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town, in perfect security. With such a (insurrections) in both France and the population as is to be found in most coun- British realm, than have lost their lives in tries in Europe, could such a thing be done all the “mobs” and “riots”—political, reli
" with safety ?
gious, anti-abolitional, anti-gambling, etc. There have been seasons of great excite- --that have occurred in the United States ment, when the nation was agitated to its since the independence of the country was centre. For instance, during the recent established, sixty years ago. What a refuunparalleled commercial distress, when sotation does this fact furnish of all the many banks, and so many of our best mer- miserable charges which are heard in Euchants and traders, our enterprising me- rope respecting the “riots," disorders,” chanics and manufacturers — and, indeed, etc., alleged to be continually occurring in so many men in all the walks of industry, America! and in every station of life-were ruined. Nothing strikes the observation more of How was all this borne ? Was there the one who comes from the Old World, where slightest attempt to seek redress by revo- he cannot turn the corner of a street in the lution ? No. The government was se- principal cities and towns, especially on verely blamed; all these evils were be- the Continent, without meeting a soldier, lieved, by probably a majority of the peo- upon his landing in the United States, than ple, to have been occasioned by unwise the almost complete absence of all mililegislation, obstinately persevered in; and tary force. How is it that such force can yet not a gun was seized, not a sword was be dispensed with ? Only because of the drawn, and not one human life was lost widespread and salutary influence of Chrisduring the long and dreadful crisis. The tianity. If we have “disturbances" and only resort was to the ballot-box, as our “riots" sometimes—which will not be deelections are often termed.
nied—we have fewer of them than any Take another instance. The autumn of other country of equal population in the 1840 witnessed the greatest political strug- world. gle which the country has ever seen. The 3. The American people have been repquestion was that of maintaining or of resented sometimes by foreigners as being overthrowing the party in power, in the an immoral people. Now, although I know election of a President. Nearly two mill- it is not easy to reply to such charges in ions and a half of men resorted to their a satisfactory manner in the very restrictrespective places of voting, and gave their ed space which I must allow to them, votes for one or the other of the two can nevertheless, I will say a few words upon didates. The excitement was almost un- this topic. paralleled. At every poll, or place of That there are vices and crimes in holding the election, crowds of people as- America, and in no inconsiderable amount, sembled on the day which was to decide is without hesitation acknowledged. But the question; and yet not one person was that they exist to such an extent as to juseither killed or injured, so far as I have tify the assertion that the American peoheard, in this great political contest. Could ple are par excellence an immoral nation, is such a thing have occurred in the British denied. realms, or in France, or any other country It is certainly not extraordinary, as has in the world ? I believe not.*
been well remarked by a writer in a late In the British realm, if we suppose the number of the Westminster Review, that population to be 26 millions (we speak of there should be in the United States swinGreat Britain and Ireland, and the islands alers, counterfeiters, thieves, bigamists, adjacent), there is one regular soldier for murderers, and other criminals, since, in about 260 individuals ; in France, the army | addition to those of indigenous growth, of the line is 400,000, by which if we divide they receive so many from the Old World. the population of the kingdom, now thirty- This is a correct view of the subject. For four millions, we have one soldier for 85 it is a fact, that while there are cases in inhabitants; while in the United States, which foreign criminals, especially those whose standing army was for the period who have committed crimes which most of more than 20 years which immediately deeply affect the conscience and heart, succeeded 1815, but 6000 men, and is now
* It is sometimes amusing to a well-informed only 8000, there is one soldier to 2312 in- American to hear in Europe the reports which are dividuals in the population. And yet there circulated there respecting the riots in our American has been many a single year in which more cities. Take one for a sample. Two or three years people have been killed in broils and émeutes ago a “dreadful abolition riot” occurred in Philadelwho have come to our shores and changed point as well as others are sometimes intheir names, reform and do well in a land stituted. For instance, in England and where their past history is unknown (and Wales alone since the year 1812, the numcertainly the friends of humanity must re- ber of convictions for murder has varied joice that it is so), there are very many from 60 to 75, while the executions have in which it is otherwise. A man who has been in the proportion of about one to four been a thief, a robber, a counterfeiter, a of the convictions. Were the comparison bigamist, in Europe, is not likely to reform to be made between the United States and in America, unless arrested by God's grace. Great Britain and Ireland, it would be most There is more hope of a man who has decidedly in favour of the former. The committed manslaughter, or even murder, murders in France are not only more frethan of him.
phia, in which it was said that there was much fight* Within the last five years there have been more ing in the streets, with guns and other deadly weapserious broils and more lives lost in the political strug- ons; and yet, wonderful to be told, no person was gles in Canada, on our borders, though under the killed, or even very seriously wounded, I believe! strong government of England, and in presence of a And this was said to occur in a country where so standing army of 15 or 20 thousand men, than have large a portion of the people possess fire-arms, and taken place in the United States from the first. And know how to use them better than the people of any yet Canada has not more than eleven or twelve hun other land! Verily, it requires strong credulity to bedred thousand inhabitants.
lieve that such riots can be very dreadful.
quent than those of the United States, but A few general statements will, however, often more diabolically savage and shockbest express all that I have to say on this ing, as the records of her criminal courts subject.
clearly show.* With the exception, perhaps, of Scot- And though there is a considerable land, there is no country in Christendom amount of prostitution in some of our large where the Sabbath is as well observed as cities on the seaboard - as, for instance, it is in the United States. Of this any one New-York,† Philadelphia, Baltimore, and who has extensively travelled in the old New-Orleans—and something of it in the World cannot fail to be convinced when largest interior cities, yet, take the nation he lands at any of our cities, I care not as a whole, there is far less of this sin than which, excepting New-Orleans, which is is to be found in most countries in Europe. more of a foreign city than any other. It In many of our cities and towns of ten and is the capital of a French state, where twenty thousand inhabitants, public prostiAmerican influence, though fast gaining tution is almost unknown. Scarcely any. ground, is still far inferior to that of the thing of the kind is seen in Boston, and French and the Spanish who remain in it. other chief places in New England. In no But the Protestant religion, when it gains nation in the world, I am sure, is there a the ascendancy, will produce there the greater amount of virtue among ladies, both same good effects in this respect which it married and unmarried, taken as a body. does elsewhere.*
Foreigners are shocked at the familiarity Although thieves and robbers are not which subsists between the youth of both wanting in our large cities and towns, sexes with us; but foreigners, if they knew where all the world over such people most well the domestic life of our people, would congregate and find the greatest facilities know that this familiarity seldom leads to for their nefarious vocation, yet, taking the evil consequences in neighbourhoods wherecountry at large, it will be difficult to name the Gospel exerts its powerful influences.. another where property is more safe, or The youth of our religious families are where people live in greater security. brought up under a strong moral influence,
As to murder, the most horrible of all and are taught to have confidence in each: crimes, the most exact enumeration has other, and in themselves ; above all, they never been able to show that more than one are taught to fear God. From their earlihundred cases have occurred, and of late est years the children of both sexes frequent years not much more than one half that number, in any one year. This number is
* A very large proportion of the murders which sufficient to excite deep distress in the heart by worthless foreigners. The same thing is true of
are committed in the United States are committed of every good man; but it is less than that the robberies and other great crimes which occur which takes place in many other countries among us. Almost all the riots which take place in between which and ours comparisons on this our Atlantic States are made by Irish and Germans the same common schools. Even until people ; this is emphatically true of a large quite grown up, in many districts they go portion of our population. And notwithto school together in the winter season. standing our vices, whether of native or forAnd yet, how seldom has any evil resulted. eign origin, there is among us a vast amount There are countries in Europe—it would of practical and efficient goodness. We be invidious to mention them—where such have much to learn, but I trust we shall not a thing could not be done with safety to be slow to imitate whatever is excellent in their morals, and even where it is thought the manners or the deeds of other nations. dangerous to allow large girls to be taught 4. But the last topic which I shall menby a male teacher.
congregated in the suburbs of our cities, or working
on our railroads and canals. Indeed, it is this for* As to travelling on the Sabbath, there is every eign element which gives us the greatest difficulty in. prospect that the establishment of railroad and steam- almost everything. Not ouly are very many of our boat lines, taken in connexion with the just senti- criminals foreigners, but they form a large proportion : ments which prevail among the pious and strictly in some places a majority-of the persons in our moral portion of the population, will, in time, almost hospitals. This is not stated as a reproach, but as a wholly put an end to it, especially on the long and fact. important routes. Railroad and steamboat compa- + I have read, with great astonishment, some renies already know that they gain nothing by running marks of Mr. Tait, of Edinburgh, on prostitution in their cars and their boats on the Sabbath, owing to New York, to be found in his recent work on Magthe comparative fewness of the travellers on that dalenism (p. 5), and referred to by the Rev. Dr. day. By stopping their cars and their boats on that Wardlaw in his excellent Lectures on Prostitution. day, they will save one seventh part of their expen- The sum of Mr. T.'s statement is, that “that city ses, give their labourers and agents the rest they furnishes a prostitute for every six or seven adults need, and be sure of having on Monday the persons of its male population.” I have lived much in Newwhom they would otherwise have carried on Sun. York, and know something of its moral state; and I day. Indeed, if it were not for the carrying of the affirm that this statement, founded on an exaggera. mail on the part of the government, there would be ted report published by the Magdalen Society of no great difficulty in causing the cars and steam that city, some nine or ten years ago, is quite incorboats to cease on the principal routes.
rect, and in no way approximates to the truth.
tion, on which we have been the subjects We have, indeed, enough of the sin of of more misrepresentation and abuse than uncleanness to mourn over; and yet, in any other, is slavery. On this difficult and comparison with the state of many other humiliating question I cannot enter into countries, we have great reason to bless detail. It would require a volume to say God for the hallowed influences which His all that might be said about it, and even Gospel diffuses among us.* If we have all that ought to be said, in order to make many, too many, alas! among us who have our position to be fully comprehended by not submitted their hearts to these influen- foreigners. I can say only a few words. ces, there are, on the other hand, a great Slavery is an accursed inheritance many who have, and who are the “salt of which the Old World bequeathed to the the earth,” and the “light of the world.”. New England, France, Spain, and Hol
We may be charged, as a people, with land, all contributed their respective shares being rude, and wanting in habitual polite- to its introduction and establishment in ness in our manners. Witlings who visit what is now the United States. Several us to find subjects on which to employ of the colonies remonstrated against the their pens, and with which to garnish their bringing in of slaves among them. But it worthless pages, may accomplish their was all in vain. Slavery was fastened upon ends, and carry home portfolios laden with them for the purpose of promoting the stories respecting the oddities and awk- commerce of the mother-country, Engwardness which they may have remarked land. And when the struggle came, by among certain classes ; but beneath the which the colonies were dissevered from rough and unpolished exterior of our peo- Great Britain, slavery was one of the ple there will be found much sincere becauses which led to that event; and of all nevolence, as well as many of those other the portions of the Declaration of Indeenduring virtues which conduce to social pendence, as it was originally drawn up happiness. We are, comparatively, a new by Mr. Jefferson, the most severe was that which related to the slave-trade.* As op-| lost upon us. It has given a great impulse position was made to it by some of the to the moral movement which is steadily members, it was stricken out in order to going on in the community. It is true secure entire unanimity.
* I have sometimes been amazed to hear the reports of foreigners (who, generally, have had no very marks of foreigners who have undertaken to be cen- good opportunities of knowing the interior life of the sors of American morals. A certain visitant from families which they may have visited), or from some Europe, who has written three or four volumes poor specimens of American families which have about America, and has undertaken to represent the gone abroad, or from what they suppose must be the American cities as remarkable for the prevalence of effects of Republican institutions; just as if Republi. prostitution, did, nevertheless, when at the dinner. can institutions will not tolerate, or, rather, do not table of a gentleman in the city of Philadelphia, boast require, due subordination and discipline. of his having visited half of the houses of infamy in the Now it is not to be denied that there are weak-mindcity of New-York, and declared his intention to visit ed and foolish parents in America, as well as in other all the rest upon his return to that city—as a matter countries, who do not govern well their children, but of curiosity, as he said !
it is their own fault, and not that of the institutions, A young gentleman, who resides in a city not one religious or political, of the country. On the other hundred miles from that in which this work was hand, we have parents, and not a few, who are as written, lately visited America, and spent two years rigid in the government of their children as are the there. On his return home, he spoke disparagingly Scotch themselves; we have few teachers who canof the religious state of the country, and charged the not, or who do not, punish their scholars with the merchants of Philadelphia, and especially those of rod, if need he; there is not a college in the land the respectable body of Friends, with being extreme- that would not, without a moment's hesitation, expel ly loose in their morals, and unfaithful to their con- from its halls the sons of the greatest men in the na. jugal relations. And yet this same young man boasts tion, if they deserved it, as I have myself witnessed. of his having given, when among a tribe of Indians In our army, it is true that it is no longer allowed to on our borders, a rifle to a chief in exchange for his flog men, save as a commutation for the punishment daughter; and that, after he had lived with her as of death; but other and severe modes of punishing, his wife for three months, he abandoned her! The though less degrading, are permitted. While in our wickedness of such persons is not so wonderful as navy, the discipline, I believe, is the most severe in their intolerable insolence in undertaking to misrep- the world. Recently the commandant of a petty resent and slander a whole people. But so it ever brig of war hung up three men for alleged mutiny will be: bad men seek to hide their own infamy in under the most remarkable circuinstances, one of charging others with the sins of which they are whom was a son of one of the first officers of the themselves guilty.
government. This instance was summary in its na+ Among other charges brought against the Amer- ture, quite without a parallel ; and how was it borne icans is one which I must not omit to remark upon. by the nation? The overwhelming majority of the It is, that they have no discipline in their families ; people, including almost the whole of the religious that their children grow up in insubordination, pride, portion of them, approved of the act. Would such insolence, and want of respect for old age and pa- things be tolerated in a nation in which there is no rental authority. All this is inferred from the re- domestic government ? I think not.
that, as slavery is by our Constitution left The war of independence found slavery to the government of each state in which existing in all the thirteen colonies. Du- it exists, to be managed by it alone, there ring its progress, or soon after its close, the can be no such action among us as that of original four New-England States, Mas- England, by which the overthrow of slasachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, very in her dominions was effected at a and Rhode Island, abolished slavery within blow. It is in the midst of us; it is not at their respective limits. Some years later, a distance. Its destruction with us can be Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New-York accomplished only by those whose pefollowed. In process of time Vermont and cuniary interests are at stake for its mainMaine, in New-England, and Ohio, Indi-tenance. This point foreigners should ana, Illinois, and Michigan, in the West, well comprehend. It is the slaveholders were formed into states without slavery. among us, that is, the inhabitants of each To these we may add the two Territories slaveholding state, who alone can overof Iowa and Wisconsin. On the other throw it. This it is which makes our pohand, the six original slaveholding states, sition so difficult. Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Caro- I am of opinion that it will require many lina, South Carolina, and Georgia, remain years to efface this dreadful evil and burnsuch to the present day, and to them have ing disgrace from the midst of us. It will been added, in the West and Southwest, require long and persevering efforts on the the States of Kentucky, Tennessee, Ala- part of good men, and a large amount of bama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Missouri, Ar- ihat “wisdom which cometh down from kansas, and the Territory of Florida. And above.” But of one thing I feel very sure : the number of slaves has augmented from it is, that although some may act rashly, about 600,000, at the close of the Rey- and sometimes attempt to promote the olution, to nearly three millions. How cause by unwise measures; and others and when the abolition of slavery is to be may be too supine, and, through fear of accomplished in these thirteen states and evil consequences, not come up to its help one territory, is a question which no one as they ought; although both these parties
may charge each other, and perhaps justly, It may not be amiss for me to say, how- with so acting as to retard the work, yet ever, that this mighty task will never be there is a growing dissatisfaction with this effected peaceably but through the influ- great evil, a conviction that it ought and ence of Christianity. This has accom- must be terminated as speedily as possi. plished all that has hitherto been done- ble, consistently with the true interests of the destruction of slavery in seven states, all concerned, which will one day lead to and the prevention of its entrance into six its overthrow. I do not know how it will or eight more; the abolition of the slave- be brought about, but Christianity will eftrade before any other nation had done any- fect it. God-our fathers' God—invoked thing on the subject, and the declaring of more and more earnestly, as I am sure he it to be of the nature of piracy, and as mer- is, will, by his providence, open the way iting the same punishment. And however for this great achievement. desperate the struggle may prove to be, To this great struggle, which Christians she will not shrink from it.
with us must carry on-let it take what The noble example of England in abol-course it may-in order to be successful, ishing slavery in her islands will not be we are far from wishing our brethren of
other lands to be indifferent. * We want * It was in these words:" He (the King of England) has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in to do good among us, when made in the spirit of a
* The visits of foreign philanthropists cannot fail the persons of a distant people, who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in great and a good man who lately came to us from another hemisphere, or to more miserable death in England,* who travelled throughout all our states, their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, judgment to come;" who, though he neglected no
and reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and the Christian King of Great Britain. Determined opportunity to speak of the wrongs done to the slave, to keep open a market where men should be bought slaveholder, for he spoke words of mingled wisdom
was ever heard with respect and attention by the and sold, he has prostituted his prerogative for sup- and love. And when he had accomplished his mispressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or re- sion and returned to his native land, he addressed a strain this execrable commerce. semblage of horrors might want no fact of distin series of letters to one of our most distinguished guished dye, he is now exciting these very people to
statesmen on the subject of slavery, and especially rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty dia Islands, which have been widely and attentively
on the effects of its abolition in the British West Inof which he has deprived them, by murdering the people on whom he also has obtruded them; thus paying off former crimes committed against the liber- the Society of Friends, and who, with his excellent brother
* Mr. Gurney, a distinguished member and minister of ties of one people, with crimes which he urges them and sister (Mrs. Elizabeth Fry), is one of the brightest orto commit against the lives of another."
naments of humanity.
their sympathy and their prayers. Wej in relation to this subject. Now I have wish them to make a proper allowance no disposition to say that the American for the difficulties of our position; and churches have done all that they ought to while they reprove our delays and stimu- do, that they feel all the solicitude, and late our zeal, we wish them to do it in a distress, and sorrow, which they ought for Christian spirit, not only because it best the continued existence of this great evil. comports with the religion which we both There is nothing more probable in itself profess, but also because of its influence than that our churches should fail of comupon those among us who are slaveholding up to their whole duty on this subject, ers, the great majority of whom are not more than on almost any other, when we religious men. It is easy to grow indig- consider how they are situated. I do not nant on this subject, and indulge in hard say this by way of apology, but to state epithets ; but the "wrath of man worketh the case truly. But to accuse our churchnot the righteousness of God.” There are es throughout the land with approving of those abroad who see no difficulties in our slavery, because, in some parts of the position; to whom the fact that slavery is country, they think they are compelled to entwined about our very vitals, so far at tolerate it as an evil from which circumleast, as one half of the country is con- stances do not at present allow them to cerned, is of no importance; and who extricate themselves (and this is the most vainly imagine that it is enough to de- which can be said against them on this mand that every slaveholder should let his point), is going beyond the bounds of slaves go free. This, indeed, is a very Christian charity. Besides, to charge all simple way of getting rid of the evil; and the American churches, as well as those if it were practicable, it would be well in the fifteen states and territories in which enough. So if all mankind would at once slavery is unknown, as those in the thirof their own accord give up their rebel- teen states, one territory, and one district lion against God and yield a heartfelt obe- in which it does still exist, with the sin of dience to Him, this world might be deliv- “ robbery,” “man-stealing,” etc., is to be ered from sin without the toil of preach- guilty of something more than a mere ing the Gospel, and the employment of so want of Christian charity. many other instrumentalities which are Nor are some other denunciations of a now found to be necessary. And if all sweeping nature much less unjust or injuthe men in the United States who were rious. "Let America,” said a distinguishengaged in the manufacture and sale of ed Christian minister whom we all love, intoxicating liquors twenty years ago had, at a missionary meeting in one of the of their own accord, or upon being simply great capitals of Europe, a few years ago, requested or commanded, abandoned their let America wash the stain of slavery wicked business; and all who drank such from her skirts, and then she will be worthy liquors ceased to do so from the same in- to come up and join us in the great work of fluence, there would have been no need of converting the world.” Indeed! and must all the labour and expense which it has our American churches be compelled to abcost to promote the cause of Temperance stain from attempting to obey the command among us.
But how vain it is to talk in of their risen Saviour- and which may be this way! To overthrow slavery in the one of the means of staying, if not averting United States is a great work—the great the divine wrath, which would otherwise est and most difficult, I hesitate not to say, overwhelm their guilty country-until their that ever man undertook to accomplish. land be freed from slavery? And if they And there is nothing but Christianity, em- are to be condemned for national sins which ploying its blessed influences, light and they have not been able to overcome, where Love, which can effect it. A good deal of are the churches which are to cast the first time, and a great deal of patience and pru- stone at them ? Shall it be those of Engdence will also be required, if we would land, or France, or Holland ? Blessed be see this evil come to an end in' a peaceful God, our heavenly Father does not use way:
such language towards us. He deigns to We have sometimes been not a little bless our humble efforts to make known grieved by the severity-no doubt wholly his Gospel to the heathen nations, notwithinconsiderate—and the want of discrimi- standing our many sins ; nor does He fornation with which some of our Christian bid our co-operating with those who love brethren in the Old World have spoken and his name in other lands to make known this written respecting the American churches, great salvation to all men. Still more, He
condescends to visit the churches in all parts read, and which cannot fail to do good. What a
of our land with the effusions of His Holy contrast between his course and that of some ardent, Spirit, without which, indeed, we might self-sufficient “friends of humanity,” as they consid- well despair of our country. er themselves, who have visited us from Europe within the last seven years, and who accomplished no
But sympathy, love, prayer, and co-opergood whatever for the cause which they profess to ation better become those who love God have so much at heart!
in all lands, than crimination and recrimY