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many, and great too, even with respect to some who are apprenticed to useful occupations.
In the first place, then, allow me to remark, that while I would not ascribe the licentiousness, the dishonesty, or the crime of any character in society, to any single cause, for the causes of these evils are many, and sometimes very complicated,- the fact of the very peculiar connexion between intemperance and abject pauperism and crime, which has been established beyond contradiction by the investigations which have been made of this subject within the last five years, demands the very serious attention not only of the statesman and the philanthropist, but of every parent, and of every individual who is interested in the well-being of the community in which he lives. Among the various methods taken by the Temperance Societies in our country, to affect the public mind in regard to the enormous evils which have grown out of the cheapness of ardent spirits, the various means adopted to make them as fascinating as possible, and the very reprehensible system of licensing their sale in the form of drams, to an extent to meet the demands of every one who is disposed or may be decoyed to purchase them, one has been, an extensive and careful examination of the records of prisons and almshouses, for the very purpose of learning what proportion of the inmates of those institutions have been brought to pauperism and crime by intemperance. These examinations have brought to light the facts, - before, indeed, supposed, but now proved, first, that the instance can hardly be found of a convict, who, at the time of his conviction, was not intemperate; and, secondly, that three-fourths of the
inmates of almshouses were brought to the abjectness and degradation in which they are seen there, by intemperance. In view of these facts, then, I take the ground, that whatever goes to prove that intemperance is a cause, and a prevailing cause, of pauperism and crime, goes equally to prove, first, that every intemperate lad or young man, unless recovered from his intemperance, will probably fall into pauperism, or crime, or into both; and, secondly, that the temptations and the facilities to an early love and use of ardent spirits, are direct means, to the extent to which they operate, of producing paupers and criminals in the city, in the commonwealth, and in our country. The facts here assumed will not be doubted by any one who has attended to the evidence on which they rest. Nor will any one who admits the facts, reject the inferences I have made from them. The question, then, arises, how far may the intemperance, and consequently the pauperism and crime of manhood, and therefore the numbers in our prisons and almshouses, be fairly traced back to the temptations and facilities to intemperance which are placed in the way of children, and to the love and use of ardent spirits which are acquired by them, both in the city and in the country?
I begin with referring you to the exposures of children who are under fourteen or fifteen years of age. Let us first look at some of them in the poorer, and then at some in the more prospered classes.
The impression, I am aware, soon passes from the mind, of any description of scenes which we have ourselves never witnessed. And yet, till we can persuade others by personal observation to acquaint themselves
as we may,
with the scenes of vice and misery which are around them, and from an actual knowledge of which they would learn their duties in regard to the vicious and miserable, as they cannot otherwise be learned, we must be content with bringing before them such poor descriptions of the evils which ought to excite a universal sympathy and concern; and which, if cared for as they should be, might to a great extent be remedied. How often have I wished that I could bring those, who have a strong general interest in the well-being of society, and whose opinions exert a most important influence where I have no power, into the families of poor and intemperate parents. There let them see in what wretched rooms these unhappy beings are sometimes lodged; rooms as cold as wide chinks and broken windows can make them; the poor, broken, and scanty furniture; and the bed, not unfrequently lying upon the floor, and without a bedstead; and, it may be, consisting only of straw or of shavings. There let them see to what deep degradation our nature may be brought, through abandonment to the sin in which these parents are living. Will it be said, that parents in this condition are beyond the reach even of hope? I think otherwise; for no one is to be considered, or treated, as beyond hope, while God shall spare him. But I am not now pleading for these parents. I would direct attention to their children. Here are boys and girls, with bodies which are seldom washed, and which are covered at best with fil thy and tattered garments. These children probably go to no school; and they learn nothing but from the example of those with whom they associate. They are unaccustomed to any regularity in their meals, and they
look for their food perhaps alinost as much from home, as at home. They are now, it may be, caressed with the extravagance of intoxicated affection, and now beaten with the extravagance of intoxicated anger. They are every day deceived by their parents, and they every day in turn deceive them. At one hour they are kept at work, to procure fuel, or perform some other service; and in the next are allowed to go where they will, and to do what they will. They every day hear profaneness, and see intemperance, and witness parental contests; and are daily the companions of those, who live amidst the same scenes, and are forming under the same influences. They are allowed, also, not only to drain the cup which an intemperate father or mother has not quite emptied, but their portion of it is sometimes given to them. If they are advised or encouraged by these guardians of their morals, it is to be more wary, more cunning, more artful. Not unfrequently, also, do these children fall into the service of the lowest of the profligate. They are ready for any guilty service within their power, by which they may earn anything; and they have not an association with wrong, but the fear of detection and of punishment. What, then, is to be expected from these children? Is it surprising, that very early they become greatly depraved? I have spoken, indeed, of the most degraded parents, and of the most exposed children. But there are more of these parents and children, even in our greatly favored city, than would be suspected by those who know those among whom they live only as they pass them in the street. And there are children of other poor parents, especially of poor widows, who, though
they have in this respect no evil example at home, are yet under but a feeble parental restraint; and are associates, and learners of the language, and sharers of the occupations and the pleasures of those, whose very homes are schools of the grossest depravity. I pray, then, that it may be known, and thought worthy of remembrance, that we have children of this class in our city, who, if neglected as they now are, as certainly as they live, will become paupers and criminals. And on whom will fall the heaviest responsibility for their guilt and misery, but on those to whom God has given all the means of saving them, and who fail to use these means for the purposes for which he gave them?
Again. There is a higher class of parents, who would shrink from a dependence upon charity, but who are hardly less negligent of the moral condition of their children. I refer to parents, some of whom are far from indifference respecting the education of their children for an apprenticeship, and for the means of selfsupport, as far as the education of the school is concerned. But, from ignorance, or inefficiency, or the want of a strong moral sensibility, or if they have religious and moral feeling, yet from a want of judgment, are unable to control, or at least do not control, their wayward children. These parents and children are without the circle of my own ministry. But very painful cases now and then occur, in which the effects are brought to light, and made known, of that evil communication which the children of whom I am now speaking have with those, who are lower in outward condition, and more depraved, than themselves. From the united tendencies of neglect, or of injudiciousness, or of inad