« PreviousContinue »
ligion; and in the name of high heaven; let all, who value our LIBERTY ; who prize our free institutions, be induced to watch, with an Argus-eye, and defend, with a strong arm, the dear-bought privileges we so eminently enjoy, and guard against every encroachment of INCONSISTENCY. If we are true to ourselves, our REPUBLIC may
be preserved for centuries; if we suffer Inconsistency, with its retinue of myrmidons, to march on, conquering and to conquer; our years may soon be numbered ; our prosperous career speedily arrested, and the nations that now respect and fear us, will cease to pay us deference; laugh at our calamity; mock at our dissolution, and hug their crowns and chains with new delight. Then,
"With tears, our fate we may deplore,
In vain look back to what we were before,
Avaunt! thou thing infernal !
Of all the dark spots on depraved human nature, of all the vile acts of man towards man, none throw such a freezing chill over the whole body, and drive back the purple current on the aching heart, like base and damning Ingratitude. Indifference continued, coldness persevered in, favours forgotten, friendship unrequited , by one who has been the willing recipient of our esteem and bounty ; bring a palsying horror over the soul, that thickens the blood in the veins, making the whole head sick, and the whole heart faint.
Pour upon a man of fine feeling, a noble, generous soul, the combined diseases flesh is heir to-let death snatch his loved ones from him-strip him of all his earthly goods—let him be assailed by keen adversity and pinching want ; let prison grates confine his body to the lonely cell—let the poisoned arrows of malice and revenge be hurled, and pierce him with many wounds—these, all these are a panacea to his bleeding heart, compared with the deathly pangs inflicted by base Ingratitude.
My God! from whence came this king of passion's fiends ? It must be the offspring of him, who was once the tallest angel in the high heavens, and first sowed the seeds of dark rebellion there. Yes, it was he that dared to lift his rebel arm against his benefactor, the great Jehovah ; and was hurled, with lightning vengeance from his lofty height, to the lowest hell. He was the first that disturbed the harmony of God and angels, the Apollyon of the human race, the morning star of Pandemonium. Foul blot on blackness! And why is he permitted to belch out his burning lava on frail mortals ? To teach man humility, wean him from this world of sin and wo, and turn his immortal soul towards that haven of enduring peace and enrapturing happiness, where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest. Transporting thought ! most sovereign balm for the scorpion stings of scathing, blighting Ingratitude.
At the present day, as in former times, we have many restless spirits among us, who set themselves up for reformers of society--proposing to change the whole order of things, and bring about an equality in the human family. I admit the need of reformation in many things and persons, and know of none who need to be reformed, more than some of these modern pretenders. Destitute of moral principles, infidels in heart and practice-agrarians—levellerstoo indolent to pursue a laudable calling—too well known to impose upon the well informed around them—they are doomed to a butterfly career in the history of the times. I allude to those who are forming Agrarian societies--and preach the necessity and justice of making an equal division of landed property among all. The history of their career, and the ruinous consequences of their influence in former times, stand as a beacon light, to warn us of approaching danger from this class of bipeds. Their system is chimerical-ridiculous, impossible. Could it be put in full operation in a day—it would be deranged the next, by some of the rising generation arriving at majority, and claiming his or their equal share of the domain. The change of the system would be diurnal, and therefore impracticable, even if all were in favor of it. Its folly is too apparent for argument. Like other impossibilities, it has only to be understood, to render its advocates powerless. An able writer, in treating upon this subject, says, “ You may dig out the inequalities of life, but they will come again.” They are irremovably based on four pillars, which stand as firm
as the perpetual hills—strength, talent, wealth, and rank. The two first produce inequalities among savages in the dense forest, in all the rudeness of nature-the two last produce it in the most refined society. Absurd as it is, riches often give a man more consequence than talent, which, joined with virtue, is the only thing that should place one man above another of inferior capacity. In this country, more than any other, an equal division of landed property would be unjust, because our most wealthy citizens have acquired it by their own industry, and generally treat the industrious, virtuous poor ; with as much courtesy as a rich neighbor. Security in person and property, is a fundamental principle of our constitution.
It may be well to determine what are the inequalities of life, the removal of which would produce a better state of society. It is a proposition admitted by all, that happiness is the pursuit of man. It is a truth equally plain, that riches do not, but in rare instances, produce happiness—but generally the reverse. That independence without wealth, is more common and pure, than with it, is not a paradox. It is a trait in human nature, that those who have much, want more-cares and perplexities increase with wealth-peace of mind is disturbed-an avaricious disposition is engendered temptations to do wrong accumulate—the better passions are blunted-and well did our great Teacher say, that it was hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Wealth is often a snare to ourselves, and a temptation for others to do us great harm. If another too common course is pursued by the rich-luxurious living and an indulgence of the baser passionstheir happiness is destroyed by a round of satiety and fatigue, want of rest, contracted disease, and premature death—and perhaps a ruined estate, often follow.
Those who support rank, are no less happy-both classes violate the laws of nature, which impose a penalty, whenever disregarded. Nor do men of great talents bask in the sunshine of happiness. If in public life, they are a mark for the jealous, the envious, the slanderer ; who are constantly plotting their ruin, and embittering the cup of life. If they are in retirement, they are restless, or are racking their brain with mental exertion, and know nothing of the sweet repose enjoyed by the day laborer. The good old prayer “Give me neither poverty nor riches," with contentment, contains the true secret of temporal happiness. Poverty consists in being destitute of the necessariesnot the luxuries of life. All who have health can acquire these by industry—the sick may be made comfortable by a proper application. If the above propositions are true, it follows that happiness, the chief pursuit of man, is not enhanced by riches, rank, or great talents; and that to level the inequalities produced by them, would not produce as great a reform in society, as many imagine, and that these sources of happiness are more imaginary, than real. Artificial wants and false pride, indulgence in idleness and vice -a discontented disposition, and a longing after the flesh pots, are the real sources of misery--not the deprivation of riches, rank, or talent.