Monday, July 9, 2012

Abstinence Tour of Robert Marshall (1819-1891) – Journal Entry of 20th September 1839

Proceeded to Arbroath by the Railway.  Was kindly received by Alexander Anderson's family to whom I had a letter.  Had an interview with Mr. & Mrs. Stuart Gellatly, as also with Mr. John Taylor Sect. to the Tee-total Society.  Proceeded by the Railway to Forfar.   The view was delightful.   The sun shone in autumnal grandeur, upon the busy reapers.   Nature smiled sweet around me, and I was not dead to her charms, my heart rose in gratitude to the great source of all the beauties.  A serene, severe reflection oftener than once passed through my mind.  Can man, thought I, favoured with such a scene of beauty, in which he must perceive not only grandeur, but also mercy, be so debased as to withdraw himself from the lovely scene and spend his precious time in debauchery.  And can these fields of Barley 'mong which the reaper plys his busy sickle be changed into a deadly poison by man to destroy his fellow.  Ah! Yes! Tis lamentably true.  Then reflections nerved me onward to the undertaking in which I was engaged.  On reaching Forfar, I called on two members of Committee who seemed quite willing that a meeting should be got up for me but would do nothing without the concurrence of the rest.  I accordingly went to a Mr. Scott, Pres. of the Society, who sent for the Treasurer, and made up matters.  The meeting was called through the town.  The business was rather a failure.  Owing partly to it being on the day on which inhabitants are most busy at their avocations, and partly to the short notice which they had of my coming.  There could not be more than 100 who assembled in the Mason Lodge where I lectured about an hour and a half.

The cause here is prosperous.  There are about 400 members.  They have printed their Rules.  They are much the same as the Dundee ones.  An excellent instrumental band belonging to the Society is started l7 in number.  A weekly convivial meeting is held on the Saturday evenings.  These meetings are not conducted on the principal, which is generally adopted, of giving sound information on the subject, but mainly in singing and amusement.   Consequently they are well attended.  To these meetings, the Society is most indebted for its present prosperous state for there is but little thirst for information on the subject.  I endeavoured to point out the evil as far as possible to the Committee, who promised to endeavour to remedy it, if possible.
I had supper in the Coffee room, and a good bed in a respectable house.  On the whole my visit to Forfar did in no wise realize my expectations.  However some good may have been done.
Typed by Betty Kay 11th May 1996, from Dan Marshall`s notes of the original journal.

©2012, copyright Alana Farrell

1 comment:

  1. I'm enjoying Robert's journey very much, but I might have to have a glass of wine later :-)