תמונות בעמוד
[ocr errors]

such merchant or other dealer, in an action for money had and received, with costs of suit, in any court having cognizance thereof, by and in the name of the overseers of the poor of the city or town where such liquors shall bave been so sold, and such money paid; which money, when recovered, shall be applied to the use of the poor of such city or town.

And be it further enacted, That it shall be, and is bereby made the duty of the overseers of the poor of the several cities and towns in this state, to prosecute and recover all sums of money which shall be so paid as aforesaid, within their respective cities or towns, under the penalty of dollars for every wilful neglect,

Resolved, That the president and secretary be a committee to prepare a petition to accompany the bill to the legislature, and that they sign the saine.

Resolved. That the various Moral Societies throughout the State already formed, or that inay be hereafter formed, be requested to send to the Secretary their style, number of members, and such other communications as they may

deem proper. The Secretary reported the draft of a petition to the legislature, which was accepted and ordered to be signed by the President and Secretary.

Resolved, That a copy of these proceedings be presented to His Excellency, the Governor, and to each Member of the Legislature.


It is the distinguished glory of our age that institutions are formed in various countries, and comprehending persons of all religious denominations, for promoting the temporal and immortal interests of man. Through their instrumentality the orphan is furnished with a comfortable asylum; the tears of the widow are dried up, the wants of the fatherless are supplied, the abodes of ignorance and crime are blessed with the means of improvement, both intellectual and moral, and millions who would probably have proved the pests of society and the reproach of human nature, enjoy those instructions which tend to elevate and adorn the character of man. Through the instrumentality of these associations hospitals are founded for the sick and insane, schools are established for the gratuitous education of the indigent, the scriptures are translated into almost every language, a'id the messenger of peace is sent forth, with the lamp of celesi.al truth, to nations which had been enveloped for ages in the gloom of spiritual night. It is a source of no inconsiderable exuítawon to reflect that our own country is participating in the honour of founding and supporting societies, which have for their object the melioration of the present miseries of man, and the advancement of his future interests. By our charitable institutions thousands of our indigent youth are instructed in the elements of learning; the calamities under which the deaf and the dumb naturally labour are alleviated, and they are

fitted for intercourse with society by systems of tuition adapted to their capacities. The oracles of divine truth are bestowed freely upon the destitute at home, and not a few of our youth have been sent abroad to different parts of our own continent and other countries, to diffuse among the perishing beathen that gospel which brings life and immortality to light.

But, fellow citizens and fellow christians, although great things bave been already attempted and accomplished for meliorating the miseries, and improving the nioral condition of man, great things yet remain to be accomplished. While there is much on which the eye of philanthropy can dwell with pleasure, there is also much which it must contemplate with pain; and at the view of which the tear involuntarily flows. In looking around upon the in. habitants of those regions of country which we respectively represent, do we not witness an affecting and alarming prevalence of impiety and rice? Do we not see the sacred Sabbath mournfully prostituted'; wasted by some in unnecessary visits, by others in wanton amusements, and by others in the open prosecution of their secular employments? Do we not hear some profaning the venerable name of God by the irreverent use of it, and others blaspheming it by impious oaths? Above all, is not that deplorable, that damning sin, Intemperance, extending its ravages among hundreds and thousands in our country? Before the shrine of this vice do we not see talents, reputation, property, the advantages of education, health of body, the interests of the nobler part, the intellectual, immortal spirit devoted in spontaneous sacrifice ? How often is the repose of the family disturbed and utterly destroyed by the habitual drunkenness of its head? How often is the peaceful, amiable, and dutiful wife rendered miserable by the habitual drunkenness of her husband; "and children, who might become the ornaments of society, either fall victims to the moral contagion, or are thrown for support upon the charity of friends, through the habitual drunkenness of a father? Indeed, it is impossible to imagine the amount of misery which is annually occasioned, or to estimate that proportion of the earnings of ihe frugal, industrious part of the community which is annually required to maintain those who are reduced to pauperism through the predominance of immoderate drinking.

To arrest the progress of impiety and vice, and apply an appropriate remedy, moral societies have been instituted in different parts of our state, and the influence of admonition and example, and the coercion of civil law, have been employed. We are fully persuaded that through the honest and honourable zeal of these societies, much has been eflected for the suppression of immorality. But these associations have hitherto operated in an insulated capacity ; they have been almost unknown to each other, and, therefore, however excellent their object, or persevering the zeal of members composing them, their efforts, being local and limited, have been comparatively inefficient. Exertions, in order to become eminently useful, ought to be combined. The nation wbich rationally expects, to conquer must be united. The physical force of its parts, even the inost remote, must be collected and concentrated against the common foe. Thus, in order to accomplish any thing great towards the correction of public inorals, the friends of religion who associate in every

section of our state should become acquainied with each other. They ought to correspond, to converse, to concur, and to co-operate in the most expedient, practicable means for carrying into effect their benevolent designs.

Impressed with these considerations, in the autumn of 1917 a correspondence was opened, and delegates from various moral societies convened in the city of Albany during the month of February last. In the autumn of 1918 this correspondence was revived, the same measure was recommended, and at our present convention testimonials certifying the appointment of 28 delegates have been exbibited. It is now unanimously agreed to hold similar conventions from year to year in the city of Albany, during the session of the bonourable the Legislature, and a plan of this general co-operation is prepared and published in the report of our proceedings. We most respectfully solicit your acquiescence in this ineasure, and we indulge the pleasing anticipation of seeing each moral society in our state represented by its delegates at the next anniversary meeting of this convention. We also respectfully suggest to the friends of morality, in places where no such societies have been formed, the propriety and importance of associating and coming forward to the help of the Lord by contributing the aid of their example and counsels:

The state in which we have the honour of residing occupies a distinguished rank among the states of the Union. She exceeds . most of the others in extent of territory, in fertility of soil, in the variety and abundance of her productions, in the plenitude of her public treasuries, and in the rapid increase of her population ; perhaps there is no vanity in adding that she exceeds most of the others in the execution of liberal and magnificent schemes for the improvement of her literary, and agricultural, and commercial interests. Let us also cherish the bonourable emulation of taking the lead of the other states in the cultivation of that wisdon which is pure and peaceable, which has God for its author; and, in the issue, secures the prosperity of communities, and the welfare of individuals.

It is unnecessary to multiply arguments urging you to unite your exertions in advancing the objects recommended. We trust that the plan need only be proposed to receive your prompt and cordial approbation. Be not discouraged by former instances of disappointment. Nothing great can possibly be accomplished unless it be attempted, and even defeat, in a design so benevolent and interesting, would shed a glory on the persons defeated. While, therefore, we behold, from year to year, in the chamber of the Assembly and Senate, some from the remotest parts of our state, as advocates for the erection of new counties, and the incorporation of new banks, and other pecuniary and political purposes, let there not be wanting some from every part of our state, waiting on that honourable body as solicitors for the enaction of laws which may prove a terror to evil doers. There is no people on the globe equally obligated by motives of gratitude to manifest zeal for the honour of the Sovereign Ruler of Nations, because on no people has he showered in such profusion every blessing which adds to the dignity and bappiness of man. None are impelled by equal motives of self interest to cultivate with unceasing solicitude that virtue which forms the great bulwark of national freedom, because none have such immunities to lose. And let us always recollect that righteousness exalteth a nation. This is a maxim founded on the word of God, and confirmed by the experience of ages. This constitutes the security, no less than the glory, of commonwealths. This forms around them, for their protection, a wall of adamant the most impenetrable and imperishable : and therefore the philanthropist, the patriot, the statesman, the civil magistrate, no less than the moralist and minister of religion, ought to combine their influence in recommending this righteousness. As there can be no hazard, there need be no hesitancy in making the assertion, that the fruition of our liberties, and the preservation of the moral sense and moral habits will be coeval in our country. While we remain enlightened and virtuous, our rights, either as citizens or christians, cannot be alienated. But should the period arrive when all or the greater part become vitiated in principle and practice, the genius of liberty will take her flight to some purer region. Our fair edifice, founded on the recognition of equal rights, and cemented by the blood of our fathers, must either be undermined by the intrigues of the demagogue within, or prostrated by the assault of some rude invader from without. Whatever tends to demoralize the citizen may be considered as tending to the dismemberment and demolition of our republican institutions. Entertain for a moment the melancholy supposition that the population of our country have generally become corrupted and immoral, where would be the guardian of your rights? Where would be the jury to which you could intrust, for trial, a cause in which your property, or reputation, or lise, were involved? Where would be your courts of justice on whose decisions you could rely with any confidence? Where your sanctuaries of religion? Where your academies or colleges, those nurseries of intellectual and moral elevation. The eye of either a freeman or a pious man would turn arvay from the sight of primeval darkness with less horror than from the hideous spectacle of a jury, or legislative assembly, or civil court, or ecclesiastical synod, in which men, under the dominion of licentious principles or practices, form the majority.

Come forward, then, and let us ardently unite in promoting that reformation of public morals which may be pronounced the cause of God, and of our country, and of human nature. Let us not be weary in well doing, but remain steadfast and immoveable, neither lulled to indifference by considerations of ease, nor awed to silence

by the derision or rage of any who may oppose. Let our exertions be active, and manly, and persevering; let them also be prudent, and patient, and consistent. In our attempts to render others pious and virtuous, let us avoid, by our own indiscretion, throwing a shade over the lustres of piety and virtue. In short, let every member of every moral society be governed by the following considerations as their motto:

He who converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death: They that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars for ever

By order of the convention,


John Chester, Harmanus Bleecker, Estes Howe, John Lincklaen, John F. Schermerhorn, John Ingold, Jacob Sickles, Barent Van Beuren, Lawrence Van Dyck, Jr. David Leonard, Samuel Giles, Henry I. Frey, William Aikin, Richard P. Herrick, Storin T. Van Derzee, William Gates, James Van Schoonhoven, John Li Viele, Thomas Holliday, Hugh Jolly, Gerrit V. S. Bleecker.

Albany, January 14th, 1819.



Communicated for the BOSTON RECORDER. Extract of a letter from the Rev. EXPERIENCE PORTER, to a Clergyman in Boston, dated

Belchertown, January 29, 1819 Rev. AND DEAR SIR-İn giving you some account of the glorious work of God among the people of my pastoral care, it may be proper to notice the previous state of the church. At my instalment, in the early part of 1812, the church consisted of about one hundred and seventy members; of whoin one hundred were females. They had generally been admitted on strictly evangelical principles. In October of the same year it pleased God to revive his work. The revival continued, without declension, about five months. As the fruit of it, one hundred and ten persons were added to the church; of whom a small majority were fernales. In the summer of 1816, there were a few instances of seriousness ; and a small number were added to the church. From that time, religion very sensibly declined. A chilling deadñess seized on the great body of the church; the consequence of which was a criininal conformity to the world, and it seemed as if Christ was about to be exiled from us. There were, however, a number of individuals who did not cease to sigh and cry for the abominations which prevailed; and who unceasingly cried—Spare thy people, O Lord, ånd give not thine heritage to reproach. About the beginning of August Jast, an improvement was observable in the attention of the congregation on the Sabbath-day. Early in September two or three young females in the west part of the town were serioulsy impressa

« הקודםהמשך »