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AN ORATION,

Delivered at the Orphan-House in Charleston, on the sixth anniversary of the institution, 1795.

Fellow-CITIZENS,

THE honour of being called to address you, on this occasion, is somewhat qualified by the consideration, that the subject to which our thoughts are naturally directed, has been so often discussed, that no new argument can be advanced to gratify the ear of curiosity, and no additional lustre given to those which are already known, to render them more acceptable to hearers of a refined taste. But, disadvantageous as this may be to the speaker, it affords no sufficient reason why we should discontinue the celebration of this anniversary. In the course of a year, many things occur, to wear away the impressions which former discourses may have produced. The zeal

a

which you felt at the commencement of the institution will gradually cool, unless renewed and revived by frequently presenting to your view the objects by which it was at first excited. It is a circumstance, too, highly encouraging, that I am not sent to you with heavy tidings, or desired to make unwelcome demands upon your charity ; but rather to thank you for your former liberality, to congratulate you on the success with which your exertions have been attended, and to point out this institution as an object of the first importance to the community, and as highly deserving of your future patronage.

Had I no other purpose in view but to interest your affections in behalf of this establishment, I need go no farther than the objects

you. You now behold one of the most pleasing and affecting sights which can be exhibited to the benevolent eye ; the most magnificent edifice of the kind of which the new world can boast, erected on a spot formerly barren and unprofitable, to shelter and protect those tender plants whom misfortune and adversity had left exposed to every rude and noxious blast-more than one hundred of your fellow-creatures, lately subject to pover

before you.

ty and want, and ready to fall victims to vice and ruin, happily rescued by your generous interposition, and decently clothed, supported and educated by your bounty. Deprived “ of every parental aid, you became their

guardians ; destitute of any abode, you pro- vided for them a habitation ; hungry and thirsty, you fed them and

gave

them drink; exposed continually to the wiles of the de“stroyer, you snatched them, with an angel's

, hand, from destruction ; in danger of every o evil to which idleness and ignorance could “ render them liable, you employed and in" structed them." If the recollection of beneficent actions, and the consciousness of good intentions, though defeated by the perverseness of men, or by those untoward accidents to which all human schemes are liable, are a source of

pure and exquisite enjoyment; your satisfaction must be greatly increased, when you behold

your

intentions carried into execution, and your labours crowned with complete success. But how must the imagination expand with hope, and the heart dilate with joy, when

look forward and behold those whom you now protect, entering into life ; acting for themselves ; filling useful and hon

you

ourable stations in society; adorning and improving their country by their ingenuity and industry, or defending it by their valour; becoming, themselves, the fathers and mothers of families, and transmitting to their children's children a portion of that happiness which they have derived from this institution, In this point of view, you will no longer consider this house as merely an asylum from present misery, but as a nursery of useful characters, as a seminary of religion and virtue, as the source of an incalculable addition to the happiness and improvement of the human race,

It is the nature of charity not to boast or to envy: but it is no less a property of it to listen with delight to the voice of sincere praise. Without, therefore, subjecting myself to the charge of boasting, or of making invidious comparison, I may affirm, that of all charitable institutions, those which regard the education and maintenance of orphan and destitute children, may justly claim the preference. God forbid that I should seck to withdraw your compassion and support from the aged and infirm, whose arm is now unstrung, and who, declining into the winter of life, no

longer display the blossoms of spring, or the fruit of autumn! God forbid that I should endeavour to dry up the sympathetic tear which flows for the sorrows of others; to make you deaf to the sigh of the afflicted, or render you less anxious to relieve the sick, and, by assistance and advice, to smooth the bed of death! God forbid that what is meant to excite charity, should create a jealousy of interest, or an interference of claims among institutions which have one common object in view, the relief of distress, the alleviation of human misery, in whatever shape it appears! My intention here is to congratulate you on the proper application of your charity ; to encourage you to proceed in the same course; and to show that, while other charitable establishments: ought not to be neglected, this requires and deserves a more than common share of

your attention and support. Many of the fair daughters of charity have done virtuouslybut this excelleth them all.

Institutions of this nature may justly be styled more charitable than any other, because they relieve greater wretchedness. There is not, in nature, a more striking picture of weakness and helplessness than man in the first

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