[The Societies.] The SPIRITUAL GOVERNMENT.31


such like openly scandalous Persons, Men or Women: And on the Lord's Day to inspect Victualling Houses, to prevent Tippling, and for taking up Drovers or Carriers that travel on that Day; and such as carry Goods and Wares about the Streets to their Customers, or such as are found at unlawful Sports and Pastimes.

This Design was at first violently opposed by the Champions and Advocates for Debauchery: Yet by the Favour of King William and Queen Mary, and Countenance of the Clergy of the greatest Figure in the Church, and particularly his Grace John, then Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, by his Circular Letters, and since by Queen Anne's favouring thereof, and the Zeal of the Persons concerned in it, it hath prospered in a degree exceeding great, and beyond what Human Wisdom did or could expect. And many virtuous Persons, of the several Denominations of Protestants, readily agreed to join Hearts and Purses in the Prosecution thereof: So that more than twenty thousand Persons, divers Years ago, have been convicted for Swearing, Cursing, Drunkenness, or Profanation of the Lord's Day, in and about the City of London and Westminster.

Opposed, but succeeds.

Before this Society are Sermons preached quarterly, by some of the eminent Preachers of the Town, and sometimes by Bishops, in Bow Church in Cheapside; where are vast Assemblies present. In these Sermons the Members of the Society are encouraged to go on in the good Work, and not to be disheartened with the Oppositions they sometimes meet with from Evil Men. And for the more common Profit, the said Sermons are usually made publick.

Sermons preached before this Society.

The Fame of this Society for the Reformation of Manners, hath spread far and near to a Wonder, (and that with much Credit and Approbation to them that are concerned therein) not only about the Parts of England, but in Scotland and Ireland; and in Foreign Parts among all Protestants, in Holland, Germany, Switzerland, the Grisons, &c. So that the Zeal of these Reformers hath provoked many to do as they have done, for the putting some Check to the open-faced Impieties of the Age, so scandalous to Christianity. These Endeavours, for the Honour of the City of London where it began, have been applauded and recommended in a publick Manner (as fit to be imitated by other Christian States) by the Commissioners of several French Churches, who were appointed to take this Affair into their Consideration; and approved likewise by the Commissioners of the General Assembly in the Church of Scotland. And there were some Years ago thirteen of these Societies set up in Scotland.

The Success of the Society for Manners.

Account of the Progress of the Reformation of Manners, printed in 1703.

The Book of the Account of these Societies hath been translated into French and High Dutch, and Latin, for the propagating the same Design in other Nations. And many Learned and Pious Persons in divers Parts of Europe and America are already successfully engaged in promoting this Work by Societies, after the Example begun here; as in New England, Jamaica, &c. Letters came from Switzerland, Ann. 1700, that they were making some Progress in this Undertaking: From Schaffhusen, that they rejoyced to hear of this Zeal in England, and that they had Examples of the same sort of Societies: From the Divinity Professor of Hall in Saxony, that it had a particular good Effect at Nurenburgh, where there was a Society of a great number of Citizens that had begun to meet at each other's Houses, upon a Religious Account.

At Neufchastel they bought up some Hundreds of Copies of the Account of the Societies; which were sent to all the Consistories of that State, in order to dispose them to a Reformation of Manners. At Zurick it was recommended to a Meet- ing of a Synod of Divines. And the Account of the Religious Societies was translated and printed there; and Orders were given from other Protestant Cantons for buying up some Numbers of them. One had put it into the German Language, and it was intended to be dedicated to the States; and Care was taken to make it known all over Germany.

In the Country of the Grisons an Assembly of Divines met, where an Account of these Designs of Reformation was given, and would be laid before their Synod, when they met. An Envoy of a great Prince to the Cantons signified from Bern, that they all blessed God for the Success of this Holy and Religious Society, and were themselves inclined to enter into a Correspondence, &c. A Proposal was made at Berlin for translating the Account of the Society into the Danish and Swedish Languages; and a Design was there laid, of setting up and carrying on of Societies in Denmark and Sweden. And the King of Denmark's Chaplain sent hither into England Order, to send him over the Books relating to the Reformation, in order to the setting forward the same Design in that Kingdom.

In one of the Sermons preached divers Years ago before these Societies, it is declared, that more than thirty thousand Persons had been convicted by this means for profane Cursing and Swearing; and near the same number of Lewd and Disorderly Persons brought to a merciful Punishment, and were thereby reclaimed from their Vices, or restrained from the Publick Scandal of them. And that above an hundred thousand of Books of Religion, and Dissuasives from the Vices of the Age, have been given away by Order of these Societies; and that the Inhabitants of this City could attest this Truth, that of late Years Lewdness and Profaneness hath visibly decreased.

By Dr. Kennet, An. 1701. now Lord Bishop of Peterburgh.

This Society (that the Benefit thereof might the better appear) does yearly set forth an Account of the Progress made in suppressing of Profaneness and Debauchery, by their means. The fourteenth Account came out Decemb. 1, 1708; wherein the Number of Persons prosecuted and proceeded against by the Magistrates for the Year before, was as follows:

Their Account for the Year 1708.

Lewd and Disorderly Men and Women,} 1255
Keepers of Bawdy and Disorderly Houses,} 51
Keepers of common Gaming-Houses,} 30

Persons for
{ Exercising their Trades or ordinary Callings on the Lord's Day,
{ Profane Swearing and Cursing,
{ Drunkenness,
} 1187
} 626
} 150

And by the Endeavours of the said Societies, many Thousands of Lewd and Scandalous Persons have been brought to Legal Punishment. Great Numbers have been convicted in the Court of King's Bench, and at the Sessions, for keeping Bawdy or Disorderly Houses, and punished by Fine, Imprisonment, &c. And many others being indicted, have left their Houses and absconded, to avoid the Punishment of the Law. By these means the Streets have been much cleansed of the Night-Walkers, and other publick Places, of the Gangs of detestable Sodomites: And even those Parts of the Town which were formerly notorious for the number of Bawdy-Houses, and the harbouring of Wicked Persons, have been very much cleared. And many Thousands of good Books have been dispersed throughout the Kingdom by these Societies, and put into the Hands

The Benefit of this Society.