Walker, Charles
Autograph Letter Signed, Boston, June 14, 1820 to Rev. S. G. Dwight

quarto, 4 pages, paper tanned, some slits along folds, edges a bit chipped and somewhat ruffled, else in good legible condition.


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Walker apparently a missionary in the city of Boston describes his efforts to reform and temporize the members of his community:

            "In preparing a short statement of my labors during the six weeks I have spent in this town, I should be extremely happy, were I able to give an account of good effects among that class of community for which the mission was particularly designed. But this is out of my power. Whether this want of success among that class of people is owing to my own unfaithfulness or to their extreme hardness & depravity will be known at the judgment of the Great Day....

            It is a lamentable fact, that but very few of those who ought to attend the meetings holden by missionaries, have a disposition to do it, while those who are accustomed to attend public worship on the Sabbath are very willing to attend these meetings. Visiting from house to house is therefore almost the only possible means of benefiting those whose ignorance & degradation demands the exertions of Christian benevolence and even this is attended with many obstacles & discouragements.

               The intemperate use of spirituous liquors is, I am persuaded, not only the chief obstacle to the success of missionary labour, but is the principal original cause of the necessity of such labors - and the immense number of grog-shops the main spring which set this whole system of inequity and depravity in motion. When I see written over the door "Licensed to retail spirits" I have in my mind almost invariably this association - Licensed to send souls to hell!

               The following is an account of the meetings, which, with the exception of three or four evenings, I have attended each week.

               On Sabbath evening at a small meeting house in South Boston. A considerable number, probably about one hundred have usually attended. This has been my most interesting meeting. Persons of all classes & character were present & an attentive sober deportment has been manifest during the exercises.

               ... I have spent the forenoon of two Sabbaths in the prison in this town, and one Sabbath at the State Prison Charlestown.

              ... Much good, I am persuaded, might be done by missionary exertions in South Boston, were it not for the multitudes who "walk out" or "ride out" of town to that place on the Sabbath. To accommodate these gentlemen & ladies, some of the grog-shops must be kept open on that holy day, and the effects of these examples & this confusion, on the moral condition of that place are extremely deleterious. I remonstrated with a widow woman in that place for selling spirits on the Sabbath. She was considerably affected, but plead her poverty and the wants of her children as her excuse; adding that she took more money on the Sabbath than in all the rest of the week. She still continues the practice. ..."