Liquor and McKinley

Some of McKinley's supporters were appalled when, shortly after the inauguration, news emerged that the new President had served liquor to visitors to the White House. (As a young politician, McKinley had once advocated total abstinence and had prosecuted the liquor traffic.) The following protest appeared in The Ram's Horn on December 11, 1897 (page 7):

Liquor in the White House

A Volume of Protest at the President's Action in Serving wine to the Canadian Delegates

The People Are Aroused

A Strong Word from the West

My Dear Mr. Chapman:

I have carefully read your editorial, "A Sad Surprise," in which you comment on President McKinley's action in serving wine at a state dinner in the White House, and I want to say with all the emphasis I can give to a written word, that you have spoken in that editorial the convictions of every true patriot in this country.

This act of President McKinley is direct blow at the home and the Church. It is the duty of every Christian to rebuke such ail act, no matter whether it is the chief executive of the nation who is guilty, or the humblest citizen. As one who has his citizenship in a state where the saloon is outlaw, I wish to add my protest against every such encouragement to the whisky power. The Ram's Horn is making a glorious fight for home and native land, by its outspoken attitude towards wrong. The time has come for every Christian citizen to speak out. Let us act together, those of us who believe in the truth that "Righteousness exalted a nation." There is no partisanship in righteousness.

I know I voice the conviction of thousands of Christian citizens, when I say that if, three years from now, the saloon and all it represents is encouraged by those who sit in high places in church and state, we shall face the issue of saloon or no saloon as we never have faced it, yet. When that time comes (and it seems hast ening on) the issue will be as sharply defined as that of human slavery.

Meanwhile, silence is cowardice as often as it is golden.

Cordially yours,

Charles M. Sheldon.


Fred'k. L. Chapman:

Dear Bro.: I think you have put the case pointedly, but at the same time in a spirit both considerate and kind. With this, I am sending you (and should be glad to have you published) what I said in my recent annual address before the National W. C. T. U. concerning this fetish of offering wine to foreigners when one does not use wine one's self. This action of our president, who by nature is a temperance man, and who, I am told, made temperance addresses in his earlier days, is nothing less than a national sorrow to temperance people. He is a man of noble impulses and excellent training; he is doing vastly better than most presidents have done in respect to a Christian temperance life, but it makes our hearts ache that when his record is so nearly consistent, he should fall away, doubtless as a result of his difficult environment and worldly­minded advisors.

What I said in my address, was as follows:

"We wish to give due weight to the fact that at the cabinet dinners in the White House, no wine has been offered so far as we can learn, for we proceed upon the principle that the daily press never fails to make much of every occasion on which it is offered.

"In the year ending June 30, 1897, there was a decided falling off in the use of' alcoholic beverages in the United States." This, the 'American Grocer' attributes to 'hard times and the bicycle.' Our own Mrs. Hunt aptly controverted this position saying that 'it would be little less than a miracle had not the educational work of the W.. C. T. U. in the past fifteen years been a leading factor in diminishing the use of alcoholic stimulants as a beverage."

Nothing is today doing so much to lessen the respectability of drinking intoxicating liquors as the growing sense of brotherhood on the part of all civilized men. The dangers of the habit, not only to those who have formed it, but to that larger number of men, women and children who do not muddle their mental faculties in that way, suggests that the non­drinkers have rights that the drinkers are bound to respect. If we take the total number of human beings in the world, including the Oriental races, which, when not demoralized by contact with Europeans, are abstainers, the overwhelming majority of human beings who are breathing at the present moment, have breaths untainted by the use of alcoholics, but the safety of that fraction of them who live in English­speaking countries, is threatened by nothing so much as by the irresponsible actions of the drinkers, and I do not mean the drunkards alone, but the so­called 'moderates,' whose judgment is dimmed in proportion to the amount of alcohol that has passed into their systems.

"Our habits grow by what they feed on, they have no power of self­restriction, it is in their nature to be self­perpetuating, they determine not only the passing condition of the body, but the permanent condition of the soul, for habit is destiny, and character is habit crystallized."

Sincerely yours,

Frances E. Willard.

Unmincing Language from Mr. Woolley.

On the Road, Dec. 4, 1897.


Blow! Ram's Horn, blow! The game is small but influential.

The President is a representative "temperance man."

He serves wine - temperately. He drinks wine -- temperately. He takes saloon rental -- temperately. He appoints known blackguards of office - temperately. He escapes a dead level of morals by smoking tobacco - temperately. He is, by virtue of his position, a personal epidemic of bargain-counter ideals, among Christian young men.

His example will destroy millions of boys, and cheat millions of women of their heart's happiness.