Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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DOW, Neal, temperance reformer, born in Portland, Maine, 20 March 1804. He is of Quaker parentage, attended the Friends' academy in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and was trained in mercantile and manufacturing pursuits. He was chief engineer of the Portland fire department in 1839, and in 1851 and again in 1854 was elected mayor of the City. He became the champion of the project for the prohibition of the liquor traffic, which was first advocated by James Appleton in his report to the Maine legislature in 1837, and in various speeches while a member of that body. (See APPLETON, JAMES.) Through Mr. Dew's efforts, while he was mayor, the Maine liquor law, prohibiting under severe penalties the sale of intoxicating beverages, was passed in 1851. After drafting the bill, which he called "A bill for the suppression of drinking houses and tippling shops," he submitted it to the principal friends of temperance in the City, but they all objected to its radical character, as certain to insure its defeat. It provided for the search of places where it was suspected that liquors intended for sale were kept, for the seizure, condemnation, and confiscation of such liquors, if found; and for the punishment of the persons keeping them by fine and imprisonment.
Notwithstanding the discouragement of friends, he went to the legislature, then in session at Augusta, had a public hearing in the hall of representatives, which was densely packed by the legislators and citizens of the town, and at the close of the hearing the bill was unanimously accepted by the committee. It was printed that night, was laid on the desks of the members the next morning, and on that day, the last of the session, was passed through all its stages, and was enacted without any change whatever. Mr. Dew was a member of the Maine legislature in 1858'9. On 31 December 1861, he was appointed colonel of the 13th Maine volunteers, and with his regiment he joined General Butler's expedition to New Orleans. He was commissioned a brigadier general of volunteers, 28 April 1862, and placed in command of the forts at the mouth of the Mississippi, and afterward of the district of Florida. He was wounded twice in the attack on Port Hudson, 27 May 1863, and taken prisoner while lying in a house near. After imprisonment for over eight months in Libby prison and at Mobile, he was exchanged. He resigned on 30 November 1864.
In 1857, and again in 1866 and 1874, Mr. Dew went to England at the invitation of the United Kingdom temperance alliance, and addressed crowded meetings in all the large cities. He has spent many years in endeavoring, by public speeches in the United States and Canada, as well as in Great Britain, and by frequent contributions to magazines and newspapers, to win the popular sanction for prohibitory legislation. In 1880 he was the candidate for the national prohibition party for president of the United States, and received 10,305 votes. In 1884 an amendment to the constitution of Maine was adopted by a popular vote of nearly three to one, in which it was declared that the manufacture, sale, and keeping for sale of intoxicating beverages was for ever forbidden, and commanding the legislature to enact suitable laws for the enforcement of the prohibition.
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