On September 5th, 1855 Californian's voted on whether or not they wanted to become a dry state. While the majority of voters rejected the idea of statewide prohibition of alcohol, several newspapers took a lighthearted approach to the proposal. Below are two humorous pieces I came across while researching California's temperance movement.
Weekly Placer Herald (Auburn), September 22, 1855
"A Temperance Lecturer, descanting on the essential and purifying qualities of cold water, remarked, as a knock down argument, that “when the world became so corrupt that the Lord could do nothing else with it, he was obliged to give it a thorough sousing in cold water.” “Yes,” replied a wag, “but it killed every darned critter on the face of the airth."
Weekly Placer Herald (Auburn), June 15, 1855
The Charge of the “Tight Brigade” by Vennison Staik, Esq.
At the bar, at the bar, At the bar thundered, Thundered with fiercest din, Topers one hundred.
There stood those thirst men, Thirsty one hundred; Calling for drinks in vain, The bar-keeper slumbered; Hark! There’s a sound from one! List how the curses come From each and every one! Of that dry one hundred.
Into the bar they pitch, Noble old topers, For up comes an order, which Pleased these old soakers: “Forward the Tight Brigade! Take the bar” Muggins said: Into it undismayed, Pitched not each drunken blade— Pitched the one hundred.
“Forward the Tight Brigade!” Gods, What a charge the made! No one was there afraid, No Person blundered. Theirs but to drink their fill, Theirs but to have a swill, Theirs not to pay the bill; Ah, yes they knew it well! Knowing one hundred.
Bottles to right of them, Bottles to left of them, Bottles in front of them, Labeled and numbered; Nobly they fought and well, There many a hero fell. Covered with blood and beer; Beer that they loved so well, Gallant one hundred!
Raised now each nose in air, See what is under there, Mugs charged with lager bier— All the world wondered! Fiercer the revel grows, Redder each blazing nose, Faster the liquid flows, Under the table, goes Half of the hundred.
Bottles to right of them, Bottles to left of them, Bottles all around them, Emptied and sundered; Out from that dreadful room, Out from that dark saloon, Came fort a beery fume, Came forth a dismal moan, But none of the hundred.
When they woke again, O how their heads did pain! No person wondered. Honor the Tight Brigade! Honor the charge they made, Thirsty one hundred.