Page images

the treaty, the independence of Texas had already been acknowledged by the United States, France, Belgium, and Holland. The chance that Mexico will ever be able to re-establish its authority over Texas, is one on which the boldest imagination can hardly dare to speculate. Had Great Britain continued to refuse its recognition, Texas would not the less have maintained its national existence; and unless we contemplated the Quixotic folly of attempting, in behalf of Mexico, the continued subjugation of the bold population scattered over the vast territory of Texas, at the certain cost of war with the United States, and the greatest risk of a fresh quarrel with France; the only consequence would have been that of isolating ourselves from the commerce of Texas, which would have enriched all the rest of the world. Instead of this deplorable result of an idle sullenness, the policy of Lord Palmerston has given us an alliance of the greatest value. The United States, in refusing to admit Texas into their confederation, have rejected an offer,

which in all probability will never again be made to them; and Texas becoming, as years pass by, more and more attached to its own institutions, its own distinct policy, and its own national character, will speedily regard the United States with some of those feelings of jealousy, which nations always learn to entertain towards their nearest and most powerful neighbours. The commercial interests of Texas, and the antipathy to the northern portion of the United States, which she inherits from her kindred of the Southern States, will always tend to unite her with Great Britain; and whatever part she

may take in any actual war that may hereafter arise, at any rate we may count on her weight in the North American Continent, as tending to establish an useful equipoise in the balance of But the advantages which we may calculate on deriving from Texas in peace, are of far greater importance. The foundations of the new Republic may be said to be laid in the principle of free trade. Her wealth consists in her raw produce; her wants in manufactured articles. Our utmost demand for cotton may, and in great measure will, probably erelong be supplied from Texas; and no fantastic scheme of encouraging imperfect and costly manufactures of her own, will, we may be sure, ever induce her to sacrifice her true sources of prosperity, by refusing to take the wrought goods of Manchester and Birmingham in exchange for the produce of her soil. “Here, then, we have a security against that entire dependence on the commerce of the United States, which, with all its pacific influences, cannot be contemplated without apprehension. Texas will either repeal the Tariff of the United States, or nullify its operation; and, however states and factions may job in Congress, and produce a system of general prohibition, as the result of a dishonest combination between the manufacturers of New England and the sugar-planters of Louisiana, the independence of Texas, and the identity of its interests with the principles of free trade, will secure to Great · Britain a market, where she may buy and sell in defiance of any unwise legislation that may be adopted at Washington. Nor will this be the sum of the beneficial interchange that may be established between the two countries. The fertile territory of Texas creates a demand for labour, which Great Britain can alone supply; and affords an ample field for emigration, which the wise policy of the Republic is prepared to promote by the soundest system, in the disposal of its waste lands. The bonds of ancient kindred may thus be knit with fresh strength; and the independence of Texas create only a wider diffusion of the British race and of British sympathies.


The only objection to the policy, which bids fair to produce results só desirable, is founded on the existence of slavery in Texas, and the recognition of it in the fundamental constitution of the Republic. The strength of this objection has mainly depended on the misconceptions hitherto prevalent with respect to the causes of the separation of Texas from Mexico; and we trust that we have removed the greater portion of the prejudice against Texas, by showing that the Texan revolution was not, as is commonly asserted, a revolution for the maintenance of Negro slavery; and that the measures adopted, or rather contemplated, by the Mexican government for the prohibition of slavery, formed, in truth, one of the most unimportant items of Texan complaint. The maintenance of slavery was neither an avowed nor a real motive of the insurgents. The only question is, then, whether the existence of slavery in a country separating itself from the community of which it had previously formed a part, affords an argument against the recognition of its independence, when clearly and firmly established. It is argued that this assertion of principle, even when calculated to produce no immediate effect, will, in the long run, be of service to the cause of humanity and justice, by marking our national abhorrence of slavery. Were we inclined to admit the soundness of this as a general rule, we should still urge, that the moral effect of such an assertion of principle, must depend entirely on the rigorous consistency with which it is applied; and dwell on the uselessness of enforcing it in the case of Texas, where the whole slave population does not amount, at the utmost, to more than ten thousand, only a few years after we had recognized Brazil—the country in the world in which the number of slaves is the largest in proportion to the whole amount of the population, and which is even now the greatest supporter of the enormities of the African slave-trade. For it should be well known, and constantly borne in mind, in discussions on this subject, that the assertion of the principle of slavery by the Texan Constitution, is accompanied by a very small amount of practical evil. In spite of the open establishment of slavery in the Republic-in spite of the constant influx of settlers from the slave-holding states of the Union-the number of slaves in Texas was not, at the period of the Revolution, more than two thousand out of a population of thirty thousand ; and is now asserted to be no more than from six to ten thousand, while the whites have in the same period increased to two hundred thousand. This small number, and this slow increase, under such circumstances, prove that slavery is not likely to prevail to any great extent in Texas. The Texans allow slavery, in order to encourage wealthy settlers from the southern states of the Union; and to make common cause with the people from whose stock a large and valuable proportion of their own population came. The probibition of slavery by them, would be regarded as an act of open hostility to the southern states ; and no coercion, and no prospect of advantage in any other quarter, would induce the Texans to sever their present connexion with their neighbours and kinsmen. The leading men of Texas are not, however, more insensible than those of the United States to the fearful result that must ensue from the existence of a Negro population, whether free or enslaved, in their country: they estimate aright the advantages of their present immunity from this great mischief; they place their confidence in the continuance of that immunity, not in legislative prohibition, but in the superiority of free labour, in a country in which it is found that cotton and sugar may

be cultivated by whites more effectually than by negroes.

The policy which a regard to the sacred interests of humanity calls on us to adopt, seems, therefore, to be identical with that required by our commercial interests. Were we to encourage the emigration of our own labourers to Texas, we should effectually prevent the employment of slave labour in that country; and Europe, instead of depending for cotton and sugar on the labour of slaves in the United States and Brazil, would draw a cheap supply from the industry of a white and free population in Texas.

But we must refer our readers, for a complete account of Texas, to Mr Kennedy's instructive work. We shall rejoice if this recommendation leads to the removal, from other minds, of the prejudices which, we will own, had for some time a hold on our own ;-if these volumes shall teach them, as they have taught us, to contemplate with satisfaction the revolution by which Texas has passed into the hands of a civilized and indus

trious race; and to sympathize with the past deeds of those whom we may regard as the pioneers of a better order of things. The love of independence that animates the settler of the Texan wilderness, and the useful results of his toils and endurance, are described by Mr Kennedy with an eloquence that will, we are sure, inspire his readers with kindred sentiments. However rough may be the character and bearing of the backwoodsman, however fearful his collision with weaker races—we feel, with our author, that he has made a lodgement in the waste; that

he has opened a track for the vanguard of civilization, the ranks of which will expand for the reception of his posterity. • In a few years, where the short, sharp crack of the out-settler's • rifle startled the silence of the pine-forest, the voice of Christian

worship is heard in the language of Old England; institutions kindred to our own predominate; industry, in its varied

branches, prospers; and a fresh accession is made to the extending empire of morality and knowledge.'




Art. XI.- Tracts for the Times-Number Ninety.-8vo. Lon

don: 1841.

AL LL the world is aware, that within the last few years a new

religious party has appeared at Oxford. The activity of its members has been great : they have written much, and have been themselves the subjects of many controversial attacks. It is said by some, that they are the most influential body of that great Seminary; and that their tenets have so strongly affected the tone of thinking among the clergy, especially the younger portion of them, as to threaten to become, in the next generation, the prevailing opinions of the Church of England. The newspapers contain frequent discussions concerning them ; they have attracted notice in Parliament; and we are assured by those who think they see far, that they will constitute an element of vast importance in future political contests and elections.

There are, therefore, many and urgent reasons for carefully examining the nature and tendency of the opinions of these men. They have not, by any means, escaped our observation. We intend to scrutinize them fully hereafter. Our more immediate object, at present, is to record our protest against their morality; and to show it to be their wish to alter the general character of religious sentiment which the Reformation established in England. On all the great points which separate Protestants from Roman Catholics, they side much more with the old society than with their own church: they dislike and protest against the very name of Protestants. The more Protestant and AntiRomish in feeling a theologian is, the more vehement are they against him: the more he approximates to Rome—the more he dwells on the large portion of truth which the Church of Rome is said to have preserved--the more is he admired and held up as a standard of orthodoxy. Above all, they specially delight to extol and revive a number of those tenets and practices which the Church of Rome has inherited from past ages, and carefully retains to this day; but which the great reformers held to be vain superstitions and inventions; and which, as being full of danger to true godliness, they resolutely swept away from their churches. In a word, they have adopted the spirit and general cast of doctrine of the Church of Rome, and are determined enemies and bitter opponents of all that essentially distinguishes the Protestant creed.

Now, we do not mean to deny that there has existed all along in the Church of England divines who, on many particulars, have held opinions agreeing in spirit, if not in detail, with those professed by the Romanists. The Non-Jurors are a memorable proof of the extent to which these principles were maintained ; though none perhaps carried them out so far as Laud. Accordingly, Laud is the object of enthusiastic veneration among the Oxford theologians. But at no period since the Reformation was finally settled, have the main principles, as well as so large an amount of the specific opinions and practices maintained by the Roman Catholics, been so formally, fully, and systematically professed within the Church of England, as by these men. For instance, they are zealous in teaching that the Church is a definite society, endowed with high gifts, exclusively limited to the clergy ordained in an unbroken succession from the Apostles-that out of this Church there is no Christianity—that it possesses the gift of inspiration, and is authorized, collaterally with the Bible, to declare God's revealed will, not only in the way of interpretation, but also in the assertion of doctrines which are not actually found in Scripture—that the sacrament of the Lord's Supper is the appointed channel for man's salvation, and that none but an apostolically ordained minister can administer it—that there is a real presence of Christ in the consecrated elements-that General Councils are infallible—that works of penance procure pardon of sins—that there is a Purgatory for the purification of the saints—that there is a sacrifice of the Mass, wherein offering is made to God for the remission of sin - that celibacy is a holier state than marriage--that the blessed saints intercede with God for men that prayers for the dead are desirable; and sundry

« EelmineJätka »