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CHRISTIANITY OF THE PRESENT TIME.
"It is by giving fair names to foul actions, that those who would start at real vice, are led to practise its lessons, under the disguise of virtue."
NEARLY two thousand years after the preaching of Christ, in a "free" and "highly-enlightened" country, professing Christianity and boastful of its morality, a certain number of the best educated members of the community, calling themselves gentlemen, and generally considered to be honourable, humane, and generous, allowed to be of sound, if not extraordinary intellect, being intrusted with the management of the affairs of a society, grossly abusing the confidence reposed in them, deliberately and advisedly planned the robbery of those whose stewards they were; and, having most basely plundered and otherwise maltreated them, annoyed at the complaints of the injured, to prevent redress, in cold blood and with determined malice ordered the murder of their victims, which by their command, and with their abetting and approval, was perpetrated under circumstances of the most barbarous and aggravated nature.
We leave to History their individual branding; we will call them neither lying traitors, nor monsters, nor anarchs; we will only pronounce the title they have falsely assumed: the echoing of Infamy will name the members of-A BRITISH LIBERAL GOVERNMENT.
What is the character of the nation that permits the continuance of such authority?
WE want, not leaders, but representatives. We want, not parliament men to chalk out their own course for their own especial benefit, but men to do our work, under our direction, men who can honestly represent the people's wishes. Assuredly we shall not seek these among men who preach and practise expediency, who from personal considerations dare to defer the work of millions to a more "convenient season," of which convenience they presume to judge. These are the would-be leaders: they are not representatives. A representative has no right to act upon his own opinion in preference to that of his constituents, however opposite their opinions. If he cannot conscientiously follow all the wishes of a majority of those whom he is pledged to represent, whose servant and interpreter he is, let him throw up his office: Else he is no honest man.
Though late, we venture to offer these observations on the O'Connell objection against the Chartists: They have no men of note for leaders. Truly the gain of Ireland under O'Connell's leading will hardly tempt the masses here to throw themselves under the shadow of any man; and whom, pray, would the "Liberator," (we beg pardon: all that is altered now!) the Precursor of Liberation (?) appoint as our leaders?
Lord Durham?-The haughty aristocrat; the dictator of Canada; the friend of the miscreant Nicholas. Why, in his most liberal mood he never reached the universal right, but stopped short at the unprincipled "expediency" of household suffrage. He a leader for men of principle? Poor Lord John Russell is only a time-server: What more is Lord Durham? Will not he too stand by his order?
Sir William Molesworth? However blind we may be thought, we shall not follow Lord Durham's spaniel.
Lord Brougham?-Let him throw up his disgraceful peerage, and re
assume the nobler title of a consistent man.
Let him be plain Henry
Brougham again. Then may the People look to him as a-friend.
Last, not least, yourself, Mr. O'Connell?—You would like a rent from England? You would like perhaps a precursor agitation, before we set about our work m earnest? We fear, Sir, your Whig masters would scarcely allow your acceptance of this office; but, if you should gain their leave, alas, they have rendered you too Whiggish to be a desirable leader. Seriously, Sir, you palter too much with principle, you are too ready to put off the right for every paltry compromise which seems expedient to your short-sightedness, ever again to possess the confidence of thinking men. We have an end in view. Have you any? No matter: you have lost your moral power; and Britain will have none of you.
Who else shall be our leader?-The true friends of liberty will not quarrel for a dictatorship. Our best leaders are those who most faithfully and strenuously serve us: who do not ask to be followed, but accompanied; who have our confidence because they earn it. In a word, Sir traitor, We, the advocates of Universal Suffrage, who go not back from our pledges, who do not falsify our sacred honour, want not for faithful friends and ministers: We desire to have honest men in our ranks, not political leaders.
When Great Men are not great, we needs must mourn,
More than for all the pranks of Littleness;
For that short-falling doth increase the weight
And should disdain to shrink within the mean Diurnal.
A Definition of Moral Force.-I will raise a legion, and lead it myself to the field of battle.-Daniel O'Connell.
[What for? To support a young lady, of not more than ordinary value, against the Rights of Millions. Mr. O'Connell is a Precursor-Radical.]
Error is continually at contradiction with itse.f: the truth never.
Sedition. The surest way to remove seditions is to take away the causes thereof.-Bacon.
The Stimulus.-Only by making the ruling Few uneasy, can the oppressed Many obtain a particle of relief.—Bentham.
FORCE. WHAT FORCE?
Certainly a productive power. We, the Unrepresented, desire to gain our liberty by persuasive argument and peaceable demonstrations of opinion: we would prefer threats to violence. (Surely the physical-force men will subscribe to this.) But if persuasion and remonstrance be of no avail, if aggressions on the Many be continued, if the Law be but a bravo's mask, if the Canadian butchers transfer their business to England, and make slaughter-houses of English towns, shall we not resist our enemies, even to the death; and shall we not rather die with arms in our hands, like Hampden, on the battle-field, than be gibbetted for our cowardice or want of foresight? (Will the moral-force men hang back from this "last remedy"?) Where then is the difference of opinion? Fellow-countrymen! we have not time to quarrel about words. Let us unite as brothers, or in a closer bond, as wronged men, as trampled slaves, to overthrow our common oppressors; and, as men, inflicting no suffering that may justly be avoided. Let us leave the settlement of these mere word-differences—at which our enemies laugh— till we have rest after our victory! There will be plenty of time then. Now the Philistines are upon us, and we have work enough for our most united efforts. We require the exertions of all who desire equal liberty and will honestly join with us on that issue. A house divided against itself cannot stand. Union is Power!
Two travellers were waylaid by a robber. They felt that, united, they were stronger than he, and fearlessly pursued their journey. As they walked on together, they discussed the manner in which they should pass him. The one said, I will arm myself, and if he ventures an attack, I will repel force with force: the other said, No, not so, let us reason with him. Doubtless both plans were very well-meant; but they could not do less than quarrel. The bandit heard their dispute, and attacked the armed man, whose companion would render him no assistance. Singly, the traveller was no match for the bandit, and, though he gallantly defended himself, and severely wounded his assailant, he was at last slain. The bandit then turned upon the man of peace, and stabbed him to the heart.-A Co-operative.
We trust that none of our remarks on Canada (we felt that the enormity of the case demanded much notice and severest censure) will be construed into a recommendation of rebellion. On the contrary, we feel assured that any insurrection of the masses here would injure the popular cause. Rebellion is at best a painful necessity, only justifiable when all other means have been tried and have failed: this was the case in Canada. The object of our argument has been to justify the right of rebellion in self-defence; to excite the sympathies of honest men in England, in favour of their oppressed fellow-men across the Atlantic. Englishmen burn with indignation at the bare name of Poland, and execrate the atrocious villainy of her enslaver: will they be consistent enough to refer to the late accounts of Canadian suffering, and answer, to the satisfaction of their reason, in what the parallel fails. Honesty is better than patriotism: but it is more patriotic to desire honourable failure for one's country, than its success in villainy. But the country was not at war with Canada: the ministry is not the country. No wonder our Liberal Rulers refused assistance to struggling Poland! They were "otherwise engaged;" "their hands were full;" we know it to our cost:-and their eyes were on a plan of Canada.-Ed.
REVELATIONS OF TRUTH.
HE was wandering through the leafless forest, hiding himself in the shadow of the shelterless trees.
The clotted blood froze over an unhealed wound upon his brow; his garments were torn, and soiled, and bloody; the bleak wind pierced through his bones; the continual snow lay upon his bare head; he was feeble from exhaustion and long fatigue; he was perishing with hunger and cold: a keener cold was at his heart.
He dared not seek relief in the villages: he was a vagabond and outlaw; a price was set upon his head; and the first wretch who should meet him would murder him, to obtain a reward, gold and infamy.
He sank down in the snow, to await the coming of Death, the only thing which was not his enemy: he was alone and in agony.
A few days since he had a happy home, a fond wife, beautiful children, and loving friends: he was a man of genius and virtue, loved and honoured by all who knew him.
His countrymen were enslaved and injured: goaded into desperation by the long-sufferance of intolerable wrongs, they took arms to redress their grievances.
He was not too selfish to sympathize with them; nor hypocrite enough to prate of pity and withhold aid: he did not stay to calculate consequences to himself; his benevolence was not posted in his ledger: was this a crime?
His fellow-men were in arms, and needed his assistance; their cause was his own, and the cause of Justice: he was neither a traitor nor heartless; he became a leader of the People.
Therefore his house was burned to the ground, his wife and babes destroyed within it; his friends, some lie unburied in the place where they were murdered, some pine in loathsome dungeons against the day of the gallows.
Victorious Tyranny lamenteth but one thing: that he, the rebel leader, dieth unbeholden and unmocked.
They have hanged his corse upon the gibbet; brutally they insult the nobility which, even in death and ignominy, is more glorious than their bloody and infamous triumph.
If a robber invade my house, or a murderer attack my family, shall I not use force against him? If in my own defence I am compelled to slay him, is not this a righteous act?
Is the evil less, when the robber calleth himself a legislator, when the assassin is a royal minister?
Shall the one be "justifiable homicide" and the other be branded as "rebellion"?
To resist wrong, even though it be clothed with a lie, calling itself Law or Order, is the universal right and duty of humanity; ever to oppose evil is the part of every right-thinking and generous man.
If an enemy invade our country, shall we not take arms in its defence? If they conquer and hold us in bondage for a hundred years, or more, doth this give them a right to govern us? If then, and not till then, we acquire strength to repel their aggression, shall we be debarred from using that strength to recover our freedom, because formerly we were weak and unable to resist usurpation?
Or, if from unknown time we have been enslaved, and our masters are of our own race, is this a reason for the continuance of slavery? Doth evil become good through long supremacy?
When the oppressed are wrestling with their oppressor, he, who succoureth them not to the utmost of his ability, is a participator in the crime of the tyrant. Rebellion may be ill-timed: it doth not follow that it is unprovoked or unjust. Tyranny may be long successful, yet is it ever injurious, and dastardly, and offensive to truth.
The insurrection may fail, the insurgents may be murdered: but their unflinching advocacy of the Right achieveth more for the Cause of Freedom, than all the policy and truckling of the time-serving, the timid or selfish.
One example of steady adherence to a noble purpose, one uncompromising martyrdom, maketh Tyranny to tremble in its triumphal car, and winneth more proselytes than much preaching.
Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft: none knoweth of the one save the ignorant fanatic; none denounceth the other, save the political bigot, the tyrant or the slave.
There would be no rebellion against a just or good government: the people could not rebel against the people: but when a faction usurps undue authority for the sake of plundering the community, and supports it by fraud and violence, what marvel that the people murmur, and, unheeded or insulted, after long endurance, at last rebel?
What shall we build houses to shelter us from the tempest, and shall we form no ramparts to screen our happiness from the hurricane of oppression? Shall we drive back with fire and sword the starving wolves; and shall we only petition the deaf ears of more savage monarchs?
Violence is evil; yet is it just to resist wrong even to the death: Force is but a pitiful argument; but if the ruffian will not hear reason— knife!
-War to the
Rebellion is an unsuccessful resistance to tyranny: Rest not, then, till your victory be complete! Ye shall be honoured as patriots and heroes. The tomb of the Three Hundred is the grandest monument of Greece!
Delivered at the Chapel, South Place, Finsbury. By W. J. Fox.Charles Fox, London: 1838.
These are not the spiritless and profitless words of a narrow-minded and prejudiced sectarian: they are the out-pourings of a mighty heart and intellect, the lessons of a philanthropic philosopher and most eloquent orator of the day, one who sees into the heart of Things, and, reasoning thereof, earnestly and fearlessly inculcates the truth. We recommend these translations to all who have not the opportunity of hearing the original Lectures: they will learn more good therefrom, than is taught in all the dogmatic chapels and churches of the empire. Our extracts will sufficiently ensample their surpassing power and beauty.
"ON RIGHT AND EXPEDIENCY."
"In the different influences which operate upon men, and which lead them to bend their course from what they hold to be abstract right towards temporary expediency, there is uniformly a deteriorating power, to trifle with which is most perilous in a moral point of view. For it is not merely that an opinion is not now professed, because it would injure a person's interest; that a course is not now taken, because it is inconsistent with that attainment of favour or gold which he desires; and that the mind is thus lowered from a correspondence with its own standard of right. The mischief does not end here; it extends itself much more widely. Scarcely any man makes up his mind to do this permanently. He will not, for instance, make profession of an unpopular religion, which he believes to be true, because he has some bigoted relative attached to a different system; but when this influence is withdrawn, he will certainly worship God with words that have the savour of honesty in them. He does not make up his mind permanently in political