Theobald, Mathew (1790-1856) [Abstinence pledge card]
Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02542.27
Author/Creator: Theobald, Mathew (1790-1856)
Place Written: s.l.
Type: Document signed
Date: 23 April 1842
Pagination: 1 p. ; 11.4 x 15 cm.
Summary of Content: Printed card, with various illustrations, stating that Catherine Cauty has taken the ”the Total Abstinence Pledge.” Cauty has card number 4281797. Signed by Theobald as president of the society. Pledge card states that Cauty will refrain from drinking all intoxicating liquors except those used medicinally. Graphic illustration of intemperance shows a husband beating his wife and an illustration of temperance shows a happy scene of the family reading by the hearth.
Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860
Keywords/Subjects: Alcohol;, Temperance and Prohibition;, Reform Movement;, Oath;, Women’s History;, Health and Medical;, Marriage;, Morality and Ethics;, Global History and US Foreign Policy;, Global History and US Foreign Policy;, Religion;
Sub Era: The First Age of Reform
Background: Ordained a Catholic priest in Dublin, Ireland in 1814, Theobald founded the Cork Total Abstinence Society on 10 April 1838. About sixty followed his example that night and signed the pledge book. Meetings were held twice a week, in the evenings and after Mass on Sundays. The crowds soon became so great that the schoolhouse had to be abandoned and the Horse Bazaar, a building capable of holding 4000, became the future meeting-place. Here, night after night, Father Mathew addressed crowded assemblies. In three months he had enrolled 25,000 in Cork alone; in five months the number had increased to 130,000. He started traveling across Ireland and enrolled hundreds of thousands more people. In August 1842 he arrived in Scotland and went to England in July 1843, where in three months he obtained 600,000 pledges of support. Attempted to provide food relief during the Potato Famine of 1845, but his organization was destroyed by the deaths and immigrations caused by that disaster. Traveled to America in 1849 and before he left in1851 it is said he received 7 million pledges for abstinence.
Resource: Abstinence pledge card, 1842Order Image