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Use and Need of the Life of Carrie Nation

The Use and Need of the Life of Carry A. Nation.




It was a crisis in prohibition enforcement in Kansas. The first smashing was like the opening of a battle. The crashing glass sent a thrill through the community and resounded o'er the land a talisman of destruction to the liquor traffic. It set everybody to talking, even the public school children and students in all the higher institutions were profoundly interested. The press and the pulpit broke their silence and from all over the state came the echo. It was the firing of the signal guns. The response came desultory, as the rattle of musketry in a skirmish, then heavier from the bigger guns, as is the case in all reformatory work. The criticisms and comments were varied, often amusing, reflecting the agitation from far and near and everywhere.

A few months ago and the name of Mrs. Nation was unknown outside of Medicine Lodge, Kansas, but within the limits of sixty days she has achieved notoriety, if not fame, by her unique crusade against the Kansas saloon. Many methods have been adopted during the last two decades for the abatement of the liquor nuisance, but it remained for an American woman, under the spur of bitter memories, and a sort heart, to originate a method, at once so bold and radical as to sharply focus public attention upon the utter villainy and lawlessness of the Kansas saloon.

As was to be expected, Mrs. Nation has been subjected to unhandsome treatment. A section of the press and the pulpit have joined forces with the rum brigade in holding her up to ridicule. She has been burlesqued, abused and belied; but when all the facts are soberly and fairly weighed, it will be found that the scale of justice inclines, very positively, toward this sorely tried woman and her hatchet. I do not pose as Mrs. Nation's champion or apologist; she needs neither. History that corrects the blunders of contemporary critics, will assign to her an honored place long after the paltry penny-a-liner and ranting pulpiteer are forgotten. It is a simple task for those to whom the curse of rum has never come close home, to condemn the methods of a woman, who, as a drunkard's wife and widow, drank to the dregs the bitter cup of woe. Mrs. Nation saw her brilliant and handsome young husband slowly transformed into a demon by rum. She saw him land in an early and dishonored grave. She saw her baby cursed by the father's sin. She saw her early hopes blighted, and poverty haunting her door. She saw a favorite sister grieving her heart out over a fallen husband--fallen in purse, in character, and station. With this black catalogue of domestic griefs "deep printed on her heart," is there a man--surely there is no woman!--who could blame Mrs. Nation, if she turned upon the guilty gang who had blighted her life and smote them right and left. When the infernal record of rum is recalled, it is not so surprising that there is one Mrs. Nation, but that there is not one in every home in the United States. M. N. BUTLER.


Dear Madam:--I see you have purchased property to make a home for drunkard's wives. I send you five dollars to aid you. Yours very truly, Oakwood, Ills. JACOB F. ILER.

I hope thousands will follow the example of this man. Oh! how the cry comes in: "I want a place in your Home. My husband or son is a drunkard." Help the poor innocent results of the licensed curse.

Persons have often remarked, "How did you feel, when you went in these places. Imagine a burning house, a frantic mother, for her heart treasures, her babes, are in that building. She hears their cries, she sees their little arms, waving behind the closed window, amid the smoke that soon will be a flame. She seizes an axe or hatchet near at hand, with which she breaks open door or window to let her darlings escape. Is there a mother in all the land that would not act thus? The mighty ocean, in its anger is lashing a frail vessel, storm tossed, the captain orders the cannon to boom! boom! boom! arousing and calling for help to save the crew. We amputate the diseased limb with a knife, we pull the aching tooth with an instrument of steel. "Why? In order to save. Just so, the people are asleep, while our precious ones are in danger of being engulfed in ruin. The smashing is a danger signal, and I kept it up, to prevent the people from relaxing into indifference, just as a frantic, living mother would think only of the salvation of those she loved.


(Emmett L. Nichols, Wilkesbarre, Pa.)

It is a fact beyond dispute, that wherever prohibition is carried in a state, the liquor dealers' association of the nation in a menacing manner demands the dominant party in such state that she sees to it that liquor is allowed to be sold in enough places, at least, to make it appear that prohibition is a failure, they knowing that the people once made to see the beneficial effects of prohibition will adopt it generally, as the true solution of the liquor question, as it really is, all other methods having been proven to be absolute failures. The politicians fearing the influence of the power of rum, organized as it is, for self defense yield to the demands of liquorocracy. Mrs. Carrie Nation has shown this to be the true state of affairs in Kansas in her hatchet raid upon the joints of that state. She has shown up to public ridicule the officials of that state, in different places, in demonstrating the fact that they not only refuse to enforce the prohibition law, but screen and protect the violators thereof, and arrest any citizen who attempts to perform the duty which they were sworn to perform. This state of affairs is most exasperating to every lover of country. I contend that Mrs. Nation's hatchet has been the means of bringing about the most critical period of the prohibition reform movement in its history. It has laid open before the world the fact that prohibition does not prohibit in certain portions of Kansas, simply because public officials in violation of their oath of office will to have it so. Now I further contend that unless these officials are forced to prohibit in Kansas, prohibition will eventually be repealed in that state, and the way thereby made all the more difficult for the triumph of the truth if the officials of Kansas are allowed to continue their work of perfidy in refusing to enforce the prohibition laws there, prohibition will not only be repealed in that state, but the securing of national prohibition by peaceful means will be an impossibility. Viewing the conditions in Kansas as I do, I am moved to make this appeal to the National Committee of the prohibition party to concentrate its forces in that state, with the view of arousing sufficient sentiment among the people there to drive every "joint" from within her borders. "On to Kansas" should be the battle cry of the prohibitionists of the nation. It is more important that the will of the sovereign power in Kansas be enforced in the matter of prohibition than it was on the principle of the squatter sovereignty there during the days of slavery. It seems to me that it is the bounden duty of the National Prohibition Committee to make this fight. I fail to see any work within its grasp comparing in importance to it. The agitation which Mrs. Nation created with her hatchet is bound to subside unless some organization, having the cause at heart will take the matter in hand and add fuel to the fire of righteous indignation which has been sweeping the state. The National Prohibition Committee can not afford to look on letting matters take their course. The time has arrived for action on its part, that it may set the example before the world what the party it represents will do if placed in power. The very soul of every prohibitionist in the nation ought to be on fire in a determined fight for the triumph of prohibition in bleeding Kansas. I believe the struggle being had there now means more, either for the weal or woe of this country, than did the struggle against slavery on the same soil by John Brown and his followers.

National Prohibition Committee, I repeat, "On to bleeding Kansas!"


Columbia, Texas, February 23, 1901. Mrs. Carrie Nation, Topeka, Kansas.--Dear Madame and Co- Laborer in the Cause of Humanity--I have thought for some time that I would write to you, but knowing that you were burdened with correspondence I have put it off from time to time, but at last I venture to consume a little of your valuable time in reading a letter from me. I have been fighting the liquor devil going on nine years. Constantly have been called here by the citizens of this place to deliver a series of lectures. I learn that you once lived here and I see from today's Houston Post that you once lived at Richmond, Texas. I find that the lady with whom I am stopping while here knows you (Mrs. G. W. Gayle). Now Dear Mrs. Nation, I wish to say to you that I believe that God has called you to a great work--a work that is much needed, and that is calling the attention of the people of the United States to the magnitude of the liquor traffic--the devil's great agent in peopling hell--and I believe you commenced at the right place, the capital of Kansas--the battlefield. Kansas being somewhat the center of the United States, the eyes of every state in the union is fixed on it as a guiding star relative to prohibition. If prohibition could be proven to be a success in Kansas it would not be long until other states would follow in its steps and on and on until our nation would be free from ruin, but I doubt whether that will ever come, short of a great war such as we have not seen or read of. If it is God's will, let it come, for there is greater cause for war on this line than there was for the liberation of the Cubans from the Spaniards. Now we see published in the papers down here that you have gone into a newspaper enterprise to defend the Negro race. I don't believe this for I know that there will be many things reported by the liquor traffic to destroy your influence. I shall deny this report as far as I can until I hear from you, for I know that the liquor traffic is as wise as serpents and as harmless as the devil, and will do anything they can to sidetrack you from the main issue, and that through your supposed friends, so keep both eyes wide open. Then when they fail in that they will lie on you. God, give you wisdom and may you stick to your bush is my prayer. Oh, pray much and look out for enemies in the guise of friends. They will fool you if you don't look out, for you are doing more good than all the temperance workers combined. God bless you; keep at it, and nothing else, for your work is only the beginning of the greatest temperance and prohibition reform that has ever been. Now it all depends on your not being sidetracked by supposed temperance reformers. Don't allow any mortal person to stop you, but push the battle to a finish. I have known of so many reformers making a good start but about the time the thing begins to boil right well and a prospect of doing something, some supposed helpers come in and capture the whole outfit and put a stop to the move. But I trust in the Lord that this is not a case of that kind. If you have time I would appreciate a reply from you. Write me here as I will be here for about ten days, after that my mail will be forwarded. My permanent address is Fort Worth, Texas, care Polytechnic College. Yours for liberty from rum, J. G. ADAMS.


Old Soldier's Home, Leavenworth, Kan., February 14, 1901.--Mrs. Carrie Nation:--As I have read of your grand success in Topeka, and elsewhere I wish to congratulate. For God's sake come to the Soldier's Home and save the Old Veterans. Bring your hatchet along and clear out the Canteen in the Home. Congress recently passed a law for all Canteens to be closed on United States reservations, the officials of the Home claim the law does not apply to the Old Soldiers' Home. Last year the officials of the Home were very anxious to have the saloons closed in the Klondike near the Home, for the protection of the Veterans; as it did not bring the revenue into the Home, we are to be paid in one week. Come at once and close the joint in the Home. Over 70 half- barrels of beer are sold in on day at the Home after Pension day. Respectfully, OLD SOLDIER.


Indianapolis, Ind.--"Mrs. Carrie Nation, Wichita, Kan:--As a preface I feel it my duty to extend to you my sincere apology for encroaching these lines for your consideration during the trying hours of your incarceration, but as the purport of my letter undoubtedly differs, materially in text, from the countless hundreds you have received, I feel assured that the sentiment involved, originated as it has, solely from the spirit and intrepid aggressiveness you have exploited in the suppression of that paramount curse of mankind, Drink! will, in a measure, justify you in condoning these lines.

For years the writer has been a traveling salesman, occupying positions of trust and responsibility. As is the universal trait among the larger element of my class, I contracted the indulgence of liquor. From its inception and social intercourse, it gradually developed until I became an irresistible slave to those base affinities--lewd women and whiskey. The result, inevitable as death, produced its dregs; shattered health, separation of family, and social and business ostracism. Prior to a month ago, reparation and redemption from medical arid spiritual aid, had proven valueless; with no alternative, I became resigned to the results of a mis- spent life, when, from the West came the voice and heroic deeds of a woman. Simple yet fervent, intrepid yet unique. You aroused the press and the people. Your mission was born. Thousands, you may have "influenced," but me you have "redeemed." I have read your words with intenseness. Your forcible acts have impressed me. I resolved and have conquered. God bless you! I am now organizing a temperance league among my brother traveling men, paradoxical as it may sound, and am meeting with a fair support, yet I believe an impetus and a stronger influential lever can be extended through the expression of your well wishes and any timely topics you care to extend in furtherance of the cause. Asking your kind indulgence, and with best wishes for your ultimate welfare, believe me. Your loyal supporter, W. S. SANFORD.. Care Terre Haute House, Terre Haute, Ind.


Patterson, New Jersey, Sept., 2nd, 1901--Dear Mrs. Nation:--Will you come to this city before going home? The conditions here are worse than in any place in the whole country. One thousand saloons run day and night, every day in the year. Come for God's sake. You can do so much good, and if you smashed fifty or sixty of the hell holes here you would be called an angel. Do Come! and save the young of both sexes. Yours, A HEART-BROKEN MOTHER.