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own sex, I might urge this argu- they introduced to you, and for ment to their patriotism more at whom they seemed to expect your length ; but there are other consid- quiet sufferance out of regard to erations which are more peculiarly the less fastidious of the audience, appropriate to you. Ifan enlighten- if not you welcoming applauses on od love of country be opposed to your your own account. It was at your attendance at the Theatre, still expense alone, of all who composed more opposed to such a practice is their “ splendid house," that they a just sense of what is due to your boasted of the "success" of their selves. For how can you reconcile experiment, and that “ there was your presence there with female now nothing to fear.” delicacy and self-respect ?-to be But their vaunting was libellous. entertained with rehearsals and ex- Your drooping heads told them, hibitions which would be scandalous that yours was not yet that easy in any lady's drawing-room ?-nay modesty which might be thus far to be even seen there, where apart presumed upon without offence; from the indecencies of the stage and to recover your complacency, itself, the modesty of your sex is they added more fig-leaves to their scandalized by the very presence of Parisian favorite's apron. But the the audience? It is not enough object was gained. It sufficed for to say of the company at a play- the present. The crowd with one house, that indecent characters are voice was with them, and your there : the place is rank and noi- frown was not followed by your absome with them ; the vulgar and sence. They penitently restored profane, the dissolute and lost to an inch while you graciously yieldshame, resort in crowds thither as ed an ell. They respectfully huif it were their own assembly and moured your prejudices, and you proper place of meeting, and the condescendingly forgave their livirtuous and refined are altogether centiousness. Vice always puts the lesser number--the poor and on meekness when virtue looks disshamed minority. Where the vile tressed, and seduction is a most res. are entertained, the virtuous are pectful wooer scandalized, and where the vulgar It would be rudeness to say, you applaud, the refined suffer indig- are in the school of apt masters, and pity.
that they will make one attainment The late introduction of Madame of the scholar subservient to anothHutin at the Bowery, the managers, er. But I may be permitted to reor their hireling writers, tell us, was mark, that none know better than the a'ibold experiment.” So it doubt. managers of theatres, that the transless was. But upon whom or what ition from the rudiments to the was the experiment made ? Upon higher branches is by successive the moral sense of the rabble in the and easy steps. And though they gallery ? Upon the manly decen- will not attempt to overcome your cy of the apprentices, and clerks, prejudices, as they call your modest and transient men in the pit ? No, scruples, all at once, yet, it will not but upon the modesty of the la- be, because they do not understand dies : upon the shrinking delicacy the arts of their profession, if, one which the managers feared might by one, they do not overcome them still reside in the pure bosoms of all at last. those I am addressing. For they In respect to Madame Hutin it hesitated whether after all your dis- was very natural that her Bowery cipline in their “school of moral friends should forgive her, for Folly. sty," you were yet quite prepared as well as Wisdom, is justified of for the creature of the French stage her children ; but as it respects the
public generally, we may thank the virtue. To say you bear with them “enterprising manager” that he has for the sake of the better parts of called forth its voice in such a man- the performances, is to make amusener as shows, not merely its disgustment of more account than decenat the exhibition of French nudities cy: it is to sacrifice your self-resamong us, but its virtuous indigna- pect to your love of pleasure. To tion at the whole mass of theatrical say you suffer them because your abominations. For, not to make acqaintance do, is to say propriety too much of Madame Hutin, as is with you a thing of fashion. though hers were an individual You are drifters with the current shame, there are a thousand sins be it clear or muddy. To say you against decency, scarcely less hein- tolerate them, like good republicous than her performances ;-things ans, in deference to the loose majorwhich equally offend modesty and ity of the house, is to sanction their shock piety, and to speak of which profligacy, and consent to your own were to speak of matters of common reproach. You condescend to a notoriety. Your popular plays compromise with the vile, that you abound with them. And these may share with them the amusethings are exhibited for your amuse. ments of the place. In common ment? But if they are, and you fairness, you can do no less. It can regard them with complacen were a hard case, if privileges which CV; nay, if you can suffer them equally belong to all, were made the with any degree of patience, if you monopoly of a few.-Verily, the do not feel that every virtuous sen- theatre is a most peculiar institutiment of your bosoms is outraged tion !--without its parallel, except by them, what is the world to think perhaps in the ancient feasts of Cy. of your respect for modesty, for bele and Saturn. Here virtue piety, and for yourselves ?
stoops to vice and shame is priviIt might be asked too, what opin- leged; wealth and fashion forget ion your male acquaintances will their aristocracy, and elegance and form,-your gallant friends espe- taste consort with more than plebecially who go with you to the Thea- ian coarseness. tre, and scan your countenances If in these reflections I have dwelt while you heed the play. For, de exclusively on the grosser immorpend upon it, the effect of these alities of the stage, it is because “ experiments" will not escape they are of a more obvious and tantheir scrutiny. And be assured, gible character, and because cirthe conclusion they will form will cumstances have lately directed the not flatter you; for your very pre- public mind to them; and not be. sence there will more than contra- cause they have exclusively affectdict an occasional tinge upon your ed my own mind. For corrupting cheek, while the modesty that can as the looser immoralities of the encounter every grossness abroad, stage are, particularly to my own will naturally be regarded as little sex, it may be doubted whether better than prudery at home. True other effects of the drama are not modesty is not the pliant osier, that even more pernicious to the female does not fear the storm : it is rath- mind. A mother might fear the er the timid sensitive-plant, that polluting comedy for her son, but shrinks from the touch of rudeness. more the absorbing tragedy for her
What apology you may form in daughter. Pride, ambition, and respect to the indecencies of the revenge, lust, seduction, and murstage, I cannot easily imagine. To der, are, I need not tell you, the say you admit them for their own materials of which the tragedy is sake, is to deny your respect for composed ; and it is not to be ima. gined that the delicate mind of a though you may escape the evil, female, young and imaginative as you cannot but know that to thoushe may be, can be agitated by sands of others the theatre is tbe scenes like these, heightened as gateway to ruin ; and you cannot their effect is, by the accompani- but reflect how repugnant it must ments of the stage-the scenery, be to Christian benevolence, if the acting, the night season, the through encouraging the theatre contagious sympathy of a crowd you contribute to the spread of a and yet suffer no depravation. If moral pestilence around you, or if she be not herself transferred to the baply by your example, you should world of fiction which enchains her lead even one fellow-being to the senses, and become a sombre and chambers of death. artificial being, the effect will a But I will not dwell on this vier least be something worse. The of the subject. I have wished holy sympathies of nature, which chiefly to suggest to you other conGod gave her for other purposes siderations, and such as are peculthan pastime, by constantly per- iar to your sex. I have wished to verting, she at length becomes be- address you as ladies—as those in rest of ; and acquires something of whom I might find modesty, intelthe same recklessness of feeling ligence, and virtue, and all the elewhich she witnesses in the drama. vated characteristics of your sex. Indeed, it is not to be conceived, And now may I not ask such, if the that she should make herself fa- respect which is due to yourselves miliar with all the desperate pas- and to your sex, if a just regard for sions and dark adventures of hu- the common decencies of life, if man life, as matters of amusement, every sentiment of virtue, of piety, and lose nothing of the native de- and of patriotism, rises up in re licacy and incorruptness of her monstrance against the theatre, are mind.-But it was not my design you not persuaded to withdraw your. to analyze the stage, nor to attempt selves forever from that corrupting to show its various evil influences. institution ? Do you say, your Much is to be set down to wasted withdrawing will not deter others ? sympathies and perverted sensibili. It is always well to do what is right, ties-to vice made attractive and do others as they may. But you virtue made repulsive-to time mis- underrate your influence. Let the spent, money misapplied, and a theatre once be forsaken of you, heart deceived. Particularly, it and depend upon it, the respecta. was not my design to speak of the ble of the other sex will promptly repugnance of the stage to the spir- retire with you. They will hardly it of the gospel ; although from this think it for their credit to be where source linight derive the most im- plumes and bonnets are ashamed to pressive considerations. If the lan- keep them in countenance. The guage of Religion is "Neither forni- merely decent will soon follow; and cators, nor adulterers, nor effemin- the place will then be left only to ate, nor thieves, nor drunkards, nor the vile, and no respectable man revilers, shall inherit the kingdom will think of showing himself at the of God,' how shall she not utter her playhouse, any more than he will anathema against the nursing mo- think of being seen at certain other ther of all these abominations ? places of resort, of which the play. And how shall her divine influences house will then be regarded as the follow you thither--where your chief. To the vile then let it be countenance is with her enemies, left. It is their proper house of as. and your hands help to build the sembly. Do this act of justice to strong hold of her adversary? And yourselves and to your country, and
you shall at least receive the grati- paragraphs. Then follows usually tude of one who is
another class of things which are amiss ; namely, lukewarmness in professors, errors in doctrine, heretical teachers, conformity to the
THE ANNUAL NARRATIVES OF EC It is not obvious to me what benCLESIASTICAL BODI ES.
efit is effected by the stated and
general mention of these things as I AM accustomed to look over the matters of fact, from year to year. published "minutes" of our prin- It conveys no information, imparts cipal ecclesiastical assemblies, and no impulse to the public mind, and particularly their annual “ narra- originates no measures ; while it tives of the state of religion within does impart prolixity to a document their bounds.” I have just laid which, being intended for general down that of the last General As- perusal, ought to be as dense and sembly at Philadelphia. It would forcible as possible. If a particular seem to me that a large number of vice exists peculiarly in a particular clergymen, coming together from place, or if any public immorality is all parts of the land, might bring becoming increasingly and alarm. with them a great deal of definite ingly prevalent in the land, then the and valuable information respecting distinct and solemn reprehension of the moral condition of the country, it by a venerable assembly of min. and that this information, properly isters may have some salutary ef. embodied and sent forth, might fect ; but I look for no such effect produce some good impression on from an annual, and very general, the public mind. Our annual "nar- and matter-of-course mention, of ratives,” however, are commonly immoralities which exist in no new written in such a manner as to pro- degree, and in no place in particuduce, I apprehend, but very little lar, but are the common immoraliinterest. There is a certain round ties of the world, which have ex. of topics, and a certain sameness of isted and will exist every where style in them from year to year. among men, till a generation shall They resemble in this respect our be born more happy than the world annual thanksgiving proclamations, has yet seen. I attach, indeed, no which, with only a change of date, great importance to these strictures, might answer for a decade of years but it may be worth suggesting as well as for one, and might as well whether the introduction of the tobe stereotyped as to put the prin- pics I am speaking of, may not as ters to the annual trouble of setting well be, at least sometimes interup the types anew. They uniform- mitted, if not generally omitted. ly give us “a mixture of light and There are several respects in shade, of lamentation and rejoic. which the kind of documents I am ing.” Thus, for the dark shades, considering might be animadverted we have a regular report of certain upon ; but I shall not particularize immoralities which, the meeting them. They should be written, if laments, still exist in divers parts of they are worth writing at all, with the land, as if we were in the annu- more freshness of matter and manal expectation of these immorali- ner--in a word, with more elaborties having come to an end-name- ateness and force of style, and more ly, sabbath-breaking, profane swear- fullness and definiteness of inforing, intemperance, gambling, and mation. Whether they might be the like. These several topics are made to embody such a mass of commonly spread out into as many collected facts as should give us afVol. 1.-No. VIII.
nually a distinct moral map of our whom he addresses ! This I wit. country—such a map, for example, nessed, some twenty years ago, in as was furnished by the “ Macedo- one of the ablest ministers this nian Cry” at the date of its publica- country has produced ; and it aftion, and wbether they might exhi- forded me a durable caution. bit the collected results of inquiries on a great variety of subjects, such as prisons, pauperism, the statistics of intemperance, (and not merely the general fact of its exis REMARKS ON MUSICAL TASTE. tence,) the education of the young
He, who should walk forth for -in some States shamefully unattended to if not unprovided for,
enjoyment at eventide, if accompa
nied by one entirely insensible to together with many other things res.
the glories of heaven and the lovepecting which extensive informa
liness of earth, would find his own tion is desirable, but not easily at
emotions most sadly disturbed, as tainable by local societies, or legistures--whether these things, I say,
he might utter them to his heedless
coinpanion ; and would most heartmay be comprised in a paper which professes to inform us of the moral
ily regret, that he went not alone to state of the country, I merely set
indulge his admiration and his love.
The sympathies of the grove and down as a query. But it surely
the brook, and of those beings seems to me, that a congress of divines might give us something more
whose inarticulate voices proclaim
their interest in the scene, would than a few trite remarks on a few
be to him more pleasant than the common-place subjects.
blighting presence of his fellow, whose soul disdains to mingle with
the spirit that breathes around him, To the Editor of the Christian Spectator.
and from whom creation solicits in
vain the smallest tribute of praise. Your Correspondent, Franklin, The traveller, who has made bis last in your number for June, remarks effort to gain an Alpine summit, that " a writer under the signature from which the prospect of granof V. in the Spectator, seems to deur and beauty is so delightfully think that Walker's dictionary is overwhelming to his soul, exhaustgood authority for pronunciation.” ed as he is, would rather expose As it was no part of my object to himself to all the dangers of soliquestion his authority in this par- tude, than be attended by another ticular, I did not directly do it. I whose feelings will give no responam glad F. has taken this occasion ses to what is calling so loudly from to give the information contained in every object beneath his eye. His his short article. If the opinion of excitement might almost prompt an anonymous writer can be of any him to exclaim ; Better for me to weight, I wish to say that I am un die here alone, than to be aided by willing even to “ seem to think one in whom I must witness so cruWalker's dictionary," or in fact any el, so unnatural a destitution of the other dictionary, good authority noblest, the sublimest feelings of for departing from the current pro the soul. In each of these instannunciation of “respectable people" ces, the insensibility manifested in the region where we reside. seems to the enraptured heart, not Why should a lawyer lose his cause, less inconsistent and unexpected, or a preacher his grand object, by than the blast of the wintry storm, becoming a polite barbarian to those breaking in on the playful scenes of