Prohibition in Kansas.
The following is a full report of an address given in the Temperance Hall, Hunterville, in October, 1896, by Mr Pattersen, on Prohibition in Kansas, United States:—
Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, I hope that no one has come here tonight thinking that they are going to hear a speech or a lecture, because these things are not in my line at all. I am simply an ordinary farmer from Kansas, in the United States, here for the purpose of seeing your wonderful country, of which I have heard so much, and partly to see friends and relations of mine here, and from the day I landed at the Bluff till now—and I am on my way towards Auckland—everywhere I have been, the whole subject of conversation has been the subject of Prohibition. Coming from a state in which I lived 10 years before we got Prohibition and 15 years afterwards, I was able to tell in some measure why we demanded Prohibition, how we got it, and what the result had been to the people of Kansas. When I had told my story to the people with whom I was staying they were interested in the business to such an extent that they induced or rather seduced rue into a school house and made me tell it in front of an audience comprising a large number of people—a thing that I had never done in my life—and I don't think I made a very good fist of it. But at any rate I will try to give you an idea of the kind of people we have in Kansas and what kind of country we have there. These is one thing I noticed in coming from the Bluff to here—I was very much surprised at the snail number of people in this colony who have visited the Old Country. Why, nearly every family round about where I come from in Kansas have taken their turn in going to Europe. In the United States 100,000 people go yearly to Europe for pleasure. My family have done it and it is now my turn. I wondered why so few people went to the Old Country because you are the same kind of people as we, and read about the same kind of places, and besides I find that nearly all in New Zealand are anxious to take a trip home if they could only afford it. I wondered why it was that with such a magnificent country as this, which you have got for nothing practically within the last generation, how it came about that all these people were so desirous of going to tit Old Country and yet could not afford it, because I consider that this is the most agreeable country in the world, where the greatest amount of money should be earned with the least amount of labor of all the countries that I have visited; but I speedily found out that this small community of 700,000 people—and we have a large number of towns in the United State that have more than that—was carrying a burden of L40,000,000 of public debt and perhaps a good deal page 3 more of private debt, and that in fact you pay more interest on your borrowed money than it takes to govern the great state of Kansas with twice as many people in it and then of course I concluded that you could not have your cake and eat it too. You are kept busy paying interest on an amount of debt that would crush the people out of Kansas altogether. We have no debt in Kansas. It is twenty years younger than New Zealand and yet has twice as many people, and although we had a large debt before we had Prohibition, since we have got it we have wiped out the debt and have a large surplus which is a trouble to us. But I am quite sure of one thing, and that is, if the people succeed in getting prohibition—and I think they will succeed—that then the vast sum of money expended on drinking and gambling, and a worse vice, that then that money, instead of being lost, is turned into the channels of trade to return to the people, it will find its way to those who work, and those who do not work will not get this surplus, because when the wage fund of the people returns into the legitimate channels of trade, it then gets into possession of the men who do the work and then you will be able to take the trip you desire. When you come I would advise you to come by way of the United States. It is a very remarkable country. It may be safely said that it is the greatest country that has ever existed on the face of the earth. When you land at San Francisco you will have a long dreary journey of 3000 miles before you which is done by rail. When you come half way it will relieve the dreariness of the journey by getting a 'stop over' ticket, and if you inquire for me or for any member of my family you will readily find us and I will give you a hearty welcome. When a stranger arrives, we have a custom of sending a boy to ring the school bell, and all who hear the sound will come to the school house to see what is up, because American people are curious. They do not know whether it is going to be a lecture on botany, or a political meeting, and you can better imagine than I can describe their surprise if they find it is a man from New Zealand who is going to tell them of prohibition and of the benefits derived from it. When you go there you will see the same kind of people, the same Anglo-Saxon stock, reading the same literature, having the same language, the same religion. They will be delighted to hear of this far off country, which many consider the back door of the world. When I go back I can tell them something about it. But besides I notice here in New Zealand there is a very hazy notion as to what the United States is, and in order that you may better understand the character of the men who demanded and achieved prohibition in Kansas, I intend to make a few remarks on what the United States is. I am surprised that there are so many people that I have met who do not know that the United States at one time belonged to Great Britain, that the thirteen colonies were just the same kind of colonies, and bore the same relation to Great Britain that these colonies do here, that Great Britain appointed the Governors, and that there is a similarity in their histories. One is that the Pilgrim Fathers were among the first that went to the American colonies, and it was the same here with this colony when it was first settled. Some time after the American colonies were founded the colonists there made a discovery. They found that the rich were geeting richer and the poor page 4 poorer. When they went there first the speculator did not come, neither did the money-lender nor the gambler, nor any of these adjuncts of civilisation. They did not care about coming to a country until the bush was felled, the roads made, and the hotels built for accommodation, and the country requires to be made into a valuable article before they will put a mortgage on it. The same process was gone through there as here. These colonists were a singular lot of men, and when they found out the harder a man worked the less money he got for it, and when they found out that the men who got the most money did the least work, they began to investigate the matter. The first thing they did at the general election they discharged every lawyer and agent and speculator and usurer from the Legislature, and returned only farmers and mechanics and men who lived by their own labor, and did not live by the sweat of other men's brows. They immediately started to manufacture their own money. Every penny in the colonies was borrowed money, bearing interest over and over again. But they made their own money that bore no interest and with this paid the expenses of the Government, and the money they produced was sufficient for a medium of exchange, for the exchanging of the commodities which these colonies produced. The usurers and speculators did not like this, and they went over to England to bring about the prohibition of the making of money in the colonies. Edmund Burke declared that the prosperity that had followed these people under this new system was more than he had ever seen before in the history of the human race, and that if it was to continue they would become the happiest and wealthiest people on the face of the earth. The speculators and usurers got the British Government to prohibit the colonists from to making their own money. The people determined that this law should not be enforced, and they fought for eight years, and at last succeeded in defeating the hitherto invincible army and navy of Great Britain. When these colonies achieved their independence the; elected their own Governments and Legislatures, and people rushed from Europe until there was no room to hold them. They had to go out west and when there was sufficient number of them they made a new state, elected their own Governor, etc., and this state forming process went on until the Pacific coast was reached, a distance of 3,000 miles, and now there are 44 of these great states, containing a population of between seventy and eighty millions. Now about 1847 a famine took place in Europe, and in 1848 a revolution followed, on account of the discontent of the people, which shook every throne in Europe to its foundation. But the bayonets triumphed and many of the revolutionists made their escape, coming to the United States, because they regarded it as the aslyum for the oppressed When they came many could not speak the English language, and they had no money, and were glad to work for a pittance, and so displaced the colonists and then began a procession of people to the Western States that has continued to this day, and will continue for a hundred years. On arrival in the States a man would purchase a four-wheeled waggon called a 'prairie schooner.' Over this would be constructed a tent in which a man would put his wife and family, and wend his way across the prairie out west. Plenty of land is ready to be taken an. That procession commenced then and whenever a man came to the spot which page 5 he thought would suit him he was entitled to take up 160 acres for each person in his family over 21 years of age. There will be land enough for years to come for all who wish to become citizens, no matter what their creed, color or nationality may be. Whoever comes to the United States and is over 21 years of age is entitled to take up this quantity of land free. Now these 'prairie schooners' have been going from 1850 to the present day, and will continue so for many generations to come. When they got out as far as Missouri—1500 miles from New York—they reached the last of the timbered Wintry, and then they came to the prairie where it is all level and there is no bush. This state of Missouri was the last slave state and was well timbered and watered. The slave owners of Missouri owned from 500 to 1500 slaves each and they had become enormously wealthy. These slave owners were the first American Millionaires. They had looked upon the plains of Kansas, but did not like it as there were no trees, and they thought that nothing would grow upon it. Besides up to 1850 the territory now called Kansas was marked on the maps as the great American desert. So the planters thought that as in the winter time fierce winds blew over these plains for six months when the temperature was often 20 deg. below zero, it would not be a comfortable place for slaves. But by and bye these 'prairie schooners' got to this land and were emptied of their human freight. The people ploughed the land and found that it was good agricultural soil which has no equal, or at any rate no superior, in any part of the world, and when they planted the seeds they were amazed at the rapidity of the growth, because there we have to plant, plough, and harvest our crops in about four months. Sometimes we have four months of summer and eight months of winter, and we have to raise enough feed in those four months to keep our stock during the long weary winter of eight months. Now when these pioneers made this discovery they were delighted, and their friends followed them, but the planters were disgusted for not having taken possession of this before, and the result was that they organised the poor white 'trash' of the south, who as a class corresponded with the class in this country who hang around the public houses, and who are not given to working regularly and would just as soon engage in a criminal operation as an honest one. The planters furnished the men with rifles to drive away the 'cockatoos' but when in the plains they found out that they had reckoned without their host, because these settlers, having found this magnificent soil, were determined to hold on to it, and did not go to work without their rifles on their backs. Hundreds of these 'jay-hawkers,' as the aggressors were called, came out from Missouri who never returned but many of the pioneers met their fate in defending their homes. I have seen between Wanganui and New Plymouth a number of monuments erected in memory of those who fell in defence of their homes against the Maoris, and they reminded me of many of the monuments erected in Kansas to the pioneer farmers who died in defending their homes against the agents of the planters. By and bye the news spread all over the world, and people thought that if the country was worth fighting for it was worth going to. Then there were the friends of freedom—the Abolitionists. They sent the farmers out assistance, and the latter's numbers greatly increased. The planters were page 6 desperate but would not be baffled, and the result was that they increased the number of 'jay-hawkers' and pitched battles took place between them and the farmers. The time was fast approaching when the state would have to declare itself either as a free state or in favor of slavery, and as these pitched battles went against the representatives of the planters who were in favor of slavery, the question was decided in favor of freedom. I have been particular in enumerating these circumstances to show you the kind of men by whom Kansas was founded, and that when they began these battles it was only with the intention of driving these 'jay-hawkers' away from their farms. But whenever men are engaged in an evil enterprise the question grows, and when Kansas was made a free state the planters grew despeaate and withdrew from the Union. The northern people were determined that the country should remain one, and three millions of men took up arras to settle the question. The question still grew, and before they had finished, the existence of slavery itself was the question that had to be settled. After four; years fighting, during which 500,000 white men laid down their lives for a principle, freedom for all was obtained. The people knew that slavery was wrong and that freedom was right. They went in and at the end of four years' fighting then finally triumphed. During this time nearly every able-bodied man in Kansas went to the front, and when the war was over the remainder returned, and they were followed by thousands of other soldiers who had lived in other states, who always regarded Kansas as the battleground of freedom. It was in Kansas that the question of slavery was first raised, and the Kansas men assisted in settling the question. The state then became largely settled.
When the soldiers returned from the war they laid down the sword and toot up the plough. If you go there not you will find fine homes. Everything went right and they acquired wealth until 1873, and when that time came there was a great panic. This was caused by the demonetisation of silver primarily. This battle is now being fought between the free silver men and the gold standard men. If Bryan is elected it will be grand for all farming communities, because the cheap silver enables people to get wool for 6d per lb., but if silver is raised to its old position the price will rise to 1s. When wheat rises at Mark Lane it rises all over the world. The price is fixed in London. That is the battle now being fought, but in the meantime the price fell out of everything as there was nothing to pay, for a man who had L1 in his pocket would not circulate it Throughout all the states, except in Maine, there were riots and all kinds of tumults, and the militia was called out and the states armed, except Maine and Kansas. In Kansas all the men had been to the war, and they knew it was a horrible thing and they were against war and preserved the peace. They said they would enquire into the matter of low prices and see the reason of it. There were all kinds of organisations in the state which is now 400 miles long and 200 wide. There were farmers' and laborers' organisations fa the purpose of seeing how it came to pass that the profit had gone out of farming and labour could not be employed. It took years to simmer the matter down, until the opinion through the state was that the reason tie profit had gone out of farming, and that so many men were idle in the state, was because in Kansas there had been during the past five yean, about page 7 twenty million pounds spent m liquor and gambling. When they figured up the profits of the farming they found that the money spent on liquor and gambling was the profit, and the people immediately came to the conclusion that the profit came out of farming and into the liquor business and the gamblers' pockets. This conclusion was arrived at by all sorts and conditions of people. The consequence was that they set about examining it, but before they took action there were some conservative farmers who were in favour of the publicans, and who thought their interests should not be interfered with. A commission was set up to enquire into the matter, but when they went to the publicans, they found that many were bankrupt and that a large number of them were barely able to meet their bills, and that there were very few publicans who had ever made a competence. They said they had not the twenty millions of pounds, and they concluded it must have gone to the distilleries and breweries. These breweries and distilleries belonged to an English syndicate, and they had a manager to look after their interests, A large number of the farmers wanted the breweries to be kept going because they bought the grain. When we came to examine the matter we found that the amount of grain bought was perfectly insignificant. It could not affect the market In order to satisfy these conservative farmers the commission resolved to interview the superintendent of these breweries and distilleries, and when they went to him they told him they wanted to know how much grain was bought by the distilleries and breweries. He said 'You do, do you? Well now I think you might be engaged in a better business. You farmers are howling about this. You had better go back, get up earlier and work later, and you will come out all right.' However they told him that they did not come there to argue with him or to give offence. All they wanted to know was, how much barley was used by his firm and what money was paid for it He said 'Look here, I am here to manufacture all the beer and whiskey I can and I will use every device I know to get the people of Kansas, to drink it all I can, and I will do all in my power to get all the money possible to send to my employers for the more money I can send the better they will like me. The men thought that that was plain and true, and I think that his answer was the last straw that broke the camel's back. They learned further that a large number of cattle were being fattened on the refuse from the distilleries, and it appeared that this refuse had the effect of making the cattle nice and round and good looking, but the fat was of a very flabby kind. They found that the distilleries had about 40,000 head of cattle in Kansas, and there had been complaints about it, as these bloated cattle being put into the market injuriously affected the rest of the stock of the state by helping to bring down the value of the cattle generally. This was the last straw and we made the most of it. In the meantime yon will observe, we had been studying political economy, and the people of Kansas saw plainly that the wages fund was the savings of the people, and that if those savings were expended in liquor business and gambling, they could not be expended on labor, and therefore every pound that went to the distilleries and gambling was taken away from the wages fund, and rendered people incapable of getting work. These laborers who were idle talked to the farmers whose profit had gone, and the result was that these page 8 two classes were now bound solidly together. There had been for years prohibition clubs, but they belonged to churches principally. Many church members did not care to belong to them and many others thought that they could not join the club until they joined the church. Then there were the Good Templars. They required their members to sign a pledge, which many people would not do and the consequence was that these organisations never increased to any great extent—at least not sufficiently to take political action. Here was the mass of the people—the farmers and laborers—ready for action, end the Good Templars looked on approvingly, in fact they were delighted. There is no doubt in my mind the Good Templars and Prohibitionists had sown the seed, and had been trying by moral suasion to get the people to fall into line. It was good to a certain point. But the men of the state generally were determined that they would not allow four millions of pounds to go out annually for drinking and gambling, and that it should come back into the channels of trade where the farmers and workmen would have the profit. And that is really the position now in New Zealand. There is no question about it in my mind. I have found a large number of men who are wholly dissatisfied with the present position. I have been to many milk suppliers, and they are growling about the price they receive for milk (which is cheaper here than anywhere else). Now these men who are being hurt simply don't know what is the matter with them. When I landed here first I told the cabman to drive me to a lodging-house, and he took me to a hotel, and when I got there I was astonished to find that I was in a whiskey shop, with a fine looking woman behind the bar and a dozen drunkards in front of it. I immediately left but found it was the same at the next place I tried, and so I gave the thing up and came back to the first one, and when I got under the verandah it was raining, I saw a woman standing on the step of the door and heard her saying that she wanted a little money for the children as they were too hungry to sleep. While she was getting off this story a man was leaning on the counter talking to the barmaid. All of a sudden he turned round and gave a great kick with his foot, and I could see from the way the woman shifted that it was not the first time that she had been so treated. I told a policeman and be said 'That is nothing.' I said 'Well, is nothing to be done?' He said 'No.' I asked him if there were any Salvation Army people round here, to which he replied that the case was not bad enough for them. I asked if there was no remedy. He asked me where I came from and I told him. He then said 'You are a stranger and I would advise you to go to Vied, otherwise you will get into trouble.' I took his advice, but after I had lain down I could not get to sleep on account of the noise; finally I got up to see what the racket was about and I found a crowd of men playing billiards. I was then satisfied and went to bed. Next morning I discovered that two men had been roasted alive in that hotel a few months before and had I known that on the previous evening I would have preferred to have spent the night in the Station House than to have stayed in the hotel. I found that this hotel was the finest in the town—in fact a the finest buildings were public house I had thought that l was coming out to a dairy country. I was telling my cousin this and so we went to a dairy factory, the approach to which was page 9 through a sea of mud. Two horses were pulling two cans of milk and it look them all their time to get through. I thought that this was a funny thing, that this country which has such a good name for grass should have such bad dairies and good hotels. What I saw in a milking shed still further enlightened me. I noticed that all the milking was done by women, because as I was told, they could not afford to pay men, and their own women did it for nothing. When I saw that the barmen were paid well and that the farmers could not afford to pay men to do the milking, I saw that there was a screw loose somewhere. I was amazed to find the liquor traffic to be the most profitable, and the butter business the most unprofitable. I found that at home in London and Glasgow the price for your butter was 1s 7d per lb—the farmers were getting the odd 7d and the other fellows were getting the 1s. The farmers must also consider why we get L10 for a fat steer for which you get L6. We have to send ours 1500 miles by rail and then they have to cross the Atlantic and go to the same place as yours. We had the same thing at one time, and before we got Prohibition we could get no legislation on behalf of the farmers, but since that time we have doubled up those speculators and middlemen, and got as near to the consumer as possible and we now get twice as much for our cattle and milk. When once farmers, laborers, prohibitionists, etc., got together there was no question but that we would carry Prohibition, and we did first lick, and when we did it the Legislature met, and is took them from November to the 1st of May to get all the laws made to carry out Prohibition. They voted for it in November and the publicans knew it was coming.
The law prescribed penalties and appointed officers to carry out the law. When the law came, round the respectable publicans (we found that there were respectable publicans—as decent as you or I) cleaned out their places, refurnished their houses, and did such a tremendous business that they required to extend their premises, and since that time one of them has built a brick hotel costing 75,000 dollars, with 100 rooms in it, and it is doing more business and making more money than the proprietor made when he, was selling whiskey. In that hotel I met with my relations and family two days before I left. That former publican, whereas he could not set his foot in any of the farmers houses before Prohibition, was gladly received when he gave up the selling of intoxicants. His wife, no matter how little she deserved it, when she went down the streets with her fine clothes would have poor women pointing the finger of of scorn at her as the relations of the latter, by their degradation were assisting in the purchase of the former's fine clothes. Mind you, that woman might be as good as any, but she was placed in a false position. When they had the whiskyless hotel we received them joyfully, and that publican's wife now occupies her proper position in society, and her family is welcomed to homes where they were not welcomed before. Beside these respectable publicans there was another class of men, and we made some great discoveries after Prohibition was carried. We found that the criminal publicans were determined to sell on the sly. They secured the services of a lawyer, and the owners of the properties backed them up, and here these unscrupulous people started to defy the law. Then we had some fun. By the time we had go; done with j them the lawyer had all the money the page 10 publican had possessed and a good whack of the publican's property, sometimes all of it, and then when he had got all the property and had lost his character, he would have to leave the state, because the man that fights against the law is regarded as a criminal in Kansas. The people in the United States ars a law abiding people, and all will try to enforce the law. The result was that these lawyers who championed the cause of the disreputable publicans, together with the owners of the houses, all came to grief together. We always investigated the pedigree of a lawyer who took up a case and endeavored to thwart the law, and we found these lawyers (I am talking of Kansas) were not a creditable class. Being a 'greeny' he would not be employed for months. Once he did get a client he 'skinned' him clean. If a man stole a cow and the man that lost it hired the lawyer to prosecute he would do so, but if the thief got to the lawyer first and paid the money, the lawyer would prosecute the man who list the cow. These were the kind of lawyers they had in Kansas. The moment that the liquor law went into force in Kansas all the respectable publicans put their houses in order, but others remained crooked. You see the lawyers and publicans joined together, and then we found out a lot of things. After some years we found that when a man was robbed in a public house it was the disreputable publican who was the wicked one. The publican might have a bill to meet, and if he saw the money in a man's pocket he would see that he got drunk enough to have his pockets turned inside out in the morning. No one suspected the licensee. These fellows in Kansas were smarter than they are here. When a publican tried here to lamb a man down, the robbed one wanted the money back and sued the publican and got judgment, and when the fellow went away, to another public house and got roaring drunk there, he had not got very far before he found he was having his ears cut off This is a very dreadful thing. I can tell you this, that if that man without the ears was in the United States, and in any state where Prohibition was being fought, the temperance organisations would secure his services as a blood-curling example of the shocking atrocity of the liquor demon, especially as he had no ears. The effect of these things is very wonderful, and I have no doubt before the election takes place more victims will be sacrificed to the craving for drink. A man when drunk fell between the wharf and a ship at Auckland; two lines were put in the paper. With us when a man met his death when drunk we thought it one of the most dreadful things possible. I think that it arises from this fact, that we have a decoration day, when all people of the United States give up work and go and gather flowers to decorate the graves of the illustrious dead. Of course before we got prohibition we lost six men every day through drink. Here you have only three every day, but I think this is a terrible number when you look at the cases individually. A young mat, a compositor in the office of the Evening Post, Wellington, where he bad been working eight years died. At the inquest it was found that he bad gone from hotel to hotel until 1 o'clock on Sunday morning. He met a man named Murphy, and they sat down on a doorstep and finished a bottle of whiskey between them, and Hen kins (the compositor) was not able to get up, He was got into a cab and was driven round to his fine residence in Ouba street, where his brother and stater were waiting, but when the cabman page 11 was getting him out he said he either was in a fit or Head. The latter was the case. This was a dreadful affair.
Up at Manaia we have a woman the daughter of a clergyman, and she is a splendid pianist. She is a magnificent teacher. Young women have been learning to play who have made no progress, have gone to this woman and have been finished off in no time. She is highly intelligent. Going along the road one day, I found her lying in the gutter; it had been raining and the water was within an inch of her mouth. I tried to get her out and asked a passerby to help me, but he refused. He said the more you do for her the worse she will get. I got the woman out and in company with the local clergyman I visited her next day. We commenced talking about various matters, and I mentioned to her about Kansas having prohibition, but the moment we came near the question at all she said, 'I know what you have come here for, but you don't know a thing about it. I wish you had my head this morning. If you want my man or myself to become a sober man or woman you must keep the horrid stuff out of the country.' Here is another victim. A man, the junior partner of a firm in Glasgow, was given to intemperance. He was engaged to a girl who told him that he must keep sober for one year. So he came to New Zealand to keep sober. He was not long here before he got on the 'booze' and he was turned out by his friends. They built him a whare and he is now splitting firewood. Whenever he gets the money he gets on the spree. He then takes the pledge and cries like a child. He often says that if we had prohibition he would be able to act like I man. He said 'You never knew a man to atop drinking once he started. No one will be happier than I when the drink is abolished.' At Parihaka I stopped at the hotel on this side of that pah. It is strange to find the white men in New Zealand raising money and giving it to the Maoris. We don't do that in the United States. We make the Indians do their own work. It seems stupid to find white men working for the Maoris. A Mr Fisher the Government Agent pays the Maoris at Parihaka and the result is that round the hotel on pay days are a hundred Maoris. At midnight those who were sober enough to go, went home, and the rest were scattered about the yard dead drunk. Their crimes and beastly orgies and debauchery are terrible and a disgrace to New Zealand. In New Plymouth I saw a lot of young men standing about three Maori women who were helplessly drunk. I was in company with a J.P., and when we approached the crowd the J.P. gave some of them a kicking and took the women before, the bench. The Magistrate was going to fine the woman the usual 5s, when the J.P. indignantly declared 'not a penny,' and said that the man who supplied the woman with the liquor deserved to be hanged. That is the sentiment in New Zealand. It is a clear case to me that you cannot regulate the liquor traffic. We tried it for a whole generation. It has been tried everywhere, and there is no more possibility of regulating the drink traffic than there is regulating the slave trade. There were clergymen who defended the slave trade. Horace Greely was a great Abolitionist and he owned the most powerful paper in the States. Whenever anybody saw arguments in the papers in favor of slavery they cut them out and sent them to Greely to answer. But he said it would be a nice thing answering all page 14 State, and when the last Governor retired he enumerated the benefits derived from Prohibition, and be declared that more than half the gaols were empty and many of them were rented by farmers as graneries. There are 105 counties in Kansas and each has its poor-house. The poor-house is put to its proper use now, and we are going to change the name of it as it is now Used by the aged poor people only. The Governor declared that more than half of the gaols were empty and the poor-houses were rented to the farmers to live in. You hear about Prohibition not being enforced in Kansas, but that is a lie. I will tell you what the actual condition of things is. By the way the law is constituted it is impossible to violate it. In my county there are 25,000 people. It is a sample. We have a county attorney and a sheriff, and we elect our policemen, and they are paid by the 'piece.' Our Judges are paid by piece, and so are sheriffs, who are paid by fees and mileage. The county attorney is paid L25 for every conviction he gets, and where a man is found selling liquor his place is seized to pay for the costs of the prosecution, so a man in Kansas will not allow a building of his to be occupied by any; one unless he is well acquainted with him, and knows that he will not attempt the sale of liquor in that building, and if he does rent it to a stranger it is only on receiving a bond to guard himself against loss in case the occupant does break the law by the sale of liquor. If there is any man here who thinks he can sell whisky in Kansas I would advise him to try. The county commissioners lately begrudged paying the gaoler his salary as there had been no prisoners for two months, and they passed a resolution that his office should be suspended until he got a prisoner. If a man tried to sell whiskey in Kansas he might strike one or two people, after a lot of trouble, who would like some whiskey, but these people of Kansas are not starving for whiskey, and if he comes along with a bottle under his arm he may find that he has made a mistake. He does not go far before he does make a mistake, and he is 'collared' and made a prisoner by some farmer or laborers who are paid mileage and fees for running him in. The constable does the same, and then when the sheriff gets the prisoner he enters up the matter and puts in all his fees, and the gaoler is glad because he is going to have a job, and the county attorney gets 25 dollars for every count against that man. Consider that man's predicament and you will see plainly that when a man tries to sell liquor under these conditions he is an idiot. It is the same in the other counties. I will only mention once more the remarkable difference that I perceive between the moral susceptibility of the Kansas and New Zealand people in regard to a man dying when he is drunk. It is a very dreadful thing, but I don't think your responsibility for the deaths taking place at present is so great, because the matter has not been brought before you, but this having now been done you are responsible if you do not do what you can to do away with this evil. No matter what a man is, I have found no man in New Zealand to deny that he is his brother's keeper. The Knights of Labor declare that an injury to one is the concern of all, and a whole lot of secret organizations are permeated with the same feeling, and I find that every man and woman acknowledges that they are their brothers' and their sisters' keeper. They only want an opportunity of demonstrating and exercising the fact page 15 by looking after these helpless people. You must take it for granted that drunkenness is a disease, and the drunkards are they who want Prohibition more than anybody else. The men who don't want Prohibition are generally lazy men, those who have not a strong intellect, and who have some kind of an idea that if they could not get whiskey, they would get the ramps. That was an idea that many of our people had before we got Prohibition. These were people who in every other respect were quite sensible, and a few days after the whiskey was gone they began to think they felt cramps. A happy circumstance then occurred. This was that the only way they could get whiskey was in an unlawful manner, and these illegal suppliers that we had at the first, disappeared very soon after because that they famished the most horrible stuff under the sun. The suppliers thought that any stuff would do. One of my neighbours got some on the sly and made a terrible noise about it, and he asked me if I knew sulphuric acid when I saw it Another man killed a calf of his by giving it a dose of this stuff to cure it of some complaint. It was so bad that it got the same of 'rot-gut' It was horrible stuff and completely weaned the Kansas people from the use of liquor. I think that the use of this state was one of the most providential things that happened.
When you are trying te reform an evil many circumstances will assist you and an incident that happened in Hawera, if it had happened in the United States, would have produced a profound sensation. After the great civil war in the United States all the people everywhere were rejoicing to think that the carnage had ceased and those now alive would be safe, and they were being welcomed home, when Abraham Lincoln was slain in Ford's theatre by an assassin. The news' so filled the people with consternation that everything was stopped and all work suspended. Everyone put on mourning and nothing would satisfy them but that the body of the great President should be carried throughout United States for the people to see. For twenty years, notwithstanding all the infamy of the Republican party, the people voted steadily for that party on account of the impression made upon them by the viewing of the body of their beloved President. For twenty years, they voted against the Democratic party that contained his murderer. There is a friend up in Hawera, and I was telling him that there were no barmaids in the United States, all this class of work being done by men. He said that a woman was as safe behind a bar as anywhere. I told him that I did not know whether she was safe or not, but I would not like a relation of mine to be there. Some days afterwards I read a letter in the paper, and that letter was written by a highly educated person—a young lady of 22—and was addressed to her grandmother. It appeared on enquiry that her mother had been a widow and had married again, which was probably the reason that she had made her grandmother her confidant In this letter which was written, and which was produced at the inquest, it was shown that she bad tried to pioson herself two days before. One young woman passing through the room when the letter was being written saw the bottle, on the table at her right hand. It is a terrible thing to think of that young woman with the poison at her right hand, with which she intends to destroy herself, and that she had the stuff in her possession for two days, and then to read that one sentence page 16 'Hotels were my ruin.' I was terribly shocked when I saw that letter, and I went to my friend and said 'I thought you told me that all young women in hotels were safe.' We went up to set, the body. It was the second dead person that I had ever seen, and I do not remember to have ever seen a living woman who looked so beautiful as that dead young woman. I tell you what it is: If that dead young woman's body was carried from end to end of the colony here as Abraham Lincoln was in my country with the above sentence printed on the coffin, I don't think that there is a woman in New Zealand who would vote against Prohibition. But there are many men also, for I think the men of New Zealand are as chivalrous as any men on the face of the earth. One sign I see here that we had in Kansas, and I think that is a pretty good sign. Before we came to the final fight the Democrats denounced the Republicans as a parcel of thieves and plunderers, but when the Republicans came round they told the opposite tale. Since I came here I found Mr Duthie and Captain Russell and another man with a handle to his name, and they came round, and I heard them saying that this Government of New Zealand was the corruptest Government on earth, and that they were a lot of plunderers. I thought it was very dreadful when I heard all this, but when I heard the other side speaking they said that their opponents were a lot of liars. I thought myself that the truth might lie somewhere about the middle. What happened in Kansas was that near the close of the campaign both stories were believed by the people, and then the politicians on both sides got alarmed beyond measure, and were afraid that the people would believe both of them, and then both parties would be to blame, and the consequence was that they began to make all kinds of professions, and each promised reform from within their own party. It happened that there was an old woman who kept chickens; she could make them lay when no one else could. She came to a meeting one night. We were astonished to see her on the platform with two eggs in her hand. She said that one was a Democratic egg and the other was a Republican one. We have here a lot of reform promised. She here broke the Republican egg when there was an awful smell. She said 'Do you think you could reform that party from within.' When she got the other egg up she said it was the Democratic egg, and when she broke that one I discovered that you could smell two distinct and separate stinks at the same time. She then said 'Do yon think you could reform that party from within. If you want genuine reform you must vote the Prohibition ticket straight, and get refresh egg, and then you will be all right."
Clutha Leader Print.