Page images

and islands on the globe, is casting a longing eye upon the orange groves and sunny lawns of the Great Antilla. It is much to be feared, that the extreme zeal which now animates the British Government for the emancipation of half a million of slaves in Cuba, is prompted, in part at least, we trust not entirely, by the same spirit which has led them to rivet the fetters of a more galling slavery upon the limbs of a hundred million Hindoos, and which is urging them to the slaughter and subjugation of three hundred million Chinese,—the lust for universal dominion. But this grasping spirit, which has succeeded in so many enterprises, apparently of greater difficulty, will probably fail in its attempts on Cuba. The island, whenever it may separate from the mother country, will not revolve as a satelite round the orb of any other European power, but will take its place as a new and brilliant star in our American constellation, whether as a neighbouring and friendly independent state, or as a member of the Union, is of little importance. We have no wish, as we remarked before, to see any immediate change in the political situation of this island: but it belongs, by the law of nature, to the American system, and will never be permanently identified with that of Europe. Since the opening of its ports to foreign commerce, it has been deriving from its great and rapidly increasing intercourse with the United States, the principles and habits that are most favorable to its immediate improvement, and ultimate prosperity. Emigrants from our shores are constantly pouring into the island, carrying with them, as they must, wherever they go, the liberal views of religion and government, and the industrious and enterprising habits that distinguish them at home. Under the influence of this new state of things, the island is already putting on a new face. The interior, which has been, heretofore, wholly destitute of any tolerable means of communication, is beginning to be traversed by rail-roads,—the waters along the coast are navigated by steam-boats,-new plantations are laid out,-population is increasing,--the arts aud letters are cultivated with success, -education has become an object of interest,—the capital is bursting from its former narrow limits, spreading its populous and wealthy suburbs in all directions over the neighboring country, and rapidly rising to equality in civilization and refinement, with the most celebrated cities of Europe and the United States. This is all the warmest friends of the welfare of the Island need, for the present at least, to desire; and it is much better that this process should go on for many years to come, in connection with the entire tranquillity, resulting from the existing state of things, than to have it interrupted, for an indefinite length of time, by the struggles of contending parties, as it certainly would be, in the event of any attempt at independence. A more liberal system of intercourse with foreign nations, which would give a still stronger impulse to this genial flood of improvement, is, perhaps, the only change that we need to wish for, at the present moment. At some future, and indefinitely distant period, when the gentle hand of Time,--the great Reformer,'-shall have gradually loosened the connection with the parent country, and when a long and busy development of her vast resources shall have given her the vigor and freshness of maturity, the Queen of the Indies will be prepared to assert, and to secure, without any dangerous shock, her claim to a substantive and independent national existence.

In these remarks we believe that we express the sentiments of the enlightened and patriotic natives of the island. We find them, in fact, distinctly stated with great spirit and elegance in the closing paragraph of a pamphlet, published at Madrid, in 1837, by Don José Antonio Saco, one of the deputies elect for Cuba to the Cortes :

“If,” says he, “the Spanish Government should at any time break the bonds that unite Cuba with Spain, I should never cherish the criminal desire of yoking my country to the car of Great Britain. To procure for her a substantive, national existence, to make her as distinct from every other country in the political, as she is in the natural world, is, in my humble judgment, the mark at which every Cuba pa. triot should aim. But, if the irresistible force of circumstances should compel us to adopt a different course, where should we look for shelter abroad, with so much satisfaction, as in the arms of the great North American Union ? We should there find relief, tranquillity, protection, force, justice and liberty. Resting on these immoveable foundations, we sbould display, very soon, to the astonished eyes of mankind, the splendid spectacle of a people, springing with the swiftness of the lightning's flash, from the depths of depression, to the loftiest pinnacle of greatness and glory."*

* Parallelo entre la Isla de Cuba y algunas Colonias Inglesas, escrito por Don José Antonio Saco, diputado á Cortes, electo por la provincia de Cuba. Madrid, 1837.

Art. V.Mormonism Exposed : being a Sketch of the

Rise and Progress of the Latter Day Saints. NewYork. Harper & Brothers. 1841.

We take the occasion presented by the appearance of this work, to proclaim open war against imposture in every shape, --in literature, in art, in science, in politics, and in morals. It does positively seem that human gullibility, like a lover's appetite, grows with what it feeds on,' until all healthy taste is extinguished, and nothing left in its place, but never-ceasing, gnawing hunger after imposition. From trifles, it has gradually assumed a controlling influence over the graver and more important matters of social and political government. Common sense and common judgment, frightened by the noise and clamor of king humbug and his train, hide their diminished heads, and are no more allowed a place in the counsels which direct men's actions. He is the general idol. We run after him, we bow down before him, we worship him. We ask of him concerning our business,--our moral and social duties; we invoke his aid in the education of our children; we conjure his presence to the couch of the sick and the dying. If we be elated with some great public excitement, nine times in ten imposition is at the bottom of it. If we weep with commiseration at the woes of our fellow creatures, imposture is even there; and a high-sounding society, or something which catches and fills the ear, receives the outpourings of sensibilities, which plain, unvarnished misery would fail to excite.

Although we be no great believers in human perfectibility, and the steady progress of intelligence, yet we had believed that that horrible monster, superstition, with its multitudinous heads and horns, which has glutted itsslf with human victims, from age to age, and from generation to generation, had, at length, fallen before the march of civilization, to rise no more. We had fondly deemed, that burning men at the stake, because they could not see how two and two made five,—or roasting them before a green-wood fire, for opinion's sake, or imprisoning them in loathsome dungeons, for daring to make new discoveries in science-or burning for witches miserable old women who

had lost their beauty,—or hanging sober, well-informed citizens, because they persisted in wearing shad-bellied coats, were practices never more to be indulged in. We hoped, —and as we thought with reason,—that the demoniac trait in man's character, which originated these things, had been long since obliterated, and that, henceforth, whatever else might come to pass, the world never again would bleed and groan beneath the iron rod of superstition.

We confess, however, that our confidence in the humanizing influences of modern civilization has been, within a few brief years, greatly shaken. Let us look at the social history of this country, as written in the memories of all, as recorded in our newspapers, and as it is developing itself day after day, under our own observation, and we shall find much to startle and alarm.

All remember and shudder at the infamous doctrines and preachings of the knot of free-thinkers and moral freebooters, under the direction of Owen and Wright, and which, festering and gendering in the filthy purlieus of London, sent its swarms of young vipers across the Atlantic, to poison simple minds in the new world ; until, what with the force of preaching and lecturing, and printed appeals to the basest passions, urged on and assisted, withal, by some trifling show of persecution, adroitly got up for the purpose, a large and respectable” (!) society of men and women was formed, in which the rights of property and the relations of parent and child were declared to be extinguished, and promiscuous prostitution proclaimed, as a fundamental bond of union !

But this infamous abomination passed away, and then came Father Matthias,--the weakest and most shallow of impostors,—but who had, notwithstanding, his dupes and disciples among the wealthy and respectable; and had he been possessed of ordinary judgment, he might have pushed his villainy to an unimagined extent. He too is gone.

Then comes Joe Smith,--the hero of the brazen plates, with his pretended revelations from the Almighty Father of the universe! Twelve years ago, we laughed at this imposture; but now we are more inclined to weep. Already has Mormonism taken deep root in this country, and in christian and enlightened Èngland ! Already more than one hundred thousand persons, reared in a christian land, 13

VOL. 1.-NO. 2.

and within the sound, at each returning sabbath, of “the church going bell,” have become converts to this species of delusion. Already do cities, populous with the deluded and wretched dupes of this gigantic imposture, rise, in the face of day, as if to mock Heaven's long-delaying vengeance; increasing each month by hundreds, and acknowledging obedience to no law but the mandate of their leader! Who can tell where this is to stop ? Who can say, that in the future there may not lie concealed a bloody sceptre for the hand of the chief of these miserable and knavish fanatics? Who can say, that in the lapse of time it may not be deemed heresy, to disbelieve in the doctrines of Mormonism, or be punished as blasphemy, to speak lightly of them ? or that, in time to come, the gallows will not be raised and the faggot lighted at the stake, to punish the revilers of the brazen bible, and the scoffers of this impostor, or his hereditary descendants ! The deep, wild, scathing fe. rocity of fanaticism lives and swells in the hearts of those who manage this imposition, and if ever sufficient power fall into their hands, the records of the sanguinary past may be eclipsed by the more vivid atrocities of the present.

We would fain hope that our apprehensions are groundless, but still a brief history of the rise and progress of this sect, must leave a sad train of reflections.

What is Mormonism? It is a new species of religion, which sprang up upon the extinction of the fanaticism of " Matthias,” and contemporaneously with the enthusiasm of the “Holy Rollers."

It seems that one Joe Smith, or some of his relations, while digging for something else, turned up from the earth a most wonderful book, upon which was carved the “ Book of Mormon." As in olden time, “the gift of tongues" had not been unheard of,—he was, instantly upon the discovery, endowed with a power to translate its contents. Among other matters of serious import, it contained a concluding clause, whereby its sole possession was to be put into his hands, and by virtue whereof, he was forthwith to be constituted the high priest of the religion it had been written some thousands of years before to teach, and to him, exclusively, the gift of its solemn interpretation was to be confided. To the infinite joy of the antiquarian, and the glory of our literature, this work of accidental exhumation

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »