Ready-made Unity and the Society for its Promotion.
it is a pleasant thing for brethren to dwell together in unity.
There can be no mistake about it. The Scriptures say so, and “The American Society for promoting National Unity” backs up the Scripture; so that the thing may be considered as good as settled.
Especially when we consider that Samuel
and Sidney Morse
, Hubbard Winslow
and Seth Bliss
indorse the Society, and that in so doing they approve the Scriptures.
Gentlemen amorous of unity could not certainly have done a more sensible thing than to begin by uniting themselves.
It is all very proper.
The Patent Soap has its Company, and so has the celebrated Paste Blacking-and why not Unity?--not a Unitary Home, for that the gods forbid!--not a Unitarian Unity, for that would hardly suit those members whose names are as yet published — but what we may call a Religious-and-Political Unity-designed, as we are informed, to make everybody of one mind with everybody else upon the subject of Slavery — that mind being also The Journal-of-Commerce
mind, the bias of which is, we presume, not uncertain.
We are inclined to think that The American Unity
Society has cut cut rather more work for itself than it will be able to accomplish during the remainder of the present century.
It is morally impossible for men to be united upon this topic.
The man who owns a man will never agree with the man who is owned.
Here is the first fatal split; and nine hundred Morse Societies, working for nine thousand years, could not alter that primal, elementary and discouraging fact.
Even though men who do not own slaves may now and then agree with slave owners, yet the number even of these must always be small, compared with the number of those who do not so agree.
People who cannot read Greek
, and who have not been enlightened upon the signification of a certain little Greek
word of six letters, will not unite upon this point with gentlemen whose consciences are in their lexicons.
The Society of National Unity intends to go to work upon what in medicine would be called a counter-irritant plan.
According to The Journal of Commerce
the Society is “to employ a small army of talented lecturers to follow in the wake of or to precede Abolition lecturers, to pluck up the Abolition tares and destroy them.”
Well, this is one
way of promoting Unity, we must confess.
We should very much like to see Mr. Morse
's “small army of talented lecturers” wrestling with Mr. Parker Pillsbury
, and holding high debate with Mrs. Lucy Stone
How the “talented lecturers” would fare in the scrimmage, or in what woeful plight they would come out of it, we can easily imagine; but how these mighty debaters,
stirring up villages, distracting societies, and making the squabble chronic, would promote Unity is More than we can see. indicated
The American Unity Society has “briefly indicated its views” in what it calls a “Programme.”
It begins with an attempt, cold-blooded specos and deliberate, to falsify history — not a very good way of promoting Unity, we would suggest.
We quote from the “Programme:”
“The popular declaration that all men are created equal and entitled to liberty intende to embody the sentiment of our ancestors respecting the doctrine of divine right of kings and nobles and perhaps also the more doubtful sentiment of the French
school, may be understood to indicate both a sublime truth and a pernicious errtor.
created equally free to do the will of God, and will be equally rewarded by him according to their deeds.
But they are not
created equal in personal endowments nor in their relations to providential arrangements.”
There are so many falsehoods in these few lines, that we hardly know where to begin their exposure.
But, in the first place, we say that no honest constructtion of the text warrants the assertion that or fathers referred, in these great sentences, to the divanythine right of kings and nobles alone.
They do no t say anything about “government” in the beginning.
They start with a pure, bold, naked abstraction, independent of governmental forms altogether.
Read the words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their
Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
There is the proposition.
“That to secure these rights
, governments are instituted.”
Not rights for government, but government for rights, higher, holier than the government itself.
Government is secondary to right — that is what Thomas Jefferson
meant to say, and did say, with a clearness which no guess nor gloss can obscure.
Then see how these new “Unitarians” dishonestly — yes, that is the word; we shall not change it — dishonestly muddle the great charter!
to do the will of God, and will be equally rewarded by him.”
That is: a man is free
to go to a prayer-meeting, to toil without wages, to live wretchedly, and to have no: hope but in death — that is doing the will of God; but he is not free to better his condition; he is not free to run away, he is not free to keep his own wife from concubinage, nor his own children from vendue.
Hie will be “equally
rewarded by God” --was there one man in the American Congress who understood “equal” in that sense?
We do not believe that there was; and we do not believe that Morse
& Co. believe so. What is that ugly word “Liberty” doing in the Declaration?
Liberty applies only to political status.
Except in purely theological discussions, what has “a free and equal slave” to do with Liberty?
Ah! say Morse
& Co., the Fathers meant by using that word to refer to “the more doubtful sentiment of the French
What is this “doubtful sentiment?”
Why are not
a little more explicit?
Why do they undertake to slander, not Thomas Jefferson
who had Gallic proclivities, but such a man as John Adams
, who hated French politics and French reforms?
It would not have been altogether safe for Mr. Samuel J. B. Morse
to have told John Adams
that the Declaration to which he had deliberately set his hand, incorporated any “doubtful sentiment of the French
We can imagine the old man kindling into sublime wrath, and with fiery energy pouring out hot words of scorn and of refutation.
We can imagine him exclaiming: “No, sir!
I did not mean any doubtful
sentiment of the French
school — I meant the undoubted
sentiment of the old Saxon school; and I yet stand by my faith, sir!”
We presume that our readers have already had enough of the “Programme.”
We promise not to detain them much longer, but here is a gem of a sentence: “It is,” so say the Programmarians, “by confounding the providential with the moral, instead of regarding the former as means wisely employed by the latter, that men become infidel and radical in their schemes of reformation.”
What are the men who say this?
Are they Platonists or Christians?
Do they hold to the divinoe providentioe fatalis dispositio
? Do they literally interpret the maxim, “Whatever is, is right?”
Does “providential” mean something moral sometimes, and sometimes immoral, but whatever its character, in its sense of fatal, providential?
If so, then Apuleius
telling dirty Platonic stories was as good a Christian as Prof. Morse
But there is something so hideous in this hair-splitting, in these quiddities and quodlibets with which men strive to cover the immorality and the impolicy of Slavery, that we do not care at present to pursue the subject.
There is more “richness” in the “Unitary programme ;” but let these reflections suffice at least for to-day.
March 28, 1861.