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accused outrank their first offence. Is the morality of the age reflected in the acts of these men ? Is the voice of the people heard in the yeas that supported the “Back-pay Resolutions" ?

It is always difficult to form a true estimate of one act from its opening scene, or a just judgment of a character still upon the stage. First impressions are liable to modification from what comes after. He who attempts the accurate estimate of American forces, material and moral, will find himself frequently baffled by indeterminate and sometimes suddenly and widely varying quantities. But, though we cannot clearly define, and accurately estimate, all the forces and influences that conspire to form the national character of our age, yet the careful observer cannot fail to discover in the tendencies of the time and in the acts of public men that which is marring the present and blighting the hopes of the future. That noisily lauded palladium of our liberties, “the ballot-box," now no longer the means of determining the honest choice of the people, has degenerated into a mere fraudometer, an instrument to test the comparative fraudulent capabilities of contending political parties. Election frauds are no longer the exception but the rule. Precious time and immense treasure are annually wasted, and the pressing duties of legislative bodies blocked, by the discussion and decision of cases of contested election. Many of the men who seek and secure public place give unmistakable evidence of venality. They buy their positions, and unblushingly sell themselves out at a handsome advance over all the expenses of election.

Thanks be unto God, there are some honorable exceptions. The eulogist of a late eminent statesman claims that it was a "rare excellence," and even a "mark of eccentricity” in his subject, that in such an age as ours he kept himself free from the taint of the bribe and the potent seductions of corporate power. God give us more such “ eccentric" men! The transforming influence of such leaven is greatly needed to purge political circles of their base venality, a venality that is fast degrading our statesmanship into a traffic, a most corrupt, demoralizing, and perilous speculation. On Wall street brokers deal in stocks; at the political shambles they trade in statesmen. Bribery, one of the blackest and basest of political crimes, no longer seeks to hide itself. What once sought the cover of night, , now stalks forth unchallenged at noon-day. Men who are known to have sold themselves, bear back their heavy bribes, and with a sublimity of impudence and shamelessness display their ill-gotten wealth in the very face of their constituents. The glass of whiskey, given to influence the vote of the ignorant native, or the freshly-imported


citizen; the office, pledged to the subordinate politician for service rendered in the campaign, and the contract price at which the state legislator or the congressman engages to support certain local interests or corporate schemes, are all forms of bribery disgracefully common to our present political system.

It is not difficult to account for this general demoralization of political circles. The American people are preëminently practical. The distinguishing characteristic of the time is an ultra-utilitarian. ism. A false and degrading standard is assumed as the measure of men—a standard by which capital outranks virtuous character, prosperity is preferred to principle, and income supercedes intelligence. Such a standard discounts virtue, and puts a tempting premium upon vice; strengthens the unholy passion for wealth, and weakens the moral restraints that lie in the way of its dishonest getting. When a purely utilitarian spirit dictates the national policy; when measures are adopted or rejected by the criterion of material effect alone, and especially when the personal pecuniary interests of the national legislator hang heavy in the scales, then there is danger that a base expediency will triumph over fundamental principle, that public interest will be sacrificed to personal ends; and it requires no prophet to anticipate the evils that threaten the state. To this social error, to this excessive pecuniary tendency, in short to this degrading idolatry of mammon, the humiliating peculations of public men are largely attributable. Popular sentiment has strengthened rather than checked the dangerous cupidity, and emboldened the politician to gratify his greed of gain at the sacrifice of personal honor and the public good.

This is a dark picture, but it is no fancy sketch; it has the fadeless coloring of fact. It will serve as a back-ground which

III. THE HOPES AND POSSIBILITIES OF THE FUTURE may illumine with brighter shades.

We acknowledge no affinity with the family of croakers; have no predisposition to find things miserably bad; are not in sympathy with the pitiful and despairing O tempora, O mores. We do not believe that "the age of virtuous politics is pastforever, nor that all “patriots are grown too shrewd to be sincere." But we do believe in looking the hideous and humiliating fact of notorious political corruption full in the face. We do believe in “knowing the worst," that we may “provide for it.” In all that we do know, even in the recent revelations of what seems so like corruption in men we thought incorruptible, there is nothing to cause the Christian patriot to despair. There is cause for alarm; there is a loud and imperative call to the


slumbering citizen to wake, and watch, and work. Men of integrity, Christian men, through despondency or indifference, have too long been sinfully negligent of political duty. The high and sacred interests of state have been quietly and carelessly handed over to a class of men who have shown themselves morally and mentally incompetent to their management. In many localities the better class of our citizens have no representative in the state or the national councils. Laws are made and administered in the interest of a traffic that exists as the legalized curse of almost every community—a traffic that crowds our courts with business, our poor-houses with paupers, and our prisons with criminals. Are the virtuous and respectable citizens of a district fairly represented by the legislator who, perfectly regardless of their wish, shows himself the mere tool of the representatives of this impoverishing and demoralizing traffic? Office-seekers generally have no regard to the Christian element of a community. They secure nominations, but by whom and upon what secret conditions is often unknown to the masses of the people. We give them our support, and, in return, are grossly misrepresented.

There is need of reform. But we are told that the evil is chronic and irremediable. If it be so, let heaven pity, and let the nations despise us. But our case is not so hopeless. The evil, though chronic, can be remedied. True the corruption is great, and its intrenchment strong. It has all the advantage of the ins, and of complete organization. Yet it can be dislodged, if the current of popular opprobrium be perseveringly directed against all political intrigue and peculation, and the disinfectant of incorruptible men be faithfully applied.

Conservatism is a popular word with some most excellent men. But conservatism will never correct the evils of our time. It is in fact a relative principle, good or evil, as it may happen to be associated. It is frequently the foe of reform, and a barrier to progress.

a It was conservatism in the supporters of Jewish tradition that was clamorous for the crucifixion of the Son of God. It was conservatism that resisted the progress of science when it extorted from Galileo the recantation of his new-found truth. It was conservatism that piled the fagots about the noble martyrs. It was conservatism that sought to suppress the truths unearthed from their long concealment by Luther and his compeers. It is conservatism that now seeks to thwart every effort to correct or punish the prostitution of political power. Radical evils require radical remedies. What the times demand is a vigorous aggressive movement of virtue against vice, of truth against falsehood, of right against prevalent fraud, of genuine, devoted patriotism against a dominant, grasping, and destructive selfishness.


But we are met with the humiliating and despairing cry, "There is no public virtue nor sincerity; and selfishness has swallowed up patriotism, and dried the fountains of humanity and philanthropy." Hush, hush! that hopeless wail. Take back the false and insulting impeachment of the virtue of the American people. All our history conspires to prove the eharge a slander. There is virtue in the nation, though it may seem to slumber; a Samson, blind it would seem, and bound for the time, but a Samson nevertheless, only waiting for the inspiration of some great occasion to burst his bonds, and deal destruction upon insolent foes. In '61 the people were as intensely absorbed in the pursuit of wealth as they are to-day; and selfishness seemed as thoroughly to have dried the fountains of patriotism and humanity in the American heart. But when the national integrity was threatened, the seemingly sealed fountain of patriotism was reopened, the love of self was forgotten in the greater love of country. When war drove its rough share deep through the moral soil, it upheaved a long undisturbed substratum, that yielded a rich and abundant harvest of noble virtues. We challenge the world to parallel our prompt suppression of such wide and determined revolt. The faithful chronicler of the deeds of philanthropy must crown his climax with the record of the aggregate beneficence of our extemporized Sanitary and Christian Commissions. We call England to witness to our humanity. For while her dock-yards were sending forth armed vessels to aid the wicked assault upon our government, our merchant-ships were freighted with food consigned to her starving poor.

These cardinal virtues, which in times of emergency have leaped from their concealement into sudden, vigorous, saving activity, which in all the past have responded so promptly and so nobly to the call of the nation and of humanity, are still in the heart of the American people.

But how can they be developed? How can their force be gathered up, and directed successfully against the prevalent evils of the time? Not by dragging our mothers, our wives, and our sisters from their quiet homes and becoming duties, to the stump, the caucus, or the polls. There is nothing cheering, nothing hopeful, socially or politically, in the modern agitation of the “woman question.” Some who claim to lead the movement, the most boisterous, unwomanly, and indecent advocates of what they are pleased to call “woman's rights,” promise very doubtful aid to virtue, public or private. I Nor is the slumbering virtue to be waked, the mighty reserve of moral force to be called out, its field cleared of obstructions, or its range of effective operation widened, by so-called "Religious amendments" to the constitution of the state or nation. The recognition, or what is meant by it, the effort to establish a purely religious tenet, by state enactment, is as incongruous as would be a special act of a legislature recognizing the law of gravitation. The dogmas of religion are, by their very nature, as far removed from the proper sphere of state legislation as are the laws that govern the motions of the planets.

Christianity in its purity does not seek the aid of the state, and cannot be promoted by civil enactments. The state, however, does require the aids of religion; it needs both the restraints and the inspiration of Christianity. But it only reveals its gross misconception of religion when it proposes to secure its aid by the incorporation of a religious creed in the fundamental law, or to correct present evils or avert future calamities by “religious amendments" to its constitution. Religion cannot benefit the state, cannot purify or perfect its government, save as its principles live in the hearts of its citizens, and are acted out in their lives. Religious amendment is needed, but it is the amendment that is effected in the hearts of men by the enactment of the Holy Spirit.

Our hope of reform, of the perpetuity of the government, and of its progress toward a more perfect ideal, rests solely upon that class of citizens whose influenceis now almost wholly ignored in political circles—the honest, the Christian men of the nation. But these men must be roused from their long-indulged lethargy. They must be waked to the consciousness of their power, and of the imperative obligation to use it. They must be led to the clear perception of the dangers that threaten the state and of the evils that demand reform. They must also be directed in the exercise of their influence.

In this work of advancing the ideas and of waking and intensifying the sense of political responsibility in the honest and virtuous masses of the people, the nation must depend upon her scholars; upon men whose intelligence enables them to detect the threatening evil and to determine and apply the needed remedy; men whose culture and position lift them above the possibility of being biassed or blinded by any form of bribe; men whose abilities qualify them to “prove all things," and whose steadfast virtues prompt them to “hold fast that which is good.” Scholars of America, Christian scholars of America, the destinies of this nation are largely in your hands. The genius of our government invests you with powers which to use carelessly or to decline to use is of the nature of treason to God, your country, and humanity. All that you can do to suppress evil and to promote righteous rule, to make the government contribute most to the glory of God and the good of humanity, duty demands. There is perhaps


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