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against their weakness and folly. No such thing. You are Called on merely to withdraw your assistance from the cause of intemperance; not to volunteer reproof, but to refrain from encouragement. If every person now present, were to cease from this moment to purchase, or consume ardent spirit in any form, as an article of diet, or to offer it to his workmen, or friends, as a refreshment; if he were, moreover, to abstain from treating the use of it as a harmless luxury, and were careful never to sanction, by his acquiescence, any opinion advanced in its favor; if, I repeat, every man in this assembly were to pursue such a course, if he did, or said nothing more, the effect upon society would be very considerable. Almost every one will perceive what a different direction would be given to his influence.' pp. 14—16.
This is the true doctrine upon this subject, and the only true doctrine. The same principles are enforced in the Report of the Board of Counsel, which is appended to the Address.
'It appears to the Board, that it is in vain to inculcate lessons of temperance upon the poorer, and the laboring classes of society, until some change is produced in the habits and modes of thinking of the better informed classes. It is not intended to insinuate that the latter are addicted generally lo an injurious use of ardent spirits; but it is a fact that they are in every man's house, and upon every man's table; that they are regarded as a necessary article of household use; that the offer of them to visiters is thought no more than a proper act of civility. Now the labourer goes to them originally with precisely the same feelings, as his superior. He goes into the dram shop, just as the gentleman goes to his liquor case. He invites his companion in with him, to treat him, just as the other compliments his friend, when he calls upon him at his house. But the one is upon his guard, the other is not. The one can foresee consequences, and has a tender regard for his reputation, the other has not. The one has other sources of enjoyment and indulgence, reading and conversation; rich food and delicate wines; the other has this only resource.
'Now as example operates more powerfully than precept, and as the habits of the lower classes will be mainly those of the upper, the only course by which a decided effect can be produced is, by a sacrifice, on the part of the influential portion of society, of their habits, innocent possibly in themselves, with respect to the use of ardent spirits. The impression produced would be, probably, very great, if the use of spirituous liquors were to be
vol. III.—No. iv. 38
entirely dropped by a very considerable portion of the most respectable members of any community. This would at once be a serious and a perfectly intelligible appeal. If the rich man advises his poorer neighbours to drink no spirit, but confine themselves to beer, cider, and molasses and water, and at the same time displays upon his table for the entertainment of his friends, a variety of the choicest wines, and the most aged and costly brandies, his advice goes but for little. But if, when the rich advise the poor, they follow up their advice with the relinquishment of their own habits of indulgence, the effect will be decidedly very great.' pp. 18—20.
This Report contains also a distinct proposition with regard to the association of individuals for the suppression of intemperance, which, as it is in some measure novel in its character, and would be pretty extensive in its operation, appears at least worthy of a serious consideration.
'The Board would suggest to the consideration of the Society, whether a call might not be made with much propriety upon professors of religion as a body, to stand forth at first as the fileleader in such an undertaking. They form a society, permanent in its nature, pervading all parts of our country and of the community, united by a common interest, and a common feeling, and bound by their profession to be ready for any reasonable sacrifice for the promotion of faith, holiness, and virtue among men.
'It may be emphatically recommended to all churches of Christ, of every denomination, that they associate among themselves for the purpose of discouraging by their own example, all use of ardent spirits. Let each individual enter into an agreement, not to keep in his house, never to use himself, and never to offer to his friends any spirituous liquor of any kind, nor upon any occasion.
'There would be a great moral weight in an example of this kind, held out by so large a mass of respectable, and conscientious men; the attention of society would be at once attracted by such a project, and the thoughts of mankind would immediately be actively engaged upon the general subject. It would be glorious also to the church of Christ, and highly honorable to religion itself, for such an undertaking to spring up so directly from the influence of Christianity.
'It is better to make such an appeal to a definite body, to a society of limited extent, than to society at large. General appeals are commonly disregarded. Particular ones, it is more difficult to resist. If such a project should be acted upon, it would soon come to be a matter of course, among professors of religion, to abstain from all drinking, as scrupulously as they abstain from profanity, or lying, or gaming, pp. 20, 21.
It appears to us, that this suggestion strongly demands the attention of professors of religion; if not as a body, which there is room to doubt, nt least as individuals. We have no disposition to recommend it to churches, nor, we presume, was this the intention of the Society, to organize themselves into Societies for the Suppression of Intemperance. All that is necessary is, that every person who takes on himself the obligations of a member of the church, should seriously reflect whether his example individually, and also as forming a part of that body, may not exercise a salutary influence, if he totally abstain from all use of ardent spirits.
For our own part, believing that this national sin of intemperance,—existing as it always has to a tremendous extent, and increasing as it doubtless now does in a frightful ratio,—is one of the most serious evils which we have to dread as a nation, we think no sacrifice too great to be made by the temperate in the way of promoting the desirable purpose of reformation. And we recommend to all our readers the perusal of this pamphlet, as containing a perfectly just exposition of the part, which those who are themselves moderate in the use of stimulating drink, are to take in the amendment of those who are immoderate.
Art. IX.—The Works of Anna Leetitia Barbauld. With a Memoir, by Lucy Aikin. 3 vols. 12mo. Boston, David Reed, 1826.
Although more than half a century has passed since Mrs Barbauld first became known to the world by her writings, most readers, in this country at least, have been very little acquainted with her works and character. They have heard her name, and read the beautiful hymns she has written for children; but do not seem to have suspected her power to instruct and delight maturer minds. Perhaps Mr Buckminster's sermon preached before the Female Asylum, in which he mentioned her, has done more than than any thing else to fix her character. It has given her a traditional reputation for exquisite elegance and hallowed fancy; but it by no means conveys a just impression of the extent and variety of her powers. She has therefore been thought of as a writer, who had rather nothing to find fault with, than much to approve and admire; while in truth, to say that she was an eloquent advocate of her favorite opinions, a powerful controvertist, a fine poet, and playful satirist, would hardly give a right apprehension of the traits of various excellence by which she was distinguished from the early morning, to the late evening of her long and useful day. The fact we have mentioned may be in part accounted for, by her peculiar private character. Though she must have been conscious of possessing superior powers, she was unambitious of literary fame. She was only induced to prepare her first volume of poems for the press, by the earnest entreaties of her brother; and when it was ready for publication, had he not printed it on his own authority, her retiring disposition would probably have kept it from the world. With her, writing was not an effort for distinction, but a harmless and elevated pleasure. She never would give that devoted attention to any single department of writing, which is required to become greatly eminent in it. Neither would she attempt to suit and follow the popular taste; in all its changes, she remained unchanged. At first, her style must have appeared original and uncommon; but afterwards, when English poetical genius became more adventurous, aiming at what was striking instead of what was excellent, she would not alter with the taste of the day. Her readers are struck with the circumstance, that through fifty years of eminence, she maintained the same kind and degree of excellence. We should call her rather independent than original; but the last word would be far from misapplied to Mrs Barbauld, and we think there is much feminine beauty in this indifference to fame. She received it as a homage, never claimed it as a privilege or right. She let her light shine as unconsciously as the solitary cottager, who little thinks, as her evening candle seems only to gild the plants beneath her window, that it can be of use to any but herself, while perhaps it is guiding more than one benighted wanderer to a shelter.