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and important problem. And, per- and energy of a free people, and haps, this problem, in the good prove the economy and beneficence of idence of God, against the anxieties, a free government, will, doubtless, fears, and protests of good men, give to France greater financial is to be wrought out in France, just prosperity than she has ever enjoy. as God in his good providence led ed. On this point, we shall do well the older New England Common- to consider the financial embarrasswealths to complete religious liberty ments of the period during, and for -to the entire separation of the years subsequent to, our own revochurch and state-to the entire abo- lution, and the prosperity which has lition of the compulsory support of ensued. religion-against the anxieties, fears, On the whole our hopes greatly protests, and prayers of a majority surpass our fears, respecting the of the Christians in those common. French revolution of 1848, and conwealths-a result which all now strain us to rejoice in it as an event acknowledge to be good. Let us of great promise for France. That wait in hope, if not in faith. church and state will be separated,

We ought also to mention one and that a form of government, other reason of anxiety which pre- truly republican, will be established, sents itself—the financial embarrass- and prosperously administered, we ments of the government.

expect, though not with the greatest These, it ought to be remem- confidence. But, that the result will bered, have been produced, in the be a decided progress in civil and greater part, by the selfish extrava. religious liberty and prosperity, we gance of the overthrown dynasty. have no doubt whatever. And as to the other part, it is noth- We have called this revolution an ing more than must temporarily re- event of great promise for France. sult from that interruption of com- That promise is not for France only, mercial confidence and productive but for all nations. Its influenceindustry which accompanies any who can measure it? It goes on fundamental change in government. its way swift and resistless as the That interruption will be only tem

electric power.

And its wayporary. It is already passing away. where will

where will it end? Verily its line And when quiet and confidence will go out through all the earth, and are again restored, the enterprise its words to the end of the world.

THE ETHICS OF THE RIGHT OF SUFFRAGE.

There is one grand topic in the has come to our knowledge, is there science of duty to which neither any formal attempt to trace out and Paley nor Wayland has assigned a apply the principles by which a citichapter, and of which the “ Chris- zen in a republic should be guided tian Directory" of Baxter, the in the exercise of his right of suf“ Ductor Dubitantium” of Jeremy frage. How shall I give my vote Taylor, and all the tomes of the in a popular election ?-is a great more ancient casuists, take no notice. question for conscientious men in In no system of Ethics with which these United States. It is a queswe are acquainted, in no collection tion which comes up not only once or compilation of casuistry which in four years at the election of a

VOL. VI.

56

President, but every two years at needs be preferred by all voters the election of Representatives in who recognize the authority of the Congress, and every year once and Bible. The text which above all again at the state and municipal others has been used in this way, is elections. The question has been a part of the advice which Jethro a practical question, of frequent re- gave to Moses, (Ex. xviii, 21,currence, in Great Britain, ever “ Thou shalt provide out of all the since England had any rudiments of people, able men, such as fear God, free institutions. It is now likely to men of truth, bating covetousness, become a question of the same kind and place such over them to be of practical importance, in almost rulers of thousands, and rulers every country of Christendom. And of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and yet, with the exception of here and rulers of tens." Doubtless this there an occasional sermon by some was good advice to Moses. That it New England preacher, who gets may reasonally be regarded as admuch censure for meddling with a vice divinely prompted, we will theme so far beyond his province, freely admit. That it contains prinwe are not aware that any serious ciples which every conscientious attempt has ever been made to de. man will spontaneously regard when fine and exhibit the principles by called to give his vote or influence which a free citizen should be in a popular election, we will not for guided in the performance of his a moment question. But that it gives high duty as a constituent member us a formula by which the individual of the State.

voter must invariably be governed in It is not with the expectation of the exercise of his right of suffrage, supplying so great a deficiency, that to the exclusion of all other considwe have ventured to introduce the erations—that all doubts and difficul. subject thus distinctly to public at ties that may arise in attempting to tention. It will be enough for us to decide between different candidates throw out the few thoughts and in- of different parties and systems of quiries which occur to us, and which policy, may be solved by the appli. may invite others to a more ample cation of this formula—is what can and exact discussion. In due time, not be made to appear. Such a thing we doubt not, the Ethics of the as a popular election in a free comRight of Suffrage will be a distinct monwealth, where some thousands chapter in all systems of Ethical —or, as is the case with us every Science-a chapter without which four years, some millions-of eleco no system can be recognized as tors, are to determine by their votes, complete in a free country. If our not only what men shall hold the humble effort may contribute any reins of power, but what shall be thing to such a result, that is all we the course and policy of the govern. hope for.

ment,-is a thing which neither I. We begin then by asking, Are Jethro nor Moses had ever heard the ethics of the right of suffrage of, and to which no passage in the defined and settled by any universal Old Testament or in the New makes rule of the Christian religion laid any allusion. The case in re. down in the Scriptures ? Is there ference to which the advice of any express rule in the Bible which Jethro was offered, was essentially will always show us how to vote in different from the case of an indian election? We should hardly vidual elector in a republic. Moses have thought of this question, if we had in his own hands the entire and had not sometimes heard and seen exclusive power of appointment to Scripture quoted to show conclusive. office. Of course the question of ly which of two or three tickets must his duty in relation to every appoint:

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ment, was a question involving only any question touching the correcta single element.

In selecting a ness of this improved translation, it man for any particular office, he is enough to say that the precept, needed only to be satisfied as to the after all, does not tell us what kind man's qualifications. Is he able ? - of politics -- whether democratic, is he firm in his allegiance to the whig, or liberty-party-is such as national religion ?-is he a man of becometh the gospel of Christ. As integrity ?-is he a man who will not to the ethics of the right of suffrage, be in danger of being moved from we are left to judge for ourselves by his duty by mercenary considera. other light than that which this text tions ?-has he these qualifications affords us. above any other man that can be II. If then Christianity, in its authought of for such an office ? - thentic standards, prescribes no defi. these were the only points which nite rule which can relieve us of the Moses had any occasion to consider necessity of inquiring after the princiin the exercise of his appointing ples of duty in this matter, it is plain power. But had he been merely that the elector in exercising his one of twenty, or even one of a tri- right of suffrage, instead of depend. umvirate, invested with the appoint- ing on some divinely prescribed for. ing power, then in every case of mula, must use his best discretion, conferring an office, the question of just as every man must needs do in his duty would have involved an- a thousand other questions which other element, and would have had are referred to the decision of an some resemblance to the question enlightened moral sense.

And we respecting the duty of a yoter in a may suppose him to ask in the next popular election.

place, "Am I bound to throw my We remember another text which ballot always for that man whom I has been quoted and argued from, as judge to be the best man, without reshowing how men must needs vote, gard to any other consideration than who are governed by Christian prin. that of his fitness for the office ?" ciples. Paul, writing to the Christians An affirmative answer to this quesat Philippi, and having expressed tion implies that the individual voter a confident hope that his life would ought to act in all instances just as be spared and that he would be again if he had an unlimited control over permitted to visit them, says, as the election of the men who are to represented by King James's trans. be entrusted with the functions of lators, [Phil. i, 27,1“ Only let your government. But does his duty reconversation be as it becometh the quire him--does it even permit him gospel of Christ; that whether I to act thus? Is not the fact that his come and see you, or else be absent, right in the matter is the right, not of I may hear of your affairs, that ye appointment, but only of suffrage, a stand fast in one spirit,” &c. The fact that materially affects his duty ? word translated “Let your conver

Is he not bound to take some notice sation be," is noheteútode ,—which of the known views and intentions sounds somewhat like our English, of other electors ? Is he not bound or Anglo-American word, politics; to consider beforehand what effect and so, by an improved version, his vote is likely to have upon the the text is made to read, “Only let result ? May he not consult with your politics be as it becometh the others beforehand as to whom he gospel of Christ,”—that is, in the and they can agree to vote for ? performance of all your civil and Ought he not to do so ? If he has political duties, and especially in one opinion as to the fittest man for determining what party to vote with, the office, and others have a differact as Christians.' Without raising ent opinion, may it not sometimes be his duty to yield his opinion to Now in regard to questions of theirs, and so to give his ballot for a this class, nothing is plainer than man whom he does not regard as that the considerations which they quite the best man. If he knows suggest are considerations deserving in advance that the best man--or the the most serious attention of every man whom he regards as such- man who would exercise his right of can not be persuaded to accept the suffrage according to the will of office, must he still vote for him ? God. In many cases—in perhaps If he knows in advance that his best the majority of cases as they actualman can not be elected, must he still ly occur, no question involved in refuse to vote for any other man, be the election is paramount to the the certain consequences what they question of the personal character may? If it is perfectly understood of the men who are to be entrusted that one or the other of two candi. with the various powers of goveradates will be elected, must he, under ment. There is a state election, we the conscientious necessity of voting will suppose, just at hand ; and you at all hazards for the best man, give are inquiring how you shall exercise a vote which has no other tendency your right of suffrage. One or the than to secure the election not only of other of two leading parties is sure a much inferior man, but, as the to get the control of the state for case may be, of the very worst the ensuing year. With one of man? Let the voter, instead of these parties you have a general yielding blindly to an unauthorized agreement of opinion, so far as formula, throw himself upon the questions purely political are conguidance of his moral sense enlight- cerned. Its success in the pending ened by the analysis of the case in election will have the effect of adwhich he is to act, and he will see that vancing those views of a protective he is under responsibilities for which tariff, or those views of the best that formula makes no provision. mode of keeping the public ac

III. But our inquirer is not yet sat- counts, or those views of the bank. isfied. He has other questions to ing system, which you regard as propound. “ Admitting that I am right. But that party has proposed not required to give my ballot al- as its candidate for the bighest office ways for the one whom I regard as in the state, a showy, windy dema. absolutely the best man, inust I not gogue, a man in whose personal io. at least vote always for one whom I tegrity you have no confidence, a regard as a good man ? Is it right man whose influence in society is a for me in any case to give my ballot corrupting influence, a man known for a man who is not only compara- as a despiser of the Sabbath and an tively deficient but positively objec. enemy of religious institutions, a tionable ?” And this question takes man whom, if he were your next a great many forms. One will ask, door neighbor, you would not think “ Is it not palpably wrong to vote in of making the executor of your will any circumstances for a duellist, or and the guardian of your children. for a Sabbath-breaker, or for one At the same time, the other partywho speaks profanely ?" Another erroneous as you esteem it in reasks, “Can I vote for a slaveholder spect to the questions of public polwithout being a partaker in his sin?” icy which are at issue--proposes as Another asks, “ Can I, in any case its candidate for the same office a vote for a Roman Catholic ?"-or, man of the very highest and purest “Can I vote for a Unitarian ?"-or, personal character. In such a case “ Can I vote for a man who does not as this, the question of your duty is acknowledge the supreme authority easily answered. What are the of the Bible ?"

merely commercial or financial in

terests, supposed to be involved in tures—no law of God revealed in the election, when compared with the the instinctive moral sense, gives us moral interest which the state has any such formula to be followed at in the character of her own chief all hazards. If we had such a formagistrate? In the view of every mula, duly authenticated as from man who has any just moral seosi. God, all consideration of consequenbilities, the benefit which will result ces would be preposterous; the conto the state from having in her high- sequences would be God's, and to est place of honor a man who will him alone would it belong to care honor the place instead of one who for them. But having no such forwill dishonor it, exceeds by far any mula, we are bound to judge for ourbenefit which can be expected to selves what is right, in each of the arise from the success of your views innumerable complex cases that on the political questions which di. arise for our decision. It may hapvide the parties. Your moral sense, pen that the question really at issue if you will but listen to it, tells you in a national election, is not simply what to do. So in regard to all offi- whether this man who has never ces which the people confer directly been concerned in a duel, or that or indirectly, and which may there- man who has fought in duels, shall fore be regarded as tokens of the be president, but the far more mopeople's favor. Principles of polit- mentous question between peace and ical economy--all the ordinary ques. war, or the equally momentous questions which are the ostensible divi. tion between the extension of the sion between political parties are of area of freedom and the extension little consequence to the common of the area of slavery. It may

be welfare, in comparison with the in- that every vote given for the refluence which comes from the per- spectable gentleman who never sonal character of the men of whom penned and never received a chalit may be said, Behold the men lenge-nay every vote not actually whom the people delight to honor! given for his exceptionable competi

Yet it is not safe to say, without tor, is in effect a vote for a system any qualification, that the conscien- of measures which will involve the tious elector may never vote for a country in a most needless war and candidate whose personal character which will consign millions of men is exceptionable. Nor is it safe to to the horrors of a life-long bondage. assert absolutely that there can be no In some state elections, the question case in which the elector may be may be not simply whether some bound in conscience to vote for that devout communicant in the Protesone of two candidates whose per tant Episcopal Church, or some sonal character is more exceptiona. Presbyterian elder, shall be elected ble than the personal character of governor in preference to a man his competitor. There may be ca- who makes no religious profession ses, in which the personal character or pretension, but whether that state of the man voted for is of far less shall commit itself for the abolition moment than the questions of public of slavery within its own jurisdicpolicy, which are to be determined tion. That religious man may have by the election. The duty of voting pledged himself against the fanatifor men of unexceptionable private cism of attempting to abolish an incharacter, or even the duty of voting stitution which is sanctified in his for the better man of two candidates eyes by its having had a place instead of the worse man of the among the arrangements of Abratwo, is not, like the duty of veracity, ham's household; while that irreli. a simple and invariable obligation. gious man with all his faults has be. No law of God revealed in the Scrip-come the leader in a bold and there

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