Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

true life for us. Hence your Jouffroys, Fouriers, and others, construct systems of morals resting on nature alone, and seek from the simple study of man to ascertain his destiny and determine the rules after which he should govern his conduct. But let them pass. Heed them not. They can only divert you from the truth, alienate you from your God, and debar you from heaven. Return to your God; take his revelation for your guide, let him be your ethical teacher; and from him who is your beginning and your end, in whom you live, move, and have your being, learn your destiny, and obtain the means of fulfilling it.

Art. IV.- Catholicism compatible with Republican Govern

ment, and in full Accordance with Popular Institutions. By Fenelon. New York : Edward Dunnigan. 1844. 8vo.

pp. 48.

We have read this pamphlet with pleasure and instruction. It is written in good temper, a mild and forbearing tone, and with a good share of ability. It triumphantly refutes the oft repeated slander, that the Roman Catholic Church is incompatible with republican institutions and popular freedom; and, though it contains a few expressions, and concessions even, which we do not quite approve or believe warranted, we commend it to the members of the American Protestant Society, and especially to those of the so-called Native American party. They can hardly fail to profit by its careful and diligent perusal.

We have, however, introduced this pamphlet not for the purpose of reviewing it, but simply as the text of some few remarks which we are desirous of offering on the subject of Native AMERICANISM. We are ourselves native-born Americans, and have never, saving on one occasion, and then only for a few hours, been out of the territory of the United States. We hope we are not deficient in— what in our view is a high virtue the true love of country. Though not blind to the faults of our countrymen, and endeavouring on all occasions to place the love of God before the love of country, we have believed ourselves to possess some share of genuine patriotic feeling. We know we have loved American institutions; and we are ready to vindicate them, with what little ability we may have, on any occasion, and against any and every sort of enemies. But we confess that we have no sympathy, we have had from the first no sympathy, with what is called Native Americanism. We have seen no necessity for a movement against foreigners who choose to make this the land of their adoption; and we have felt that such a movement could lead to no good, but might lead to results truly deplorable.

We have been accustomed to trace the hand of a merciful Providence in reserving this New World to so late a day for Christian civilization ; we have been in the habit of believing that it was not without a providential design, that here was reserved an open field in which that civilization, disengaging itself from the vices and corruptions mingled with it in the Old World, might display itself in all its purity, strength, and glory, and work out for man here on earth a social order, which should give him a foretaste of that blessed social order to which the good hope to attain hereafter. We have regarded it as a chosen land, not for one race, or one people, but for the wronged and downtrodden of all nations, tongues, and kindreds, where they might come as to a holy asylum of peace and charity. It has been a cause of gratulation, of ardent thankfulness to Almighty God, that here was founded, as it were, a city of refuge, to which men might flee from oppression, be free from the trammels of tyranny, regain their rights as human beings, and dwell in security. Here all partition walls which make enemies of different races and nations were to be broken down; all senseless and mischievous distinctions of rank and caste were to be discarded; and every man, no matter where born, in what language trained, or faith baptized, was to be regarded as man, -as nothing more, as nothing less. Here we were to found, not a republic of Englishmen, of Frenchmen, of Dutchmen, of Irishmen, but of men ; and to make the word American mean, not a man born on this soil or on that, but a free and accepted member of the grand republic

Such is what we have regarded as the principle and the destiny of this New World; and with this, we need not say, Native Americanism is directly at war.

Native Americanism is a retrograde step. It is going back to the barbarous ages, when the human race was divided into septs and clans, and the same word designated both a foreigner and an enemy. It is at war with all the popular tendencies of modern ages,

at war with the whole spirit of modern civilization, which is to break down the barriers of caste and nation, and melt all into one great, united, and loving family, - and

of men.

above all, with the spirit and the law of our holy religion, which teaches us to embrace a brother wherever we find a human being; for all have one Father; one God hath made us all, one Lord Jesus Christ hath redeemed, one Holy Ghost stands ready to quicken and sanctify us ; and we are all bound in one faith, one hope, and should be in one charity, which is greater than all, and which levels all distinctions, proclaims and maintains a divine equality among all men. Love of country, love of man, love of God, love of our holy religion, respect for the growing intelligence of modern times, and attachment to modern civilization with its equalizing and elevating tendencies, all compel us to set our faces against the retrograde movement that would induce us to estimate a man according to his nation, and determine his rights by the simple accident of his birth.

The great principle of true Americanism, if we may use the word, is, that merit makes the man. It discards all distinctions which are purely accidental, and recognizes only such as are personal. It places every man on his own two feet, and says to him, Be a man, and you shall be esteemed according to your worth as a man; you shall be commended only for your personal merits; you shall be made to suffer only for your personal demerits. To each one according to his capacity, to each capacity according to its works. This is Americanism. It is this which has been our boast, which has constituted our country's true glory. It is this which we have inherited from our fathers ; it is this which we hold as a sacred trust, and must preserve in all its purity, strength, and activity, if we would not prove “degenerate sons of noble sires"; and it is this, which Native Americanism, so called, opposes, - and because it opposes this, no true American can support it.

There is, when we look at the condition of the mass of the people in those countries in the Old World from which emigration takes place, something grateful to all our better feelings in the thought, that here is a home to which the oppressed can come, and find the rights, the respect, and the well-being denied them in the land of their birth. The emigrant's condition is not a little improved by touching upon our shores ; and the condition of his brother-laborers, whom he leaves behind, is also not a little ameliorated, and the general sum of well-being is greatly augmented. On the simple score of philanthropy, then, who would not struggle to keep our country open to the emigrant, and be prepared to welcome him as a brother, and to rejoice that another is added to the family of freemen?

But even as a question of our own interest as a people, we should welcome the foreigner. If we should sit down and reckon up what we lose and what we gain by foreigners coming to settle among us, we should find the gain greatly overbalances the loss. Naturalized citizens constitute no inconsiderable portion of our population, and by no means the least important portion. Without these, what would have been our condition now? Whose labor has cleared away many of our Western forests, dug our canals and railroads ? and by whose labor and practical skill have we introduced our manufactures, and brought them to their present high state of perfection? In all the branches of manufactures, in nearly all branches of mechanical industry, the head workmen, if we have been rightly informed, are foreigners. And why foreigners, rather than native-born ? Surely, not because there is any partiality for foreigners over native Americans, but because they are more thorough masters of their business. Then, who man our navy, of which we are so justly proud ? and who constitute, in time of war, the rank and file of our army? Not all foreigners, truly ; but not a few who were not born on American soil. No small portion of our hardy seamen are of alien birth; but they are none the less true to our flag on that account, nor any the less freely do they spill their blood for our national defence or national glory. We do not agree with the assertion said to have been made by a foreigner residing amongst us, and conducting a foreign and not an American journal, that native Americans are cowards ; and if we did, we have still too much of the old Adam, and of the narrow feeling of former times, to suffer him, without rebuke, to tell us so. Americans are not trained to war, and we devoutly pray that they never may be ; for war is a terrible calamity, that may with honor be averted at any price, save that of the sacrifice of liberty itself; but they are not deficient in courage, and will, when necessary, face the enemy as boldly as any other people on the globe. Nevertheless, our ranks are not dishonored by foreigners, and no native-born citizens have ever done our country's flag more honor or fought more valiantly in its defence, than the brave and warm-hearted Irish; and none would do us more efficient service again, were we so unhappy as to be involved in a war. In the Revolution, we found men not born in America could fight manfully for liberty, and then they were not considered as in the way of the nativeborn. It was no loss to us to reckon in our army a Montgomery, a Gates, a De Kalb, a Steuben, a Pulaski, a La Fayette. No; man is man, wherever born ; and every freeman is our brother, and we should clasp him to our bosom.

As a party movement, we regard the Native American party as contemptible. Take it as a movement of Native American citizens against foreigners who come amongst us to claim the rights and to perform the duties of citizens, it is founded on low and ungenerous prejudices, — prejudices of birth, which we, as a people, profess to discard. We, as a people, recognize no nobility founded on birth ; for our principle is, that all who are born at all are well-born. But what is the effort to confine the political functions incident to citizenship to native-born Americans, but the attempt to found an aristocracy of birth, even a political aristocracy, making the accident of birth the condition of political rights ? Is this Americanism ? Shame on the degenerate American who pretends it! He is false to his American creed, and has no American heart.

We, of course, do not oppose Native Americanism on the untenable ground, that every man has a natural right to be a citizen, and to take part in the administration of the government. The right of suffrage is a municipal right, not a natural right. But we, as a people, have adopted, with slight restrictions, the principle of universal suffrage. We, as a people, hold that the government is safest, where all the people have a voice in saying what it shall be and who shall be its administrators. We adopt universal suffrage, not indeed as a right, but as a dictate of prudence. We hold that we select better men to rule us, and enact wiser and more equitable laws, by admitting the great body of the people to a participation of political sovereignty, than we should by confining the sovereignty to one man or to a few men. We hold that the people are best governed, when they constitute and manage the government themselves. This is the political creed of the country; and he is false to his country, who would abolish it, or defeat its practical application. Foreigners, who come here, have, then, in view of the acknowledged principles of the country, a right to be admitted to citizenship, to the rank and dignity of freemen ; and could rightly complain of injustice, if not so admitted.

But we are told that the Native American party does not propose to exclude foreigners from the country, nor from citizenship. It only wishes to prevent them from coming here and exercising the rights of citizens before being properly instructed in the duties of citizens. This plea is specious, but not solid. It is the public, ostensible plea; but not the private, real one. The real design is, to exclude foreigners, to prevent them from coming here, by denying them the right to become citizens. We have never conversed with an advocate of the

« AnkstesnisTęsti »