Mr Christopher Chapmans Speech On Teetotalism

Mr Christopher Chapman’s First Speech on Teetotalism.

“Mr. Chairman and Christian Friends,
I feel it a pleasure to have an opportunity on this occasion of advocating the cause of teetotalism, and as I have no desire to deprive my friends of the time that they may wish to occupy after my speech, I will be short and to the point in my remarks.
I believe that as a matter of course you are well aware of the object we have in view on this occasion. Now there may possibly be some of opinion that we have some particular interest at heart in coming so far to advocate the cause of Temperance, but in answer to any such, I can say from the bottom of my heart we have no self-interest in the matter whatever, but a pure unselfish love toward you and all mankind.

You have had placed forcibly before you time after time the cause of temperance, and let me advise you again to consider the monstrous evil that intemperance is doing, and has done, to the world at large. With a view to make this clear, I would lead you to the public house and low places of amusement, where you may see the conduct and character of the frequenters of such haunts, hear their profane language, and witness on all sides evidence of vice and wickedness undisguisedly rampant.

After such scenes you would do well to examine the cottages of these debauched wretches, where you would behold houses without furniture, rooms without beds, cupboards without food, and the family without clothing, and husbands, wives and children equally pictures of misery. I would lead you to the workhouse the Guardians of which would tell you that the majority of the paupers were brought there by the ruinous influence of strong drink.
I would lead you to the prison, where you will learn that nine-tenths of the crimes of England are the result of intemperance.

Next we may examine the history of thousands of individuals who have been transported to foreign lands at the expense of this country, and we shall find that the chief cause of this terrible expatriation has been their mad passion for strong drink.
And when we consider that upwards of forty-one millions five hundred and thirty-six thousand one hundred and eighty-eight gallons of alcohol are consumed annually, and that alcohol is doubly superior in strength to what we call proof spirits, we need not wonder at the amount of poverty, crime, disease and death arising from the circulation of such an amount of poison as this.

It is, alas ! estimated that thirty thousand of our country men and women are hurried into an awful eternity every year by the influence of strong drink. Many people argue that total abstinence is contrary to Scripture; but if we want to ascertain fully from the fountain head the history of Teetotalism we must go to the Bible, in which we shall find, for instance, that all the Nazarites under the law were of this order—the sons of Aaron the Priest were enjoined during their ad-ministrations to abstain entirely from wine and strong drink. The mother of Samson was a teetotaler for forty years during her sojourn in the wilderness. The drink of the Children of Israel, consisting of six hundred thousand persons, was pure water. Daniel, when at the Babylonish court, flourished admirably on pulse and water, in spite of the offer of the royal wine. Jonadab, the father of the Rechabites, enjoined upon his sons not to drink wine, to which command they faithfully adhered, and accordingly God, approving of their conduct, promised that Jonabab “should never want a man to stand before him for ever.”—Jer. xxxv., 5. Timothy, we read, was a water drinker, till advised to take a little wine for the stomach’s sake. Paul also entered so far into his spirit of teetotalism as to say that, if eating flesh or drinking wine should cause his brother to offend, he would totally abstain.

We read in holy writ that amongst those who were born of women there was not a greater Prophet than John the Baptist, and yet, by Divine appointment, his lips were never touched by any intoxicating liquor. And to crown the whole statement, Samson himself, the strongest man who ever lived, was a teetotaler.”

A unanimous vote of thanks was very enthusiastically accorded to the speaker—proposed by Mr. James Procter and seconded by Mr. Richard Metcalffe, two of the oldest inhabitants of the village. The Rev. Mr. Loosmore (the chairman) expressed himself, at the conclusion, as much pleased with the lecture, and regretted the necessity of his leaving the neighbourhood so soon. Ho hoped, however, as he saw so many young people before him, that some of them would be able to speak in terms of such high praise of the present when the next sixty years shall have passed away.

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