The Firmness Of Senator Wilson



Senator Henry Wilson was a self-controlled as well as a self-made man.


He left his New Hampshire home early in life and changed his name in order to get out from under the baleful shadow of intemperance.

He began on the lowest round of the social ladder, and climbed up, round by round until he became a political power in the nation.

The first step he took in the ascent placed him on the pledge never to drink intoxicating liquors.

The second step he took made him an industrious laborer; the third a diligent reader.

He was sent to Washington to carry a petition against the admission of Texas to the Union.  John Quincy Adams asked him to a dinner party, where he met with some of the great men of the nation.

He was asked to drink wine.  The temptation to lay aside his temperance principle for a moment in order not to seem singular, was a strong one.

But he resisted it, and declined the glass of wine.  Mr. Adams commended him for his adherence to his convictions.  After Mr. Wilson was elected to the United States Senate, he gave his friends a dinner

at a noted Boston hotel.  The table was set with not a wine glass upon it.  “Were are the wine glasses?”  asked several, loud enough to remind their host that some of his guest did not like sitting down to a wineless dinner.

“Gentlemen,” said Mr. Wilson, rising and speaking with a great deal of feeling, “you know my friendship for you, and my obligations to you. Great as they are, they are not great enough to make me forget ‘the rock whence I was hewn, and the pit whence I was dug.’  Some of you know how the curse of intemperance overshadowed my youth:

That I might escape, I fled my early surroundings, and changed my name.

For what I am, I am indebted, under God, to my temperance vow and my adherence to it.”

Call for what you want to eat, and if this hotel can provide it, it will be forthcoming.

But wines and liquors cannot come to this table with my consent, because I will not spread in the path of another the snare for which I have escaped”

Three rousing cheers showed the brave Senator that men admired the man who has the courage of his convictions.