Imagens da página
[ocr errors]

excited great and general disapprobation. But on the other hand, bating the Episcopal laches, the Convention very unmistakeably refused to lend itself to the war-at-all-price party. Abolitionism was ignored even to a fault; for surely the moral and religious condition of four millions of blacks is not a subject alien to the deliberations of a body which pretended to represent the Reformed Church of the whole old Union, and which as a fact did contain the delegates of the four border Slave States,

In short, if we take into consideration the large and weighty minority of the Lower House, who voted against any resolutions, we are led to the conclusion that with all its vacillation of conduct the representative Church of the Northern and Border States is, so far as the presbyters and laity go, on the side of peace, though the misfortunes of the time and their own want of firm standing ground have driven them to clothe their feelings in the language of the Northern 'democratic platform. The evidence is equally strong, that the Bishops will not go further if they will even dare go so far as they did on that unlucky morning, when they bartered their independence for the favour of a Chase and a Seward. The Church is certainly a power in the American polity, and a power, we believe, stronger, in certain contingencies, than its mere numbers would lead one to suppose. Is it past hoping that in the march of public opinion the Church, recovering more of self-respect and self-confidence than it now shows itself mistress of, will be an influential agency towards that inevitable and blessed result, the recognition of the Southern Confederacy? The scales must fall off its eyes some day, and we would trust when that time comes that its retrospect may not be such as to cover it with confusion.

No more blessed external work exists for Christ's Church to compass, than that which it is now in the power of the Northern dioceses to help onto aid in the settlement of the American continent, not as the unchecked pride of Fourth of July statesmen dreamed it, but as God and the analogy of history mark it out. The break up of the unwieldy Union-followed, as it must be, by the division of the Church into provinces—would in itself be an unmeasured benefit to the Church, by the creation of a spirit of godly competition between the sections. If, as it boasts itself, the Northern Church is proportionately stronger and more orthodox than the Southern, then it will be more free to follow its own unshackled course; while the Southern Church, when thrown upon its own resources, will have the opportunity of putting to the proof the advantages which it believed it would reap from a consummated secession. We are utterly lost to understand how Northern Churchmen can delude themselves with the notion that even if the armies which the Union has sent into the field could ever overrun and hold the Confederate States, the Church of those States would brook a renewed incorporation with the Northern dioceses. It is beyond the power of General Butler to compel the South to send deputies to a general Convention, although he may send three Episcopal clergymen prisoners of war to New York, because they would not pray for Lincoln in a service of which, politically speaking, Butler is not supposed to know the existence. That marked aversion to the Church which has made the Lincoln Government seize on all the Episcopal churches in Washington for hospitals, while there were other buildings as commodious standing empty by, is not likely to conciliate Southern Churchmen. But, in truth, we can have no better evidence of the state of feeling than the fact that Bishop Whittingham's well-known politics have, unhappily, caused much alienation between himself and his High Church diocese of Maryland. In the election to the Convention from that diocese, men as eminent as Dr. Coxe and Dr. Hugh Davie Evans failed to obtain seats from the same cause. Simultaneously with the wordy debates at New York, a short paragraph runs the course of the papers, American and English, that the Bishop of Georgia has notified the ratification of the constitution of the Protestant Episcopal Church by the dioceses of Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas, and that the first 'council' was about to meet, on the 12th of November, at Augusta, Georgia.

The Constituent Assembly, held in the autumn of 1861, likewise contained the representatives of Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Louisiana, and the Bishops of all but the latter. The hated presence of the Northern armies within those States, is a sufficient excuse for their delay in organizing and indeed we have seen somewhere that Bishop Lay, of Arkansas, was a prisoner of war. We much regret that we should have no particulars of this meeting to give. If we might venture to suggest a topic for its deliberation, it would be the recognition of the State authorities and legislatures in the Prayer-book, alongside of the President and Congress of the Confederation. But it needs no details to be sure that, having got their own organization, these dioceses will adhere to it. Why should they wish to return to the North, and be outvoted whenever it came to a question in which one section found itself pitted against the other? It knows well that the North will never dare to excommunicate it; and if it did so, the South would be content to remain excommunicated. But we really beg pardon for having, for even a few moments, played with the dream of a civil reunion. We only did so to assert that an ecclesiastical reunion, which depends on man's will and not on man's battalions, is if possible more impossible.

There is yet another aspect of the question in which-would they void themselves of their political antecedents, and look upon the matter as Churchmen only—the adherents both of North and of South who love the Catholic Faith ought to acknowledge the prospective benefits of separation. The preponderance in the world's councils a few generations hence of the Englishspeaking nations, is, to say the least, exceedingly probable. But such a preponderance, according as its head-quarters were fixed in London or at New York, might either be the preponderance of principles which the consistent Churchman would be constrained to approve or to repudiate, according as they represented the system of hereditary liberty under a limited monarchy, side by side with a hereditary Church, or that of unchecked and tyrannous democracy resting on the ballot-box and universal suffrage. Already the divergence of character between the · Yankee' and the English branches of the Anglo-Saxon race is such as to astonish philosophic observers. The gradual vitiation of the stock by bad foreign infusion explains much. But the fact of a thoroughly rotten political and social system must be admitted to account for the completeness of the phenomenon. Every generation would widen the breach if the dream of * Yankee civilization' consolidating its empire came true. The Anglo-Saxon race might rule the world, but it would need a hegemony within itself, and that hegemony might either influence from Westminster and Canterbury, or from New York and Chicago. The South, by its noble preference of independence to empire, has settled the question of the hegemony in favour of the old parent country. It will be the happier for having done 80—50 will the North when its dream of angry disappointment is over; so will also be the two or three other commonwealths into which the Union must split. The Church, perforce transmuted into as many independent national synods as there are political Confederations, will soon take its place alongside of, and compete with the different provincial organizations into which the Anglican Communion in our colonies has been so rapidly shaping itself. The central regulating conservative influence will be found in its natural resting-place, the English Church in England.

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

Art. VII.-1. The Exploration and Survey of the Great Salt

Lake. By CAPTAIN STANSBURY, U.S. Engineers. 1849—52. 2. The Mormons, or Latter Day Saints. By Lieut. J. W.

GUNNISON, U.S. Engineers. 1849—52. 3. A Visit to Salt Lake, and a Residence in the Mormon Settle

ment of Utah. By William CHANDLESS. London : Smith,

Elder, and Co. 1857. 4. Journey to the Land of the Mormons. By M. JULES REMY,

and E. BRENCHLEY, M.A. Paris : E. Dentu. 1860. London: Jeffs, Burlington Arcade. 5. The City of the Saints. By RICHARD F. Burton. Longman

and Co. 1862. 6. The Prophet of the Nineteenth century. By H. Caswall.

Rivington. 1843.

It is probable that the reflection may have occurred to the reader, as he cast his eye upon the heading of this article, how little it is that we know of this undoubtedly great and important commonwealth—a commonwealth which may yet be destined to fill a conspicuous page in history. By withdrawing into the fastnesses of the Great Salt Lake district, the leaders of the Mormons seem to have attained a double purpose: they have baffled not only persecution, but curiosity; they have obtained not only safety, but obscurity; they have dropped a curtain between themselves and the remainder of the world, and though we may catch a murmur from behind as of a great multitude, or hear sounds and rumours as of mighty preparations, yet scarcely any one can say whether the curtain will one day be lifted up, and, if so, what strange influences on the fortunes of the American nation, at least, may be destined to issue from behind it. Even the great strife that is now rending the North American continent from one end to the other, has evoked no sign from the Salt Lake community. Among the events which have stirred that mighty nation, not as the tempest stirs the surface of the sea, but as the volcanic convulsion breaks up

the very platforms of the deep, there is one spot, and one spot only, which preserves an unbroken silence; there is no voice froin behind the veil; not one token that the Mormonite community has any part or interest in the welfare of that mighty commonwealth of which it forms a part. And so it is, that of all our own emigrants, those only who betake themselves to Utah seem entirely cut off from our knowledge and concern. They seem to have withdrawn themselves entirely from the sphere of our sympathies and interests; to have passed beyond the limits of our social atmosphere; to have reached a point where all the laws of social gravitation tend exclusively to a centre among themselves. The process, indeed, by which the community is recruited is not unfamiliar to us; the feeders of the Lake are among us, even though that circumstance only makes it the more strange that we know so little of its nature and its level, that its outlets are so resolutely concealed. It is not seldom that we meet, in a railway train or at a packet-station, with a small body of humble emigrants, who excite our attention by a peculiar appearance of reticence and self-absorption, unusual to their station, and who turn out on inquiry to be emigrants to the land of Mormon. It is not seldom that some country village is stirred into excitement, by the departure of a local preacher with a band of proselytes. Unfortunately, too, it is not seldom that we read some sad tale in the columns of the newspapers of husband or mother seeking the interference of the law to stay the departure of a wife or child.

Of the motives of their exodus we can usually judge. In a few it is an earnest enthusiastic faith, wrought up to frenzy by the declamation or pretended miracles of some fervent preacher; in many a dogged ignorance, accepting as simple truth all which their prophets choose to tell them, expecting to find literally a new Jerusalem, with streets of real silver and houses of real

; whilst to not a few of the half-educated class (we have heard of at least one national schoolmistress taking her departure thus) the belief is simply in a land overflowing with husbands, and where single-blessedness is unknown.

But with their departure from our shores all our connexion with them seems to cease; they go out, in one respect, like the Israelites from Egypt, leaving no link between themselves and the land whence they depart; few care to trace their fortunes ; and if some traveller in the far West describes his meeting with a train of gaunt men and weary women, pressing onward bravely and steadily through toil and suffering, and thirst and hunger, it is but seldom that we associate the company with those countrymen and countrywomen who went forth so lately from our English homes, or think that among them may have been some brought up under our knowledge, trained under the same influences, worshipping, it may be, a few months or even weeks ago, in the same church with ourselves.

It is, then, to the present condition of these Mormons in their home, connected with us as it is by the double links of interest


« AnteriorContinuar »