Offering two unrelated ALSs, written 10 years apart, with spectacular coverage about the temperance movement in Maine and Virginia, along with an autographed card from Portland, Maine Mayor Neal Dow, who advanced the notable Maine Law, which prohibited the production and selling of alcohol. Dow was known internationally as the “Father of Prohibition.”
In one letter, written to Rev. R.J. Black of Worthington, Ohio, the writer from Maine speaks of his advocacy of the Maine law. Written to Rev. R.J. Black, of Worthington, Ohio, on July 23, 1853, and signed only as “Brother”, a possible reference to being a comrade in the prohibition movement, our writer pens a forceful and eloquent letter on the evils of alcohol: “...One thing will probably surprise you, that I am a zealous advocate of the Maine Law. For the past two weeks, I have been sapper & miner in the work & I believe the ball is now in motion...will have redeemed ‘Old Butler’ from the opprobrium of being a ‘Rum Country,’ & placed her alongside of others who have washed her garments of the foul pollution.
“The best men in the country...have arranged themselves into a league and now are stumping the country in favor of a prohibitory law. I have participated in several of these meetings & they do lay down the facts so cogently that there is no chance to dodge the conclusion.
“On last Tuesday, we organized a Branch League in Monroe. Next day, one at Bethany & on the next Tuesday, we held a mass meeting here & will also organize a League for this place. Our people are more ripe for the movement and are rising in their strength to put a veto upon the nefarious...Circumstances in our county seat have given an impetus to the movement, which temperance men scarcely hoped for. Our county treasurer has become a defaulter to the tune of $13,000 and is man enough to own that intemperance is the main cause & again those men now in authority & also candidates for re-election have shown such an utter disregard of law that the sober citizens have taken the law into their own hands & impeached those who have so flagrantly violated their oaths of office...Candidates for office have been known to deposit money in the drawers of Rum shops for the avowed purpose of buying votes...It has come to such a pass that a man has no rights, no liberty unless his nose bears a [look] of brandy blossomed or his face is swollen & his eyes red...The damning poison. Such things as these have set our sober, religious, moral & praying men to thinking & then to acting & now we are resolved to throw aside political prejudices & write our suffrages in the form of a Maine Law...We may not succeed...I am a pioneer of the cause...I even lecture upon it...”
The second letter, 7 ¾ x 9 ¾ is 3 ¼ pp, was written from Stony Creek, VA, on Jan. 22, 1843, by a woman named Mary to her sister, Mrs. Caroline C. Westgate of Philadelphia, PA. She begins elaborating about her household duties. “...I keep but one servant and have no desire to be bothered with any more unless when company comes and the I am obliged to call on a free black woman who lives near. I know that much, very much, depends upon the wife and mistress of the house and if my dear husband does not succeed in business, it shall not be said it was owing to my extravagance...The doctors have both to over to the meeting. Dr. Nolt has become a real Temperance man, lectures almost every week on Temperance as some about here have said there was no scripture in favour of it. Much good has been done in our little community but there is still much to be done...”
Letter to Rev. Black includes the original cover. Folds and toning to both letters. The 1843 letter has an integral address leaf. Seal tear affecting several words. Fold splits have been reinforced with archival tape.
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