« PreviousContinue »
were put to the sword; great numbers were caught and sent to St. Domingo, as slaves; the rest fled for safety into the country of the Chickasaws. The Chickasaws were called upon to give them up; but they had more sense of honour and humanity than Europeans, they indignantly refused; and, when the French marched into their territories, to compel them by force, bravely attacked and repelled them, with repeated loss. As in Canada, Madagascar, India, and other places, the French reaped no permanent advantage from their treachery and cruelties, as the other European nations did. Louisiana was eventually ceded, in 1762, to the Spaniards, just as the French families, from Nova Scotia, Canada, St. Vincent, Granada, and other colonies won by the English, were flocking into it as a place of refuge. They had all the odium and the crime of aboriginal oppression, and left the earth so basely obtained, to the enjoyment of others no better than themselves.
THE ENGLISH IN AMERICA.
The man who finds an unknown country out,
A gospel title, though the people there
WE shall now have to deal entirely with our own nation, or with those principally derived from it. We shall now have to observe the conduct entirely of Protestants towards the aborigines of their settlements: and the Catholic may ask with triumphant scorn, "Where is the mighty difference between the ancient professors of our faith, and the professors of that faith which you proudly style the reformed! You accuse the papal church of having corrupted and debased national morality in this respect,-in what does the morality of the Protestants differ?" I am sorry to say in nothing. The Protestants have only too well imitated the conduct and clung to the doctrine of the Catholics
as it regards the rights of humanity. It is to the disgrace of the papal church that it did not inculcate a more Christian morality; it is to the far deeper disgrace of Protestants, that, pretending to abandon the corruptions and cruelties of the papists, they did not abandon their wretched pretences for seizing upon the possessions of the weak and the unsuspecting. So far, however, from the behaviour of the Protestants forming a palliation for that of the Catholics, it becomes an aggravation of it; for it is but the ripened fruit of that tree of false and mischievous doctrine which they had planted. They had set the example, and boldly preached the right, and pleaded the divine sanction for invasion, oppression, and extermination—such example and exhortation are only too readily adoptedand the Protestant conduct was but the continuation of papal heresy. The
New Presbyter was but old Priest writ large. While we see, then, to the present hour the perpetuated consequences of the long inculcation of papal delusions, we must, however, confess that for the Protestants there was, and is, less excuse than for the Catholic laity. They had given up the Bible into the hands of their priests, and as a matter of propriety received the faith which they held from their dictation : the Protestants professed that "the Bible and the Bible alone, was the religion of the Protestants." The Catholics having once persuaded themselves that the Pope was the infallible vicegerent of God on earth, might, in their blind zeal, honestly take all that he proclaimed to them as gospel truth; but the Protestants disavowed and renounced his authority and infallibility. They declared him to be the very anti
Christ, and his church the great sorceress that made drunk the nations with the cup of her enchantments. What business then had they with the papal doctrine, that the heathen were given to the believers as a possession? The Pope declared that, as the representative of the Deity on earth, he claimed the world, and disposed of it as he pleased. But the Protestants protested against any such assumption, and appealed to the Bible; and where did they find any such doctrine in the Bible? Yet Elizabeth of England, granted charters to her subjects to take possession of all countries not yet seized on by Christian nations, with as much implicit authority as the Pope himself. It is curious to hear her proclaiming her intimate acquaintance with the Scripture, and yet so blindly and unceremoniously setting at defiance all its most sacred precepts. "I am supposed," said she, in her speech on proroguing parliament in 1585, "to have many studies, but most philosophical. I must yield this to be true, that I suppose few that are not professors, have read more; and I need not tell you that I am not so simple that I understand not, nor so forgetful that I remember not; and yet, amidst my many volumes, I hope God's book hath not been my seldomest lectures, in which we find that which by reason all ought to believe."
It had been well if she had made good her boasting by proving practically that she had understood, and had not forgotten the real doctrines of the Christian code. But Elizabeth, as well as her father, was, in eyery respect, except that of admitting the Pope's supremacy, as thorough a Catholic as the best of them; and we see her granting to Sir Humphrey
Gilbert, of Compton in Devonshire, in 1578, a charter as ample in its endowments as that which the king of Spain himself gave to Columbus, on the authority of the Pope's bull, and securing to herself exactly the same ratio of benefit: the Spanish commission was, in fact, her model. She conferred on Sir Humphrey all lands and countries that he might discover, that were not already taken possession of by some Christian prince. He was to hold them of England, with full power of willing them to his heirs for ever, or disposing of them in sale, on the simple condition of reserving one-fifth of all the gold and silver found to the crown. She afterwards gave a similar charter to Sir Walter Raleigh and her successor, James I., still further imitated the Pope by dividing the continent of North America, under the name of North and South Virginia, between two trading companies, as the Pope had divided the world between Spain and Portugal.
It is really lamentable to see how utterly empty was the pretence of reformation in the government of England at that time. How utterly ignorant or regardless Protestant England was of the most sacred and unmistakeable truths of the New Testament, while it professed to model itself upon them. The worst principles of the papal church were clung to, because they favoured the selfishness of despotism. The rights of nations were as infamously and recklessly violated; and from that time to this, Protestant England and Protestant America continue to spurn every great principle of Christian justice in their treatment of native tribes they have substituted power for conscience, gunpowder and brandy for truth and mercy, and expulsion from their lands and houses for charity, "that suffereth long and is kind."