The American Issue
July 22, 1922, Pg. 2.
AUTHORSHIP OF ANTI-PROHIBITION SCREED CREDITED TO LINCOLN IS ADMITTED BY GEORGIA WET LEADER
Statement Attributed to Great Emancipator Widely Circulated by Liquor Advocates in Wet and Dry Campaigns; Challenged Repeatedly for Proof Which Could Not be Produced
FORMER MAYOR OF ATLANTA, CAMPAIGN LEADER FOR WETS WROTE SCREED TO WIN THE NEGRO VOTE IN LOCAL FIGHT
It Saved the Day for Booze in That Battle and Wets Have Given It World-wide Circulation; Efforts to Prove Lincoln Author Failed; Drys Have Positive Evidence of Origin of Fake
SAM SMALL MADE AFFIDAVIT OF AUTHOR’S CONFESSION OF DECEPTION
Dr. Duncan C. Milner, of Chicago, Lincoln Student, Makes Affidavit Public and Thus Exposes One of the Most Infamous Deceptions Ever Perpetrated On the Public
The liquor interests and their friends for a number of years have been circulating an Anti-Prohibition declaration credited to Abraham Lincoln. The most common version of this declaration is as follows:“Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance itself for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control man’s appetite by legislation and in making crime out of things that are not crimes. A prohibitory law strikes a blow at the very principles on which our government was founded. I have always been found laboring to protect the weaker classes from the stronger and I can never give my consent to such a law as you propose to enact. Until my tongue be silenced in death I will continue to fight for the rights of men.”
Given Wide Publicity
The Association Against the Prohibition Amendment has been particularly active in circulating this fake. They have printed it in their circular letters. Their speakers have repeated it from the platform and occasionally some one of the more prominent of the members will quote it in newspaper interviews. Bishop Gailor recently did this and thereby this base slander on the name of Lincoln was given nation-wide circulation through the press.
Wets Could Never Produce
The booze interests have been challenged repeatedly to prove the authenticity of this Anti-Prohibition declaration. Of course they have never succeeded in doing this for the simple reason that Lincoln never said it or wrote it. Recently it was explained by a prominent wet leader that Lincoln made the statement in the Illinois Legislature when a Prohibition measure was before that body in 1839 and at which time he voted against the proposed Prohibition law. The following letter from the assistant librarian of the Illinois State Historical Library under date of June 30, 1922, is fairly good evidence that the booze apologist made a poor guess.Illinois State Historical Library,
June 30, 1922. Dr. Albert Porter,
Dear Sir: Your letter addressed to the Clerk of the House of Representatives was by him referred to this department for reply. I beg to advise that we can find no record of the quotation “Prohibition will work great injury,” in any of the newspapers or published speeches of Abraham Lincoln. In the House Journal of 1839-40 there is a mere record of the vote on the Murphy bill, no speeches being given, nor is there anything published in the Springfield paper of that date. The Anti-Saloon League and others have had representatives go over the files in this office and also the House Journals of that date but as above stated in none of the material in thi8s library that we have gone over do we find any record of this quotation. Yours very truly, Georgia L. Osborn Assistant Librarian, Illinois State Historical Library.
Drys Find Real Author of Wets Creed
The Great Emancipator hated the liquor traffic. He himself was a total abstainer and the authenticity of his numerous pronouncements against the traffic and in favor of total abstinence can not be questioned. But where the outlawed liquor interests have failed either purposely or otherwise in running this vicious libel to earth an aggressive Prohibitionist and student of Lincoln’s life and writings, Dr. Duncan C. Milner of Chicago, has succeeded and has produced documentary evidence that this so-called Anti-Prohibition statement of Lincoln’s was written by a friend of the license system. It has been known that the statement made its first appearance in a local option campaign in Georgia a number of years ago. Dr. Milner’s evidence squares with this hitherto one known fact in connection with the case.
Sam Small Makes Affidavit
Dr. Milner in reporting his findings to American Issue says:
“Not long ago I met Col. Sam W. Small, the noted editor, evangelist and lecturer, and asked him if he could not furnish information on the subject.” He said he was in the campaign in Atlanta where the speech was first used and he would make his affidavit to the facts. Dr. Small’s affidavit is as follows:
“That in 1887 he resided in the city of Atlanta, Ga., and engaged actively in the Fulton county local option campaign of that year as an advocate of ‘no sale’ of intoxicating liquors; that during the latter days of that campaign a circular was issued by the Anti-Prohibition campaign committee purporting to quote Abraham Lincoln in the following words, to wit:
FOR LIBERTY-ABRAHAM LINCOLN’S PROCLAMATION
(A picture of the statue of Lincoln striking off the shackles of a kneeling negro man.)
“Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance itself for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control man’s appetite by legislation and in making crimes out of things that are not crime. A prohibitory law strikes a blow at the very principles on which our government was founded. I have always been found laboring to protect the weaker classes from the stronger and I can never give my consent to such a law as you propose to enact. Until my tongue be silenced in death I will continue to fight for the rights of man.’”
(Then an appeal as follows:)
“Colored voter! He appeals to you to protect the liberty he has bestowed upon you. Will you go back on his advice? Look to your rights! Read! Vote for the sale!
“That said circular was lavishly distributed among the colored people of the city and had powerful effect in determining them to vote against Prohibition.
“That the Rev. Sam Jones, Henry W. Grady, this affiant and many others speakers then openly denounced the purported words of Abraham Lincoln to be a flagrant forgery, defied discovery of them in any reported utterances of Lincoln, and offered a reward for proof of their genuineness but no one offered such proof. Nevertheless the negroes believed them at the time and voted almost unanimously for the wet cause and gave it the very small majority it obtained.
“That some time after the excitement of the campaign had disappeared this affiant in conversation with Col. John B. Goodwin, who had been the director of the Anti-Prohibition forces in said campaign, was told by Col. Goodwin that he himself devised the circular in question, composed the alleged words of Lincoln so as to attract the adhesion of the colored voters and had done so because to win them was the forlorn hope of the wets, the county at that time being under a Prohibition law.
“Col. Goodwin was subsequently mayor of Atlanta and Grand Sire of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and then Grand Scribe of the same, located in Baltimore where he died in a very recent year.”
This above affidavit signed by Sam W. Small was made before Notary Alan B. Prosire in the county of Arlington, Va., June 6, 1922.
Dr. Milner says that Col. Small in sending the affidavit stated: “I did not realize until our conversation that the rectification of that roarback was so important as it now appears to be.”
This ought forever to kill this contemptible lie that has been so persistently circulated by the booze interests. However, they have so little regard for truth that the probabilities are that they will continue to repeat it. Those who revere the name of Lincoln whenever they see this fake Anti-Prohibition statement published or whenever they hear it repeated should promptly refute it with the true facts.
Let it be known that it was written and put in circulation by the campaign manager of the wets, Col. John B. Goodwin, in a local option fight in Atlanta, Ga., 1887.