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really a remedy in this pledge of total abstinence, this total avoidance of the cause of the evils he deplored? Would it, could it, be ever adopted that is, generally, or to any extent? Were not the habits, customs, feelings, and associations of the Irish people opposed to this total renunciation of a long-accustomed indulgence? Were all the social enjoyments to be given up? Was moderation, that which he had practised during his entire life, and which he had so often seen enhance the delights of friendly intercourse-was this to be condemned as an evil? Was wine to be banished from the table, and anathematised as an unmitigated mischief? Did not hundreds of his own personal friends, his most esteemed and honoured friends, men of blameless lives-good and religious and charitable-did not they use it and enjoy it, and in moderation too? Was he to tell them that they were doing wrong?
Then, there were vast interests which would be imperilled by the change from a habit which was so universal. Enormous capital was invested in breweries and distilleries. Thousands of families were living in independence by this trade, discharging all the duties of citizenship, educating and providing for their own children, and not neglecting the children of the poor; contributing to the charities, supporting every useful institution, and freely responding to every appeal on behalf of religion. Were there not fully five hundred retailers of drink in his own city, almost every one of whom he knew, and from many of whom he had obtained liberal assistance in his good works? and were their families to be thrown on the world, and by his hand, too?
Then again, would the attempt succeed, as he was told it would if he would only aid it? Was not the opposing power too great to be overcome? The personal interests of those engaged in the tradethe habits and customs of society-the weakness of man's nature,— were not these fatal obstacles to the success of so desperate an attempt? Was it prudent, was it wise, was it honest, to undertake so tremendous a task, when, in all human probability, the result would be none other than failure? Besides, there were the friends whom he would pain, the friendships which it might sever, the injury which it would inflict. Nay, his own flesh and blood-the brothers of his youth—their young children, whom he loved with such yearning fondness-the husband of his sister-these would be among the victims of his mission, were that mission to be successful! Was he also to abandon the darling object of his life, that noblest ambition of the Minister of Religion, the completion of a temple to the worship of the Deity?
Thoughts such as these passed through the perplexed mind of the good priest, as he remembered the frequent appeal, Oh! Theobald Mathew, if thou would only give thy aid to the cause, what good thou
wouldst do for these poor creatures!' and passed in review the dangers and obstacles which he would have to encounter could he bring himself to take so formidable a step. Vanity had no seductions in a moment and in an issue like this. The responsibility was too awful, the risk too terrible, the consequences of success too grave, the shame of failure too bitter. In prayer, on his knees before his God, he sought for guidance from on high: and if, after long and anxious deliberation, and frequent mental struggles, he became at last convinced that the cause was one in which, for the sake of his people, he ought boldly and unreservedly to embark, and decided on placing himself at the head of the movement, may we not believe that he received the guidance which he so reverently sought?
He did not decide until after long and anxious deliberation; but once having decided, he acted promptly, as a man whose mind was thoroughly made up. Like Cæsar, he had crossed the Rubicon.
He consults William Martin-Here goes, in the name of God!'-The
THAT was a joyful day to honest William Martin on which, early in April 1838, he received a message from Father Mathew, requesting his presence that evening at the house in Cove Street. William, as he afterwards assured his friends, had a presentiment of what was about to happen,' and for that day he carried his sixty-eight years as jauntily as if they had been only thirty. At the appointed moment he was at the door, which was open for his reception; and there, at the threshold, stood his friend Theobald Mathew ready to receive him, his handsome countenance radiant with kindness and good nature. Welcome! Mr. Martin; welcome! my dear friend. It is very kind of you to come to me at so short a notice, and so punctually too.' 'I was right glad to come to thee, Theobald Mathew, for I expected that thou had good news for me.' Well, Mr. Martin, I have sent for you to assist me in forming a temperance society in this neighbourhood.' I knew it!' said William: something seemed to tell me that thou wouldst do it at last.' เ My dear sir, it was not a matter to be undertaken lightly, and I feel that there are many difficulties in the way.' 'There are difficulties in everything we do,' remarked William; but thou knowest we must conquer them.' 'Very true, my dear friend, we must try and do so. You remember that a considerable time ago
HE CONSULTS WILLIAM MARTIN.
you spoke to me on the subject at the House of Industry.' I remember it well, and that I often spoke to thee about it, and told thee that thou were the only man that could help us.' 'At that time,' continued Father Mathew, 'I could not see my way clearly to take up the question; but I have thought much of it since then, and I think I do see my way now. I have been asked by several good men to take up the cause, and I feel I can no longer refuse. How are we to begin, Mr. Martin?' 'Easily enough,' said honest William. Appoint a place to hold the meeting, fix a day and hour-and that's the way to begin.' 'Will Tuesday next, at seven o'clock, in my schoolroom, answer?' asked Father Mathew. 'It's the very thing,' said William, who added—' This will be joyful news for our friends. Oh! Theobald Mathew, thou hast made me a happy man this night.' An affectionate pressure of the hand was the response.
This, indeed, was great news for the friends of temperance-for those who had struggled so long, and in vain, to arrest even the decent attention of the community, and who had seen such little result from their many years of earnest and disinterested labours. They rejoiced unfeignedly, and wisely considered that the cause was thenceforth destined to advance; though no one could have then imagined that it would ever have assumed the importance which it obtained in scarcely more than a year from that date. People do not anticipate miraculous revolutions; and what was to happen was of this class.
When it became generally known through the city that Father Mathew had taken this important step, some applauded him, and said that it was in keeping with his other good works; but a much larger number ridiculed the notion of his joining the 'fanatics.' Those who were inclined to take a lenient view of his folly, said he had lost his usual good sense, or attributed his conduct partly to a momentary impulse, and partly to his natural unwillingness to say 'no' to any application. And then those temperance fellows have been so pestering and bothering the poor man, that he could not resist their importunities. To say the truth, many of his friends were deeply disgusted at what they regarded as an unaccountable 'freak, or at the best, an instance of pitiable weakness.
The meeting was not a large one, whatever its future influence upon the country and upon the people. Of course, the veterans were there to witness the triumph of their courage and fidelity. Several of the personal followers of Father Mathew were there also. But of those in whose behalf he had consented to place himself in a position from which his natural modesty shrank, there was a small attendance. It mattered little, however, what the attendance was, whether small or great; it was the work to be then undertaken which was of importance. The place of meeting was auspicious and appropriate. It was the
schoolroom in which, for nearly twenty years, since when it had been established by the good priest who now placed himself at the head of another movement for the good of the people, thousands of the children of the poor had been taught, trained, and fed within its walls, and prepared, by knowledge and by industry, for the better discharge of their duties in life.
Father Mathew took the chair, and opened the proceedings in a short address. He briefly described the object for which he had called his friends together, and referred to the frequent applications that had been made to him by gentlemen who differed from him in religion, but who were known and respected for their worth and benevolence.
These gentlemen (he continued) are good enough to say that I could be useful in promoting the great virtue of temperance, and arresting the spread of drunkenness. I am quite alive to the evils which this vice brings with it, especially to the humbler classes, who are naturally most exposed to its temptation, and liable to yield to its seductive influences. I have always endeavoured, as a minister of religion, to discourage drunkenness, not with the success I desired, it is true; but I yielded to no one in my wish to see our working classes sober and self-respecting. I could not refuse to listen to the many appeals made to me. Your respected friend Mr. Martin has often asked me to do what I am about to do this night-and Mr. Olden, whom you well know, has told me that the mission was from God, and that I should not reject it. My dear friends, I much fear that your kind partiality has made you overlook my many defects, and attribute to me merits which I am very far from possessing; but if, through any humble instrumentality of mine, I can do good to my fellow-creatures, and give glory to God, I feel I am bound, as a minister of the Gospel, to throw all personal considerations aside, and try and give a helping hand to gentlemen who have afforded me so excellent an example. Indeed, if only one poor soul could be rescued from destruction by what we are now attempting, it would be giving glory to God, and well worth all the trouble we could take. No person in health has any need of intoxicating drinks. My dear friends, you don't require them, nor do I require them-neither do I take them. Many of you here have proved that they can be done without, for you are strong in health, and in the possession of all your faculties. After much reflection on the subject, I have come to the conviction that there is no necessity for them for anyone in good health; and I advise you all to follow my example. I will be the first to sign my name in the book which is on the table, and I hope we shall soon have it full.
Father Mathew then approached the table, and, taking the pen, said, in a voice heard by all and remembered by many to this day'Here goes, in the name of God!' and signed as follows-Revd. Theobald Mathew, C.C., Cove Street, No. 1.'
It is not possible to describe the exultation of William Martin, and the deep satisfaction felt by others; it is sufficient to say that sixty names were enrolled that night, including the names of some who, now much advanced in life, are still faithful to the promise of that memorable evening-the 10th of April 1838.
From that moment Father Mathew became public property. His time was thenceforward no longer his own, and his house was soon to
ADOPTION OF BILLY MARTIN'S' MOTTO.
lose its accustomed privacy. Day by day, there grew upon him an amount of labour, labour of body and of mind, such as perhaps no other man ever went through, and which, could he at all have anticipated it when he wrote that signature in the book, might have appalled even his self-sacrificing spirit.
Now, indeed, his twenty-five years of devotion to the service of his fellow-citizens proved to him of infinite value. His reputation, for every virtue which could adorn a man or a priest, had long been established in the hearts of the mass of the population, with whom his name had become a household word, the type of goodness, and charity, and compassionateness. No man had ever more successfully prepared the way for his own work, or so securely laid the foundations broad, deep, wide, and solid—of his own future fame, as he had done during those five-and-twenty years. In his confessional, in his pulpit, in the squalid garret, in the haunts of fever, by the bed-side of the sinner, in the wards of the cholera hospital, in his munificent charities, in his unostentatious benevolence, in his acts of untold kindness and generosity—in his whole life-lay the secret of his marvellous success —of the miraculous progress of the movement of which he had now become the leader. He may have been, and indeed was, derided by many, though only for a short time; but no one was foolish or wicked enough to question either the sincerity of his conviction, or the purity of his motives. Theobald Mathew's character was beyond the reach of calumny. In the reverence of the people for that character was based the foundation of the temperance cause in Cork-in Irelandin Scotland and England-in America. No other man could have done the work; he did it, because he was the right man to do it.
At the next meeting, to which the public were invited through placards, the signatures were much increased; for once it was generally known that Father Mathew had 'a society of his own,' the interest of the working classes was attracted towards it. Soon the crowds became so great, that fears were entertained of the security of the loft of the old store in which the meetings were held on two nights in the week, and also on Sunday, after 'last Mass.' Curiosity, no doubt, attracted numbers to these meetings. They desired to ascertain for themselves what Father Mathew really said, and if it were possible that he recommended people to give up drink of every kind, and that he adopted the motto of Billy Martin'-not to touch, taste, or handle,' what William unflatteringly designated as 'poison' and 'brewers' wash.' To their great amazement, they found that their faithful and beloved friend, the friend of the poor and the needy, whose every effort had been devoted to the service of the people, did advise them, in simple and affectionate language, to avoid a certain cause of danger, and to prefer solid comforts to a false and fleeting gratification. He told them