Collection MG H 127 - New Brunswick Temperance societies

Title proper

New Brunswick Temperance societies

General material designation

  • Textual record

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Originally held as two collections; Sons of Temperance, Newcastle Division, MG H31; and New Brunswick Temperance Societies Collection, MG H127, but content was closely related and from the same donor.

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on contents.

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  • 1838-1904; predominant 1850-1904 (Creation)
    New Brunswick temperance societies

Physical description

30 cm of textual records

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(Organized in mid-19th century; NB branch of the Sons of Temperance organized in 1847)

Administrative history

In the early 19th century, temperance supporters maintained that urban poverty and crime frequently resulted from overindulgence in alcohol and advocated both moderation and total abstinence. Eventually the movement gave way to Prohibition, a movement that pressed for governmental legislation to restrict the consumption, manufacture and sale of alcohol for the good of society. The temperance movement in New Brunswick began as a religious crusade, but eventually became a strong political force.

By mid 19th century, temperance societies such as the Sons, Daughters and Cadets of Temperance and the Maritime Prohibition Association had been established in the Maritimes. Originally organized in New York during the early 1840s, the Sons of Temperance founded its first division in British North America at St. Stephen in March 1847. By September of that year, eight other divisions had been established in the province and the movement grew steadily. A highly structured ritualistic organization, The Sons was an organization for men; the Daughters of Temperance was an auxiliary for women and Cadets of Temperance, for children. Teas, picnics, and steamer excursions were organized by group members to promote comradeship.

Temperance groups put pressure on the New Brunswick legislature to pass An Act to Prevent the Traffic in Intoxicating Liquors in 1852. This act "forbade the manufacture ... of any alcoholic or intoxicating liquors except for religious, medicinal or chemical purposes". Enforcement of the law was difficult, and, for the most part, it was not obeyed.

Temperance supporters waged a battle against alcohol for the remainder of the 19th century. By the 1920s, the movement again had achieved sufficient strength in New Brunswick to secure a prohibitory law. By 1930 a provincial temperance society had been established in New Brunswick. Clergymen initially took a leading role in the movement, but soon other members of the community were persuaded of the economic and moral benefits to be derived from limiting the consumption of alcohol.

Sources: The Canadian Encyclopedia, 1988; Chapman, J.K. The Mid-Nineteenth Century Temperance Movement in New Brunswick and Maine, Canadian Historical Review, 1954

New Brunswick Temperance Societies

Custodial history

Scope and content

This collection comprises mostly original material, documenting the activities of Maritime temperance societies during the nineteenth century, in particular the Sons of Temperance Newcastle Division (#45). Included within the collection are minute books, correspondence, reports, and constitutions and by-laws

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Acquired partially by purchase and partially by donation from Louise Manny on two separate occasions.


Language of material

  • English

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See also Daniel McGruar fonds, MG H45.

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