in the history of the Washington Society, indeed in its very inception,
was developed that feature, which has since given it such a commanding
position, and so salutary an influence in the country. We refer to its
missionary spirit. This is exhibited not merely in the exertions of
those who have gone abroad on missions to various parts of the country;
but, in one sense, every member of the society is, or ought to be a
missionary. One of the many excellent mottoes of President Mitchell,
was expressed and acted on from the beginning: "Let every man be
present, and every man bring a man." Immediately after the foundation
of the society, the "original six" went privately to their
friends, especially their former drinking associates, and endeavoured
to persuade them to sign the pledge with them. At all events they used
their influence to bring them to the society's meetings. By this personal
effort the drinking acquaintances of most of the reformed men in the
society have been reclaimed. Men have gone into bar-rooms and led their
friends away from the bottle by the arm, and persuaded them to accompany
them to their meetings. Even the tavern-keeper himself has thus been
taken from his bar by his former customer, conducted to the society,
and induced to sign the pledge. Very few that have attended our meetings
have ever gone away drunkards. The very atmosphere they breathed in
these meetings, was that of reformation; and it inspired them with new
hopes of again regaining their position in the community. Very few men,
if any, are beyond the reach of reformation from intemperance, if the
proper judicious means are used for their recovery.
great secret of the success of the Washington Society has been, that
it is emphatically a society of working men, - that is: the society
constitutes a grand "committee of the whole;" and the business
of each member is constantly to seek out all cases of intemperance within
their reach, and to do what can be done to bring such to the society.
Heretofore most Temperance societies were confined in their operations
to annual, semi-annual, or quarterly meetings; on which occasions the
societies met, heard a report and a speech or two, and then adjourned,
too often to remain inactive until the next regular meeting. To this
there were some honorable exceptions. But after all, the toil and labor
rested mainly on the shoulders of one or two men in each society.
Washington Society meets every Monday night, at which time the pledge
is read as often as called for, and the different members, as there
may be occasion, or as they may be called on, relate their experience.
Thus a constant interest is kept up, being renewed each week, and carried
out into the daily intercourse of life.
the Delegations or Missions of this society, the manner in which they
came to be instituted, and the glorious results of all these missionary
labours, we have spoken before. These are but the developments of the
aggressive principles, which at the very foundation of the society.
All these great and glorious results were actually foreseen and predicted
by the author of these pages, several months before any of our missionaries
had left his city. Our true motto should be: action, constant untiring
action on the part of every member. What has the Temperance cause not
done for us! Let us extend its blessings to every member of the human
family; and if the drunkard will not come to us, let us seek him out
in his wretchedness, and strive to bring him to reformation by every
means in our power.