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were blotted out as by magic; and thousands of honest men, who were better entitled to its benefits, than many who enjoyed them, did not apply for relief. Contracting debts, is not unlike the man who goes to sea without a compass-he may steer clear of rocks, sandbars, a lee shore, and breakers; but the chances are greatly against him; and, if he runs foul of either, ten to one he is lost. The present indiscriminate credit system is a labyrinth, the entrance is easy, but how to get out—that's the question. It is an endless chain, and if one link breaks in a particular community, it deranges the whole. The concussion may break many more, create a panic, and the chain become useless. If this misfortune would cure the evil, it would be a blessing in disguise; but so deeply rooted is this system among us, that no sooner is one chain destroyed, than another is manufactured; an increasing weight is put upon it; presently, some of its links snap, another concussion is produced, and creates a new panic; car after car rushes down the inclined plane of bankruptcy, increasing the mass of broken fragments and general ruin, all so commingled, that a Philadelphia lawyer, aided by constables and sheriffs, can bring but little order out of the confusion. At the outset, especially among merchants, a ruinous tax is imposed by this system, upon the vendor and vendee. The seller, in addition to a fair profit for cash in hand, adds a larger per cent. to meet losses from bad debts, but which often falls far short of the mark. Each purchaser, who is ultimately able to pay, bears the proportionate burden of this tax, and both contribute large sums to indulge those who cannot, and, what is worse, those who never intended to pay; thus encouraging fraud,
sometimes subsequent, but often original in its con ception. Like the tariff, the sinuosities of this systen: are understood but by a few, and realized by fewer still. From the manufacturer to the consumer, the tax, induced by the credit system, is increased; the latter consumes more freely because he buys on credit, extravagance usurps the place of economy and produces idleness; the retailer, who has imposed the last and largest tax, often finds nothing left with his customer, but the rags of the goods he has sold, and the carcase his provisions have sustained. The officers of the law close the farce, by playing upon the rags and carcase with sundry paper implements, with results less curious and more expensive, than those of the galvanic battery upon a corpse. The consumer is the swivel link in the chain, the moment this swivel loses its head, by too much pressure and friction, the derangement commences. The links may be keyed together by delay, as the farmer keys his chain with wood, but the key soon wears out, and the last failure may be at a worse time and place than the first.
Debts contracted by borrowing, are more onerous, not to say, as many do, more honorable, than those incurred by purchase. The borrower becomes a bound slave to the lender, and places his heirs in the same situation. He goes to sea with a deck load, and little or no ballast in the hold, and a sudden squall of fortuitous wind, throws his craft on its beams ends, and often, the wreck but little more than pays the salvage of the court officers ; lender and borrower are both carried into the breakers, and dashed on a lee barren shore, drenched and pennyless. We have hordes of small borrowers of money, who are the gad flies of
community. Each is satisfied with a drop, but their numbers are so great, that, if not guarded against by the fly net of resolution, they will weaken the system by their combined draughts. To ask for small debts, is painful to the lender, and is considered an insult to the borrower.
We have many who are prone to contract new debts, and lose sight of old ones. They are mere passengers in the life boat, and leave others to work at the oar, and furnish every thing. As time rolls on, the Statute of Limitation dims their vision: the Rubicon passed, the debts are cancelled. It is a fair business transaction,” say they, the law intervenes ; abused confidence, honour, integrity, justice and conscience; have no part or lot in the matter. We will obey the law, “and make it honorable."
We have also another species of small borrowers, who may feel neglected if not noticed : those who borrow a bucket of coal, a piece of butter, a little meat, salt, pepper, flour, ginger, tea, coffee, milk, sugar, with a piece of candle, and a little of all the good things for the stomach, and sometimes, not so often, å piece of soap, wash basin, and towel. These borrowers have generally bad memories, and, if their memories serve them, their weights and measures are lessened by long use; or, perhaps they think it right to take toll enough to pay for running their borrowing machine.
So long as the pernicious credit system is the order of the day, monetary pressures, panics, convulsions, and revulsions will continue in our country; producing distress and ruin at each periodical return. Owe no man, is an injunction of Holy Writ, and, if not obeyed, like the violation of the other injunctions radiating from that polar star to guide man to happiness and peace, the consequences are often disastrous.
A dark cold calm, which nothing now can break,
No calamity can produce such paralysis of the mind, as despair. It is the cap stone of the climax of human anguish. The mental powers are frozen with indifference, the heart becomes ossified with melancholy, the soul is shrouded in a cloud of gloom. No words of consolation, noʻcheerful repartee, can break the deathlike calm: no love can warm the pent-up heart, no sunbeams dispel the dark clouds. Time may effect a change; death will break the monotony. We can extend our kindness, but cannot relieve the victim. We may trace the causes of this awful disease; God only can effect a cure. We may speculate upon its nature, but cannot feel its force, until its iron hand is laid upon
We may call it weakness, but cannot prove or demonstrate the proposition. We may call it folly, but can point to no frivolity to sustain our position. We may call it madness, but can discover no maniac actions. We may call it stubbornness, but can see no exhibitions of indocility. We may call it lunacy, but cannot perceive the incoherences of that unfortunate condition. We can call it, properly, nothing but dark, gloomy despair, an undefined and undefinable paralyzation of all the sensibilities that render a man happy, and capable of imparting happiness to those around him. It is a state of torpid dormancy, rather than a mental derangement of the cerebral organs.
It is induced by a false estimate of things, and of the dispensations and government of the God of mercy. Disappointments, losses, severe and continued afflictions, sudden transition from wealth to poverty, death of dear friends; may cast a gloom over the mind that does not correctly comprehend the great first cause, and see the hand of God in every thing; and produce a state of despair, because these things are viewed in a false mirror. Fanaticism in religious meetings has produced the most obstinate and melancholy cases of despair, that have come under my own observation. Intelligence, chastened by religion, are the surest safeguards against this state of misery; ignorance and vice are its greatest promoters. Despair is the destruction of all hope, the deathless sting, that refines the torment of the finally impenitent and lost. It is that undying worm, that unquenchable fire, so graphically described in Holy Writ.
Reader, if you desire an insurance against the iron grasp of despair, you can obtain it without money and without price, by applying to the immaculate Redeemer. He stands, with open arms, to receive, and keep in safety, all who believe in His name and put their trust in Him, for time and eternity. Then you may hope on and hope ever. Then you will have a sheet anchor to your soul, that will enable you to outride the storms of time, and at last, be moored in the haven of eternal rest.