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me presume to become an advocate for my sister, thcugh not fir iier fautl. She is very sensible of that, and sorry she has offenıled you ; bat has great hopes that Mr. Stebbins will prove such a careful and loving husband to her, as may atone for her past willness, and engage your forgiveness ; for all of your children are sensible of your paternal kindness, and that you wish their good more for their sakes than your own.
This makes it the more wicked to offard so good a father : but, dear sir, be pleased to consider, that it cannot now be helped, and that she may be made by your displeasure very miserable in her choice; and that his faults are owing to the inconsideration of youth : otherwise, it would not have been a very discreditable match, had it had your apprabation. I could humbly hope for my poor sister's sake that you will be pleased rather to encourage his present good resolutions by your kind favor, than to make him despair of a reconciliation, and so perhaps treat her with a negligence, which hitherto she is not apprehensive of: for le is really very fond of her, and I hope will continue so. Yet is she de jected for her fault to you, and wishes yet dreads to have your leave to throw herself at your feet, to beg your forgiveness and blessing, which would make the poor dear offender quite happy.
Pardon, sir, my interposing in her favor, in which my husband also joins. She my sister. She is your daughter; though she has not done so worthily as I wish, to become that character. Be pleased, sir, to forgive her, however; and also forgive me, pleading for her; who
Your ever dutiful daughter.
The Father's Answer. DEAR XANCY,
You must believe that your sister's unadvised marriage, which she must know would be disagreeable to me, gives me no small concern ; and yet I will assure you that it arises more from my affection for her, than any other consideration. In her education I took all the pains and care my circumstances would admit, and often flattered myself with the hope that the happy fruits of it would be made to appear in her prudent con. duct. What she has now done is not vicious, but indiscrect; you must remember, that I have often declared in her hearing, that the wild arsertion of a rake making a good husband, was the most dangerous opinian a young woman could imbibe.
I will not however, in pity to her, point out the many ills I am afraid will attend her rashness, because it is done, and cannot be helped ; but wish she may be happier than I ever saw a woman who leaped so fatal a precipice.
Her husband has this morning been with me for her fortune ; and it vas with much decision I told him, that as all she could hope for was at my disposa!, I should disburse it in suc a manner as I thought would most contribute to her advantage; aid that as he was a stranger to me, I should choose to know how he deserved it, before he had the power over what I intended for her. Ile bit his lip, and with a hasty step was my humble servant.
Tell the rash gir I would rat have her to be afflicted at this bebaloo
fou in me; for I know it will contribute to her advantage one way or other; if he married her for her own sake, she will find no alteration of behaviour from this disappointment; but if he married only for her money, she will soon be glad to find it in my possession, rather than his.
Your interposition in her behalf'is very sisterly: and you see I have not the resentment she might expect. But I truly wish, that she had acted with your prudence ; for her own sake I wish it.
I am your loving father
LETTER 43. From an Uncle to his Nephero, on the pernicious habit of drinking
to excess. DEAR NEPHEW,
When I consider your age, inexperience, and situation, and how of len you will, unavoidably, be led into company, I think I cannot employ a vacant hour better, than in laying before you a few thoughts on the detestable practice of drinking to excess ; "and I enter on this business the more cheerfully, because I am confident you have hitherto been careful to follow my advice. There is no vice carries a greater shame and odium in it than drunk.
There is no spectacle we behold with greater arersion and cuntempt. It sinks a man infinitely below the beasts that perish. The brutes are guilty of no excess : this is the prerogative of man. This shameful vice throws the mind into universal confusion and uproar; lays the understanding and reason in sad and deplorable ruins ; thing that can be called the image of God; extinguishes reason and infames the passions ; dethrones, the judgment, and exalts our worst desires in its place. The world has not in it a more contemptible sight than a rational creature in this condition. A famous republic of old ased to inake their slaves drunk, and expose thern in that condition to their children, that, by seeing their ridiculous actions, hearing their ridiculous expressions, and beholding that deplorable alienation of reason which this vice occasions, they might be effectually deterred from it. They thought, says an useful writer, that were they to apply wholly to ilie reason of their youth, it might prove to little purpose, as the force of the arguments, which they now employed, might not be sufficiently comprehended, or the impression might soon be effaced : but when they made them frequently eye witnesses of all the madness and absurdities, and at length of the perfect senselessness which the immoderate draught occasioned, the idea of the vile change would be so fixed in the minds of its beholders, as to render them utterly averse to its cause.
And may we not justly conclude it to be from herce, that the offspring of the persons who are accustomed thus to disguise themselves, often prove remarkably sober? They avoid in their riper years their parent's crime, from that detestation of it which they contracted in their earlier years. As to most other vices, their debasing circumstances are not jully known to us, till we have attained a maturity of age : nor can be then, till they have been duly attended to. But in our very childhood, at our first beholding the effects of drunkenness, we are stricken with as tonishment, that å rational
being should be thus changed, and be induced so make himself the object of scorn and contempt. And in:leed we must hold the man in the utmost contempt, whom we hear and see in his progress to excess ; at first, teasing you with his contentiousness and impertinence; mistaking your meaning and hardly knowing his own; then faultering in his speech; unable to get through an entire sentence; his hands trembling ; his eyes swimming ; his legs too feeble to support him; till at length you only know the human creature hy bis shape.
I cannot but add, that were a person of sense to have a just notion of all the silly things he says or does, of the wretched appearance he makes in a drunken fit, he could not want a more powerful argument against repeating the crinie.
But as none of us are incline: to think ill of ourselves, so done of as will know how far our vices expuse us. We allow them excuses which they meet not with from any but ourselves.
This is the case of all : it is particularly so with drunkards : many of whom their shame would undoubtedly reform, could they be brought to conceive how much they do of which they ought be ashamed.
Nor is it improbable that it is the very consideration, how much drunkenness contributes to make a man the contempt of his wife, his children, his servants, of all sober spectators, which hath proved the cause that it hath seldom been the reigning vice of any people possessed of refinement of manners. Nay, drunkenness prevails most amongst the sarage and uncivilized, amongst those of ruder understandings and less delicacy of sentiment. Crimes, as they are in men, there must be in all nations ; but the more civilized have perceived drunkenvess to be such an offence against common decency, such a prostitution of one's self to the ridicule and scoffs of the meanest, that in whatever else they might transgress, they would not do it in this particular; but leare a vice of such a degrading nature to the wild and uncultivated, to the supid and undistinguishing part of mankind, to those who had no notion of propriety of character, and decency of conduct. How late this vice became the reproach of our countrymen, we find in Camden's annals. Under the year 1581, he has this observation : “The Englislı, who hith. erto bad, of all the northern nations, shown themselves the least addicted to immoderate drinking, and been commended for their sobriety, first learned in these wars in the Netherlands, to swallow a large quantity of intoxicating liquor, and to destroy their own health by drinking that of others.”
There is hardly any vice which entails more complicated miseries upon the urbappy wretch that is a slave to it, than drunkenness. It gradually undermines the strength and vigor both of body and mind. We every day see the most deplorable effects of this most shameful vice, in the ruined health, constitution, and fortune of vast numbers of our fellow creatures. How many ingenious and industrious persons has this rendered useless and worthless! How many happy families does this daily recluce to indigence and beggary! How many innocent sufferers doth it involve in its deplorable consequences ! How many have ! kuown who began life creditably and reputably, with a basis, on which through industry and rirtue, to rear the structure of an ample fortune ; by contracting these fata! and cursed habits hare ruined themselves and
their families forever! For if all the vices there is none so incurable as this, wlien it is once contracted. Other vices leave us with age; this fixes its roots deeper, and acquires strength and firmness with re volving years. It kindles an infernal spark which is absolutely inextinguishable.
Besides, diunkenness is an inlet to all kinds of wickedness. For, when a man has no reason to direct him, he is prepared for any enor mity. It gives every species of temptation power over us, by disqualifying us for consideration, and by extinguishing in us all regard to prudence and caution.
It stimulates us to follow the rashest advice of our companions, be cause not allowing us to reason upon it, and incapacitating us for self government, it of course abandons us to the guidance of those with whom we are the most pleased, of those who countenance all our excesses.
It certainly lays us open to the greatest crimes; because when we are thoronghly heated by the inebriating draught, we are then enamored of what is daring and extravagant, we then aspire to bold and desperate undertakings, and that which is the most licentious then carries with it the appearance of a great and glorious enterprise adapted to a courage ous and intrepid mind. Hence rapes, adulteries, murders, acts of the last inhumanity and barbarity, have been perpetrated : actions, for which, if the very thoughts of them could have entered their minds in their sober moments, they would justly have abhorred themselves. Alexander the Great, at the instigation of a drunken harlot, issued from his
cups, with torches, and burnt Persepolis, the metropolis of the Per. sian empire, one of the most stately cities in the whole world.
The most fatal mischief, from which one branch of the medical profession derives its principal support, very frequently results from a state of intoxication. Young persons, when inflamed with wine, hesitate not to throw themselves, in this state of inebriety, into the arms of the very lowest class of prostitutes, with whom all great cities swarm in the midnight hours-creatures covered with filth, itch, and rags, putrid with disease, and devoured with vermin, whom in their senses and sober bours they would have regarded with the utmost detestation and horror.
I am your affectionate uncle.
From a younger to an older Brother. DEAR BROTHER,
Beside the inclination that I have to write to you concerning every thing that happens to me here, I find it is a duty. My mother tells me, that having now no father, I am to look upon you as one; I do not know whether it will be to my advantage or not ; but of this I am sure, that I shall find in you all the indulgence, and none of the severity.
My mother gave me her commands, when she parted from me, that I should consider you in this double light; she bade me not lose that respect which was due to your years, and more due to the care which she had desired you to take of me, in that familiarity we used to live to gether as acquaintance: I am sure I sliall obey her.
You may remom
ber that she followed me to the stage, but you cannot know the reason ; I suppose affection did not want its part, but there was something be side ; she took that opportunity of giving me this command, being wil. ling to say these things rather before strangers than yourself.
I hope I have not, brother, been bred up with so good a person as you, 'to be ignorant of that respect which is due to a parent. I should bave obeyed the command had it been delivered in any manner, but I could see her hold up her handkerchief many times when she spoke to
O brother, every tear she shed has cost me a thousand ! but do not speak of it to give her uncasiness ; I only name it to you to show how seriously I received her instructions; he that can disregard a parent's command, deserves nothing of that lengtu of life which is promised to the obedient; but if there be any who can slight a mother's tears, the world ought to disown him.
I do assure you, I am resolved to obey her perfectly ; and I give you this account as an engagement to that obedience ; perhaps you will say, It is a first fruit of it; but, however that be, you have it to reproach me withal, if ever I forget to obey you as a father, while I love you as a brother I am, with the most true affection and respect,
Yoar obedient brother.
LETTER 45. From a Merchant's Widow to a Lady, a distant relation, in be
half of her two Orphans. MADAM,
When you look at the subscription of this letter, I doubt not of your being much surprised with its contents ; but it is more on account of your amiable character, than that I have the honor of being your rela tion, that I have presumed to trouble you with this.
My late hus'sand, whom you know was reputed to be in affluent cir. cumstances, has been dead about six months; his whole accounts have been settled with his creditors ; and because of many losses and bad debts, there is not above one thousand dollars left for myself; I have a son just turned of fourteen, whom I want to bind apprentice to a reputable trade; and a daughter near seventeen, whose education has rendered her incapable of acting as a menial servant, but who would wil. lingly be the companion of some young lady, where she might be treated with familiarity and tenderness. In circumstances so distressing, I have presumed to address myself to you; your long acquaintance with the world will enable you to direct me how to proceed, and I doubt not but your unbounded generosity will induce you to comply with a request dictated by the severity of affiction.
I am, with respect, your humble servant.
The Lady's Answer. MADAM,
I know not whether I am more affected with the modest ropresenta man of your affliction, or pleased that I are it in my power to assisk