The case of Dr. Burke began to be upheld as as model of intemperance. Details of his heavy drinking was beginning to be made public. It was not so much a case that he hid his regular intoxication from anyone as that would have been impossible. He even hired a locum doctor to treat his patients, while his drinking was at his heaviest.
His wife also fled with their two children when he was at his worst and would return again when he stopped for a time. It seemed to have been a regular cycle in their world in a time when it was rare a wife left her husband.
While sober he was a kind and affable man, good with his patients and was well liked by the local population in general. But he was powerless in the face of alcohol. In the medical directory of the time he cited that he was a member of the Good Templars, an organization that promoted abstinence from alcohol and other drugs. This was possibly a despreate bid to overcome his drinking.
IOGT was not the first group advocating a lifestyle free from alcohol and other drugs. There was a sporadic growth of such organizations in the early decades of the 19th century, particularly in North America, the United Kingdom and in several other parts of Europe.
Alcohol problems had become endemic in these parts of the world and were severely affecting the fabric of society by blighting families and causing poverty, misery and distress to children. Alcohol use was also seen as detrimental to the growth of commercialism and industrialization at the time.
The first seeds for what would become the global IOGT movement were sown in 1840 in Baltimore, USA, when six men decided to sign together a sobriety pledge. The movement that emerged from this act and their subsequent impact is best illustrated by no one less than Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States spoke to the movement’s meeting at Springfield, Illinois in 1842:
Tenby Observer 17 May 1888
19th Century Barnsley Murders (Wharncliffe True Crime) Paperback – Margaret Drinkall,1 Jul 2015