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HISTORY of the


Editor The American Issue and

The American Patriot

Author of The Anti-Saloon League Year Book




A ^3 c '-t



iJi The Birth of the Anti-Saloon League 7



££ The Struggle for Existence 49

The League Becomes a Political Power 73


"^ A Tidal Wave of Temperance Reform 99


Reaction and Revival 123



g The Evolution of the Nation-Wide Crusade 141



Chapter L

The Birth of the Anti-Saloon

Before the monstrous wrong he sets him down —

One man against a stone-walled ci«^y of sin.

For centuries those walls have been a-building;

Smooth porphyry, they slope and coldly glass

The flying storm and wheeling sun. No chink,

No crevice, lets the thinnest arrow in.

He fights alone, and from the cloudy ramparts

A thousand evil faces gibe and jeer him.

Let him lie down and die: What is the right,

And where is justice, in a world like this?

But by and by earth shakes herself, impatient;

And down, in one great roar of ruin, crash

Watch-tower and citadel and battlements.

\\'hen the red dust has cleared, the lonely soldier

Stands with strange thoughts beneath the friendly stars.

— Edward Rowland Sill.

The Birth of the Anti-Saloon League

THE year, 1893 m arked an epoch in the
history of the temperance reform in
the United States.

For a century and a half before
that time the liquor traffic had been growing
by leaps and bounds. For almost one hundred
years temperance societies and organizations
by the score had spent themselves in a long
series of unsuccessful efforts to stem the tide
of intemperance. Hundreds of consecrated
men and women, devoted to the temperance
cause, had given their lives as living sacrifices
upon the altar of the temperance reform,
seemingly without adequate results.

The annual tribute paid by the American
people to the Moloch of rum had grown to the
vast sum of almost $1,500,000,000. The hands
of the officers of the law in the cities and towns
of the nation were tied, all too often, by the
cords of graft woven in the saloon. State legis-
latures were submissive to the supreme author-
ity of this monster liquor machine, with its un-
disputed ability to make or to unmake poli-
ticians. And the federal government itself,



hushed by the cold bribe of a one hundred and
ei^lily niiUion dollar annual federal tax, had
gffown deaf and dumb on all ([uestions affect-
ing^ this institution, which, by a presumed di-
vine right, held the throne in the world of
finance and trade.

On the other hand, in spite of the church's
magnificent record of temperance sentiment
building, apathy and indifference seemed to
hold the balance of power among the Christian
hosts. There were temperance organizations,
some of which, to all appearances, possessed a
hatred of other similar organizations stronger
by far than their hatred of the saloon. There
were even church adherents whose denomina-
tionally prejudiced eyes looked upon the fol-
lowers of other creeds as the direct emissaries
of Satan. And there were Christian men, be-
longing to various political parties, whose rev,-
erepce for the mere name of the political party
whose banner they followed had come to be
more sacred than their religious vows. These
great handicaps had constantly shown them-
selves, both in the failure of the Christian
moral forces to take advanced steps and in
their inability to hold the ground which had
been previously gained.

iDuring the half century before 1893,
V ft


eighteen states had adopted either statutory
or Constitutional Prohibition, with the result
that eleven had repealed the law before Pro-
hibition had been given even a chance for a
fair trial, while the prohibitory laws in the re-
maining states had been so poorly enforced
that many of these laws had practically be-
come dead letters, there being no effort what-
ever in certain states to give any attention to
the enforcement of Prohibition. In thirty-one
states and territories the people had no voice
on the liquor question. Only eleven states had
any form of local veto privilege, but in most of
these the local option provision was so in-
effective that it was all but worthless outside
of three or four commonwealths?)

In short, the saloon controlled politics. It
dictated political appointments. It selected
the officers who were to regulate and control
its operations. It had its hand on the throat
of legitimate business. It defiantly vaunted
itself in the face of the church. It ridiculed
m.orality and temperance. It reigned supreme.

Such were the conditions that confronted
all who claimed the right to be numbered
among the temperance forces in 1893. Yet, in
spite of such conditions, the early pioneers of
the Anti-Saloon League had the courage and



the faith to present a common platform for the
members of all temperance organizations;
holding out a common creed, so far as the
Christian attitude toward the liquor traffic
was concerned. ui)c)n which all denominations
might agree; advocating a common policy on
which the good men of all parties might unite
— a propaganda of agitation, legislation and
law enforcement for the solution of the liquor

Thus it was that after more than a hundred V
years, during which time thousands of earnest
Christian temperance people had been hoping
for and praying for a movement that might
unite all Christian forces against the liquor
traffic, there came into existence the Anti-
Saloon League. , ^

The Ohio Anti-Saloon League was the off-
spring of the Oberlin, Ohio, Temperance Al-
liance, which was organized on the evening of
March 20, 1874. The mass meeting of Oberlin
citizens at which this organization took place,
was called for the purpose of meeting a crisis
in the temperance movement in that college
town. Rev. H. H. Bowden, Professor Hiram
Mead and Rev. James Brand all gave stirring
addresses at this meeting, urging the necessity



of organized effort in order to successfully
combat the liquor evil in the community.

The object of the Alliance, as given in the^
constitution adopted at that time, was, "By all
lawful measures to suppress the traffic in and
use of intoxicating liquors." The first president
of the Alliance was President James H. Fair-
child, of Oberlin College. The membership
was first limited to those who signed the
pledge adopted by the Alliance. Later, how-
ever, the organization was enlarged to take in
all persons in the village who were friendly to
the temperance cause. The president, vice
presidents and eleven members-at-large com-
posed the Executive Committee of the organi-
zation, which, for the first two years, confined
itself largely to the work of saloon suppression
in Oberlin.

At a meeting of this organization, held
February i, 1876, it was decided to extend the
activities of the Alliance to take in something
more than local work, and a resolution was
adopted authorizing the circulation of a peti-
tion to the United States Congress, asking for
a Commission of Inquiry on the Liquor Prob-

Early in the following year the Alliance,
after having corresponded with other college



lowns in the stale, decided to make an effort to
secure a local option law for all such towns,
and sent Professor J. M. Ellis lo Columbus to
take up the matter with the members of the
state legislature. Mr. E. J. Goodrich was also
especially active in this movement for addi-
tional legislation. A law for college towns
known as the "Metcalf Law" was finally pass-
ed by the legislature in 1882.

Encouraged by the success of this first
effort to secure state legislation and the bene-
ficial results of the local option provision of the
law, the Alliance soon decided to make an
effort to extend this provision to all communi-
ties of the state. In the meantime, however,
the fight for a prohibitory amendment to the
State Constitution was made in Ohio, and the
Oberlin Alliance organized the entire county
of Lorain in support of the proposed amend-

According to the minutes of the Oberlin
Alliance, a meeting was held on December 8,
1887, and a resolution was adopted calling for
a mass meeting on December 12 in the interest
of a state-wide local option law. This meet-
ing was held in the chapel of Council Hall, and
was attended by about one hundred earnest
citizens. At this meeting it was decided to



launch a temporary movement throughout the
state in the interest of a township local option
provision which would apply uniformly to all
townships of the state. The Alliance employed
Howard H, Russell to lead the fight, paid out
of its treasury about half of the $800 raised and
expended during the campaign, and furnished
ministers to supply Russell's pulpit at Berea,
Ohio, so that he might give his entire time to
the work of securing petitions from all parts
of the state and to personal work with the
members of the legislature at Columbus. Rus-
sell promptly opened an of^ce with stenog-
raphers and clerks, arranged for helpers among
the ministers and laymen in different sections
of the state, and finally succeeded in securing
the passage of the "Beattv Law" in the spring
of 1888.

This law provided for local option by town-
ships. It was enacted by a majority of only
one vote, and but for Russell's special efforts
in a certain Senatorial District at a critical
point in the fight, the measure would have been
defeated. A bare majority of the senators had
given their word to stand by the proposition.
A few days before the measure was to come
up, however, one of the senators pledged to its
support informed the temperance floor leader



of the senate iliat he would be compelled to
withdraw his pledge, as his constituency had
raised a storm of protest against his attitude.
Doctor Russell promptly went to the senator's
home town, instituted a campaign of letters,
telegrams and personal interviews which, to-
gether with other inlUiences, brought the halt-
ing senator back into line; so that when the
roll was called on the final passage of the local
option bill it was adopted in the senate by a
majority of just one vote.

This work was all carried on under the di-
rection of the Oberlin Temperance Alliance,
and when the campaign was over Russell made
his final report and accounting to that body.

The splendid success of this temporary
state-wide movement made it apparent to
many of those who had been active in the fight
that a permanent state organization should be
formed. Russell strongly advised such a
course, and efforts were made at the time, by
the Oberlin Alliance, to effect such an organi-
zation by counties. Russell, however, who was
the logical man for superintendent, decided
that he must fulfill the contract which he had
made to become city missionary for the Con-
gregationalists at Kansas City, Missouri. Ef-
forts were made to secure others to lead, but



no other man seemed to be available at the
time, and the state-wide movement conse-
quently became dormant for a season.

At a meeting of the Oberlin Alliance held
on February 7, 1889, it was proposed to or-
ganize an Anti-Saloon League for Lorain
county. The movement took shape, and re-
sults in the county were soon sufficient to
further convince those in charge that the time
for a permanent state-wide movement had
arrived. On two occasions between 1888 and
1893 Russell was invited to return to Oberlin
and deliver temperance addresses, and upon
both of these occasions Russell urged that a
state organization be completed in Ohio. Rus-
sell was active while in Chicago, where he had
gone from Kansas City, in the prosecution of
liquor dealers, and in the movement to close
the saloons on Sunday during the World's
Fair. His experiences both at Kansas City
and Chicago led him to still more strongly
yearn to see the overthrow of the liquor traffic.
When recovering from a serious illness at Chi-
cago in November, 1892, he resolved to start
another such organization as soon as possible.
While convalescing he again visited Oberlin
and talked with Doctor Brand, Doctor Tenney
and General Shurtleff, leading members of the



Temperance Alliance, and they encouraged his
return to Ohio for the purpose of renewing the
state-wide fight. ILirly in 1893 another do-
mestic tragedy at Chicago, where drink broke
up a home, led him in his sympathy for the
two orphan children, still nearer to his life
enlistment "for the war."

In the spring of 1893 Russell again cor-
responded with General Shurtleff, proposing
to take the Ohio state organization work pro-
vided the Oberlin Temperance Alliance would
help to finance the movement until the interest
of the temperance forces of the state could be
enlisted. General Shurtleff took the matter up
with Professor A. S. Root and other members
of the Alliance Executive Committee, and at a
meeting held during the first week of May the
committee extended an invitation to Russell
to come to Oberlin and personally present his
plan of organization. The date settled upon
for the conference was May 24, 1893. Russell
went from Chicago to Oberlin and met the
committee in the Spear Library Building on
that date. The plan was fully outlined, thor-
oughly discussed and finally adopted. The
following resolution offered by General G. W.
Shurtleff and adopted at this meeting of the
Oberlin Alliance, was the first recorded action



toward the organization of the Ohio Anti-
Saloon League:

Resolved, That it is the judgment of this commit-
tee that there is need of a state organization which
shall unite the churches and all temperance people in
an effort to awaken an interest and secure wise action
in destroying the open saloon and securing individual
total abstinence ;

Resolved, That this alliance will attempt to raise
$500 toward the salary of Rev. Howard H. Russell,
with the understanding that his salary shall be at the
rate of $2,000 a year until such time as that salary is
fixed by the State Executive Committee.

A resolution was also adopted at this meet-
ing asking the pastors of the churches to call
a mass meeting for the purpose of securing the
support and co-operation of the church and
temperance forces of Oberlin for the new
movement. The mass meeting was held on
the evening of Sunday, June 4, at the First
Congregational Church. All Oberlin churches
joined in the service. Rev. Doctor James
Brand, the pastor, presided. General Shurtlefif
and Professor Root spoke, and Doctor Russell
presented to the audience the plans for the
proposed departments and methods of state
work. The following resolutions were adopt-
ed by the congregation by a rising vote :

Assembled in a union mass meeting in the First
Congregational Church of Oberlin, Ohio, on this 4th



day of June, 1893, the friends of temperance in Oberlin
adopt the following :

Resolved, That it is highly important, in our view,
that there should be formed in the state of Ohio an
organization, permanent and aggressive in character, in
which all classes of the friends of temperance can
unite, and led by a superintendent who shall give his
entire time to the development and prosecution of
the work.

Resolved. That this organization shall have in
view the following ends: (i) The development and
unification of a temperance public sentiment through
the agency of local organizations, public addresses and
such other methods of education and direction as may
from time to time suggest themselves ; (2) The en-
forcement of laws already on the statute books; (3)
The enactment of further legislation as public senti-
ment may warrant in order that our people may be
saved from the evils of the drink habit and delivered
from the debauching curse of the drink traffic; (4)
That to bring about such an organization we will
undertake to raise $500 toward the expenses of the
same, and hereby authorize the officers of the Oberlin
Temperance Alliance to appoint temporary officers
and take whatever measures may be necessary to carry
this action into effect.

An appeal for funds at this same meet-
ing^ resulted in the securing of a subscription
amountinie: to $513 a year for three years. This
subscription is believed to have been the first
public subscription taken for the support of the
Anti-Saloon League. Russell immediately



closed up his pastorate at the Armour Mission
in Chicago, and at once proceeded to push the
work in Ohio. During the months of July and
August, Elyria, Medina, Berea, Port Clinton,
Lakeside and other places were visited by
Russell and local organizations were formed.

At a meeting of the Oberlin Alliance held
August 26, 1893, plans were laid for a confer-
ence at which a provisional state organization
might be effected:

Professor F. W. Jewett, Secretary W. H.
Pearce and Professor A. S. Root were made a
committee to send out a call for such a con-
ference, and Rev. James Brand, D. D. ; Rev. H.
M. Tennv, D. D., and General G. W. Shurtleff
were appointed a committee to prepare plans
to be submitted to the conference.

On Tuesday, September 5. 1893, at 2 p. m.,
the first session of this conference was held in
the chapel of the First Congregational church
of Oberlin. President Jewett, of the Alliance,
read the call ; Rev. John F. Brant was made
chairman, and Mr. C. A. Metcalf was made
secretary. Professor A. S. Root, speaking for
the Alliance, made a statement as to the origin
and purpose of the movement and the part
which the Alliance had already taken in the
work. Doctor Russell reported that subscrip-




.Lu>ns 10 the amount of about $3,000 a year for
three years liad already been received, and that
the work was already receiving the support of
many newspapers, pastors and temperance
workers. On motion of Rev. J. P. Mills, then
pastor of the Methodist Church at North Am-
lierst, the conference proceeded to a provis-
ional org-anization.

At the evening- session of the conference, at
which Rev. James Brand, D. D., presided, a
final draft of a proposed constitution was re-
ported and adopted; the Committee on Nom-
inations reported a full list of oflficers, including
Rev. David O. Mears, of Cleveland, for presi-
dent, five vice presidents, a secretary, a treas-
urer and an Executive Committee, which re-
port was adopted in full. Thus, the provisional
organization of the Ohio Anti-Saloon League
was formally launched.

In the meantime, a non-partisan organiza-
tion of the "Interdenominational Christian
Temperance Alliance" had been started by
Rev. Dr. A. J. Kynett for the state of Ohio at
Columbus the previous February. Rev. Dr.
Taylor (pastor Central Presbyterian Church,
Columbus), the president of the Kynett or-
ganization, wrote Russell telling him they had
an "unorganized organization'' and would be



glad to merge it into the Anti-Saloon League.
This was done in October by the addition of
several of their officers to the provisional
Board of Trustees of the Anti-Saloon League.
R.ussell opened a state headquarters at Colum-
bus and brought his family there in September.
As he could not secure co-operation in appoint-
ments from the pastors and churches by mail,
Rev. R. Hicks, of Oberlin, was put into the
field to make Russell's dates, and from Sep-
tember to January Russell was continuously
filling appointments, forming local committees
and raising subscriptions. In November the
state committee felt it was safe to employ an
assistant, and Rev. Harry B. White, of Toledo,
was made the first District Manager. When
the first legislative campaign opened in Janu-
ary, 1894, and the Haskell Local Option Bill
was introduced, Rev. E. C. Dinwiddle, who had
been employed by the League in December,
1893, "^^s called as an assistant for the legis-
lative department. E. W. Metcalf, of Elyria,
and A. L Root, of Medina, each contributed a
special gift of $500 to start the legislative
campaign. By May, 1894, the end of the first
year's operations, three hundred local organi-
zations (committees) had been formed; the
Haskell Bill had received thirty-six votes in



the House side of the le£2:islature; several town-
ship local option campaiG:ns had been won; a
few local convictions of lawbreakers had been
secured; a state paper, "Anti-Saloon," with a
circulation of five thousand subscribers, had
been started; ei,c:ht thousand dollars had been
raised for all departments of state work, and
the Anti-Saloon Leap^ue had found a probable
footincT as a permanent state organization.

Howard H. Russell, the man chosen in 1888
to lead the temporary state organization in
Ohio, and who later on was elected superin-
tendent of the permanent state movement
when it was be.8:un at Oberlin in 1893, was
peculiarly fitted for such a service. After pre-
vious experiences, helpful in preparation for
this kind of work, he had been a successful
lawyer in Iowa for six years, had been a clergy-
man for seven years in city pastorates in Kan-
sas City and Chicago, and had always been an
active and efficient leader in local and state
temperance campaigns. He had studied at
Oberlin for five years and had been stirred by
the Oberlin spirit to activity and service in the
field of evancrclism and reform.

The preliminary movement looking toward
the creation of some such organization as the



Anti-Saloon League in the District of Colum-
bia began in the spring of 1893.

On March 3 of that year, a new liquor
measure, passed by Congress for the District
of Columbia, was signed by President Benja-
min Harrison and became a law. While this
law had been drafted in the interest of the
liquor dealers, some features which were added
in the form of an amendment constituted a
real advance along the lines of temperance re-
form, and encouraged many of those interested
in the promotion of temperance in Washington
to follow up the points of vantage gained and
revive in a special way, if possible, the organiz-
ed efforts for the suppression of the liquor evil.

The first public effort along this line mani-
fested itself in the voluntary organization of
what was called "the No-Compromise Publish-
ing Company," the promoters of which includ-
ed Mr. Andrew N. Canfield, John R. Mahoney,
Jesse C. Suter, Henry F. Smith, J. T. Hensley,
Professor H. R. Stewart, T. L. Salkeld and

This company was formed for the purpose
of issuing a paper under the name, "No Com-
promise," the primary reason for which was to
get to the public the names of those who from
time to time signed indorsements for the



granting of retail liquor licenses in the District
of Colmnbia, since the daily newspapers at that
time in Washington refused to publish such
lists of names; which publication the temper-
ance forces of the District felt would greatly
help in keeping many from placing their names
to such indorsements.

The first issue of "No Compromise" is dated
May, 1893, and the object of the publication of
the paper and the movement behind it is
shown in an article which appeared on the
first page of Number i, Volume I, entitled, "A
Union of Forces." In this article the pro-
moters of "No Compromise" set forth the
reasons why a union of all temperance forces
in the District should be cfifected, and an-
nounced that a call would soon be issued for
a mass meeting to take up the consideration
of some such movement.

This call followed early in May, and the
meeting was held on May 12, 1893. John R.
Mahoney was made chairman, and W. Seward
Rowley was chosen secretary. A number of
stirring addresses were made by Rev. Scott F.
Hershey, Rev. Walter H. Brooks, Mr. F. M.

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Online LibraryErnest Hurst CherringtonHistory of the Anti-Saloon League → online text (page 1 of 8)