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The Earl of HERTFORD, PRESIDENT, The Right Hon.Lord Romney, Sir George Savile, Bart. Sir Alexander Grant, Bart. Vice-Presidents, Sir Samuel Fludyer, Bart. and Alderman,
Robert Dingley, Esq; Treasurer. John Barker,
Robert Netrleton, Edmund Boehm,
Thomas Preston, James Crockati,
William Reynolds, Charles Dingley, Hugh Ross, Edward Dixon,
>Esqrs. John Dorrien,
John Tozer, John Dupré,
Esqrs. fohn Thornton, Ifaac Eeles,
Saunders Welch, Jonas Hanway,
The Annual COMMITTEE,
Preached at their Request,
And published by their Order,
Dedicated and Inscribed,
Plaftow, April 28, 1759.
ÞR E F À C E.
N an age, when Vice is, in some respects, become fashionable, and that of lewdness
especially treated with smiles, not degraded with due indignation ; it cannoč seem strange, that an attempt like the present, should meet with some ridicule, and be liable to some objections, as well from the gay, as the grave ; from the thinking as the thoughtless. And as there is a variety of motives, which may induce men to give to charitable institutions, so are there motives no less various, which may withhold them from giving; and of consequence, lead them to decřy a de fign, solely because they mean not to support it.
But as we hold not, with a noble Lord *, rie dicule to be any test of the truth, and conceive that light mirth is as indecent as weak, where the life and salvation of fellow-creatures are concerned ; we shall not be discouraged from any good purpose by its random shafts, or diverted from any benevolent design, by its loud and unmeaning madness.
The success and encouragement, which the present institution hath met with, in the shore * Lord Shaftesbury. D
time since its commencement, from the Great and the Good, abundantly speak its utility; and we are pleafed to observe, that very few, if any charitable proposals, have made a more rapid: progress in the same compass of time *.
As the purpose of the worthy Patrons and Managers of this Charity is only to do good, and to render an important service to Religion and their Country ; they will never be inattentive to any observations of the wise and well-meaning; never be backward to consider any objections, which speculation may propose; or to admit any
useful hints, which seriousness and robriety may urge, for the advancement of the good work, and furtherance of its utility.
We remember, that when the Plan for this: institution was laid before the world, some, ei.. ther ignorant, as it should seem, of human nature, or averse to the benevolent design, urged that " it was chimerical and absurd ; that no ohjects would ever present themselves; or, if they did, that the reformation of such was impossible." The doors of the house were
no sooner opened, than this objection was powerfully removed indeed, by the number of pitiable sufferers who flew joyfully to the first harbour, where they could be admitted, and where, in
* For this we refer to the general printed account of the charity.
full proof that the reformation of such is nothing ideal, their behaviour, in the general, hath been excellent and exemplary; and all the signs and fruits of reformation, which could be fancied or formed, have, and continue to fhew themselves Surely they who have talked of this design,
" of a scheme to wash Ethiopians white,' must have been very inattentive observers of human nature ; must have considered but very superficially the end and design of the religion of Christ.
For all the world knows the misery and diftress of these objects: and every man who re. flects on the true condition of humanity, must know, that the life of a common prostitute, is as contrary to the nature and condition of the female fex; - as darkness to light: and however some may be compelled to the flavery of it, yet we can never imagine every line of right and virtue obliterated in the minds of all of them. And indesd, as the voluntary entrance of those who are now in the house is a sufficient proof of their weariness and detestation of this way of life, and a strong recommendation in their favour : fo from many letters *, and many affe&ting incidents, which have already happened in the house, it appears, beyond all contra
* Concerning theseja more satisfactory account may be had from Mr. Dingley, who is in poffeffion of the manuscript letters referred to.