rtrit , 71, t t 4 ;
MORAL SKETCHES OP PREVAILING OPINIONS AND MANNERS, foreign ant dome tic : WITH REFLECTIONS ON PRAYER. BY HANNAH MORE. Let us make a stand on the ancient ways, and then look about us, and discover what is the straight and right way, and walk in it. LORD BACON on Innovation. I know not which is tbg greater wonder, either that prayer, which is a duty so easy and facile, so ready and apted to the powers and skill and oplortunities of every man, sl ould have so great effects, and he protractive of such ruLdity blessings ; or that we should be so unwilling to use so easy an instrument of pro- ducing so much good. BISHOP JEREMY TAYLOR, zpe tixtb Coition. LONDON: PRINTED FOR T. CADELL AND W. DAVIES, IN THE STRAND. 1820.
Printed by A. and R. Spottiswoode, Printers-Street, London.
PREFACE TO THE SIXTH EDITION. IN the second and subsequent editions of this little work, a brief reference* was made to the character of our late revered Sovereign. Since the publication of the fifth edition, it has pleasedAlmighty God to exchange his earthly for an imperish- able crown. The writer feels a strong desire, though long confined to the bed of sickness, to bear her last testimony, weak and worthless though it be, to the memory of our now beatified Sovereign. If there be such a thing as a character formed of the elements of the land which gave it birth, it was realized in the present instance. Our King ex- hibited the exactest specimen of the * Page 49. A 2
PREFACE TO genuine English gentleman in its highest and fairest form: he had not only the general stamp and impress, but the minor modes and peculiarities of a Briton. He was also a fair representative of the religion of his country. He was a protestant, not in name, but in heart and soul. He began his reign with an act of self-controul, which gave a flattering presage of his future magnanimity. He sacrificed, in the tenderest point, passion to duty. In the bloom of life, young, ardent, and a king, he felt there was something to which even kings must submit - the laws of their country. He made the sacrifice, and, by so doing, was rewarded in his large and lovely family by the long enjoyment of the dearest blessings of domestic life in their highest purity, and in the greatest human perfection. A strict conscientiousness seems to have pervaded everypart of his character; it appeared in his frequently repeated
THE SIXTH EDITION. V solemn reverence for his coronation oath ; in his uniform desire to promote the good of his people ; in his zeal for the spiritual welfare of the poor, ex- pressed in a sentiment too notorious to require repetition. The fear of God seems to have been supremely his govern.. ingprinciple ; and a deep sense ofhis own awful responsibility, the corresponding result of that principle. If, from a too tenacious hold of an opinion once adopted, he might be chargeable with a political error in a persevering contest with the western continent, yet even then his pertinacity was principle ; ankif he was wrong, it was his judgment which erred, and not his intention : but he knew, even in this case, how to retract gracefully a favour. ite opinion when the event required concession. In a visit he made from Cheltenham to Dean. Tucker, at Glou- cester (who had written strongly in favour of a separation), the king had the candour to say, " Mr. Dean, had A 3
Vi PREFACE TO we followed your advice by an earlier termination of the war with America, we had acted wisely : you were in the right." This the Dean repeated to the writer a few days after, together with the whole conversation, which was so honourable to the good sense, general knowledge, and rectitude of mind of His Majesty, that it is to be regretted it had not been pre- served. His understanding, though perhaps it had not received the highest cultivation of which it was susceptible, was soundly good, and the whole bent and bias of that understanding was turned to objects of utility. In such of his conversations as have been recorded by Johnson, Beattie, and others, his talents are seen to great advantage. His observations are acute, and his expression neat. In the details of business he was said to be singularly accurate, and particularly well-informed in the local circumstances of whatever place was the subject under consideration. His domestic duties were filled with 15
THE SIXTH EDITION. Vii eminent fidelity, and uniform tenderness. His family enjoyments were the relief and solace of his public cares ; while the proverbial correctness of his court fur- nished. a model to contemporary sove- reigns, and bequeathed a noble pattern to his own illustrious posterity. He observed the law of kindness as scrupu- lously as he observed all other laws ; nor was its exercise limited to those about his person or court, but extended to as many of inferior rank as fell under his ob- servation. He was strictly punctual in the dis- charge of his religious duties, a practice which alone could have enabled him to fulfil his other duties in so exemplary a manner. The writer has heard an inha- bitant of Windsor (a physician of dis- tinguished learning and piety) declare, that in his constant attendance at the morning chapel, his own heart was warmed, and his pious affections raised, by the devout energy of the king's res- ponses. Who shall presume to say what A 4.
Vlil PREFACE TO portion of the prosperity of his favoured people may have been obtained for them by the supplicationsof a patriot, paternal, praying king ? Firmly attached to the church ofwhich God had made him the supreme bead ; strong in that faith of which God had appointed him the hereditary defender, he yet suffered no act of religious per- secution to dishonour his reign. His firmness was without intolerance, his moderation without laxity. Though involved in darkness, both bodily and mental, for so many of his latter years. hp was still regarded with a sentiment compoundedofsorrow, respect, and tenderness. He was, indeed, con- signed to seclusion, but not to oblivion. The distinctions of party, with respect to him, were lost in one common feeling ; and the afflicted monarch was ever cherished in the hearts of the virtuous of every denomination, whether religious or political. Even in the aberrations of reason he
THE SIXTH EDITION. IX was not forsaken. The hand which in- flicted the blow, mercifullymitigated the pain. His wounded mind was soothed by visionary anticipations of Heavenly happiness. - Might not these fanciful consolations indicate something of the habit of -a mind, accustomed in its brighter hours to the indulgence of pious thoughts ? And " may we not in general venture to observe in vindication of the severer dispensations of the Almighty, that even during the distressful season of alienation of mind, the, hours which are passed without sorrow and without sin, are not, to the sufferer, among ,the most unhappy hours. Notwithstanding the calamities with which it has lately pleased God to afflict . a guilty world, calamities in which Eng- land has had its share, though by no means an equal share, yet the reign of the third George Play be called a bri.,1- liant and glorious period. Independently of the splendor of our geographical dis- coveries, our eastern acquisitions, and A 5
X PREFACE TO other memorable political events, we may challenge any era in the history of the world to produce a catalogue of the twentieth part of the noble institutions which have characterised and conse- crated this auspicious reign : of these, some have successfully promoted every elegant arts and others every useful science. Painting, statuary, and engrav- ing have been brought into fresh ex- istence under the royal patronage ; the application of chemistry and mechanics to the purposes of common life, has been attended with unexampled success. Sig- nals at sea have been reduced to a science; the telegraph has been invented ; mili- tary tactics are said to have been carried to their utmost perfection. Among the gentle arts of peace, the study of agri- culture, which the king loved and culti- va' ed, hasbecomeone among thefavourite pursuits of our honourable men. The time would fail to recount the numberless domestic societies of every conceivable description established for
THE SIXTH EDITION. Xi promoting the moral and temporal good of our country ; persons of high rank, even of the highest, men ofall parties and pro- fessions, periodically assemble to contrive the best means to instruct the ignorant, and to reclaim the vicious ; to relieve every want which man can feel, or man can mitigate ; to heal the disturbed in mind, or the diseased in body ; nay, to resuscitate the apparently dead. Ifwe advert to the still more remark- able circumstances which distinguish this reign - while new worlds have been discerned in the heavens, one of which bears the honoured name of the sove- reign under whose dominion it was dis- covered - on the earth, Christianity has been successfully carried to its utmost boundaries. s In this reign, also, it has been our pre-eminent glory to have fought single-handed against the com- bined world ; yet, not by our own strength, but by the arm of the Lord of Hosts, England has been victorious. England, it is true, labours at present A6
iii Xii PRERACE TO under great and multiplied, but we trust not insuperable, difficulties. We have the misfortune of a depressed commerce, but we have the consolation of an un- tarnished honour : we have still a high national character, and in a nation, cha- racter is power and wealth. To the dis- tresses inflicted,' by Divine Providence, our own countrymen have made a large and most criminal addition. In looking out for the causes of this appalling visit- ation, may not one of those causes be found in our not havingused the sudden flow of our prosperity with gratitude, hu- mility, and moderation ? Great areour exigencies, but great are our resources. We possess a powerful stock of talent, and of virtue.; and in spite of the blasphemies of the 'atheist, and the treasons of the abandoned, we possess, it is presumed, an increasing fund of vital religion. Were these and all our other number- less resources thrown into one scale, and applied to the same grand ends, and 14'
THE SIXTH EDITION. Xiii objects ; would party, at this critical juncture, renounce the operation of its narrowing spirit ; would every professed patriot show himself, zealous, not for the magnifying of his own set, but for the substantial interests of his country ; what a mighty aggregate of blessings would be the result, and how reasonably might we then expect the Divine favour on a union so moral, so patriotic, so Christian ! It has pleased God, in his mercy, to restore to health. the son of our late monarch, and to placehim on the throne of his illustrious ancestors. We have the sanction of his own royal word, that he will walk in the steps of his beloved parent. We have an earnest of his gra- cious intentions. Every church has re- sounded with the royal proclamation for the encouragement of piety -and virtue, and for punishing prophaneness, vice, and immorality. He has pledged his honour - honour is the law of kings - and his honour is unimpeachable. In spite of
X1V PREFACE. the machinations of thewicked, he wears by acclamation his hereditary crown, and, May He who wears the crown immortally, Long guard it his ! O may he so live in the hearts of his people, and so reign in the fear of God, that it may become hereafter a matter of controversy among unborn historians, whether the Third or Fourth GEORGE will have the fairest claim to the now pro- verbial appellation of the BEST OF KINGS.
PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION. IT is with the sincerest satisfaction, and the most lively gratitude to God, that the writer of these pages is enabled to bear her feeble but heart-felt testimony, to the progress which religion has made, and is making, amongst us, especially in the higher, and even the highest, ranks of society. At a period, therefore, abounding and advancing in almost every kind of reli- gious improvement, she may be thought by those who would be looking for con- gratulation rather than caution, to have imposed on herself an invidious task, in choosing to dwell less on the triumphs of
XVi PREFACE TO Christianity, than on the dangers or the errors of some of its professors. Yet she is persuaded that they who have made the greatest proficiency in piety will be the most ready to forgive the intimations, ofwhich they stand in the least need. It may, however, justly be said, that the writer might have found more appro- priate objects of censure amongst the worldly and the irreligious, than in the more .respectable classes whom she has taken the liberty to make the subject of animadversion. But the truth, is, the thoughtless and the profligate have been so successively and so perseveringly at- tacked by far more powerful pens ; have been so long assailed by the monitory maxims of the moralist, pelted by the missile weapons of the satirist, and chastised by the grave rebuke of the divine ; that, with due deference, she turns over the hitherto incorrigible to stronger and more efficient hands ; while she ventures to address her observations to other quarters, where there will be
THE FIRST EDITION. xvil more hope of forgiveness, and less despair of success. She does not therefore appeal to those who " Hear not Moses and the Pro- phets," but rather to those who, hearing, neglect them ; and especially to those who, in some awful instances, mis- represent them. She presumes, with re- spect and diffidence, to expostulate with some, who, though exempt from pal- pable defects in practice, yet require to be reminded that speculative errors can- not be indulged without danger ; and to intimate to others, that the practice may be faulty where there are no material errors hi the creed. Doubtless indif- ference to religion will hereafter be more severely judged, than mistakes in it, especially if the latter be found to pro- ceed from the head, as the other more apparently does from the heart. The remarks in the early part of this volume, on the excess ofcontinental inter- course, will probablybe accused ofblame- able scrupulosity, and the writerbecharged
XV111 PREFACE TO with unnecessary rigour. Yet what en- lightened conscience will deny that some of the habits to which allusion is made, militate as much against the self-denying spirit of our religion as more ostensible faults. They would not, however, have been noticed, had they been confined to trifling and common characters ; but the least error that grows into a habit, and that habit sanctioned by the countenance of the worthy and respectable, becomes more important than even the vices of ordinary men or frivolous women. In lamenting the probably injurious conse- quences to a large proportion of the myriads who are still, with unabated eagerness, crowding to a foreign shore, the author is fully persuaded that many amongst them carry out principles too deeply rooted, to be shaken by unprofit- able intercourse, and morals too correct to be infected by the fascinations of plea- sure. But who will deny that the counte- nance ofthose who escape the injury gives an authority to those who receive it ? In
TIIE FIRST EDITION. X1X this view, the wisest and most correct of our emigrants, may, by lending them- selves to the practice, furnish, in the result, an apology for things which they themselves disapprove ; and thus their example may be pleaded, as favouring what they would be amongst the last to tolerate. That long and frequent absences from our home, and especially from our coun- try, are not favourable to the mind, is but too visible in that spirit of restless. ness acquired by so many who have repeatedly made the experiment. For it is observable that the desire once in- dulged, instead of being cooled, is in- flamed ; inclination becomes voracity. Appetite has grown with indulgence. And is it not to be feared that the sober scenes of domestic, and espe- cially of rural life, will continue to appear more and more insipid in pro- portion to the frequency with which they are deserted ? Will not successive and protracted carnivals convert the
ti XX PREFACE TO quiet scenes of home enjoyment into what the poet calls " a lenten entertain- ment ?" Home is at once the scene of repose and of activity. A county gentleman of rank and fortune is the sun of a little system, the movements of which his in- fluence controls. It is at home that he feels his real importance, his usefulness, and his dignity. Each diminishes in pro- portion to the distance lie wanders f'rom his proper orbit. The old English gentry kept up the reverence and secured the attachment of their dependants by living amono. them. Personal affection was maintained by the presence of the bene- factor. Subordination had a visible head. Whereas obedience to a master they do not see savours too much ofallegiance to a foreign power. We, know that the Roman hero, who transgressed the boundaries of his own province by once crossing the Rubicon, changed the whole condition, circum- stances, constitution, and character of
THE FIRST EDITION. XX1 his country. May not the reiterated passage of the Straits of Dover eventually produce moral changes not less im- portant ? The mischiefs effected by these inces- sant migrations may, indeed, be slow, but they are progressive. Principles which would revolt at the idea of any sudden change, are melted down by the gradual relaxation of continued contact. Complacency in the soothing enjoyment creeps on by almost imperceptible ad- vances. The revolution is not the less certain, because it is not acknowledged. The conscience, too, is quieted by the geographical anodyne - " I would, not do in England what I think it no harm to do in Paris." Might not a fair practical appeal be made to the different state of the feelings of many of our travellers, on witnessing the open violation of the sanctity of the first Sunday, and the twentieth repetition of the same abuse ? Who can affirm, that familiarity has not gradually dimi-
XXil PREFACE TO nished the alarm, and in a good measure suppressed the indignation ? Who will assert, that this succession of desecrated sabbaths has produced no alteration in the state of their feelings, except that of reconciling them to the practice. They, indeed, who had made such a proficiency in religion as to maintain an unabated sense of the evil, would be the least likely unnecessarily to expose their principles to such a risk. For the bold remarks on this dangerous and delicate subject, the culprit throws herself on the mercy, and the anglicism of her readers ; on the courtesy of those, whose kindness she hopes will not be for- feited, by her having shown herself too exclusively an Englishwoman. Anxious, perhaps to a fault, for the welfare, the * Some, friends of the writer, men of the first respectability, who during the late war commanded volunteer corps, have acknowledged to her, that when first called out to drill on Sundays, their re- ligious feelings were most painfully wounded, but long habit made it gradually become a matter of indifference to them.
THE FIRST EDITION. XX111 honour, the prosperity, the character of this Queen of Islands, she yet believes that there are to be found worse preju- dices than those national attachments, which in her are irreclaimable. * It is not, however, to beconceded, that the termprejudice, so frequently applied to these attachments, is, by this applica- tion, legitimately used. If prejudice, in its true definition, signifies prepossession, judgment formed beforehand, fondness adopted previously to knowledge, notions cherished without inquiry, opinions taken up, and acted upon without examination, - if these be its real significations, and what lexicographer will deny that they are ? then how can this term be applied to the more enlightened Britons ? 11.6w can it be applied to men who, inde- pendently of the natural fondness for the * These prefatory apologies for the offences of a subsequent chapter, will, it is to be feared, remind the reader of the prudent sinner mentioned by Lu- ther, who in going to purchase indulgences for the faults he had already committed, purchased another for a fault he intended to commit.
XX1V PREFACE TO soil, and all the objects which endear it who, in addition to this instinctive at. tachment, feel, acknowledge, and enjoy, in their native country, all the substantial blessings which make life worth living for; -a constitution, the best that mortal man has ever yet devised ; a religion, above the powers of man indeed to con- ceive, but reformed and carried to per- fection by his agency, taught by the wisdom of God, led by the guidance of his word, and the direction of his Spirit ; a system of civil and religious liberty, which, while certain miscreants at home are labouring to destroy, under the pre- tence of improving, some,foreign coun- tries are imitating and all are envying ; institutions, which promise to convey the chief of these blessings to the re- motest lands ;-if all these assertions are true, let it be again asked, whether, if an intimateknowledge, and a long enjoy- ment of these blessings, should have pro- duced a filial fondness for such a country, that attachment can be denominated pre-
THE FIRST EDITION. XXV judice, a word which, let it be repeated, was only meant to express blind zeal, neglected examination, and contented ignorance ? May not this growing attachment for foreign manners, bywearing out domestic attachments, create a powerful prepon- derance in the opposite scale ? The Eng- lish partialities being cured, may not those who shall have conquered them, become more satisfied with their acquired than with their former tastes ; may they not fancy, that they are grown more candid, when, perhaps, they are only be- come less conscientious? When the mind is softened down by pleasurable sensa- tions, pleased with every thing about 'it, it becomes pleased with itself; begins to look back on its former scrupulous cha- racter -with present triumph, rejoices in its enlargement from its previous narrow- ness ; congratulates itself on its acquired liberality ; calls what was firmness, bigo- try; until, to the altered character, the a
XXVi PREFACE TO strictness it carried abroad, appears rigour on its return home. That the attraction may be inviting, and the temptation considerable, is readily allowed ; but if once the rightness of an action should come to be determined by its pleasantness, an entirely new system of morals must be introduced amongst Christians ; the question then would be no longer, what ought we to do, but what should we like to do ? That the tempta- tion is not irresistible, appears in the self- denial of those who continue to withstand it : many who have felt the desire have prudently deferred its gratification to a safer season ; while others continue to doubt its general expediency. That many among our innumerable travellers, have gone abroad on the rea- sonable ground of health, as well as for the necessary purposes ofbusiness, is not to be doubted. And who will deny that some men of great ability and high prin- ciple, have gone with the meritorious
THE FIRST EDITION. XXVii desire of doing moral and religious good, in various directions ; and that they have, in no inconsiderable degree, effected it, or at least have opened a door for further improvement ? On the other hand, the disgraceful truth must not be concealed, that others have carried out more evil from home, than they found abroad. It would be uncharitable and unchris- tian, to desire to maintain a spirit of hos- tility between near neighbours ; but when neighbours have been so frequently on the alert to find pretences for disagree- ment, and national safety has sometimes been endangered by the quarrels of indi- viduals, will not good neighbourhood be more probably promoted by friendly dis- positions and mutual good offices on the respective shores, than by obtrusive visits, which, .if they were thoroughly liked, would doubtless be more frequently returned ? For is it not worthy of remark, that we konly refuse to imitate our continental neighbours, in the very point in which a 2
XVill PREFACE TO they are really respectable ? They stay at home. Even if they d6 so with the same proud self-preference, which made ancient Rome call all the other nations of the world barbarians, it is at least an honest and a patriotic partiality. Would not the natives of our happy land, who have less to gain, and more to lose, do well to follow their example in this ho- nourable instance ? They prudently aug- ment the resources of their country in two ways, by spending their own money in their own land, with, the additional profit of holding out to us those allure- ments, which cause ours to be spent there also. 0 England ! model to thy inward greatness, Like little body with a mighty heart ! What might'st thou do that honour bids thee do, Were all thy children kind and natural ! But see, thy fault France bath in thee found out. SHAKSPEARE. While the pen is in the hand of the writer, fresh intelligence is brought of conspiracies forming in different parts of
THE rIRST EDITION. XX1X the kingdom for its moral and political destruction. Can she, therefore, forbear repeating, that if her degenerate sons betrayher, and her honourablesons desert her, her perils are indeed imminent ? At her .advanced age the writer has little to hope from praise, or little to fear from censure, except as her views may have been in a right or a wrong direction. She has felt that a renewed attention to growing errors is a duty on those who have the good of mankind at heart. The more nearly her time approaches for her leaving the world, there is a sense in which she feels herself more strongly in- terested in it ; she means in an increasing anxiety for its improvement ; for its ad, vance in all that is right in principle, and virtuous in action. And as the events and experience of every day convince her, that there is no true virtue which is not founded in religion, and no true re- ligion which is not maintained by PRAYER, she hopes to be forgiven if, with declining years and faculties, yet with increasing a3
XXX PREFACE TO earnestness, from increasing conviction of its value, she once more ventures to impress this last, important topic, on their attention. If, then, she has enlarged even to dif- fuseness on the subject of prayer, it is because she is fervently desirous to sug- gest it, as the surest counteractive of those many aberrations of heart and prac- tice but too visible amongst us. In some former publications, however, she had expatiated so largely on this inexhaustible topic, that, in order to avoid repetition, she has chiefly limited her present observ- ations on prayer to the errors which may prevent its efficacy, together with allu- sions to certain classes of character in whom these errors most abound. In taking her final leave of her readei.s, may she be allowed to express her grati- tude for their long and unwearied in- dulgence ; for a patience which the too frequent demands made on it could not exhaust ; for their candour in forgiving her bold remonstrances ; for their kind-
THE FIRST EDITION. XXX1 ness in bearing with her faults in consi- deration of her desire to be useful ; and for extending to one who had nothing to offer but right intentions, that favour to which merit might have put in a fairer cl Barley Wood, July 24th, 1819.
CONTENTS, FOREIGN SKETCHES. Page Foreign Association 3 French Opinion of English Society English Opinion of French Society 4,3 England's best Hope 81 DOMESTIC SKETCHES. On Soundness in Judginent, and Consist- ency in Conduct - 117 Novel Opinions in Religion - 131 Ill Effects of the late Secession - 169 Exertions of pious Ladies - 192 High Profession and negligent Practice 215 Auricular Confession - 232 Unprofitable Reading - 238 The Borderers - 250
XXX1V CONTENTS. REFLECTIONS ON PRAYER. Pagc On the Corruption of Human Nature 277 False Notions of the Dignity of Man, shown from his Helplessness and Dependence 295 The Obligation of Prayer universal. - Regular Seasons to be observed. - The Sceptic and the Sensualist reject Prayer 306 Errors in Prayer, which may hinder its being answered. - The proud Man's Prayer. - The patient Christian. - False Excuses under the Pretence of Inability - 322 God our Father.-. Our Unwillingness to please Him. -Formsof Prayer.-Great and Little Sins. - All Sin an Offence against God. - Benefit of habitual Prayer - 348 The Doctrine of imputed Sanctification, newly adopted. The old one of pro- gressive Sanctification newly rejected. - The adoption of the one and the re- jection of the other hostile to Prayer. - St. Paul's Character - 361 Character of those who expect Salvation for their good Works. - Of those who depend on a careless nominal Faith. -
CONTENTS. XXXV Page Both these Characters unfavourable to Prayer. - Christianity a Religion of Love which disposes to Prayer, exhi- bited in a third Character - - 377 Prayer. - The Condition of its attendant Blessings. - Useless Contention about Terms 394 Vain Excuses for the Neglect of Prayer. - The Man of Business. - Case of Nehemiah. - Prayer against the Fear of Death. - Characters to whom this Prayer is recommended - 404 The Consolations of Prayer. - Its perpe- tual Obligation - 423 On intercessory Prayer - 441 The Praying Christian in the World. - The Promise of Rest to the Christian 451 The Lord's Prayer, a Model both for our. Devotion and our Practice. - It teaches the Duty of promoting Schemes to advance the Glory of God - 471 Conclusion - 496
SKETCHES OF FOREIGN MANNERS. 13
FOREIGN ASSOCIATION. WE had fervently hoped, during a war unparalleled in duration and severity, that if ever the blessing of peace should be restored, all would be well again : we had hoped, that at least we should be brought back to our previous situation, with that improvement in humility and gratitude, which the remembrance of past sufferings, and recent deliverance from those sufferings would seem na- turally to produce. If our pleasant feel- ings in such a prospective event were shaded at all, it was simply by: the irre- parable°and individual loss ofa father, son, or brother, which almost every family, of every rank, had sustained. Peace was at length providentially granted to our arms and to our prayers .; but all
FOREIGN ASSOCIATION. the blessings we had anticipated did not return in her train Ease still recants Vows made in pain as violent and void. Were it not almost doubtful whether in some respects the change may have proved a benefit, if it should be found to be the choice between the two evils, the waste of human lives, or the decay of moral principles ? Some scrupulous per- sons may even think it requires no very correct arithmetic to determine on the comparative value of perishable lives and immortal souls. What then was the first use we made of a benefit so earnestly implored, -a blessing which we fondly flattered our- selves would be converted to so many salutarypurposes ? This peace, for which so many prayers were offered, so many fasts appointed ; - this peace, whose re- turn was celebrated by thanksgivings in every church, and, as we hope, in every
FOREIGN ASSOCIATION. 5 house, and in every heart, to what pur- pose was its restoration devoted ? This peace was seized on, not as a means to repair, in some measure, the ravages which were made on the com- merce, the property, the comforts, as well as the population of our country ; but must it not, in many instances, be said truly, though most painfully said, to vary their nature, and enhance their malignity ? Instead of sedulously em- ploying it to raise us to our former situation by a. prudent restriction in our indulgences, by an increased residence in our respective districts; and an endeavour to lighten the difficulties of government, by the continued contribution of its rightful supplies ; - insteadof using it to mitigate the distresses, and to restrain the crimes of the lower orders, by living in the midst of them, each at his natural and appropriate station, and thus neu- tralising a spirit of disaffection, which took advantage only of their absence to break out ; - instead of improving its B3
6. FOREIGN ASSOCIATION. opportunities, or providing against the impending scarcity, which the desertion of the rich increased almost to famine; in giving employment to the industrious, relief to the sick, and bread to the famished ; - instead of each- centinel re- maining at his providentially appointed watch, --- at this critical moment, a very large proportion of our nobles and gentry, an indefinite number, of our laity, and not a few of our clergy, that important part of the community, of which the situation is peculiarly local, - all these, as if simultaneously seized by that mania which, in fabulous history, is said to have sent onennfortunate object of divine per- secution. wandering through theworld, - all these important portions of our country at once abandoned. it. The only use they made of peace was to fly, with most unrighteous speed, to the authors of our calamities, and of such 'calamities as it might be thought could not at once have been forgotten, to visit a country which had filled our own with widows
FOREIGN ASSOCIATION. 7 and orphans, which had'made the rest of Europe a scene of desolation. Not only hundreds of thousands of our country, men, and women, and children, but millions of our money, so severely wanted at home, were transported from every port to visit this lately execrated country. To visit, did I say ? that had been little ; -a short excursion to feed the eye, and gratify the taste with pic- tures and statues, might have been pleaded as a natural temptation. Here we conceive the grave Christian moralist will censure the writer, as much as she censures the emigrants. He will say, " the desire is too natural to be right." Ifwe plead in mitigation of da- mages; that it was innocent curiosity, we shall be told, that it was a curiosity which one of our first parents believed innocent, but which lost them both Paradise. If it was a desire of knowledge, it might be a knowledge better unknown ; if to cure those prejudices, " for which our country is a name so dear," such pre. 134
8 FOREIGN ASSOCIATION. judices may better be retained than cured. But be this as it may, the truth is, that to multitudes, France was not made a place of a visit, but a home. For when these wonderful productions of art were restored to the places from whence they had been feloniously taken, did that allay the hunger of emigration ? France be- came the settled residence of multitudes. France was made a scene for the educa- tion of English, of _ Protestant children ! Sons and daughters, even in the middle ranks of life, were transported thither with an eagerness, as if the land of blood had been the land of promise. And as all fashions descend, not a few of our once simple, plain-hearted. English yeo- men were drawn in to follow the exam- ple of their betters, as they are not very correctly called. The infection became general, nor has time as yet stayed the ,plague. A late French wit *, who always pre- * Voltaire.
FOREIGN ASSOCIATION. 9 ferred a calumny to a fact, and was more fond of giving a neat turn to a sentence, than of speaking truth, after visiting this country about the middle of the last cen- tury, characterised its natives by saying, the English people resembled their own beer, the top was all froth, the bottom all dregs, but the middle was excellent. If this were at that time true, the middle class has now merged its distinctive cha- racter in the other two ; it is abandoning the honourable station in the cup which it then held, is adopting its worst ingre- dients from above and below ; and by its mixture with the froth and the feculence, has considerably lessened its claim to its once distinct commendation. But the evil, great as it is, does not end here ; numbers of a higher strain remain domiciliated in France, and too many who are returned, are more than It is almost too ludicrous to assert, that the wife .of a reputable farmer being asked lately what she had done with her daughter, replied, " I have Frenched her and musicked her, andshall now carry her to France." B 5
1) FOREIGN ASSOCIATION. ever assimilated with French manners. It is to. be feared, that with French habits, French principles may be im- ported. French alliances are contracted, as almost every newspaper records ; and an innovation which had hitherto been firmly resisted, a French theatre is esta- blished. We are losing our national. character. The deterioration is by many thought already visible. In a few years, if things proceed in their, present course, or rather with increasingvelocity-which is always the case with downward ten- dencies - the strong and discriminating features of the English heart and mind will be obliterated, and we shall be lost " in the undistinguished mass. In the mean time let us take warning from the consideration, that the first stage of decline is the beginning of dis- solution. Whatever has beginn already to decay, is not far from perishing. This contagious intercourse hag been too pro- bably the cause of the recent multiplica- tion ofthose great Sundayentertainments,
FOREIGN ASSOCIATION. 11 in the diminution of which we had begun to rejoice ; a multiplication which is as likely to contribute to the decline of reli- gion in the domestic arrangements of the, great, as any more obvious and ostensible evil. What would the veteran moralist, who, in his beautiful and vigorous satire, in- dignantly exclaimed, I cannot bear a French metropolis ; What would Johnson have said had he been spared till now ? How Would he laugh at Britain's modern tribe, Dart the keen taunt, and edge the piercing gibe ! How would he have poured out his ready wrath, his cutting sarcasm, his powerful reasoning, his robust morality, on a coun- trywhich is in danger ofdeserting its own character, impairing its own virtue, and discrediting its own religion. If the muse of a brother bard wept so pathetically the then imaginary distresses of the Deserted Village, what a plaintive descant would he have sung on a deserted .Country ! We set a just value on the French lan- B 6
FOREIGN- ASSOCIATION. guage as the introduction to much elegant literature ; to much indeed that is valu- able, but to more that is pernicious. But even this agreeable language, for the higher acquisition of which so many fin; portant sacrifices are made, so much do- mestic duty is relinquished, so much religious principle is hazarded, may be bought too aear. Even if this supreme excellence, the perfection of the Parisian accent, should obtain for an English lady the coveted distinction of being taken for a Frenchwoman ; does she not run some risk, even in her own country and her own home, from the habit of domes- ticating in our families persons of whom all she may -know is, that their accent is good ; of whose morals she knows little ; and of whose religion she knows nothing; except that, if they happen by great chance to have any, it is of a character hostile to her own. The only hope is, that the foreign teacher maycare so little about the matter, as never to introduce religion at all ; but this is not a very con-
FOREIGN ASSOCIATION. 13 soling consideration in the instructors of our children. There is another grievance connected with this mania for whatever is foreign, - a grievance not the less serious because it is overlooked, and because it affects only a subordinate class in society; -weallude to the injury sustained by our domestic manufactures from the abundant impor- tation of French articles of dress and decoration. We forbear to enter on the subject in all its painful extent ; we for- bear to advert to the looms that are stand- ing still, to the gloominess of our trading streets, to the warehouses that are left solitary, to the shops which are nearly deserted ; and shall confine our humble remonstrances to pleading more particu- larly the distress of those unfortunate females who used to procure a decent support by their own industry, and of whom thousands are now plunging into Misery. We would fervently but respect- fidly advocate the cause of this merito- rious and most pitiable class.
14 FOREIGN ASSOCIATION. If British patriotism be not a plea, suf- ficiently powerful to restrain a temptation, which can only be indulged by the viola- tion of laws, which perhaps the husbands and fathers of the fair offenders have es- tablished, we would appeal to the sensi- bilities a a well regulated hart, to the tenderness of an enlightened conscience, and to the dictates of justice and of cha- rity, whether it be pardonable to yield to every slight temptation, merely to gratify vanity, or, to speak more tenderly, to in- dulge a capricious taste. When tempted to make the alluring purchase by the superior beauty, real or imaginary of the article, might we not presume to recommend to every lady to put some such questions as the following to herself: By this gratification, illi- citly obtained, I not only offend against human laws, but against humanity itself; by this purchase I am perhaps starving some unfortunate young creature of my own sex, who gained her daily bread by weaving her lace.or braiding her straw.
ITOTtEION ASSOCIATION. 15 I am driving her to that extremity of want, which may make her yield to the next temptation to vice, which may drive her to the first sinful means that may offer of procuring a scanty, precarious, and miserable support. It is in vain that I may have perhaps subscribed for her being taught better principles at school, that I have perhaps assisted in paying for her acquisition of her little trade, if by crushing that trade I now drive her to despair, if I throw her on a temptation which may overcome those better princi- ples she acquired through my means. Shall I not then make this paltry - this no sacrifice ? Shall I not obtain a victory over this petty allurement, whose conse- quences when I first gave way to it I did not perceive ?" The distress here described is not a picture drawn by the imagination, a touch of sentimentalism, to exhibit feel- ing, and to excite it. It is a plain and simple representation of the state of mul- titudes of young women, who, having
16 FOREIGN ASSOCIATION. been bred to no other means of gaining their support, will probably, if these fail, throw themselves into the very jaws of destruction. Think, then, with tender- ness, on these thousands of young per- sons of your own sex, whom a little self- denial on your part might restore to com- fort - might snatch from ruin. Many ladies, who make these unlawful pur- chases, do not want feeling, they only want consideration. Consider, then, we once more beseech you, consider, that it is not merely their bread, but their vir- tue, of which you may be unintentionally depriving them ; and you will find, that your error is by no means so inconsider- able as it may hitherto have appeared to you. If the superiority of the foreign pur- chase you are about to make be not great, you have gained' little or nothing by your fault ; if it is, and you forego it, you have gained a victory over your own inclination, - the victory of an honest principle over a misleading fancy.
FOREIGN ASSOCIATION. 17 Spare yourself, then, the pain of feel- ing that, if you hear of any of these un- fortunate beings having, previously to their entering on, other sinful courses, been tempted by famine to commit a robbery - spare yourself the pain of re- flecting, that you, perhaps, by a thought- less gratification ofyour taste, first robbed her of that subsistence, the failure of which has driven her to a-crime she ab- horred. The evil which appeared little, considered by itself, considered in its possible consequences, is of no small magnitude. But to return. - It 'was from the land ofpolished arts that ancient Rome im- ported the poison of her sturdy morals, the annihilation of her masculine cha- racter. England has a palladium for her protection,which Ilium, whichRome never possessed. Yet onthat guardian genitis de- pended, as the people thought, the safety of the former; of the latter, it was consi- deredas the destiny. Ourpalladium is the CHRISTIAN, the PROTESTANT RELIGION.
18 FOREIGN ASSOCIATION. It cannot be taken by storm ; but, like that of Ilium, it may be taken by stra- tagem. The French are to us as much more formidable than the Greeks were to Rome, as we have more to lose. While our guardian genius remains inclosed within our walls, we shall be safe, in spite of wars and revolutions ; if we neglect it, like the besieged city of antiquity, we fall : losing our religion, we lose all with it. Religion is our compass, the only instrument for directing and deter- mining our course ; and though it will not save the trouble ofworking the ves- sel, nor diminish the vigilance of guard- ing against rocks and shoals yet it con- stantly points to that star which, by as- certaining our course, insures our safety. In making our country an island, Di- vine. Providence seems to have made a provision for our happiness as well as for our security. As that circumstance has protected us from the sword, it should also protect us from the manners of our con- tinental neighbours. The more England
FOREIGN ASSOCIATION. 9 labours to resemble them, the more she will lose of her independent character. Le goiit du kroir is often mentioned as the distinctive mark of the country which produces certain wines. The British character, we hope, will always retain its indigenous flavour.. But if Britain, blest by Heaven above all the nations, ancient or modern, re- corded in the annals of history, sacred or profane, has not made the most of all the advantages bestowed on her ; if she has not yet made the best use of that' elevation on. which Divine Providence has placed her ; if she has not yet applied to the best possible ends, the rich gifts with which he has endowed her ; nor turned the provision made for her happi- ness to the best account : if, -standing on the loftiest summit of naval, military, and literary glory ; if, favoured.with the best civil and religious constitution the wit of man has yet devised ;- if with all. these advantages, she has yet some steps to ascend before she reach the height to
FOREIGN ASSOCIATION. which the Almighty seems to have des- tined her, let her remember, she has re- sources within herself, by which, with the blessing of Him who conferred them, she may still set an example to all the kingdoms of the earth. We will not say she may acquire a superiority over other nations - of that she has long been in possession-No ; we must not try her by her comparative, but her positive merit not by placing her in juxta-position with other countries, but with the possibilities of her own excellence. Britain, we repeat, has abundant re- sources. If it be true that she has lately, in any respect, gone back, rather than advanced ; if, when her public character has reached its zenith, her private charac- ter is in anything deteriorated, she has still within herself all the materials of moral renovation ; ample means, not only of recovering what has been lost, but of rising to heights yet unattained. It is only to be wished that she may use these resources, and consider them as raw ma-
FOREIGN ASSOCIATION. 21 terials, that will not produce their effect without being industriously worked up. If the familiar and protracted inter- course with a neighbouring nation ; if, during this intercourse, the long-wit- nessed contempt of religion, morbid in- sensibility to morals, violated Sabbaths, an abandonment to amusements the most frivolous, to pleasures knit in one eternal dance ; - if all this should happily have left unimpaired, or have only tinctured, too slightly to make a lasting impression, the noble simplicity, the ancient recti- tude, the sound sense, and the native modesty which have long been the cha- racteristics of the British people ; if the growth at home, and within our own doors, of an intolerant and superstitious church, be not too fbndly fostered-be not promoted instead of tolerated ; if the paramount fondness in too many of the more delicate sex, for unbounded dissipation, for profane and immoral writers, should decline ; if the middle classes among us should return to their ancient sobriety and domestic habits ;
ie FOREIGN ASSOCIATION. should cease to vie with the great in ex- pensive dress, and the decorations of high life ; should cease to give their daughters the same useless accomplish- ments, which are carried too far even in the highest station, and in theirs are pre- posterous ; if the instruction we are at length giving to the poor be as conscien- tiously conducted as it is generally adopted, and the art of reading be made the vehicle of true religion ; if a judi- cious correction of our criminal Lode, and a prudent rectification of the de- mands of pauperism, be successfully fol- lowed up ; . if the African slave-trade should be effectually abolished - not in promises, and on paper, but in very deed and act ; if our prisons be made places of reform, instead of increased corrup- tion ; if the young offenders be so in- structed that they come not out as bad as the old, and the old come not out worse than they went in ; if our vener- able universities should fulfil the promise they give of becoming as distinguished for moral discipline and strict religion, as
FOREIGN ASSOCIATION. they have ever been, and they are now more than ever, unrivalled for learning and ability of everykind ; if churches be as readily attended, as they will be cheer- fully provided ; if there be the same ho- nourable attention paid to filling the pul- pits as to raising the buildings ; if the Bible be as generally read by the giver, as it is liberally bestowed on the receiver; if the good old practice of family-prayer should be revived, and public worship more carefully attended by those who give the law to fashion ; if those who are the makers of manners" will adopt none but such as deserve to be imi- tated : -if all these improvements should take place, and which of them, let me ask, is impossible ?- then, though we laugh to scorn the preposterous notion of human perfectibility, we shall yet have a right to expect that England, so far from being satisfied to excel other nations, will not only excel her present self; but be continually advancing in the scale of Christian perfection.
e4 FRENCH OPINION OF ENGLISH SOCIETY. THE French nation have lately had many opportunities for forming their opinion of the English. It may be worth our while to consider what opinion they have formed ; since by ascertaining their pre- sent judgment of the English character, we may form some instructive conclusions as to the change their tuition is likely to effect in it. Foreigners are of opinion that we want polish. If this were all, we should rather blame their discernment, or their defi- ciency in fair deduction. For grant us that we are solid, and we have high au- thority for saying that solid bodies take the brightest polish. And if in point of fact the English character, like the Eng- lish oak, be susceptible of no inconsider- 11 10-allisonlibrary.regent-college.edu