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The Catholic exile could point to the most powerful nations as devoted to his faith, and as adorning it with all the earthly majesty that wealth or genius could supply. And, even in those countries where its dominion had ceased, he could assert the extended possessions, which imparted so much dignity to a new race of priests, to be possessions pertaining, of right, to his communion, and could bid those splendid temples or mouldering ruins, which connect the imagination with the ages far remote, to speak for the greatness of that empire which his creed had once possessed. Not so these professors of a system so distinct from, and so unlike, the kingdoms of this world. No nation had adopted their policy, and the clergy, even in the only spot of Europe where they could find an asylum, were frequently their persecutors.
But they were not without reasons to assign in vindication of their conduct, nor without facts of preëminent grandeur to ådduce in support of those peculiarities which had exposed them to so much obloquy and suffering. They could trace their favorite opinions to an antiquity with which the cathedral and the monastery had no alliance. They could find the parallel of their poverty, their reproaches, and their many wrongs, in the history of the great Founder of Christianity, and in the history of the men who were endowed by him with a greatness of nature which raised them far above the common level of humanity. As to the ascendency of creeds, they could tell of centuries through which their own had maintained its ground against every conceivable kind of hostility, ex- : tending its triumphs as a system of truth, even in such circumstances, to the most distant nations. What it had done in this respect, they were persuaded it would do again. It was their solemn conviction, that the cause which, in its own native strength, had triumphed over the paganism of one empire, must prevail, in its appointed time, against the semi-paganism of that which had succeeded it. Through the first two centuries, their princi
ples were those most generally recognized; and to the age of Constantine, Christianity was, as in their case, the religion of a people every where slandered and proscribed. They did not live to see their principles adopted by the most powerful states of the new world, and by many myriads of their countrymen; but they had their moments in which they could anticipate a change even thus surprising, and in which they could brave any hazard, and apply themselves to any toil, with a view to promote it.
The first party in Christendom to advocate the cause of religious liberty,—we mean, to advocate it fully and consistently,—was this party of outcasts; and because, in this respect, they were wiser than their generation, they were long despised by it.
Coming of the Latter Day.-WORDSWORTH.
ETERNAL SPIRIT ! let thy Word prevail
These tidings, and in Christian temples meet,
The Slave-trading Nations.-GEORGE CROLY.
It is ascertained that from seventy to eighty thousand slaves have been carried from Africa to the West Indies in a single year; and with what misery beyond all calculation! What agonies of heart, at the utter and eternal parting from friends, kindred and home! What indescribable torture in the slave-ships, where they burned under the tropical day, packed in dens, without room to move, to stand, or even to lie down,-chained, scourged, famished, withering with fever and thirst : human layers festering on each other ; the dead, the dying, the frantic, and the tortured, compressed together like bales of merchandise; hundreds seizing the first moment of seeing the light and air, to fling themselves overboard; hundreds dying of grief, thousands dying of pestilence; and the rest, even more wretched, surviving only for a hopeless captivity in a strange land, to labor for life under the whips of overseers, savages immeasurably more brutal and debased than their unfortunate victims !
With what eyes must Providence have looked down upon this tremendous accumulation of guilt, this hideous abuse of the power of European knowledge and wealth over the miserable African; and with what solemn justice may it not have answered the cry of the blood out of the ground! The vengeance of Heaven on individuals is wisely, in most instances, put beyond human discovery. But for nations there is no judgment to come, no great after-reckoning to make all straight, and vindicate the ways of God to man. They must be punished here ; and it might be neither difficult nor unproductive of the best knowledge,—the Christian's faith in the ever-waking and resistless control of Providence,-to trace the punishment of this enormous crime in Europe. The slave-trade, perhaps, lost America to England, and the crime was thus punished at its height, and within view of the spot where it was committed. But our crime was done in ignorance ; the people of this kingdom had known little of its nature; and they required only to know it, to wash their hands of the stain. It may have been for this reason, that, of all unsuccessful wars, the American was the least marked with national loss; and that, of all abscissions of empire, the independence of the United States was the most rapidly converted into national advantage.—But it is upon the kingdoms which, in the face of perfect knowledge, in scorn of remonstrances that might wake the stones to feel, in treacherous evasion of treaties, in defiance of even the base bargains in which they exacted the money of this country to buy off the blood of the African, have still carried on the trade, that undisguised and unmitigated vengeance may have fallen, and be still falling.
The three great slave-traders, whom it has been found impossible to persuade or to restrain, are France, Spain and Portugal. And in what circumstances are the colonies for whose peculiar support this dreadful traffic was carried on? France has totally lost St. Domingo, the finest colony in the world, and her colonial trade is now a cipher. Spain has lost all; Portugal has lost all. Mexico, South America and the Brazils are severed from their old masters for ever. And what have been the especial calamities of the sovereigns of those countries? They have been, all three, expatriated, and the only three. Other sovereigns have suffered temporary evil under the chances of war; but France, Spain and Portugal have exhibited the peculiar shame of three dynasties at once in exile : the Portuguese flying across the sea, to escape from an enemy in its capital, and hide its head in a barbarian land; -the Spanish dethroned, and sent to display its spectacle of mendicant and decrepit royalty through Europe ;-and the French doubly undone !
The first effort of Louis XVIII., on his restoration, was to reëstablish the slave-trade. Before twelve months were past, he was flying for his life to the protection of strangers! On the second restoration, the trade was again revived. All representations of its horrors, aggravated as they are now by the lawless rapacity of the foreign traders, were received with mock acquiescence, and real scorn. And where are the Bourbons now?
And what is the peace or the prosperity of the countries that have thus dipped their guilty gains in human miseries?