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Sligo Times 15 March 1913    

Keep it before the people
That the earth was made for man;
That the fruits were grown,
And the flowers were strewn,
To bless and never to ban.
That the sun and the rain,
The corn and the grain,
Are yours and mine, my brother—
Rich gifts from Heaven,
And freely given,
To one as well as another.

Keep it before the people
That drink is a curse and a snare;
Beyond control,
It binds the soul,
And drags it down to despair.
Rum must not be sold
For silver or gold
By you and me, my brother, -
God gives the decree,
This nation to free,
To one as well as another.
Then on with the battle for truth and right,
Till our banner o’er the land and sea
Shall bathe its folds in the glorious light
Of the year of jubilee.

                                 Dr C. H. Mead.

          Sligo Times 15 March 1913

Written by an Englishman on seeing the statue
of the "Apostle of Temperance," Father Mathew,
surrounded by whiskey shops and their customers.

Is this the best that Irish heart
     And Irish hand can do
To honour one so good, so wise,
     So gentle and so true?

Mark to what poor and narrow bounds
     Their gratitude extends-
They raise a statue to his fame,
     But thwart his noble aims.

They cast his teachings to the winds,
     They mock his honoured name;
They nurse the foe with whom he fought,
     They glory in their shame!

Vice, crime, and poverty all round
     Their hideous orgies hold-
Vice, crime, and poverty which feed
     This cursed love of gold.

Oh, take that mocking statue down,
     Nor rear it more, until
You’ve learned the lesson of his life
     And vowed to do his will.

These two poems reflect the importance of the temperance movement in the early years of the twentieth century. Sligo had a very active Temperance Society based in the Gilhooly Hall which was patronised by Catholics and the Catch My Pal temperance movement catered for non-Catholics.

The Catch-My-Pal Union was founded by Presbyterian minister, Rev Robert James Patterson, in the summer of 1909 as a local initiative known as Armagh Total Abstinence Union. Later it became the Protestant Total Abstinence Union and finally Catch-My-Pal.

From the beginning the movement spread quickly and its founder to quit his ministry and committed his life to promoting its philosophy around the world. Rev Patterson spoke in Sligo in 1913 to the local Catch My Pal branch which appears to have been flourishing.

Charles H. Mead was an American temperance campaigner who wrote many temperance anthems. He was one of the authors of Silver tones : a new temperance and prohibition song book, containing the most popular songs sung by The Silver Lake Quartette; for use in W.C.T.U., temperance, and prohibition party work, religious meetings, entertainments, evenings of song, etc. (1892) though this song is not included in that book.

Fr. Theobald Mathew,
Apostle of Temperance, was born at Thomastown Castle, near Cashel, Tipperary, Ireland, 10 October, 1790 and died at Cobh, Cork, 8 December, 1856. The stue referred to is presumably that which stands on St. Patrick's Street, Cork by JH Foley (1864). There is also a statue of Fr. Mathew on O'Connell Street, Dublin by Mary Redmond (1893).

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