Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Abstinence Tour of Robert Marshall (1819-1891) – Journal Entry of 11th October 1839

This day was spent in traversing the streets, calling on friends, getting my Bills from the printers, and making arrangements for my departure on Monday.  I came to the resolution of going North and as there is no Society at Kintore there I resolved to take up my abode.  I accordingly dispatched a letter to that quarter and also a parcel of bills to Inverary.  I had forgot to mention that yesterday I was introduced by my landlord to Mr. I Cumming King of the Tee-totalers.  I had heard a good deal of this gentleman, especially about Montrose and I had nowise a favourable idea of him.  The appearance of the man however and his behaviour fully warrant me in saying that he has the cause at heart.  What his abilities as a lecturer are, I cannot say.  So far as I know or can learn, he is nowise admirably suited for cities and towns, but I have this merely from report.  One thing is certain, that he has done a vast deal of good to the cause and that he is a most agreable companion.  I took a turn with him round the shore when returning we saw a very beautiful woman in a state of beastly intoxication carried away to the Police Office.  This was to me another call to persevere.  About 7 o'clock in the evening I along with Mr. Cumming set out for Woodside at Printfield, a village of considerable size about 2 miles to the North of Aberdeen.

The evening was a little wet, but as we could not help that we never minded.  We took no thought to ask for the name of person into whose house we might go, when we reached Printfield, before we came away.  Being too soon we had to walk about.  The village is of considerable length, it has only one main street.  At its north end the King and I sat down on a dike at the side of the canal, we saw great crowds passing on to the chapel where I was to lecture, we followed up and entered the vestry.  It was an independent chapel of considerable size.  By request I mounted the pulpit - the first time I was ever in a pulpit - the house was crowded - the galleries were crammed to suffocation - the passages were completely blocked up, and the murmuring sound at the door, told me that there must have been an immense crowd there.  The services were commenced by singing a hymn on temperence after which I engaged in prayer.  I opened my lecture by giving the usual challenge for discussion.  I lectured, and the sweat dripping from me on account of the heat - for about 2 hours, and I do not think I ever gave a better lecture.  It was almost all ex tempore, but I had the feelings of my audience, completely at my control - this was evident at every two, or three sentences by the immense ruffing clapping and cheering which I actually believed would bring down the house.  But the proof of the pudding is in the pree'in o't and the effect of my lecture will be best known from the feelings produced by it - as usual I concluded the meeting with prayer and stated that names of those who were wishing to become members would be taken in the vestry.  I made for that room as fast as I could, it was crowded - but I did not enter in - while the people were passing the door, there stood I catching as many as I could and shoving in with perfect glee - I caught no less than 36 - mostly females - surely I made a very curious appearance with 2 females one in each arm relieving one by getting room for her in the vestry, but I supplied her place speedily - I lost a great deal in spite of my endeavours however, for some went off because they could not have time to stay, and others because all the tickets were sold.  Altogether this is the best meeting I have had, for what with the smiles of the fair who I believe I have been the means of putting almost mad on the subject, the acknowledgment of reformed drunkards, and the blessing of all, I was perfectly delighted.

A publican in the neighbourhood who has not sold less that £l6 worth of intoxicating liquor a week for 26 years past, this week only sold £4 worth, and he blames me for the whole - they were most extraordinarly drunkards here, but I trust in God that that cure which has been almost universally adopted will be persevered in.

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

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