record to give of many useful measures planned and executed, by means of which reformatory, educational, preventive and legislative work will have been effectually accomplished. Our Canadian women gratefully acknowledge the aid given us by many of our sisters across the border, who have greatly a.s.sisted us from time to time with wise counsel and stirring words of appeal. Especially do they remember the inspiration and fresh courage that came to them with the presence and influence of Miss Willard. The formation of the Dominion Union was largely due to her counsel, and to her visit and eloquent addresses we owe the British Columbia Union, provincial and local. Mrs. Emily McLaughlin has also won the hearts of all with whom she came in contact during her visits in Canada, and a large accession to the membership of the Unions has always followed her powerful and persuasive utterances.


For some months previous to the meeting of the Ontario Provincial Union in October, 1883, a correspondence had been carried on between some of the leading temperance women in the different Provinces, regarding the advisability of forming a Dominion Union. All were in favor of taking this step if any additional good could be gained, or if it would be of benefit to any. With this feeling, and acting upon the advice of Miss Willard, president of the N.W.C.T.U., who was present at the meeting, the Ontario convention appointed a committee consisting of Mrs. Chisholm and Mrs. Strachan, to confer with the executive of the Quebec Provincial Union, for the purpose of forming a Dominion Union, At the interview with the Quebec Provincial Executive, it was stated that from private letters received from other Provinces, there would be no difficulty in the way of organizing the proposed Union. It was also suggested that, in the event of such organization, no meeting should be called before 1885, as some of the Provincial Unions had so recently been formed, and would need all the thought and care that could be given them for a time, at least.

After some questions and explanations, with a little discussion, it was decided that a Dominion Union be organized. A const.i.tution was drawn up, similar to the one in use by the N.W.C.T.U., of the United States, and the following officers elected: President, Mrs. L.

Youmans, Picton, Ont.; Vice-Presidents, Mrs. A. C. Chisholm, Ottawa, Ont.; Mrs. Middleton, Quebec; Mrs. Dr. Todd, Fredericton, N.B.; Mrs.

Rev. Pollard, Victoria, B.C.; Corresponding Secretary, Mrs. Major Tilton, Ottawa, Ont.; Recording Secretary, Miss Renaud, Montreal, P.Q.; Treasurer, Mrs. Judge Steadman, Fredericton, N. B.

The aim of this Union will be to unite more closely in their work, the Christian temperance women of the different Provinces, and to devise plans for the general good, these to be largely carried out by the Provincial Unions. Its first meeting will be held during the session of Parliament at Ottawa in 1885.



1. _For their own sakes._--In the years that are pa.s.sed women have been to a great extent, "run in moulds like candles," and have been "long threes or short sixes," just as society chose to make them. Occasionally, one and another have refused to be run in the old mould, but seeing the need to be so great, and the workers so few, have stepped outside the narrow circle set round them, and with their faith and courage and persistent loving labor, have brought a new inspiration to the world's workers, and a new hope to the world's weary ones.

This W.T.C.U. work opens up to women avenues of usefulness that for their own sakes they ought not to hesitate to enter. Thus engaged the circle widens and widens until the possibilities of usefulness are almost limitless. As the boundaries are set further on the thought and sympathy of women reach out gradually to their limit, broader views of life and of humanity are taken on, and a deep, great love for all G.o.d's suffering ones is added to the love of the heart for family and kindred. In this work is found something of real "fellowship with G.o.d," and we are enabled to understand something of His great love, even for the unlovable, and to rejoice as in the "presence of the angels of G.o.d," over His repentant, returning children.

2. _For their Sisters' Sake._--It is a sad fact that we gather from the statistics and police returns of the large cities of England in relation to the drinking habits of English women. Referring to it the Archbishop of Canterbury calls it "The very dark shadow d.o.g.g.i.ng the steps of the Church of England Society." "If," said His Grace, "drinking is introduced among the women of our middle or still higher cla.s.ses, by means of grocers' licences, we need not think it will confine itself wholly to them. No, depend upon it, if any practice of women's drinking comes into use, we shall see it in its most open and shameless form." Those of us who have tried to do any work among drinking women, must admit the painful truth that a small number of such, comparatively, are ever recovered from the habit of drinking, and a very small proportion are rescued from the haunts of vice. When we think of this, and think too, of the hereditary taint, the craving for drink, transmitted from these mothers to their children, and of the lives of sin which, too often, follow, we do not wonder at the alarm expressed in the recent report of the House of Lords' Committee on Intemperance in these words, "Intemperance among women is increasing on a scale so vast, and at a rate of progression so rapid, as to const.i.tute a new _reproach_ and _danger."_ While this is true of England, and while we grieve over the drinking habits of women in other countries, have we not reason to fear that our Canadian women are not free from this vice. Every district visitor knows, every city missionary is conscious of the fact, that the poverty, the distress in so many homes is not solely because "Father drinks," but often because "Mother sells everything for whiskey." And the drinking among women is not confined to the cla.s.s mentioned, for can you not think of ladies of wealth and position in your community, whose names are always spoken in a sort of twilight tone and with a little sigh? Do you not know that while ladies go from our large cities to "spend months abroad," in some cases, these months are spent in inebriate asylums, while their friends fondly hope they may return cured? There are homes where the father dare not allow his daughters to attend an evening party, for fear that they may disgrace the family by taking too much wine, and acting in a silly manner.

While we know these things to be true, we can not put them from us with a sense of freedom from responsibility. Let us then for our own sakes individually, in order that we may be made unselfish and loving, and more like the Divine Christ, step forward into this work.

And for the sake of women, our sisters, let us come out of the narrow path of custom; let us brave opposition or ridicule, which is harder to bear, and be true-hearted and whole-hearted in this temperance work.

3. _For the Children's Sake._--To women is largely committed the care of children in those first years of their lives when impressions for good or evil are readily received, and habits easily formed, and during this time principles may be firmly imbedded in the fresh soil that may grow to be a hedge against evil, a barrier between them and wrong in the coming years. Mothers have a great responsibility in this matter, and one from which they may not escape. If our children see the wine-gla.s.s on the home table, in the side-board, at our evening parties, will they not think wine-drinking right and safe, and will there be any fear in their hearts of that which at the last stingeth like a serpent and biteth like an adder?

"The hardest blow I ever received," said a devoted mother, occupying a high social position in our land, "was when my eldest boy turned to me in answer to my expostulation with him about taking too much wine, and said, 'Mother, you know I learned to drink at home.'" So many have said, "If I had only known then what I know now, how different my home would have been, I would not now have to reproach myself for the wrongdoing of husband or of sons." Recently a member of one of our Christian churches, a lady of wealth and refinement, whose home was a home of luxury, and on whose hospitable board the wine-gla.s.s was placed as a matter of custom, during the long years of married life, was called to pa.s.s through a very painful experience, a very Gethsemane. Her eldest son had grown to be "a little wild," would go from home occasionally for a day or two, causing his parents great anxiety concerning him. On this occasion nearly a week had pa.s.sed since they had seen him, when a message came to the mother from one of the city policemen. She hurried with the messenger to the gaol, there to meet her darling boy, the one in whom her fondest hopes had been centred, and for whom her brightest dreams had been so many times thought out, the boy she ceased not thinking of other than true, loving and pure,--to find him battered, bruised, and bleeding, with clothes disordered and torn, a sad example of the transformation which strong drink can produce. Some one writes, "It is sad to be disappointed in those we love," but who can tell the agony of that mother's heart as she looked at her shattered idol, and cried out, "My son, why will you drink and break my heart?" I shall not soon forget his reply, "Because you gave it to me at home," nor can I forget that mother's face as there came over her soul the awful realization of all that the thoughtlessness of custom had done for her boy. As we pa.s.sed out she said, "No more wine at our table, G.o.d helping me," but while children still at home may be kept, it is too late for the eldest born. To day he is a wanderer from home, and mother, and G.o.d. While human hearts and human prayers follow him, G.o.d's mercy alone can reach and save.

4. _For the safely of Home._--Home is emphatically the kingdom of woman. Here she is queen, and can order all its belongings as she deems best. To a very great degree its inmates are _subjects_ of her kingdom, and acknowledge her sway. The cases are few, perhaps, where her wishes are not respected, her right acceded to in all home arrangements. But to ensure a perfect home it is necessary that purity and peace should guard the threshold, that nothing unholy may enter, and that the noise of the world's strife pa.s.s not through.

Here there should be rest and peace. The liquor traffic is the avowed enemy of the home. While this exists not one home is absolutely safe, not one household is quite free from danger. This enemy does not scruple to enter the rightful kingdom of woman to rob, murder, and to destroy, and to lay in ruins all that before was bright and beautiful. The strong man is made helpless under its influence, all loveliness withers at its touch, the darkness of its shadow shuts out the sunlight, and its breath of death is over all. While this is true we ought surely to act as if we believed it to be true, and do all in our power to bar the door against this destroyer. As women to whom G.o.d has given reason, intelligence, the blessings of a Christian education and much influence in our homes, we dare not bow down longer to a custom so fraught with evil and so ruinous in its effects. A bird will be quick to discover the approach of the serpent, and will spread its wings over the nest to protect its nestlings, and shall we not shield the dear ones in the home nest from the approach of this serpent, whose nature it is to kill and to destroy?

5. _For the sake of Society._--While woman is queen of the home realm, she also reigns in society,--society which is made up from the homes of our land, If all homes were peaceful and pure, society would have no evils, there would be less necessity to warn and protect the innocent, and our newspapers would need small s.p.a.ce to tell of moral wrecks, despair, murder and suicide. But until that time shall come, there is need for the influence of true, earnest women to so mould society that men and women shall be made n.o.bler and better for being in their presence. The influence of such women is like the gentle dew, refreshing and enriching tender plant and opening flower; her example is as the sunlight, warming the heart and quickening the life to n.o.bler deeds and guiding the wandering feet heavenward.

All over our country, homes are constantly sending out their young men into business, into society, and the home life is exchanged for something new, Day by day we are meeting these, receiving them into our homes, making them welcome to our parlors. What shall our influence be upon them? A young man comes to a city with good recommendations; he has high hopes, gets into a good business, is made much of in society. He is a pure man, such as mothers would choose as companion for their sons and daughters. How many hopes and prayers have come with him from the home hearth, and how glad and proud his best friends are to know that he is doing well. As he spends his evenings in our homes, those evenings that would otherwise be very dreary, what will the home do for him? Shall women, who rule society, use their influence to disappoint all the bright home dreaming, to check all his high aspirations, and to make it very easy for him to become a victim to this appet.i.te for drink? Not that this is ever intentionally done, but the history of many men, given years after in many of our Gospel temperance meetings, proves that this is terribly true.

"I never offer anything to any one fond of liquor, not even on New Year's day," said a lady, "but none of _our_ young men are." Are we correct in saying that of any circle in society where wine is tasted, "none of our young men are." Women do not know, even the mothers in the same home do not know what young men know of each other. We do not see how the gla.s.s of wine at the evening party, where he can take a little, not too much, is followed later in the evening and till the daylight hours, by gla.s.s after gla.s.s of stronger liquor, taken amid far different surroundings.

Many young men date their downfall from the first evening spent in society in a strange city, for while they could resist the temptations of young men companions, they have not been able to refuse the wine-gla.s.s at the hand of their hostess.

In view of all these facts, so sad, so pitiful, ought we not for our own sake, for the sake of innocent children in our homes, for the sake of other women's children and other homes, and for the sake of society at large, in order to lead men and women, as best we may, towards all that is pure and holy, and away from all that is debasing and evil, ought we not to give our influence and our active help to this temperance work?