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will learn, in due time, that intolerance in matters of religion, in this country, is not only unconstitutional, but an "inherent minority quality," in a political party.
The triumphs of the Democracy during the present year, in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Indiana, North-Carolina, New-Jersey, Georgia, Maine, Tennessee, Florida, and other States, are far from indicating the disorganization and dissolution of the party. These elections have been, necessarily, of a local character, and, in such cases, the Democracy are seldom out in the united strength they muster at a presidential canvass. In Ohio, although a year ago, the "fusion" of Whigs, Abolitionists, and malcontents in general, carried the election by an uncounted majority, it appears the good old Democratic party is still alive, and, at the recent election, have brought the "fusion" majority to a very low figure, with every prospect of its utter annihilation in 1856. This is the only Western State where "fusion" of Abolitionism and Whiggery has really effected any thing. If we recollect well, the "Dutch have taken Holland," in Vermont. The Cincinnati Gazette, whose editor is of the Seward school, extends its hands imploringly to the Know-Nothings, and exclaims: "Without the aid of the American party, Ohio could not have been, and CAN NOT BE carried against the Democratic party." We shall see, within a year, whether salt-petre, when combined with the other ingredients of gunpowder, will explode.
New-York has ever, and, from her great population and commercial position, both on the sea-coast and the Western waters, will ever, exert a vast influence upon the elections of the country, and, particularly, upon a presidential election. The instances are few, confined, we believe, to one, where her Democracy, when united, have failed of success,-the anomalous election of 1840, when Mr. Van Buren was defeated. We were divided and distracted before the nomination of Pierce, nearly as much so as we are now, but, when reunited, we swept the State overwhelmingly. Shall it be done again? There is no note of fear, of disaster, or defeat in any other quarter, amongst the great Democratic family of the Union. Let the leading men of the Democratic party, in New-York, study the character of Silas Wright, and imitate his example of patriotism and magnanimity.
A MORNING AT THE CHURCH OF THE PILGRIMS.
LIFE has its myths as history has; actual and substantial personages, it is true, but so inflated with assumptions, or magnified by rumors, that the real mingles with the fabulous, the distinction between the master and the disciple fades, and is lost in the shock of tumultuous mediocrity. They are the peculiar products of no geographical section, nor exclusively the emanation of particular professions or employments. They have a nubilous existence in the columns of the political press, and are found among the pious components of the Church But the myth political differs from the myth clerical, both in characteristics and in influence. Apotheosis overtakes the one while on his knees before the people for the accolade of "honorable," and for the emoluments of office; while the other arrives at canonization through the servility of the congregation whose admiration he has conquered, and whose conscience he enthralls. This one exerts despotic sway with an arbitrary power; but that one controls while seeming to persuade, and dictates while appearing to obey. The result, however, is in each case the same; the abject flattery and the mental abasement of the followers, and the imperious dogmatism or the dissimulating domination of the leaders. Were society exhausted by this classification, social progress would be arrested and human interest sacrificed by the conflict of human passions. But happily, it absorbs but a comparatively small portion of the members that compose, or of the thought that stimulates the civilized world. While the few are striving for the opportunity of ambitious elevation, or the many for that of plastic servility; for individual aggrandisement on the one hand, or for common deprivation on the other; the destinies of the race. accompany the multitudes that move in the thoroughfares which religion has prepared and civilization has opened for liberal institutions; and which both have designated to be the paths of progress towards the greatest social happiness. A pause in the journey will permit us to examine the digressions of the erratic ones, and to profit either by the disclosure of their errors or by the example of their virtues.
Henry Ward Beecher occupies a large space in the public
eye. At once editor and preacher, he possesses the most pow erful means of impressing public opinion. With the results of his labors we have nothing now to do; it is to his manner and to the field of those labors that we purpose to address ourselves. It certainly is neither strange that a champion in the columns of a newspaper should come to be regarded by his disciples as a Leviathan of literature, nor unaccountable that the most intrepid of declaimers should become a theological Corypheus. While there is much to sustain the partiality of his friends, there is more to shake the impartiality of their verdict. Both they and he are amenable to an apellate jurisdiction; and at the bar of the public we arraign them for judgment.
It is no easy task, that of polemics. No ordinary abilities are required for its prosecution, and no ordinary use of those required will secure their success. When the orthodox Christian is confronted in controversy by the heretic, the Bible is the arsenal to which both resort for the accustomed weapons of theological warfare; but when conflict is driven between the deist and the divine, the clangor of strange arms startles synods from their repose. Spiritual dogmas are assailed, and revelation itself is attacked. Spiritual infallibility and spiritual pride -the banners behind which a priesthood intrenches itself-are converted by the enterprising foe into hostile fortresses. Reason is invoked and cogently applied; nature is summoned from her fastnesses to the affray; every stratagem of every art, every argument of every invention; all devices and all considerations compose the panoply of the free-thinker; and saintly mediocrity, at its almost tension, though armed with an orthodox formulary, and with the theology of a ritualist, can rarely be restrained from availing itself of the privilege of a free fight, "to count itself out." Not so with Henry Ward Beecher. He enters the arena with the assurance of the victor of a hundred fields. No skirmishing diverts his enemy or fatigues his own strength. He never defends, but always attacks. The first scratch of his pen draws blood, and all his lines flows in an empurpled stream. Positive are all his positions, unrelenting all his antagonisms; platitudes he puts to flight pursued by unnumbered terrors. With him religious controversy is a war to the death, and submission to peace but a truce with the devil. Compromise with error he would undertake as soon as the defense of Iscariot, and to temporize with an adversary attempt as soon as to mingle nectar with gall. He despises the arts of the gladiator, though evidently familiar with them. Hardly has he shouted his battle-cry be
fore he rushes upon his enemy, and with downright blows and main strength attempts his position. If successful, no chivalrous consideration for the vanquished restrains his triumphal note; if defeated, no artifice is employed to conceal his disappointment. In every event he views things as they are, and is content that others should do so too; and well he may be. The public he writes for is the Beecher public; the eyes it uses are the Beecher eyes. Fragmentary truths cast into the hopper of its conscience come out Beecher; and their incarnate product is idolized as the ground-work of its faith. A reverse, however disastrous, is, therefore, with his devotees, unequal to his disparagement; and though at first humiliated by the consciousness of defeat, yet the perverse peans of his friends do not fail to be eventually mistaken by him for the evidence of his success. It is surprising that the faculties of the man have not yet succumbed to this frequently-recurring syncope. That they have survived unimpaired, while it is evidence of their strength, should be, to a wise man, the occasion for averting the danger of their future destruction.
It is difficult to characterize definitively the style of Mr. Beecher's writings; accurately speaking, they have none. Every phase of thought that impresses his mobile mind exacts corresponding peculiarity of expression. The ponderous oppresses the fluent on the same page; the familiar makes intrepid forays into the precincts of the grave, and whole caravans of similes bear their knapsacks over bleak districts of abstract argumentation. But this variety is unattended either by eloquence of diction or by appositeness of language. His thought involuntarily presents itself to a magazine of words collected without selection, and abundant without arrangement. The result is inevitable. The whole commodity is expended on the instant; and sentences which were intended for repertories of exact dialectics are frequently obscured by an uncertain vocabulary. Critical precision is out of the question. The habit of his mind, while admirable for invective and adapted to satire, unfits him for the accuracy of exposition, and disqualifies his logic. Qualities such as these make the debater-the polemic they destroy. The reader is never elevated by the standard of Mr. Beecher's literature; his mind never imbued with the excellence of his performance. The fluent thought which glides on diaphonous wings from garnered stores of classic lore, never lubricates the harsh current of his page: the progress of his work discloses no scholar's plastic hand embellishing with taste and enriching with learning the products of
his invention. A direct road, and a rough, is the road to his purpose. Awaiting no eminence from which, as from vantageground, to commence a journey to which his reader is invited in exploration of the country beyond, he plunges fearlessly into bog or morass, as may happen in his way, and diligently following the labyrinth of moral depravity, exposes the monster and drives him howling from his lair. The pioneer sometimes hears forest-echoes of crashing sounds and sees branches tossed and trees uprooted, and knows the dread tornado. So when the world's moral wilderness is shaken and doleful voices sound along its aisles the pilgrim takes good heart that Henry Ward Beecher is smiting "root and branch." Action is impressed on all his productions, whether he hymns his Maker, or excoriates an atheist-it is action that predominates. Between it and stagnation there is no middle state for him. Moderation would be as much treason in his counsels as in his religion, it would be heresy; and quiet as ruinous to his career as to a planet would be repose in its orbit. Motion is his characteristic. He inspires more by the multiplicity of his thoughts than by their separate value. Isolated, they are weak: it is their aggregate that prevails. Thus distances are inseparable from his reasonings; not that he dwells in his footsteps, or protracts his journey, but that his pace is of the minutest and his route the longest way round. It can not be said that Mr. Beecher is great as a writer. Destitute of language and deficient in strength, not even beauty of arrangement can be claimed for the preservation of his productions. They are of the day, ephemeral; and when the day shall have passed, not less surely will have passed away his writings. It is something strange that this should be so. He is one of a numerous family distinguished for their attainments and their genius. Of all his brothers, not one who does not excel him as an author; while some have attained eminence for their terse, nervous, and elegant diction. The muses are walking by the side of his sisters, and with one, genius herself delights to abide. Wonderful family! happy fraternity; among whom intellect has been distributed in largest proportions; by whom it has been most largely endowed; and yet amongst whom Henry Ward Beecher is not the superior.
But it is not as an author that our subject excels. His chief distinction is derived from the pulpit, and his peculiar excellence is perceptible only when in the midst of his congregation.
Reader, have you ever been to church? It is worth one's while to go there; and whether it be to cathedral, chapel, or