« AnteriorContinuar »
of Free States and Slave States. Every citizen, whether of South Carolina or of Massachusetts, is alike entitled to the protection and defence of the whole. All our institutions, not excepting the domestic institutions of the South, under this relation, are alike national and sacred ; and an attack on any one of them by a foreign government is an insult to the whole nation. Such an insult was the avowal made officially by the British minister of the views and intentions of his government on the subject of slavery; and we envy no American citizen who did not feel it to be an insult, and an insult offered by a haughty, insolent, and canting rival. It was this insult Mr. Calhoun rebuked in his letter to Mr. Packenham, and in terms as dignified as they were pointed and severe. Is there an American so lost to all sense of national dignity and respect as to blame him? What if Great Britain had made an official communication to our government that she looked upon our banking and factory systems as wrong, as hostile to Christian principles of liberty and political economy, and that it was her desire, and she would be unceasing in her efforts, to abolish them; would our bankers and manufacturers have blamed Mr. Calhoun for reminding the British government, through its minister, that this was our own affair, and that no foreigner could be allowed to intermeddle with it? What abuse, indeed, would not have been heaped upon his head, and deservedly too, if he had not repelled the national insult?
But it is said Mr. Calhoun entered into a defence of slavery. He did no such thing. He offers in his letter not one word in defence of slavery. He merely told the British minister that British philanthropy might be better employed ; that, if allowed to accomplish the end avowed, it would bring no substantial benefit to the negro race, which the British government proposed to take under its especial protection ; for the actual condition of that portion of the race held to service was not a little superior to that of the portion nominally free. And who of us, who have ever visited a Southern plantation, doubts the fact? The condition of the slaves at the South, we all know, is far superior to that of the free blacks at the North. The silly, sickly, restless sentimentalizers at home and abroad, who are ready to sacrifice the substance of freedom to secure its mere name, would do well to ask themselves, whether they have yet discovered a relation in which the black race can live on the same territory with the white, at all superior to that in which they now live at the South. We have had enough of cant and humbug. Mock us not with the mere name of liberty ; give us the substance of freedom, and do what you will with the empty name.
The Manchester or Leeds operative is nominally a freeman; how much more real freedom has he than Quashy, on the Southern plantation? Great Britain is now importing negroes, it is said, from the coast of Africa into her West Indian colonies, with the avowed purpose, by the multiplication of laborers, of reducing the price of labor to the very minimum of human subsistence. How much better than slaves are laborers forced by the lash of hunger to toil for the mere minimum of human subsistence? And what right has England to read us a lecture on slavery? Let her look at home. The great mass of her population are reduced to a state of moral and physical degradation unknown in any other European country. Her paupers are one out of every seven of her whole population; while even in Italy, of whose degradation we hear so much, they are only one to every twenty-five. She has reduced Ireland to a state of beggary, her hundred millions of East Indian subjects to the lowest destitution ; she has commenced the work of doing the same to the Chinese ; she is plethoric with the spoils of the defenceless everywhere, fat with the life-blood of every nation she could overawe; and yet she has the impudence to send her minister here to read us a moral lecture on slavery! and we, degenerate sons of noble sires, miserable cravens, applaud her for her generosity and noble philanthropy, and hurl our censures only at the patriotic minister of state who has ventured to rebuke her insolence and vindicate his country !
Mr. Calhoun contrasted the condition of the slaves and free blacks, not for the purpose of defending slavery, but for the purpose of showing the British minister, emphatically, that this subject of slavery involved considerations of which no foreigner can judge, and that, if slavery is an evil, it is an evil of which we alone can judge as to the proper time, measures, and mode of redress. This letter was called for, was proper, and manly. If some of the statistics on which he relied may be successfully disputed, they were still sufficiently accurate for all the purposes of his argument ; and enough others, which nobody can question, can be adduced whenever they shall be needed.
We are exceeding our limits; but we must warn our friends to beware of courting, in this or any contest, the aid of the fanatical Abolitionists. Can a man touch pitch and not be defiled ? The time has come when we must take our stand firmly for our religious institutions, for our country, for our whole country, and the noble Constitution of this Union, and be true to them, though we find ourselves opposed to every modern fanatic, who, because he has got the crotchet of philanthropy in his head, fancies himself privileged to scatter firebrands, arrows, and death, at his pleasure. There must be no misgiving, no swerving. The times are perilous. It is the day of trial. May God in mercy aid us, and grant that we may all prove equal to the holy trust committed to us; that we may shrink from no struggle, from no sacrifice, but be ready at any moment to give up all, even life itself, at the demand of our country, of republican freedom, and religious liberty !
ART. VIII. - LITERARY NOTICES AND MISCELLANIES.
1. Symbolism : or Exposition of the Doctrinal Differences between
Catholics and Protestants, as evidenced by their Symbolical Wrilings. By John Adam MOEHLER, Dean of Würzburg, and late Professor of Theology at the University of Münich. Translated from the German, with a Memoir of the Author, preceded by an Historical Sketch of the State of Protestantism and Catholicism in Germany for the last Hundred Years. By J. B. Robertson, Esq., Translator of Schlegel's Philosophy of History. New York : Dunnigan, 1844. Evo. pp. 575.
We are at a loss which most to admire in this book, the varied and exhausting erudition of the author, bis singularly impartial judgment, or the philosophical acuteness and depth of his intellect. No work, to our knowledge, has appeared in modern times, that can compare with it, whether as containing a clear and impartial statement of the respective doctrines of Catholics and Protestants, or a just appreciation of the great theological and philosophical principles involved in these doctrines themselves, or in their discussion. The anthor was a Doctor of the Catholic Church, and his exposition of Catholic doctrines has been received with the greatest favor in that Church, and is accepted by those well qualified to judge of its justness. On the other hand, it would be difficult to find, in the whole compass of Protestant literature, a single writer who has given any thing like so full and so fair an exhibition of the leading principles of the several Protestant sects. There is no Protestant ibat may not study his own faith to advantage in his pages.
The great advantage of this work is, that it enables us to study the Protestant and Catholic doctrines in their mutual contrast. Protestants, in these days, are rarely able to grasp the essential elements of Catholic theology. This theology is foreign to the ordinary range of their thoughts, and belongs to a region of whose reality they have scarcely a suspicion. It pertains not only to another, but to a higher order of thought than that in which they babitually live. Protestantism starts with truth in its diversity and particularity, - Catholicism with truth in its unity and universality. But starting with truth in its diversity and particularity, the buman mind is utterly unable to attain to unity and universality; and bence the utter inability of a purely Protestant mind of attaining to a true understanding and just appreciation of Catholic theology. The difficulty is to be overcome only by placing, in the light of Catholic unity, Protestant and Catholic doctrines side by side in their mutual contrast, and by referring each to its principle. This is done by the author of the work before us in a manner which leaves little to be desired.
The difficulty of the Protestant, in understanding and appreciating Catholicism, is ot experienced the Catholic, in understanding and appreciating Protestantism. The Catholic, we have said, starts from truth in its unity and universality. He starts, then, in possession of the truth and the whole truth, so far as concerns its principle, and he can easily make the application of the principle to each particular question that comes up. He has only to follow the invincible laws of logic, in order to determine what is the truth in the particular case presented. He has no difficulty, then, in understanding Protestantism, in decomposing it, and selecting out its elements of truth, and rejecting its errors. We must not suppose that Protestantism has no truth. No Protestant sect, however far it may have departed from unity and catholicity, but retains much truth, and very essential truth; but no one contains the whole truth, that is, truth in its unity and universality. It is always truth in its diversity and particularity. This truth the Catholic does not reject; he accepts it; but he does not accept it as something which he had not before. The Catholic is a Catholic, not an Eclectic. The Eclectic assumes that all sects, schools, and parties have each a special truth, and so far the Catholic agrees with him. But, the Eclectic adds, no one has the whole truth, and each should borrow of the other to eke out its own deficiency. Thus, Catholicism has its truth, which Protestantism bas not; and, Protestantism has its truth, which Catholicism bas not. Here, the Catholic does not agree with him; for he contends that he has, through the revelation of God, truth in its very unity and catholicity. He has, then, an unerring standard by which to try all parties, schools, and sects. And having the truth in its unity and universality, he can easily comprehend and appreciate all sects, for he has already in his possession the special truth of each, and more than the truth of all united. It is easy, then, to see why he does not experience the difficulty in comprehending Protestantism, that the Protestant does in comprehending Catholicism. It would be impossible for a Protestant mind to run over the several Protestant sects, and state and appreciate their several doctrines, even from the Protestant point of view, so fairly and so justly as they are stated and appreciated in the work before us; for no Protestant has, or can, as a Protestant, rise to, an intellectual elevation high enough to command a view of so broad an horizon as he needs to survey:
Let it not be supposed from this, that Catholicism, though it undoubtedly satisfies a higher order of intellect, demands a higher order of intellect for its comprehension than Protestantism. All great truths are simple, and no truth is comprehensible till seen in the light of its unity and universality. An ordinary mind easily seizes and appreciates, in this light, truths which baffle the profoundest intellects, when contemplated only in the darkness of diversity and particularity. It undoubtedly requires a higher order of intelligence ihan any Protestant has ever exhibited, starting with diversity and particularity, to attain to the unity and catholicity of truth ; and, in fact, a higher order of intelligence than the human mind itself. The Catholic has not attained to it, nor does he believe man can attain to it, by his natural powers. Truth in its unity and catholicity has been given him by Divine Revelation, and preserved from Christ and the Apostles by the one Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, He has, therefore, no natural superiority, claims no natural snperiorVOL. I. NO, III.