The Algerine captive; or, The life and adventures of Doctor Updike Underhill: six years a prisoner among the Algerines. [Three lines from Shakespeare] : Vol. I[-II]. : Published according to act of Congress.
Tyler, Royall, 1757-1826., Humphreys, David, 1752-1818, dedicatee.
Page  159

CHAP. XXIV.

St. Stephen's day, that holy morn,
As he to church trudg'd by, sir,
He heard the beagles, heard the horn,
And saw poor puss scud by, sir,
His book he shut, his flock forsook,
And threw aside his gown, sir,
And strode his mare to chase the hare,
And tally ho the hound, sir.

SPORTING SONG.
ARGUMENT.

Religious Exercises in a Southern State.

IN one of the states, southward of Philadelphia, I was invited, on a sun|day, to go to church. I will not say which, as I am loth to offend; and our fashionable fellow citizens of the south arm of the union may not think divine service any credit to them. My friend apologized for inviting me to so hum Page  160 drum an amusement, by assuring me, that immediately after service, there was to be a famous match run for a purse of a thou|sand dollars, besides private bets, between 'Squire L's imported horse, Slammerkin, and Colonel F's bay mare, Jenny Driver. When we arrived at the church, we found a brilliant collection of well dressed peo|ple, anxiously waiting the arrival of the parson, who, it seems, had a small branch of the river M—to pass; and, we af|terwards learned, was detained by the absence of his negro boy, who was to fer|ry him over. Soon after, our impatience was relieved, by the arrival of the parson, in his canonicals: a young man, not of the most mortified countenance, who, with a switch, called supple jack, in his hand, belaboured the back and head of the faulty slave, all the way from the wa|ter to the church door; accompanying every stroke, with suitable language. He entered the church, and we followed. Page  161 He ascended the reading desk, and, with his face glowing with the exercise of his supple jack, began the service with, I said I will take heed unto my ways, that I sin not with my tongue. I will keep my tongue as it were with a bridle, when I am before the wicked. When I mused the fire burned within me, and I spake with my tongue, &c. &c. He preached an ani|mated discourse, of eleven minutes, upon the practical duties of religion, from these words, remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy; and read the fourth commandment, in the communion. The whole congre|gation prayed fervently, that their hearts might be inclined to keep this holy law. The blessing was pronounced; and parson and people hastened to the horse race. I found the parson as much respected on the turf, as upon the hassoc. He was one of the judges of the race; descanted, in the language of the turf, upon the points of the two rival horses, and the Page  162 sleeve of his cassoc was heavy laden, with the principal bets. The confidence of his parishioners was not ill founded; for they assured me, upon oath and honour, that he was a gentleman, of as much up|rightness as his grace the archbishop of Canterbury. Ay, they would sport him for a sermon or a song, against any parson in the union.

The whole of this extraordinary scene was novel to me. Besides, a certain sta|ple of New England I had with me, call|ed conscience, made my situation, in e|ven the passive part I bore in it, so awkward and uneasy, that I could not re|frain from observing to my friend my surprise at the parson's conduct, in chastis|ing his servant immediately before divine service. My friend was so happily influ|enced by the habits of these liberal, en|lightened people, that he could not even comprehend the tendency of my remark. He supposed it levelled at the improprie|ty, Page  163 not of the minister, but the man; not at the act, but the severity of the chastise|ment; and observed, with warmth, that the parson served the villain right, and, that if he had been his slave, he would have killed the black rascal, if he was sure he should have to pay an hundred guin|eas to the public treasury for him. I will note here, that the reader is request|ed, whenever he meets with quotations of speeches, in the above scenes, excepting those during divine service, that he will please, that is, if his habits of life will per|mit, to interlard those quotations with a|bout as many oaths, as they contain mon|osylables. He may rest assured, that it will render the scene abundantly more natural. It is true, I might have insert|ed them myself, and supported thus do|ing, by illustrations and parodies from grave authors; but I never swear pro|fanely myself, and I think it almost as bad to oblige my readers to purchase the im|precations Page  164 of others. I give this hint of the introduction of oaths, for the benefit of my readers to the southward of Phila|delphia; who, however they may enjoy a scene, which reflects such honour upon their country, when seasoned with these palatable expletives, without them perhaps would esteem it as tasteless and vapid, as a game at cards or billiards, without bets; or boiled veal or turkey, without ham.