From the preceding pages we learn that the principal causes of the extraordinary influence of the Washington Temperance Society are as follow:
1. The drunkard is now regarded in a new light by the Washingtonians. Instead of being considered a cruel monster – a loathsome brute – an object of ridicule, contempt and indignation, as formerly, we are now taught to look upon him as a brother – as more weak perhaps than wicked – as a slave to appetite, and debased by passion – yet still as a man, our own brother. Thus all the sympathies of the public are excited in his behalf.
2. The substitution of personal experience for addresses and lectures has had the same effect of exciting the sympathy of the community in behalf of the intemperate. A reformed drunkard’s experience touches a chord that vibrates in every human breast. Moreover the drunkard when reformed best knows how to reach the drunkard’s heart; for he best understands his feelings.
3. Another cause lies in the simplicity and unity of the pledge, requiring but one thing – personal abstinence. To this add the neutrality of the society, as we have explained it in the preceding pages, and the whole matter is explained on the common principles of human nature.
Kind reader, have you signed the pledge? You have read our history. You have seen how the intemperate have fallen; and you have seen how they have reformed. Now there are but three classes of mankind in this respect – the strictly abstinent, the moderate drinker, and the intemperate. To which class do you belong? If to the first, we hail you as a brother. If to the last, read our history over again, see how others have reformed, and “go and do likewise.” You may be free. No man is reduced so far that he may not be reclaimed. If you belong to the second class, remember three things – first, every reformed drunkard in the land will tell you he was once what you are, and equally confident he never would go farther; yet he fell; – second, you are giving no encouragement to the poor unfortunate drunkard to reform, but the influence of your example is all against him; – third, you are setting such an example to your neighbours, friends and family, that if they follow it, you know some of them will be drunkards ere they die.
For the sake then of yourself; for the sake of those who may be influenced by your example; and for the sake of the unfortunate drunkards who are struggling to be free all over the land, come with us. Save yourself, and save others. Remember that you are accountable, here and hereafter, for the man who stumbles over your example into a drunkard’s grave!