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Mrs. Mary Bayly
“Whensoever ye will ye may do them good.”-MARK xiv. 7.
1122 CHESTNUT STREET.
Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1859, by the
AMERICAN SUNDAY-SCHOOL UNION, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Eastern District of
NOTE TO THIS EDITION.
THERE are few subjects that have a closer relation to the peace and good order of society than the habits and habitations of those who are found in the lowly walks of life. Such of us as are called to take an active part in the management of our Refuges and Homes for the Poor and Friendless, and whose official duty it is to sit, week after week, and listen to tales of domestic wretchedness and suffering which are there recited, have some conception of the nature and extent of the evils and distresses of poverty and vice combined. But it is only those who go up into the narrow and dirty loft, or down into the damp and loathsome cellar, and learn by the sickening testimony of their senses what the “homes" of many of the poor really are, that can justly appreciate the difficulty or the merit of efforts made for their relief.
There are multitudes of really poor families who live comfortably and respectably. By industry, temperance and the most rigid frugality, they manage to keep soul and body together; and it is only when some sudden calamity overtakes them, as sickness, or the privation of some limb or sense, that they feel the need of aid from without. And such aid is never withheld when a call for it is seasonably made. But there is another, and a large multitude, degraded, debased, brutalized, and seemingly incapable of improvement, some of whom may have seen better days perhaps, and have been reduced to rags and wretchedness by the demon of strong drink, who has taken possession of one or both parents, while others have never known what cleanliness or comfort is. They have sunk lower and lower in the social
scale, until they are scarcely distinguishable (except by form and articulate speech) from the dogs, and pigs, and cats that dwell with them.
We have secular-schools and Sundayschools, churches, and ministers of the gospel-an unfettered Bible, and liberty of conscience, and yet hundreds of thousands of men and women, youth and children, are found on our soil as ignorant of God, of His will, of the principles of moral duty, and of their own immortal nature and destiny, as the Hottentot or the Fijian. With all the opportunities and advantages of learning which are within reach, boys and girls grow up without a knowledge of reading or writingand their parents think almost as little of their intellectual and moral improvement as if they were horses or mules.
It is maintained that this condition of things is not inevitable. Important inroads have been made already upon this dark and revolting territory. The counsel and sym