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Stephen Grattan's Faith A Canadian Story   By: (1821-1897)

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Stephen Grattan's Faith, A Canadian Story, by Margaret M Robertson.

This book was transcribed with acknowledgements to Early Canadiana Online from their website. The scans available there were of good quality, and the transcription went easily and well.

The book warns against the effects of the Demon Drink, at least at that time, for it appears that wages were low but that alcohol was expensive, so that a drunkard father could easily ruin the life of his wife and children, and perhaps cause serious, even fatal, accidents, due to violence or causing fires from a carelessly placed candle.

There are three families involved in this short book. The Morelys, where the father is a drunkard who runs out of job and money just as a very severe winter is coming on; the Grattans, where the father had previously been a drunkard, and all of whose children had perished in a house fire which he probably had caused; the Muirs, where the old mother had been married to a dreadful old drunkard, but whose son had never drunk, and so proved, through Stephen Grattan's recommendation, to be Morely's saviour.

It is a very short book, but the story is very well told, and quite adequately so. You arrive at the end of the book with a very clear idea of what the author intended to convey.




Stephen Grattan had been a drunkard, and was now a reformed man. John Morely had been a drunkard, and was trying to reform. His father, though not a total abstainer, had lived and died a temperate man. But John Morely was not like his father. He had in him, the neighbours said, "the makings" of a better or a worse man than ever his father had been; and when, after his mother's death, the young builder brought home the pretty and good Alice Lambton as his wife, a "better man" they all declared he was to be; for they believed that now he would not be in danger from his one temptation. But as his business increased, his temptation increased. He was an intelligent man, and a good fellow besides; and his society was much sought after by men who were lovers of pleasure. Some of them were men who occupied a higher position than his; and, flattered by their notice, he yielded to the temptations which they placed before him.

He did not yield without a struggle. He sinned, and repented, and promised amendment often and often; but still he went away again, "like an ox to the slaughter; like a fool to the correction of the stocks."

Of course ruin and disgrace were the only ending to such a life as this. There was but one chance for him, they told his wife, who, through poverty, neglect, and shame, had still hoped against hope. If he could be made to break away from his old companions, if he could begin anew, and start fair in life again, he might retrieve the past.

It almost broke her heart to think of leaving their native land of leaving behind all hope of ever seeing again her father or her mother, or the home among the hills where her happy girlhood had passed. But, for his sake, for the sake of the hope that gleamed in the future, she could do it. So, with their six little children, they removed from the States to Montreal in Canada, to begin again.

At first he struggled bravely with his temptation, though it everywhere met him; but, added to the old wretched craving for strong drink, was the misery of finding himself in a strange land without friends or a good name. If some kind hand had been held out to him at this time it might have been different with him. He might, with help, have stood firm against temptation. But, before work came, he had yielded to his old enemy; and his acknowledged skill as a workman availed him little, when, after days of absence, he would come to his work with a pallid face and trembling hands... Continue reading book >>

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