Sunday, January 6, 2013

Abstinence Tour of Robert Marshall (1819-1891) – Journal Entry of 6th and 7th October 1839

6th October l839

This day being Sabbath I attended divine service in the Parish Church of Dunnottar (Rev. Mr. Irvine).  I attended a Sabbath School in the evening, and was highly pleased with the order that was kept.  The manner of teaching was that generally pursued viz. dividing the school into small classes.

7th October l839

This day being my birthday I spent a considerable time in reflections, which time prevents me from inserting.

I was much pleased with my visit to Stonehaven.  The Society has only been 2 months in existence.  It is increasing rapidly.  Being almost exclusively conducted by young men.   I was particularly delighted with it.  I made a friend of a young man of the name of Andrew Gibb, whom I conceive to be a very remarkable person, and one too who I believe will one day be ranked high among the artisans of our country.  He engraves on steel admirably, although he never was with a master.  He paints landscape with wonderful exactness.  He is at present employed in cutting plates for a series of views of Stonehaven.  This work is to be published in 3 nos, each containing 3 views at 9d a no.  It is a bold attempt I hope he will succeed.

I took the coach for Aberdeen in the morning which reached very cold having rode on the outside, about l0 a.m.  I took up my quarters in the Temperance Hotel kept by a Mr. Morrison, Queen Street.  It is a splendid house with a coffee room, bedrooms for lodgers and a tee-total hall above, all first rate in their kind.  In the afternoon I had a conversation with the Sec. and some of the committee who received me very kindly, and invited me to a meeting in the hall in the evening.  I may here relate an anecdote which should have come before this.  When I alighted from the coach, at Stonehaven I asked for Mr. Rankin(?)  A lame man at whom I asked said "O man, I'm no muckle acquaint in that way"  (He meant the tee-total way) for its against my religion but ye may cam away and I'll let ye see for a that"  On enquiry I afterwards found that the individual with whom I had this conversation, had two years ago while in a state of intoxication, got in about the Mail and got his leg broke and that it is not nearly right.  I could not help thinking that this man was but very little indebted to his religion, and that a religion which brakes folks legs, is hardly worth support.

I sounded a gentleman in the hotel on the subject.  He approved he said of our principles, but he thought they, so long as they were advocated as they now  were, would lead to infidelity.  He had heard a tee-totaller say, if the Bible advocated anti-tee-total principles he would not believe it, and he was very happy that so many clergymen were standing back.  Of course I gave him my opinion without much ado.  He was silent but whether because he could not answer or through disdain I cannot say.

I delivered a speech of l 1/2 hours length in the Hall, Queen Street to a large audience.  When the meeting was through I learned that the gentleman with whom I had the conversation already related was a clegryman.  I was sorry I did not tell him more.

Typed by Betty Kay 11th May 1996, from Dan Marshall`s notes of the original journal.  Permission to reprint granted by Morris Kay, 25 June, 2012.

©2013, copyright Alana Farrell


  1. I enjoyed reading this diary entry. Until I read it, I hadn't realized that the abstinence movement began so long ago. I had always though of the prohibition movement more as an early 20th century issue.

    1. I also thought the prohibition movement was the first of its kind. Until I read this journal, I hadn't ever heard of the temperance movement. (I always thought tea-totallers were people who drank tea all the time! Now I know different.


  2. Happy Blogiversary!!

    Isn't it great what we can learn from old journals. I started my blog to post the letters of my gg grandfather. It's not only the letters, but the history and other sources I'm finding that intrigue me. Just before Christmas I felt fortunate to share with this blogging community "An Early Christmas Gift." I found an old book on google books and I've been blogging about it ever since. Now I need to get back to the letters. Sorry, this diary just got me blogging.


  3. Happy Blogiversary!! How great to have the diary.


    1. Thanks Betty. I love this journal - I'm so glad that a distant cousin was willing to share. Have learned a lot about my gggrandfather from it.