New Year's Resolutions

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John Bartholomew Gough (1817-1886), Sunlight and Shadow (Hartford, Conn.: Worthington and Company, 1881). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Hamilton 686
As a poor young man, John Gough was an alcoholic. When he “signed the pledge” and stopped drinking, he began a career as a temperance lecturer and reformer. Gough became an internationally acclaimed inspirational speaker and writer. He published his first autobiography in 1845, with reprints or new editions nearly every year until it was completely rewritten in 1869. Other books, based on his life experience, had minor plots as an excuse to publish more of his personal message, such as Sunlight and Shadow; or, Gleanings from My Life Work. Comprising Personal Experiences and Opinions, Anecdotes, Incidents, and Reminiscences, Gathered from Thirty-Seven Years’ Experience on the Platform and among the People, at Home and Abroad.

Here is a short excerpt from one of his speeches:

I had fallen, O, how low ! In the very depths of my desolation, wife and children had been torn from my side. In the midst of thousands I was lonely, and, abandoning hope, the only refuge which seemed open for me was the grave. …Despair was my companion, and perpetual degradation appeared to me my allotted doom. I was intensely wretched ; and this dreadful state of things was of my own bringing about. I had no one but myself to blame for the sufferings that I endured ; …Such was my pitiable state at this period—a state apparently beyond the hope of redemption. But a change was about to take place—a circumstance which eventually turned the whole current of my life into a new and unhoped for channel.

Gough also wrote in support of others, such as his introduction to Ann Eliza Young (born 1844), Wife No. 19, or the Story of a Life in Bondage: Being a Complete Exposé of Mormonism, and Revealing the Sorrows, Sacrifices and Sufferings of Women in Polygamy (1876). Princeton owns no less than five copies of this book, including one you can check out: Firestone 1226.987

Gough died on stage in Pennsylvania in 1886.


happy new year

happy new year !!