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mind every where be thus pre-occupied, and fitted to receive the more advanced lessons which shall afterwards be communicated.
Under the head of motives inmediately to aid in securing to that country institutions of a high character, Dr. Beecher portrays a glowing picture of the prospective greatness of the West. Some may think it a hackneyed subject; but we cannot resist the temptation to quote here a few passages, and we earnestly commend them to the prayerful reflection of all to whom the future welfare of our country is dear.
• The territory is eight thousand miles in circumference, extending from the Alleghany to the Rocky mountains, and from the Gulf of Mexico to the Lakes of the north; and it is the largest territory, and most beneficent in climate, and soil, and mineral wealth, and commercial facilities, ever prepared for the habitation of man, and qualified to sustain in prosperity and happiness, the densest population on the globe. By 24,000 miles of steam navigation, and canals and rail-roads, a markét is brought near to every man, and the whole is brought into near neighborhood.
When I first entered the West, its vastness overpowered me with the impression of its uncontrollable greatness, in which all human effort must be lost. When I perceived the active intercourse between the great cities, like the rapid circulation of a giant's blood; and heard merchants speak of just stepping up to Pittsburgh,—only 600 miles, and back in a few days; and others just from New-Orleans, or St. Louis, or the far West; and others going thither ; and when I heard my ministerial brethren negotiating exchanges in the near neighborhood, -only 100 miles up or down the river,-and going and returning on Saturday and Monday, and without trespassing on the sabbath ;-then did I perceive how God, who seeth the end from the beginning, bad prepared the West to be mighty, and still wieldable, that the moral energy of his word and spirit might take it up as a very little thing.
This vast territory is occcupied now by ten states and will soon be by twelve. Forty years since it contained about 150,000 souls ; while now it contains little short of 5,000,000. At the close of this century, if no calamity intervenes, it will contain, probably, 100,000,000,-a day which some of our children may live to see; and when fully peopled, may accommodate 300,000,000. It is half as large as all Europe, four times as large as the Atlantic states, and twenty times as large as New-England. Was there ever such a spectacle,—such a field in which to plant the seeds of an immortal harvest !-so vast a ship, so richly laden with the world's treasures and riches, whose helm is offered to the guiding influence of early forming institutions. pp. 33_-35.
With these considerations he dwells upon the certainty of success,—the quickness and cheapness by which such a guarantee of our prosperity may be secured.
• The West needs but a momentary aill, when almost as soon as received, should it be needed, she will repay and quadruple both principal and interest. Lend a hand to get up her institutions, to give ubiquity to her schools, and sabbaths, and sanctuaries, while her forests are falling and her ocean floods of population rolling in, and afterwards we will not come here to ask for aid ; for there is a wealth and chivalrous munificence there, which, when it has first performed the necessary work of self-preservation, will pour with you a noble tide of rival benevolence, into that river which is “ to make glad the city of our God” ?
Many are the striking passages running through this part of the volume, highly characteristic of their author, and marked by his peculiar style of eloquence. Bold and energetic imagery, spiritstirring appeals, startling facts, “ thoughts that breathe, and words that burn,” are every where crowded together, and form an array irresistible to the candid mind and feeling heart. We wonder not at the success of such a discourse, uttered as it was from his lips, and every where bearing the impress of his own spirit.
The dangers which threaten our prosperity from “ uneducated mind,” (which, somewhat paradoxically, he calls “educated vicc,”) in its influence on our elections, are drawn by a master's pen. The picture is indeed dark and appalling.
According to the most accurate estimate which can 'be obtained, there are in the United States about a million and a half of children without the means of education, and about an equal number of adults, either foreigners or native Americans, that are uneducated. In one of the smaller eastern states, there are thirty thousand adults that cannot read or write. In one of the largest, there are four hundred thousand adults and children who have had no instruction, and no means provided. In one of the western states, two-thirds of all the children in the state are destitute of any provision for education. These are the states who have taken the lead in making legislative investigations. pp. 47, 48.
That the statements of the destitution of some of the Western states in the means of education, are not too strong, we believe from the fact, that similar ones have recently been made among us, by the Bishop of Kentucky, and others who have taken pains to ascertain the truth on this subject, and whose veracity is undoubted. Such facts, we know, have been eagerly cited by English writers in favor of an established religion, and to prove the evils of a voluntary system. But in our view, they are greatly mistaken in thus using them. They are not to their purpose. They are but the inevitable result of the rapid increase of population in a country lately a wilderness, and the peculiar circumstances of its first settlement. What was England herself, in the first two or three centuries after her conversion to christianity, with all the benefits of her establishment? Considerations like the above, which go far to solve the whole difficulty, have not been adverted to by the writers just mentioned ; either owing to their ignorance of the state of our country, or from consciousness, that they were destructive to their favorite theory. : We admit and we deplore the destitution of the ordinary means of grace, but we deny, that it is to be traced to the voluntary system, or the want of an establishment among us.
But to return from this momeotary didigression.
Having thus depicted the necessities of the West, proposed the means of aiding her own population, held out the motives to engage in this enterprise, and warned us of the dangers of an uneducated people, Dr. Beecher next proceeds to consider the situation of our country in respect to the introduction and preralence of the Catholic religion. This topic occupies the remainder of his volume. We have more than once, and recently, urged this subject on the attention of our readers. We shall, probably hereafter keep it steadily in view, as one of the great questions of the present day. We wish, however, to indulge in no bitterness of feeling, but in a spirit of kindness to state plainly, from time to time, our honest belief and sincere apprehensions. The facts mentioned in this volume are similar to those heretofore transferred to our pages. We shall not, therefore, again quote them at length.
The reverend author has incurred no little odium and reproach for his sentiments on this great subject. He has even been accused of instigating, if not openly yet indirectly, the lawless destruction of the convent in Charlestown. We deem it, then, no more than justice to quote some of his language from this part of his volume.
* But before I proceed, to prevent misapprehension, I would say, that I have no fear of the Catholics, considered simply as a religous denomination, and unallied to the church and state establishments of the European governments hostile to republican institutions.
Let the Catholics mingle with us as Americans, and come with their children under the full action of our common schools and republican institutions, and the various powers of assimilation, and we are prepared cheerfully to abide the consequences. If in these circumstances the Protestant religion cannot stand before the Catholic, let it go down, and we will sound no alarmı. and ask no aid, and make no complaint. It is no ecclesiastical quarrel to which we would call the attention of the American people.
Nor would I consent, that the civil and religious rights of the Catholics should be abridged or violated. As naturalized citizens, to all that we enjoy we bid them welcome, and would have their property and rights protected with the same impartiality and efficacy, that the property and rights of every other denomination are protected; and we should abhor the interposition of lawless violence to injure the property or control the rights of Catholics, as vehemently as if it were directed against Protestants and their religion. For when the day comes that
lawless force prevails, argument and free inquiry are ended, and law and courts are impotent and useless, and liberty is extinct, and anarchy by its terrors will compel men to call in the protection of despotic power to save them from the pursuing hell. The late violence done to Catholic property at Charlestown, is regarded with regret and abhorrence by Protestants and patriots throughout the land, though the excitement which produced it had no relation whatever to religious opinions, and no connection with any religious denomination of christians. We are equally opposed to any attempt to cast odium upon
Catholics of the present generation, for any maxims, doctrines or practices of past ages, which are now, by the competent authority of the pope or a general council, disavowed. But for all the political bearings of their unchangeable and infallible creed, and for all the deeds of persecution and blood, justified by their principles and perpetrated by Catholic powers, and not disavowed by his holiness or by a council
, the Catholic church is accountable, whatever may be the personal opinion of particular individuals or particular departments of that great community.' pp. 60—62.
Discountenancing the tone of acrimonious controversy, “invective, taunt, sarcasm and reviling," he thus inculcates the positions to be taken, and the manner of exhibiting the evils justly apprehended from an alien Catholic population.
• It is to the political claims and character of the Catholic religion, and its church and state alliance with the political and ecclesiastical governments of Europe hostile to liberty, and the tendency upon our republican institutions of flooding the nation suddenly with emigrants of this description, on whom for many years European influence may be exerted with such ease, and certainty, and power, that we call the attention of the people of this nation. Did the Catholics regard themselves as only one of many denominations of christians, entitled only to equal rights and privileges, there would be no such cause for apprehension while they peaceably sustained themselves by their own arguments and well-doing. But if Catholics are taught to believe, that their church is the only church of Christ, out of ose enclosure none can be saved, -that none may read the bible but by permission of the priesthood, and no one be permitted to understand it and worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience,—that heresy is a capital offense, not to be tolerated, but punished by the civil power with disfranchisement, death, and confiscation of goods,—that the pope and the councils of the church are infallible, and her rights of ecclesiastical jurisdiction universal, and as far as possible and expedient may be of right, and ought to be as a matter of duty, enforced by the civil power,—that to the pope belongs the right of interference with the political concerns of nations, enforced by his authority over the consciences of Catholics, and his power to corroborate or cancel their oath of allegiance, and to sway them to obedience or insurrection by the power of life or death eternal; if such, I say, are the maxims avowed by her pontiffs, sanctioned by her councils, stereotyped on her ancient records, advocated
by her most approved authors, illustrated in all ages by her history, and still unrepealed, and still acted upon in the armed prohibition of free inquiry and religious liberty, and the punishment of heresy wherever her power remains unbroken; if these things are so, is it invidious, and is it superfluous to call the attention of a nation to the bearing of such a denomination upon our civil and religious institutions and equal rights? It is the right of self-preservation, and the denial of it is treason, or the infatuation of folly.' pp. 66—68.
As a Calvinist, and in behalf of those who believe in Calvinism,
We are not annoyed by scrutiny; we seek no concealment. We court investigation of our past history, and of all the tendencies of the doctrines and doings of the friends of the Reformation ;-and why should the Catholic religion be exempted from scrutiny? Has it disclosed more vigorous republican tendencies? Has it done more to enlighten the intellect, to purify the morals, and sanctify the hearts of men, and fit them for self-government ? Has it fought more frequently or successfully the battles of liberty against despotism, or done more to enlighten the intellect, purify the morals, and sanctify the heart of the world, and prepare it for universal liberty ?' p. 81.
• It is an anti-republican charity, then, which would shield the Catholics, or any other religious denomination, from the animadversion of impartial criticism. And if ever the Catholic religion is liberalized and assimilated to our institutions, it must be done, not by sickly sentimentalism screening it from animadversion, but by subjecting it to the tug of controversy, and turning upon it the searching inspection of the public eye, and compelling it, like all other religions among us, to pass the ordeal of an enlightened public sentiment.' pp. 83, 84.
We recommend also to our readers, the unanswerable argument of Dr. Beecher, to the objections often urged to prevent any public notice of the Catholics and their operations. We see no reason why Catholics should not be as subject to animadversion as any other denomination; and what other denomination is there which does not receive its full share ? The question is not, Are they sincere or not in their belief? “ The republican tendencies of their faith depends on what they believe, and not on the simple face, that they do believe it.” We have no wish to doubt their sincerity; but we have yet to learn, that this sincerity insures our safety. There was no want of sincerity in many of those disciples of Loyola, by whom the scenes of inquisitorial despotism and cruelty were enacted in the old world. There are, bowever, some points of faith, as to which the people of the United States should insist on a definite answer, not merely by word, but by open and decided conduct. Catholics are deeply concerned to favor us with a frank avowal on these subjects; nor can they expect, until their reply is