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Alas! how wofully has the above prediction, made thirtyfive years ago, been fulfilled. May Louis Philipe and all monarchs take warning.
It seems that king-ridden and priest-ridden people cannot be content without an idol to worship. Witness the ancient Israelites, when delivered from Egyptian bondage : yet they would have a golden calf to adore. And the French repub. lic, when emancipated from royal bondage, nothing would suit them but an imperial bull to bow before. Some will boldly assert, that such is their temperament and volatility, that they cannot live only under a military or hereditary despotism. If this is a fact, they are certainly inferior to the brute creation.
The species of lions, tigers, bears, and crocodiles, have no Neros, Caligulas, Dionysius's, or Robespierres among them; and wherefore? because they listen to and obey the laws of nature. But man, with all his boasted knowledge, destroys his own happiness by disobeying the laws of nature, and forthwith manufactures a host of tyrants, who grievously oppress him. And is it not a just reaction of Divine providence, for his base ingratitude in refusing to pay homage to God, the author of all his mercies? Without any manner of doubt. The fact is, when men, individually or collectively, in political or religious societies, turn their backs upon the God of nature, and lend a deaf ear to the intellectual voice of the Spirit of truth, it is impossible to calculate to what excess they may run into all manner of religious and political ab. surdity ; I should rather have said, religious fanaticism and poliscal intolerance.
The ease with which the human mind may be led from the source of its happiness to the source of its misery, I have viewed with astonishment and grief. An association of bad politicians or religionists might metamorphose the children of the most independent people to slavish worshippers of the great mogul, or the grand lama. But what is the cause ? They abuse the gift of God by prostituting their reason and common sense in the service of their mortal tyrants, to the neglect of their immortal Benefactor, and a curse attends the unnatural innovation.
This must be a fact, let who will deny it. When a man reads in the book of creation this important text, “ learn from my kindness to you all to be kind to one another," and the
same day vindicates and defends the political and ecclesias. tical tyrants who degrade and torment their own species : is not the conduct of this man an insult to reason and common sense ? and is not his own misery a just reacțion for his hypocritical and tyrannical servility? Yet, alas, what is called civilized and christianized society, presents millions of such instances.
Indeed, so very corrupt are all ranks in-civilized as well as savage life, that none but those who take their in. tellectual eyes from man, and place them upon the works and words of God, and no longer listen to any syren voice, but rather to the voice of the holy spirit, can be able to distinguish between truth and error.
The people of France no doubt heard with admiration the well known fact, that General Washington fought for his country in the field, and presided in the cabinet for many years; and so far from circumventing the mouth of labor, or enriching himself therewith, he would not receive any pecuniary emolument for his important services. Yet the same people subsequently beheld, with a criminal apathy, General Bonaparte subvert their republic, and purloin from the national purse more money for the splendid decoration of himself, and his first and second wife, than would maintain the government of the United States twenty years; while, at the same time, many of his fellow-citizens, who were his equals in mental, and his superiors in moral excellence, were perishing for want of the necessaries of life.
Nature encompasses man with abundance, yet we see him die for want; and wherefore ? because, as in the above instance, he acts in opposition, and not in subordination to the laws of nature. He, the oppressed, winks at the villainy of his oppressors, and of course becomes doubly guilty ; for he who allows oppression shares the crime. If, therefore, an individual villain, or a government of them, rule any nation with despotic power, it is the people who suffer and who are to blame, as well as their oppressors.
Yet view the most polished societies; for, in my view, the more polished the more corrupt they generally are. See one part, the rich and powerful few, circumventing the poor and helpless many of even the necessaries of life. The first are cloyed with superabundance, the last perish for want.
These polished nations have visited many parts of the earth
which they did not cultivate, but few places but what they polluted with the blood of their species. It would certainly take a larger book than the Bible to contain a description of the extravagant pride and sensuality of one part of the population of Europe, and the degradation and starvation of the other part. One part is exalted above the state of man, the other is degraded below the state of brutes. Thus the laws of nature are inverted, and a curse attends the inversion; for the rich are cloyed with abundance until they cannot enjoy it, while the poor are perishing for want of their portion of these necessaries of life. Yet they all profess to be led, not by reason alone, but also by religion, and the most profound erudition and polite literature. But, alas ! every religious and political association has a reason of its own.
Many religious societies have also a phraseology of their own, as well as a peculiarity of manners, customs, and forms of religion, and apparel different from all others. Yet they all think their own form is the best. And this pride of opinion is the parent of bigotry, which formerly kindled the fires in which the mar. tyrs were consumed ; and to the present moment is a parti. tion wall to separate the members of the same family, who were ordained by nature to live in the most perfect union, reciprocal friendship, and social intercourse. Yet they all, and each of them, will say they can give you reason, and also scripture, chapter and verse, for their diversified forms and ceremonies, though often as different from each other as light is from darkness. When the Source of Truth appeared among the Jews, and preached his celestial gospel, the scribes and Pharisees professed the highest degree of religion, and could, no doubt, produce what they called reason and revela. tion in support of it; yet their cruel malice and malicious cruelty, which terminated in the crucifixion of our dear and merciful Redeemer, clearly demonstrated then what kind of religion they possessed; the same as the roasting a heretic alive with a slow fire, by the officers of the inquisition, now clearly shows what kind of religion they profess. But though the Catholics still support the inquisition, is religious persecu. tion confined to them? By no means. In every sect there are proud and tyrannical dictators, who have martyred their thousands in the name of God and religion; and as they grow rich and powerful, they become more proud and intolerant,
in an exact ratio. And it is as difficult to disperse the clouds of ignorance and error from their minds as it was from the minds of the ancient Jews, who lived and died the victims of a fatal delusion, crying, “ Peace, peace,” when swift destruc. tion was coming upon them. Witness the sack of Jerusalem, by Titus, forty years after the death of Christ.
The French revolution, with the concomitant circumstances attending it, was certainly a great phenomenon, especially in the political world. When we reflect upon the declaratory exordium which prefaces the declaration of the rights of men and citizens, promulgated by the National Assembly of France; when we reflect on the subject matter of that declaration, and the majestic appearance of a nation opening its commission under the auspices of heaven; shaking off its shackles, discarding its local prejudices and sentimental prepossessions, and resolving to be free, we are struck with amazement; particularly when we keep in mind the prostituted state of politics in Europe at that time. When we take a retrospective view of the thousands, nay millions, who were sacrificed to accelerate and consolidate the organization of the French republic, we are not surprized; for the instant we inquire the reason why so many persons were slaughtered at the revolution, we find an answer by taking a view of the degraded state of millions in Christianized countries, known by the appellation of the ignorant mob or swinish multitude. They arise as the natural consequences of despotism, and are the fruits of legal barbarity. In all arbitrary governments, in order to exalt some men, many are debased, till the whole is out of nature.
While the artificial nobleman is consuming thousands Sterling out of the public taxes to maintain his superiority, his domestics and his concubines are magnificently dressed, his horses and his hounds are luxuriantly fed, a great extent of land is appropriated, as a park, for him to hunt in, while the annual production of grain is not equal to the national consumption. Finally, he spends his life in affluence, luxury, and dissipation; but cannot enjoy even what he possesses, as abundance cloys while mediocrity satisfies. The nobleman by nature has to cultivate an acre or two of his land, for which he pays an extravagant rent, labors incessantly, lives poorly, and is insulted daily ; his taxes high, his tythes higher, and
the imperious tone of his noble lord highest. His children are raised in degradation, without information, or any prospect but vassalage with contamination. For, as the poor, though noble man, has to pay taxes even for his bread and salt, as well as every other commodity, and pay tithes for all he possesses, however little, he can scarcely feed, much less educate his offspring, with all his industry. They are, consequently, reduced below the state of savages, for they have but few wants, which nature supplies; but the poor, ignorant, untaught, vulgar multitude have many wants, and no means to supply them but by robbery or rebellion. Hence so many, not of the rich, but of the poor, are daily executed ; and hence, in revolutions, these poor unhappy persons are as furious as bears robbed of their cubs. In short, the evils and miseries attending despotism and aristocracy are so many and various, that it would take volumes to contain them. I am astonished out of measure when I see people, and poor people too, in America, attempting to vindicate the rights of those right honorable and right reverend tyrants to oppress their fellow. men, and grind the face of the poor. I think, at times, they deserve to feel the iron hand of despotism themselves; then they would know better. When I contemplate the natural dignity of man, who was made in the image of God, and at the same time view a vast mass of them degradingly thrown back in the human picture to bring forward, with greater glare, the state and magnificence of a set of the most dissi. pated, unjust, and ungenerous mortals, I can scarcely avoid being irritated at these impostors, and disgusted at those who suffer themselves to be thus imposed on. This inequality is not confined to politics. Religion also is made a pack-horse for tyrants to ride to hell upon, and a cloak to hide the eccle. siastical oppressor's cloven foot, with which he tramples upon the superstitious crowd, who worship, and even kiss the foot that spurns them. Many horrible instances might be given of this: one must suffice. A nominal religious man, called an archbishop, in Christianized countries, is allowed a salary of forty thousand pounds per annum, to preach the gospel of the self-denying Redeemer. He will perhaps officiate twice a year, his curate two hundred times, who is a real religious man; yet he is only allowed forty pounds per year to support a large family of children upon. This plain matter of