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distress. But mere almsgiving is too often mistaken for the whole of charity, and made a substitute for it. It is too often mistaken for the whole of charity, even when it has in truth no relation to that highest principle of our religion. Let us understand this error, and do what we can for its correction. The highest conceivable charity is that which has for its object the character, the mind, the soul. The highest office of love towards a poor fellow sinner, is to call forth in his soul an intelligent conviction of his true condition, in the relation which he sustains to God, to his fellow creatures, and to the eternal life on which he is soon to enter; and to call into action in the soul those great principles of christian truth and duty, by which all the dealings of God with him, whether in plenty or want, in health or sickness, in joy or sorrow, shall be means of strengthening and enlarging his piety and virtue. This is at once a practicable object, and one the importance of which can hardly be exaggerated. By the deep and strong impression of one christian truth or duty upon the mind, or by the success of calling forth one serious effort for self-correction and self-improvement, a greater charity is conferred, because an infinitely greater good is done, than by any relief of an immediately pressing physical want. The moral necessities of our nature, the wants of our immortal nature, are of as much more importance than those of the body, as the soul is in its nature and destination superior to the body. And how are these moral necessities to be so effectually met, in those of the poor who are not, and cannot be, brought to any regular connexion with our existing religious institutions, as by a ministry which shall be devoted exclusively to their religious and moral improvement ?
The past has been a winter of peculiar difficulties and sufferings among the poor, and therefore, of peculiar demands
upon this ministry. Even if the weather of that time had been mild, and the general state of health as favorable as it commonly is in that season, the wants of many among us would have been unusually pressing and painful, from the impracticability of finding employment, even in any of the departments of labor to which the poor look for the means of supporting their families. It is hardly conceivable, but by those who will carefully look into the details of the subject, and who will acquaint themselves, by personal observation in the families of the poor, with the consequences, in these families, of any considerable check upon the means of their obtaining subsistence by their labors, what an amount of want and distress is thus accumulated in them, even within the short space of three or four months. There are indeed among the poor, as well as among those who are not poor, those who are thristless, wasteful, indolent, intemperate, whose families are often brought to great wint and misery, even amidst the greatest general prosperity. But it is not of the wants of this class of the poor that I am now speaking. By the small demand for their labor, in comparison with the number to supply it, there have been many, at least comparatively virtuous, both of men and women, and journeymen mechanics as well as day laborers, who would most gladly have supported their families by their own industry ; but who had nothing laid by for a time of necessity, and who have often been unable to earn enough in a week to pay their house rent. And these, it ought to be known, are circumstances of great moral danger to those who suffer under them.
When want enters the dwelling of him, or her, who would, but cannot find the employment, by which an honorable subsistence may be obtained-where, nevertheless, there are children to be warmed, and fed, and clothed; and where the only alternatives left to a virtuous mind are, to beg or to borrow,-there want comes indeed “ like an armed man," to send dismay into the soul. What then shall be done? Let these families be left without sympathy, without encouragement, without the temporary aid which they require, and they will accumulate debts, every increase of which will increase the difficulties of their condition, and more effectually break down their spirits, and expose them to intemperance as a means of obtaining an oblivion of their sufferings; or they will be gradually brought to a willing dependence on begging and charity. How can it be otherwise ? Let a poor man, disposed to labor, but unable, though he passes from wharf to wharf, and from door to door to ask for it, to find employment, be yet called upon from week to week for his rent, which he cannot pay, and by his wife children for food with which he cannot supply them, and he must have no small energy of mind and principle, to maintain his virtue. Or suppose a widow,—and there are many such widows whom I well know, -who liave three, or four, or five children dependent on them for daily bread, whose best, whose only resort for the support of herself and children is, the work which is given out from slop-shops. This work consists principally of clothing for seamen, and for laborers, and it must be sold for those by whom it is made at the lowest possible advance.upon the cost of the stock of which it is made. It must therefore be made by the poor, by whom
the work can be done at the lowest possible rate. And many have been grateful for the privilege of obtaining this work,-for even this could not always be obtained, even when seven and eight cents only have been giving for making shirts and pantaloons. I have known women, indeed, to be glad to get pantaloons to make for six and a quarter cents a pair, who could not, however, by their best industry, make more than two pair in a day. How, then, are they to pay their rent, and to obtain fuel and food? And if to these facts you add the considerations, that the cold of the past season has been peculiarly severe, and that there has been more than double the amount of sickness among the poor, which has been known for some past winters, it will, I think, be readily understood, that there must have been a very unusual amount of want and suffering among this class of our population. My visits, since the date of my last semi. annual report, have been confined to about three hundred and fifty families ; to many of whom, I am sure, that this ministry has been instrumental of very great relief and comfort, in times of great want, and of very deep affliction. I hope also, and believe, that in some cases at least, it has conduced to a kind and degree of good, which will be as true and lasting as the promises of our religion.
I owe much, to the contributors to my poors' purse; and I beg each of them, whether known or unknown to me, to accept my best thanks. Especially do I feel under great obligations to the ladies of the sewing circle, who associated for the purpose of assisting me to relieve the very destitute among us. Their fidelity in the good work they have undertaken has been worthy of the be.
nevolence in which it originated. It will gratify these ladies to know, that in the beginning of the cold weather of the past season, when neither the city, nor I believe any of our charitable societies gave out fuel, though it was scarcely less important to some than it was in midwinter, I was enabled by their bounty to meet the pressing wants of forty families for this essential article of comfort. In several of these fainilies there was sickness; and in each of them the charity was demanded by circumstances, which made its exercise to be a great privilege. I consider their kindness, and the kindness of all who have committed money to my charge, as scarcely less a favor to myself, than to those whose sufferings they have enabled me to relieve. Allow me to express the hope, that the friends of my ministry will not forget, that the wants of many of the poor are scarcely less in the summer than they are in the winter; that there are many aged, and feeble, and sick among the poor, who must be aided by private charity; and that it is only by a continuance of the bounty for which I am indebted to them, that I can relieve some of their greatest sufferings. For reasons which I think will be obvious to those to whom I am thus indebted, I cannot publish details respecting the distribution of their bounty. But my book of receipts and expenditures is open at all times, for the examination of any one who has entrusted money to my care; and I am always ready to answer the inquiries of any individual upon the subject.
This Report was due on the 5th of this month. But my strength having greatly declined, I was induced to leave the city on the 14th ultimo. I have been absent upon a journey till the 26th instant. My number of