« ÎnapoiContinuați »
hope and comfort to the unfortunate beings who have thus been brought back to our memory!
We need not, however, expect to pursue the tenour of our way without encountering these shocks. We are particularly exposed to them, in fact, from the identical circumstance which produces that especial superiority we boast over the rest of the world. The grovelling plains, the lowly level of despotism may remain for ages in uninterrupted calm; but the cloud-piercing heights of freedom are in the very region of the tempest. Ever and anon the thunder must roll and the lightning flash about them, until those who dwell in their midst may dread that the storm-spirit is abroad for the accomplishment of total ruin. But who would not rather breathe the pure, elastic, invigorating atmosphere that circulates among them, which is thus kept salubrious by the very convulsions which create so much alarm, than the close and stagnant air, tranquil though it may always be, which causes every thing to languish and wither? Our institutions, like all other human concerns, have their imperfections; and, even if they were intrinsically perfect, their contact with human nature—which is the same in the new as in the old world, at the present as in former times-must mar their effect. Here, too, if the amplest scope be afforded to the virtuous qualities of man, the same is also given to his evil passions; so that if we have a greater probability of happiness, we have also a more serious risk of the reverse. Here, on this soil, is the grand battle to be fought between Ebony and Topazbetween the bad and good spirits that are ever struggling for the mastery of our breasts-and he is no believer in an all-wise, an all-just, and omnipotent God, (who would not have commanded us to strive after perfection had he not provided us with the means of at least approaching it,) who fears that the victory will be achieved by the former. The contest will indeed be a protracted and a close one, but, with a proper trust in the Almighty arm which has been promised for our support, we shall come out from it with equal glory and advantage for ourselves and the world.
We are intimately impressed with the conviction that the possibility of retrogradation in human affairs is incompatible with the existence of an over-ruling Providence and the progress of Christianity; that there must be a gradual, progressive improvement. We cannot admit for a moment the idea that our country has only been raised to the elevation it has attained, to be ultimately thrown prostrate on the earth. That would indeed be a fall—
"Qui cadit in plano (vix hoc tamen evenit ipsum) Sic cadit ut tacta surgere possit humo; VOL. XXI.-No. 42.
At miser Elpenor, tecto delapsus ab alto,
The whole history of the world proves this gradual advancement of which we speak. It proves that although at times mankind may seem to have lost what they had gained, and to have reverted to ignorance and barbarism, they have only, in the French phrase, reculé pour mieux sauter; they were at the moment but in a slumber from which they have always awakened, with renovated strength and spirits, to recommence their march. Thus the ship which now appears buried in the abyss of the ocean, is seen careering the next instant on the summit of a wave still more lofty than that from which it had previously plunged-thus the wanderer among the Alps descends from the eminence he has just reached into the valley which separates it from the more elevated peak beyond, until, after an undulating but constantly ascending course, he at length reaches the heaven-kissing mount from which the wonders he had yearned to behold are spread before his enraptured eyes.
Let us not then for a moment despair of the republic. It is treason to ourselves, to our posterity, and to the hopes of man. The spirit of evil may now be predominant, but his triumph will be short. We must learn how to obtain, how to appreciate, and how to deserve, the happiness in store for us. The uses of adversity are the salutary restoratives which may be extracted from the poisonous herb. "Some," says St. Paul, "shall be saved, yet so as by fire;" and "prosperity," says Lord Bacon, "is the blessing of the Old Testament, adversity is the blessing of the New, which carrieth the greater benediction, and the clearer revelation of God's favour." The check we have received may be of more ultimate benefit to us than years of unalloyed, intoxicating prosperity-and richly did we merit its infliction. Let us always remember that our institutions are not built, like those of the old world, upon the shifting sands of privilege and injustice, but upon a rock-the rock of the eternal, immutable rights which God and nature have granted to man-and that though the edifice may be beaten by the rain and shaken by the blast, its foundations are too strong and too deep to permit it to be overthrown.
ART. IV.-The Lottery System in the United States. By JOB R. TYSON. 3d edition. 1 vol. pp. 111. Philadelphia: 1837.
The first edition of this little work was prepared by its intelligent author in January, 1833, at the request of a number of of the citizens of Philadelphia favourable to the entire abolition of lotteries. A second edition, containing additional facts, was called for in the month of November of that year, and published by order of the same individuals, who were animated with a becoming zeal for the suppression of a crying public evil. A society was soon formed, entitled "the Pennsylvania Society for the suppression of Lotteries," which, in the month of July of the following year, issued an address to the people of Pennsylvania and of the United States, prepared by the same indefatigable gentleman, who was appointed chairman of the committee for that purpose. The efforts of the citizens above referred to, and the writings of Mr. Tyson, (a copy of the first edition of his pamphlet having been sent to the members of every legislature in the Union,) are believed to have mainly contributed to the subsequent entire abolition of lotteries in Pennsylvania, and to the important action which has taken place in some of our sister states upon this topic.
In several of the states societies have been formed upon the model of that in Pennsylvania, which have lent their ready and effectual co-operation to carry out the expressed intention of the legislature. Without this aid, the states of New York and Massachusetts would not have been free, as they are now understood to be, of this bane to the moral health of their citizens. The former of these two states has gone so far as to restrain, by an express constitutional provision, her legislature from making thereafter any lottery grant. Maryland and Tennessee have followed the example of New York; and Ohio, Vermont, Maine, Michigan, Louisiana, and Connecticut, have abolished by legislative acts the entire system. Others of the states, as New Hampshire and New Jersey, have prohibited the sale of foreign lottery tickets, and have repeatedly refused, of late years, to authorize a lottery privilege.
In some of these states, however, where societies of the kind we have mentioned do not exist, the traffic in lottery tickets still prevails; and, as the spirit is one which demands constant repression, it was deemed proper to direct public attention again to the subject. Mr. Tyson says in his preface to the third edition :
"Besides presenting reasons for the universal abandonment of a policy so erroneous and destructive, the writer has in view the formation of
societies to aid the execution of the laws in those states in which the system is abolished. While it prevails in any state of the Union, there is ground for apprehension that the protective legislation of the others will claim respect only in proportion to that vigilance which shall assist in guarding it from infringement.
"In Philadelphia and other parts of the state, there is abundant reason to believe that the law, if not openly defied, is secretly violated. Nor is it matter of surprise that the lower classes of the people should feel a desire to indulge in the golden dreams inspired by the promises of the lottery, while such announcements as the following find their way into the newspapers of the day :- A French paper, of February 7th, states that the coachman of Mr. Vandenaclen, of Brussels, has drawn a prize of five millions of florins, (about $2,000,000,) in a German lottery.'
"The publication of such intelligence cannot but be injurious to the whole tribe of coachmen and servants, in this country, whose ambition, it is well known, is already sufficiently magnificent. If God,' says the Arabic proverb, purposes the destruction of an ant, he allows wings to grow upon her.' According to Burckhardt, the traveller, the adage implies that the sudden elevation of a person beyond his natural condition usually causes his ruin. Adopting the announcement to be true, we cannot doubt that the glittering prize will prove fatal to the character and peace of its unfortunate holder."
By the efforts of the Pennsylvania society, several offenders against the law of March, 1833, have been brought to trial, conviction, and punishment; and probably, if the institution should continue her efforts with as much ardour as she commenced them, infractions of the law in this respect will not go unpunished, and the system be completely eradicated from the borders of Pennsylvania. This happy state of things might continue, unless the legislature were induced hereafter to adopt a new line of policy, and again authorize the introduction of this enormous system of gambling. In order, if possible, to prevent this, it is proposed to introduce into the new constitution of Pennsylvania (now in process of formation) a clause similar to that in the charters of New York, Maryland, and Tennessee-abolishing altogether legislative discretion upon this head.
It is not our intention to go into either argument or proof upon the subject of the public evil of lotteries. This has been amply performed by others; and by no one better than the author of the little work before us. Public opinion we presume to be made up upon the point, and public feeling requires but to be again aroused, in order to adopt efficacious measures to prevent lotteries taking root with us a second time. The effectual mode, undoubtedly, would be that suggested, of a constitutional prohibition-to be, in its turn, aided and encouraged by the active, zealous co-operation of philanthropic individuals anxious for the preservation of the public morals. Many, we might say most, of the leading measures of Pennsylvania policy have been fostered, if not finally successfully
prosecuted, by means of similar institutions. The great cause of penal reform and penitentiary discipline is under lasting obligations to such an association. Education, internal improvements, and other valuable objects of our regard as citizens, have owed much of their prosperity to the combined action of associated individuals. Equal success has so far attended the exertions of the Pennsylvania society for the suppression of lotteries; and it needs but a continuance of their discreet and unabated energies to secure a complete and effectual triumph.
Mr. Tyson's description of the origin of lotteries is well written and of much interest.
"Gambling, by means of the lottery, is not of very modern origin. Though it has been tolerated and even fostered by Christian communities, it dates its birth so far back as a remote period in the history of the Romans. The uses to which it was applied, are faithfully delineated by Menestrier, a Jesuit father, who published the result of his researches about the close of the seventeenth century.
"The Christian world is indebted to the republic of Genoa for suggesting the idea of resorting to the lottery as a measure of finance. From Italy it migrated into France, about the year 1580, where its history presents one dark page of poverty, wretchedness, and crime. Its introduction into Great Britain was early, being nurtured and sustained by the friendly hand of government, as an expedient for raising money upon the principle of voluntary taxation. The first lottery mentioned in English history, was established in 1567; and Maitland of Stowe informs us, that, in 1569, there were but three lottery offices in the kingdom.' A few years brought an immense accession to the number, and various statutes were made, to diminish, by restrictions and penalties, the malignity of their influence. But no emollient was equal to the emergency of its purpose. A new genius awoke into being, competent to evade, by dexterity and stratagem, the provisions of each new law. At length its enormity became too obvious and crying for popular favour. An enquiry was made in the house of commons, and, on the recommendation of a committee, new guards were applied. Still checks were found to be but a temporary alleviation. Like most mitigating remedies, they produced the effect of giving false security to the patient, rather than efficacy in counteracting the disease. Nothing less than a kind of legislative amputation could expel a poison so deeply seated and pervading. "It may well be supposed, that if it prevailed in England when this country was colonized, the policy would be observable in acts relating to its early settlement. Accordingly, the second lottery granted by parliament was authorized in the reign of the first James, for carrying on the colonization of Virginia. The eastern colonies experienced the unhappy results of the same spirit of legislation. So early as 1699, the 'ministers met at Boston' denounced the lottery as a cheat, and its agents as pillagers of the people. But, notwithstanding this early denunciation of the system, and its recent extinction in England, the lottery has taken deep root and shot its noxious branches into many portions of the American Union. Legislative sanction is here given to this vice under the various pretences of excavating canals, building bridges, erecting school-houses, and endowing colleges, as well as for the construction of
The first lottery in England was drawn at the west door of St. Paul's Cathedral !