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instability of all earthly goods, are teaching us the lofty lessons of superiority to the fleeting opinion of our day, of reliance on the everlasting law of Right, of reference to a Higher Judge than man, of solemn anticipation of our final account. Permit me to close this letter with desiring for you in your commanding station, what I ask for myself in private life, that we may be faithful to ourselves, to our country, to mankind, to the benevolent principles of the Christian faith, and to the common Father of the whole human race.
Your friend and servant,
WILLIAM E. CHANXING.
NEWPORT, R. I., Aug. 1, 1837.
A few remarks, which have been suggested since the completion of the preceding letter, I shall throw into a note.
The recognition of the independence of Texas by our government is to be lamented, as unbecomingly hasty, and as a violation of the principle adopted by Mr. Munroe, in regard to the Spanish colonies. These new states," he says, “ had completely established their independence before we acknowledged them.” We have recognised Texas as a nation, having all the attributes of sovereignty, and competent to the discharge of all the obligations of an independent state. And what is Texas ? A collection of a few settlements, which would vanish at once, were a Mexican army of any force to enter the country. One decisive victory would scatter all Texas like a horde of Tartars, and not a trace of its institutions and population would remain. We have been accustomed to think of a nation as something permanent, as having some fixtures, some lasting bond of union. There would be nothing to hold Texas together, were her single, small army to be routed in one battle. To send a minister plenipotentiary to such a handful of people, made up chiefly of our own citizens, is to degrade the forms of national intercourse. This new republic, with its president and diplomatic corps, has been called a Farce. But the tragic element prevails so much over the farcical in this whole business, that we cannot laugh at it. The movements of our government in regard to Texas are chiefly interesting, as they are thought to indicate a disposition favourable to its annexation to our country. But we will not believe, that the government is resolved on this great wrong, unless we are compelled so to do. We hope, that the present administration will secure the confidence of good men by well considered and upright measures, looking beyond momentary interests, to the lasting peace, order, and strength of the country.
There is another objection to the annexation of Texas, which, after our late experience, is entitled to attention. This possession will involve us in new Indian wars. Texas, besides being open to the irruption of the tribes within our territories, has a tribe of its own, the Camanches, which is described as more formidable than any in North America. Such foes are not to be coveted. The Indians! that ominous word, which ought to pierce the conscience of this nation, more than the savage war-cry pierces the ear. The Indians! Have we not inflicted and endured evil enough in our intercourse with this wretched people to abstain from new wars with them? Is the tragedy of Florida to be acted again and again in our own day, and in our children's ?
In addition to what I have said of the constitutional objections to the annexation of Texas to our country, I would observe, that we may infer, from the bistory and language of the constitution, that our national Union was so far from being intended to spread slavery over new countries, that, had the possiblity of such a result been anticipated, decided provisions would have been introduced for its prevention. It is worthy of remark, how anxious the framers of that instrument were to exclude from it the word Slavery. They were not willing, that this feature of our social system should be betrayed in the construction of our free government. A stranger might read it, without suspecting the existence of this institution among
Were slavery to be wholly abolished here, no change would be needed in the constitution, nor would any part become obsolete, except an obscure clause, which, in apportioning the representatives, provides that there shall be added to the whole number of free persons "three-fifths of other persons." Slavery is studiously thrown into the background. How little did our forefathers suppose, that it was to become a leading interest of the government, to which our peace at home and abroad was to be made a sacrifice !
I have said, that I desire no political union with communities bent on spreading and perpetuating slavery. It is hardly necessary to observe, that this was not intended to express a desire to decline friendly intercourse with the members of those communities. Individuals, who have received from their ancestors some pernicious prejudice or institution, may still, in their general spirit, be disinterested and just. Our testimony against the wrong which such men practise, is not to be stifled or impaired by the feelings of interest or attachment which they inspire ; nor, on the other hand, must this wrong be spread by our imaginations over their whole characters, so as to seem their sole attribute, and so as to hide all their claims to regard. In an age of reform, one of the hardest duties is, to be inflexibly hostile to the long-rooted corruptions of society, and at the same time to be candid and just to those who uphold them. It is true, that, with the most friendly feelings, we shall probably give offence to those, who are interested in abuses which we condemn. But we are not on this account absolved from the duty of cultivating and expressing kindness and justice, of laying strong restraint on our passions, and of avoiding all needless provocation.
The speech of Mr. Adams on the subject of the preceding letter, delivered in Congress, December, 1835, should be republished and circulated. It deserves to be read as a specimen of parliamentary eloquence; and its moral and political views are worthy of its eminent author.
There seems to be an apprehension at the South, that the Free States, should they obtain the ascendency, might be disposed to use the powers of the government for the abolition of slavery. On this point, there is but one feeling at the North. The Free States feel, that they have no more right to abolish slavery in the Slaveholding States than in a foreign country. They regard the matter as wholly out of their reach. They, indeed, claim the right of setting forth the evils of slavery, as of any other pernicious and morally wrong institution. But the thought of touching the laws which establish it in any State, they reject without a discordant voice. In regard to the District of Columbia, many of us feel, that slavery continues there by the action of all the States, that the Free States, therefore, are responsible for it; and we maintain that it is most unreasonable, that an institution should be sustained by those who hold it to be immoral and pernicious. But we feel no such responsibility for slavery in the Slave-holding States. These States must determine for themselves how long it shall continue, and by what means it shall be abolished. We solemnly urge them to use their power for its removal; but nothing would tempt us to wrest the power from them, if we could. The South has fears, that the Free States may be hurried away by“ enthusiasm" into usurpation of unconstitutional powers on the subject. One is tempted to smile at the want of acquaintance with the North, which such an apprehension betrays. This enthusiasm, to endanger the South, must spread through all the Free States; for, as the slave-holders are unanimous, nothing but a like unanimity in their opponents can expose them to harm. And is it possible, that a large number of communities, spread over a vast surface, having a diversity of interests, and all absorbed in the pursuit of gain, to a degree, perhaps without a parallel, should be driven by a moral, philanthropic enthusiam, into violations of a national compact, by which their peace and prosperity would be put in peril, and into combined and lawless efforts against other communities, with wiom they sustain exceedingly profitable connexions, and
from whom they could not be sundered without serious loss? Whoever is acquainted with the Free States knows, that the excesses, to which they are exposed, are not so much those of enthusiasm, as of caution and worldly prudence. The patience, with which they have endured recent violent measures directed against. their citizens, shows little propensity to rashness. The danger is, not so much that they will invade the rights of other members of the confederacy, as that they will be indifferent to their own. I have spoken in this letter of the estimation in which this country is held abroad. I hope I shall not be numbered among those, too common here, who are irritably alive to the opinions of other nations, to the censures and misrepresentations of travellers. To a great and growing people, how insignificant is the praise or blame of a traveller or a nation “None of these things move me.” But one thing does move me. It is a sore evil, that freedom should be blasphemed, that republican institutions should forfeit the confidence of mankind, through the unfaithfulness of this people to their trust. In reviewing this letter, I perceive that I have used the strong language, in which the apprehension of great evils naturally expresses itself. I hope this will not be construed as betokening any anxieties or misgivings in regard to the issues of passing events. I place a cheerful trust in Providence. The triumphs in evil, which men call great, are but clouds passing over the serene and everlasting heavens. Public men may, in craft or passion, decree violence and oppression. But silently, irresistibly, they and their works are swept away. A voice of encouragement comes to us from the ruins of the past, from the humiliations of the proud, from the prostrate thrones of conquerors, from the baffled schemes of statesmen, from the reprobation with which the present age looks back on the unrighteous licy of former times. Such sentence the future will pass on present wrongs. en, measures, and all earthly interests pass away; but Principles are Eternal. Truth, justice, and goodness partake of the omnipotence and immutableness of God, whose essence they are. In these it becomes us to place a calm, joyful trust, in the darkest hour.
LETTER ON CATHOLICISM,
EDITOR OF THE WESTERN MESSENGER,
Boston, June, 1836. MY DEAR SIR,
I have received your letter, expressing a very earnest desire that I would make some contribution to the pages of the Western Messenger. Your appeal is too strong to be resisted. I feel that I must send you something, though circumstances, which I cannot control, do not allow me to engage in any elaborate discussion. I have therefore resolved to write you a letter, with the same freedom which I should use, if writing not for the public, but to a friend. Perhaps it may meet the wants, and suit the frank spirit of the West, more than a regular essay. But judge for yourself, and do what you will with my hasty thoughts. I begin with expressing my satisfaction in your having planted yourself in the West. I am glad for your own sake, as well as for the sake of the cause you have adopted. I say, your own sake. You have chosen the good part. The first question to be asked by a young man
entering into active life, is, in what situation he can find the greatest
scope and excitement to his powers and good affections? That sphere is the best for a man, in which he can best unfold the faculties of a Man, in which he can do justice to his whole nature; in which his intellect, heart, conscience, will be called into the most powerful life. I am always discouraged when I hear a young man asking for the easiest condition, when I see him looking out for some beaten path, in which he can move on mechanically, and with the least expense of thought and feeling. The young minister sometimes desires to become a fixture in an established congregation, which is bound to its place of worship by obstinate ties of habit, and which can therefore be kept together with little effort of his own. If the congregation happens to be called a respectable one, that is, if it happens so far to regard the rules of worldly decorum as never to shock him by immoralities, and never to force him into any new or strenuous exertion for its recovery, so much the better. Such a minister is among the most pitiable members of the community. Happily this extreme case is rare. But the case is not rare of those, who, wishing to do good, still desire to reconcile usefulness with all the comforts of life, who shrink from the hazards, which men take in other pursuits, who want the spirit of enterprise, who prefer to reap where others have sowed, and to linger round the places of their nativity. At a time when men of other professions pour themselves into the new ports of the country, and are seeking their fortunes with buoyant spirits, and overflowing hopes, the minister seems little inclined to seek what is better than fortune in untried fields of labour. Of all men, the minister should be first to inquire, where shall I find the circumstances most fitted to wake up my whole soul, to task all my faculties, to inspire a profound interest, to carry me out of myself? I believe you have asked yourself this question, and I think you have answered it wisely. You have thrown yourself into a new country, where there are admirable materials, but where a congregation is to be created by your own faithfulness and zeal. Not even a foundation is laid, on which you can build. There are no mechanical habits among the people, which the minister can use as labour-saving machines, which will do much of his work for him, which will draw people to church whether he meets their wants or not. Still more, there are no rigid rules, binding you down to specific modes of action, cramping your energies, warring with your individuality. You may preach in your own way, preach from your observation of the effects produced on a free-speaking people. Tradition does not take the place of your own reason. In addition to-this, you see and feel the pressing need of religious instruction, in a region where religious institutions are in their infancy. That under such circumstances, a man who starts with the true spirit will make progress, can hardly be doubted. You have peculiar trials, but in these you find impulses, which, I trust, are to carry you forward to greater usefulness, and to a higher action of the whole soul. Boston has sometimes been called the Paradise of ministers; and undoubtedly the respect in which the profession is held, and the intellectual helps afforded here, give some reason for the appellation. But there are disadvantages also, and one in particular, to which you are not exposed. Shall I say a word of evil of this good city of Boston? Among all its virtues it does not abound in a tolerant spirit. The yoke of opinion is a heavy one, often crushing individuality of judgment and action. A censorship, unfriendly to free exertion, is exercised over the pulpit as well as over other concerns. No city in the world is governed so little by a police, and so much by mutual inspection, and what is called public sentiment. We stand more in awe of one another, than most people. Opinion is less individual, or runs more into masses, and often rules with a rod of iron. Undoubtedly opinion, when enlightened, lofty, pure, is a useful sovereign ; but in the present imperfect state of society, it has its evils as well as benefits. It suppresses the grosser vices, rather than favours the higher virtues. It favours public order, rather than originality of thought, moral