Why and How : a hand-book for the use of the W.C.T. unions in Canada - Part 3

Part 3


Every human being has influence, and we may not know the effect of our words or of our silence. The fact being generally known that one is a member of the W.C.T.U. has sometimes a great influence. Recently one of our temperance workers spent a few weeks at the sea-side. She had no occasion to speak of her temperance principles, but as the little white envelopes marked W.C.T.U. went out from the office of the hotel from time to time, it soon became known that she was a temperance woman. Mrs. ---- one morning was very much interested to hear as she pa.s.sed a bathing house near her own, "Here, take some brandy before Mrs. ---- comes down," and the reply, "Mamma, she don't take any, and the bathing don't make her sick." It was thought a necessary preventive in this case, but there was a silent influence that conveyed its disapproval. Yet there are many ways in which women may exert more than a silent influence in this work.

1. _In the Home._--The time has gone by, when it was thought absolutely necessary to have the brandy bottle on the sideboard and in the kitchen, and when it was thought to be flying in the face of Providence if one made a voyage or took a journey without this companion. Years ago even temperance people dare not exercise quite enough faith and common sense to enable them to put this thing quite out of their homes, so for every ailment, for spleen and spasms, for tooth ache and toe ache, for head ache and heart ache, this wonderful remedy was used. This greater than all quack medicines, for _some_ of these do stop at _some_ point in their healing power, but this was thought to be _never failing_ in its virtue to alleviate, if not to cure. Women in the last few years have been wiser than the doctors, for while they looked only at alleviation of pain, wives and mothers began to look beyond that, at the probable acquirement of the taste for drink, and now this prescription is becoming less frequent. Let the women of Canada banish this liquor from their sideboards and kitchens, and from their medicine chests.

Let it be given as medicine, only as a last resort, and by the advice of a careful physician. Let temperance papers be taken in the home, that young and old may see and know all that is going on in the world in relation to temperance. We have our political papers, our church papers, our fashion magazines, let us have, too, our temperance papers, books and magazines.

Encourage the children to become members of a Band of Hope, and, if possible, go with them occasionally to their meetings, thus showing your interest in their particular work.

We are glad to think the custom of supplying farm hands with beer is not prevalent in this country, but there may be places here and there where this has been customary. Here farmer's wives may provide a subst.i.tute in oatmeal drink, cold tea or coffee. These are a few of the many ways in which women may work for temperance in the home.

2. _In Society_--To exercise an influence for good it is not necessary that we should always sit pledge books in hand, and talk on the subject of temperance, but while this question occupies such a large share of public attention as at the present time, there will be few communities where it will not form one of the topics of conversation. Then a quiet declaration of principles is the stand we must take. If we wear the white ribbon, the badge of our Union, it will often save us annoyance, and help us when necessary to speak the whole truth. It very often happens that our position is a.s.sailed, and then we should be able to give a reason for the stand we take. To this end our women should read and search out for themselves arguments based on scientific investigation, with which to meet opposition. We need to inform ourselves, not only as to the evil effects of alcohol on the human system, but how it produces this effect, the waste to the country in drink, difference between communities where prohibition is in force, and where licence reigns, &c. In giving and attending entertainments, parties, &c., be outspoken in your disapproval of wine drinking. This is no longer running the risk of being singular in society, for some of the highest dignitaries of this land and other lands have banished strong drink in every form from their tables and entertainments. Mr. Moody said recently, "Eight years ago it was difficult for me to mix in English society without being constantly pressed to drink wine. Now, I may say, broadly, I am never asked to touch it, and at many places where I go, it is not even on the table." Much of this change has been brought about by the influence of English ladies of rank, and by their warm espousal of the cause of the Blue Ribbon Army.

Some of our ladies do not receive much company in this way, and have not this opportunity for helping on the right, but in quiet visits to and fro, their influence may accomplish much. To speak of a good temperance book to a friend, a book which we have just read, and in which we have been interested, to offer to lend it, saying you are sure she will be as interested in it as you have been,--this is not much, perhaps, but it is the sowing of the seed, which may produce fruit, such as we have not faith to think of, in the days to come.

3. _In the School._--We have faith to believe that the schools will yet const.i.tute one wing of this great temperance army, for we can never succeed fully without them. The voters of the present day may place a law upon the statute book, and temperance men and women will do their best for its enforcement, and find it a task beset with more or less difficulty. But the boys and girls in our public schools will be the ma.s.ses of to-morrow. Let them be taught _now_ the nature and effects of alcohol on the human system, and to-morrow they will vote intelligently on this question, and will stand by the laws they have made.

Many of our best women are engaged in teaching these boys and girls, and thus have a grand opportunity for good work in the temperance cause. If a text book on this subject be not in use, there are still ways in which a conscientious teacher, thoroughly alive to its importance, may convey to the minds of her pupils much of the truth about alcohol. She may procure Dr. Richardson's Lesson Book, or Dr.

Ridge's Primer, so largely in use in the schools of England, Dr.

Steele's Physiology and Hygiene, or the book authorized by the Educational Department of Ontario, now in course of preparation, and from any of these prepare a lesson, occasionally, for her scholars.

Different phases of the temperance question might be put before them, in a very simple form, as subjects for their compositions.

Recitations, with this end in view, might be had from time to time.

In the town of Pembroke, Ont., one of the public school teachers has enrolled all the children willing to join, in a Band of Hope, with the name "Pembroke Public School Prohibition Army." The W.C.T.U. of that place contributed a very handsome banner to be carried by the little ones in their occasional processions, and to have in their place of meeting.

Then women will have influence with school boards and trustees in many places, and may, by a simple request, gain their consent that temperance lessons be given by the teachers. Sometimes a general pet.i.tion may be necessary, (always to be signed by a majority of _voters_) and this may be successfully arranged by women. Where the school is a denominational inst.i.tution, it is wise also to approach the synod or conference to which it belongs. By patient and never tiring effort in city and country the schools will one day rally as a body to our help in this work.

5. _In the Union._--It has been said so often by busy women whose hearts were nevertheless with the temperance work, "I will contribute to the funds of the Union, but it would be of no use for me to join, for I could not find time to attend the meetings." Yet, after all, it is better to join, better to be known as a _member,_ if you go only once in three months to a meeting. It is better for the Union, better for yourself, and better for your influence at home and in society. And let the members of the Union feel that the meeting is in part theirs, and that they are responsible for its success as they would be for the success of a party given in their own house.

In both cases there are many circ.u.mstances which we must control or make the best of, and Christian politeness should never be absent.

Outside of the meetings there is a wide field not only for general temperance work, but of special work for the Union. As we pay our social visits we may talk of the interesting meetings of the W.C.T.U., or of any special work we have in hand, inviting our friends to come and visit the Union, even if they do not wish to become members. Let this be done in an offhand way, and not in this style, "Now I've come to tell you how wicked you are to drink wine, and I want you to sign the pledge and join the Union." People cannot be scolded or driven into a new faith, but must be won by patience and love.

The Loan Library of the Union ought to be kept in constant circulation among those who are not members, as well as among ourselves. Mrs. S.M.I. Henry's "Voice of the Home," and "Mabel's Work," have exerted an influence for good over the women of our country, and in one community the reading of these books led to the formation of a W.C.T.U. which has done good work, and rendered valuable a.s.sistance in the Scott Act contest. The circulation of works of this kind with those of a more solid nature will secure deeper thought on this subject, and a stronger desire to unite with the women of our land in their efforts to banish the liquor traffic.

We can also be loyal to the Union, and to every member individually.

While we see each other's infirmities more plainly perhaps than we see our own, let us cover them carefully, as far as we may, from those not in sympathy with us, and let the letters W.C.T.U. be indeed a bond of union.

6. _By the Pen._--A W.C.T.U. paper or periodical in Canada is one of our great wants, perhaps the greatest. We have gifted ones in our societies, who have it in their power to make its pages interesting and instructive, but we lack the necessary funds. The little "Telephone," the organ of the W.C.T.U. of the Maritime Provinces, which has recently made its appearance, is a credit to that society, as well as to its editor and publisher, Mrs. Cowil, a woman self-taught in the art of printing, and full of faith and courage in their new enterprise. All over our land there are women ready with their pen, whose message has been long delayed, and whose thoughts we need. While, as yet, we have no paper of our own, the best papers of our Provinces will open their columns for the contributions of thoughtful writers on this temperance question, and we should take advantage of this in order to bring our W.C.T.U. work more prominently before the public, and to help on the cause of truth and right. In each county there might be found, at least, one woman who would write for the papers of that county, or send selections concerning the work, better if one such be found in each union. Very often incidents occur in the reformatory phase of the work the publication of which may have a greater effect on the public mind than the closest reasoning. If our women will only use their pens in these cases it will tell for good. Then, too, privately, we may do much. A little note to this one, a friendly letter to another, a few lines of encouragement to a weak one, a warning of love to another, these stay by one when the sound of words has pa.s.sed away, and who may estimate the result? The most quiet and retiring may do, those who for many reasons feel themselves shut out from anything more public.

7. _On the Platform._--This is what our Canadian women shrink from. One of our most distinguished clergymen recently said, "It is not because our ladies have less talent than those of other lands, that they do not come to the platform, but because they have so little confidence in themselves." While this may be so there is still another reason. We know that in this country there exists a prejudice against women speakers, stronger than even in England, and certainly greater than obtains in the United States. This knowledge has deterred many from yielding to the conviction of duty. Dear sisters, this should not be. The first commission given to women was from the risen Saviour, "Go and tell the brethren." If to-day there are those among our number who have received a message from the Divine One, if to them the command has come to tell of the love of G.o.d to suffering humanity, are they doing well who refuse? If we have something to say let us say it in the fear of G.o.d, whether man will "hear or forbear."

As county superintendents or vice-presidents there is scope for the exercise of this gift. All our counties need to be thoroughly canva.s.sed, and in many places addresses given on this subject, in order that people may be roused to their duty, and that new unions may be established. There are few of us that may be called to leave our homes for the public platform, but there is often a necessity at our very doors, and if the opportunity, the need come to us let us with faithful earnestness and prayerful faith give to others our best thoughts and our wisest counsel in relation to this great subject before us.



There are, at least, a few earnest Christian women in every community who are thoroughly convinced of the great benefit such a society would be to the place in which they live. In many of the counties of Ontario and Quebec, a vice-president or superintendent is appointed for county work. It would be advisable to correspond with her on this subject, and an invitation given her to meet the ladies with a view to organization. In some counties no vice-president has been appointed, but, because it has not yet been done, let not ladies be deterred from having a W.C.T.U. Send to the Provincial Corresponding Secretary for const.i.tutions and plans of work, and then ask your pastors to announce that a meeting for the organization of a W.C.T.U. will be held at time and place designated. It is well to see the pastors of different churches, and solicit their aid in this undertaking. And it is also wise to spend some time in interviewing ladies of the different congregations so that there may be a general interest. A notice similar to the following may be inserted in the daily paper, as well as announced from the pulpit, a week previous to the meeting.

"A meeting of ladies in favour of the temperance cause will be held in ---- on ---- at ---- o'clock, when the advisability of organizing a "Woman's Christian Temperance Union" will be considered. Nearly 5,000 Christian women of Canada are banded together in W.C.T. Unions, for the protection of their homes, and for the good of society. The influence and help of the ladies of ---- is needed. Mrs. ---- of ---- authorized by the Prov. W.C.T.U. will address the meeting, on the history, aims and methods of this work. The presence of pastors is cordially invited, and all ladies are earnestly requested to attend."

If no such speaker is expected this part will, of course, be omitted.

One of our strongest Unions was organized by a Christian lady of the town, who had heard and read and thought much of the work of Women's Christian Temperance Unions. Before the time arrives ask your pastors to share with each other in the opening exercises, but if none are to be present arrange with one of your number accustomed to such exercises, to open the meeting. Have some one ready to lead the singing, let a suitable portion of Scripture be read, Crusade, Psalm 1461(1), Parable of the "Good Samaritan," or other fitting selection, prayer offered, asking the ladies to repeat the Lord's Prayer, with the leader at the close. One of the ladies will then move that Mrs.

---- be chairman of this meeting. This will be seconded and put to vote, and the chairman will take her place. A temporary secretary will be elected in a similar manner, who will keep the minutes of the meeting. In the event of no speaker from a distance being present, the chairman or some lady who has prepared it will state the object of the W.C.T.U. its history and its work, giving an outline of the different departments with their work. Items may be given from recent issues of the newspapers showing the alarming prevalence of intemperance and the necessity for all to use their influence and talent in opposing it.

After this has been done, a few minutes may be given to answering any questions that may be asked, in order that all may see clearly what they are doing. In this way the doleful experience may be avoided, "Yes, we were organized, but we do not know what to do."

Some one will then offer a resolution that a W.C.T.U. be organized.

This motion will be seconded and put to vote by the chairman. We have been accustomed to vote by the uplifted hand, while our American sisters vote "Yea" and "No." The sound of the human voice is helpful, and voting in this way may be more satisfactory. Then read the const.i.tution, by-laws, and pledge. Explain fully the membership fee of 50 cents per year or 12 1/2 cents per quarter, half of which goes to the Provincial Union. Explain that the committees of Provincial Union being all at work, money is needed to pay necessary expenses of these and of the general officers, some of whom give the most of their time, without remuneration, to this work. Explain, too, that an organizer is needed to whom we can pay a salary, who will organize new unions, and visit all unions regularly. If 6 1/4 cents per member is sent quarterly to our Provincial Unions, it will provide the means for thus enlarging the work.

Take time to answer all questions on these points. Some may object to taking the pledge, as their physicians sometimes prescribe it as medicine. We pledge ourselves not to use it as a "beverage" only.

Some may be obliged to administer it to others as medicine. This does not violate the pledge. Other objections may be stated and met.

When const.i.tution, etc., have been adopted by the meeting, send out ladies, previously requested so to act, and provided with pencils and paper, to solicit members. Should any be unprepared, the fee may be paid another time, and may be made payable quarterly or yearly.

The election of permanent officers is next in order. If it is thought best, a committee on nominations may be appointed by the chair, said committee to represent the different churches, and who shall report at some near day fixed by the meeting. It may be desirable, however, to proceed at once to ballot for officers, and by this method a truer expression of opinion is generally reached.

The president duly elected then takes the chair, and vice-presidents are elected. These should be one from each church in the place.

Then the secretaries, recording and corresponding, and treasurer are elected, also superintendents or committees of the different departments which may be thought advisable. It has been found to work well where the vice-presidents, one from each church, are made conveners of these committees, or superintendents. These conveners of committees or superintendents of departments with the general officers const.i.tute the executive. In a small place it may be as well to transact all business in an open meeting of the union. Our ladies are supposed to be loyal to the W.C.T.U., and will not make public matters intended _only for the Union._

The place of next meeting will now be determined and announced. A meeting of the executive committee will also be appointed by the president, to confer upon the details of the work. A very good quorum for the executive and for the union, consists of such members as shall be present at any regular or special meeting, due notice having been given of such meeting. A motion will now be made to adjourn, and carried. The President says, "The meeting is adjourned to meet"-- naming time and place.

The doxology may be sung or a short prayer offered at the close.


Executive Committee will plan the general work of the Union, and attend to any special business that may be brought before them by the corresponding secretary. This committee will meet weekly, and report through their chairman to the Union.

Committee on Finance may be composed of ladies and gentlemen, who will devise ways and means for raising funds for the general work.

The finance card and envelope is one of the best methods by which to educate the people to _systematic_ giving.


Dear Friend.--The evils of intemperance are sufficiently startling to cause every good man and woman to seek for their removal. Many homes are ruined by it; many children robbed; many men and women reduced to drunkenness and death; even those not yet touched by it are not sure that they shall remain exempt. It threatens every child, every home, every youth, every man.

The Women's Christian Temperance Union, mothers and sisters, to whom home means so much, have banded themselves together to do what they can to oppose it. We do our work among the children, by teaching, distributing temperance literature, etc. We seek out the intemperate and ask them to reform, a.s.sisting them with pecuniary aid when necessary. We use our influence to purify the homes and to put away social drinking customs.

We are willing to work. Will you not help us with your means?

Please mark with an X upon the sum you will give EACH month of the coming year. Be it little or much, it will aid us. And we do wish, that every woman to whom this appeal is made, would become a member of our W.C.T.U., and encourage us by coming into our meetings.

Please write your name.