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to the laws of God;" “ you cannot abolish slavery, for God is pledged to sustain it.”
The idol is popular; to refuse its worship is found dangerous; to oppose it is “fanaticism;" but to be on its side, to feed it with money and blood, is “honorable,” “patriotic," "popular.” Well said the father of his country, in his farewell address : “Real patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the fanatic, are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests."
The slaveholders wanted new territory, for slaves were falling in value on the soil of the old states. In 1839, Mr. Upshur said in the Virginia convention, “ If it should be our lot to acquire Texas, . . their price will rise." In 1842, Mr. Gholson, of the same state, thought “the acquisition of Texas would raise their price fifty per cent." It was feared, or pretended, that Texas might abolish slavery; so in 1843, Mr. Upshur, then American Secretary of State, wrote officially to our minister in Texas, “ the establishment in the very midst of our slaveholding states of an independent government forbidding the existence of slavery, . could not fail to produce the most unhappy effects.” “There could not be any security for that species of property.” Annexation“ is absolutely necessary to the salvation of the South.” In 1844, he wrote to our minister in England, “If Texas should not be attached to the United States, we cannot maintain that institution [of slavery] ten years, and probably not half that time.”
So the South must have Texas, and extend slavery over that soil whence the Mexicans had scourged it out. Could the North prevent it? Most certainly; even little New England could have prevented it. Mr. Webster, who gratuitously thanks God that he “ did not slumber over that danger," says, “ New England might have prevented it if she would, but her people would not be roused." But, long before, New England learned
" To crook the pregnant hinges of the knee,
That thrift may follow fawning." The most disinterested enthusiasm of this day-long directed againt slavery in general, fought against this special act, and a few noble men spoke loud and long, but to reluctant ears and cold hearts. Had their counsel been followed, we should have had no annexation, no invasion, no war! But a false idea had gone abroad in New England - that southern slavery is profitable to the North. The “chivalry” and the “ morality” have one common affection—not the love of their country, nor the love of Right, but the love of gain! So New England assented to annexation, the North assented, a whig Senate annexing Texas, the fatal dower of slavery in her land, with the expectation of a war. The South has its wish, the North its reward. The Nation laments the violation of her constitution, the debasement of her great men,-it was violated by slavery, and to that her sons have bowed the neck; she beholds the betrayal of her honor, -it was betrayed by slavery; she mourns for thousands of her children slain, — they were murdered by slavery—which clamors still for more.
* Speech in Faneuil Hall, Nov. 6th, 1846.
Behold the beginning of the end — which is not the end itself.
ART: II. - POWERS' GREEK SLAVE.
The appearance of Mr. Powers' statue among us, and the feeling of earnest admiration with which it has been received, afford us an occasion to say a few words, not so much with reference to the sculptor and his work, as to Art in general; of which it may be said, that there is no one side of human knowledge concerning which the ideas of men are so vague, varying, and inadequateTo explain what it truly is, to place it in its true relations, to make every man feel that it is of importance to him, and that its concurrence is essential to the highest development of mankind, will be the future work of genius through many ages. If we cannot give a reason for the faith that is in us, we can still protest against skepticism and indifference. It will assist us in our endeavour if we classify the views and feelings with which Art is regarded among men.
I. We have the large class who have no thought on the subject, but to whom music, poetry, or any work of art not beyond the range of their sympathies, is a source of the highest gratification.
II. Those in whom a partial or onesided development has Ainjured
the natural balance of the faculties Thus, the man whose life has been devoted to action in the world, is accustomed to view Art as action without a useful end; or else sees in it only a means of pleasure and sensual gratification. The religionist thinks its influence doubtful or dangerous to the interests of religion and morality.
III. Those persons who are not wanting in a due sense of the value of Art, but who see it only in parts and fragments, or are influenced by fashion, or some dominant mind; and are thus incapable of overseeing it as a whole.
We could wish there were a fifth class to be added: but in this age of the world, when we are made familiar with the works of all times, without selection, to oversee the whole, and, through the mass of “works” that obscure it, seize the clear image of Art itself, as the Greeks did, must evidently be granted only to genius, industry, and opportunity, combined. There may be individuals, but hardly a class.
We say, and more or less understandingly we believe, that God made man in his image. What are
the attributes that We involuntarily attach to the Supreme Being? Are they not Creation, that originates; Action, that sustains ; Love, that environs us, and in which we exist? The life of man is passed in the exercise of these same attributes or faculties. We believe that Religion is love to God and Man. To action man is spurred by necessity, from the first moment of his being; when he ceases to act he is dead. Man lives, and worships; he now feels the necessity to create. The natural delight in melody, in imitation, first points out the way; he makes a song; he draws a rude outline, and Art already exists.
This threefold nature of man, religious, practical, and artistic, is rarely if ever confided by nature, in full measure, to the same individual; always the one predominates. And thus we have the Priest, the
Poet, and the Man of Action; or, in early times, the man of action par excellence — the Soldier; and this is the reason for the fascination that the military profession still retains: the soldier has been in all times the visible type of the man of action. The harmonious development of these three attributes is necessary to the harmonious development of the individual man; which explains that wonderful perfection of development that was found in individuals in the earlier ages; so that whilst the progress has still been towards
the improvement of the race, we can point to no more perfect
In all times it has seemed to be the design of Providence
Greeks. In their carly progress the two were always most intimately united, but after a certain culminating point had been reached, a separation has taken place; Art became a minister to learning; Religion became narrow and bigoted; until in the hands of another race, and under the influence of new ideas, they have been again united for a time.
In those early times Art yas grard and ideal, filled with the dignity of its mission. (It has been the property and possession of the people, and not of individuals. The poems of Homer, the early Greek dramas, the Parthenon and its friezes, belonged to every Greek as much as to Pericles; but when its mission was fulfilled, when individuals became the patrons of Art, it lost its high ideal character, and this became its chief aim — to please and interest. Whenever, in later times, Art has resumed a high and ideal position, it has been when, under the influence of dominant ideas, it has spoken to the genius of the people, instead of answering to the narrow demands of patrons. Thus the Art of the Middle Ages achieved its greatness by belonging to the Church, at a time when the Church belonged to the People ; for one must always concede to the Catholic Church that it was the representative of the people, when the people had no other representative.
It will be seen that we have spoken principally with reference to imitative art; but our idea of Art includes all poetry, though it is one of the most difficult questions in relation to Art, how far, and in what sense, poetry is an art. A great confusion prevails : in the mind of most men, art in poetry suggests the idea of artifice; men are accustomed to say they prefer nature to art, and though one understands what they mean, the mistake is perpetuated.
Poetry is strictly an art; the first and highest of all the
Thoughts on Art.
arts; subject to the same laws, yet wearing their chains more loosely, from its ethereal nature.
Poetry has this advantage over the other arts, that its expression is immediate; it speaks out and at once to all the world; it cannot be made a handmaid of luxury; its ideal nature, its inspiration, is the means by which it exists. Imitative art has a body, an appearance,
which can give pleasure apart from its sout, or inspiration ; but if poetry be not inspired, it is nought. All other arts must be learnt by slow and laborious mechanical means; the body of imitative or musical art has to be mastered, before the soul can be expressed; there must be access to the most eminent masters; but the poet has only to speak, and the world listens.
Now, to a certain extent, the same is true of poetry which we have said of the other arts. The earliest poetry is always religious and ideal in its character, and belongs to the people; but when all things are in a state of decline, the small class of cultivated men become the heirs and depositaries of those treasures of art which were formerly the free property of all. This age, immediately succeeding what may be called the heroic age of Art, is usually fertile in excellent poets and artists of a secondary class. Living immediately in the presence of works of the highest order, with no bad examples as yet to create a false taste, or lower the standard, such men are in a position to reproduce whatever can be reproduced of the merit of ancient works; but instead of speaking to a now corrupted people, they address themselves to a small, but admirably cultivated class. As the audience differs, so do the works. Religious awe and reverence have disappeared, or are artificially reproduced ; Poetry becomes more and more artificial; until a new idea, or a new revelation, calls for new bards and singers.
Following in this course, Art gradually becomes degraded; thus we have seen poetry become an amusement for learned men, and all kinds of bad taste perpetuated, in a chase after a superficial novelty.
Without entering at this time more fully into particulars of the various renovations and ideas that have infused, from time to time, new blood into the body of Art, we now come to a phase of Art peculiar to our own time.
An earnest, yet complex and self-conscious age, looking diligently for light and aid in all directions, recognizes in its poets and artists a false aim, a want of true inspiration, a