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associations connect themselves directly with politics.* It is of little consequence by what description of tie these “ sticks in the fable" are bound up together; once bound together they are not to be broken. In America religion severs the community, but these societies are the bonds which to a certain degree reunite it.
To enumerate the whole of these societies actually existing, or which have been in existence, would be difficult. The following are the most prominent.
+ “Not long afterwards, a prominent Presbyterian clergyman of Philadelphia thought fit to preach and publish a sermon, wherein it was set forth and conclusively proved, that on such and such contingencies of united religious effort of the religious public, the majority of the American people could be made religious; consequently they might carry their religious influence to the polls, consequently the religious would be able to turn all the profane out of office; and consequently, the American people would become a Christian nation.!"Voice from America, by an American Gontleman.
List of Benevolent Societies, with their Receipts in the Year 1834.
Dolls. Cents American Board of Cmmissioners for Foreign Missions ...
155,002 24 American Baptist Board of Foreign Missions
63,000 00 Western Foreign Mission Society at
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania...... 16,296 46 Methodist Episcopal Missionary Society 35,700 15 Protestant Episcopal Foreign and Domestic Missionary Society
26,007 97 American Home Missionary Society....
78,911 24 Baptist Home Missionary Society
11,448 28 Board of Missions of the Reformed Dutch Church (Domestic)
5,572 97 Board of Missions of the General As
sembly of the Presbyterian Church (Domestic) estimated
40,00000 American Education Society
57,122 20 Board of Education of the General As.
sembly of the Presbyterian Churches.. 38,000 00 Northern Baptist Education Society .. .
4,681 11 Board of Education of the Reformed Dutch Church
1,270 20 American Bible Society
88,600 82 American Sunday School Union.. 136,855 58 General Protestant Episcopal Sunday School Union
6,641 00 Baptist General Tract Society
6,126 97 American Tract Society.....
Dolls. Cents American Colonization Society
48,939 17 Prison Discipline Society
2,364 00 American Seaman's Friend Society 16,064 00 American Temperance Society
5,871 12 Total.. 8,910,961 31
Many of these societies had not been established more than ten years at the date given ; they must have increased very much since that period. Of course, many of them are very useful, and very well conducted.
There are many others: New England Non-resistance Society, Sabbath Observance Society, &c.; in fact, the Americans are Society mad. I do not intend to speak with the least disrespect of the societies, but the zeal or fanaticism (if I may use the term) with which many, if not all, of them carried
on, is too remarkable a feature in the American character to be passed over without comment.
Many of these societies have done much good, particularly the religious societies; but many others, from being
pushed too far, have done great mischief, and have very
much assisted to demoralize the community. I remember once hearing a story of an ostler who confessed to a Catholic priest ; he enumerated a long catalogue of enormities peculiar to his profession, and when he had finished, the priest enquired of him “ whether he had ever greased horses' teeth to prevent their eating their corn ?" this peculiar offence not having been mentioned in his confession. The ostler declared that he never had ; absolution was given, and he departed. About six months afterwards, the ostler went again to unload his conscience; the former crimes and peccadilloes were enumerated, but added to them were several acknowledgments of having at various times “greased horses' teeth" to prevent their eating their corn. “ Ho-ho!” cried the priest, “why, if I recollect right, according to your former confession you had never been guilty of this practice. How comes it that you have added this crime to your many others ?” “ May
it please you, father,” replied the ostler, “ I had never heard of it, until you told me.”
Now this story is very apropos to the conduct pursued by many of these societies in America : they must display to the public their statistics of immorality and vice; they must prove their usefulness by informing those who were quite ignorant, and therefore innocent, that there are crimes of which they had no idea; and thus, in their fanatic wish to improve, they demoralize. Such have been the consequences among this excitable yet well-meaning people. The author of “A Voice from America" observes :
“ It has been thought suitable to call the attention of mothers and daughters over the wide country to the condition and evils of brothels and of common prostitution, in towns and cities; to send out agents (young men) to preach on the subject; and to organize subsidiary societies, after the fashion of all reforms. The annual report of “ The New York Female Moral Reform Society,” for 1838 (a very decent name