Our Civilization is Going to Hell, Version 1853

September 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

May 21, 1853

In all Christian communities, the Sabbath is esteemed and observed as a day of sacred rest, when the labors and turmoils of the week being ended, peace and quiet conspire to draw the mind to the contemplation of more elevated joys than those of earth. Do our laws contemplate, does our safety permit, or do good morals invite the assemblage of negroes in large groups about the streets on the Sabbath, engaged in wrestling, drinking, playing marbles, cursing and swearing? Are they allowed to gallop horses at a furious rate through the streets, to the imminent danger of all who are compelled to be abroad? Does the law allow slaves to own horses, cattle, fire-arms, &c; or if it does, do masters consult their best interests by permitting such things? If the laws do not authorize such license to our slave population, are our civil magistrates doing their duty in permitting them to be set at defiance, as is done to an alarming extent, openly and boldly? These things, together with the pernicious and unlawful practice of permitting negroes to hire their own time, are the reasons why masters have so much trouble in governing their slaves. Under such a discipline it is not surprising that we have frequent instances of gangs of slaves fleeing into Mexico, mounted and equipped in the best manner with their master’s horses, arms, &c. But the negroes of this community are not the only plagues on the Sabbath, and at nights.

The parent of every son ardently desires to see that son walk in the paths of virtue, temperance, truth and knowledge. In this respect, the wish of the parent may be gratified, but if it is not, who is to blame? A walk past the resorts for gambling and intemperance at night, or through the streets of the city on the Sabbath, will give an answer to this question, such as should fill the heart of every parent with deep anguish. On the last Sabbath, in one part of the city, was a gang of riotous boys from six to twelve years of age, engaged in stoning the house of a deranged and helpless woman, whose cries and the yelling of the boys was a disturbance to all the families in the neighborhood; and in another part of the city, on its principal thoroughfare, was to be seen a crowd of boys of all ages, from five to fifteen, two of whom were engaged in a fierce fight, while the others were gathered around, each encouraging their favorite with hurrahs and the usual exclamations attending upon the contest of two muster-ground bullies!

One of our judges, in charging the grand jury in a neighboring village recently, made remarks to the following import: He said that most of the jurymen had, like himself, been acquainted with the state of society in the town, from its earliest settlement, and they could bear him witness that scarcely a single youth who had grown up within its precincts gave promise of being anything else than a disgrace to his family and an incubus upon society. This he attributed mainly to the sin of gambling and its attendant vices – habits contracted and confirmed in boyhood through the criminal negligence of the parents and the equally criminal leniency of courts and juries. Alas, how true! must be the mournful exclamation of every parent who takes a calm and candid review of our own community.

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