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No apology need be offered for presenting this volume to the public.
The present is an exceedingly interesting period in the history of the temperance movement. Evidence that the labors of the past half century have not been in vain, was never more abundant. This may be regarded as the era of constitutional prohibition.
In the year 1850 Michigan incorporated into her state constitution a provision prohibiting the granting of licenses for the sale of intoxicating liquors; and in the year 1851 Ohio placed a similar provision in her constitution. It was then thought that this would be all that would be needed. Subsequent experience has shown this to be an error. Nothing short of absolute prohibition will answer the requirements of the case.
In 1856, Wm. H. Armstrong, then Grand Worthy Patriarch of the Sons of Temperance of Eastern New York, advocated the incorporation into the constitution of that state, of a provision prohibiting the sale of intoxicating drinks, and in 1857 his views were endorsed by the Grand Division of the Order. The matter was under discussion for two years, and articles upon the subject appeared in the Independent Eacaminer, the organ of the Sons of Temperance, the New York Tribune, the New York Witness and the New York Times. The views of Mr. Armstrong seem to have attracted but little attention, and in a short time were entirely lost sight of, and the present movement was started by persons who had never heard of the previous one, and was in no way connected with it. So far as now known, the present mode of securing prohibition through constitutional amendment, was first suggested by B. F. Parker, Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge I. O. G. T., of Wisconsin, in his annual report for 1876. Little or no attention was paid to it at that time. He repeated the suggestion in his report for 1877, when the matter was taken up by the Grand Lodge, with a view of asking the Legislature to submit the question of a prohibitory law to a popular vote. At a meeting of the executive committee of the Grand Lodge, when the form of the petition to the Legislature was under consideration, it was decided to ask for a constitutional amendment. The form was agreed upon,
and petitions containing about fifteen thousand names were presented to the Legislature, asking for the submission of such an amendment. This is believed to be the first request made to the Legislature of any state in the Union for such action.
So far as now known, the first article which appeared in the newspaper press, in advocacy of the measure, outside of Wisconsin, where the movement originated, was an open letter addressed to Ex-Gov. B. Gratz Brown, of Missouri, which appeared in the National Prohibitionist, St. Louis, in May, 1878.
This was followed in August, of the same year, by an article in reply to sundry objections that had been urged by various correspondents of the Prohibitionist, to the views expressed in the letter to Ex-Gov. Brown. f
On the 27th of August, a letter was written to a prominent officer of the Grand Lodge I. O. G. T., of Iowa, urging him to bring. the matter before the Grand Lodge of that state, with a view of inducing that body to endorse the measure.
The Grand Lodge, however, for reasons doubtless satisfactory to its members, failed to take the desired action.
On the 13th of September, 1878, an article was sent to the Maine Temperance Journal, then published at Portland, urging the friends of temperance in that state to inaugurate a movement to secure a prohibitory constitutional amendment, but the matter does