A small but appreciative audience welcomed Gen. Swift in Sever Hall last evening. "I have discovered," he said no noting the size of the audience, "that it is possible, even in an address before a total abstinence society, to have too much cold water. The speaker opened his address by an allusion to the meeting held yesterday in Tremont Temple in memory of Wendell Phillips, where thousands of people hung on the lips of the orator of the occasion. Two years ago Wnedell Phillips delivered his last public speech. It was directed to the educated men of the country, in behalf of individual abstinence from intoxicating liquors. The argument was based on the double ground-personal benefit, and patriotic devotion to the general good.
The lecturer often wondered that educated men, fully posted on the immensity of the evils of alcohol, should yet remain silent. Learned lectures, replete with statistics, are delivered on the "gigantic evils of the railroad system." Controversy is worn out in the question whether Greek and Latin shall form a necessary part of a liberal education; some even find time to set forth the "littleness, weakness, baseness of base-ball;" hut on that other question concerning a subject which is of immeasurably more importance than all the others combined, we have only silence, and a good deal of it.
In these days when everything seems hung in the balance, when settled convictions are so rare in all questions, of religion, of science and of art, the lecturer was glad to find a body of young men who had reached "any conclusion, to any extent, on any subject." The members of this society have concluded that "for the time being at least," they will be better off without alcoholic liquors of any kind.
The speaker next dwelt on the severity of the tests to which men professedly devoted to total abstinence are sometimes put. Theses trials must be looked for by those who depart from the ordinary tenets of the age. As Emerson expressed it, "There has never yet been found an easy way to perform heroic conduct." The lecturer recommended Summer's advice to Stanton, "stick."
The social habit of drinking is essentially vulgar. "The manhood of man is lessened" as he becomes more appreciative of the superiority of French wines manufactured especially for the American market. Intemperance stands pre-eminent among the evils known to civilized nations, and is, moreover, the foundation of a great part of the other evils. In Europe, where formerly nobody got drunk because everybody drank, the cry is arising in almost every country, both on account of drunkenness, and on account of the adulteration of liquors France herself has become frightened and from an analysis of 1700 samples of what was sold as pure liquor, only 60 were found unadulterated.
The one prime foundation of the evil of alcoholism is found in the fine theories which pervade society about moderate drinking. Every man that ever became a drunkard has expatiated on the beauties of the "golden mean." The lecturer dwelt at length on this error, and illustrated its danger by its
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results in the lives of personal acquaintances. The most brilliant men in several fields whom he ever knew-in law, mathematics, architecture, mercantile life, oratory,-all fell victims to this curse, and by it lost their lives.
The major part of the address was devoted to the duty of individuals to sacrifice their own tastes and convenience for the good of mankind. Some call the total abstinence doctrine narrow, a "moral strait jacket," but the lecturer thought differently. "I propose," said he, "to do no act, to set no example, which, if followed, may bring ruin on my fellow man."