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Edward Cornelins Delavan

DELAVAN, Edward Cornelins, reformer, born in Schenectady County, New York, in 1793; died in Schenectady, 15 January 1871. He was a wine merchant, and acquired a fortune. At one time he owned much real estate in Albany, including the Delavan house, which he erected. In 1828, in company with Dr. Eliphalet Nott, he formed the State temperance society in Schenectady, and entered with zeal into the cause of temperance reform, devoting his ample means to its promotion, speaking, lecturing, and writing on the subject, and employing others in all these ways to further the cause. He met with great opposition in this work. In 1835 he wrote to the Albany " Evening Journal," charging an Albany brewer with using filthy and stagnant water for malting. The brewer prosecuted him for libel, and the trial, which took place in 1840 and attracted wide attention, occupied six days, and resulted in a verdict for Delavan. After this, several similar suits that had been begun against him for damages aggregating $300,000, were abandoned. Mr. Delavan had the proceedings of this trial printed in pamphlet form for distribution as a tract. He procured, about 1840, several drawings of the human stomach when diseased by the use of alcoholic drinks, from postmortem examinations made by Professor Sewall, of Washington, D.C. These he had engraved and printed in colors, and made very effective use of them. He also published for years, at his own expense, a periodical advocating, often with illustrations, the temperance cause; this was subsequently merged in the "Journal of the American Temperance Union," to whose funds he was a most liberal contributor. He had trained himself to public speaking, and became an efficient advocate of the cause he had so much at heart. Mr. Delavan presented to Union College a collection of shells and minerals valued at $30,000. He lost a large portion of his property a few years before his death. He published numerous articles and tracts, and "Temperance in Wine Countries" (1860).

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