Saturday, 16 August 2014


In the year 1854, the Cadets of Temperance and the Sons of Temperance were not holding their own as organizations, and this brought the Good Templars to the front. The order had its origin in the United States, and as it admitted both sexes to membership, it soon became popular. Father Adam got mighty lonely in the Garden of Eden, and to keep him from getting lonesome, so that he would not get into bad habits, Eve was sent to keep him company. The girls in the old days had much more influence over the habits of the young men than they have in these degenerate days, and for this reason the order of Good Templars seemed to spring into popularity as by magic. Hamilton lodge No. 2 soon had a large membership, and as the majority were young people, the influence for good was marked in the habits of the young men. Hundreds were kept out of saloons, and grew to be total abstainers, though some fell by the wayside. Through the influence of the Good Templars in Hamilton, the first check on the saloon was the closing up on Saturday night at se3ven o’clock, and that law became general throughout Upper Canada. It was a good law, for it closed the drinking places so as to give families a chance to get a portion of the weekly wages of bibulous husbands. The Good Templars first introduced street preaching on Sunday afternoons in the interest of the discussion of temperance. That old Hamilton lodge did grand work for humanity and temperance in Hamilton. In an evil hour, the green-eyed monster crept in, and a feeling of hostility to an American order was cultivated by a few ultra-loyal men who had designs on the order for political purposes. The result was a split in the order, the secessionists calling themselves the British order. While a lodge was organized in connection with the new order, it did not have a long life. To the credit of the Good Templars of Hamilton, they could not see why connection with the supreme grand lo9dge of the United States would be a detriment to temperance work in Canada. The old Hamilton lodge flourished, and its membership being on the increase, the temperance hall in White’s block became too small to accommodate the numbers who attended the weekly meetings. The second and third stories of Piper’s building, in the Elgin block, on John street, was bought by the members, each one contributing according to his or her ability, and the building was enlarged by an addition in the rear, the two stories became thrown into one.


          In the year 1854, sixty years ago, the first lodge of Good Templars was organized in Hamilton, under the name of Hamilton lodge No. 9. Dr. William Case was elected the first Worthy Chief Templar, and among the charter members were some of the prominent business men of the city and their wives and daughters. The Sons of Temperance were doing good work among the men, and to educate the boys in the habits of total abstinence, there was a section of the Cadets of Temperance under the control of the Sons. The cadets had quite a large section, and the boys were not only pledged against the use of liquor, but they were prohibited from the use of tobacco while members of the order. At the age of eighteen, the boys were supposed to graduate into the Sons of Temperance, which many of them did, and at the same time, they were absolved from their pledge against the use of tobacco. It was the fond hope of the founders that the boys, not having acquired the appetite for tobacco would continue to abstain from its use during life; but they were typical sons of Adam, and could not resist temptation. Among the boys active in the cadets were many who afterwards became prominent in Hamilton life. At least two who in afterlife were editorial managers of the Spectator were model boys in their youth and were members of the Cadets. That was away back in the early ‘50s. The use of intoxicating liquors was more general in those days, and total abstainers were few and far between. In almost every home, the decanter had a prominent place on the sideboard, and dad had to have his tansy bitters before breakfast to sharpen his appetite, and his regular nips at stated times during the day. The laws against the sale of liquor were not of much force, and as the license fee was merely a nominal sum, not more than $50 a year or less, there were double and treble the number of taverns and shebeen shops in Hamilton to supply the demand of not more than ten thousand populations than there are now to quench the thirst of over one hundred thousand. The world moves and temperance has taken a long stride ahead. There are more total abstainers now than then in then in proportion to population, but the mischief of it is the drinkers consume more than their share. The result is, the statistics show that more liquor, of all kinds, is drunk now, per capita, than at any period of the history of Canada. This is bad. It sounds strange to say that more liquor is drunk while the majority of people, counting men, women and children, are total abstainers.


          A history of that old lodge would be interesting, and its death a lesson in these days when designing men are using the sacred cause of temperance to bolster up a political party. Political action was the death-blow to the order of Good Templars, not only in Canada but in the United States. At one time, it was the most powerful temperance organization in America. Designing men got control of it for their own personal use as a political rallying cry and the end came. The old thread-worn cry of “Vote as you pray” had its effect, and the churches were appealed to. The same conditions exist today, and the temperance banner, under which men of all parties can safely rally, is being dragged in the dust in the interest of one political party.


          In the year 1854, the Canada grand lodge of the Good Templars was organized in this city. Sixty years have worked wonderful changes, and it is doubtful if more than a dozen who were connected then are living now in Hamilton. Dr. Case, who was connected with the organization of Hamilton lodge, was honored by unanimous election to the office of grand worthy chief Templar, and a Hamilton man was made grand secretary. The institution of a grand lodge gave the order in Canada a standing, resulting in the organization of subordinate lodge in nearly every town and hamlet in Upper Canada. For ten years or more, the order was on the top wave of prosperity, and then the plotters for political action got control, and so ended for years the work of the Good Templars in Canada, and also in the United States. Recently, there has been an effort to revive the order and place it on a substantial basis, and the meeting of the grand lodge in this city this week shows encouraging signs in its report of work done during the past year. A number of subordinate lodges have been organized, and the roll of membership gives evidence of a healthy increase. This old Muser had the honor of taking part in the organization of the first grand lodge in Canada, and while adhering strictly to his temperance pledge, he dropped out from the order when the “Vote as you pray” fellows got control for their own aggrandizement.


          Scientists have discovered that ice cream and candy are a sure cure for the drink habit, and that if the remedy is persevered in, the boozeries will have to retire from business. It certainly is a very pleasant cure, and is worthy of a trial. But the mischief of it is that the boozer prefers the irrigating process, and as a general thing, he wishes his throat was a mile long that he might feel the delightful irritation produced by the genuine stuff. Oranges and apples, and indeed so many antidotes for the drink habit have been prescribed, that one is lost in amazement that the army of drunkards seems to be enlisting new recruits all the time. It is like Tennyson’s Brook, it goes on forever. Legislation does not seem to stem the torrent, while the fountain head, the distilleries and the breweries, seem to pour forth their everlasting streams. Remedies without number have been prescribed, but appetite is stronger than the desire to be cured. Dr. Keeley, an army surgeon in the American civil war, hit upon a remedy that has cured thousands of the drink habit, and if persevered in, it is effectual. The remedy has been taken by a few Hamiltonians with good results; but there are others who have tried it who have gone back to their old habits. Then there have been remedies advertised that are utterly worthless, and the men who put them on the market should be prosecuted for fraud, for they only hold out a hope to the wife who is willing to pay anything if it will only cure her husband of the unfortunate appetite. Some of these remedies can be out into the coffee the man drinks, so the advertisement says, and he will never know what he has taken till his wife tells him later when he is cured. This is a cruel fake, and it is a deliberate misrepresentation. Any person may be cured of the drink habit if they only have the moral courage to quit it and take such remedies as the Keely cure. There is a drink that is in common use that has been denounced by the highest medical authority in the United States, Dr. Wiley, formerly head of the United States marine hospital bureau. It is sold by druggists and restaurants, and is so seductive that once a taste for it is acquired, it is hard to break away from. It is not intoxicating but is much worse – it is a soothing drink that leads in the end to the cocaine and morphine habit. Shun it if you value health and comfort.

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