• [John Brown] Secret Six Member Gerrit Smith Offers Strong Views on Salons That Sell Alcohol; Broadside: Woman’s War Upon The Dramshops

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    GERRIT SMITH was a member of the Secret Six, a group of men who secretly financed John Brown’s raid on the Federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia – for which Brown was captured and hanged.  Smith clearly articulated the view that government had no business interfering with what citizens did (and drank) in their own homes. He was, however, strongly opposed to the Dram Shop or saloon.


    Offering a spectacular 7 ¾ x 13 ¾ Broadside “Woman’s War Upon The Dramshops By Gerrit Smith,” Petersboro, [NY] March 24, 1874, in which Smith not only articulates his views on alcohol and how government should control it, he also correlates those views with John Brown’s radical abolitionist views, mentioning Brown's name several times. 


    With spectacular narrative, Smith states, in very small part, “Most miserable of all men is the drunkard. More miserable, however, than he is the wife of the drunkard...The children of the drunkard have a harder lot than any other children. Is it then to be wondered at that the women are, at last, rising up against the dramshops? Nay, is it not rather a matter of wonder that their characteristic patience and gentleness have borne so long with these the great manufactories of drunkards?...The men would not vote to shut up these ‘breathing holes of hell’; and the men would not suffer the women to vote it...John Brown saw slavery to be stronger than ever, and in very desperation he dashed himself against it. Dear woman sees the murderous dramshop to be stronger than ever—to have a stronger hold than ever upon the habits of the people—and, conscious of her weakness, she nevertheless encounters it. But as God’s presence in the late John Brown movement verified the old saying that: ‘man’s extremity is God’s opportunity,’ so will it be verified—nay is already verified—in this woman’s movement. Slavery is dead; and, at no distant day, the dramshop will be dead. God glorified not the abolitionists but Himself in the fall of slavery and He will glorify not the Temperance Societies but Himself in the fall of the dramshop...


    “...Government is less than Government when it permits the existence of the Dramshop. It is more than Government when it makes war upon all intoxicating drinks in all places...”


    Folds, toning, modest foxing.


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