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Temperance

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TEMPERANCE. This word has long been used to characterize the movement for the. temperate use of intoxicants and for the activities of societies of abstainers and those favormg a restriction of the use and sale of alcoholic beverages. The records of all the early peoples of the world contain references to the evils of intoxication. The Buddhists, Taoists and Confucians taught temperance. ((Look not thou upon the wine when it is red . . At the last it biteth like a serpent,— and stingeth like an adder.° (Prov. xxiii, 31-32). The ancient philosophers and founders of the great world religions neither taught nor prac tised total abstinence and these conditions fur nished the religious reasons for advocating ttemperance rather than °total abstinence) from intoxicants. With the development of the manufacture of spirituous or distilled liquors, containing a much larger percent age of alcohol than those of natural fer mentation, the evils of intoxication multiplied and temperance sentiment developed and in creased. At first the agitation against liquor was sporadic, yet there was a pronounced sentiment developed in both Europe and Amer ica in the 18th century. In 1743 Lord Lonsdale made a speech in the English House of Lords, urging the necessity for a temperance reform. In 1760 Smollett called the attention of the English people to the signs ((Drunk for Id) and °Dead drunk for 2d." He made an urgent appeal for improvement in the condition of the low alehouses. Yet it was not until 1829 that record is found of a temperance society in Great Britain, at New Ross, County Wexford, Ireland. In 1830 several temperance societies came into being in English cities and the Brit ish and Foreign Temperance Society was founded in 1831. It lasted until 1850, but in the meantime its work was taken up by others. Father Theobald Mathew (q.v.), of Cork, Ire land, began his campaign for temperance about 1838 and within three years he gathered about him more than 4,000,000 followers. The best evidence of the thoroughness of his work is that the consumption of liquors in Ireland fell off one-half during the period of his activity.

In 1843 he was called to England and in 1850 to America, where he founded the numerous Father Mathew Total Abstinence Societies.

There had been considerable temperance agitation in the States before Father Mat hew's arrival. The Washingtonian move ment started in Baltimore in 1840 and John B. Gough (q.v.) had begun his wonderful talks for temperance. The influence of Mathew and Gough was evident in the formation of the Independent Order of Good Templars, founded in 1851 in Utica, and spreading rapidly all over the United States and to foreign countries. A woman's crusade for temperance started about 1870 and crystallized in the National Woman's Christian Temperance Union. founded in Cleveland in 1874 and now having 12,000 local unions throughout the United States. Frances E. Willard (q.v.) who was prominent in the work, founded the world's Woman's Christian Temperance Union in 1883, and it has become the largest and most influential movement for temperance and prohibition. It can scarcely be said, however, that the United States has led in temperance societies. Great Britain and her colonies far exceeded America in the num ber of societies organized, doubtless partly be cause her territory is so widely distributed. A list of prominent temperance societies in 1905 included United Kingdom 62, Germany 12, Australia 11, Switzerland 11, United States 10, Austria-Hungary 8, Holland 6, Sweden 6, Den mark 5, France 4, Belgium 2, etc.

Temperance agitation has influenced legis lation for 75 years, but still the use of intoxi cants has gone on with little interference ex cept locally. As a result temperance agitators have gradually come out stronger and stronger for prohibition of both the manufacture and sale of intoxicants and the temperance move ment has merged into the Prohibition move ment, though in its inception Prohibition was the work of the more radical reformers. See