網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

of them the mighty relic of majestic empires, and the symbol of the spirit of the most remarkable ages in the world. The last, carrying you back as in a dream over the waste of four thousand years, might be supposed to owe its superior impressiveness to its vast antiquity; but that is not the secret of the strange and solemn thoughts that crowd into the mind: it is the demonstration of God's wrath fulfilled according to the letter of the Scriptures | No ruins of antiquity are so overwhelming in their interest as the gigantic remains of that empire, once the proudest in the world, and now, according to the very letter of the divine prediction, “the basest of the kingdoms.” From the deep and grim repose of those sphinxes, obelisks, and columns,—those idols broken at the presence of God, as the mind wanders back to the four hundred years of Israel's bondage in Egypt, methinks you may hear the wail of that old and awful prophecy, with the lingering echo of every successive prediction —“THE NATION whom THEY shall serve will I JUDGE I’’ Who would have believed it possible, four thousand years ago, amidst the vigor and greatness of the Egyptian kingdom, that, after that vast lapse of time, travellers should come from a world then as new, unpeopled, and undiscovered as the precincts of another planet, to read the proofs of God's veracity in the vestiges at once of such stupendous glory and such a stupendous overthrow ! And now, if any man, contemplating the youthful vigor, the energy, the almost indestructible life of our own country, finds it difficult to believe that the indulgence of the same national sin, under infinitely clearer light, may be followed with a similar overthrow, let him wander on the banks of the Nile, and think down hours to moments in the silent sanctuaries of its broken temples.

“STEP TO TIIE CAPTAIN's of FICE AND SETTLE "

This old watchword, so often heard by travellers in the early stages of steam-navigation, is now and then ringing in our ears with a very pointed and pertinent application. It is a note that belongs to all the responsibilities of this life for eternity. There is a day of reckoning, a day for the settlement of accounts. All unpaid bills will then have to be paid; all unbalanced books will have to be settled. There will be no loose memorandums forgotten; there will be no heedless commissioners for the convenience of careless consciences; there will be no proxies; there will be no bribed auditors.

Neither will there be such a thing as a hesitating conscience; but the inward monitor, so often drugged and silenced on earth, will speak out. There will be no doubt nor question as to the right and the wrong. There will be no vain excuses, nor any attempt to make them. There will be no more sophistry, no more considerations of expediency, no more pleading of the laws of men and the customs of society, no more talk about organic sins being converted into constructive righteousness, or collective and corporate frauds releasing men from individual responsibilities. When we see a man, a professed Christian, running a race with the worshippers of wealth and fashion, absorbed in the vanities of the world, or endeavoring to serve both God and mammon, we hear the voice, Step to the Captain's office and settle! When we see a man spending his whole time and energies in getting ready to live, but never thinking how he shall learn to die, endeavoring even to forget that he must die, -poor man, he must stop to the Captain's office and settle! When we see editors and politicians setting power in the place of goodness, and expediency in the place of justice, and law in the place of equity, and custom in the place of right, putting darkness for light, and evil for good, and tyranny for general benevolence, we think of the day when the issuers of such counterfeit money will be brought to light, and their sophistries and lies exposed, for among the whole tribe of unprincipled politicians there will be great consternation when the call comes to step to the Captain's office and settle. When we see unjust rulers in their pride of power fastening chains upon the bondmen, oppressing the poor, and playing their pranks of defiant tyranny before high heaven, then also come these words to mind, like a blast from the last trumpet,_Step to the Captain's office and settle!

THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.

We speak a language containing vast treasures of religious wisdom, and vernacular, more or less, over a large portion of the globe, and, for this and other causes, perhaps destined to become an organ of international communication more universal than any other tongue. The students at the missionary seminary at Basle, in Germany, well denominated the English language the missionary language. It might almost be called the language of religion, in reference to the vast treasures of theological science, the mines of religious truth, and, above all, the inestimable works of practical piety, of which it furnishes a key. . There is in it a capital of speculative and practical theology, rich and o enough for the whole world to draw upon. From time to time, God himself has especially honored it, and H. it more and more for his glory, by giving to the world, through its medium, such works as the #. Progress and the Paradise Lost. It is the language of Protestantism, the language of civil and religious freedom, the language of commercial enterprise, the language spoken by the greater portion of seamen in the world. It is the language of the two freest, most enterprising, most powerful, and, so far as the appellation can at present be admitted in a national sense, most truly Christian, nations on the globe. Taking all these influences into consideration, there is not another language in the world so sacred, so connected with holy associations, and, for the treasures of religion which it embalms, so important to man's highest interests, as the English language. We therefore cannot but regard its increasing prevalence as a great and special indication of the providence of §. The time is not far distant, other causes being supposed to maintain their influence, when this language shall have become an organ for the world's literature; and in addition to this, if we mistake not, the world's religious book-mart, and most elevated and important literary centre, will be found in America.

A SLAVE-HOLDING CEIRISTIANITY.

A slave-holding Christianity is a forgery and falsehood, a corruption of religion, a defiance of the living God, a libel upon the gospel, and a perversion of it for the sanction and protection of some of the worst forms of human wickedness and misery. By the testimony of God's word and the verdict of mankind, the climax of oppression, the consummation of its malignity, and the concentration of all its evils, is personal slavery, the buying and selling of men, the claiming, holding, and making merchandise of human beings as property. The whole family relation, the whole domestic state, is poisoned, is perverted and prostituted by it, and turned into an engine of merchandise and misery. What God meant should be the source and inspiration of happiness, becomes the fountain of sin and woe. God “setteth the solitary in families;" but the independence, the mutual endearment, the sacred relationships and obligations of members of the family circle to one another and to God, are elements of holiness and happiness that cannot exist in a slave's household.

By the nature of slavery, by its remorseless consecration to the owner of all capacities and obligations from birth till death, the sacred names of husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter, are themselves chattelized, and become merely the exponents of various forces and values in the owner's property. The family relations and affections of slavery, being subjected, in a Christian state and community, to the will, the avarice, the necessities and passions of the slave-holder, are made, just like all things of faculty, capacity, intelligence, force, emotion, and sensibility in the slave, articles of pecuniary worth alone, of barter and sale, with reference to the market value, and for future increase; and this constitutes a violation of God's arrangements for the good of his creatures, and an anomaly of heaven-defying wickedness, ten thousand times worse than the family chaos of savage life, or the ignorance and cruelty of heathenism. Our iniquity in the sanction and support of slavery is pre-eminently this of the wholesale oppression and sacrifice of children. We become a people of menstealers in perpetuating this iniquity. Address before the American Missionary Association, May, 1858.

RICHARD HILDRETH.

Rich ARD Hildreth, the historian of the United States, was born at Deerfield, Massachusetts, on the 28th of June, 1807. When four years old, his father, the Rev. Hosea Hildreth, was called to preside over the English department of Phillips Academy, at Exeter, New Hampshire, and the family removed thither. In 1822, he entered Harvard College, where he was distinguished for his high classrank, as well as for his attainments in general literature. After graduating, he kept a school in Concord, Massachusetts, one year, and then studied law at Newburyport and Boston, and was admitted to the Suffolk bar in 1830. In 1832, while engaged in his profession, he was one of a small number who founded the “Boston Atlas,” for which he furnished the greater part of the editorial articles; at the same time contributing many papers of interest and value to Buckingham's “New England Magazine.”

In consequence of feeble health, Mr. Hildreth went to the South in 1834, and remained there two winters. While there, he wrote the powerful novel Archy Moore, exhibiting a few of the features of slavery in their true light. On his return, it was published anonymously, was republished in England, and received deserved praise from the critics." He did not resume the practice of law, but became again connected with the “Boston Atlas,” of which, in 1837–38, he was the Washington correspondent. On his return to Boston in the spring of 1838, he became the chief editor of that paper, and furnished a series of very able articles upon Texas, which were among the first efforts to arouse the North to a true sense of the iniquitous scheme of “Annexation,” as it was called. Being strongly in favor of the enactment by the Legislature of Massachusetts of a prohibitive liquor law, and thus differing from the proprietors of the “Atlas,” he retired from that paper at the end of 1839. In 1840, he published Despotism in America, an able work on the moral, political, and social character of slavery. In the same year he published a History of Banks, advocating a system of free

1 This was republished in 1852, under the title of “The White Slave.”

banking, with security to bill-holders; and a translation, from the French of Dumont, of “Bentham's Theory of Legislation.” Feeble health making another visit to a warmer climate necessary, Mr. Hildreth went, in 1840, to Demerara, (in British Guiana,) where he spent three years, employing his time in editing successively two newspapers in Georgetown, the capital, and in writing his Theory of Morals, which was published in 1844, soon after his return to Boston. In 1849 appeared the first volume of the great work on which his fame will chiefly rest,-his History of the United States, of which five more volumes appeared in the course of the three succeeding years, bringing down the narrative to the close of the first term of Mr. Monroe's administration." In 1853 appeared his Theory of Politics, one of his ablest and most acute treatises. In 1854, he gave us a new edition of Despotism in America, with a “continuation,” such as the significant events that had occurred since the appearance of the first edition enabled him to make. Japan as it Was and as it is appeared in 1855, when he became a regular contributor to the “New York Tribune,” and at the close of the year removed to New York, where he now resides. His latest work—Atrocious Judges; or, Lives of Judges Infamous as Tools of Tyrants and Instruments of Oppression—was published in 1856.” The following extracts from some of Mr. Hildreth's able works will give a fair idea of his strong, manly style, and his power of description and narration as an historian. The prominent qualities of his mind are courage and honesty; and he is never afraid to speak out the deep convictions of his soul.

THE MURDER OF THE SOUL.

There are some people whose sympathies have been excited upon the subject of slavery, who, if they can only be satisfied that the slaves have enough to eat, think it is all very well, and that nothing more is to be said or done.

If slaves were merely animals, whose only or chief enjoyment consisted in the gratification of their bodily appetites, there would be some show of sense in this conclusion. But, in fact, however crushed and brutified, they are still men; men whose bosoms beat with the same passions as our own; whose hearts swell with the same aspirations,—the same ardent desire to improve their condition; the same wishes for what they have not; the same indifference towards what they have; the same restless love of social superiority; the same greediness of acquisition, the same desire to know; the same impatience of all external control.

“Hildreth is a historian of most truthful and methodical accuracy. His style is clear, concise, and charming, though without figurative ornament. He makes points like the point of a diamond. His analysis of Inotives and causes stamps him as a philosopher of the first rank.”—Democratic Revier, January, 1850.

* In the Appendix to this work is the decision of Judge Kane, imprisoning Passinore Williamson for an alleged “contempt of court.” See note on p. 571.

« 上一頁繼續 »