Sidor som bilder

partment, while the venerable matrons and the maidens contrive to give additional security to the “kitchen cabinet,” by placing sundry chairs, tables, etc. against their well-barred doors. Of course, horrid dreams are that night dreamed, and horrid visions seen, which do not however, serve even to make the darkness visible. What can the matter be.

“Oh Tom l’” said one little urchin to another, three days after the above related events had transpired, “ did you know old Dike had got back? Dad says he kind o' guesses his clothes sinell pretty strong of brimstone by this time.” “Do tell ! he ha'nt though 1 has he 2 you don’t say sol” was the edifying response of our new acquaintance, Tom, “whereabouts is he let's go and see him.”

In the bar-room of the only tavern of S , might now be seen nearly all its inhabitants crowded, and while an otherwise death-like stillness prevailed, from out the livid lips of Dike proceeded the sollowing fearful tale. His narrative was frequently interrupted by certain directions which he thought necessary to give to a little urchin who, seated on the floor at his feet, was bathing his shins with a mixture of brandy and gin. To give our readers an idea of the state and appearance of these, we can only say that they looked very much as those in possession of certain courageous little youths are wont to look, after retiring from some hard-fought battle incident to the well known game of foot-ball. But to Dike's story.

It was on the evening of the day of his disappearance—Dick, Bill and I had barely left his store, (and we were called upon to testify as to our presence at that time,) when he heard, as he thought, a most horrid, unearthly laugh. He acknowledged that it frightened him at first, but as, after it, all was still, he dared to venture home, notwithstanding this evident warning. He had gone but a little way, he said, when the old fiend came rattling along, yelling and shouting, and, with one hand seizing him by the throat, while the other grasped hold of his shins, (and in confirmation, he pointed to his damaged members,) dashed him down upon his car, and held him there. He remembered no more, but only had an indistinct, consused recollection of the fiend's vomiting forth fire and sulphurous flame, while with every advance they made, he bound him down still closer to his car. The next thing that he was conscious of was of awaking, as from a dream, while round him stood several of the inhabitants of L–, a place four or five miles south of S-. Such was the fearful tale of Dike.

The statement of the people of L– was, that on the day after Dike's overthrow, he was discovered on the banks of the river bound down upon a large hand sled ! by a strong, cotton handkerchief. The sled was at once recognized as belonging to Joe Bunker, a fellow “what lived jest on the edge of the hill.” The handkerchief was marked R. łł

Many and various were the reports occasioned by the relation of these wonderful events, but they at length settled down into the common one that Dike and the devil had had a “hard tussle,” and that although the evil one had carried him as far as L–, still he was at last obliged to “knock under,” and Dike had come off victorious. It was, therefore, immediately resolved by the inhabitants of S , that in consideration of his exploits, Dike should have the office of sexton, as also all perquisites accruing thereto, notwithstanding the remonstrances of the present incumbent, who had filled that office of high trust for ten years, and had heretofore given universal satisfaction. He was forthwith installed without delay, and he now on Sundays rings the bell as loud as bell can ring, if not as regularly.

From that time, Dike's reputation for courage increased wonderfully. The children learned to look upon him with additional awe and reverence—the young maidens passed him with palpitating hearts—the old men and the old women wondered, till they at last themselves believed the truth of Dike's most marvelous account, and although he was obliged to buy a new lock for his door, (the old one was broken in the nefarious assault upon his shop,) still, he was undoubtedly a gainer in the end, for multitudes flocked to see the man who had overcome the evil one, and wondrous quantities of licorice-ball were sold by him.

Poor Dike thou sittest now perchance, perched on thy losty bench—thy legs tailorly curled beneath thee—thy needle fast plied by thy busy hands, and little dreaming that thou art even thought of by any being save thyself. Peace to thy memory ! may thy breeches have a ready sale, and thy pecan-nuts never more grow musty.

(Further the deponent saith not.)


‘Thou surely art an angel, love,’
Breathed lover once on bended knee,

‘Too pure to leave thy home above,

Too gentle in this world to move,
Almost too beautiful to be l'

‘An angel call'st thou me, forsooth o'
The nymph provokingly replies,

“Art thou not then, in very truth,

An impious, self-sufficient youth,
To woo an angel from the skies?'

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SELF-GoverNMENT and the exercise of the elective sranchise are inseparably connected. A short examination into the history of the various theories concerning government, will very much aid us in developing the moral obligations resulting from the enjoyment of the elective franchise. Many sage suppositions have been made concerning the first form of government which existed among men. Some have supposed that the paternal gradually resolved itself into the monarchical form, while others attribute a like result to military success. All, or nearly all unite in this, that at a very early period of time, the monarchical was the universal government. Whether at its constitution it assumed a hereditary form or not, is also a matter of doubt, and of very little practical importance. What principally concerns us in the discussion of these points, is the truth or falsity of the conclusions from them deduced. From the fact that the existence of kings could be traced nearly to the time of man's creation, some of the earliest writers on politics inferred that kings must have been ordained by the Creator, or in other, and their favorite language, ruled by divine right. No direct command from the Creator was indeed exhibited, but such as was found in the Holy Scriptures, and the blindness of these wise politicians caused them to overlook the reason there assigned for the establishment of such an office among the Jews. But the folly of this theory was yet more strikingly exemplified, as regarded its application to the reigning monarchs. They must either have received a special, divine appointment, or must prove their unbroken descent from a monarch thus invested with power. This Herculean labor few would have undertaken, and none could have accomplished. The theory of the divine right of kings was therefore exploded. That the power constituted the right of government was then assumed as the basis of political science. This theory was doomed however to be more short-lived than its predecessor. Superstition was not at hand to quiet the murmurs of the people, groaning under exactions and oppressions too grievous to be borne. At length the approach of a brighter day was betokened. Mind—educated, rational mind began to investigate the rights of man. The power of tyrants could setter the bodily but could not restrain the exercise of the mental powers, once aroused to action. “RESISTANCE to TYRANTs 1s obedience to God,” soon blazed upon the wall. The crowned heads of Europe, like Belshazzar of old, were confounded. Their power had passed away—the spell of enchantment was broken— the spirit of reform was abroad. The first step had been taken in WOL. II. 12

the amelioration of the world srom political darkness, but yet men were not prepared for the full enjoyment of their rights. Revolutions in government are often the work of a day; but the great moral revolution necessary to secure the full appreciation and enjoyment of political privileges, can only be consummated by length of time. The doctrines of Sydney and his associates were in advance of the spirit of their age. They saw clearly, aud explained lucidly, the fallacy of the divine right of kings, and established by the most incontrovertible reasoning the right of man to self-government. But the great mass of their fellow citizens and of mankind were yet groping their way towards the light. They were not prepared even to assert, much less to illustrate the great truth that “all men are born free and equal.” A new world was to be the theatre on which this sublime truth should receive its exemplification. To our forefathers and their descendants was committed for solution the grand problem of man's capability for self-government. The moral obligations thus devolving upon them were as weighty as the interests of man for time, and for eternity. If, as we have seen, darkness—mental and moral darkness must ever be the pavilion of despotism; if the mind of man, degraded by superstition and settered by the chains of ignorance, can never embrace the dignified and expansive principles of liberty, then intelligence, virtue and piety must ever characterize a free people. Minor evils indeed, may ever attend upon the free exercise of the elective franchise. Party spirit, so necessary to preserve that eternal vigilance which is the price of true liberty, may endanger our peace, and perhaps our union. The ambition of men high in power may produce a like result. These are, however, but secondary causes, and if the People, the source of all power, can be kept pure, no danger will then exist. The most important moral obligation resulting from the enjoyment of the elective franchise, is the universal dissemination of intelligence, virtue and religion. To the general influence of intelligence upon the advancement of liberty we have previously adverted. We have seen that the dawn of intelligence and of liberty were simultaneous, and that their progress thus far has been equal. But the particular influence of knowledge upon the individual possessor, and thence upon the proper exercise of the elective franchise, remains to be considered. So long as the shades of ignorance envelop the mind of man, he is content with the enjoyment of mere animal gratifications, and like the brutes which perish, he is born, he lives, he dies. But let the invigorating rays of knowledge be poured in upon his mind, and he arises from his debasement, he walks erect in the consciousness of innate power, he aspires to a higher, purer, nobler state. Now he understands his responsibilities to himself, his relations to his fellow men, and his obligations to his God. Now he discovers the necessity of govern

ment, and the great duties resulting from its institution. No eloquence of ambitious demagogues can swerve him from the path of honor and patriotism. Prompt in the detection of sophistry, skillsul in analyzing any proposition, and discovering its remote as well as proximate bearings, he remains the firm and consistent defender of truth, the able champion of equal rights. Intelligence which leads to such results should characterize every one who enjoys the elective franchise. But indispensable as is intelligence, unless it is guided by virtue, its glittering draught may contain a drug, which will work ruin to him who receives it. Knowledge often elates its possessor, and places him above the reach of virtuous principles. Conscious of mental power, he disregards moral obligation. For an illustration of the influence of knowledge upon human liberty when undirected by by virtue, look to France. The gifted minds which excited the bloody scenes of her revolution might have adorned and blessed mankind. But alas ! the demon of infidelity had seized upon them. Their noble powers were debased to the lowest purposes, and they became a curse to themselves and to the world. The pure genius of liberty shrank back with horror from their embrace. Anarchy, and finally despotism, became the portion of that unhappy country. Should virtue ever cease to characterize our citizens, liberty will bid farewell to our shores, and peace and happiness will follow in her train. But we must not alone strive to prevent the increase of vice. The march of public morals is onward and upward. The standard of progressive reform has been unsurled, and we are now called upon to rally around it. The land must be purged from even the semblance of vice, and the reform must first commence with those in high places. The example they present, in character and conduct, ceases not with their immediate friends and associates. Its influence will be as extensive and potent as their elevation is losty and enviable. Our halls of legislation and courts of justice must therefore be kept pure by the agency of the ballot boxes. To secure and perpetuate our free institutions and their attendant blessings, religion must also unite her influence. The Christian religion was the source, and must ever be the accompaniment of all rational liberty. In the former part of this essay, the power of superstition in sustaining the cause of despotism was exhibited. The same causes acting upon mankind, will produce like results at the present time. When the minds of men become so enfeebled as to yield themselves a prey to superstition, or to false religion, the loss of rational liberty will soon be experienced. They are only fitted for the slaves of sense, and the victims of tyranny, whose grovelling minds never soar above the joys of the fleeting present; never hold converse with the wise and good of antiquity, or draw copious draughts of enjoyment from communion with the holier intelligences of Heaven. The votaries of liberty must be sons of light. They

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