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Frances E. Finch.

John B. Finch. His life and work online

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" This, ladies and gentlemen, is the case as I wish to present it to
you ; take it to your homes ; think over it fairly, fully, honestly ; and
when you render your verdict, have these two things in mind : 1st. Your
obligations to your own homes your own families. 2d. Your obliga-
tions as citizens of a State, to protect all homes, all families, all citizens.

" The temperance question was never so dear to me the cause never
seemed so much my own, although I always loved it as it was after the
little bright-eyed boy came into my home. When he comes and climbs
on my knee, puts his chubby little arms around my neck, and calls me
' papa,' the thought comes to me, ' Will there ever be the time when my
boy will reel along the street a drunkard, wear the chains of a criminal,
or die in the almshouse, as the result of drink ? ' And so, if I could vote
in your State in June, I should just ask what would be the relation of
the grog-shop to that boy of mine.

" You may say, ' I have no boys ; I have girls.'

" A gentleman, some years ago, came into my office, and said to me :
' What are the divorce laws of this State ? '

' ' I said : ' I hope you are not going to apply for a divorce. It is an
exceedingly disagreeable kind of litigation.'

" A couple of ladies had come in with him. I saw one was an old
lady with gray hair, the other young, with care lines visible in her face,
and a look of mental misery and suffering there.

" ' I have one girl,' the man said, and he introduced me to her, ' the
light of our home ; and if she is here, I want to say to you she is just as
good a girl as God ever gave father. She was always kind to her



568 THE LIFE OF JOHN B. FINCH.

mother. There never was a time when it was necessary to punish her
in our home ; if she did wrong, she was ready to come and ask forgive-
ness. She married a man I thought to be worthy of her. We did not
know he drank, but it was so. Five years ago they were married. God
has given them one child. The father drank more and more. My
daughter did not tell me for a long time ; she would not let us know
how she was suffering. One night her husband went home, and in a
drunken rage knocked her down with a chair.' The old man stepped
forward, raised the hair from her forehead, and showed the scar.
' Struck her,' continued the father, ' struck her like a brute, the man
who had sworn to love and honor her. He took her the light of our
home from our arms, and then abused her like a dog.'

" Gentlemen voters, such may be your story some day. The little girl
who will come to you to night with bright eyes and loving smile, who
will run and bring the slippers to papa, may some day return to you
with a broken heart, her life ruined by a man who has been wiecked in
the salootis, if you vote to continue them. When you make up your
verdict, take into consideration your home interests and heart interests.

" There is one thing, however, important as are these interests, that
is still higher : the thought of how God would have you act. Dare you
go to the polls on June 27th and cast a vote that you cannot ask God
to bless ? My friends, as you go there and vote, think if you in the
silence of your chamber can ask God to bless the vote. If you vote to
continue the drunkard factories, of course you are willing to pray God
to prosper them, to ask that their customers may increase.

" So, if I were on the jury, I would take into consideration my home
interests, the interests of my country, the approval of my God, and then,
examining the facts, I would vote either to shut the saloons or to con-
tinue them, as my judgment and conscience dictated.

" Gentlemen, when you have written your verdict on June 27th,
it will either roll Iowa up to the plane of the civilization of Kansas
and Maine, or allow her to remain down in the old darkness of com-



THE LIFE OF JOHN B. FINCH. 569

promise and partnership with wrong. God grant that Iowa may lead
the way through which my State and the other parts of this Republic
may follow, until in all the galaxy of American States there shall not be
one that will license a business to ruin its citizens, to debauch its moral-
ity, or to break down its institutions.

" ' The crisis is upon us ! face to face with us it stands,

With solemn lips of questioning, like the Sphinx in Egypt sands,
This day we fashion destiny, the web of life we spin,
This day for all hereafter choose we holiness or sin.
Even now from misty Gerizim, or Ebal's cloudy crown,
Call we the dews of blessing or the bolts of cursing down.' "



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Online LibraryFrances E. FinchJohn B. Finch. His life and work → online text (page 40 of 40)