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had severe fits of illness, and forty-six were women of broken constitutions; who, could it be afforded, would require assistance all summer. At the last anniversary, we reported that Mrs. Hoffman and myself had visited twenty-seven new made widows; previous to the meeting, young, healthy, nice women. Of these women, few had been accustomed to do more than make, mend, wash, and cook for their husbands and families. Oh, how changed the scene! Ye blessed agents of their Father, God; ye managers, who have supplied their want, and soothed their spirits, ye can tell-and their pale visages and dejected countenances witness to the truth of your report. That such evils exist, is painful to humanity; but since they do exist, can there be a more delicate pleasure than to be instrumental in alleviating them? Seven years has this society been the darling of providence. From a feeble plant, it is become a large tree with spreading branches, under which many find shelter and sustenance."
The winter of 1804-5, was unusually severe : the river Hudson was shut by frost as early as November; fuel was consequently scarce and dear; and the poor suffered greatly. Mrs. Graham visited those parts of the city where the poorer class of sufferers dwelt ;* in upwards of
*The following notice of these scenes appeared in one of the periodical publications of the day.
WHEN sorrow shrunk before the piercing wind,
When sickness droop'd in solitary pain,
Yet there are some, who sorrow's vigils keep, Unknown that languish-undistinguish'd weep ! Behold yon ruin'd building's shattered walls, Where drifting snow through many a crevice falls; Whose smokeless vent no blazing fuel knowsBut drear, and cold, the widow's mansion shows. Her fragile form, by sickness deeply riven, Too weak to face the driving blasts of heaven, Her voice too faint to reach some pitying ear, Her shivering babes command her anguish'd tear: Their feeble cries, in vain, assistance crave, And expectation 'points but to the grave.'
But lo, with hasty step, a female form
Glides through the wind, and braves the chilling storm,
I know thee now-I know that angel frame-
For this no noisy honors fame shall give-
two hundred families, she either found a bible their property, or gave them one; praying with them in their affliction. She requested a friend to write, first one religious tract, and then another, suited to the peculiar situation of those afflicted people. One was called "A Donation to Poor Widows with Small Children," the other, "A Second Visit to Poor Widows with Small Children." And lest it might be said, it was cheap to give advice, she usually gave a small sum of money along with the tracts she distributed, There was at this time neither a Bible nor Tract Society in New York. Mrs. Hoffman accompanied her in many of her excursions. In the course of their visits, they discovered a French family from St. Domingo in such extremity of distress, as made them judge it necessary to report their case to the Honorable Dewitt Clinton, then Mayor of the city. The situation of this family being made public, three hundred dollars were voluntarily contributed for their relief. Roused by this incident, a public meeting was called at the Tontine Coffee-House, and committees from the different wards were appointed to aid the Corporation, in ascertaining and supplying the immediate wants of the suffering poor. The zeal of Mrs. Graham and Mrs. Hoffman paved the way for this public-spirited exertion, which, probably, was the means of saving the lives of some of the destitute and friendless.
In the month of August, 1805, Mrs. Graham
paid another visit to her friends in Boston, and spoke of them with much affection and esteem. She used to mention, with peculiar approbation, a society of pious ladies there, who met once in every week, for prayer and mutual edification.
On the 15th of March, 1806, the female subscribers to proposals for providing an asylum for orphan children, met at the City Hotel; Mrs. Graham was called to the chair, a society organized, and a Board of Direction chosen. Mrs. Hoffman was elected the First Directress of the Orphan Asylum Society. Mrs. Graham continued in the office of First Directress of the Widows' Society, but took a deep interest in the success of the Orphan Asylum Society also: she, or one of her family, taught the orphans daily, until the funds of the Institution were sufficient to provide a teacher and superintendent. She was a trustee at the time of her decease. The wish to establish this new society, was occasioned by the pain which it gave the ladies of the Widows' Society to behold a family of orphans, driven, on the decease of a widow, to seek refuge in the Alms House; no melting heart to feel, no redeeming hand to rescue them from a situation so unpromising for mental and moral improvement.
"Amongst the afflicted of our suffering race," thus speaks the constitution of the society, "none makes a stronger or more impressive appeal to humanity, than the destitute orphan. Crime has not been the cause of its misery, and future usefulness may
yet be the result of its protection; the reverse is offen the case of more aged objects. God himself has marked the fatherless, as the peculiar subjects of his divine compassion. A Father of the fatherless, is God in his holy habitation.' 'When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.' To be the blessed instrument of Divine Providence in making good the promise of God, is a privilege equally desirable and honorable to the benevolent heart."
And truly God has made good his promise towards this benevolent institution. He has crowned the undertaking with his remarkable blessing. It was begun by his disciples in faith, and he has acknowledged them in it. Having for fourteen months occupied a hired house for an asylum, the ladies entertained the bold idea of building an asylum on account of the society. They had then about three hundred and fifty dollars, as the commencement of a fund for the building: they purchased four lots of ground in the village of Greenwich, on a healthful elevated site, possessing a fine prospect. The corner stone was laid on the 7th of July, 1807. They erected a building fifty feet square, planned for the accommodation of two hundred orphans. From time to time they proceeded to finish the interior of the building, and to purchase additional ground, as their funds would permit; and such has been the liberality of the legislature and of the public, that the society now possess a handsome building, and