The town of Cortlandville has gone no-license by 310 majority. The result is a surprise even to sanguine temperance men, who felt confident of electing their candidate for excise commissioner but counted on a narrow majority only. It is even a greater surprise—almost a thunderclap—to the partisans of license who had strained every nerve to carry the day and hoped to do it. Last year a no-license commissioner was elected, to the astonishment of almost every one. This year the same thing is done, only in a more emphatic way. In 1892 there was little stir preceding the election. In 1893 there has been strong effort put forth on both sides—as the commissioner to be elected would decide the character of the board—but on the no-license side there has not been the work which has been seen in some other years when the license forces scored a decided victory.
What is the meaning of this recent change in the public attitude toward this important question? What has brought it about, or what has aided its expression? We believe that the explanation can readily be found. In the first place the Australian ballot system has broken the hold which the liquor interest used to have on many voters on election day. When the influence of the worker at the polls stops at the guard-rail, and the voter goes into a private box and arranges his ballot to suit himself, and then—equally free from all outside pressure—goes up and deposits it, it can safely be set down that he is going to vote in just the way that, in his inmost heart, he wants to.
The free and secret ballot in a multitude of instances contains names which the voter does not consider it for his interest to have known, and which, if they had to be known, would not be there; but there they are and there he means to have them. The supporters of license declare that not a few of the men whom they took to the polls to vote their ticket voted no-license instead—or, as one of them humorously expressed it, "the only ones who voted for license did so by mistake."
But the new manner of voting only gives a better chance for the full and fair expression of public sentiment. The sentiment has to be there to be expressed, and no change in election methods alone will account for the change of the town of Cortlandville from wet to dry. What other causes have been at work?
In 1876 there were, if we remember correctly, just six places in the village of Cortland licensed to sell liquor—four hotels and two saloons. To-day there are between thirty and forty. The village has a little more than doubled in population. The liquor places have increased more than five-fold. Then the places holding licenses were generally understood to observe the law. To-day, while there are still those which observe it just as strictly; which keep shut on Sundays and refuse to sell to minors or to men whose wives request that it be not done; it is notorious that there are others, and many others, which pay not the slightest regard to legal restrictions. Saloons have been licensed almost under the eaves of the churches, and the claim has been made—whether truthfully or not we do not undertake to say—that any one who wanted a license could get it, and that if the board would not grant it on the first application, all that was necessary to induce them to do so was to open up and sell without license, and the commissioners would then be ready to save $75 for the town by giving the legal permit.
Matters have gone from bad to worse, till some of the more law-abiding of licensed sellers themselves have trembled for fear of just such a tidal wave as has come. It is safe to say that there is not an industry in town which has not felt the effect of whiskey, oftentimes unlawfully sold, on its employees, and it is certain that a large shop vote, usually cast for license, has this year gone against it. There has been a steadily growing feeling, especially during the past two years, that something must be done to rebuke and check the growth of lawless liquor-selling, and this feeling speaks out in the no-license majority.
After no-license, what? It is this question which troubles even the strongest no-license advocates. Between a license law not executed and a no-license law a dead letter, there is little to choose. Between a license law rigidly enforced and a no-license law where all who are bold enough to defy it may sell whiskey with impunity, the choice is in favor of the former. Under no-license, men who have heretofore held a license and observed the law will close their places, or stop selling, and the whiskey which is sold in the community will be dealt out by men who, for the sake of gain, will risk being caught and punished.
During our residence in Cortland we have seen the town go no-license by 500 majority, in round numbers, and in a few years reverse its verdict and return to license. Under no-license we have known of the most positive evidence of violations of the law being brought before the grand jury, and no indictment found, while one of the jurors declared openly that "the right to make, sell and drink whiskey was one of the inalienable rights of mankind, and that he would be—if he would vote to indict any man who did either." We have always voted no-license—admitting, however, that there was ground for wide difference of honest opinion, and conceding to others the same freedom which we claimed for ourselves—and yet we were pronounced heretical in those days when we maintained that no-license to be of permanent good must be backed by a controlling public sentiment and must be enforced for a term of years long enough to let a generation grow up which had not been educated in the saloons. The man who has a taste for liquor and is bound to drink it, will, in this age of the world, get it somewhere, lawfully if he can, unlawfully if he must.
The best method of dealing with the liquor question is a grave problem, and those who speak most flippantly and positively about it are usually those who have thought the least deeply and observed the least carefully. Abuse of license privileges in Cortland has brought about a return to no-license. The people have spoken unmistakably. They will not have the protection of the law invoked to permit liquor selling, and then the very restrictions of the law permitting it utterly disregarded. Even should the pendulum swing to the other end of the arc again, this lesson is not likely to be soon forgotten.
The present duty of the community is to see that no-license is not brought into disrepute, as license has been. Where it is for the interest of individuals to violate law, and the chances of detection and punishment are small, violations are apt to be numerous—and the smaller the chances the more numerous the violations.
Cuyler’s New Supervisor.
To the Editor of the Standard:
Sir—We have elected for supervisor of Cuyler a representative of one of the oldest families of the town, a born Republican, Mr. George W. Lee. Mr. Lee has met intemperance and the new fledged political parties which are plotting the downfall of the Republican party, and has made one of the best fights ever known in our town. He did not seek the place, but accepted the trust which was urged upon him by the best citizens regardless of party, and, "hustler" as he has always been in Republican affairs, he gave us victory where we had almost failed to hope.
As I have said, Mr. Lee was born in Cuyler and has always lived here, on the Lee homestead; was educated in our common schools and at the old DeRuyter academy and has, except for a few terms of teaching, been engaged with the Lee Brothers in farming and dealing in cattle. He has been very successful in all his business relations, commencing as a poor boy and by strict attention, energy and industry has thus early in life gained a fair competency.
He is a new man as supervisor, yet he has often been called to the other offices of the town, all of which he has filled with a zealous pride, with ability and with marked satisfaction to the public. He is a brother of B. F. Lee, who so acceptably filled the office of supervisor for four terms, and has the same qualities that made B. F. a true, just and successful credit to his party, town and county. The Republicans of Cuyler, in calling such men as G. W. Lee to places of trust, honor both themselves and the party.
When Republican interests are assailed, the Lees always defend them, and the party stands in need of anything they always come to its assistance. Last fall they contributed liberally to meet its wants, and when the Cuyler club had no flag the Lees bought a splendid one and presented it to them.
A Close Game.
The game of pool between Mr. W. H. Clearwater of Ravenna, O., and George O. Squires in the European hotel last evening attracted a good sized crowd. The contest was very close. Mr. Clearwater played 150 balls to Squires 125. Clearwater won by a score of 150 to 123. Mr. Clearwater is now training for the fifteen days' tournament in Syracuse beginning March 6 and is a great favorite in that city. If he does not win the tournament, Syracuse will probably be "broke." Another game will be played to-night between Messrs. Clearwater and Squires in the European Hotel on Court-st. The game promises to be very close and interesting.
Gleanings of News From our Twin Village.
The house on Grove-st., formerly owned by Mr. Edward Butler, has been sold by Mr. Franklin Pierce of New York to Mr. Erastus Jones.
Mr. E. A. Williams and daughter Ida are in Syracuse attending the G. A. R. department encampment of New York state. Mr. Williams is a delegate from Willoughby Babcock post of Homer.
W. C. T. U. Notes.
The members of the W. C. T. U. will meet with Mrs. E. S. Northrup, 37 Cayuga- st., Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 28, at 3 o'clock.
At the last meeting one dollar was drawn from the treasury for the superintendent of the soldiers' and sailors' department towards a ship library.
Mrs. C. L. Jones, Mrs. Bidwell, Mrs. Seward, Mrs. Brush and Mrs. Alvord were chosen delegates to the semi-annual county convention which will be held in Cortland March 12.
An address will be delivered Wednesday evening, March 1, by Mrs. Mary H. Hunt, national superintendent of scientific temperance instruction. The subject will be announced later.
Mrs. Mary Hunt of Boston, who is expected to address the county convention W. C. T. U. in the Presbyterian church, March 1st, is World's and National superintendent of the department of scientific instruction. Largely through her efforts, laws, making compulsory, the teaching of the effect of alcohol and narcotics upon the human system, in our public schools, have been passed in nearly every state in the Union, in all the territories and the District of Columbia. No one interested in these things can afford to lose this opportunity. Visitors are invited to every session of the convention.
The hydrants are still buried under several feet of snow and even if dug out would probably prove to be frozen up. What do our eminent aldermen think we would do in case of fire, form a "bucket brigade?"
Remember the supper given by the Ladies' Aid and Home Missionary society of the Congregational church Friday afternoon at 5 o'clock. Come.
Only one more day (to-morrow) of revival meetings conducted by the Quaker evangelist, John W. Dean. The union services will be held in the Methodist church to-night and the Congregational to-morrow afternoon and evening.
What was the "accident" that was reported in room 28 of Hotel Windsor yesterday?
Miss Lizzie Clark is recovering from an attack of throat trouble.
Miss Mary O. Read, formerly mailing clerk in the post office, leaves for Washington, D. C. to-morrow morning.
The special school meeting to vote on the appropriation for a new school building will be held in the Murray building at 7:30 o'clock to-night.
Regents' examinations will be held from March 13 to 17 in some of the temporary school rooms.
The Homer Water Works company have purchased a valve for use in the water pipes at the pump station to shut off the water from the wells when it is desired to pump from the stream [Tioughnioga] in case of fire. The lack of this valve made it impossible to do this at the time of the Academy fire.
Always Buckle Your Reins.
The driver of the Singer sewing machine sleigh had a lively ride down through Main-st. yesterday morning guiding his horse with one rein. He was driving at a rapid rate when he passed the Dexter House and suddenly dropped his right rein, the two not being buckled together. This trailed under the feet of the horse which quickly broke into a run. Fortunately the street was comparatively clear. The way in which that man steered his horse around several teams, including an omnibus, was something of a marvel. He nearly ran over a man shoveling on the street car track in front of Hubbard's grocery, but fortunately the man sprang back in time to escape. By the time the horse reached the Messenger House he was rather tired of plunging through the deep snow, and was slackening his pace induced by the soothing words of the driver. In front of the Messenger House yard a strong pull on the left rein turned the animal into the livery stable barn and he was stopped. The driver picked up his other rein, buckled them together and returned whence he came.
—The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick hold another meeting this evening.
—The Jones Mfg. Co. is the last addition to the list of telephone subscribers.
—The D., L. & W. 10 o'clock train south blossomed out with a new coat of paint yesterday morning.
—The Kings' Daughters will meet at their rooms, 9 Clinton-ave. at 2:30 o'clock Saturday afternoon.
—Mr. F. N. Harrington has just shipped a fine team of horses for carriage use to Mr. T. J. Richards at 62 Williams-st., New York.
—The owners of Taylor Hall block are preparing to put new doors and larger windows in the stores of F. Daehler, Kellogg & Curtis and Boynton & Co. The fronts will be similar to that of Burgess & Bingham.
—Harmony lodge, I. O. G. T., will give a poverty social on Saturday evening, Feb. 25, in their lodge rooms over Collins' china store. A unique program has been prepared. Refreshments will be served.
—Notwithstanding the blizzard the entertainment at the Homer-ave. church last evening was a success. Net receipts about $20. On hearing favorable reports from the election, the whole audience joined most heartily in singing the Doxology.
—Another judgment of $489 was filed against the Cortland Top & Rail Co. in the county clerk's office this morning in favor of C. Coles and Louis Dusenbury and William W. Bond under the firm name of Dusenbury & Bond of New York.
—At the afternoon session of the state encampment of the G. A. R. at Syracuse yesterday, Maj. J. P. Cleary, superintendent of police of Rochester, and brother of Mr. M. F. Cleary of Cortland, was unanimously elected department commander of the state of New York.
—Mr. A. W. Angel, superintendent of the poor, has purchased the interest of Mr. J. D. Norton in the grocery firm of Clark & Norton, Cortland House block, and has taken possession. The new firm of Clark & Angel have renewed their stock of groceries and promise to give prompt and polite attention to all of their friends and patrons.
—Mrs. J. Ball of Auburndale, Fla., has written to a friend in Cortland asking that a copy of the Cortland STANDARD of a certain date be sent her. The railroad station at that place had lately burned, and the mail bags, one of which it is supposed contained Mrs. Ball's paper, which had arrived on a late train and had been stored in the station until morning, had been burned. She couldn't think of missing a single paper and losing track of her friends. We are glad The STANDARD is so welcome in Mrs. Ball's southern home.