« PreviousContinue »
the South, but on the more guilty inhabitants of the North, who have sinned against clearer light and stronger convictions, and, even now, there is no evidence of a change of mind towards sin as such, or deep humility before God on account of it.
Although the country was settled with the Puritans, and, according to Mrs. Stowe, in her "Key to Uncle Tom," claims a pre-eminence in regard to the "more powerful influence of the clergy, and a greater religious ascendancy amongst the nations," those supposed clergy, not excepting her brother, Henry Ward Beecher, and the multitudes of avowed disciples referred to by her, have no visible hand in shaping our destiny in the present awful and rugged crisis, by the Word and Spirit of God, means which are alone owned, sanctified, and blest by Him.
The diabolical barbarities and cold blooded atrocities, butcheries, and miseries flowing out of the fratricidal war are utterly revolting and frightful to contemplate, and ought to call forth the earnest and most dignified remonstrances of Christian men everywhere against its continuance; and, also, against the religious war crusaders, such as Cheever, Beecher, Sloan, Tyng, Dowling, Conway, and Mrs. Stowe, whose gospel of emancipation is not one of peace, but of "iron globes, torches of Greek fire, explosive biscuits," famine, pestilence, slaughter, and blood.
How mournful and humiliating to reflect, thas
in the abandonment of moral for military issues, our avowedly Christian men, with their mottos, "fight or die,” were the first to lead the way, commercial men the next to follow, then the idolaters of the Union, whilst "Progressive Friends," or Quakers, so called, and the Garrisonians or Parkerites, who had been peace men at any price, and proclaimed the Federal Union to be a covenant with death and agreement with hell, brought up the rear. What a fall, when these men can now point to nothing but bullets, as the staple commodity for their creed, ten commandments, and sermon on the mount! Fallen and misguided as they are, one would have supposed, that as Peter the Hermit had the magnanimity to march at the head of his followers in his crusade, so they, or some of them, would have shown their genius, valour, and skill on the battle-field with the sword, but as yet this has been confined to their tongues and pens, showing that their cowardice is as great as their guilt, whilst the pleas which they put forth to sustain their position are inexcusable and unjustifiable, whether they may be religious, commercial, or national.
Religiously they are placed in a terrible position, when, like Dr. Cheever, May 6, 1862, in Cooper's Institute, New York, they have to interpolate Christ's words of peace and goodwill with the brutal and bloody words of strife, and make Him say, "Go to Decapolis and preach as well as fight,
(announce) deliverance to the captives, as well as submission to the rebels;" or, like Dr. Tyng, whom Dr. Mackay, the correspondent of the Times, says, "Makes it the duty of the civil Magistrate to uproot crime with the sword urged into dictation by the priest."
Their commercial pleas are equally unsatisfactory, when the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher confesses, in his Harper's Ferry sermon, that "our standard of morals has been commercial, and from a commercial stand-point we have taken our observations." And how low and debasing that standpoint has been is shown in the same sermon, when Beecher says, "There can be no disputing the fact, that, for commercial causes, an element of slavery which had temporary refuge with us, granted by the unsuspecting fathers, has swollen to an unexpected and unforeseen power, and, for the last fifty years, has held the administrative power of the country in its hands, has controlled patronage, and distributed appointments."
But national pleas are equally untenable and delusive as the others.
Stress is laid on the freedom power of the Constitution, one clause of which would have swept slavery with its concomitant evils away for ever. This was the Habeas Corpus Act, which provides that "no person be deprived of liberty without due process of law," and yet, in defiance of this clause, every slave has been stript of liberty without such
process. In deference to the wishes of the slaveholders and commercial men of the North, this freedom power of the Constitution was sacrificed by those whom Beecher calls the "unsuspecting fathers," and the reason assigned was, "They found slavery, and they left it among them because of the difficulty, the absolute impossibility of its removal.”
And this freedom power in the Constitution, so far as the black man is concerned, has slumbered ever since, and "been inoperative as a bull against a comet." And when Alice Hambleton, Dinah Mendenhall, Oliver Johnson, and sundry other Quakers, waited on President Lincoln, and pressed on his attention this freedom power in the Constitution, and reminded him of its binding power, he assented to its truth, but "it cannot be enforced at present in the South," said the President. "True," said the Quakers, "but you do not for all that give up the struggle." Oh, no! The struggle has been rather bloody since at Fredericksburg, Vicksburg, Murfreesboro, and other places, and Lincoln and his government give no signs of weariness in the bloody work. Have the great charters of freedom been allowed to slumber in this country? Can they not be enforced?
"But the "Union' is, to loyal Americans, what the British throne and constitution are to Britishers," say our religious war crusaders. Suppose, for example, say they, that "Scotland, Ireland, or Wales were, by conspiracy, to present a demand to
separate from the British throne and government, and jeopardise the throne, and the glorious constitutional liberties secured to this nation, under the laws of Providence, by the toil and blood of noble sires, would they parley with the traitors?" No. But, if the "glorious constitutional liberties" had lain a dead letter, unheeded and unneeded, like the Constitution in America; or, what is worse still, the administrative power had perverted and misapplied these constitutional liberties, so as to make their great charters of freedom an engine of despotism to subject millions to the grinding power of tyranny and oppression: What then? Would not the British say, the sooner such a throne was subverted the better, and the government broken up, if they had no constitutional means of redress? In such a case thousands and millions of voices would respond in the affirmative. But how does the matter stand in America? Not only have the great charters of freedom been inoperative, but a direct breach has been made through them by the wedge of compromise, so as to turn those great charters into instruments of injustice and cruelty, depriving millions of all constitutional means of redress, and subjecting them to a bondage, "one hour of which," said Jefferson, "exceeds ages of that we rose in rebellion to oppose;" and the whole nation, with a few exceptions, have looked silently on, whilst the administrators of the government are powerless and unable to meet the exigen