Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

and then let them consider our ingratitude for his boundless gifts--our abuse of his beneficence to sensual and selfish gratification out unmeasured, unrighteous love of gain-our unprincipled party-spirit, and our faithless and cruel wrongs towards the Indian race; and can they help fearing, that the cup of wrath is filling for this people? Men, buried in themselves and in outward interests, atheists in heart and life, may scoff at the doctrine of national retribution, because they do not see God's hand stretched out to destroy guilty communities; but does not all history teach, that the unlicensed passions of a guilty people are more terrible ministers of punishment than miraculous inflictions ! To chase tise and destroy, God needs not interfere by supernatural judgments." In every community there are elements of discord, revolution, and ruin, pent up in the human soul, which need only to be quickened and set free by a new order of events, to shake and conyulse the whole social fabric. Never were the causes of disastrous change in human affairs more active than at the present moment. Society heaves and trembles from the struggle of opposing principles, as the earth quakes through the force of central fires. This is not the time for presumption--for defying Heaven by new crimes--for giving a new range to cupidity and ambition. Men who fear God, must fear for their country, in this day of provocation;' and they will be false to their country, if they look on passively, and see without remonstrance the consummation of a great national crime, which cannot fail to bring down awful retribution.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

“ I cannot but fear that the earnestness with which I have written may seem to indicate an undue excitement of mind. But I have all along felt distinctly the importance of calmness, and have seemed to myself to maintain it. I have prepared this letter, not amidst the goadings, irritations, and feverish tumults of a crowded city, but in the stillness of retirement, amid scenes of peace and beauty. Hardly an hour has passed, in which I have not sought relief from the exhaustion of writing by walking abroad amidst God's works, which seldom fail to breathe tranquillity, and which, by their harmony and beneficence, continually cheer me, as emblems and prophecies of a more harmonious and blessed state of human affairs than has yet been known. Perhaps some will object it to me, that a man, living in such retirement, unfits himself to judge of passing events--that he is prone to substitute his visions for realities, and to legislate for a world which does not exist. I acknowledge the danger of such a position. On the other hand, it is equally true, that the man who lives in a crowd, and receives perpetual impulse from its prejudices and passions--who connects himself with a party, and looks to it for reward--cannot easily keep his mind open to truth, or sacrifice the interests of the moment to everlasting principles,

and the enduring welfare of his country. Everywhere our frail nature is severely tried. All circumstances have their perils. In every con.. dition there are biasses to, wrong judgment, and incitements to wrong action. Through such discipline we are to make our way to truth and, perfection. The dread of these must not keep us inactive. Having sought to understand the difficulties in our respective paths, and having done what we can to learn the truth, we must commit ourselves to our convictions without fear, expressing them in word and action, and leaving the results to Him, who will accept our pure purpose, and whose providence is the pledge of the ultimate triumphs of humanity and uprightness.

“ You and I, my dear Sir, are approaching that period of life, when the passions lose much of their force when disappointment, bereavement, the fall of our cotemporaries on the right hand and the left and long experience of the emptiness of human favour, and of the instability of all earthly good-are teaching us the lofty lessons of superiority to the fleeting opinion of our day, of reliance on the everlasting law of Right, of reference to a higher Judge than man, of solemn anticipation of a final account. Permit me to close this letter, with desiring for you, in your commanding station, what I ask for myself in private life-that we may be faithful to ourselves, to our country, to mankind, to the benevolent principles of the Christian faith, and to the common Father of the whole human race.”

The following are extracts from a Note attached to Dr. Channing's

Letter." “There is another objection to the annexation of Texas, which, after our late experience, is entitled to attention. This possession will involve us in new Indian wars. Texas, besides being open to the irruption of the tribes within our territories, has a tribe of its own, the Camanches, which is described as more formidable than any in North America. Such foes are not to be coveted. The Indians !—that ominous word, which ought to pierce the conscience of this nation, more than the savage war-cry pierces the ear. The Indians! Have we not inflicted and endured evil enough in our intercourse with this wretched people, to abstain from new wars with them? Is the tragedy of Florida to be acted again and again in our own day, and in our children's ?

[blocks in formation]

" I have said, that I desire no political union with communities bent on spreading and perpetuating slavery. It is hardly necessary to observe, that this was not intended to express a desire to decline friendly intercourse with the members of those communities. Individuals, who

have received from their ancestors some pernicious prejudice s or institution, may still, in their general spirit, be disinterested and justa di Qur testimony against the wrong which such men practise is not to be stifled or impaired by the feelings of interest or attachment which they inspire; nor, on the other hand, must this wrong be spread by our imaginations over their whole characters, so as to hide all their claims tosregard sin an age of reform, one of the hardest duties is, to be inflexibly hostile to the long-rooted corruptions of society; and at the same time to be candid and just to those who uphold them. It is true, that, with the most friendly feelings, we shall probably give offence to those who are interested in abuses

& which we condemn; but we are not on this account absolved from the duty of cultivating and expressing kindness and justice, of laying strong restraint on our passions, and of avoiding all needless provocation.

[merged small][ocr errors]

" I have spoken in this letter of the estimation in which this country is held abroad. I hope I shall not be numbered among those, too common here, who are irritably alive to the opinions of other nations, to the censures and misrepresentations of travellers. To a great and growing people, how insignificant is the praise or blame of a traveller on a nation! None of these things move me.' But one thing does

It is a sore evil that freedorn should be blasphemed--that republican institutions should forfeit the confidence of mankind through the unfaithfulness of this people to their trust.”

move me.

[blocks in formation]

The Doctor remarks, in the concluding part of his letter, that he has kept close to the slave question, and says, “ In truth, I do not feel myself able to form a decisive opinion on the subjects which now inflame and divide the country, and which can be very little understood except by men who have made a study of commerce and finance.” Now, I cannot believe that a man who has given such evidence of his understanding on the annexation of Texas can be unable to form an opinion, though I believe he is unwilling to declare it, on the subjects which now inflame the country. The Doctor is, doubtlessly, alluding to the banking sytem, and he cannot, for want of knowledge on commerce and finance, make

up

his mind whether it be a good or a bad system. He lives in the North, where it is as dangerous to speak against the tyrant bankers, as it is, in the South, to speak against the tyrant slave-holders. He is surrounded by bankers : his friends or acquaintances, no doubt, are bankers; and the bankers, whom he cannot understand, pauperise and bring to destruction mure human beings, than ever did those in the South by their traffic in slaves. And I speak this without believing, or desiring to make others believe, that what Doctor Channing says of the

South is not every word of it true.ro I know it is true, and I know that, for the most part, it has grown out of the subjects that this truly en. lightened Doctor of Divinity lacks uriderstanding and decision o apon. I cam believe the latter, but, say what he will, I never can believe the formeruiAndi welt might the slave holders retort upon him, and show that their negro slavery, heinous as it is, ought to give way, and to suffer the subject which the Doctor cannot understand to be placed first on the catalogue of human woestur. +305 odt tips

I am, Ladies and Gentlemen, 0117 eur

1:07. Your obedient Servant, 's;l's, 96 ardt ,

THOMAS BROTHERS.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

TO THE CHARTISTS ON UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE, ELECTION BY BALLOT,

fc. &c.

[ocr errors]

MY FRIENDS,

Southam, Warwickshire, Aug. 9, 1839.

SINCE I arrived in my native country I have heard a great deal of your proceedings. Many are the motives attributed to you as a party; but the ostensible motive, it seems, is to obtain a charter, securing to you universal suffrage, vote by ballot, annual parliaments, and no property qualification for members.

You desire these things because you believe they would secure to you more happiness : that, under such a charter, you would soon be free from national debts, taxation, poverty, and all kinds of oppression. I cannot blame you for believing this, because, until within these few years, this was my belief; and I, conscientiously, did all I could to obtain these things : but, seeing no prospect of success, I resolved to try a country, the government of which was, as I was told, as free from imperfection as human ingenuity could make it.

Nicholas Biddle, the great American banker, says, in his eulogium on Thomas Jefferson, that the government I am speaking of was the deliberate achievement of the proudest spirits of the age; who, in the eyes of the world, and at their own imminent hazard, built up the loftiest temple of free government ever reared among men. I have tried that lofty temple of free government, and I now openly declare to you and to all the world, that I believe there to be in the United States of America more public debts, when all are fairly summed up, more taxation, poverty, and general oppression, than ever was known in any other country. This, my countrymen, I am aware is what you did not expect to hear, but it is what you ought to hear and pay attention to, because you never can redress your grievances, whatever they may be, while you mistake the cause of them. And that you have, long since, been on the wrong scent is certain, for, eight or ten years back, you said, the Reform Bill and we will be satisfied." The bill was given to you, but it did not produce the golden fruit that you had been taught to expect. Indeed, it produced nothing but mischief, and made your situations worse than they were before. The reformed parliament presented to you a “new poor-law," and a whole string of laws calculated to demoralise the country; and this is all acknowledged by yourselves. According to your own showing, your condition gets worse and worse.

You and I were of opinion that if we could but send a fair

[ocr errors]

- Give us

« AnteriorContinuar »