Part 2 out of 3
Neither will she get it from man's ballot. How, then? God will rise
up for her. God has more resources than we know of. The flaming sword
that hung at Eden's gate when woman was driven out will cleave with
its terrible edge her oppressors.
But there is something for our women to do. Let our young people
prepare to excel in spheres of work, and they will be able, after
a while, to get larger wages. If it be shown that a woman can, in a
store, sell more goods in a year than a man, she will soon be able
not only to ask but to _demand_ more wages, and to demand them
successfully. Unskilled and incompetent labor must take what is given;
skilled and competent labor will eventually make its own standard.
Admitting that the law of supply and demand regulates these things,
I contend that the demand for skilled labor is very great, and the
supply very small.
Start with the idea that work is _honorable_, and that you can do some
one thing better than any one else. Resolve that, God helping, you
will take care of yourself. If you are, after a while, called into
another relation, you will all the better be qualified for it by your
spirit of self-reliance; or if you are called to stay as you are, you
can be happy and self-supporting.
Poets are fond of talking about man as an oak, and woman the vine that
climbs it; but I have seen many a tree fall that not only went down
itself, but took all the vines with it. I can tell you of something
stronger than an oak for an ivy to climb on, and that is the throne of
the great Jehovah. Single or affianced, that woman is strong who leans
on God and does her best. The needle may break; the factory-band may
slip; the wages may fail; but, over every good woman's head there are
spread the two great, gentle, stupendous wings of the Almighty.
Many of you will go single-handed through life, and you will have to
choose between two characters. Young woman, I am sure you will turn
your back upon the useless, giggling, painted nonentity which society
ignominiously acknowledges to be a woman, and ask God to make you an
humble, active, earnest Christian.
What will become of this godless disciple of fashion? What an insult
to her sex! Her manners are an outrage upon decency. She is more
thoughtful of the attitude she strikes upon the carpet than how she
will look in the judgment; more worried about her freckles than her
sins; more interested in her bonnet-strings than in her redemption.
Her apparel is the poorest part of a Christian woman, however
magnificently dressed, and no one has so much right to dress well as
a Christian. Not so with the godless disciple of fashion. Take her
robes, and you take everything. Death will come down on her some day,
and rub the bistre off her eyelids, and the rouge off her cheeks, and
with two rough, bony hands, scatter spangles and glass beads and rings
and ribbons and lace and brooches and buckles and sashes and frisettes
and golden clasps.
The dying actress whose life had been vicious said: "The scene closes.
Draw the curtain." Generally the tragedy comes first, and the farce
afterward; but in her life it was first the farce of a useless life,
and then the tragedy of a wretched eternity.
Compare the life and death of such an one with that of some Christian
aunt that was once a blessing to your household. I do not know that
she was ever offered the hand in marriage. She lived single, that
untrammelled she might be everybody's blessing. Whenever the sick were
to be visited, or the poor to be provided with bread, she went with a
blessing. She could pray, or sing "Rock of Ages," for any sick pauper
who asked her. As she got older, there were days when she was a little
sharp, but for the most part Auntie was a sunbeam--just the one for
Christmas-eve. She knew better than any one else how to fix things.
Her every prayer, as God heard it, was full of everybody who had
trouble. The brightest things in all the house dropped from her
fingers. She had peculiar notions, but the grandest notion she ever
had was to make you happy. She dressed well--Auntie always dressed
well; but her highest adornment was that of a meek and quiet spirit,
which, in the sight of God, is of great price. When she died, you all
gathered lovingly about her; and as you carried her out to rest, the
Sunday-school class almost covered the coffin with japonicas; and the
poor people stood at the end of the alley, with their aprons to their
eyes, sobbing bitterly; and the man of the world said, with Solomon,
"Her price was above rubies;" and Jesus, as unto the maiden in Judea,
commanded: "I SAY UNTO THEE, ARISE!"
PICTURES IN THE STOCK GALLERY.
[NOTE.--This chapter, though largely devoted to "Oil," is to be
construed as reaching any other "Kite" that the stock gambler
flies--any other scheme which his unprincipled ideas of right and
wrong will permit him to work to his own gain and others' loss.
The oil mania was only a more popular or attractive _vice_ of the
stock-boards, which is reproduced, in spirit and motive, almost every
month of the year.]
At my entrance upon this discussion, I must deplore the indiscriminate
terms of condemnation employed by many well-meaning persons in regard
to stock operations. The business of the stock-broker is just as
legitimate and necessary as that of a dealer in clothes, groceries, or
hardware; and a man may be as pure-minded and holy a Christian at the
Board of Brokers as in a prayer-meeting. The broker is, in the sight
of God, as much entitled to his commissions as any hard-working
mechanic is entitled to his day's wages. Any man has as much right
to make money by the going up of stocks as by the going up of sugar,
rice, or tea. The inevitable board-book that the operator carries in
his hand may be as pure as the clothing merchant's ledger. It is
the work of the brokers to facilitate business; to make transfer of
investment; to watch and report the tides of business; to assist the
merchant in lawful enterprises.
Because there are men in this department of business, sharp,
deceitful, and totally iniquitous, you have no right to denounce the
entire class. Importers, shoe-dealers, lumbermen, do not want to be
held responsible for the moral deficits of their comrades in business.
Neither have you a right to excoriate those who are conscientiously
operating through the channels spoken of. If they take a risk, so do
all business men. The merchant who buys silk at five dollars per yard
takes his chances; he expects it to go up to six dollars; it may fall
to four dollars. If a man, by straightforward operations in stocks,
meets with disaster and fails, he deserves sympathy just as much as he
who sold spices or calicoes, and through some miscalculation is struck
We have no right to impose restrictions upon this class of men that
we impose upon no other. What right have you to denounce the operation
"buyer--ten days" or "buyer--twenty days," when you take a house,
"buyer--three hundred and sixty-five days?" Perhaps the entire payment
is to be made at the end of a year, when you do not know but that, by
that time, you will be penniless. Give all men their due, if you would
hold beneficent influence over them. Do not be too rough in pulling
out the weeds, lest you uproot also the marigolds and verbenas. In
the Board of Brokers there are some of the most conscientious,
upright Christian men of our cities--men who would scorn a lie, or a
subterfuge. Indeed, there are men in these boards who might, in some
respects, teach a lesson of morality to other commercial circles.
I will not deny that there are special temptations connected with this
business even when carried on legitimately. So there are dangers to
the engineer on a railroad. He does not know what night he may dash
into the coal-train. But engines must be run, and stocks must be sold.
A nervous, excitable man ought to be very slow to undertake either the
engine or the Stock Exchange.
A clever young man, of twenty-five years of age, bought ten shares in
the Pennsylvania Central Railroad. The stock went up five dollars per
share, and he made fifty dollars by the operation. His mother,
knowing his temperament, said to him, "I wish you had lost it." But,
encouraged, he entered another operation, and took ten shares in
another railroad and made two hundred dollars. By this time he was
ready for the wildest scheme. He lost, in three years, forty thousand
dollars, ruined his health, and broke his wife's heart. Her father
supports them chiefly now. The unfortunate has a shingle up, in a
small court, among low operators. Such a man as this is unfit for this
commercial sphere. He would have been unfit for a pilot, unfit for
military command, unfit for any place that demands steady nerve, cool
brain, and well-balanced temperament.
But, while there is a legitimate sphere for the broker and operator,
there are transactions every day undertaken in our cities that can
only be characterized as superb outrage and villany; and there are
members of Christian churches who have been guilty of speculations
that, in the last day, will blanch their cheek, and thunder them
down to everlasting companionship with the lowest gamblers that ever
pitched pennies for a drink.
It is not necessary that I should draw the difficult line between
honorable and dishonorable speculation. God has drawn it through every
man's conscience. The broker guilty of "cornering" as well knows that
he is sinning against God and man, as though the flame of Mount Sinai
singed his eyebrows. He hears that a brother broker has sold "short,"
and immediately goes about with a wise look, saying: "Erie is going
down--Erie is going down; prepare for it." Immediately the people
begin to sell; he buys up the stock; monopolizes the whole affair;
drags down the man who sold short; makes largely, pockets the gain,
and thanks the Lord for great prosperity in business. You call it
"cornering." I call it gambling, theft, highway robbery, villany
It is astonishing how some men, who are kind in their families, useful
in the church, charitable to the poor, are utterly transformed of the
devil as soon as they enter the Stock Exchange. A respectable member
of one of the churches of the city went into a broker's office and
said: "Get me one hundred shares of Reading, and carry it; I will
leave a margin of five hundred dollars." Instead of going up,
according to anticipation, the stock fell. Every few days the operator
called to ask the broker what success. The stock still declined. The
operator was so terribly excited that the broker asked him what was
the matter. He replied: "To tell you the truth, I borrowed that five
hundred dollars that I lost, and, in anticipation of what I was sure I
was going to get by the operation, I made a very large subscription to
the Missionary Society."
The nation has become so accustomed to frauds that no astonishment is
excited thereby. The public conscience has for many years been utterly
debauched by what were called fancy stocks, morus multicaulis, Western
city enterprises, and New England developments.
If a man find on his farm something as large as the head of a pin,
that, in a strong sunlight, sparkles a little, a gold company is
formed; books are opened; working capital declared; a select number
go in on the "ground floor;" and the estates of widows and orphans
are swept into the vortex. Very little discredit is connected with any
such transaction, if it is only on a large scale. We cannot bear small
and insignificant dishonesties, but take off our hats and bow almost
to the ground in the presence of the man who has made one hundred
thousand dollars by one swindle. A woman was arrested in the streets
of one of our cities for selling molasses candy on Sunday. She was
tried, condemned, and imprisoned. Coming out of prison, she went into
the same business and sold molasses candy on Sunday. Again she was
arrested, condemned, and imprisoned. On coming out--showing the total
depravity of a woman's heart--she again went into the same business,
and sold molasses candy on Sunday. Whereupon the police, the mayor and
the public sentiment of the city rose up and declared that, though
the heavens fell, no woman should be allowed to sell molasses candy on
Sunday. Yet the law puts its hands behind its back, and walks up and
down in the presence of a thousand abominations and dares not whisper.
There are scores of men to-day on the streets, whose costly family
wardrobes, whose rosewood furniture, whose splendid turn-outs, whose
stately mansions, are made out of the distresses of sewing-women,
whose money they gathered up in a stock swindle. There is human sweat
in the golden tankards. There is human blood in the crimson plush.
There are the bones of unrequited toil in the pearly keys of the
piano. There is the curse of an incensed God hovering over all their
magnificence. Some night the man will not be able to rest. He will
rise up in bewilderment and look about him, crying: "Who is there?"
Those whom he has wronged will thrust their skinny arms under the
tapestry, and touch his brow, and feel for his heart, and blow their
sepulchral breath into his face, crying: "Come to judgment!"
For the warning of young men, I shall specify but two of the world's
most gigantic swindles--one English, and the other American.
In England, in the early part of the last century, reports were
circulated of the fabulous wealth of South America. A company was
formed, with a stock of what would be equal to thirty millions of our
dollars. The government guaranteed to the company the control of all
the trade to the South Sea, and the company was to assume the entire
debt of England, then amounting to one hundred and forty millions of
dollars. Magnificent project! The English nation talked and dreamed
of nothing but Peruvian gold and Mexican silver, the national debt
liquidated, and Eldorados numberless and illimitable! When five
million pounds of new stock was offered at three hundred pounds per
share, it was all snatched up with avidity. Thirty million dollars
of the stock was subscribed for, when there were but five millions
offered. South Sea went up, until in the midsummer month the stock
stood at one thousand per cent. The whole nation was intoxicated.
Around about this scheme, as might have been expected, others just as
wild arose. A company was formed with ten million dollars of capital
for importing walnut trees from Virginia. A company for developing
a wheel to go by perpetual motion, with a capital of four million
dollars. A company for developing a new kind of soap. A company for
insuring against losses by servants, with fifteen million dollars
capital. One scheme was entitled: "A company for carrying on an
undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know what it is--capital
two million five hundred thousand dollars, in shares of five hundred
each. Further information to be given in a month."
The books were opened at nine o'clock in the morning. Before night
a thousand shares were taken, and two thousand pounds paid in. So
successful was the day's work, that that night the projector of the
enterprise went out of the business, and forever vanished from the
public. But it was not a perfect loss. The subscribers had their
ornamented certificates of stock to comfort them. Hunt's Merchant's
Magazine, speaking of those times, says "that from morning until
evening 'Change Alley was filled to overflowing with one dense mass of
living beings composed of the most incongruous materials, and, in
all things save the mad pursuit in which they were employed, the very
opposite in habits and conditions."
What was the end of this chapter of English enterprise? Suddenly
the ruin came. Down went the whole nation--members of Parliament,
tradesmen, physicians, clergymen, lawyers, royal ladies, and poor
needle-women--in one stupendous calamity. The whole earth, and all the
ages, heard that bubble burst.
But I am not through. Our young men shall hear more startling things.
We surpass England in having higher mountains, deeper rivers, greater
cataracts, and larger armies. Yea, we have surpassed it in magnitude
of swindles. I wish to unfold before the young men of the country,
and before those in whose hands may now be the price of blood, the
wide-spread, ghastly, and almost infinitely greater wickedness of the
gamblers in oil stock. Now, the obtaining of lands, the transporting
of machinery, and the forming of companies for the production of oil,
is just as honorable as any organization for the obtaining of coal,
iron, copper, or zinc. God poured out before this nation a river of
oil, and intended us to gather it up, transport it, and use it;
and there were companies formed that have withstood all commercial
changes, and continued, year after year, in the prosecution of an
honorable business. I have just as much respect for the man who has
made fifty thousand dollars by oil as I have for him who has made it
Out of twelve hundred petroleum companies, how many do you suppose
were honestly formed and rightfully conducted? Do you say six hundred?
You make large demands upon one's credulity; but let us be generous,
and suppose that six hundred companies bought land, issued honest
circulars, sent out machinery, and plunged into the earth for the
rightful development of resources. To form the other six hundred
companies, only three or four things were necessary: First, an
attractive circular, regardless of expense. It must have all the
colors and hues of earth, and sea, and heaven. Let the letters flame
with all the beauty of gold, and jasper, and amethyst. It must state
the date of incorporation, and the fact that "all subscribers shall
get the benefit of the original undertaking. While it does not make
so much pretension as some other companies, it must be distinctly
announced that this is a safe and permanent investment." The circular
must state that "there are a goodly number of flowing wells, and
others which the company are happy to say have a very good smell of
oil." "The books will be open only five days, as there are only a few
shares yet to be taken." Connected with this circular is an elaborate
map, drawn by the artist of the company. Never mind the geography of
the country. Our map must have a creek running through it, so crooked
as to traverse as much of the land as possible, and make it all
water-front. "Ah!" said one man to his artist, "you make only one
creek."--"Well," said the artist, "if you want three creeks you can
have them at very little expense. There--you have them now--three
Then the circular must have good names attached to it. How to get
them? The president and directors must be prominent men. If celebrated
for piety, all the better. The estimable man approached says: "I know
nothing about this company."--"Well," says the committee waiting
on him, "we will give you five hundred dollars' worth of shares."
Immediately the estimable man begins to "know about it," and accepts
the position of president. Three or four directors are obtained in
the same way. Now the thing is easy. After this you can get anybody.
Ordinary Christians and sinners feel it a joy to be in such celebrated
Another thing important is that the company purchase three or four
vials of oil to stand in the window--some in the crude state, the rest
clarified. Genuine specimens from Venango County.
Another important thing: there must be a large working capital,
for the company do not mean to be idle. They have derricks already
building; and there will be large monthly dividends. Let it be known
that there were companies in some cities who, claiming to have
a capital of four hundred thousand dollars, yet had that capital
exhausted when they had sunk one well costing five thousand dollars.
But never mind. The thing must be right, for some of the directors
are eminent for respectability. You say it is certainly important that
there be some land out of which the oil is to be obtained. Oh! no. Why
be troubled with any land at all? It is an expense for nothing. You
have the circular, and the glowing map, with the creeks and three
vials of oil in the window, and a flaming advertisement in the
newspapers. Now let the books be opened! Better if you can have a
half-dozen offices in one room; then the agent can accommodate you
with anything you desire. If you want to take a "flyer" in this and a
"flyer" in that, you shall have it.
Coming in from the country are farmers, dairymen, day-laborers. Great
chances now for speedy emoluments. Pour in the hard-earned treasures.
Sure enough, a dividend of one per cent. per month! Forthwith, another
multitude are convinced of the safety of the investment. The second
month another dividend. The third month another. Whence do these
dividends come? From the product of the wells? Oh! no. It is your own
money they are paying you back. How generous of this company to give
you five dollars back, when you might have lost it all!
But the dividends stop. What is the matter? Instead of the
advertisement which covered a whole column of the newspapers,
there comes a modest little notice that "a special meeting of the
stockholders will be held for the purpose of transacting business
of importance." Perhaps it may be to assess the stockholders for the
purpose of keeping the little land they have, if they have any. Or it
may be for the election of a new group of officers, for the present
incumbents do not want to be always before the public. They are modest
men. They believe in rotation of office. They cannot consent any
longer to serve. Where have they gone to? They are busy putting up
a princely mansion at Long Branch, Germantown, or Chelsea. They have
served their day and generation, and have gone to their flocks and
herds. Where is the Church of God, that she allows in her membership
such gigantic abominations? Were the thirty pieces of silver that
Judas received denounced as unfit, and shall the Church of God have
nothing to say about this price of blood? Is sin to be excused because
it is as high as heaven, or deep as hell? The man who allows his name
to be used as president or director in connection with an enterprise
that he knows is to result in the sale of twenty thousand shares of an
undeveloped nothing--God will tear off the cloak of his hypocrisy, and
in the last day show him to all the universe--a brazen-faced gambler.
His house will be accursed. God's anathemas will flash in the
chandelier, and rattle in the swift hoofs of his silver-bitted grays;
and the day of fire will see him willing to leap into a burning
oil-well to hide himself from the face of the Lamb. The hundred
thousand dollars gotten in unrighteousness will not be enough to build
a barricade against the advance of the divine judgments.
Think of the elder in a church who, from the oil regions, sends an
exciting telegram, so that one man buys a large amount of stock at
twelve, on Wednesday. The next day it is put on the stock-board at
six. The enterprising man, who sold it at twelve, goes out to buy
one of the grandest estates within ten miles of the city. The man
who bought it goes into the dust; and the secret gets out that the
exciting telegram sent by the elder arose, not from any oil actually
discovered, but because in boring they had found a magnificent odor of
If he who steals a dollar from a money-drawer is a thief, then he
who by dishonesty gets five hundred thousand dollars is five hundred
thousand times more a thief. And so the last day will declare him.
Did not the law right the injured man? No! The poor who were wronged
would not undertake a suit against a company that could bring fifty
thousand dollars to the enlightenment of judge, jury, and lawyer;
while, on the other hand, the affluent who had been gouged would not
go to the courts for justice. Why! how would it sound, if it got out,
that Mr. So and So, one of the first merchants on Wall, or Third, or
State street, had got swindled? They will keep it still.
The guilty range to-day undisturbed through society, and will
continue to do so until the Lord God shall bring them to an unerring
settlement, and proclaim to an astonished universe how many lies they
told about the land, about the derricks, about the yield, about the
dividends. What shall such an one say, when God shall, in the great
day of account, hold up before him the circular, and the map, and the
newspaper advertisement? Speechless!
Before that day shall come I warn you--Disgorge! you infamous stock
gamblers! Gather together so many of your company as have any honesty
left, and join in the following circular:--"_We the undersigned, do
hereby repent of our villainies, and beg pardon of the public for
all the wrongs that we have done them; and hereby ask the widows and
orphans whom we have made penniless to come next Saturday, between ten
and three o'clock, and receive back what we stole from them. We hereby
confess that the wells spoken of in our circular never yielded any
oil; and that the creeks running through our ornamented map were an
entire fiction; and that the elder who piously rolled up his eyes and
said it was a safe investment, was not as devout as he looked to be.
Signed by the subscribers at their office, in the year of our Lord_
Then your conscience will be clear, and you can die in peace. But I
have no faith in such a reformation. When the devil gets such a fair
hold of a man he hardly ever lets go.
To the young I turn and utter a word of warning. While you are
determined to be acute business men, resolve at the very threshold
that you will have nothing to do with stock-_gambling_. This country
can richly afford to lose the eight hundred millions of dollars
swindled out of honest people, if our young men, by it, will be warned
for all the future. Think you such enterprises are forever passed
away? No! they begin already to clamor for public attention and
patronage. There are now hundreds of printing-presses busy in making
pamphlets and circulars for schemes as hollow and nefarious as those I
have mentioned. There are silver-mining companies, founded upon nobody
knows what--to accomplish what, nobody cares. There will be other
Canada gold companies; there will be other copper-mining companies;
there will be more mutual consumers' coal companies, who, not
satisfied with the price of ordinary coal-dealers, will resolve
themselves into consumers' associations, where the thing consumed
is not the coal, but themselves--the companies that were to be
immaculate, setting the whole community to playing the game of "Who's
got the money?"
Stand off from all _doubtful_ enterprises! Resolve that if, in a
lawful way, you cannot earn a living, then you will die an honest man,
and be buried in an honest sepulchre.
There are two or three reasons why you should have nothing to do with
such operations. Mentioning the lowest motive first, it will desolate
you financially. I asked a man of large observation and undoubted
integrity, how many of the professed stock-gamblers made a _permanent_
fortune. He answered, "Not one! not one of those who made this their
only business." For a little while you may plunge in a round of
seeming prosperity; but your money is put into a bag with holes. You
cannot successfully bury a dishonest dollar. You may put it down into
the very heart of the earth; you may heave rocks upon the top of it;
on top of the rocks you may put banks and all moneyed institutions,
but that dishonest dollar beneath will begin to heave and toss and
upturn itself, and keep on until it comes to the resurrection of
Then this stock-gambling life is wretchedly unhappy. It makes the
nerves shake, and the brain hot, and the heart sad, and the life
A man in Philadelphia, who seems to be an exception to the rule--that
such men do not permanently prosper--who has well on towards a million
of dollars, and is nearly seventy years of age, may be seen, every
day, going in and out, eaten up of stocks, torn in an inquisition of
stocks, rode by a nightmare of stocks; and, with the earnestness of a
drowning man, he rushes into a broker's shop, crying out: "Did you get
me those shares?" In such an anxious, exciting life there are griefs,
disappointments, anguish, but there is no happiness.
Worse than all, it destroys the soul. The day must come when the
worthless scrip will fall out of the clutches of the stock-gambler.
Satan will play upon him the "cornering" game which, down on Wall
street, he played upon a fellow-operator. Now he would be glad to
exchange all his interest in Venango County for one share in the
Christian's prospect of heaven. Hopeless, he falls back in his
last sickness. His delirium is filled with senseless talk about
"percentages" and "commissions" and "buyer, sixty days," and "stocks
up," and "stocks down." He thinks that the physician who feels his
pulse is trying to steal his "board book." He starts up at midnight,
saying: "One thousand shares of Reading at 116-1/2. Take it!" _Falls
back dead. No more dividends.... Swindled out of heaven_. STOCKS DOWN!
The newspaper is the great educator of the nineteenth century. There
is no force compared with it. It is book, pulpit, platform, forum, all
in one. And there is not an interest--religious, literary, commercial,
scientific, agricultural, or mechanical--that is not within its
grasp. All our churches, and schools, and colleges, and asylums, and
art-galleries feel the quaking of the printing-press. I shall try to
bring to your parlor-tables the periodicals that are worthy of the
Christian fireside, and try to pitch into the gutter of scorn and
contempt those newspapers that are not fit for the hand of your child
or the vision of your wife.
The institution of newspapers arose in Italy. In Venice the first
newspaper was published, and monthly, during the time that Venice was
warring against Solyman the Second in Dalmatia. It was printed for
the purpose of giving military and commercial information to the
Venetians. The first newspaper published in England was in 1588,
and called the _English Mercury_. Others were styled the _Weekly
Discoverer_, the _Secret Owl_, _Heraclitus Ridens_, etc.
Who can estimate the political, scientific, commercial, and religious
revolutions roused up in England for many years past by _Bell's Weekly
Dispatch_, the _Standard_, the _Morning Chronicle_, the _Post_, and
the _London Times_?
The first attempt at this institution in France was in 1631, by a
physician, who published the _News_, for the amusement and health of
his patients. The French nation understood fully how to appreciate
this power. Napoleon, with his own hand, wrote articles for the press,
and so early as in 1829 there were in Paris 169 journals. But in the
United States the newspaper has come to unlimited sway. Though in
1775 there were but thirty-seven in the whole country, the number of
published journals is now counted by thousands; and to-day--we may as
well acknowledge it as not--the religious and secular newspapers are
the great _educators of the country_.
In our pulpits we preach to a few hundreds or thousands of people; the
newspaper addresses an audience of twenty thousand, fifty thousand, or
two hundred thousand. We preach three or four times a week; they every
morning or evening of the year. If they are right, they are gloriously
right; if they are wrong, they are awfully wrong.
I find no difficulty in accounting for the world's advance. Four
centuries ago, in Germany, in courts of justice, men fought with their
fists to see who should have the decision of the court; and if the
judge's decision was unsatisfactory, then the judge fought with the
counsel. Many of the lords could not read the deeds of their own
estates. What has made the change?
"Books," you say.
No, sir! The vast majority of citizens do not read books. Take this
audience, or any other promiscuous assemblage, and how many histories
have they read? How many treatises on constitutional law, or political
economy, or works of science? How many elaborate poems or books of
travel? How much of Boyle, or De Tocqueville, Xenophon, or Herodotus,
or Percival? Not many!
In the United States, the people would not average one such book a
year for each individual!
Whence, then, this intelligence--this capacity to talk about all
themes, secular and religious--this acquaintance with science and
art--this power to appreciate the beautiful and grand? Next to the
Bible, the _newspaper_,--swift-winged, and everywhere present,
flying over the fences, shoved under the door, tossed into the
counting-house, laid on the work-bench, hawked through the cars! All
read it: white and black, German, Irishman, Swiss, Spaniard, American,
old and young, good and bad, sick and well, before breakfast and after
tea, Monday morning, Saturday night, Sunday and week day!
I now declare that I consider the newspaper to be the grand agency
by which the Gospel is to be preached, ignorance cast out, oppression
dethroned, crime extirpated, the world raised, heaven rejoiced, and
In the clanking of the printing-press, as the sheets fly out, I hear
the voice of the Lord Almighty proclaiming to all the dead nations
of the earth,--"Lazarus, come forth!" And to the retreating surges
of darkness,--"Let there be light!" In many of our city newspapers,
professing no more than secular information, there have appeared
during the past ten years some of the grandest appeals in behalf of
religion, and some of the most effective interpretations of God's
government among the nations.
That man has a shrivelled heart who begrudges the five pennies he
pays to the newsboy who brings the world to his feet. There are
to-day connected with the editorial and reportorial corps of newspaper
establishments men of the highest culture and most unimpeachable
morality, who are living on the most limited stipends, martyrs to
the work to which they feel themselves called. While you sleep in the
midnight hours, their pens fly, and their brains ache in preparing
the morning intelligence. Many of them go, unrested and unappreciated,
their cheeks blanched and their eyes half quenched with midnight
work, toward premature graves, to have the "proof-sheet" of their
life corrected by Divine mercy, glad at last to escape the perpetual
annoyances of a fault-finding public, and the restless, impatient cry
for "more copy."
"Nations are to be born in a day." Will this great inrush come from
personal presence of missionary or philanthropist? No. When the time
comes for that grand demonstration I think the press in all the earth
will make the announcement, and give the call to the nations. As at
some telegraphic centre, an operator will send the messages, north and
south, and east and west, San Francisco and Heart's Content catching
the flash at the same instant; so, standing at some centre to which
shall reach all the electric wires that cross the continent and
undergird the sea, some one shall, with the forefinger of the right
hand, click the instrument that shall thrill through all lands, across
all islands, under all seas, through all palaces, into all dungeons,
and startle both hemispheres with the news, that in a few
moments shall rush out from the ten thousand times ten thousand
printing-presses of the earth: "Glory to God in the highest, and on
earth peace, good-will toward men!"
You see, therefore, that, in the plain words to be written, I have no
grudges to gratify against the newspaper press. Professional men are
accustomed to complain of injustice done them, but I take the censure
I have sometimes received and place it on one side the scales, and the
excessive praise, and place it on the other side, and they balance,
and so I consider I have had simple justice. But we are all aware that
there is a class of men in towns and cities who send forth a baleful
influence from their editorial pens. There are enough bad newspapers
weekly poured out into the homes of our country to poison a vast
population. In addition to the home manufacture of iniquitous sheets,
the mail-bags of other cities come in gorged with abominations. New
York scoops up from the sewers of other cities, and adds to its own
newspaper filth. And to-night, lying on the tables of this city, or
laid away on the shelf, or in the trunk, for more private perusal, are
papers the mere mention of the names of which would send a blush to
the cheek, and make the decent and Christian world cry out: "God save
There is a paper published in Boston of outrageous character, and yet
there are seven thousand copies of that paper coming weekly to New
York for circulation. I will not mention the name, lest some of you
should go right away and get it. It is wonderful how quick the fingers
of the printer-boy fly, but the fingers of sin and pollution can set
up fifty thousand types in an instant. The supply of bad newspapers
in New York does not meet the insatiable appetite of our people for
refuse, and garbage, and moral swill. We must, therefore, import
corrupt weeklies published elsewhere, that make our newspaper stands
groan under the burden.
But we need not go abroad. There are papers in New York that long ago
came to perfection of shamelessness, and there is no more power
in venom and mud and slime to pollute them. They have dashed their
iniquities into the face of everything decent and holy. And their work
will be seen in the crime and debauchery and the hell of innumerable
victims. Their columns are not long and broad enough to record the
tragedies of their horrible undoing of immortal men and women.
God, after a while, will hold up these reeking, stenchful, accursed
sheets, upon which they spread out their guilt, and the whole universe
will cry out for their damnation. See the work of bad newspapers
in the false tidings they bring! There are hundreds of men to-day
penniless, who were, during the war, hurled from their affluent
positions by incorrect accounts of battles that shook the
money-market, and the gold gamblers, with their hoofs, trampled these
honest men into the mire. And many a window was hoisted at the hour of
midnight as the boy shouted: "Extra! Extra!" And the father and mother
who had an only son at the front, with trembling hand, and blanched
cheek, and sinking heart, read of battles that had never occurred.
God pity the father and mother who have a boy at the front when evil
tidings come! If an individual makes a false statement, one or twenty
persons may be damaged; but a newspaper of large circulation that
wilfully makes a misstatement in one day tells fifty thousand
The most stupendous of all lies is a newspaper lie.
A bad newspaper scruples not at any slander. It may be that, to escape
the grip of the law, the paragraphs will be nicely worded, so that the
suspicion is thrown out and the damage done without any exposure to
the law. Year by year, thousands of men are crushed by the ink-roller.
An unscrupulous man in the editorial chair may smite as with the
wing of a destroying angel. What to him is commercial integrity, or
professional reputation, or woman's honor, or home's sanctity? It
seems as if he held in his hand a hose with which, while all the
harpies of sin were working at the pumps, he splashed the waters of
death upon the best interests of society.
The express-train in England halts not to take in water, but between
the tracks there is a trough, one-fourth of a mile in length, filled
with water; and the engine drops a hose that catches up the water
while the train flies. So with bad newspapers that fly along the track
of death without pausing a moment, yet scooping up into themselves the
pollution of society, and in the awful rush making the earth tremble.
The most abandoned man of the city may go to the bad newspaper and get
a slander inserted about the best man. If he cannot do it in any other
way, he can by means of an anonymous communication. Now, a man who,
to injure another, will write an anonymous letter, is, in the first
place, a coward, and, in the second place, a villain. Many of these
offensive anonymous letters you see in the bad newspaper have been
found to be _written in the editorial chair_.
The bad newspaper stops not at any political outrage. It would arouse
a revolution, and empty the hearts of a million brave men in the
trenches, rather than not have its own circulation multiply.
What to it are the hard-earned laurels of the soldier or the exalted
reputation of the statesman? Its editors would, if they dared, blow
up the Capitol of the nation if they could only successfully carry off
the frieze of one of the corridors. There are enough falsehoods told
at any one of our autumnal elections to make the "Father of Lies"
disown his monstrous progeny. Now it is the Mayor, then the Governor,
now the Secretary of State, and then the President, until the air is
so full of misrepresentation that truth is hidden from the view, as
beautiful landscapes by the clouds of summer insects blown up from the
The immoral newspaper stops not at the unclean advertisement. It is
so much for so many words, and in such a sheet it will cost no more
to advertise the most impure book than the new edition of Pilgrim's
Progress. A book such as no decent man would touch was a few months
ago advertised in a New York paper, and the getter-up of the book,
passing down one of our streets the other day, acknowledged to one of
my friends that he had made $18,000 out of the enterprise.
In one column of a paper we see a grand ethical discussion, and in
another the droppings of most accursed nastiness. Oh! you cannot by
all your religion, in one column, atone for one of your abominations
in another! I am rejoiced that some of our papers have addressed those
who have proposed to compensate them for bad use of their columns, in
the words of Peter to Simon Magus: "Thy money perish with thee!" But I
arraign the newspapers that give their columns to corrupt advertising
for the nefarious work they are doing. The most polluted plays that
ever oozed from the poisonous pen of leprous dramatist have won
their deathful power through the medium of newspapers; the evil is
O ye reckless souls! get money--though morality dies, and society is
dishonored, and God defied, and the doom of the destroyed opens before
you--get money! Though the melted gold be poured upon your naked,
blistered, and consuming soul--get money! Get money! It will do you
good when it begins to eat like a canker! It will solace the pillow
of death, and soothe the pangs of an agonized eternity! Though in the
game thou dost stake thy soul, and lose it forever--get money!
The bad newspaper hesitates not to assault Christianity and its
disciples. With what exhilaration it puts in capitals, that fill
one-fourth of a column, the defalcation of some agent of a benevolent
society! There is enough meat in such a carcass of reputation to gorge
all the carrion-crows of an iniquitous printing-press. They put upon
the back of the Church all the inconsistencies of hypocrites--as
though a banker were responsible for all the counterfeits upon his
institution! They jeer at religion, and lift up their voices until all
the caverns of the lost resound with the howl of their derision. They
forget that Christianity is the only hope for the world, and that, but
for its enlightenment, they would now be like the Hottentots, living
in mud hovels, or like the Chinese, eating rats.
What would you think of a wretch who, during a great storm, while the
ship was being tossed to and fro on the angry waves, should climb up
into the light-house and blow out the light? And what do you think of
these men, who, while all the Christian and the glorious institutions
of the world are being tossed and driven hither and thither, are
trying to climb up and put out the only light of a lost world?
The bad newspaper stops not at publishing the most damaging and
unclean story. The only question is: "Will it pay?" And there are
scores of men who, day by day, bring into the newspaper offices
manuscripts for publication which unite all that is pernicious; and,
before the ink is fairly dry, tens of thousands are devouring with
avidity the impure issue. Their sensibilities deadened, their sense
of right perverted, their purity of thought tarnished, their taste
for plain life despoiled--the printing-press, with its iron foot, hath
dashed their life out! While I speak, there are many people, with
feet on the ottoman, and the gas turned on, looking down on the
page, submerged, mind and soul, in the perusal of this God-forsaken
periodical literature; and the last Christian mother will have put
the hands of the little child under the coverlet for the night, before
they will rouse up, as the city clock strikes the hour of midnight, to
go death-struck to their prayerless pillows.
One of the proprietors of a great paper in this country gave his
advice to a young man then about to start a paper: "If you want to
succeed," said he, "make your paper trashy, intensely trashy,--make it
Brilliant advice to a young man just entering business!
It is very often that, as a paper purifies itself, its circulation
decreases, and sometimes when a paper becomes positively religious, it
becomes bankrupt, unless some benevolent and Christian men come up
to sustain it by contributions of money and means. But few religious
newspapers in this country are self-supporting. The reason urged
is--the country cannot stand so much religion! Hear it! Christian men
Many papers that are most rapidly increasing to-day are unscrupulous.
The facts are momentous and appalling. And I put young men and women
and Christian parents and guardians on the look-out. This stuff cannot
be handled without pollution. Away with it from parlor, and shop,
and store! There is so much newspaper literature that _is_ pure, and
cheap, and elegant; shove back this leprosy from your door.
Mark it well: _a man is no better than the newspaper he habitually
You may think it a bold thing thus to arraign an unprincipled
printing-press, but I know there are those reading this who will take
my counsel; and, in the discharge of my duty to God and man, I defy
all the hostilities of earth and hell!
Representatives of the secular and religious press! I thank you, in
the name of Christianity and civilization, for the enlightenment of
ignorance, the overthrow of iniquity, and the words you have uttered
in the cause of God and your country. But I charge you in the name
of God, before whom you must account for the tremendous influence you
hold in this country, to consecrate yourselves to higher endeavors.
You are the men to fight back this invasion of corrupt literature.
Lift up your right hand and swear new allegiance to the cause of
philanthropy and religion. And when, at last, standing on the plains
of judgment, you look out upon the unnumbered throngs over whom you
have had influence, may it be found that you were among the mightiest
energies that lifted men upon the exalted pathway that leads to the
renown of heaven. Better than to have sat in editorial chair, from
which, with the finger of type, you decided the destinies of empires,
but decided them wrong, that you had been some dungeoned exile, who,
by the light of window iron-grated, on scraps of a New Testament leaf,
picked up from the hearth, spelled out the story of Him who taketh
away the sins of the world.
IN ETERNITY, DIVES IS THE BEGGAR!
THE FATAL TEN-STRIKE.
While among my readers are those who have passed on into the afternoon
of life, and the shadows are lengthening, and the sky crimsons with
the glow of the setting sun, a large number of them are in early life,
and the morning is coming down out of the clear sky upon them, and the
bright air is redolent with spring blossoms, and the stream of life,
gleaming and glancing, rushes on between flowery banks, making music
as it goes. Some of you are engaged in mercantile establishments, as
clerks and book-keepers; and your whole life is to be passed in the
exciting world of traffic. The sound of busy life stirs you as the
drum stirs the fiery war-horse. Others are in the mechanical arts, to
hammer and chisel your way through life; and success awaits you.
Some are preparing for professional life, and grand opportunities are
before you; nay, some of you already have buckled on the armor.
But, whatever your age or calling, the subject of gambling, about
which I speak in this chapter, is pertinent.
Some years ago, when an association for the suppression of gambling
was organized, an agent of the association came to a prominent citizen
and asked him to patronize the society. He said, "No, I can have no
interest in such an organization. I am in no wise affected by that
At that very time his son, who was his partner in business, was one of
the heaviest players in "Herne's" famous gaming establishment. Another
refused his patronage on the same ground, not knowing that his first
book-keeper, though receiving a salary of only a thousand dollars, was
losing from fifty to one hundred dollars per night. The president of
a railroad company refused to patronize the institution, saying--"That
society is good for the defence of merchants, but we railroad people
are not injured by this evil;" not knowing that, at that very time,
two of his conductors were spending three nights of each week at faro
tables in New York. Directly or indirectly, this evil strikes at the
Gambling is the risking of something more or less valuable in the hope
of winning more than you hazard. The instruments of gaming may differ,
but the principle is the same. The shuffling and dealing of cards,
however full of temptation, is not gambling, unless stakes are put up;
while, on the other hand, gambling may be carried on without cards, or
dice, or billiards, or a ten-pin alley. The man who bets on horses,
on elections, on battles--the man who deals in "fancy" stocks,
or conducts a business which extra hazards capital, or goes into
transactions without foundation, but dependent upon what men call
"luck," is a gambler.
It is estimated that one-fourth of the business in London is done
dishonestly. Whatever you expect to get from your neighbor without
offering an equivalent in money or time or skill, is either the
product of theft or gaming. Lottery tickets and lottery policies come
into the same category. Fairs for the founding of hospitals, schools
and churches, conducted on the raffling system, come under the same
denomination. Do not, therefore, associate gambling necessarily with
any instrument, or game, or time, or place, or think the principle
depends upon whether you play for a glass of wine, or one hundred
shares in _Camden and Amboy_. Whether you employ faro or billiards,
rondo and keno, cards, or bagatelle, the very _idea_ of the thing is
dishonest; for it professes to bestow upon you a good for which you
_give no equivalent_.
This crime is no newborn sprite, but a haggard transgression that
comes staggering down under a mantle of curses through many centuries.
All nations, barbarous and civilized, have been addicted to it. Before
1838, the French government received revenue from gaming houses.
In 1567, England, for the improvement of her harbors, instituted a
lottery, to be held at the front door of St. Paul's Cathedral. Four
hundred thousand tickets were sold, at ten shillings each. The
British Museum and Westminster Bridge were partially built by similar
procedures. The ancient Germans would sometimes put up themselves and
families as prizes, and suffer themselves to be bound, though stronger
than the persons who won them.
But now the laws of the whole civilized world denounce the system.
Enactments have been passed, but only partially enforced. The men
interested in gaming houses wield such influence, by their numbers and
affluence, that the judge, the jury, and the police officer must
be bold indeed who would array themselves against these infamous
establishments. Within ten years the House of Commons of England has
adjourned on "Derby Day" to go out to bet on the races; and in the
best circles of society in this country to-day are many hundreds of
professedly respectable men who are acknowledged gamblers.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars in this land are every day being won
and lost through sheer gambling. Says a traveller through the West--"I
have travelled a thousand miles at a time upon the Western waters
and seen gambling at every waking moment from the commencement to the
termination of the journey." The South-west of this country reeks with
this abomination. In New Orleans every third or fourth house in many
of the streets is a gaming place, and it may be truthfully averred
that each and all of our cities are cursed with this evil.
In themselves most of the games employed in gambling are without harm.
Billiard-tables are as harmless as tea-tables, and a pack of cards as
a pack of letter envelopes, unless stakes be put up. But by their use
for gambling purposes they have become significant of an infinity
of wretchedness. In New York city there are said to be six thousand
houses devoted to this sin; in Philadelphia about four thousand; in
Cincinnati about one thousand; at Washington the amount of gaming is
beyond calculation. There have been seasons when, by night, Senators,
Representatives, and Ministers of Foreign Governments were found
engaged in this practice.
Men wishing to gamble will find places just suited to their capacity,
not only in the underground oyster-cellar, or at the table back of the
curtain, covered with greasy cards, or in the steamboat smoking cabin,
where the bloated wretch with rings in his ears deals out his pack,
and winks in the unsuspecting traveller,--providing free drinks all
around,--but in gilded parlors and amid gorgeous surroundings.
This sin works ruin, first, by unhealthful stimulants. Excitement is
pleasurable. Under every sky, and in every age, men have sought it.
The Chinaman gets it by smoking his opium; the Persian by chewing
hashish; the trapper in a buffalo hunt; the sailor in a squall; the
inebriate in the bottle, and the avaricious at the gaming-table.
We must at times have excitement. A thousand voices in our nature
demand it. It is right. It is healthful. It is inspiriting. It is a
desire God-given. But anything that first gratifies this appetite and
hurls it back in a terrific reaction is deplorable and wicked. Look
out for the agitation that, like a rough musician, in bringing out the
tune, plays so hard he breaks down the instrument!
God never made man strong enough to endure the wear and tear of
gambling excitement. No wonder if, after having failed in the game,
men have begun to sweep off imaginary gold from the side of the table.
The man was sharp enough when he started at the game, but a maniac at
the close. At every gaming-table sit on one side Ecstasy, Enthusiasm,
Romance--the frenzy of joy; on the other side, Fierceness, Rage,
and Tumult. The professional gamester schools himself into apparent
quietness. The keepers of gambling rooms are generally fat,
rollicking, and obese; but thorough and professional gamblers, in nine
cases out of ten, are pale, thin, wheezing, tremulous, and exhausted.
A young man, having suddenly heired a large property, sits at the
hazard-table, and takes up in a dice-box the estate won by a father's
lifetime sweat, and shakes it, and tosses it away.
Intemperance soon stigmatizes its victim--kicking him out, a slavering
fool, into the ditch, or sending him, with the drunkard's hiccough,
staggering up the street where his family lives. But gambling does
not, in that way, expose its victims. The gambler may be eaten up by
the gambler's passion, yet only discover it by the greed in his eyes,
the hardness of his features, the nervous restlessness, the threadbare
coat, and his embarrassed business. Yet he is on the road to hell,
and no preacher's voice, or startling warning, or wife's entreaty, can
make him stay for a moment his headlong career. The infernal spell
is on him; a giant is aroused within; and though you bind him with
cables, they would part like thread; and though you fasten him seven
times round with chains, they would snap like rusted wire; and though
you piled up in his path, heaven-high, Bibles, tracts and sermons, and
on the top should set the cross of the Son of God, over them all the
gambler would leap like a roe over the rocks, on his way to perdition.
Again, this sin works ruin by killing industry.
A man used to reaping scores or hundreds of dollars from the
gaming-table will not be content with slow work. He will say, "What is
the use of trying to make these fifty dollars in my store when I can
get five times that in half an hour down at 'Billy's'?" You never knew
a confirmed gambler who was industrious. The men given to this vice
spend their time not actively employed in the game in idleness, or
intoxication, or sleep, or in corrupting new victims. This sin has
dulled the carpenter's saw, and cut the band of the factory wheel,
sunk the cargo, broken the teeth of the farmer's harrow, and sent a
strange lightning to shatter the battery of the philosopher.
The very first idea in gaming is at war with all the industries of
society. Any trade or occupation that is of use is ennobling. The
street sweeper advances the interests of society by the cleanliness
effected. The cat pays for the fragments it eats by clearing the house
of vermin. The fly that takes the sweetness from the dregs of the cup
compensates by purifying the air and keeping back the pestilence. But
the gambler gives not anything for that which he takes.
I recall that sentence. He _does_ make a return; but it is disgrace to
the man that he fleeces, despair to his heart, ruin to his business,
anguish to his wife, shame to his children, and eternal wasting away
to his soul. He pays in tears and blood, and agony, and darkness, and
What dull work is ploughing to the farmer, when in the village saloon,
in one night, he makes and loses the value of a summer harvest? Who
will want to sell tape, and measure nankeen, and cut garments, and
weigh sugars, when in a night's game he makes and loses, and makes
again, and loses again, the profits of a season?
John Borack was sent as mercantile agent from Bremen to England and
this country. After two years his employers mistrusted that all was
not right. He was a defaulter for eighty-seven thousand dollars. It
was found that he had lost in Lombard street, London, twenty-nine
thousand dollars; in Fulton street, New York, ten thousand dollars;
and in New Orleans, three thousand dollars. He was imprisoned, but
afterwards escaped and went into the gambling profession. He died in a
This crime is getting its pry under many a mercantile house in our
cities, and before long down will come the great establishment,
crushing reputation, home, comfort, and immortal souls. How it diverts
and sinks capital may be inferred from some authentic statements
before us. The ten gaming-houses that once were authorized in Paris
passed through the banks, yearly, three hundred and twenty-five
millions of francs! The houses of this kind in Germany yield vast sums
to the government. The Hamburg establishment pays to the government
treasury forty thousand florins; and Baden Baden one hundred
and twenty thousand florins. Each one of the banks in the large
gaming-houses of Germany has forty or fifty croupiers standing in its
Where does all the money come from? _The whole world is robbed!_ What
is most sad, there are no consolations for the loss and suffering
entailed by gaming. If men fail in lawful business, God pities, and
society commiserates; but where in the Bible, or in society, is there
any consolation for the gambler? From what tree of the forest oozes
there a balm that can soothe the gamester's heart? In that bottle
where God keeps the tears of his children, are there any tears of the
gambler? Do the winds that come to kiss the faded cheek of sickness,
and to cool the heated brow of the laborer, whisper hope and cheer to
the emaciated victim of the game of hazard? When an honest man is in
trouble, he has sympathy. "Poor fellow!" they say. But do gamblers
come to weep at the agonies of the gambler? In Northumberland was one
of the finest estates in England. Mr. Porter owned it, and in a year
gambled it all away. Having lost the last acre of the estate, he came
down from the saloon and got into his carriage; went back; put up his
horses, and carriage, and town house, and played. He threw and
lost. He started home, and on a side alley met a friend from whom
he borrowed ten guineas; went back to the saloon, and before a great
while had won twenty thousand pounds. He died at last a beggar in St.
Giles. How many gamblers felt sorry for Mr. Porter? Who consoled him
on the loss of his estate? What gambler subscribed to put a stone over
the poor man's grave? Not one!
Furthermore, this sin is the source of uncounted dishonesties. The
game of hazard itself is often a cheat. How many tricks and deceptions
in the dealing of the cards! The opponent's hand is ofttimes found
out by fraud. Cards are marked so that they may be designated from the
back. Expert gamesters have their accomplices, and one wink may
decide the game. The dice have been found loaded with platina, so
that "doublets" come up every time. These dice are introduced by the
gamblers unobserved by the honest men who have come into the play;
and this accounts for the fact that ninety-nine out of a hundred who
gamble, however wealthy they began, at the end are found to be poor,
miserable, ragged wretches, that would not now be allowed to sit on
the door-step of the house that they once owned.
In a gaming-house in San Francisco, a young man having just come
from the mines deposited a large sum upon the ace, and won twenty-two
thousand dollars. But the tide turns. Intense anxiety comes upon the
countenances of all. Slowly the cards went forth. Every eye is fixed.
Not a sound is heard, until the ace is revealed favorable to the bank.
There are shouts of "Foul! Foul!" but the keepers of the table
produce their pistols and the uproar is silenced, and the bank has won
ninety-five thousand dollars. Do you call this a game of chance? There
is no chance about it.
But these dishonesties in the carrying on of the game are nothing when
compared with the frauds which are committed in order to get money
to go on with the nefarious work. Gambling, with its greedy hand, has
snatched away the widow's mite and the portion of the orphans; has
sold the daughter's virtue to get means to continue the game; has
written the counterfeit signature, emptied the banker's money vault,
and wielded the assassin's dagger. There is no depth of meanness to
which it will not stoop. There is no cruelty at which it is appalled.
There is no warning of God that it will not dare. Merciless,
unappeasable, fiercer and wilder it blinds, it hardens, it rends, it
blasts, it crushes, it damns. It has peopled Moyamensing, and Auburn,
and Sing Sing.
How many railroad agents, and cashiers, and trustees of funds, it has
driven to disgrace, incarceration, and suicide! Witness a cashier of
the Central Railroad and Banking Company of Georgia, who stole one
hundred and three thousand dollars to carry on his gaming practices.
Witness the forty thousand dollars stolen from a Brooklyn bank; and
the one hundred and eighty thousand dollars taken from a Wall Street
Insurance Company for the same purpose! These are only illustrations
on a large scale of the robberies _every day_ committed for the
purpose of carrying out the designs of gamblers. Hundreds of thousands
of dollars every year leak out without observation from the merchant's
till into the gambling hell.
A man in London keeping one of these gambling houses boasted that he
had ruined a nobleman a day; but if all the saloons of this land were
to speak out, they might utter a more infamous boast, for they have
destroyed a thousand noblemen a year.
Notice also the effect of this crime upon domestic happiness. It hath
sent its ruthless ploughshare through hundreds of families, until the
wife sat in rags, and the daughters were disgraced, and the sons grew
up to the same infamous practices, or took a short cut to destruction
across the murderer's scaffold. Home has lost all charms for the
gambler. How tame are the children's caresses and a wife's devotion to
the gambler! How drearily the fire burns on the domestic hearth! There
must be louder laughter, and something to win and something to lose;
an excitement to drive the heart faster and fillip the blood and fire
the imagination. No home, however bright, can keep back the gamester.
The sweet call of love bounds back from his iron soul, and all
endearments are consumed in the flame of his passion. The family Bible
will go after all other treasures are lost, and if his everlasting
crown in heaven were put into his hand he would cry: "Here goes, one
more game, my boys! On this one throw I stake my crown of heaven."
A young man in London, on coming of age, received a fortune of one
hundred and twenty thousand dollars, and through gambling in three
years was thrown on his mother for support.
An only son went to New Orleans. He was rich, intellectual, and
elegant in manners. His parents gave him, on his departure from home,
their last blessing. The sharpers got hold of him. They flattered him.
They lured him to the gaming-table and let him win almost every time
for a good while, and patted him on the back and said, "First-rate
player." But, fully in their grasp, they fleeced him; and his thirty
thousand dollars were lost. Last of all he put up his watch and lost
that. Then he began to think of home and of his old father and mother,
and wrote thus:--
"MY BELOVED PARENTS:--You will doubtless feel a momentary joy
at the reception of this letter from the child of your bosom,
on whom you have lavished all the favors of your declining
years. But should a feeling of joy for a moment spring up
in your hearts when you shall have received this from, me,
cherish it not. I have fallen deep--never to rise. Those gray
hairs that I should have honored and protected I shall bring
down with sorrow to the grave. I will not curse my destroyer,
but oh! may God avenge the wrongs and impositions practised
upon the unwary in a way that shall best please Him. This, my
dear parents, is the last letter you will ever receive from
me. I humbly pray your forgiveness. It is my dying prayer.
Long before you shall have received this letter from me the
cold grave will have closed upon me forever. Life is to me
insupportable. I cannot, nay, I will not suffer the shame of
having ruined you. Forget and forgive is the dying prayer of
your unfortunate son."
The old father came to the post-office, got the letter, and fell to
the floor. They thought he was dead at first; but they brushed back
the white hair from his brow and fanned him. He had only fainted. I
wish he had been dead; for what is life worth to a father after his
son is destroyed?
When things go wrong at a gaming-table, they shout "Foul! foul!" Over
all the gaming-tables of the world I cry out "Foul! foul! Infinitely
In modern days, in addition to the other forms of gambling, have
come up the thoroughly organized and, in some States, _legalized_
institution of lotteries. There are hundreds of citizens on the way to
ruin through the lottery system. Some of the finest establishments in
town are by this process being demolished, and the whole land feels
the exhaustion of this accumulating evil. The wheel of Fortune is the
Juggernaut that is crushing out the life of this nation. The records
of the Insolvent Court of one city show that, in five years, two
hundred thousand dollars were lost by dealing in lottery tickets. All
the officers of the celebrated Bank of the United States who failed
were found to have expended the money embezzled for lottery tickets.
A man drew in a lottery fifty thousand dollars, sold his ticket for
forty-two thousand five hundred dollars, and yet did not have enough
to pay the charges against him for lottery tickets. He owed the
brokers forty-five thousand dollars.
An editor writes--"A man who, a few years ago, was blest with about
twenty thousand dollars (lottery money), yesterday applied to us for
ninepence to pay for a night's lodging."
A highly respectable gentleman drew twenty thousand dollars in a
lottery; bought more tickets, and drew again; bought more--drew more
largely; then rushed down headlong until he was pronounced by the
select men of the village a vagabond, and his children were picked up
from the street half starved and almost naked.
A hard-working machinist draws a thousand dollars; thenceforth he is
disgusted with work, opens a rum grocery, is utterly debauched, and
people go in his store to find him dead, close beside his rum-cask.
It would take a pen plucked from the wing of the destroying angel and
dipped in blood to describe this lottery business.
A man committed suicide in New York, and upon his person was found a
card of address giving a grog-shop as his boarding house, three blank
lottery tickets, and a leaf from _Seneca's Morals_, containing an
apology for self-murder.
One lottery in London was followed by the suicide of fifty persons who
held unlucky numbers.
There are men now, with lottery tickets in their pocket, which, if
they have not sense enough to tear up or throw into the fire, will be
their admission ticket at the door of the damned. As the brazen gates
swing open they will show their tickets, and pass in and pass down. As
the wheel of eternal Fortune turns slowly round, they will find that
the doom of those who have despised God and imperilled their souls
will be their awful prize.
God forbid that you, my reader, should ever take to yourself the
lamentation of the Boston clerk, who, in eight months, had embezzled
eighteen thousand dollars from his employer and expended it all in
lottery tickets. "I have for the last seven months gone fast down the
broad road. There was a time, and that but a few months since, when
I was happy, because I was free from debt and care. The moment of the
first steps in my downfall was about the middle of last June, when
I took a share in a company, bought lottery tickets whereby I was
successful in obtaining a share of one-half of the capital prize,
since which I have gone for myself. I have lived and dragged out a
miserable existence for two or three months past. Oh, that the seven
or eight months past of my existence could be blotted out; but I must
go, and, ere this paper is read, my spirit has gone to my Maker,
to give an account of my misdeeds here, and to receive the eternal
sentence for self-destruction and abused confidence. Relatives
and friends I have, from whom I do not wish to part under such
circumstances, but necessity compels. Oh, wretch! lottery tickets have
been thy ruin. But I cannot add more."
There are multitudes of people who disapprove of ordinary lotteries,
yet have been thoroughly deceived by iniquity under a more attractive
nomenclature. The lottery in which our most highly respectable and
Christian people invest is some "Art Association," or some benevolent
"Gift Enterprise," in which they fondly believe there can be no harm
in drawing Bierstadt's _Yosemite Valley_, or Cropsey's _American
At no time have lottery tickets been sown so broadcast as to-day,
notwithstanding the law forbids the old-style lottery.
A few years ago our newspapers flamed with the advertisements of the
Crosby Opera House scheme. A citizen of Chicago, finding on his hands
an unprofitable building, calls upon the whole country to help him
out. Rooms are opened in all the great cities. In rush, not the
abandoned and the reprobate (for _they_ like the old styles of
swindling better), but the educated and refined and polished, until a
host of people are in imminent peril of having thrown upon their hands
a splendid Opera House. Philadelphia buys thirty thousand dollars
worth of tickets. The portentous day approaches. The rail trains from
many of the prominent cities bring in dignified "Committees" who
come to see that the great abomination is conducted in a decent and
Christian manner. The throng presses in. Hold fast your tickets, all
you respectable New Yorkers, Philadelphians, and Bostonians, for the
wheel begins to move. The long agony is over. Hundreds of thousands
of people have made a narrow escape from being ruined by sudden
affluence. Swift horses are despatched, that, foam-lathered, dash up
to the house of him who owns the successful ticket. The lightnings
tell it to the four winds of heaven, and our weekly pictorials hasten
forward the photographers to take the picture of the famous man who
owned the ticket numbered 58,600. Multitudes think that there has been
foul play, and that, after all, they themselves, if the truth were
known, did draw the Opera House. Ten years from now there will stand
on the scaffold, or behind the prison door, or in the lonely room in
which the suicide writes his farewell to wife or parents, men who will
say that the first misstep of their life that put them on the wrong
road was the ticket they bought in the Crosby Opera House.
The man who won that prize is already dead of his dissipations, and,
strange to say, the beautiful building thus raffled away was found to
be owned by its original possessor when all the excitement in regard
to the matter had died away.
I care not on what street the office was, nor who were the abettors
of the undertaking, nor who bought the tickets. I pronounce the whole
scheme to have been a swindle, a crime, and an insult to God and the
In this class of gambler-makers I also put the "gift stores," which
are becoming abundant throughout the country. With a book, or knife,
or sewing machine, or coat, or carriage there goes a _prize_. At those
stores people get something thrown in with their purchase. It may be a
gold watch or a set of silver, a ring or a farm. Sharp way to get off
unsalable goods. It has filled the land with fictitious articles and
covered up our population with brass finger-rings, and despoiled
the moral sense of the community, and is fast making us a nation of
The Church of God has not seemed willing to allow the world to have
all the advantage of these games of chance. A church fair opens, and
towards the close it is found that some of the more valuable articles
are unsalable. Forthwith the conductors of the enterprise conclude
that they will _raffle_ for some of the valuable articles, and, under
pretence of anxiety to make their minister a present, or please some
popular member of the church, fascinating persons are despatched
through the room, pencil in hand, to "solicit" shares; or perhaps each
draws for his own advantage, and scores of people go home with their
trophies, thinking that all is right, for Christian ladies did the
embroidery, and Christian men did the raffling, and the proceeds went
towards a new communion set. But you may depend on it that, as far as
morality is concerned, you might as well have won by the crack of the
billiard-ball or the turn of the dice-box.
Some good people cannot stand this raffling, and so, at fairs, they go
to "voting," sometimes for editors, and sometimes for ministers, at
a dollar a vote. Now the Methodist minister is ahead; now the
Presbyterian leads, and now the Baptist. But, just at the last moment,
when one of the ministers of the more popular sect seems sure to get
the prize, the members from some obscure denomination, that do not
deserve the prize, come in, and by a large contribution carry off for
_their_ minister the silver tea-set.
Do you wonder that churches built, lighted, or upholstered by such
processes as that come to great financial and spiritual decrepitude?
The devil says: "_I_ helped build that house of worship, and I have as
much right there as you have;" and for once the devil is right.
We do not read that they had a lottery for building the church at
Corinth or Antioch, or for getting up a gold-headed cane or for an
embroidered surplice for Saint Paul. All this I style ecclesiastical
gambling. More than one man who is destroyed can say that his first
step on the wrong road was when he won something at a church fair.
The gambling spirit has not stopped for any indecency. There lately
transpired, in Maryland, a lottery in which people drew for lots in
a burying-ground! The modern habit of betting about everything is
productive of immense mischief. The most healthful and innocent
amusements of yachting and base-ball playing have been the occasion of
putting up excited and extravagant wagers. That which to many has
been advantageous to body and mind has been to others the means of
financial and moral loss. The custom is pernicious in the extreme
where scores of men in respectable life give themselves up to betting,
now on this boat now on that--now on the Atlantics and now on the
Betting, that once was chiefly the accompaniment of the race-course,
is fast becoming a national habit, and in some circles any
opinion advanced on finance or politics is accosted with the
interrogatory--"How much will you bet on _that_, sir?"
This custom may make no appeal to slow, lethargic temperaments,
but there are in the country tens of thousands of quick, nervous,
sanguine, excitable temperaments ready to be acted upon, and their
feet will soon take hold on death. For some months and perhaps for
years they will linger in the more polite and elegant circle of
gamesters, but, after a while, their pathway will come to the fatal
plunge. Finding themselves in the rapids, they will try to back out,
and, hurled over the brink, they will clutch the side of the boat
until their finger-nails, blood-tipped, will pierce the wood, and
then, with white cheek and agonized stare, and the horrors of the lost
soul lifting the very hair from the scalp, they will plunge down where
no grappling hooks can drag them out.
Young man! stand back from all styles of gambling! The end thereof
is death. The gamblers enter the ten-pin alley where are husbands,
brothers, and fathers. "Put down your thousand dollars all in gold
eagles! Let the boy set up the pins at the other end of the alley! Now
stand back, and give the gamester full sweep! Roll the first--there!
it strikes! and down goes his respectability. Try it again. Roll the
second--there! it strikes! and down goes the last feeling of humanity.
Try it again. Roll the third--there! it strikes! and down goes his
soul forever. It was not so much the pins that fell as the soul! the
soul! FATAL TEN-STRIKE FOR ETERNITY!"
Shall I sketch the history of the gambler? Lured by bad company, he
finds his way into a place where honest men ought never to go. He
sits down to his first game only for pastime and the desire of being
thought sociable. The players deal out the cards. They unconsciously
play into Satan's hands, who takes all the tricks, and both the
players' souls for trumps--he being a sharper at any game. A slight
stake is put up just to add interest to the play. Game after game is
played. Larger stakes and still larger. They begin to move nervously
on their chairs. Their brows lower and eyes flash, until now they who
win and they who lose, fired alike with passion, sit with set jaws,
and compressed lips, and clenched fists, and eyes like fire-balls
that seem starting from their sockets, to see the final turn before
it comes; if losing, pale with envy and tremulous with unuttered
oaths cast back red-hot upon the heart--or, winning, with hysteric
laugh--"Ha! Ha! I have it! I have it!"
A few years have passed, and he is only the wreck of a man. Seating
himself at the game ere he throws the first card, he stakes the last
relic of his wife, and the marriage-ring which sealed the solemn vows
between them. The game is lost, and, staggering back in exhaustion,
he dreams. The bright hours of the past mock his agony, and in his
dreams, fiends, with eyes of fire and tongues of flame, circle about
him with joined hands, to dance and sing their orgies with hellish
chorus, chanting--"Hail! brother!" kissing his clammy forehead until
their loathsome locks, flowing with serpents, crawl into his bosom
and sink their sharp fangs and suck up his life's blood, and coiling
around his heart pinch it with chills and shudders unutterable.
Take warning! You are no stronger than tens of thousands who have, by
this practice, been overthrown. No young man in our cities can escape
being tempted. _Beware of the first beginnings!_ This road is a
down-grade, and every instant increases the momentum. Launch not upon
this treacherous sea. Split hulks strew the beach. Everlasting storms
howl up and down, tossing the unwary crafts into the Hell-gate. I
speak of what I have seen with my own eyes. I have looked off into the
abyss and have seen the foaming, and the hissing, and the whirling
of the horrid deep in which the mangled victims writhed, one
upon another, and struggled, strangled, blasphemed, and died--the
death-stare of eternal despair upon their countenances as the waters
gurgled over them.
To a gambler's death-bed there comes no hope. He will probably die
alone. His former associates come not nigh his dwelling. When the
hour comes, his miserable soul will go out of a miserable life into
a miserable eternity. As his poor remains pass the house where he was
ruined, old companions may look out a moment and say--"There goes the
old carcass--dead at last," but they will not get up from the table.
Let him down now into his grave. Plant no tree to cast its shade
there, for the long, deep, eternal gloom that settles there is shadow
enough. Plant no "forget-me-nots" or eglantines around the spot, for
flowers were not made to grow on such a blasted heath. Visit it not in
the sunshine, for that would be mockery, but in the dismal night, when
no stars are out, and the spirits of darkness come down horsed on the
wind, _then_ visit the grave of the gambler!
SOME OF THE CLUB-HOUSES.
Iniquity never gives a fair fight. It springs out from ambush upon
the unsuspecting. Of the tens of thousands who have fallen into bad
habits, not one deliberately leaped off, but all were caught in some
sly trap. You may have watched a panther or a cat about to take its
prey. It crouches down, puts its mouth between its paws, and is hardly
to be seen in the long grass. So iniquity always crouches down in
unexpected shapes, takes aim with unerring eye, and then springs
upon you with sudden and terrific leap. In secret places and in
unlooked-for shapes it murders the innocent.
Men are gregarious. Cattle in herds. Fish in schools. Birds in flocks.
Men in social circles. You may, by the discharge of a gun, scatter
a flock of quails, or by the plunge of the anchor send apart the
denizens of the sea; but they will gather themselves together again.
If you, by some new power, could break the associations in which men
now stand, they would again adhere. God meant it so. He has gathered
all the flowers and shrubs into associations. You may plant one
"forget-me-not" or "hearts-ease" alone, away off upon the hillside,
but it will soon hunt up some other "forget-me-not" or "hearts-ease."
Plants love company; you will find them talking to each other in the
dew. A galaxy of stars is only a mutual life-insurance company. You
sometimes see a man with no out-branchings of sympathy. His nature is
cold and hard, like a ship's mast, ice-glazed, which the most agile
sailor could never climb. Others have a thousand roots and a thousand
branches. Innumerable tendrils climb their hearts, and blossom all the
way up; and the fowls of heaven sing in the branches.
In consequence of this tendency, we find men coming together in
tribes, in communities, in churches, in societies. Some gather
together to cultivate the arts; some to plan for the welfare of the
State; some to discuss religious themes; some to kindle their mirth;
some to advance their craft. So every active community is divided into
associations of artists, of merchants, of bookbinders, of carpenters,
of masons, of plasterers, of shipwrights, of plumbers. Do you cry out
against it? Then you cry out against a tendency divinely implanted.
Your tirades will accomplish no more than if you should preach to a
busy ant-hill or bee-hive a long sermon against secret societies.
Here we find in our path the oft-discussed question, whether
associations that do their work with closed doors, and admit their
members by pass-words, and greet each other with a secret grip, are
right or wrong. I answer that it depends entirely upon the nature of
the object for which they meet. Is it to pass the hours in revelry,
wassail, blasphemy, and obscene talk, or to plot trouble to the State,
or to debauch the innocent? Then I say, with an emphasis that no man
can mistake, "NO." But is the object the improvement of the mind,
or the enlargement of the heart, or the advancement of art, or
the defence of the government, or the extirpation of crime, or the
kindling of a pure-hearted sociality? Then I say, with just as much
There is no need that we who plan for the conquest of right over wrong
should publish to all the world our intentions. The general of an
army never sends to the opposing troops information as to the coming
attack. Shall we who have enlisted in the cause of God and humanity
expose our plans to the enemy? No! We will in secret plot the ruin of
all the enterprises of Satan and his cohorts. When they expect us by
day, we will fall upon them by night. While they are strengthening
their left wing, we will double up their right. By a plan of battle
formed in secret conclave, we will come suddenly upon them, crying:
"The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!"
Secrecy of plot and execution are wrong only when the object and
influence are nefarious. Every family is a secret society; every
business firm, and every banking and insurance institution. Those men
who have no capacity to keep a secret are unfit for positions of trust
anywhere. There are thousands of men whose vital need is culturing in
capacity to keep a secret. Men talk too much--and women too. There
is a time to keep silence, as well as a time to speak. Although not
belonging to any of the great secret societies about which there has
been so much violent discussion, I have only words of praise for
those associations which have for their object the reclamation of
inebriates, or like the score of mutual benefit societies, called by
different names, that provide temporary relief for widows and orphans,
and for men incapacitated by sickness or accident for earning a
I suppose there are club-houses in our cities to which men go with
clear consciences, and from which they come after an hour or two
of intellectual talk, and cheerful interview, to enjoy the domestic
circle. But that this is not the character of scores and hundreds of
club-houses we all know. Can I, then, pass this subject by without
exposition of the monstrous evil? There are multitudes who are
unconsciously having their physical, moral, and eternal well-being
endangered by club-room dissipation. Was it right to expose the plot
of Guy Fawkes, by which he would have destroyed the Parliament of
England? And am I wrong in disclosing a peril which threatens not only
your well-being here, but your throne in heaven?
I deplore this ruin the more because this style of dissipation is
taking down our finest men. The admission-fee sifts out the penurious
and takes only those who are called the best fellows. Oh! how changed
you are! Not so kind to your wife as you used to be; not so patient
with your children. Your conscience is not so much at rest. You laugh
more now, and sing louder than once, but are not half so happy. It is
not the public drinking-saloon that is taking you down, nor theatrical
amusements, nor the houses of sin that have cost thousands of other
men their eternity: but it is simply and undeniably your club-room.
You do not make yourself as agreeable in your family as once. You go
home at twelve o'clock with an unnatural flush upon your cheek and
a strange color in your eye that you got at the club. You merely
acknowledge that you feel queer. You say that champagne never
intoxicates; that it only exhilarates, makes the conversation fluent,
shakes up the humor, and has no bad effect except a headache next day.
Be not deceived. Champagne may not, like whiskey, throw a man under
the table; but if, through anything you drink, you gain an unnatural
fluency of speech and glow of feeling, you are simply drunk.
If those imperilled were heartless young men, stingy young men, I
would not be so sorry as I am; but there are many of them generous to
a fault, frank, honest, cheerful, talented. I begrudge the devil such
a prize. After a while these persons will lose all the frankness and
honor for which they are now distinguished. Their countenances will
get haggard, and instead of looking one in the eye when they talk,
they will look down. After a while, when the mother kindly asks, "What
kept you out so late?" they will make no answer, or will say "That is
my business!" They will come cross and befogged to the store and
bank, and ever and anon neglect some duty, and after a while will be
dismissed: and then, with nothing to do, will rise in the morning at
ten o'clock, cursing the servant because the breakfast is cold, and
then go down town and stand on the steps of a fashionable hotel, and
criticise the passers-by. While the young man who was a clerk in a
cellar has come up to be the first clerk, and he who a few years ago
ran errands for the bank has got to be cashier, and thousands of other
young men of the city have gone up to higher and more responsible
positions, he has been going down, until there he passes through the
street with bloated lip, and bloodshot eye, and staggering step, and
hat mud-spattered and set sidewise on a shock of greasy hair, the
ashes of his cigar dashed upon his cravat. Here he goes! Look at him,
all ye pure-hearted young men, and see the work of the fashionable
club-room. I knew one such who, after the contaminations of his
club-house, leaped out of the third-story window to put an end to his
Many who would not be seen drinking at the bar of a restaurant, think
there is no dishonor and no peril connected with sitting down at a
marble stand in an elegantly furnished parlor, to which they go with a
private key, and where none are present except gentlemen as elegant
as themselves. Everything so chaste in the surroundings! Soft carpets,
beautiful pictures, cut glass, Italian top tables, frescoed walls. In
just such places there are thousands of young men, middle-aged men,
and old men, preparing themselves for overthrow.
In many of these club-rooms the talk is not as pure and elevated as
it might be. How is it, men and brothers, at half-past eleven o'clock,
when the tankards are well emptied, and the smoke curls up from every
lip? Do they ever swear? Are there stories told unworthy a man who
venerates the name of his mother? Does God, whose presence cannot be
hindered by bolt, and who comes in without a pass-word, and is making
up His record for the judgment-day, approve of the blasphemies you
You think that there is no special danger, yet acknowledge that you
have felt _queer_ sometimes. Your head was not right, and your stomach
was disturbed. I will tell you what was the matter. _You were drunk_.
You understood not that protracted hiccough; it was the drunkard's
hiccough. You could not explain that nausea; it was the drunkard's
vomit. The fact is that some of you, who have never in your own eyes
or in the eyes of others fully sacrificed your respectability, have
for six months been written down in God's book as drunkards.
How far down need a man go before he becomes an inebriate? Must he
fall into the ditch? No! Must he get into a porter-house fight? No!
Must he be senseless in the street? Must he have the delirium
tremens? No! He may wear satin and fine linen; he may walk with hat
scrupulously brushed; may swing a gold-headed cane, and step in boots
of French leather, dismount from a carriage, or draw tight rein over
a swift, sleek, high-mettled, full-blooded Arabian span, but yet be
so thoroughly under the power of strong drink that he is utterly
offensive to his Maker and rotten as a heap of compost.
The fact that this whole land to-day swelters with drunkenness I
charge upon the drinking club houses. They wield an influence that
makes it respectable, and I will not put my head to the pillow
to-night until I have written against them one burning anathema
maranatha! When I see them dragging down scores of our young men, and
slaying professed Christians at the very altar, and snatching off
the garlands of life from those who would otherwise reign forever and
forever, I tell you I hate them with a perfect hatred, and pray for
more height, and depth, and length, and breadth of capacity with which
to hate them.
Along this blossoming and over-arched pathway, and through this long
line of temptations that throw their garlands upon the brow, and ring
their music into the ear, go a great host.
No one can estimate the homes that have been shattered by the
dissipations of the club-house. There are weak women who would never
consent to a husband's absence in the evening, however important the
duty that takes him away. Any man who wishes to take his share of the
public burdens and is willing to work for the political, educational,
and social advancement of the community must of necessity spend some
of his evenings away from home. There are associations and churches
that have a right to demand a share of a man's presence and means, and
that is a weak woman who always looks offended when her husband goes
out in the evening.
But club-houses become a pest when they demand all a man's evenings;
and that is a result we are called to deplore. Every head of a
household is called to be its educator, its companion, its religious
instructor and exemplar; not only to furnish the wardrobe and to make
the money to pay the bills when they come in, but to give his
highest intellectual energies and social faculties to the amusement,
instruction, and improvement of the household.
But I describe the history of thousands of households when I say that
the tea is rapidly taken, and while yet the family linger the father
shoves back his chair, has "an engagement," lights his cigar and
starts out, not returning until after midnight. That is the history of
three hundred and sixty-five days in the year, except when he is sick
and cannot get out.
How about home duties? Have you fulfilled all your vows? Would your
wife ever have married you with such a prospect? Wait until your sons
get to be sixteen or seventeen years of age, and they too will shove
back from the tea-table, have an "engagement," light their cigars, go
over to their club-houses, their night-key rattling in your door after
midnight--the effect of your example. And as your son's constitution
may not be as strong as yours, and the liquor he drinks more terribly
drugged, he will catch up with you on the road to death although you
got the start of him. And so you will both go to hell together! A
revolving Drummond-light on the front of a locomotive casts its gleam
through the darkness as it is turned around; so I catch up the lamp of
God's truth and turn it round until its tremendous glare flashes into
all the club-houses of our cities.
Flee the presence of the dissipating club-houses. "Paid your money?"
Sacrifice that rather than your soul. "Good fellows," are they? They
cannot stay what they are under such influences. Mollusca live two
hundred fathoms down in the Norwegian seas. The Siberian stag grows
fat on the stunted growth of Altaian peaks. The Hedysarium thrives
amid the desolation of Sahara. Tufts of osier and birch grow on the
hot lips of volcanic Schneehalten. But good character and a useful
life thrive amid club-room dissipations--_Never!_
The best way to make a wild beast cower is to look him in the eye, but
the best way to treat the temptations I have described is to turn your
back and fly! O! my heart aches! I see men struggling to get out of
the serfdom of bad habits, and I want to help them. I have knelt with
them and heard their cry for help. I have had them put one hand
on each of my shoulders, and look me in the eye, with an agony of
earnestness that the judgment shall have no power to make me forget,
and from their lips, scorched with the fires of ruin, have heard
them cry "God help me!" There is no rescue for such, save in the Lord
Well, what we do, we had better do right away. The clock ticks now and
we hear it. After a while the clock will tick and we shall not hear
it. Seated by a country fireside, I saw the fire kindle, blaze, and go
out. I gathered up from the hearth enough for profitable reflections.
Our life is just like the fire on that hearth. We put on fresh fagots,
and the fire bursts through and up, and out, gay of flash, gay of
crackle--emblem of boyhood. Then the fire reddens into coals. The
heat is fiercer; and the more it is stirred, the more it reddens. With
sweep of flame it cleaves its way, until all the hearth glows with
the intensity--emblem of full manhood. Then comes a whiteness to the
coals. The heat lessens. The flickering shadows have died along the
wall. The fagots drop apart. The household hover over the expiring
embers. The last breath of smoke has been lost in the chimney. Fire is
out. Shovel up the white remains. ASHES!
FLASK, BOTTLE, AND DEMIJOHN.
[NOTE.--This chapter, in its first shape, was given some currency
under the title of "The Evil Beast." I have, however, so revised and
added to that Lecture, that, as here given, it is essentially a new
presentation of the dreadful Abomination of Rum, and it is in
this present shape that I wish the public to receive it as a full
expression of my views thereon. T.D.W.T.]
There has in all ages and climes been a tendency to the improper use
of stimulants. Noah, as if disgusted with the prevalence of water in
his time, took to strong drink. By this vice Alexander the Conqueror
was conquered. The Romans, at their feasts, fell off their seats with
intoxication. Four hundred millions of our race are opium-eaters.
India, Turkey, and China have groaned with the desolation; and by it
have been quenched such lights as Haller and De Quincey. One hundred
millions are the victims of the betel-nut, which has specially
accursed the East Indies. Three hundred millions chew hashish, and
Persia, Brazil, and Africa suffer the delirium. The Tartars employ
murowa; the Mexicans the agave; the people of Guarapo an intoxicating
quality taken from sugar-cane; while a great multitude, that no man
can number, are the disciples of alcohol. To it they bow. In its
trenches they fall. In its awful prison they are incarcerated. On its
ghastly holocaust they burn.
Could the muster-roll of this great army be called, and they could
come up from the dead, what eye could endure the reeking, festering
putrefaction and beastliness! What heart could endure the groans of
Drunkenness: Does it not jingle the burglar's key? Does it not whet
the assassin's knife? Does it not cock the highwayman's pistol? Does
it not wave the incendiary's torch? Has it not sent the physician
reeling into the sick-room; and the minister, with his tongue thick,
into the pulpit? Did not an exquisite poet, from the very height of
reputation, fall, a gibbering sot, into the gutter, on his way to be
married to one of the fairest daughters of New England, and at the
very hour when the bride was decking herself for the altar; and did he
not die of delirium tremens, almost unattended, in a New York hotel?
Tamerlane asked for one hundred and sixty thousand skulls, with which
to build a pyramid to his own honor. He got the skulls, and built the
pyramid. But if the bones of all those who have fallen as a prey to
dissipation could be piled up, it would make a monster pyramid. Talk
not of Waterloo and Austerlitz, for they were not fields of blood
compared with this great Golgotha.
Who will gird himself for the journey, and try with me to scale this
mountain of the dead--going up miles high on human carcasses, to find
still other peaks far above, mountain above mountain, white with the
bleached bones of drunkards!
Hang not your head or shut your eyes until we have seen it. We must
get a sight at the monster before we can shoot him.
I will begin at our national and State capitals. Like government,
like people. Henry VIII. blasts all England with his example of
uncleanness. Catharine of Russia drags down a whole empire with her
nefarious behavior. No Christian man can be indifferent to what
every hour of every day goes on at Washington. While the Presidential
Impeachment trial advanced, some of the men who were to render their
solemn verdict on the subject were reeling in and out of the Senate
chamber,--the intoxicated representatives of a free Christian people.
It was a great question whether several members of that high court
could be got sober in time to vote.
Only recently a Senator from New England rises up with tongue so
thick, and with utterance so nonsensical, that he is led into the
anteroom. He was a good "Republican."
One of the Middle States has a representative who very rarely appears
in his seat, for the reason that he is so great an inebriate that he
can neither walk nor ride. He is a good Democrat.
As God looks down on our State and national legislatures, he holds us
responsible. We cast the votes. We lift up the legislators.
Will the time never come when this nation shall rise up higher than
partisanship, and cast its suffrage for sober men?
The fact is that the two millions of dollars which the liquor dealers
raised for the purpose of swaying State and national legislation has
done its work, and the nation is debauched. Higher than legislatures
or the Congress of the United States is the Whiskey Ring!
The Sabbath has been sacrificed to the rum traffic. To many of our
people the best day of the week is the worst. Bakers must keep their
shops closed on the Sabbath. It is dangerous to have loaves of bread
going out on Sunday. The shoe-store is closed; severe penalty will
attack the man who sells boots on the Sabbath. But down with the
window-shutters of the grog shops. Our laws shall confer particular
honors upon the rum traffickers. All other traders must stand aside
for these. Let our citizens who have disgraced themselves by trading
in clothing, and hosiery, and hardware, and lumber, and coal, take
off their hats to the rum-seller, elected to particular honor. It is
unsafe for any other class of men to be allowed license for Sunday
work. But swing out your signs, oh ye traffickers in the peace of
families, and in the souls of immortal men! Let the corks fly, and the
beer foam, and the rum go tearing down the half-consumed throat of the
inebriate. God does not see, does he? Judgment will never come, will
People say--"Let us have some law to correct this evil." We have more
law now than we execute. In what city is there a mayoralty that dare
do it? There is no advantage in having the law higher than public
opinion. What would be the use of the Maine Law in New York? Neal Dow,
the Mayor of Portland, came out with a _posse_ and threw the rum of
the city into the street. From the alms-house a woman came out and
said, "Oh! if this had only been done ten years ago, my husband would
not have died a drunkard, and I would not have been a widow in the
But there are not enough police in the city of New York to stand by
its Mayor in such an undertaking; public opinion is not educated.
I do not know but that God is determined to let drunkards triumph; and
the husbands and sons of thousands of our best families be destroyed
by this vice, in order that our people, amazed and indignant, may rise
up and demand the extermination of this municipal crime.
There is a way of driving down the hoops of a barrel until the hoops
We are in this country, at this time, trying to regulate this evil
by a tax on whiskey. You might as well try to regulate the Asiatic
cholera, or the small-pox, by taxation. The men who distil liquors
are, for the most part, unscrupulous; and the higher the tax, the more
inducement to illicit distillation. New York produces forty thousand
gallons of whiskey every twenty-four hours; and the most of it escapes
the tax. The most vigilant officials fail to discover the cellars, and
vaults, and sheds where this work is done.
Oh, the folly of trying to restrain an evil by government tariffs! If
every gallon of whiskey made, if every flask of wine produced, should
be taxed a thousand dollars, it would not be enough to pay for the
tears it has wrung out of the eyes of widows and orphans, nor for the
blood it has dashed on the altars of the Christian Church, nor for the
catastrophe of the millions it has destroyed forever.
Oh! we are a Christian people! From Boston a ship sailed for
Africa, with three missionaries, and twenty-two thousand gallons
of New-England rum on board. Which will have the most effect: the
missionaries, or the rum?
Rum is victor. Some time when you have leisure, just go down any
of our streets, and count the number of drinking places. Here they
are--first-class hotels. Marble floors. Counter polished. Fine picture
hanging over the decanters. Cut glass. Silver water-coolers. Pictured
punch-bowls. High-priced liquors. Customers pull off their gloves,
and take up the glasses, and click them, and with immaculate
pocket handkerchief wipe their mouth, and go up-stairs, or into the
reading-room, and complete extensive bargains.
Here it is--the restaurant. All sorts of viands, but chiefly all
styles of beverage. They who frequent this place have fairly started
on the down grade. Having drunk once, they lounge at the corner of the
bar until a friend comes up, and then the beverage is repeated. After
a while they sit at the little table by the wall and order a rarer
wine; for they feel richer now, and able to get almost anything.
Towards bed-time they take out their watch and say they must go home.
They start, but cannot stand straight. With a gentleman at each arm,
they start up the street. More and more overcome, the man begins to
whoop, and shout, and swear, and refuse to go any farther. Hat falls
off. Hair gets over his eyes. Door-bell of fine house rings. Wife
comes down the stairs. Daughters look over the banisters. Sobbing in
the dark hall. Quick--shut the front door, for I do not want to look
in. God help them!
Here it is--a wine-cellar. Going into the door are depraved men and
lost women. Some stagger. All blaspheme. Men with rings in their ears
instead of their nose; and blotches of breast-pin. Pictures on the
wall cut out of the _Police Gazette_. A slush of beer on floor and
counter. A pistol falls out of a ruffian's pocket. By the gas-light a
knife flashes. Low songs. They banter, and jeer, and howl, and vomit.
An awful goal, to which hundreds of people better than you have come.
All these different styles of drinking-places are multiplying. They
smite a young man's vision at every turn. They pour the stench of
their abomination on every wave of air.
I sketch two houses in this street. The first is bright as home can
be. The father comes at nightfall, and the children run out to meet
him. Luxuriant evening meal, gratulation, and sympathy, and laughter.
Music in the parlor. Fine pictures on the wall. Costly books on the
stand. Well-clad household. Plenty of everything to make home happy.
House the second. Piano sold yesterday by the sheriff. Wife's furs at
pawnbroker's shop. Clock gone. Daughter's jewelry sold to get flour.
Carpets gone off the floor. Daughters in faded and patched dresses.
Wife sewing for the stores. Little child with an ugly wound on her
face, struck in an angry blow. Deep shadow of wretchedness falling in
every room. Doorbell rings. Little children hide. Daughters turn
pale. Wife holds her breath. Blundering steps in the hall. Door opens.
Fiend, brandishing his fist, cries--"Out! Out! What are you doing
Did I call this house the second? No; it is the same house. Rum
transformed it. Rum imbruted the man. Rum sold the shawl. Rum tore
up the carpets. Rum shook its fist. Rum desolated the hearth. _Rum_
changed that paradise into a hell!
I sketch two men that you know very well. The first graduated from one
of our literary institutions. His father, mother, brothers and sisters
were present to see him graduate. They heard the applauding thunders
that greeted his speech. They saw the bouquets tossed to his feet.
They saw the degree conferred and the diploma given. He never looked
so well. Everybody said, "What a noble brow! What a fine eye! What
graceful manners! What brilliant prospects!" All the world opens
before him and cries, "Hurrah! Hurrah!"
Man the second. Lies in the station-house to-night. The doctor has
just been sent for to bind up the gashes received in a fight. His hair
is matted, and makes him look like a wild beast. His lip is bloody and
Who is the battered and bruised wretch that was picked up by the
police and carried in drunk, and foul, and bleeding? Did I call
him man the second? He is man the _first_! Rum transformed him. Rum
destroyed his prospects. Rum disappointed parental expectation. Rum
withered those garlands of commencement-day. Rum cut his lip. Rum
dashed out his manhood. RUM, accursed RUM!
This foul thing gives one swing to its scythe, and our best merchants
fall; their stores are sold, and they slink into dishonored graves.
Again it swings its scythe, and some of our best physicians fall into
sufferings that their wisest prescriptions cannot cure.
Again it swings its scythe, and ministers of the gospel fall from the
heights of Zion with long-resounding crash of ruin and shame.
Some of your own household have already been shaken. Perhaps you
can hardly admit it; but where was your son last night? Where was he
Friday night? Where was he Thursday night? Wednesday night? Tuesday
night? Monday night?
Nay, have not some of you, in your own bodies, felt the power of this
habit? You think that you could stop? Are you sure you could? Go on
a little further, and I am sure you cannot. I think, if some of you
should try to break away, you would find a chain on the right wrist,
and one on the left; one on the right foot, and another on the left.
This serpent does not begin to hurt until it has wound around and
round. Then it begins to tighten, and strangle, and crush until the
bones crack, and the blood trickles, and the eyes start from their
sockets, and the mangled wretch cries "O God! O God! Help! Help!" But
it is too late; and nothing but the fires of woe can melt the chain
when once it is fully fastened.
The child of a drunkard died. My friend, a minister of the Gospel, sat
in a carriage with the drunkard, and the coffin of the little child.
On the way to the grave, the drunkard put his hand on the lid of his
child's coffin and swore that he never would drink again. Before the
next morning had come he was dead drunk!
I spread out before you the starvation, the cruelty, the ghastliness,
the woes, the terror, the anguish, the perdition of this evil, and
then ask, Are you ready, fully and forever, to surrender our churches,
our homes, our civilization, our glorious Christianity? One or the
other must surrender. It can be no "drawn battle."
But how are we to contend?
First, by getting our children right on this subject. Let them grow up
with an utter aversion to strong drink. Take care how you administer
it even as medicine. If you find that they have a natural love for
it, as some have, put in a glass of it some horrid stuff and make it
utterly nauseous. Teach them as faithfully as you do the catechism,
that rum is a fiend. Take them to the alms-house and show them the
wreck and ruin it works. Walk with them into the homes that have been
scourged by it. If a drunkard hath fallen into a ditch, take them
right up where they can see his face, bruised, savage and swollen, and
say, "Look, my son: Rum did that!"
Looking out of your window at some one who, intoxicated to madness,
goes through the street, brandishing his fist, blaspheming God,--a
howling, defying, shouting, reeling, raving and foaming maniac,--say
to your son, "Look; that man was once a child like you." As you go by
the grog-shop, let your boy know that that is the place where men are
slain, and their wives made paupers, and their children slaves. Hold
out to your children all warnings, all rewards, all counsels, lest in
after days they break your heart, and curse your gray hairs.
A man laughed at my father for his scrupulous temperance principles,
and said--"I am more liberal than you. I always give my children the
sugar in the glass after we have been taking a drink."
Three of his sons have died drunkards; and the fourth is imbecile
through intemperate habits.
Again, we will battle this evil at the ballot-box. How many men are
there who can rise above the feelings of partisanship, and demand that
our officials shall be sober men?
I maintain that the question of sobriety is higher than the question
of availability; and that however eminent a man's services may be, if
he have habits of intoxication, he is unfit for any office in the gift