Temperance Tales
T.S. Arthur
Philadelphia: W.A. Leary & Co., 1848


  WHEN these Temperance Tales were commenced, the writer did not anticipate so favorable a reception as they have obtained in all directions. He believed that, if he were to enter a field so full of rich materials as the one opened by the great Temperance Reformation, he might present scenes that would not only deeply interest, but act as powerful auxiliaries in the promotion of that noble cause. His success has been far beyond his expectations. But this success has resulted entirely from the fact, that, in nearly every one of the stories presented, there has been, as its groundwork, a basis of real incidents; and these have been detailed without any aim at artificial effect, but simply with a view to let truth and nature speak forth in their legitimate power and pathos.

  At every step of his progress in these tales, the writer has felt with the actors—sympathising with them in their heart-aching sorrows, and rejoicing with them when the morning has broken after a long night of affliction. This is because they


were not mere fictions of his own imagination: and it is because they are not mere fictions that they have any power to awaken a corresponding interest in the mind of the reader.

  Their title, "Six Nights with the Washingtonians," was suggested, naturally, from the fact of the writer's having been present at some of the first experience meetings in Baltimore, only a few months after the formation of the original Washington Temperance Society. The impression then made upon his mind by the simple but eloquent details of its members, as they related their sad experiences, can never be effaced. Many of the very experiences to which the writer alludes have since been related by these pioneers, in almost every city in the Union, and the whole country can now attest to their power to move the heart.