The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 36
Votes of Thanks
Votes of Thanks.
Mr. Samuel Bowly: It would not only be bad taste, but bad policy, to attempt to keep this meeting at this late hour. I think we have had as much food as almost any of us can properly digest, and what I desire is that those who are here should digest that food, and ask God to give them light upon their judgment upon it to-morrow. Every man who drinks says to all around him, "Drink is safe and drink is proper." You cannot escape the position of exercising an influence by your example in some condition of life or other; and I am therefore desirous that everybody should feel whether it is not his duty in the sight of God to set an example which will be safe to himself and for all around him. When I adopted this principle forty-one years ago—(cheers)—I believed I was making a little sacrifice of my enjoyment; and I do not know anything, I trust, of the patriotism, or benevolence, or duty, that is not prepared to make some sacrifice for the well-being of the human family; but, instead of making any sacrifice, I find I have reaped nothing but benefit. (Cheers.) After forty-one years of total abstinence I stand here, at seventy-five, as well able to do my work as I was then. I have saved largely in pocket, and I am quite sure I have lost nothing in true enjoyment. Beyond that, I have had abundant satisfaction in the good that God has enabled me by my example to page 30 do. I shook the hand of a man only a few days ago, who said, "It is pleasing to shake hands with one's father; it's thirty-nine years ago since you convinced me of total abstinence, and I have to thank God for it." Why, my friends, if I had made a home happy for thirty-nine years it is pay enough for all I have ever done. (Cheers.) But now, my friends, I have only one more word to say. I honour, and respect, and esteem those men who, when they have discovered physical or scientific truth, are prepared to declare it in the face of all the prejudice around them. I do not hesitate to say that our admirable chairman, Sir Henry Thompson—(cheers)—and Dr. Richardson—(cheers) are entitled to the gratitude of this whole country; for I believe it will be found that their evidence upon this matter of alcohol will be quoted by those that are yet unborn. We are only now, as it were, in the commencement of this movement. I began when the thermometer was below the freezing-point. (Laughter.) We are now getting .to a temperature when the seeds that we have sown are beginning to grow and to look beautiful; and I have faith to believe that as the Sun of Righteousness shines down upon us, and the rain-dew of God's mercy falls upon us—in a very short time we shall be able to point to a harvest of happy homes and happy hearts through this meeting. May the day speedily come, my dear friends; may the blessing of God rest upon our labours; and now I will simply ask you to record your vote of thanks to our valued chairman for his courage in taking the chair on this interesting occasion. (Loud cheers.)
Vice-Admiral Sir William King Hall, K.C.B.: Ladies and gentlemen, I think I may congratulate our chairman upon the representative platform that we have here. Here we can all meet, whatever our differences upon other points. I will not detain you long; but with regard to our venerable friend and commander-in-chief, Mr. Samuel Bowly, the president of the National Temperance League, I will mention one circumstance. He may remember a young fellow coming up to him when he was at Plymouth before he started by the Great Western Railway to return home. That young fellow signed the pledge. He subsequently went to Coomassie as a teetotaler, and returned as a teetotaler, he being my son-in-law. (Cheers). Now I think as we are all here—soldiers, sailors, and everybody—if we put ourselves under his command wearing the good old-fashioned Quaker's hat and coat, and marched through the Strand with all those whom he has made teetotalers by his example and influence, we should have as big a fair as on the Lord Mayor's Day. (Laughter.) My part is to second the vote of thanks to Sir Henry Thompson for so ably presiding this evening. I was told that a great number of people are under a complete misapprehension as to the object of this meeting. They have said, "The teetotalers have changed their plans; they are going to take to moderate drinking." (Laughter.) That was actually told me. "The teetotalers," it has been said, "find it don't answer, and now they are going to throw themselves into the arms of the moderate drinkers." That is a mistake, as I hope you will show by all going away teetotalers. (Cheers.)
The motion was carried by acclamation.
The Chairman, on rising to respond, was received with loud applause. page 31 He said: I have first to thank your venerable president, as well as Admiral Hall, for the very much too-flattering allusions they have made to me. I have next to thank you most cordially for the indulgence you accorded me during those prefatory observations I addressed to you; and furthermore I will only say that in that preface I promised you a very handsome, a rich, and well-furnished volume, and I ask—Am I not as good as my word? (Loud cheers.) Offer then your thanks to those gentlemen who have advocated the cause so admirably to-night, and now, when you have done that, I will declare the meeting closed.
Dr. Richardson: Before we part, there is one vote of thanks which is most richly deserved, and that is a vote of thanks to the man who has organised this great meeting, and who is ever organising meetings in the great cause of Temperance and of the National Temperance League. I propose a cordial vote of thanks to Mr. Rae. (Loud cheers.)
The Chairman: I will second that, and put it to the meeting.
The motion was carried unanimously.
Mr. Rae, who was received with a hearty cheer, said: I am very much obliged to you for the unexpected compliment that has been paid to me, and can assure you that you can best discharge any obligation you feel you owe to the National Temperance League and to myself by working energetically in the cause which we have met to advance, and if there are any present who have not become total abstainers we should be glad to receive their names, their sympathy, and their support. (Cheers).
The meeting then closed shortly before ten o'clock.—Temperance Record, February 15, 1877.