From an address by President Humphrey.
There is a domestic tyrant now traversing the fairest districts of our country-consuming its young and vital energies; treading down the blossom of its hopes; undermining its free institutions; setting at defiance all its authorities; multiplying engines of torture; fencing off grave years-and breathing pestilence upon every acre of our goodly heritage. This man-devouring shape,
'If shape it may be called, which shape has none,
Distinguishable in member, joint or limb
'Fierce as ten faries [sic], terrible as hell,
is INTEMPERANCE. 'O, her lords have had dominion over us,' but here is the very Nero of the horrid dynasty, and we must dethrone the despot, or we are lost. If we sit still but a little longer, and look quietly on, while his scourge is raging like a tempest on fire in all our borders, the fourth of July will indeed come; but we shall have no independence to celebrate. Our liberties will exist only in the song of the drunkard. Fuit Ilium, will be written upon all the monuments of our glory.
The downward course, from moderate drinking, and cogniac [sic] hospitality, to dead intoxication, has been sketched again and again with graphic power and in horrible colours [sic]. Total abstinence is now becoming the watchword, not only upon all the heights of Zion, but in almost every department of civil and social influence.
But to be a little more particular-mark that carbuncled, slavery, doubtful remnant of a man, retching and picking tansy every morning before sunrise-loathing his breakfast-getting his ear bored to the door of a dram shop an hour after-disguised before ten-quarreling by dinner time and snoring drunk before supper.- See him next morning at his retching and tansy again; and as the day advances becoming noisy, cross, drivelling, and intoxicated. Think of his thus dragging out months and years of torture, till the earth refuses any longer to bear such a wretch upon its surface, and then tell me, if any Barbarian slave was ever so miserable.
But who is this that comes hobbling up, with bandaged legs, inflamed eyes and distorted countenance? Every step is like the piercing of a sword or the driving of a nail among nerves and tendons. He suffers more every night than he would under the lash of the most cruel driver. And what is the cause? the humours [sic] he tells us trouble him; and though he has applied to all the doctors far and near, he can get no relief. Ah these wicked and inveterate humors! Every body knows where they came from. But for the bottle he might have been a sound and healthy man.
Looking again at the self-immolated victim of intemperance-hobbling-ulcerated-bloated-cadaverous-fleshless; every nerve and muscle and sensitive organ of his body quivering in the deadly grasp of some merciless disease, occasioned by swallowing the fiery element. Hear him cry out under the hand of his tormentors. Follow him, too, through the middle passage from health and freedom and happiness, to all the woes of habitual intoxication; and thence through scenes of the most grinding and crushing bondage that ever disgraced and tortured humanity, to his final rotting place, and tell me which of these slaves suffers most. Ah, give me, you say, the chains and stripes and toil and perpetual servitude of a West India plantation rather than the woe, the wounds, and the diseases of the dram shop.