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1850.

Texas, Mexico, and California.

363

every other question in the United States. For though the cause of civilisation is not bound up with the present confederacy, a dissolution would involve wars and backslidings, and a century of lee-way, and would react heavily upon the fortunes of Europe.

Let us look, therefore, if there be no elements of hope in the conditions of the question as it now stands.

We began our survey of the United States on their bright side, where, in New England, civilisation has achieved its greatest triumphs, and achieved them under a democracy: from which we drew this inference, that civilisation is compatible with democracy. And if so in the North, why not in the South ? If in the East, why not in the West? It is at any rate more a question of blood and breed than of latitude and climate. There are great races of men in the world that have never shown a genius for polity. But our race has shown it eminently under every sky, and for 1000 years, from Alfred to Washington, has never for any considerable interval been retrograde. The English tongue is a compound of all languages, and British institutions are a compound of all the polities of the world. The war against the American wilderness is the same now as it was from the beginning; or, if upon a vaster scale, with corresponding advantages of experience and power. Consider how greatly physical and mechanical apparatus have been brought to bear upon civilisation : and if parish boundaries in America are meridians of latitude and longitude, let us remember the steamship and the steam-press, the electric post and the flying train! The scale of operations is nothing if the ways and means be commensurate; and in the rasa tabula of America those ways and means have only the natural intractability of men to contend with, and not the adventitious obstacles of the prejudices and prescriptions of the Old World. Should the civilisation of the old and free States be but secure, their character cannot suffer by those accessions from the backwoods which lower the average character of the Union. It is incident to popular government, and still more to federal constitutions, that the nation in its collective form and action is a balance of the best and worst sense which it contains; and the United States must pay this penalty for the glory of subduing a continent; - their progress will be constantly retarded and checked from time to time by the influx of wild brethren and of raw levies from the far West. But what help is there for this, except in the constant resistance and protest kept up against it? No sharp line of demarcation can be drawn: no moment of maturity can be predetermined for the admission of a new State. It is the task of tame elephants to subdue the wild. It is the very commission of the civilised States to leaven the mass, and to annex that they may leaven. And has not so much hitherto been done and made good in that way as to forbid despair at this or any other season? It is Texas and slavery which have raised the present excitement and brought on the present crisis. But the ferment, we think, is more likely to be healthful than destructive. To every bane there is an antidote. As the spirit of the slave interest is embittered, the moral spirit of abolition is reanimated and reinforced; and as the barbarism of the West presses upon Congress, the civilisation of the East puts on its armour and stands on more vigilant guard. Then in the West itself, against Texas is to be set off California and New Mexico, which,' says Mr. Webster, in his great speech in the Senate of the United States, on the 7th of March last,

' are likely to come in as free. What I mean to say is, that African slavery, as we see it among us, is as impossible to find itself, or to be found, in California and New Mexico, as any other natural impossibility. California and New Mexico are Asiatic in their formation and scenery. They are composed of vast ridges of mountains of enormous height, with broken ridges and deep valleys. The sides of these mountains are barren, entirely barren, their tops capped by perennial snow. There may be in California, now made free by its constitution, and no doubt there are, some tracts of valuable land. But it is not so in New Mexico. Pray what is the evidence which every gentleman must have obtained on this subject, from information sought by himself, or communicated by others? I have inquired and read all I could find, in order to acquire information on this important question. What is there in New Mexico that could, by any possibility, induce any body to go there with slaves ? There are some narrow strips of tillable land on the borders of the rivers, but the rivers themselves dry up before midsummer is gone. All that the people can do in that region is to raise some little articles, some little wheat for their tortillas, and all by irrigation. And who expects to see a hundred black men cultivating tobacco, corn, cotton, rice, or anything else, on lands in New Mexico, made fertile only by irrigation? I look upon it, therefore, as a fixed fact, to use an expression current at this day, that both California and New Mexico are destined to be free, as far as they are settled at all, which, I believe, especially in regard to New Mexico, will be very little for a great length of time, — free by the arrangement of things, by the Power above us. I have therefore to say, in this respect also, that this country is fixed for freedom, to as many persons as shall ever live in it, by as irrepealable, and more irrepealable, a law than the law which attaches to the right of holding slaves in Texas; and I will say further, that if a resolution, or a law, were now before us to provide a territorial government for New Mexico, I would not vote to put any prohibition into it whatever. The use of such a prohibition

1850.

Activity of the Church of Rome.

365

would be idle, as respects any effect it would have upon the territory; and I would not take pains to reaffirm an ordinance of Nature, nor to re-enact the will of God.'

Now though Mr. Webster thinks that New Mexico will be slowly peopled, yet the rush of adventurers upon California will certainly raise up some rapid masses of population there--and of population trained in the Old World, and in the oldest parts of the New—so that the Union will have some groundwork of allegiance, and many peaceful interests, already established on the Pacific, and the backwoods may be attacked in the rear. Then among moral agencies, to say no more of the Protestant sects which sow some seed of Christianity everywhere, we would not overlook the Romanist religion of the French races in the valley of the Mississippi. The Church of Rome, though no friend to intellectual freedom, and therefore to the progress of mankind, has always been the nursing mother of humanity in rude times and regions. Compare, for instance, her missionaries and ours, even in China! Her pastoral system is benign and allembracing, and, for simple men, her ritual the most elevated of all mythologies. Mr. Mackay is alarmed for the Protestantism of Western America.

· The Church of Rome,' he says, 'has in a manner abandoned the comparatively popular States of the sea-board, and fixed its attention upon the valley of the Mississippi. In this it has discovered a farseeing policy. Nineteen-twentieths of the Mississippi valley are yet under the dominion of the wilderness. But no portion of the country is being so rapidly filled with population. In fifty years its inhabitants will, in number, be more than double those of the Atlantic States. The Church of Rome has virtually left the latter to the tender mercies of contending Protestant sects, and is fast taking possession of the great valley.

In her operations she does not confine herself to the more populous portions of the valley, her devoted missionaries penetrating its remotest regions, wherever a white man or an Indian is to be found. Wherever the Protestant missionary goes he finds that he has been forestalled by his more active rival, whose coadjutors roam on their proselytizing mission over vast tracts of country into which the Protestant has not yet followed him with a similar object. Catholicism is thus, by its advance guards, who keep pace with population whithersoever it spreads, sowing broad cast the seeds of future influence. In many districts the settler finds no religious counsellor within reach but the faithful missionary of Rome, who has thus the field to himself, a field which he frequently cultivates with success. In addition to this, seminaries, in connexion with the church, are being founded, not only in places which are now well filled with people, but in spots which careful observation has satisfied its agents will yet most teem with population. Ecclesiastical establishments,

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too, are being erected, which commend themselves to the people of the districts in which they are found by the mode in which they administer to their comforts and their necessities when other means of ministering to them are wanting. The Sisters of Charity hare already their establishments amid the deep recesses of the forest, prescribing to the diseased in body, and administering consolation to the troubled in spirit, long before the doctor or the minister makes his appearance in the settlement. By this attention to the physical as well as to the moral wants, the Roman emissaries, ere there are yet any to compete with them, gain the good will of the neighbourhood jin the midst of which they labour, and proselytism frequently follows hard upon a lively sentiment of gratitude.'

We cannot but regret that this pleasing picture should be dashed with any shade of Protestant jealousy. A thousand synods of Thurles shall not provoke us here. It exhibits the Church of Rome on what has ever been her bright side, the pastoral and not the theological. She has always been the friend and guardian of society in its infancy, in its desolation, in seasons of famine, of pestilence, and of secular oppression. In Europe, for many centuries, amid the darkness of evil generations, she was the sole sanctuary of peace, of mercy, and of female innocence. And now for her labours of charity, not for the first time, in the American wilderness, we are very willing to forget her prospective policy, and that eye to business which Mr. Mackay forewarns us of. In the Roman Catholic missionaries of the great valley let us welcoine present instruments of good whom Providence has not sent there for nothing.

And thus whoever casts a comprehensive eye over the vast and varied picture of the United States will discern signs of growth, change, transition, conflict, and compensation on every side, and agencies of man and nature apparently in opposition that are really working together to some general end. The four races of men, too, which compose that vast population, the Saxon, the Celt, the Negro, and the Indian,- whatever their separate fortunes, must mingle their blood, more or less, together; and, as Nature makes nothing in vain, we know not what political results may come of that. Dr. Arnold, many years ago, in some historical disquisition, assumed that European society must work out its destiny with the means already in its possession, and had no new ingredients or infusions to look for; upon which, a writer in the Westminster Review remarked that the Negro race had not yet played its part in the world, and was perhaps destined to supply the pacific and Christian counterpoise to the martial and pioneering virtues of the northern races. Of course we do not propound this as any serious theory of our own; but when we study Lavater, and read Blumenbach

1850. America not declining, but growing. 367 and D’Israeli upon Caucasians, Mongolians, Ethiopians, and the type man, there is nothing absurd in suggesting that Nature may have designed ultimately to fuse her three original types into one, and that the last and highest man may be something higher than a Jew.

There is an opinion in Europe that American democracy has outlived the virtues of its founders, and has become corrupt and acquisitive, envious, factious, and insensible to honour. But if this means that America is suffering, upon the whole, a moral decline, the opinion seems to us inconsistent with the high and progressive civilisation of many of the older States. We would ascribe the evil to growth rather than decay; or at the worst to that relative deterioration which is involved in the rapid increase of independent constituencies. The national point of honour may easily stand lower now than it did in the first years of independence, when the population was more compact, more united by a common sentiment, and more under the influence of the eminent and disinterested men who laid the foundations of the republic. The pioneers of the West have not been trained in courts or camps; and the questions which now agitate the Union, like the questions which agitate all governments, are calculated to bring out the fiercest passions of the populace. Yet the true question is not simply as to the existence and vivacity of democratic vices in America, but whether such corruptions are the permanent and increasing tendency of popular institutions ;– for if they be, then men of virtue, as well as men of taste, will fly from petty tyrants to the throne,' or, if need be, even to the shelter of hierarchies and of castes. But let institutions be judged by their fruits, — the good and the bad together. In every country there are examples of any kind of moral character from which a writer may choose to generalise. If we were to judge at home of the quality of the waters by the scum of the surface, or by the dregs at bottom, what inferences should we draw from election mobs, parliamentary intrigues, and railway morality? These are undeniable disgraces, but they are not the whole of England. There are readers who never crossed the Atlantic, who figure to themselves all America to be spitting on the carpet, all American religion to be that of a Smith and a Miller, and all American law to be that of Lynch, - the truth being that Americans do spit more than is approved of in England; that Lynch is still an indispensable man in the backwoods; and that the Mormons have founded a State: but the truth being also, that the best society and manners are to be found in the States; that the gradations of law rise from Lynch, through Kent, up to Story, one of the first of modern jurists; and gradations of religion from the fana

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