Sidor som bilder

sound, if hereafter all nations, as some already have done, lend

an ear to humanity, justice, and sound policy.' But it availed not D. Puighlanch any thing, that he was the opponent of slavery. He took the part of the wretched, and was himself doomed to wretchedness as the reward of his services in the cause of justice and philanthropy. Monarclis who can thus disown and trample down the virtuous who have hazarded life itseli in upholding them, might employ a few moments of their time in reflecting on the necessary tendency of their tyranny to alienate from them and from their interests, in the crisis of their. fortunes, the virtuous and the intrepid. Spain may be without its patriots when another invader may be marching to its throne: the self-dishonoured occupant may then in vain call for helpers.

To the patriots and their English allies, this bigoted and wretched Sovereign owes his restoration; but for the exertions of the former, he might to this hour have been the vassal of the man who had cajoled hiin, and supplied his throne with another possessor. The co-operation of England with the Spanish patriots, involves the honour of the country, since it but too plainly appears, that the interest which she professes to feel in their cause, and the assistance which she gave them, were limited to objects apart from freedom, and which could be satisfied, though the patriots were consigned to banishment, and doomed to ruin; their acts abrogated, and the corrupt and despotic goverument which they were determined to correct, restored. The English government complacently beheld the efforts of Ferdinand against the patriots, and assisted him in the accomplishment of his purpose. They calmly looked on while the most scandalous measures were pursuing, and saw the edifice of freedom, such as it was, thrown down, and the Inquisition re-established. No act of this country was inter- , posed to prevent this engine of despotism being again set up. A Ministry that had reached the seats of office by the avowal of bostility to Popery, that had made the cry of No Popery' resound through the land, and that had exerted all its address and power to excite, the popular enthusiasm against Popery, bebeld, without alarm, the revival of Popery in its very worst forms, and without any publie expression of their indignation ; without any exercise of their influence where they couid have procured it to be respected; the proper means for that purpose being in their own hands, its pembers witnessed the revival of proscriptions and every kind of intolerance in the re-establishment of the Inquisition. Is Popery so great an evil in England, where its institutions are comparatively mean, and its power circumscribed, that their reiterated vociferations so heavily denounced it, and had they no fears of its consequences in another country? They consented that the blood VOL. IX. N. S.

2 F

of England should flow, and its treasure be profusely lavished, and they satisfied themselves with the return of despotism in the person of Ferdinand, as a compensation for every sacrifiee. They never inade a stipulation for freedom of opinion, or the abolition of a tribunal which is marked by all that is dark and horrid; and the patriots, the very men whom they received with acclamations, and whom they spirited to warfare, they suffered to fall before the overwhelming tide of royal vengeance, irritated to madness by the just attempts which had been made to impose bounds to the monarchy. The loquisition is now again employed for the worst purposes; ' its secret balls of

torture have already witnessed the repetition of those scenes * 10 wbich they were before appropriated,' and its solitary cells have received fresh victims of intolerance; and England has connived at its restoration,- has not by any public expression of its will, or by any employment of its influence, attempted to prevent its re-establishment! The influence of England has recently been felt in all directions,-but in connexion with what objects? With objects of the most obnoxious kind. Objects with wbich neither the good of man, nor the glory of his Maker is associated, except indeed, with respect to the latter, as He makes the wrath of man to praise him. Despotism on the part of rulers, and slavery on the part of the people; every thing being done for the former, nothing for the latter.

It is impossible, on the present occasion, to overlook the conduct of some among us, whose pretensions to be considered as the friends of religion and the good of man, are, to say the least, not slight; who appear to acquiesce in the arrangements made and supported by the political powers of Europe, intoxicated with their successes, and which are charged with a tendency and purpose to bring back the darkness and horrors of ante-Protestant times. We have, in referring to those persons, the melancholy and distressing fact pressed upon us, that they have been the abettors of warfare, and the supporters of corrupt measures of policy. What measure have they ever proposed in favour of civil and religious liberty, that could entitle them to the appellation of its true friends? Who has heard their voices, in the places where it is most proper that they should be heard, in condemnation of measures which have restored intolerant institutions, and armed bigotry with power? We see them alarmed, and hear their cries loud in uttering complaints, and demanding to be heard on behalf of the sufferers under African slavery, and when impediments are opposed to Methodist teachers ; (and most certainly we applaud their interference in all such cases ;) but who bas heard their complaints against those abominations, which beyond all others are hostile to the pure profession of Christianity? Is benevelence sach a quality that we can define its nature and its extent by particular applications? Is philanthropy a feeling that is to be limited by local partialities? Can we approve ourselves to God as aspiring to the imitation of his tender mercies which are over all his works, if we withhold our commiseration and our aid from any of our fellow.creatures oppressed and injured ? Are we to satisfy ourselves with attempts to relieve mankind from one species of slavery only, or is not our philanthropy to extend to both the patural and the moral evils which afflict the human race in all their extent? Are the sighs and groans of Africans to obtain our hearing and to reach our hearts, that, with all the feelings of men, sympathizing with the degraded and wretched, we may basten to their relief, and are the cries of a sufferer for conscience-sake, among the chains and terrors of impenetrable dungeons, and the scourges and tortures of ecclesiastical executioners, to be disregarded by us? Are we to be silent, and remain at ease, when the shrieks of a fellowmortal, rising amid mingling flames and volumes of smoke, to the very vaults of heaven, reach our ears, and on whom the saddest and most terrifying pains are inflicted, because ignorant and bloody-minded monks and friars have been pleased to brand biin as a heretic? We think that no hesitation can exist in the mind of the enlightened and consistent philanthropist, in pronouncing the condition of a couptry like Spain, a country under the power and influence of ideot monks, bigoted and despotic priests, and crowded with institutions of the most demoralizing nature, to be as bad as' is the state of any nation upon earth, and as much entitled to our benevolent regard as Africa itself. Those persons who attempted its amendment by measures of publio utility, were entitled to the countenance of all enlightened men. Every benefactor and well-wisher to the human race, was brought under obligation to the Cortes, imperfect as were some, and censurable as might be others, of their measures. They had begun a good work, which, under favourable auspices, might have proceeded far towards the attainment of the great and proper ends of social life. An increasing light might have enabled them to correct their errors, and to move steadily and surely towards the objects of legislative wisdom and probity. It was not their fault that they failed in the projects of amendment which they had formed. Their counsels were superseded, and their persons incarcerated, by the authority of a despot. Wbat claim can they possess to the solid reputation of the Christian and universal philanthropist, who witnessed the extinction of their labours without sorrow, and permitted them to fall victims to a hateful tyranny, without tbe expression of an honest indignation, without the inost powerful interposition of their influence,

not only to prevent their ruin, but to obtain for them the rewards due to their virtuous patriotisın? Yet, so they fell, unpitied, and unassisted by those who should have been foremost to espouse their cause. We shall ever put ourselves forward to celebrate the true glories of our country; but when our country is dishonoured, we shall not be restrained from uttering our complaints.

Who does not feel the most pungent regret, that the fine apostrophe of D. Puigblanch, uitered in the pure exultation of humanity, on closing his labours as the supposed precursor of its triumphs, should, through the prevalence of the most bateful opposition, be at present only a vain anticipation !

• Ye cold and desolate walls of those same prisons which lately contained the ancient father of a family, the virtuous priest, the distinguished man of letters; who, bent down with the weight of manacles and of chains, were destined to deplore within your gloomy solitudes the absence of a tender wife and children, the loss of reputation, or the fatality of talents; ye black roofs of those same dungeons which mournfully echoed back the clanking of chains and the cries of despair, unite now in the universal gladness; since, the very bosom of fanaticism being torn asunder, ye will no longer be used as the halls of torture, or witness the dire outrages of humanity. Ye victims of this cruel tribunal ! ye venerable shades who wandering within these sullen piles where your bodies bad wasted away, or by public execution had been reduced to ashes, renew the remembrance of those lengthened days, those eternal nights of bitterness and grief, and felicitate yourselves on the close of life, because it was the end of captivity ; cast off the feelings of melancholy, and exult with joy-for the sighed-for moment is at hand when the enemy of God and of man, the abominable and perverse Inquisition, shall cease to exist, and its outrages be avenged. Yes, it will disappear from the face of the earth, pursued by the maledictions of heaven, whose authority it so sacrilegiously usurped ; and loaded with infamy, its name will be an object of horror to posterity.' Vol. II. p. 458.

We shall not always be mocked by the illusions of hope. Connected with all the movements of this sublunary state, and directing its novel and surprising scenes, there is an agency greater than that of man, on which our confidence reposes as often as the vexatious disappointments of life arise, and its gladdening prospects are darkened. Over that agency the highest of mankind have no control, nor will their inclinations be consulted by its Omnipotent Possessor, when he shall proceed to execute his purposes, and by the illustrious displays of his power and grace obtain for himself an everlasting name. By the strange vicissitudes of the times which have been passing over the nations of the earth, Ile has been teaching lessons of righteousness to political rulers; and having afforded them, in the reverses of their condition, a season of reflection, by the appropriate duties of which they might be prepared to answer, in their subsequent elevation to the thrones from which they had been cast down, the good and holy purposes of his will, has now, in their prosperity, furnished them the opportunity of effecting the beneficial changes by which the renovation of the world must be accomplished. It cannot, we may assure ourselves, be in accordance with the will of the Supreme Governor, that Institutions of intolerant character, opposed to the freedom and purity of religions worship, and hostile to buman good, are again set up. Nor is it less evident that they must be destroyed. If they into whose hands the Almighty has entrusted the means of freedom and happiness, fail in the suitable employment of them, He can again reduce them to a condition of the greatest humiliation, and call others to take a part in the fulfilipent of His counsels wbo sball perform all bis pleasure. The Stuarts, after abusing their authority, were compelled to submit to the adversities of a fallen condition ;

a and having after their restoration proved themselves to be without amendment from the corrections by which they had been admonished, were, after the requisite periud of trial, again, and finally, discarded. This is an example which rulers should not forget. It teaches aggrieved and persecuted subjects, and the friends of mankind, never to despair of God's interference to correct the disorders of the world, and to raise the oppressed and perishing. The resources from which he can bring forth aids to support the cause of truth and righteousness, are without number and without limits; and the means by which he can make deliverance arise, and which he can in a moment adapt to tbeir proper destination and use, are various and exhaustless. Though, therefore, the Inquisition, under bigoted and arbitrary patronage, is again set. up, though the Jesuits have unfurled their banners and drawn their weapons, though Papal edicts, and all the other instruments and servants of despotism, are sent abroad,--we do not despair. We attach ourselves to an interest which can never perish, and all whose obscurations are only preparatory to its final and unclouded splendours. Our disappointments from human means only serve to strengthen our expectations from Ilim who is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »