Sunday, June 24, 2012

Abstinence Tour of Robert Marshall (1819-1891) – Journal Entry of 18th September 1839

Had a conversation with Mr. Campbel, Sectr. of the Dundee Society. Proceeded by the Arbroath Railway to Broughty Ferry.  Called on Mr. John Taylor, Sectr of the Society.  Was very kindly used both by that gentleman, and the other members of Committee.  It appears that a considerable number of members here have failed.  The cause goes on but slowly.  The chief reason seems to be the hatred of the fishermen to the cause.  Not a solitary individual of that class is a member, neither do any of them attend the Societies meetings.  There are l00 steady members including about 20 at Dundee.   The Bell man called a meeting for me, in a Mr. Stuart's schoolroom.  About 60 attended among whom were some confirmed drunkards.  I lectured about two hours and a half.  No one opposed me, in the slightest degree.  A few tracts were purchased from me by the committee.  I slept with Mr. Stuart, a Mason.  Both he and his wife were very kind to me.

When the lecture was through, a circumstance somewhat curious occurred to me; an old man came up to me, and whispered into my ear "I am a true prophet of God, a true prophet, Robert Laird of Broughtyferry".  The old man, whom I perceived to be a maniac proceeded to tell me that he would endow me with "a sight" upon which he went down on his right knee and ordered me to hold down my head.  After making several signs with his fingers chiefly upon his face, he gave me 2 slaps on the forehead, and then rising with triumph beaming in his conuntenace, he told me that "I had got a sight".

I was told that the Sabbath previous, a woman of the ferry had drunk a mutchken of whisky, and was found a corpse shortly after.

Typed by Betty Kay 11th May 1996, from Dan Marshall`s notes of the original journal.

©2012, copyright Alana Farrell

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Abstinence Tour of Robert Marshall (1819-1891) – Journal Entry of 17th September 1839

Left Alyth about 7 o'clock in the morning and proceeded, with considerable difficulty, on account of the Isla having overflowed its Banks to Co-Angus (Coupar Angus).  The forenoon was wet, I was too late for the coach with which I intended to go to Dundee.  Was shown a great deal of kindness, by a stranger, with whose name I am not acquainted.  Visited Mr. Liddell (?) in Co-Angus and examined his printing press.  Had rather a curious interview with a young man, and two Ladies, on the subject of tee-totalism.  The young man was at first a great enemy of the cause but after a little conversation he softened down a good deal, at last to the no small diversion of the Ladies, he faithfully promised to come and hear me lecturing in Kirriemuir on Saturday.  An individual belonging to the Railway told me, that it was a fixed rule that all servants about the Railway should be tee-totalers.  Proceeded to Dundee.

Typed by Betty Kay 11th May 1996, from Dan Marshall`s notes of the original journal.

©2012, copyright Alana Farrell

A Journey of Temperance

Last year I was contacted, through this blog, by a third cousin, Morris, in Aberdeen, Scotland who was also researching our common great great grandfather, Robert Marshall (1819-1891).  He is in possession of a journal that Robert Marshall kept during an abstinence tour he did in the North of Scotland in 1839, which he most graciously sent me a transcript of.   It was transcribed by is uncle, and although there are some pages missing, it is a fascinating read.

Last week I emailed Morris and asked if he might have some pictures of the journal that he could send and a few days later the below pictures arrived in my inbox.  It’s hard to believe that Morris is standing there holding a 173 year old journal in his hands.  What a treasure to hold. 

I also asked permission to post the journal to this blog in order that my sisters (and our children) and Marshall cousins may also learn of their great great grandfather’s journey.  Permission was given, so each week on Sundays, I will post one day’s worth from the journal.  Unfortunately, due to the missing pages from the journal there will be gaps in the entries.  Some of the entries are brief, but I’m sure that will only peak interest for the next entry.

Before posting the first entry (in a separate post), just a wee bit of background on the Temperance movement back in the day.

With the reduction in tax on alcohol in 1823, the consumption of legal alcohol increased dramatically.  The Home Drummond Act of 1828 introduced licensing of public houses, however this only affected legal drinking establishments – the illegal dram shops continued as they had before.  At this time in Scotland, right up until the early 20th century, the legal drinking age was 14 years old.  With the increase of consumption of alcohol and the associated misery and health problems, temperance and abstinence movements found public support.  Many societies began to emerge, such as the Rechabites, Good Templars, the Band of Hope, Sons of Scotland and the British Women’s Temperance Association.  In the 1840’s, temperance hotels and coffee houses began to emerge.

Many Society members believed that alcohol was fatal to the health, happiness and prosperity of their family.  They were encouraged to sign a pledge abstaining from the use of ardent spirits, except for medicinal purposes. To counteract the evils of drink, the Societies tried to offer alternatives to occupy the leisure time of the working class. These generally included lectures, evening concerts and social events. A musician was hired to train a choir, and musical evenings were frequently held. Lectures were regularly delivered.    

When my great great grandfather, Robert Marshall, began his Abstinence Tour, he was a young teacher of just 19 years of age and living in Alyth, Perthshire, Scotland.  He was to travel to many places in the North of Scotland recording the places visited, with the number of members of tee-total societies and the number of public houses.  He would billet with members of the local society, give lectures, sing temperance songs that he had written and hopefully get new members to sign the pledge.  He began his journey in September of 1839 and upon completion of his tour, had travelled 474 ¾ miles.  One of the families that he stayed with, in October 1839, was the family of a John Kynoch.  The entries about his stay with the Kynoch’s peaked my interest, as in 1841, Robert and John Kynoch’s daughter, Anne was married.  Robert says of this family: “this is a family which exactly suits me, they are every way to my taste.  His departure from Elgin, in Morayshire affected him greatly.  He writes:  Mr. Kynoch and family seem to have been enchanted with me - they would on no consideration allow me to go till I promised to come back that way - my staff had gone missing - it could not be found - 'Give him the umbrella and it will make him come back', says the wife - I would not promise for I could not positively say whether I should have it in my power to come back that way.”  Needless to say, Robert did return, perhaps obliged to return the umbrella (or was it maybe to see Anne again?)  My cousin, Morris (and I) like to think that if it weren’t for that umbrella, we might not be here today!

(The above information on the Temperance Movement was compiled from articles from "The Resources for Learning in Scotland" and through Wikipedia).

©2012, copyright Alana Farrell