The Effect of the Hatchet
August 20, 1902 — On a balcony over the beach, Lake Michigan Park, Muskegon MI
[Picking up a glass of pure, cold Lake Michigan water, she stepped to the railing and raised her arm and cried, “I always drink as Adam drank before there was any sin.”]
Dear friends, I will introduce myself to you as your loving home defender.
This is Hell’s conspiracy. [She attacked both the Republican and Democratic Parties by saying both favored the breweries.] The only difference between the parties is that one is in office and the other is out. Both are the enemies of your homes. Any one that will vote for the interest of the breweries votes to destroy your homes.
The effect of the hatchet has been to wake up the nation and make it think about this question. It is my purpose to animate men so that they will get their hatchets out and vote right. A great many people have denounced me for things I said about McKinley. Mr. McKinley was in favor of the brewer and if Mr. McKinley was the ideal of the people then the brewer is the people’s ideal. We want presidents that will protect our homes.
If one starts out to protect herself she is incarcerated. They put me in jail because I used the hatchet. The governor of Kansas would pardon murderers and thieves, but he would not pardon a woman who would protect herself with a hatchet. Are you going to vote against the Prohibition Party, men? If you do you will vote against the best friends you have — the women.
There is oppression in this town — oppression of widows and children. There is oppression and crime and groaning and poverty and shame in this town, voted here by your men. You see how the Republicans are robbing your children and breaking the hearts of your women. They stand for the brewers.
I would gladly have given up my life. It seems strange that men would vote for this thing, that the American people are so indifferent to their homes. No law can establish a business that is no benefit to the community. The dry goods store and the grocery are a benefit to you. The saloons are not. You have got them here by licensing them here. You have voted for them, you men in the Democratic Party; you have voted for their conspiracy against your neighbors. You hypocrite, if you set in the Amen corner and vote for it you are the Devil’s own scullion.
“You Republicans vote!” she said, “not only to send these people’s souls to hell, but you are going to hell yourself.”
[“Cut it out!” yelled a man in the audience.]
You can’t cut it out. It’s the cause of humanity.
I told you this afternoon I would tell you why I did what I did in Kansas. We had dives in Kansas that had never been closed. I went to the prosecuting attorney and I said, ‘You swore to close those dives up. You have got to do it.
The law says when intoxicating liquors are sold in a place it is a nuisance. The common law says that when a nuisance exists a citizen or citizens can abate it. Two years ago God said to me, ‘Go to Kiowa and break up the joints and I’ll stand by you.’ So I rolled up bricks and rocks in newspapers and put them in a basket and drove down to Kiowa. When I got there I went into the first place and said, ‘I told you to close this place. Now get out of my way, for I’m going to break it up.”
[Mrs. Nation told of the attempt to prove her insane, a horrible conspiracy on the part of the Republican Party of Kansas. As she got warmed up she became less careful in her speech and some of the audience drew much amusement from her suggestive remarks. She declared saloons were but an effect and when she found the cause she quit the hatchet business. She said the country was ruled by German brewers. “Roosevelt is the friend of the brewers, McKinley was the friend of the brewers.” Loud hisses greeted the attack on the beloved McKinley. “You can hiss,” said Mrs. Nation. “Those sneaking, cowardly hissers put me in jail seven times. I say, Roosevelt is a beer-slinging Dutchman, a beer-guzzling Dutchman. The brewers’ rotgut has taken possession of America!”
In closing, Mrs. Nation declared the hope of the country lay in the affiliation of the Democratic and Prohibition Parties. She was careful to emphasize that all the good in the world was caused by women and all the evil by men.
At the close of the lecture a man in the audience asked: “Who brought sin into the world?”
“You’re a drunken old rat,” said the elegant Carrie.]
Source: The Chronicle, August 21, 1902.