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gone for ever! The setting sun, the succeeding twilight, the rattling cars, the train of labourers, announce the approach of evening, when many boards are spread, many husbands return to bless their families; scarce can she believe that he is not in the crowdfain would she persuade herself that she has been in a dream-fain would she fancy that yonder is he. Darkness pervades the earth; the neighbouring doors shut in the happy families; the beaming fires illumine the windows. Back she staggers to her dreary dwelling, and wakes to all the realities of her widowed state. The once cheerful chimney scarcely emits a taper blaze. Her children cry for bread, but her empty pantry affords it not. Tired nature soon brings them relief they sleep—they forget. Not so the widowed heart; busy, cruel memory calls back and doubles her departed joys; comparison doubles also her present misery—every avenue to hope is shut. Her big swollen heart would burst its narrow bounds, but for a gush of tears, in mercy sent to give it vent. The deep-fetched sobs wring out the big round drops in blest profusion, (who can say the luxury,) till glutted with grief, she sinks among her babes. Time, that sorrow-healing balm, softens at length the pungency of wo. The sympathising neighbours, the unrestrained complaint and tears,render her situation familiar; the wants of her children urge her to exertion for their support. Some sister-widow, pensioner on your bounty, consoles her with the news, that many benevolent hearts have united their efforts to relieve wants like hers. Hope steals in-she listens is comforted, plans schemes of industry, and exerts herself to become father and mother to her orphans.
Many such, dear Ladies, have eaten of your bread,
been warmed from your wood-yard, clothed from your web--in sickness revived by your cordials, consoled and soothed by your Managers. Blessed office !-they are your agents, Ladies; they are also the agents of your God, by whose ministration he is the Father of the fatherless, the Husband of the widow, the stranger's shield and orphan's stay. Blessed indeed is he who considereth the poor-the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble—the Lord will preserve and keep him alive, he shall be blessed upon the earth ; the Lord will strengthen him in the bed of languishing, and make all bis bed in sickness. Yes, blessed they who consider the poor, who devise liberal things! But more blessed still, ye, who, like the good Samaritan, bind up their wounds, pour the oil and wine of consolation into their bursting hearts, bring them to your homes, and share their griefs with them—who are eyes to the blind, feet to the lame, and make the widow's heart to sing for joy! May the blessing of them who are ready to pe, rish come upon you—may your persons be accepted in Christ; then shall a reward of grace accompany, and follow your labours of love. May you be blessed in your basket, and blessed in your store-blessed in your going out, and blessed in your coming in-blessed in life-blessed in death; and, through Christ the purchaser, blessed with the inheritance of his Saints, through eternity.
TO THE SAME.
April, 1806. It is with increasing pleasure, ladies, that we come forward, year after year, and report that the Society
prospers. In funds, in respectability, and most of all, in usefulness, it continues to advance, spreading wider and wider its salutary influence. Could we only repeat this year, as formerly, that the hungry are fed, the naked clothed, the sick nursed, provided with medicine and cordials, it were great, considering that the late epidemic has nearly doubled the objects of the Society's bounty; greatly embarrassed their circumstances, and left many of them in a debilitated state, little able for labour. There are now on the Society's books two hundred and one widows, with numerous families.
The managers have expended in meal, wood, flannel, shoes, &c. giving nothing to the well, but necessaries; for the sick and sickly, meat, fuel, tea, sugar, chocolate, &c.; wine and porter by order of the attending physician, two thousand four hundred and fifty-eight dollars thirty cents; besides very much for the sick from their own pantries, having it cooked in their own kitchens, and in many instances, giving daily personal attendance.
In the months of January and February, employment entirely failed them; many came forward at that time, who had not asked that in charity, which labour could procure.
The Secretary has informed you what was then done for their relief. Quantities of flax were given out at the same time that the ladies exerted themselves to procure work; yet, in little more than a month, all was cut and made up: the committee was obliged to extend the sum considerably.
The winter is now past; their humble dwellings. though long threatened, are not dismantled; their few necessaries, and some remnants of happier days, bright and clean, are still in their possession; cheerful spring
all not asked zany came to
opens upon them; trade begins to stir; and a gleam of hope breaks through the gloom, that they and their infants may yet eat their morsel at their own fire-sides. HOME!—who can tell the full import of that word, home? will not the recollection, that you have been instrumental in preserving a Home to these, sweeten your every comfort, and soothe your heavy hours?
Besides the general and particular good, done in the dispensation of the Society's bounty, much misery has been meliorated through the medium of its members, where, by its constitution, there could be no claim on its funds: a few facts will prove my assertion. An unfortunate French lady, who, with one infant, had escaped the last massacre at St. Domingo, was brought to New-York, and placed, by the captain of the vessel, in a low boarding house. She had been nine weeks in this city, unknown and unknowing; had sold some valuable trinkets, and pawned her watch to pay her board; when she was found by one of the managers of this Society. Mrs. Hoffman visited her, and by means of her numerous acquaintance, sought out her countrymen, got her history, character, and circumstances ascertained, and raised by subscription two hundred dollars ; furnished her with decent clothing suitable to the climate, and she is now in a comfortable situation.
On every hand, and all around, groans human misery; and Hope, the last to desert the wretched, points from every quarter her votaries to this Society.
Mrs. C—, a most interesting character, and of superior mind, not only an unfortunate, but an injured, person, without hope of redress, broken in spirits, and broken in health-was reduced, with her only child, to seek an asylum in the Alms-House; her
story was related in the board of this Society. Mrs. Hammond, one of the managers, took her into her own family, and nursed her with the greatest tenderness for many weeks; but health did not return. Her only chance for life, was her native air, (Ireland,) and she had there relations capable of supporting her. Mrs. R-, another of the Society's managers, set her face to the arduous task of raising a subscription to defray her expenses home. She succeeded not only to procure a passage for her and her child, but in the cabin, furnished with every necessary, and even with delicacies.
Mrs. R , one of the Society's widows, and her daughter, were ill of the yellow fever at the same time, in the same room, and in the same bed; the girl died, and, by the rude hands of the herse driver, was put in a coffin before the mother's eyes, and carried out. The mother became distracted to that degree, that she was obliged to be carried to the hospital, and confined in one of the cells. While in her own house, every effort had been made to alleviate her distress, and restore her. She was now given up to another Benevolent Society, where, to intrude might be deemed improper. Was she then deserted ? did no friendly voice salute her ear in her solitary cell? was no attempt made to turn her visionary flights of despair into the soothing channel of hope? Yes, ladies, yes, Mrs. S, her neighbour, acted in concert with Mrs. Mills, her manager, and visited her often; both exerted their utmost ingenuity to prepare for her clothing of such a texture and make, as should elude her attempts to tear. The last time I saw her was in the month of December; the ground was covered with snow, and the air piercing cold. When the keeper opened the