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date. Its professed followers are, many of them, not a little ashamed of it. What are called “wet quakers" abound. Their meetings diminish. The high price of beaver has contributed to reduce their hats.The sober and devout men ainong them discover that religion may flourish within consecrated wallsthat men may preach the gospel who preach at an appointed hour—that silent meetings are instrumental in converting fewer souls than those in which a single voice proclaims the glad , tidings of salvation-and, accordingly, many of them, leaving their plain drabs in the hands of the elders, boldly scale, lapelled and powdered, the walls of the establishment. We welcome them most devoutly.-Each party may benefit the other. They may learn religious sobriety, and, we venture to hope, orthodoxy from us. And on the other hand, we may surely deign to learn benevolence from those who have before instructed all the world,
We come now, in conclusion, to the character of Penn as a politician, on which, however, we have not much room to dwell. His Pennsylvanian government was characterised by several features which gave him a high rank among legislators—its spirit of tolerance in that most intolerant age-its integrity and kindness to the aboriginal Indiansmits compassion to the negro slaves— its studious effort, an effort almost original and solitary in those days, to connect, in the administration of justice, the reformation of the offender with the punishment of the crime.
Mr. Clarkson will be astonished that we do not add to this list the abolition of oaths and the denunciation of war. -But as to the first of these features of policy, we are tender of applauding an abolition which, so far from having any sanction in Scripture, goes far to condemn the practice of Christ and his apostles. Doubtless, the needless multiplication or the careless administrasi tion of oaths is a crying sin in every country. And while we say this, we tremble for our own country. Still the possible abuse of a practice is no positive condemnation of it--nor do we think that the entire 'exclusion of oaths would assist the cause of reiigion, Oaths, be it remembered, are appeals to God; and are there. fore a virtual condemnation of atheism-a recognition of the :: value of religion, and of the power of God. Livy tells that one of the safeguards of Rome was her reverence for an oath; and it is sound philosophy: Oaths are no less, perhaps, the ramparts of piety than of justice: they are the unwilling : homage of the bad to religion ; they are a national avowal of dependence upon God. -'T'hey are the extorted confession of the irreligious, that their rock is not as our rock, themselves i being the witness, It is also worthy of notice that,
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quakers purchased their exemption from oaths, by a declara tion to the legislature that they regard a simple affirmation as other men do an oath. If this be not sincere, they have no right to their privilege. If it be—then they, even by their affirmations, appeal to Heaven; and thus commit the very crime which they condemn in us.—As to the abolition of war, seeing this also is of the class of supererogatory virtues, we look at it with some suspicion. The supreme Lawgiver is not likely to have given any superfluous licence to his creatures. War being permitted by scripture—the question is reduced to one of expediency_" would the world be made happier by a partial attempt to abolish it ?- does the state of society admit of its abolition ?"-To the first of these questions it must be answered--a partial attempt to abolish it would pat the good in the power of the bad.-As to the second question—it may be said on the one side, that “ Pennsylvania subsisted without war." But the reply to this is, that it was then the province of another country who fought for it. Since the æra of its independence Pennsylvanians have drawn the sword_have shown a forwardness to the battlemand, even at the present moment, are aggravating the guilt of ordinary warfare by the horrors of patricide-are sharpening their swords upon the whet-stones of France to bathe them in the blood of England. - At the same time, let nothing we have said be misinterpreted into a love of war-or indeed into any thing that is not consistent with a rooted abhorrence of that sanguinary spirit which feels a slight like a wound, which conjures up an enmity it does not find, which taxes its ingenuity to hatch up a pretext for drinking the blood of our fellow men. Doubtless a love of war is one of the most general crimes of human nature. Our own people, indeed, are apt to charge it exclusively upon their governments, but forget who they are that first goad their governors to war-that call the pacific, supine-that plunge them in the battle, and then condemn them for fighting it. While the earth is shaken and the air is darkened by the smoke of cannon-while the four corners of the world are on fire witħ the fury of contending armies—while almost every morning brings us the awful history of a half-exterminated nation—we feel no disposition to quarrel with any legislator who endeavours to inspire a hatred of war. But we fear, at the same time, that war is among our necessary We place this war, however, among that class of evils out of which good is to be educed. It is, we trust, the storm which precedes the general calm: the discordant tuning of the instruments which ushers in the final harmony.
In conclusion-we must be permitted to speak of what we conceive the positive defects of William Penn as a public cha
evils. too many
racter. In the first place he had always, to adopt a vulgar phrase,
irons in the fire.” Not contented with one hemisphere, he was, at the same moment, framing a government for one world, and preaching quakerism in another. At the very crisis of his fate as a governor in America, he darted off to England to redress at the foot of the throne the wrongs of his sect. In the meantime the infant province tried to walk alone, and fell never to recover. It is difficult to know upon what this attempt at ubiquity is to be charged--whether upon vanity, or restlessness, and the love of change, or on his peculiar collocation in life---as a single able man associated with many weak ones, and therefore called upon to supply their deficiences.
His next defect as a legislator was his love of pure democracy. Originally the democratical portion of his Pennsylvanian government was unlimited. Experience, however, every year reading him severe but important lessons on the subject, he was .compelled continually to reduce the numbers in the lower and upper houses of representatives; and thus to retreat from the republican to the monarchical form. When we consider that his subjects were a select body—that no other legislator could hope for materials so sorted for forming the fabric of his government; and then turn to the perpetual jarrings, struggles, and complete inefficiency of his system-we are forced to ad mit that Williani Penn had studied, neither human nature, nor the principles of politics, to much purpose. He calculated upon a measure of virtue in man which we fear is never to be found. And his government therefore, like instruments in which the artist has neglected to allow for the resistance of the medium in which they are to act, either acted improperly, or ceased to act at all.
We question whether, except in the conclave of cardinals, such a contentious, gruff, growling body ever hampered the movement of a legislature as the assemblies of Pennsylvania.
The third and last defect of William Penn as a legislatory was his neglect to provide any establishment for the maintenance of religion. There is much anxiety in a certain body of gentlemen, who are wonderfully liberal, at least to themselves, to confound the two subjects of intolerance and establishment. As error cannot be restrained by the fiat of a government, it is not less impolitic than wicked to point the cannon of a state at the prejudices of any portion of its subjects. But it is one thing to tolerate error, at least, while it is harınless, and another to neglect truth. It is a distinct question, whether we should pursue and persecute the minority--and whether we shall erect ramparts to protect the opinions of the majority. In our conception, the dis
senting system proceeds wholly upon a false view of human nature. That system bottoms, in fact, upon this propositionthat no instruction shall be offered to man till he himself is disposed to seek it. The church system, on the contrary, expects that men shall, in the first instance, pay for instruction, in the hope that by degrees they may be brought to value what they thus pay for. The former principle seems to.forget the corruption of human nature, and to imagine that men will feel and remedy their own moral wants. The last remembers this corruption, and forces upon them the supply which few would otherwise desire. We do not remember to have seen this distinction stated; but it is, in our view, of great importance. This defect of the dissenting system cannot indeed be largely felt in a country, like our own, where the establishment is supplying their lack of service. But it is seen more palpably in America, where these remedial helps are in a measure withdrawn. There the total absence of religious instruction in a whole village is not unfrequent. There, orthodoxy, seriousness, and devotion, rapidly decay. There, in many places, the ardent piety of the Puritan has burnt out, and left behind nothing but the ashes of Socinianism. Thence are supplications continually approaching us to feed from our once despised fountain the dry channels of American orthodoxy. And we are persuaded that if episcopacy had wholly deserted their shores; if the presbyterian church did not hold together a portion of the population by its creeds and discipline; if the dissenting churches in America had not, in many instances, approached establishments in their character the decay would have been still more rapid-the bank of sand, for such is “ Independeney,' would have yielded to the washing of the tide.
But we must here stop. Innumerable are the topies which these volumes suggest to us, into which it is impossible to enter. The history of quakerism is the history of enthusiasm; but of enthusiasm modified by a large admixture of right opinion; by much practical benevolence--and by the sober arrangements of two or three wise leaders. The enthusiast may learn from the exhausted state of devotion among the quakers, that the piety of creeds, and articles, and colleges, and mitres, if less showy, is more permanent than his own. The apostles of unqualitied liberty in religion may learn from the absurdities of quakerism, that none are greater slaves to authority and error than those who are emancipated from wholesoine restraint.-And, finally, the establishment may learn from the prevalence of quakerism, especially in the age of Charles II. that her own negligence of the doctrines or discipline of her fathers, is the mainspring of error and apostacy in her people that sects prevail in the exact proportion in which they are able to identify their own dogmas with the leading doctrines of the Gospel-and, therefore, that the best preventive of, and remedy for, dissent is the firm maintenance and zealous promulgation of the “ faith once delivered to the saints," and embodied in our own forinularies. It was said in the last session of parliament by a young orator of great promise, referring to the character of the clergy--that“ the safety of the shrine depends, under God, upon the brightness of the lamps which burn around it.” In this opinion we concur. We believe that the clergy in all prostrate churches have assisted to overthrow their own altars. Let them fairly descend into the sacred arena; let them lead the van in the spiritual battle ; let them hoist the standard of moral reform; let them head every institution for the dissemination of religion ; let them deserve the distinctions they enjoy—and they have nothing to fear from the disloyalty of the people. Our countrymen are not addicted to change; and if they were, every cathedral and church, every proud monument, or turf-grave of their ancestors, “ grapples” them by more than “hooks of steel” to the establishment. At the same time, the clergy must not rely merely on the prejudices of the people; nor must they pursue the mischievous, we had almost said profligate, policy of contending for the church, while they neglect the cause of general religion ; for, after all, the piety of the nation is the best rampart of the church. Let the clergy take care of that, and, we are disposed to think, the church will take care of herself.
Art. IX.-The Life of Nelson. By Robert Southey. 2 Vols.
12mo. London. 1813.
MANY are the attempts which have been made to write the life of Lord Nelson; but the views, objects, and means of the several biographers have either been of so confined and partial a nature, or, as in the case of Mr. Clarke's voluminous work, the connection and arrangement have been so overwhelmed by a redundancy of inaterials, that a correct and spirited memoir of this illustrious and remarkable person was still wanting to do posthumous justice, and to satisfy the feelings of his countrymen. Mr. Southey has attempted not only to supply this deficiency, but to give a history, as he says, “clear and concise enough to become a manual for the young sailor, which he inay carry about with him,