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countrymen, that they were continually running about, and asking, • Is there any thing new ” is equally applicable to the Americans. Tbis eternal restlessness and desire of change, pervade 'the whole structure of our society: the same man will start into life as a clergyman, then turn lawyer, next convert himself into a fariner and landjobber, and, taking a seat in Congress, or some state legislature, by the * way, end his days as a merchant and money-broker. The people are incessantly shifting their habitations, employments, views, and schemes: the residence of a servant does not average two months in each place; the abode of a whole household is generally changed once a year, and sometimes oftener ; numerous families, that have been longer settled in the elder states of New-York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, are continually migrating into Obio, or the territories of Alabama, Illinois, and Mississippi; the executive, the legislators, the magistrates, and officers of all kinds, are changed biennially, or annually or half-yearly, according to the greater or less infusion of the restless spirit of democracy into our various forms of government.
* Such being the temper, disposition, and habits of the people, new periodical publications are continually starting up, receive a little eager, capricious encouragement, languish a brief space, and die, leaving the same sickly course to be run by a race of successors, equally sanguine and short-lived. It is doubtful, if any one of the best European journals, most distinguished for the magnificent display of genius and knowledge, were to issue from the American press, as a native production, whether it would reach the second year of its unsupported existence. Some years since, a very respectable body of men, in New York, selected from all the three learned professions, started a periodical work, called “ The American Review, and Magazine," which was ably conducted, and perished for want of patronage. The “ Boston Anthology,” supported by the labours of some of the best literary men of all callings in that town, some time after, shared the same fate. And, at a more recent period, the “ American Review,” edited by Mr. Walsh, was suffered to expire, notwithstanding the splendid talents and various erudition of its conductor.' pp. 316, 317.
The subject of domestic slavery, we must for the present pass over With respect also to the state of religion in America, we can only make one or two quotations. Mr. Bristed, we confess, does not inspire us with that degree of confidence in bis judgement, and candour, and discrimination, which would tempt our taking the occasion to hazard any observations on so weighty a matter.
• During the greater part of the eighteenth century, the kings and princes, the nubles and ambassadors, the politicians, writers, and people of almost every nation on the European continent, strove in wretched rivalry for a vile pre-eminence in the guilt of rejecting the Scriptures of God, and calumniating the religion of Christ. As the necessary conse quence of this universal speculative unbelief, as universal a deluge of immorality, baseness, and corruption, private and public, national as
well as individual, Aooded their foul and feculent streams of pollution over all the surface of continental Europe. And what has been the great practical commentary which Jehovah himself has given upon the impious text of this new philosophy? For the space of five-and-twenty years, every nominally Christian nation on the European continent has been wasted by fire, and sword, and pestilence; by famine, and internal broil, and foreign invasion; not a single country within the verge of continental European Christendom, has escaped the terrible lustration of human blood.
' And have these United States no calise of similar alarm? Cannot they read the same handwriting upon the wall, which declared to the kindred nations of Europe, that they had been weighed in the balance, and were found wanting? When the purer light of Christianity is corrupted and darkened in the eastern section of our Union, and the Revelation of God too generally rejected in the southern and western extremities of the Commonwealth, have we any right to expect that this country will escape those national visitations which the European continent has so abundantly reaped in a full harvest of agony and ruin?
The late President Dwight declared, in 1812, that there were three millions of souls in the United States entirely destitute of all religious ordinances and worship. It is also asserted, by good authority, that in the southern and western States, societies exist, built on the model of the Transalpine clubs in Italy, and the atheistic assemblies of France and Germany, and, like them, incessantly labouring to root out every vestige of Christianity. So that, in the lapse of a few years, we are in danger of being overrun . with unbaptized infidels, the most atrocious and remorseless banditti that infest and desolate human society.
• Indeed, many serious people doubt the permanence of the federal constitution, because in that national compact there is no reference to the Providence of God: “We the people," being the constitutional substitute of Jehovah. Of national religion we have not much to boast : a few of our state governments, particularly in New-England, and recently in New-York, do acknowledge God as the governor among the nations, and occasionally recommend (for they have no power to appoint) days to be set apart for general fasting, and prayer, and thanksgiving. But the greater number of the States declare it to be unconstitutional to refer to the Providence of God in any of their public acts; and Virginia carries this doctrine so far, as not to allow any chaplain to officiate in her state legislature; giving as a reason, by an overwhelming majority of her re. presentatives, in December, 1817, that the constitution permits no one religious sect to have preference to any other; and therefore, as a chaplain must belong to some sect, it would be unconstitutional for the Virginian legislators to listen to his preaching or prayers. pp. 393—5.
Our Author reports M. Talleyrand to bave been particularly struck with the calmness in relation to Religion evidenced in the United States, so contrary to the zeal and enthusiasm displayed in England.
No leader of any religious persuasion in the United States, however ardeņt may be his own seal, and however vigorous and incessant his own
efforts, can induce his followers to labour to aggrandize that sect, witla as much effectual exertion as he could, under the same circumstances, induce a similar body in Europe to co-operate with him. On the days of public worship, in this country, the individuals of the same family set out together; each goes to hear the minister of his own sect, and they afterwards return home to employ themselves, in common, in their domestic concerns. This diversity of religious opinion does not seem to produce any contradiction or discordance in their sentiments as to other things. Whence, if there happens to arrive here, from Europe, an ambitious sectary, cager to afford a triumph to his own particular tenets by inflaming the passions of men, so far from finding, as in other countries, multitudes disposed to enlist under his banners, and ready to second his violence, his very existence is scarcely perceived by his Dearest neighbours; his individual enthusiasm is neither attractive, nor interesting, nor contagious; we inspires neither love, nor hatred, nor curiosity; but is suffered 10 dic away into nothing, beneath the frozen pole of universal indifference.' pp, 406, 407.
We cannot subjoin the illustration which follows, without expressing our disgust at the flippancy of the terms in which it is conveyed. Dr. Priestley was a man much more worthy of pity, than of contempt.
This was peculiarly exemplifud in Dr. Priestley. This heresiarch and veteran trumpeter of sedition, had openly menaced the hierarchy of England and the British constitution with specdy destruction. His partisans followed him, eagerly and blindly, throughout all the num, berless changes of his ever-shifting religious and political creeds; they poured out at his feet, their time, their property, their obedience, their acclamation; they enabled him to publish, and circulate widely, his pestilent heresies and malignant invectives against the church and government of England. He sate, like a demi-god, spuffing up the incense of adulation from the Socinian democrats of Great Britain. But how reversed the picture, when he exchanged an English for an American home! A meagre deputation of obscure clergymen in our city of New.York, welcomed him to the United States with an absurd speech, full of jacobin bombast and fustian. He afterward repaired to Philadelphia, where he preached a few frigorific sermons to thin and drowsy audiences; he then retired to Northumberland, in Pennsylvania, where he passed the remainder of his life in making small experiments amidst bis alembics, crucibles, and retorts, for the result of which no one expressed the least interest; and he also occasionally ushered from the press religious and political pamphlets, which no one ever read. His death excited little, if any more sensation among the Pennsylvanian patriots, than they are wont to exhibit at the dissolution of a German farmer, or a German farmer's horse.' p. 407.
Whatever some of our readers may be disposed to think of the ensuiug paragraph, we must just put it in their way.
In the United States, every one follows, pretty much according to his own inclination, his religious opinions, and pursues with undivided
eagerness his temporal concerns. This apparent apathy perhaps arises partly from the universal equality of all religious denominations. In America, no form of worship is prescribed, no religious ordinances are established by law; whence, every individual is left at liberty to follow his own will; to neglect or cultivate religion as he sees fit. Almost all the ardour of the moment that is passing, is employed in devising the means of acquiring wealth, and promoting the success of the political party in which the active individuals are enrolled. Hence result general calmness and composure in the American community, with regard to the personal feelings and universal diffusion of religion; and it sometimes happens that Jehovah himself is shouldered from the altar peculiarly dedicated to his solemn services, by the devotedness of the whole heart to the shrine of mammon, or to the pursuits and calculations of political intrigue.
• In the United States there is no national church established, no laypatronage, no system of tithes. The people call and support their minister ; few churches having sufficient funds to dispense with the necessity of contribution by the congregation. The law enforces the contract between the pastor and his flock, and requires the people to pay the stipulated salary so long as the clergyman preaches and performs his parochial duty, according to the agreement between hiin and his parishioners. In Massachusetts, Vermont, New-Hampshire, and Connecticut, the law requires each town to provide, by taxation, for the support of religious worship; but leaves it optional with every individual to choose his own sect. The general government has no power to interfere with or regulate the religion of the Union, and the States, generally, have not legislated further than to incorporate, with certain restrictions, such religious bodies as have applied for charters. In consequence of this entire indifference on the part of the state governments, full one-third of our whole population are destitute of all religious ordinances, and a much greater proportion in our southern and western districts. It is quite just and proper that no one sect should have any preference, either religious or political, over the others; but the state governments ought, at least, to interfere so far as New-England has done, and enforce by law the maintenance of religious worship in every town, leaving the choice of his denomination to each individual.
• The not interfering at all is a culpable extreme one way, as the English system of an exclusive national church, shutting out the other sects from equal political privileges, is a mischievous extreme on the other!' pp. 407–9.
Mr. Bristed, however, afterwards affirms, that notwithstanding so large a portion of the population is altogether without religious ordinances, yet, of late, religion has been uaquestionably gaining ground in the United States. Of tbis fact, be adds, the rapid spread of Sunday-Schools and of Missionary and Bible Societies, affords a most consolatory proof,
Art. IV. An Inquiry into the Causes of the progressive Depreciation of
Agricultural Labour in Modern Times ; With Suggestions for its Red
medy. By John Barton. 8vo pp. 128. Price 4s. London. 1820. WE
E are far from being disposed contemptuously to reject
the humblest contribution of information, or the feeblest effort of good intention, that solicits our notice relative to the important subject of the Poor ; but our readers would scarcely thank us for filling our pages with the crude contents of a tenth part of the pamphlets which have been sent to us, and which we bave conscientiously discharged our bounden duty in perusing: Many of them contain scattered bints which may be very useful, and all of them may answer a good purpose by concurring to familiarize to the public at large the abstract inquiries upon which it is so highly important that right notions should be extensively diffused. Every writer deserves a candid hearing, who has really something to say that is to the purpose, notwithstanding he may not be blessed with the power of saying it in as few words as is desirable; and we wish to take this opportunity of assuring those gentlemen whose Considerations, Observations, Addresses, and Practical Plans, are at this moment beaped up on our table, that we warmly approve of their labours, although, in the needful exercise of our prerogative of selection, we are compelled to content ourselves with giving the titles from time to time in our list of New Publications.
A very different degree of attention is due to the writer who steps forward for the avowed purpose of pointing out a radical fallacy in the assumed principles which lay at the foundation of all reasoning on the subject. That is not the least important part of our knowledge, which is of a negative character, for the detection of error is half the business of philosophy. If Mr. Barton's views of the topics referred to in his Inquiry be correct, then, assuredly, a great deal of what has been advanced by learned gentlemen, and honourable gentlemen, and honourable committees, and we may even add, by Reviewers themselves, must at once be given up as erroneous. We well know how mortifying a process is that of unlearning and treading back one's way out of the general conclusions in which the mind had comfortably established itself. Persons are ready on such occasions somewhat pettishly to give up all further inquiry as unprofitable; since, if such and such writers do not understand the subject, and Committees of Senators too are found promulgating erroneous statements and fallacious reasonings; if what one builds up, another presently demolishes,—what hope is there of arriving at the truth? Certainly, there would be no hope, were the dicta of the highest authorities allowed to terminate or to discourage further inquiry
The first thing which must strike a person of reflection when