Nye, William H.
Autograph Letter Signed, Belfast, July 13, 1851 to his father, William Nye, Hallowell, Maine

Quarto, 3 pages, formerly folded, small hole on last leaf, affecting text slightly otherwise very good.

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Nye writes his father discussing Maine's Prohibition Law:

"Dear Father,

      ... The new liquor law, I nearly believe will have some effect on Belfast, as her 40 odd rum shops were yesterday warned to clear out there liquor in twenty days, and if not done in that short time they will try the effects of the law. A committee of 12 persons were chosen to act in the prosecution and I think it will stop the sale of liquor in this town, for a time at least. But who do you suppose is the largest dealer in liquors? It is the School Agent, who has in hand $ 2000. worth of them, he supplies most all of the small shops. Doesn't it speak well for the town?

      Mr. Poor has been appointed Agent for the sale of Liquor to be used as med. &c. We shall have to be very strict. The division S. of T. has broken up and I think the Cadets will soon follow. The "Daughters" disbanded some time ago, but there is a "Temple of Honor" lately established and in a very flourishing condition. As for the Masons no one knows what they are doing of course, and I guess half of them don't themselves (don't you?) ..."

Prohibition in Maine was the result of a vigorous crusade against intemperance by the people of a frontier state who early recognized the abuses of too much drinking. In 1821 the Maine legislature passed a license law and in 1846 a prohibitory law was enacted, based largely upon the report of Gen. James Appleton, a member of the legislature. While prohibitory legislation was not at first the goal of the reformers, under the leadership of Neal Dow it became injected into the movement, and resulted in the enactment of the "Maine Law," May 26, 1851, which prohibited the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors. This law was repealed in 1858, but was subsequently re-enacted and put beyond legislative reach in 1885 when it became a part of the state constitution. Enforcement, always a problem, was never achieved, and the amendment was repealed in September, 1934, following the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment to the Federal Constitution.