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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 84

Minutes of the First Annual Contention of the New Zealand Women's Christian Temperance Union

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Minutes of the First Annual Contention of the New Zealand Women's Christian Temperance Union.

First Day.


The Convention assembled in the Congregational Church, Wood ward-street, at 11 a.m. After devotional exercise by Mrs. C. Fulton, of Dunedin, the following delegates took their seats:—

Mrs. A. Dudley Ward, Provisional President, Christchurch; Mrs. A. Sinclair, Auckland; Mrs. F. Troy, Napier; Miss Sorley, Wanganui; Mrs. R. Hunter, Wellington; Mrs. J. Plimmer, Wellington; Mrs. C. A. Baker, Wellington; Mrs. Nightingale, Nelson; Mrs. E. E. Packe, Christchurch; Mrs. G. Clark, Christchurch; Mrs. Wroughton, Christchurch; Mrs. Rouse, Rangiora; Mrs. C. Fulton, Dunedin.

A telegram was read from the Oamaru Union, asking that a proxy be appointed to represent their Union.

A discussion took place as to whether proxies should be allowed, and it was decided in the affirmative, and the following members were elected :—Mrs. H. Snow, proxy for Invercargill; Mrs. C. Fulton, for Oamaru; Mrs. F. Troy, for New Plymouth; Mrs. E. E. Packe, for Ashburton.

The following officers were elected by ballot for the ensuing year:—

Mrs. A. Dudley Ward, President; Miss Susan Brett, Corresponding Secretary; Mrs. Fanny Troy, Recording Secretary; Mrs. C. A. Baker, Treasurer.

The draft copy of the Constitution was read by Mrs. E. E. Packe.

After the doxology and prayer the meeting adjourned.

Second Day.

Devotional exercises were conducted by Mrs. Bennett. Minutes of previous meeting were read and confirmed.

A discussion as to the official organ of the Union took place, Mrs. H. Snow speaking in favour of the Sentinel, and Mrs. C. Fulton in favour of the Leader. The matter was adjourned till the 25th instant.

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The Recording Secretary read the reports from the Local Unions.

The President gave an account of her tour through both Islands, stating that she had travelled 1,900 miles since she was chosen President, and had formed seven fresh Unions, and spoke of the flourishing condition of the various Unions, trusting that in the coming year many more might be added.

After devotional exercise the meeting adjourned till 2.30 p.m.

The convention resumed business at 2.30. After devotional exercise, the following members were elected as Superintendents of Departments :—

Mrs. A. Dudley Ward, Evangelistic Work; Mrs. G. Clark, Legislation and Petitions; Mrs. Hinton, Social Purity; Mrs. May, Hygiene; Mrs. H. Snow, Influencing the Press; Mrs. E. E. Packe, Unfermented Wine; Mrs. C. Fulton, Juvenile Work; Mrs. J. Plimmer, Gaol Work; Miss Sorley, Young Women's Work; Mrs. Brame, Inebriate Home Work; Mrs. Paterson, Work among Young Women.

Mrs. G. Clark read a paper on " Cooking."

It was resolved not to support grocers holding spirit licenses.

Mrs. E. E. Packe read a paper on " Unfermented Wine."

It was resolved that the next Convention be held at Christchurch.

After the doxology and benediction, the meeting adjourned.

Third Day.

After devotional exercise, the minutes of the previous meetings were read and confirmed.

Mrs. Wright took her seat as a delegate for Wellington.

Mrs. C. A. Baker and Miss Sorley were appointed tellers for the ballot.

It was resolved that the sum of ???5 be handed to Mrs. G. Clark, who was leaving for England, for the purchase of Temperance literature for the New Zealand Women's Christian Temperance Union.

Mrs. Wright was appointed delegate to the New Zealand Temperance Alliance.

The Constitution was read, clause by clause, and adopted.

It was resolved that it should be printed, with the minutes and balance-sheet.

After the doxology and benediction, the meeting adjourned.

The Convention resumed business at 2.30.

After devotional exercise, Mrs. G. Clark read a paper: " Woman, as a Citizen of the State."

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The Recording Secretary was desired by the convention to convey to the new Plymouth Union their earnest wish that they might receive a fresh baptism of zeal and energy.

It was resolved that the Temperance Herald, Leader, and Sentinel be the organs of the Union.

Mrs. A. Dudley Ward was appointed Superintendent of Organisation, and Mrs. Wright Superintendent of Literature.

It was resolved that the Union strenuously oppose the operation of the Contagious diseases Act; and that, on the meeting of Parliament, the Union endeavour to obtain women's suffrage.

A unanimous vote of thanks was tendered to Mr. C.A. Baker, and to the office-bearers of the Woodward-street and St. John's Churches for the use of their buildings.

Various accounts were passed for payment.

Mrs. Bennett was elected Superintendent of Cottage Meetings.

The Convention closed after the doxology and benediction.

Executive Committee.

The Committee assembled at Mrs. A. Dudley Ward's private residence, Molesworth-street.

Mrs. C. Fulton and Mrs. E. E. Packe led the devotional exercise.

Very grateful reference was made to Mrs. Mary Clement Leavett, as the founder of the Women's Christian Temperance Union in New Zealand, and testimony was given of her untiring labour of love in this Colony, which is already yielding and abundant harvest.

Mrs. G. Clark gave notice that the word "National" should be added to the name of the Union, at next Convention.

Members were requested to engage in prayer each day a 12 o'clock noon.

Mrs. G. Clark was appointed delegate to the British Women's Temperance Union.

The Recording Secretary was desired to reply to a letter received from Mr. S. Costall, of Wellington.

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Public Meeting.

A public meeting was held at St. John's Schoolroom on the 24th February. The chair was occupied by Mr. Ebenezer Baker. The proceedings began with the singing of the 37th hymn, "Rescue the perishing." Mrs. Ward, Mrs. Fulton, Mrs. Wroughton, and Sir William Fox occupied seats on the platform.

The Chairman, in introducing Mrs. Dudley Ward, said that he had known her for many years, and anything that could be said in her praise was simply the truth. (Applause).

Mrs. Ward, after a powerful appeal to any of her hearers who might happen to be moderate drinkers, to give up the habit, detailed the work which was being done by the Unions throughout the Colony. They were now holding their first convention in Wellington, which was getting on very well indeed. Their great aim was to put down the drink, and put it out of the land altogether—(applause)—here a little, and there a little, till it disappeared altogether. When Mrs. Leavitt came here eight months ago, she organised Unions in Auckland, Napier, Christchurch, Dunedin, Invercargill, and other places. She endeavoured to organise a Union in Wellington, but for some reason or other she did not succeed, and was very disheartened in consequence. At her request, she (Mrs. Ward) accepted the Presidency of the Unions; and a few months afterwards she came to Wellington, and succeeded very well. She then went on to Nelson, New Plymouth, Hawera, and Patea, where Unions were organised. Mrs. Ward then gave an interesting account of the work which was being done by the Unions in Invercargill, Dunedin, Oamaru, Ashburton, Auckland, and other places. The gaols were being visited; prisoners were met at the gates when their sentences were served, and were conducted to a Home until work was procured for them; the houses of the poor were visited, and wives and mothers were taught how to cook, and to make their houses bright and cheerful, so that the men should have an inducement to stay at home; the Bible was taught, and youths and young girls were instructed to do useful work. At Dunedin, the old Star and Garter Hotel was turned into the Leavitt Home, where 500 or 600 youths and girls were now receiving instruction, the ladies of the Union taking it in turn to visit the Home; assistance being received from young men in teaching the boys. The larrikins had great spirits, and wanted something to do; but if properly looked after and taken care of, they were easily dealt with. They had now a harmonium, which was paid for out of the proceeds of the sale of work done by the children themselves, and by-and-by they hoped to establish a Kindergarten. The women of Dunedin were trying to make good citizens of the boys, and useful women of the page 16 girls. At Christchurch they had a prison-gate mission, which commenced with only four beds, the superintendent being a tailoress. They have now moved into a larger building. Eighty prisoners have been received into the Home during the past six months, and in two months twenty-four persons received shelter there. At the Christchurch fair, a large booth was established by the Union, who were able to hand over £70 to the Young Men's Christian Association, who always gave them the use of their rooms. Although 17,000 persons were present at the fair the first day, there was not a single case of drunkenness, which was quite an unprecedented occurrence. In Wellington, evangelistic work had been carried on at Mitcheltown and Quin-street; temperance literature had also been distributed among seamen and others, and special efforts had been made among the fallen women. Mrs. Ward concluded an eloquent address by requesting them all to help in the work of the Union.