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HIS SIMPLE AND UNAFFECTED STYLE.
which he received from the clergy of town and country of the daily increasing numbers on the school-roll. The improvement of the youth of the higher classes was equally striking.
Father Mathew's style of speaking was simple and unaffected, but it was earnest and impressive. He availed himself of any incident or event which had occurred, to illustrate the temperance discourses, and render them more forcible through the influence of example. The following, though spoken many years since in the village of Blackrock, a short distance from the city of Cork, is applicable at this moment, not to one locality, but, unhappily, to almost every locality; and its good sense is as apparent now as it was then :
Were you, my friends, to remain in my house where I administer the pledge, from morning to night, while I am in Cork, you would see examples before you of the fearful consequences resulting from the use of strong drink, that would congeal your blood in your veins. Is it not awful even to think on the numbers, once respected members of society, degraded and ruined-all the victims of the one besetting habit? I was going to call it a passion, but it is no passion. It is no passion arising from our nature-for we have no natural propensities that could make us delight in the use of intoxicating liquor. It is merely a habit, brought on by ourselves, like any other bad habit-like the habit of smoking tobacco, or taking snuff. This very morning a young man came to my house from a remote part of North Tipperary. I saw him only a few weeks ago, sober, respected, and happy. He came to me a miserable object, capable of exciting compassion in the hardest heart-he was but a wreck of what he had been a short time ago. He had broken his pledge-spent in a few weeks the fruits of many years' saving--and left behind him a young wife and a helpless family. He returned there this morning, setting out on his journey without a coat to shelter him from the rain, and was obliged to beg for money to support him on his way. Will anyone tell me that it was better for him to drink, to beggar his family, to run the risk of losing his life from the inclemency of the weather, to which he is this day exposed? No, my friends, do not let anyone thus deceive you. It is not better for anyone, either man or woman, to drink intoxicating liquors-it is far better for all to be total abstainers. Show me anyone in the wide circle of your acquaintance who was ever benefited, either in body or in soul, by the use of intoxicating liquors. I allow there is some enjoyment-some sensual gratification-to be found in the use of those liquors; but what is that enjoyment to the frightful risk that is encountered? Ought any man blight his prospects in life, and those of his family, for the sake of that wretched indulgence? How many are there whose fathers, had they been teetotallers, would have been able to have given them the blessings of a liberal education, and who might now fill some of the highest situations in the land. There are many who, twenty or thirty years ago, were in the receipt of large sums of money, who are now miserably poor, and whose children are in ragsidle, and straggling, like vagabonds, through the streets; and all this owing to the criminal neglect of their parents, who spent in intoxicating liquors the money which should be expended in properly training and establishing their children in life. Show me the man who ever advanced in life who was addicted to the use of intoxicating liquors. Some may have risen high in life who were not actually total abstainers, but they were invariably men who had a constitutional dislike to strong drink, and were examples of temperance; but show
me any man addicted to habits of intemperance who ever gained an advanced position in life.
It is not necessary to follow the temperance leader step by step through his extraordinary labours, or to weary the reader by descriptions of scenes which, from their very nature, partook not only of the same general features, but even of similarity in detail. I prefer to say something of the results of those incessant labours, and the beneficial effects which followed from the more extended adoption of the temperance pledge.
Those results and effects were public as well as private, alike influencing the community and the individual. They were to be seen in the diminution of crime, and the improved moral tone observable throughout the country, notwithstanding the pressure of severe poverty, and the existence of provocations to outrage arising, in a great measure, from various circumstances and conditions of the law, which do not properly enter within the scope of this work. Judges, in their opening addresses to Grand Juries, congratulated the counties which they visited upon the spread and progress of temperance, and distinctly attributed the lightness of the criminal calendar to the sobriety of the mass of the population. Many such valuable testimonies might be quoted, as proofs of the good accomplished by one man. Baron Richards was not content with a public reference to the fruits of Father Mathew's mission; but having heard that he was then-in July 1842-holding meetings in the county Kerry, he sent his registrar specially to him to express his congratulations on the great success which attended his disinterested labours, and on the improved condition of those who had taken the temperance pledge. Indeed, such was the estimation in which sobriety was now generally held, and the disgust which habitual intemperance excited, that the appearance of a medal on the breast of a witness in a court of justice had no small weight with judge and jury in favour of its wearer. The medal was of itself prima facie testimony to his good conduct and trustworthiness.
As a conclusive proof that the diminution of crime was one of the necessary consequences of the spread of temperance among those classes of the community most liable to be tempted to acts of violence or dishonesty, some few facts from the official records of the time may be quoted here. They are taken from returns of 'outrages specially reported by the constabulary,' from the year 1837 to the year 1841,
The number of homicides, which was 247 in 1838, was only 105 in 1841. There were 91 cases of 'firing at the person' reported in 1837, and but 66 in 1841. The 'assaults on police' were 91 in 1837, and but 58 in 1841. Incendiary fires, which were as many as 459 in
SERIOUS DIMINUTION OF CRIME.
1838, were 390 in 1841. Robberies, thus specially reported, diminished wonderfully-from 725 in 1837, to 257 in 1841 The offence of killing, cutting, or maiming cattle' was also seriously lessened; the cases reported in 1839 being 433, to 213 in 1841. The decrease in cases of robbery of arms' was most significant; from being 246 in 1837 they were but 111 in 1841. The offence of 'appearing in arms' showed a favourable diminution, falling from 110 in 1837 to 66 in 1841. The effect of sobriety on 'faction fights' was equally remarkable. There were 20 of such cases in 1839, and 8 in 1841. The dangerous offence of 'rescuing prisoners,' which was represented by 34 in 1837, had no return in 1841!
Without entering further into detail, the following return of the number committed during a period of seven years-from 1839 to 1845-must bring conviction home to the mind of any rational and dispassionate person, that sobriety is good for the individual and the community :
The number of sentences of death and transportation evidenced the operation of some powerful and beneficial influence on the public morals. The number of capital sentences in eight years—from 1839 to 1846-was as follows:
The sentences to transportation during the same period-from 1839 to 1846-exhibited the like wonderful result:—
The figures already quoted are most valuable, as they prove, beyond the possibility of doubt, that national drunkenness is the chief cause of crime, and that national sobriety is, humanly speaking, one of the best preservatives of the morals of a people.
The figures which are to be now given exhibit the marvellous change effected by Father Mathew's preaching in the drinking habits of his countrymen. They show the number of gallons of Irish spirits
on which duty was paid, and the amount of duty, from the to the year 1844, both included :
It has been seen that, even in the year 1842, the consumption of Irish spirits was reduced to about one-half of what it had been in the year 1839. And though the Famine, which had its origin in the partial failure of 1845, and was developed into frightful magnitude by the total failure of 1846, produced a baneful effect on the temperance movement, by impairing its organisation, closing the temperance rooms, and inducing the people to seek in false excitement a momentary forgetfulness of their misery; still the consumption of spirits did not materially recover from the effects of Father Mathew's mission, and for years exhibited the result of his influence, as the subjoined returns will show :
The figures which we have quoted exhibit, it is true, most important results; but an extract from the trade article of the Freeman's Journal, for February 1842, will indicate in an equally striking manner the happy influence of the temperance movement upon the comforts of the Irish people. The writer says:—
The people, we have abundant proofs, are happier and better, and the nation is more intelligent and prosperous. Perhaps the best proof which can be given of the former is the increase of the Customs revenue, more particularly as regards those articles which are especially consumed by the people. The increase in the Customs revenue of Great Britain and Ireland during the past year was 148,000!., of which the increase of those duties levied in the port of Dublin alone was 77,000, or more than one-half of the entire increase. The whole amount of this revenue from this port in the past year was 984,000l., or very close upon one million. But the articles from which this large amount of increased revenue has been received are those the humbler classes consume most largely; the increased consumption of tea and sugar producing in this port, within that period, an increased revenue of 10 per cent. In the duties on tea and sugar in this port of Dublin alone, the increase amounts to 55,000l., or over one-third the whole amount by which those duties in the present exceed those of the past financial year.
The writer adds that the result would appear more striking were not duty paid in England on much of the sugar used in Ireland. The revenue on tobacco decreased to the amount of 3,000l. within the year.
SACRIFICES HIS FAMILY.
Father Mathew made frequent allusions to the injury he had brought upon members of his own family by his advocacy of temperance; and the following words, spoken in December 1842, come appropriately in this place:
I do not know but that there are distillers or brewers listening to me. I have such in my own family. One member of my family in Cashel, a distiller, now manufactures, I am glad to say, as much in a week as would supply his customers for a year. That is a great falling off from other days. I am rejoiced at this; for when the glory of God is in question, we should not mind the ties of flesh and blood.
A member of Father Mathew's family, connected with him by marriage, thus writes in March 1843:—
Every teetotaller has gained morally and physically by the movement; but my immediate family have been absolutely and totally ruined by Father Mathew's temperance mission.
A writer in the Dublin Review, in an article devoted to the temperance movement in Ireland, strikingly refers to the unselfish and disinterested conduct of Father Mathew:
We need not, therefore, remark how little consistent with considerations of a worldly nature are the present occupations of the Apostle of Temperance. The brother and relative naturally wrote to him, and said, 'If you go on thus, you will certainly ruin our fortunes.' His answer is, Change your trade; turn your premises into factories for flour; at all events, my course is fixed. Though heaven and earth should come together, we should do what is right.' This language is worthy of the Messiah.
Important Testimonies to the Progress and Beneficial Effects of the
At the annual dinner in the Mansion House in Dublin, Lord Morpeth, then Irish Secretary, happily alluded to the beneficial effects of the Mission of Father Mathew, and the hopes and aspirations to which it gave rise :
I have already (continued his lordship) adverted to the gradual diminution of crime; but when I look for the source of this most striking development in this ameliorating process, I own I am rather pleased not to have to refer for it to the acts of policy of any government of the day. It was my lot, in the House of Commons, to bear an humble but sincere tribute to the wonderful efficacy that attended the exertions of Father Mathew; and although I fear, at this moment, we present rather too convivial an aspect for his entire approval, yet I am glad to