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TEMPERANCE DEMONSTRATION., Ashburton Guardian, Volume IV, Issue 821, 18 December 1882
The following concludes our report ot the Temperance demonstration on Saturday. Running High Jump, Boys—J. McFarlane and J. Jones divided the stakes. Standing High Jump, Men— Hunt, 1; R. McFarlane, 2. Running Long Jump, Men—Betts, 1; Stewart, 2. Running Long Jump, Boys —li. Lucas, 1: Black, 2. Pole Vaulting, Men—Stewart and Hunt tied at 9 feet, and divided the money. Pole Vaulting, Boys—Venables, 1; McFarlane, 2. The “ Bun-and-Treaclo contest” was one of the most amusing events of the afternoon. About a dozen juveniles competed. A piece of string about 15 yards long was stretched from. Mr Davison’s booth to a pole stuck in the tussocks. Depending from this string were the buns—a bun to each boy. The cakes having been coated with treacle, at a given signal the fun
began, the whole of the hoys making a simultaneous attack on the buns. The spectacle of the struggling urchins, with their treacle-besmeared faces, all trying to swallow down their buns first, and so claim the stakes, created roars of laughter. The prize fell to Master Robert Pander, who came in a winner by about a quarter of a bun, and lost no time in making application for the coveted five shillings. The tea took place at the Town Hall immediately after the sports. The Hall was well filled with people, the tables being presided over by the following ladies:—Mesdarnes 0. E. Fooks, Turton, Poyntz, Tippetts, and the Misses Paviti., Kidd, Meharry, Causey, and others. The caterer was Mr Thomas Taylor, ancl a very excellent tea was provided. The concert took place at eight o’clock, the Town Hall being crowded. The Rev. E. A. Scott acted as chairman. The concert was got up under the supervision of Mr H. J, Weeks, who officiated as conductor.
The orchestra, an unusually strong one for an occasion of this sort, was composed as follows: Pianoforte accompanists : Mrs Wood and Mr H. J. Weeks; organist: Miss Alcorn; violins: Messrs Weeks, Wilson, and Ferguson ; fllute ; Mr D. Zander; cornet : Mr G. Savage ; euphonium : Mr Savage. The overture, which was performed in capital style, and with excellent effect, elicited an encore, which, however, was not responded to. The Rev. E. A. Scott then delivered a short address, in which he told his hearers that he considered it a great honor to have been asked to take the chair that evening. He hoped that by this time he was fully recognised as a triend of the great cause of temperance. (Applause.) The demonstration of that day had not been altogether satisfactory. He had hoped that they would have had an immense procession, extending all the way up East street, instead of which the procession had been mainly composed of the members of the bands. However, he trusted that all those who did walk to the sports grounds that afternoon wore all of them friends to the cause,' and that what they lacked in numbers they made up in enthusiasm. (Applause.) He was pleased to think that no less than three bands had assisted at the demonstration. Firstly there was the band that had just performed the overture, the Excelsior brass band, and the new Drura-and-Fife band, that had made its first appearance in public that day. (Applause.) He appreciated that clapping of hands, and he appreciated the kindly feeling evinced by the brass band in giving place as they had done to the new band, and allowing it to occupy the front rank in the procession. That kindness was, he could assure them, fully recognised both by himself and the members of the new band. (Applause.) He did not intend to occupy much of their time then, because the programme was a long one, and one of the most famous temperance advocates in the colony— Mr J. W. Jago—was going to address them, and doubtless they would all benefit by the arguments adduced by Mr Jago in favor of total abstinence. But there was one other point he wished to say a few words on before he sat down. He thought they ought to have some sort of a Temperance Alliance in the town, whose object should be the furtherance of the cause. Unity was strength. There were many things that one or two would be powerless to effect that a united body might hope to successfully accomplirh. The suggestion ha had to make—and he would move a resolution to the same effect by-and-bye, or they might if they liked —was that the United Demonstration Committee should be requested to act as a Standing Committee to bring about a Permanent Temperance Alliance in Ashburton, whose object should be to watch over the interests of temperance and further them in every way possible. The Rev. Mr Beattie had promised to address them that evening, but was unavoidably absent. He (Mr Scott) would fill Mr Beattie’s place in the programme at a later stage in the evening by moving a resolution to the effect he had just referred to. (Applause.) He would not detain them longer then, but would call upon the Septette party to sing the part song, “ The stars that above us are shining.” The item was rendered in a very pleasing manner, and was of course loudly applauded. Miss Kidd then sang “ Uh ! how delightful,” and the audience thought it was so delightful that they begged for more, which was, however, denied them by the chairman, who begged the applauders to remember the length of the programme, and to abstain from encores. He was quite sure Miss Kidd appreciated the compliment just the same. Then followed a pianoforte solo by Miss Kate Wood, a young lady who is, we believe, new to Ashburton audiences. She proved herself a most accomp'ished pianiste. The piece was the well-known “ Irish Diamonds,” a fantasia on popular airs, one of them being “ The girl I left behind me.” Into this air Miss Wood introduced with the most realistic effect the roll of the drums as the imaginary soldiers marched away lamenting the fair ones “left behind.” The performance was decidedly clever, and elicited a perfect storm of applause, which Mr Scott was quite unable to quell. And so the march was repeated to the great delight of the rather demonstrative audience. Mrs Craighead, who was in excellent voice, then sang “ The blind girl to her harp,” narrowly escaping an en ore. which indeed she deserved. Mrs Nixon, a great favorite with Ashburton audiences, then gave the stirring Temperance song, “ Don't go near the bar-room, brother," which is set to the familiar air of “ Just before the battle.” Mrs Nixon’s musical ability is too well known to need comment. Suffice it to say that she sang exquisitely, the effect of the music being considerably heightened by the Septette taking up the chorus after each verse. Of course the song was encored. Mr J. W. Jago, P.G.W.C.T., then made his appearance, and was greeted with applause. He said he hoped they would accord him as favorable a reception as they had just given the last performer, He came before them not altogether a stranger. That was the third time lie had come to Ashburton to address a temperance meeting in that hall, and he came that night for the same puipose as before —to emphasize the advice contained in the beautiful song they had just been listening to, “ Don’t go near the barroom, brother,” and the enunciation of that sentiment was jn*t as necessary that day as it had ever been. He was only allotted half-an-hour in which to talk to them—and ho dare say they thought that time quite long enough in the middle of a concert. The Rev. Charles Clarke was lecturing in Dunedin once, accompanied by a Miss Christian, who used to sing at intervals during the lectures, as only Miss Christian could sing. Noting the effect ,
of that singing on ."His audience the reverend lecturer had remarked that wh- n singing birds and talking birds came together he had always observed that the talking birds had to take a back seat. (Laughter.) Half-an-hour was allotted to him (Mr Jago), and one hour and a half to the music, but he trusted that if he detained them for half-an-hour they would have no reason to regret it. (Applause.) They were there that night, as he had said before, to emphasize the burthen of the song they had just heard, “Don’t go near the bar-room, brother.” They were there that night to consider a great social question, a question affecting the health and happiness of millions the world over drunkenness —an evil that could not be exaggerated because it was the prolific cause of other evils. Some years ago a book was published in Englauu called “.The Devil’s Chain.” It was written by an English Member of Parliament, the author of “ Ginx’a Baby ” and other popular works, and was intended to bring prominently under the notice of the British people the gigantic evil of drunkenness. The book was abused in the newspapers and magazines. The reviewers said it exaggerated and intensified the evil it was written to expose, and that it was not fit to be read, so full was it of horrors. Well, after reading those charges made against “ The Devil’s Chain,” he (Mr Jago) set himself to work to collate records of the wretchedness and infamy and the horrors caused by strong drink. He went on collecting these for some time. Why did he stop ? Because the task became too horrible—the accounts were too terrible, and the details absolutely sickening— and he abandoned the work in disgust. “The Devil’s chain had not in one iota exaggerated anything : nay, it had not told the one half of what it might have told. Well, it was on account of that evil, the evil of drunkenness, the cause of so much misery and vice and wretchedness that they v.cre there that night — to lift ud their voices in protest against the curse that was filling the gaols with criminals, filling the hospipltals with the sick and stricken, filling the lunatic asylums with lunatics who had been robbed of their reason by drink. It was only the other day that one of the assize judges at Liverpool stated it had been his sad duty to sentence a number of his fellow-creatures to the gallows during the time that he had sat upon the bench, and he declared that in every instance the crime for which the prisoner forfeited his life had b;en caused by the abuse of intoxicating liquors. They asked, why was this ? Drunkenness was a thing that everybody deplored—and they asked, could nothing be done to drive it away —to bring the terrible state of things it gave rise to, to an end J The curse was everywhere. The high and the low, the rich and the poor, were alike affected by it. How was it that the Gin-Fiend could number its myriads of victims 1 How was it, as a writer in Scribner’s Magazine lately wrote, that the tramp, tramp, tramp of the myriads of victims was succeeded by the tramp, tramp, tramp of the myriads coming to take the place of those who had passed away I How was all this 1 How came it ? Well, the answer was a simple one. It was—because alcoholic liquor was used as a beverage. That was the answer, and that was the only reasonable conclusion that could be arrived at. Many people took alcohol as food, and talked about it as “ a good creature of God.” And yet it was a
poison. A good deal of misconception existed in the minds of many with regard to this same alcohol, even amongst the educated, who might be expected to know something of science. Many supposed alcohol to be a product of nature. He had not time to go deeply into the subject, but ho would content himself with denying that alcohol war a product of living nature. It was the product of corruption, decay, and death, and led to death. They were told that many things contained alcohol, but he would deny it. If they eat a small kernel (the kernels contained in stone fruit, etc., were referred to) they would swallow a small quantity of pure pmssic acid, but they might eat a bushel of grain and yet not taste a particle of alcohol. Before the grain would produce alcohol it must be fermented and distilled, and become something totally different to what it had origiurdly been. Mr Jago then quoted the words of medical authorities who had denounced alcohol as producing a pernicious instead of a beneficial effect on the system, and he pointed out in forcible language the fallacy of supposing that intoxicants helped to strengthen or nourish, or exert any good effect whatever. Alcohol was a hindoror, and not a helper of work. The speaker concluded by earnestly exhorting his hearers —the youthful amongst them more especially—to shun intoxicating liquors, and to place themselves beyond temptation by at once and for ever becoming total abstainers. The address was listened to throughout with the closest attention, and the speaker was loudly applauded when he retired. Miss E. Orr then played a piano solo, “ The musical-hox,” imitating the music produced by the musical-hox with excellent effect. Mrs Wood and Miss Kidd thou sang the duett, “Huno to our mountains ” very pleasingly.
The chairman then came forward and said he would read them the suggestion he had written down with respect to a Temperance Alliance, and then if any member of the audience chose to move it as a resolution, he (Mr Scott) would put it to the meeting. There was no response.
The septette than sang the glee, “Yilla:e choristers,” and another, “ Awake, riEolian lyre. ” The chairman hero said that he undera member of the audi nee wished to move the resolution.
Mr Poyntz thereupon moved as follows: —(1) “That tho United Demonstration Committee of 1832 bo requested by this meeting to act, as a standing committee, with he object of watching over tho general interests of the temperance cause in Ashburton and the neighborhood, and of framing a scheme for the formation of a permanent Pomperance Alliance.’’— (2) “That the standing committee now instituted hold ofll :e till the month of April, 1833, when they shall report to a public meeting and fortwith dissolve.” Mr Murray moved as an amendment : “ That this mooting considers it advisable to leave the formation of the proposed committee in the hands of the several Societies and Lodges." Mr Poyntz thought that that was no time to discuss the question raised by Mr Murray, and he would withdraw his resolution. Tho mathor then dropped.
Mrs Wood, Miss Wood, and Messrs Weeks, Zander, and Savage then sang an operatic selection, and one of the best items of the evening followed. This was the song and chorus “ Come where my love lies dreaming,” in which Mrs Craighead took the solo part with even better effect than in her previous effort, the septette rendering valuable assistance. Mr Scott then briefly thanked the various ladies and gentlemen who had taken part in the performance, and contributed to the pleasure and instruction of those present. M 1 Jago had given them something to think about, and he was deserving of a special vote of thanks for he stopped at Ashburton on his way to Dunedin to be present at the cone rt at some inconvenience to himself. Mr Weeks, too, ought to bo thanked for the manner in which he had got up the concert, which was very creditable to him indeed. There were perhaps some others whom he (Mr Scott) ought to thank, and if there wore he begged to thank them very sincerely. With regard to the Tem-
perance Allia'hce, he Hoped his idea would yet be carried out, as he Was sure that the scheme would be attended with the happiest results. At Mr Scott’s invitation, the audience here stood up and joined in the singing of the National Anthem. Thus tor--omated a very pleasant evening. Last night, according to announcement, Mr Jago delivered an address in the Town Hall to a crowded audience. The proceedings did not commence until eight o’clock, and the congregations from the various churches in town were thus eu able !to be present. Devotional exorcises having been engaged in, Mr Jago entered into his subject—the moral and religious claims of the temperance movement—and it is seldom that the total abstinence question is so reasonably and yet so forcibly argued out, as it was last night. The ministers of the several Ashburton denominations were present and occupied seats on the platform, and several of Sankey’s hymns ware sung during the meeting.
TEMPERANCE DEMONSTRATION., Ashburton Guardian, Volume IV, Issue 821, 18 December 1882
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