Manners And Customs.
this hospitality became so marked that Chester's Monthly Meeting (Twelfth month 22, 1724-25) took definite action thereon, as follows:
"At our Quarterly Meeting it was desired ye friends take care at Burralls not to make great provision as to provide strong Liquors & hand it about; but lett Every one take yt is free to take it as they have ocation and not more than will doe them Good."
Notwithstanding this testimony against the absurd custom, it continued to be practiced almost to the beginning of this century, and often families, to furnish "the funeral baked meats," cramped themselves to such an extent that in many households where death had intruded the most rigid economy was entailed on the survivors for months to discharge the costly hospitality of the funeral day.
For years at public sales it was the practice to hand bottles of liquor and hot rum round among the crowd, until it had grown such an evil that in 1750 the General Assembly took notice of it, and gave the reason for the then enactment, that "inasmuch as a pernicious custom has prevailed in many places of giving rum and other strong liquors to excite such as bid at vendues to advance the price, which, besides the injustice of the artifice, leads to great intemperance and disorder." Hence it was declared a penal offense for any person in the future to give or sell liquor on such occasions, subjecting the party convicted thereof to a fine of four pounds for the first, and five pounds for every subsequent, violation of the law.
Justice, too, it seems, must needs invoke the use of liquor to rightly adjust the scales. At the Court of Oyer and Terminer, held at Chester, November, 1752, James Rice, alias Dillon, and Thomas Kelly were tried and convicted for the murder of Eleanor Davis and John Thomas. The following bill paid the commissioners for "the Justices' Expenses at the Court of Oyer and Terminer, November, 1752," gives an idea of the entertainment required by the judges of the Supreme Provincial Court while making their circuit:
No public business, it seems, could be properly done without the use of liquor. It was customary to allow jurors in capital cases the use of liquor when deliberating on their verdict. In the commissioners' office, at West Chester, the following bill, dated 1745, is on file paid by the county:
The Origin and Brief Notice of the Temperance Movement in Delaware County. - As stated before, Friends, as early as February 1725, gave testimony at Chester Meeting against the inordinate use of liquor at funerals, and from time to time thereafter they moved in the endeavor to check the widespread habit of drinking to excess, until by degrees their influence extended beyond their own society, and gradually a general sentiment was aroused, until much of the evil was done away by the force of public opinion. There was at that time no effort looking to a prohibition of the manufacture or sale of liquors, and it is doubtful whether the latter movement extends backward in our national history half a century. In this county, so far as I have knowledge, the first society organized for temperance work was known as "The Darby Association for Discouraging the Unnecessary Use of Spirituous Liquors;" and from the address issued by that body on the 17th of Sixth month, 1819, I find they protested against the fashionable custom of treating, and called upon farmers to discard liquor from the harvest-fields and meadows, which, if done, they say in a few years workingmen would cease to expect it as a privilege or claim it as a right. The association advised the formation of similar associations throughout the land.
A Delaware County temperance society was organized in 1835, and strongly urged the formation of auxiliary societies in each township. So rapidly did the movement develop, that on Monday, Oct. 5, 1835, a temperance harvest home was held at Zion meetinghouse, Darby, while at the county meeting of the organization, in the Methodist Church, Chester, March 22, 1837, there were delegates from Waterville, Leiperville, Marple, Lima, Chester, Wesleyan, Haverford, Haddington, and the Union Societv of Shoemakerville present. Lodges in Lower Chichester, Darby, and other townships were also established.
The movement had so spread in 1842 that many merchants throughout the county announced that they kept "temperance grocery-stores;" and in August, 1844, John Hawkins, in Upper Darby, on the West Chester road, opened a temperance hotel, - the Howard House, on which occasion the temperance people of the county assembled in large numbers, and appropriate services were held, while in the same year the