Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

some to them, that they are contriving every method in their power to get rid of it; while others have gone so far as to say, that the history of religion, among ourselves, presents as with multitudes, even of pious individuals, who have found the burthen of life so intolerable, as to induce them to meet all the risks of eternity, rather than bear it any longer. If from hence “pious suicide" is meant, I certainly must beliere such professing christians, howerer great the burthen of life--afflictions and oppressions may be, never did exist; except in cases of aciual insanity! But with respect to the former, it may be too applicable to many of all ranks and degrees. However, I believe there are many labourers, mechanics, journeymen, 'shop-men and women, (whom I am more particularly pleading for,) know better How to use this raluable privilege-time, if ther had it; and not to risk it by becoming their owk executioner.

- I pity the poor wretches who risk their places --take their " discreet glasses,” two or three times' & day, though some have declared to me, such is their confinement of shop-keeping, and others their laboury that without it they could not endure or performe their task, and for which they are often suspected, and upbraided by their employers, as "given to drunkenness ;” though they, at the same time, can boast in their faces' ofia“ taking their bottles. '*-- I must here also warn, if not condemn those who console themselves in the day, with the view of solac. ing themselves in the fashionable nocturnal pleasines of card playing parties, billiards, and “ games without the table as well as within, and by going to those receptacles of idleness and folly; those " tombs of intellect, and sources of idleness and depravity” the ale-house and the theatre! Truly, in a nation professing to be civilized, (not to say christianized,) it is lamentable to see such a pumber of licenced rioting houses! And except on business, and for travellers, they are the high road to poverty, discon. tent, and family disunion: and if not to depredations, murder, and to the gallows: the sources of disgraceful quarrels and abominable fightings!

My reader will perceive that I am pleading more particularly for the journeymen, shop-men, clerks, and some others, than for the mechanic and artizans in general. Though most of these latter leave off their day labour at very good time--six o'clock, (though by the way, they begin two hours too soon, upon my plan.) I am happy this privilege is maintaiped on both sides employers and employed. But here I am sorry to observe the abuse of this privilege, by many mechanics and artizans, particularly many of the apprentices: it iş not unusual to see droves or parties of them lounging about our streets of an evening ; not only insulting young girls, but grave women and men; and delighting in pothing but foolery and noise! I however hope that they will soon be shamed out of such idle conduct, if not compelled into better. Yea, the holy fire, before spoken of, will not only shine round about thein, but will consume them!

While I am pleading here for journeymen, shopkeepers, clerks, and others of cities and large towns, I cannot help observing the peculiar adreptage which those situate in small towns and villages possess, for health, vigour, innocent pleasures, morals and religion. What is generally considered by domestic servants, or those called “gentlemen's servants, does not immediately come under this review ; being more particularly implied in the preceding remarks, on “masters and servants :" it may suffice to say here these, in general, are comfortably provided for, in all things necessary for the bodyand the body only, with some, see ibid.) and setting aside the absurd and ridiculous attire of livery servants, their situations might be truly a paradise, instead of tartarus! For be it remembered, what the apostle said, to the “ beloved in Rome,” holds equal truth to all of every rank, of every degree, in every age and nation ; namely, “ Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness: but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ." And every sin is an act of service and obedience to the devil. (c, vi. 16–23.) But with respect to those called livery servants, by which is meant generally footmen, valets, and butlers, (like men-milliners, stay makers, &c.) sure I am, when Christ's kingdom shall be established on earth, the services of these men shall be dispensed with ; and they will return from whence most of them came-agriculture and husbandry, the plough and the loom. This will make room for the greater part of the immense numbers of females (who are now almost starving, and living on-alas, horrible to say, prostitution! Here they will resume their just rights and privileges--domestic affairs, house-wifery, cookery, &c. &c. And you, my friends,

may save your liberal donations, for the erection of asylums, and for the support of the female penetentials.*

This subject leads me to consider another, (and

• Now while I am pleading the rights of the journeyman, shopman, and others, I feel also desirous to advocate a little more particularly the rights of the women---from the embroidery worker, to the poor slop-shop and tent maker. Yea, from the lady's woman, so called, to the scullery girl. But I shall observe first, I see poor women Jaden with heavy burthens on their heads, which you, my friends...ye fair ones, would not touch with one of your fingers ! and which I should think almost iuhuman for a man to wheel on a barrow; and almost too much to put on the back of an ass! I will admit for argument sake, that the nobles iu ancient times, drew water for, sheep and camels, even “ the priests' daughters." (Exod. ii. 16.) and this employment was esteemed noble, and worthy of great men's daughters, as appears from Genesis xxiv. 15. But then, how miserable is the condition, uncertain the employ and extreme labour of the present.

It is admitted on all sides, that savayes take the advantage of superior strength to oppress the weaker! and the weaker sex too. To say nothing here of the conduct of those warlike and heterogeneous race of men, the Romans, nor of “a certain lawgiver that sprung up in Asia, neither of the women in the oriental world! It sufficeth for me to know that the richer of my own country, too much keep under the poorer; and with respect to the women, from what I have read, heard and seen, one half at least, seem alloted for slaves, the other for toys or pleasure ! Alas, I do not wonder at the prostitution of the thousands! I wonder more that God has not cut us off, as a people, for spiritual as well as carnal adultery and fornication.

To say nothing of the domestic servants---female drudges, I wonder liow the thousands of poor young girls and women subsist with honesty and virtue, whose backs and hearts are aching while they are pricking their fingers to the bone, for abouteight-pence a day! Nay, even if it were thrice this sum, is

ind m

sa m

for the last) branch of that reciprocal obligation between master and servant--the employer and the employed. I have often been thinking for what reasons a labouring mana bricklayer's clerk, as some are called, foundation diggers, jigger-men, porters,

[blocks in formation]

from twelve to Afteen hours to the day! is this to render unte them that which is just and equal? I say, I wonder! rather when I reflect on what I have seen and heard, I need not to wonder! Aud here I would gladly rescue, nor only some female servants in certain families, from the calumny of some who consider them commonly as cunning, deceitful, and intriguing, because, forsooth, if an apprentice of what is called a respectable family, should happen to contract an intimacy with her of the dearest kind, he is in the road to ruin ! but also from the libel with which some classic writers load the fair sex in general; even that of the “unaccountable humour of being smitten with every thing that is showy and superficial ! Now, I have always observed, that the usual conversation of the fashionable as well as of ordinary men, like the women, very much cherish this natural weakness of being taken with outside appearauces. (Vide preceding remarks; p. 146--- 148. let. 1.) But to the men must be attributed the greatest part of this evil. Many I know, think nothing too much, nothing too fashionable, superficial, and foolish for the women--their wives ! like the civilized Ro." mans, in succeeding ages, viewing them as a part of sensual refinement, “wish only to revel in their arms!" And truly, the vex are not indebted to any age or country for this kind of valuation. Yet no wonder if their modesty and chastity should be. come less tremblingly alive to the unhallowed touch, and by de. grees, stained with the gross acts of sin, seduction, elopements, and adultery! And may I not add, the indulgence of womeni ia masquerades, midnight balls, Ranelagh and Vauxhall gardens, &c. &c. are dangerous opportunities for the devil to triumph over virtae! see “ the law of retribution," &c. &c. note, p. 146, by that very able writer, the late Granville Sharp.

It is too truly observed by the clerical author of strictures on female education, “how insufficient is it, which is still general. Jy given them, to be prndent mothers, and sensible companions ! We send thema to a boarding school, to learn, what?" says he,

« ПредишнаНапред »