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certainly for the object), announces 361 auxiliaries, and 20,000 members, with 16,500 subscribers (all females !) to the “ Advocate of Moral Reform," a semi-monthly paper, published by the parent society, devoted to the text of the seventh commandment, and to the facts and results growing out of its violation. This same class of reformers have heretofore been accustomed to strike off prints of the most unmentionable scenes of these houses of pollution in their naked forms, and in the very acts of crime, for public display, that the public might know what they are: in other words, as may be imagined, to make sport for the initiated, to tempt the appetites and passions of the young, who otherwise would have known little or nothing about it, into the same vortex of ruin, and to cause the decent and virtuous to turn away with emotions of ineffable regret."
I cannot here help enquiring, how is it, if the Americans are, as they assert, both orally and in their printed public documents, a very moral
nation, that they find it necessary to resort to all these societies for the improvement of their brother citizens; and how is it that their reports are full of such unexampled atrocities, as are printed and circulated in evidence of the necessity of their stemming the current of vice? The Americans were constantly twitting me about the occasional cases of adultery and divorce which
appear in our newspapers, assuring me, at the same time, that there was hardly ever such a thing heard of in their own moral community. Now, it appears that this subject has not only been taken up by the clergy, (for Dr. Dwight, late president of Yule College, preached a sermon on the seventh commandment, which an American author asserts
was heard with pain and confusion of face, and which never can be read in a promiscuous circle without exciting the same feelings ;") but by one of their societies also; and, although they have not assumed the name of the Patent Anti-Adultery Society, they are positively doing
the work of such a one, and the details are entered into in promiscuous assemblies without he least reservation.
The author before mentioned says :
“ The common feeling on the subject has been declared false delicacy; and, in order to break ground against its sway, females have been forced into the van of this enterprize; and persuaded to act as agents, not only among their own sex, but in circumstances where they must necessarily agitate the subject with men,not wives with husbands, which would be bad enough, but young and single women with young and single men! And we have been credibly informed, that attempts have been made to form associations among wives to regulate the privileges, and to attain the end of temperance, in the conjugal relation. The next step, of course, will be tee-totalism in this particular; and, as a consequence, the extinction of the human race, unless peradventure the failure of the main enterprize of the Moral Reform So.
ciety should keep it up by a progeny not to be honoured."
Let it be remembered, that this is not a statement of
my own; but it is an American who makes the assertion, which I could prove to be true, might I publish what I must not.
From the infirmity of our natures, and our proneness to evil, there is nothing so corrupting as the statistics of vice. Can young females remain
pure in their ideas, who read with indifference details of the grossest nature ? Can the youth of a nation remain uncontaminated who are continually poring over pages describing sensuality, and will they not, in their desire of “ something new," as the prophet says, run into the very vices of the existence of which they were before unconscious? It is this dangerous running into extremes which has occasioned so many of these societies to have been productive of much evil. A Boston editor remarks—“ The tendency of the leaders of the
* "A Voice from America."
moral and benevolent reforms of the day to run into fanaticism, threatens to destroy the really beneficial effects of all associations for these objects. The spirit of propagandism, when it becomes over zealous, is next of kin to the spirit of persecution. The benevolent associations of the day are on the brink of a danger that will be fatal to their further usefulness if not checked.”
Of the Abolition Society and its tendency, I have already spoken in the chapter on slavery. I must not, however, pass over another which at present is rapidly extending its sway over the whole Union, and it is difficult to say whether it does most harm or most good— I refer to the Temperance Society.
The Rev. Mr. Reid says
“In the short space of its existence upwards of seven thousand Temperance Societies have been formed, embracing more than one million two hundred and fifty thousand members. More than three thousand distilleries have been stop