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Christian brethren as we would wish to be treated; and such goods are not to be sold by any godly men within this burgh.”
And now for a word of application, and in particular addressed to America and the circulation of your miscellany in the United States may give a useful extension there to the inquiry; What ought to be done? America (I speak of the United States) has wisely made up her mind that the "custom is utterly opposed to every dictate of Christianity and justice." She is in the right and it is to her honour, that, better situated than any European nation to make profit by privateering, yet her government has been the first to endeavour to abolish the practice, by offering, in her treaties with other powers, to engage solemnly, that, in case of future war, no privateer shall be commissioned on either side, and that unarmed merchant ships shall pursue their voyages unmolested. Let her persevere in proposing; but let her do more. Let her on every occasion propose such an article of treaty, for the sanction of other governments, and she will not for ever propose in vain; but let her add to the moral weight of her proposal, the effect of her own example. I know of no mistake more mischievous between individuals, than making one's own conduct depend on the conduct of others. "I will do good, if you will do good; I will be honest, if you will be honest; I will not keep open my shop, or sell newspapers, or drive a stage-coach, on the Lord's-day, if others will not." Can such conditional morality, reduced into simple propositions, be for a moment justified? Will my neighbour's offences, or his hardness of heart, excuse mine? Am I so captivated with the profit of his injustice? Can I envy his brief reward? Am I sincere in my own honesty? Dare I share in his plunder? And the same rule applies to nations as to individuals. The Giver of all grace has bestowed ho
nour upon America by raising her voice against the national crime of privateering: nothing, which Franklin has said, or Joseph Fox felt, or your contributor W. written, can be too strong to stigmatize it: but in proportion to the sincerity of the conviction of the Americans, will be their sin in persevering in so great a crime. Let them add their example to their recommendation, and shame the world to good. Let them, by a formal act, now, in this the time of peace, repudiate the custom; and let other nations venture to disregard the example, if they dare! What could America have
I agree with your contributor W. in wishing that a few individuals, actuated by Christian principles, would resolutely devote themselves to the accomplishment of this great object of religious duty and hu manity; relying, that by the blessing of God, they might effect wonders beyond their own most sanguine hopes.
The following is Dr. Franklin's proposition, above alluded to, relative to privateering, &c. as communicated to Mr. Oswald, 14th January, 1783.—
"It is for the interest of humanity in general, that the occasions of war and the inducements to it should be diminished.
"If rapine is abolished, one of the encouragements to war is taken away; and peace, therefore, more likely to continue, and be lasting.
"The practice of robbing merchants on the high seas-a remnant of the ancient piracy-though it may be accidentally beneficial to particular persons, is far from being pro. fitable to all engaged in it, or to the nation that authorizes it. In the beginning of a war, some rich ships, not upon their guard, are surprised and taken. This encourages the first adventurers to fit out more armed vessels, and many others to do the same. But the enemy at the same time, become more careful, arm their merchant-ships better,
and render them not so easy to be taken; they go, also, more under protection of convoys: thus, while the privateers to take them are multiplied, the vessels subject to be taken and the chances of profit are diminished; so that many cruises are made wherein the expenses overgo the gains; and, as is the case in other lotteries, though particulars have got prizes, the mass of adventurers are losers, the whole expense of fitting out all the privateers during a war being much greater than the whole amount of goods taken. Then there is the national loss of all the labour of so many men during the time they have been employed in robbing; who, besides, spend what they get in riot, drunkenness, and debauchery, lose their habits of industry, are rarely fit for any sober business after a peace, and serve only to increase the number of highwaymen and house-breakers. Even the undertakers who have been fortunate, are by sudden wealth led into expensive living, the habit of which continues when the means of supporting it ceases, and finally ruins them; a just punishment for their having wantonly and unfeelingly ruined many honest, innocent traders and their families, whose subsistence was employed in serving the common interests of mankind.
"Should it be agreed, and become a part of the law of nations, that the cultivators of the earth are not to be molested or interrupted in their peaceable and useful employments, the inhabitants of the sugar islands would perhaps come under the pro. tection of such a regulation; which would be a great advantage to the nations who at present hold those islands, since the cost of sugar to the consumer in those nations consists not merely in the price he pays for it by the pound, but in the accumulated charge of all the taxes he pays, in every war, to fit out fleets and maintain troops for the defence of the islands that raise the sugar, and the ships that bring it
home. But the expense of treasure is not all. A celebrated philosophical writer remarks, that, when he considered the wars made in Africa for prisoners to raise sugar in America, the numbers slain in those wars, the numbers that, being crowded in ships, perish in the transportation, and the numbers that die under the severities of slavery, he could scarce look on a morsel of sugar without conceiving it spotted with human blood. If he had considered also the blood of one another which the White nations shed in fighting for those islands, he would have imagined his sugar, not as spot. ted only, but as thoroughly dyed red! On these accounts I am persuaded that the subjects of the Emperor of Germany and the Empress of Russia, who have no sugar islands, consume sugar cheaper at Vienna and Moscow, with all the charge of transporting it after its arrival in Europe, than the citizens of London or of Paris and I sincerely believe, that, if France and England were to decide by throwing dice which should have the whole of their sugar islands, the loser of the throw would be the gainer. The future expense of defending them would be saved; the sugars would be bought cheaper by all Europe, if the inhabitants might make it without interruption; and, whoever imported the sugar, the same revenue might be raised by the duties at the custom-houses of the nation that consumed it. And, on the whole, I conceive it would be better for the nations now possessing sugar colonies, to give up their claim to them; let them govern themselves, and put them under the protection of all the powers of Europe, as neutral countries open to the commerce of all; the profits of the present monopolies being by no means equivalent to the expense of maintaining them."
"Article.-If war should hereafter arise between Great Britain and the United States .which God forbid!--the merchants of
either country, then residing in the other, shall be allowed to remain nine months, to collect their debts and settle their affairs, and may depart freely, carrying off all their effects, without molestation or hindrance; and all fishermen, all cultivators of the earth, and all ar tizans or manufacturers, unarmed, and inhabiting unfortified towns, villages, or places, who labour for the common subsistence and benefit of mankind, and peaceably follow their respective employments, shall be allowed to continue the same, and shall not be molested by the armed force of the enemy into whose power by the events of the war they may happen to fall; but if any thing is necessary to be taken from them, for the use of such armed force, the same shall be paid for at a reasonable price; and all merchants or traders, with their unarmed vessels, employed in commerce, exchanging the products of different places, and thereby rendering the necessaries, conveniences, and comforts of human life more easy to obtain and more general, shall be allowed to pass freely unmolested; and neither of the powers, parties to this treaty, shall grant or issue any commission to any private armed vessels, empowering them to take or destroy such trading ships or interrupt such commerce."
PRIVATE AND PUBLIC BAPTISM.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
IN the interesting series of papers entitled "The Ritualist," I find, under Art. 35, an observation, that private baptism is as much baptism as if celebrated in the church, notwithstanding that, when so performed, it bears, in vulgar usage, the name of half-baptism. This remark, which is most correct, is followed by another, liable, possibly, to serious misconstruction: "The only thing it wants," J. W. N. writes, is "the receiving into the congrega
tion." I take the phrase "receiving into the congregation" in its common acceptation; and, considering it to refer to that act which accompanies the words "We receive this child into the congregation of Christ's flock," I ask permission to guard your correspondent's remark, so far as to observe, that baptism is never, I conceive, to be administered without a public profession of faith, either actually made at the time, or charitably presumed to follow. In the case of the infant baptized at home in illness, but afterwards recovering, it is taken for granted that death alone will prevent a public profession from being made; for the direction is sufficiently plain, that, "if the child do afterwards live, it be brought into the church." But for what purpose? There passively to participate in a service of which "the solemn vow, promise, and profession," made in the name of the child, is a no less prominent part than the recognition of church membership in the act of receiving; which, it should be observed, does not take place till after the susception of the vow. Surely, then, "the receiving into the congregation" is not the only thing which private baptism wants: a matter of at least as pressing obligation is a profession in the child's name before the church, by a competent party,-the chosen sponsors. Hence, though far from disposed to estimate lightly the formal reception of " the newly baptized into the number of Christ's church," I must ever interpret the extreme reluctance of the Church of England to allow baptism in private, no less by her requirement that the recovered child be presented with sponsors, than by her injunction that such child be received with the sign of the cross. I cannot, therefore, think that the just claims of the Church to a public profession of repentance, faith, and holiness, in connection with the initiatory sacrament of the Gospel, should be thrown into the back
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
I SHOULD be much obliged if some of your correspondents would inform me what is practically the duty of clergymen as respects the unnecessary administration of baptism in private houses. All our ritualists protest against it; and many of our prelates have reprobated the practice in their charges; but it is done every day, as a mere matter of fashion or convenience, without any reference to the purport of the solemnity. I have had for some years a standing argument with about six or eight families in my parish, who consider themselves entitled to the distinction of a drawing-room baptism; but I think it better not absolutely to decline the practice, as they had long been accustomed to it, and my clerical brethren in the neighbourhood make no scruple of it: but I endeavour to wean them from it by pastoral advice and instruction; and so far with success, that in several recent instances children have been brought to church by their parents and sponsors, in families where home-baptism had always before been common. I am not sure that a sort of feeling of delicacy did not assist to promote the object, as it is well known that I make it a rule to decline every kind of fee or present, direct or indirect, whether for registering or otherwise, in the case of children thus baptized; always urging, that I disapprove of the practice, and only delay relinquishing it altogether till my parishioners are sufficiently zealous Christians and sound Churchmen no longer to desire it. I did not think it advisable to break down all pastoral union and kindly intercourse by
carrying the matter at once with a high hand; but, upon the whole, my feeble efforts have been rewarded with a measure of success far beyond my hopes; and, after the recent instances above alluded to, I had reason to expect that the whole parish would come over quietly to my opinion.
But, to speak the truth-and why should it not be spoken ?-my chief difficulty is the countenance given to the practice by the example of persons in high life, whom our lower gentry and opulent tradesmen are ever prone to imitate. Of this an instance occurred in my parish a few weeks since, the effect of which I fear will subvert all that I have been endeavouring to inculcate on this subject for years. A gentleman in a respectable line of life requested me to "do him the honour" to baptize his child, and to join his "quiet social circle" at dinner and in the evening. This quiet social circle, I happened to know, would comprise, at least in the evening, all that was to be procured in the way of "pomp and vanity" for ten miles round, including a party of rather gay officers quartered in the next town; and that every preparation had been made for music, dancing, and whatever else could "do honour to the young Christian." I, of course, had no difficulty for myself or family in declining the domestic ball, the card for which was only sent for the sake (such is the popular perversion of ideas) of "compliment," that there might appear no slight; nor was I seriously puzzled to get rid, as I thought best under all the circumstances, of the dinner-though my very considerate parishioner had obligingly added, that he knew my many engagements, and, "should it not be convenient to me to spend the evening," I could retire as soon as I pleased. But the baptism required more negotiation; and I thought it best to call upon the parties and state my views, urging
them to take the infant to churchthough not wholly refusing to comply with their wishes if I could not bring them to my mind. Mr.. was from home; but Mrs. was peremptory. In vain I urged the Prayer-book, the Ritualists, and Episcopal Charges, in corroboration of the plain common-sense, as well as ecclesiastical, view of the question. I found my good parishioner considered that drawing-room baptism was "more respectable;" and nothing could dislodge her from this position. Why did our nobility, she said, adopt the practice, or our bishops and dignified clergy encourage them in it, if it were not right? As to Episcopal Charges, said she, I never read any of them; but acts speak louder than words: and what is there to make it more improper for you to baptize my child in this room, than for an Archbishop to baptize the child of Lord Londonderry under exactly similar circumstances? I was going to reply something about that being a peculiar case, his Majesty being present, and a few similar commonplaces; but I could not conscientiously do so, and was therefore obliged to allow her to remain so far in possession of the field of argument; only adding, that I could not answer for his Majesty, his Lordship, and his Grace, but that our own diocesan was very serious on the point, and that I hoped to see a better practice prevail throughout the country. But I soon discovered that I lost ground: the above bril. liant example, so gorgeously emblazoned in the newspapers, outweighed all my arguments. She knew, she said, that I acted from the most conscientious motives; and if it was at all painful to me, Mr. would, with my permission, request another clerical friend to perform the office; adding some other remarks, perfectly polite and respectful, but the tacit meaning of which, translated into plain English, was, that this reluctance to drawing-room baptisms
was rather a Methodistical sort of notion, which most blunderingly she had connected with Bible and Missionary Society predilections, and similar propensities; intimating that my predecessor was a more orthodox man than myself, and that he never refused; and that she was quite satisfied to be as correct as the temporal and spiritual heads of the church. Here ended the matter, except that she wrote me an apologetic note next morning, expressing her regret if in the haste of conversation she had spoken otherwise than became her high respect for my office and character; and that Mr.
and herself would con
sider the subject more carefully, should any future occasion arise, but that in this instance the arrangements had gone so far that they feared it would be very inconvenient to alter them. Not wishing to shut the door to future pastoral intercourse, I, upon this, complied with their request, and there for the present the matter has ended.
Will, then, some of your readers counsel me as to the line of a clergyman's duty under these circumstances? Is it a point of no moment? If it be not, why have so many of our bishops, clergy, and ritualists spoken so strongly upon it? If it be, why in the higher circles of life is the practice honoured with episcopal and archiepiscopal sanction? Why should I, a humble clergyman, refuse to a respectable tradesman what my superiors do not deny to a nobleman? Would it not be desirable that our Right Reverend prelates themselves should mutually confer on this and various other matters, and come to some common understanding, with a view both to their own example and the guidance of their clergy? If their rule was known to be general, except in the cases provided for by the Church, no person, however high his rank, could be offended; and their example would be a powerful argument with their clergy in breaking through this and other lax and irre