Henry Livingston, Jr.
Henry Livingston's Prose

Country Journal and Poughkeepsie Advertiser
March 3, 1789


IN your paper of the 24th inst., I read, with indignation and disgust, a discourse on the production of a Mr. Hyberdin addressed to a gang of robbers. The author of this profane indecent performance, has, in its publication, announced himself a revilier of the religion of his country, and the encouragement of a species of immorality at this time peculiarly pernicious to society. No man can be a trifler, who deranges a single pebble in the foundation of the temple of virtue.

It ever makes me unhappy when I see the Country Journal made the vehicle of sentiments that pain the ear of piety or hurt the feelings of philanthrophy. These instances, it is true, but very seldom occur; and when they do, I ever attribute them to the inadvertence of happy compilation.

New-York Magazine; or, Literary Repository
To the Conductors of the New-York Magazine
Jul 15, 1791; by R

To the Conductors of the New-York Magazine.

IN your magazine of the last month is inserted a sermon, said to have been delivered by a parson Hyberdines, and prefaced as a curiosity extracted from the Cotton Library, folio 53.

This production is profane and wicked, without the least alloy of wit or humour, and can serve no other purpose than to countenance the vicious and harden the profligate.

Every thing which tends to corrupt the public manners ought to be frowned upon by the friends of morality and decorum: the piece above mentioned certainly has this aspect: and the indulgence you have shewn it illy comports with the professions which ushered in your Literary Repository.

After these remarks, which unfortunately to be just must be severe, I in justice to you declare, that the subject of them is the first essay I have seen in your magazines from which religion or virtue ought to turn away; and that it requires no very great exertion of charity to believe, that the hurry of publication betrayed you to be the editors of a blasphemous narrative that ought long since to have mouldered in oblivion. R.
July, 1791.

[The Editors have inserted the foregoing strictures on the publication alluded to, in order to evince the impartiality with which they ever mena to conduct the New-York Magazine. They admit with the writer of the remarks, that an unfavourable construction may be drawn from the sermon; though they are convinced, that the friend who sent it fo rinsertion, considered it a piece of ingenuity, in which light alone the Editors themselves viewed it, and which will, no doubt, be accepted as an apology for its having been admitted.]

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New-York Magazine; or, Literary Repository
The following Curiosity is extracted from the Cotton Library, Vespasian A. folio 53
p328-9, 1791

A SERMON preached by parson Hyberdines, which he made at the command of certain Thieves, after they had robbed him, beside Hartrow in Hampshire, in the Fields, and spoke in their presence.

I GREATLY marvel that any man would presume to dispraise you thieves; and think the doer thereof worthy of death, considering that it is a thing cometh near unto virtue; being used by many in all countries, and commanded and allowed of by God himself. Such things, perhaps, I cannot compendiously shew unto you at so short a warning, and in such sharp weather; but I shall desire you, gentle audience of thieves, to take in good part these things which at present cometh to my mind, not misdoubting, but that you, of your good knowledge, are able to add much more unto this which I shall utter unto you. -- First, Fortitude and stoutness of courage, and also boldness of mind, is commended by some men to be virtuous, which being granted, who is it then that will not judge thieves to be virtuous? for they be of all men most stout, hardy, and most without fear. So thievery is a thing most usual among all men; for not only you that be here present, but many others in divers places, both men, women, and children, rich and poor, are daily of this faculty; as the hangman of Tyburn can testify, and that that is allowed of by God himself, as is evident from the following texts of scripture; for if you look into the whole course of the Bible, you shall find that thieves have been beloved of God; for Jacob, when he came out of Mesopotamia, did steal his uncle Laban's kid; the same Jacob did steal his brother Esau's blessing, and yet God said, "I have chosen Jacob and refused Esau." The children of Israel, when they came out of Egypt, did steal the Egyptian's jewels of silver and gold, and God commanded them so to do. David, in the days of Lebiathar the high priest, did come into the temple and did steal the hallowed bread, and yet Gods said, "David is a man after my own heart." Christ himself, when he was here on earth, did take an ass and a colt that was none of his, and you know that God said of him, "this is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased." Thus, you see, that God delighteth in thieves.

But most of all I marvel that men despise you thieves: whereas in all points almost, you are like unto Christ himself. For Christ had no dwelling polace; no more have you. Christ went from town to town; and so do you. Christ was hated of all men saving his friends; and so are you. Christ was laid wait upon in many places; and so are you. Christ at the length was caught; and so shall you be. He was brought before the judges; and so shall you be. He was condemned; and so shall you be. He was hanged; and so shall you be. He went down to hell; and so shall you do. Marry, in the one thing you differ from him; for he arose again and ascended into heaven; and so shall you never do, without God's great mercy, which I pray God grant you. To whom with the Father, Son, and Holy Gost, be all honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Thus the sermon being ended, they gave him his money again that they took from him, as also two shillings to drink, for his sermon.


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