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Beyond Penn's Treaty

The Life of Thomas Eddy; Comprising an Extensive Correspondence

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the morals of its people as its best prop. What may
be found easy and practicable in the yet infant state
of society, may become difficult, and perhaps impossi-
ble, when evil habits descend from generation to
generation, until at length it becomes too gigantic for
human exertion. Comparatively speaking, the country
is yet virtuous. To permit it to retrograde, as it
becomes more wealthy and more populous, by an
inattention to the general progress of evil habits,
would be to entail upon posterity an excessive
calamity. The task is certainly not difficult at
present, since in the country there is little to fear, and
hence it would seem, that the energy of police would
only be necessary in the great towns, checking and
restraining those propensities, which lead to the cor-
ruption of morals. Nor ought it to be forgotten, that
an indulgence in many propensities, which half a
century ago were divested of their evil consequences,
from the then infant state of society, became noxious
as population increases. It is then drunkenness,
gaming, lewdness, and other offences, leading to the
corruption of morals, acquire their sting. They pro-
mote idleness; while want of employment, where
labour is necessary for subsistence, is the never failing
inroad to crimes.

I am induced to enlarge upon this subject, from
the facts you have disclosed, relative to the criminal
offences committed in the city of New York

. They
appear to me to be of a magnitude to excite a con-
siderable degree of alarm with respect to the increase
of criminality in the American towns; inasmuch as
it would appear that they greatly exceed the number
of larcenies and misdemeanours, committed in towns
in Great Britain, of an equal or even a greater popu-
lation; and although I have not had an opportunity
of ascertaining the fact, I have an impression on my
mind, that the annual convictions in the whole of
Scotland, where the population approaches two
millions of people, are short of those which take