Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

trace the wanderings of "the good old bishop,” through Baltimore, Philadelphia, New. York, and New-England, nor is it necessary ; " as the Angel of the Lord records their story," to use the bishop's own language, “ in the book of eternal remembrance.” Besides, it would be like giving an account at full length of the voyages of St. Paul, or of Eneas, or the details, in full, of Tecumseh's mission to the Creeks and the Seminoles. We cannot, however, in justice to all parties concerned, omit the " splendid donation of an organ for Jubilee college," by Mr. Erben, of the city of New-York; “so gratifying to all who shall hereafter worship at Jubilee chapel." Returning from the east through Detroit and Chicago, rich in money and lands, the good old bishop had another difficulty to contend with. The institution he was about to erect was to be " founded in Christianity, and to be enfeoffed in the church.” The Legislature of Illinois, in the several charters of Illinois col. lege, Alton college, Jonesborough college, M'Donough college, and others, had shown themselves not only guiltless of protecting any religious institutions, as such, but (except in the case of the Mormons,) had shown themselves innocent even of toleration. The fourth section of the act to incorporate M’Donough college, having provided, “ that nothing therein contained should authorize the establishment of a theological department in said college."

The bishop, therefore, instead of applying to the Legislature for a charter, executed a deed of trust, in which, “ By these presents, he dedicated all the funds, and the avails of the funds, collected by him ; all the lands, and the avails of the lands purchased by him, or given to him in trust ; all the apparatus, and communion plate ; all the maps, and charts, and books, in anywise, or by anybody, intrusted to him, for the sole use and be. hoof of the said college for ever.”

Three thousand nine hundred and ten acres of land have been thus donated to, or purchased by the bishop, and are now held under the aforesaid deed of trust. They are of considerable value at the present time, and their value is rapidly increasing. Five hundred acres are well fenced, and one hundred and fifiy are under cultivation. Upon these premises he has erected, with the donations already received, (amounting altogether to thirty-seven thousand five hundred and thirty dollars,) a chapel, and school-house, of stone, seventy by thirty feet, entirely completed. A college-hall, of wood, forty-eight by thirty-two feet, two stories high. Jubilee chapel, the main building of which is three stories high, and built of brick. Its wings are of wood, forty by thirty feet, (this is now occupied as a young ladies seminary,) a small professor's house, thirty by eighteen feet; a small brick dwelling for students in divinity; a ware-house, twenty-eight by sixteen feet, two stories high ; a saw-mill, which cost originally sixteen hundred dollars, on which eight hundred have since been expended; one barn of thirty-six by twenty-four feet, and another of twentyfour by twenty feet. There are also upon the farm four horses, eight cows, and six hundred and fifty sheep—the labor and profits of which enure to the sole benefit of the college.

The college site is unsurpassed, both for beauty and salubrity, agreeably diversified, and well supplied with the purest of water. There are also inexhaustible beds of bituminous coal, about one-fourth of a mile distant, from which the college is supplied with fuel. Such was, and such now is, Jubilee college. We can truly say, in the language of the New York Review, (number sixteen.) “ One wise and good old man, at least, we have among us, of whom future times will talk, when the land endowments of Jubilee college, now looked down upon with scorn, will be looked up to with respect and admiration.”

CHAPTER XXV.

State Debt thirteen millions of dollars—Public debts of modern invention—Their origin

Our debt and others contrasted-Our revenue and expenditure—The latter always exceeding the former-Auditor's report-Acres of land taxable-Appraized value of the State - Repudiation-Governor Ford's opinion thereon-Resolution of the Legislature—Population and resources of the State-McAlister and Stebbins's demandImpossible at present to pay the interest due upon our debts-Future resources of Illinois-Debt of Great Britain—Its interest reduced--Completion of the Canal will extinguish five millions of her Debt-The sale of Public property a considerable portion of the balance—The residue will be paid, and the character of the State redeemed.

[ocr errors]

DEBT, taxation, and finance, are at all times subjects of importance, and in our present condition, peculiarly so.

When the sun shines mildly upon us, and gentle zephyrs breathe around, the difficulty in keeping an'onward course is seldom felt; but when bleak clouds involve the sky in darkness, when the tempests rage, and the lightnings gleam, and the thunders roll, and the waves break over us ; the skill of the pilot, the efforts of all the crew, and sometimes even of the passengers, are required to conduct the vessel in safety to its destined port.

“When smooth, old Ocean, and each storm's asleep,

Then ignorance may plough the watery deep;
But when the demon of the tempest raves,
Skill must conduct the vessel through the waves."

$5,000,000
6,000,000

121,000

We have already shown that our canal debt is about
Our internal improvement debt, about
We owe, also, for the State House,
We are indebted to the school, college, and seminary

funds, for moneys borrowed to pay our current ex

penses, We are indebted to the United States for moneys depos

ited with us, under the distribution law of Congress, And we are also indebted to Messrs. McAllister & Steb

bins, of New York, for moneys advanced by them, to pay interest on our State bonds,

808,085 37

477,919 14

261,500

Making altogether,

$12,668,504 53

From this sum, deduct the money deposited by the

United States, presuming it never will be called
for,

477,919 39

Leaving about

• $12,190,585 14

Some of this debt has been on interest for a considerable

time, and the interest is now due and unpaid, make-
ing our State debt, at the present time, about, 813,000,000

Whether a little more or a little less, is immaterial for our present purpose. We pretend not to mathematical accuracy.

This sum of thirteen millions of dollars, is over and above the three millions, fifty thousand dollars, due for bank stock, extinguished by legislation, as already mentioned, which may, perhaps, like Cæsar's ghost, “yet meet us at Phillippi."'*

Notwithstanding, however, its amount, if we are wise, it will vanish before the sunbeams of intelligence and patriotism, like the dew of a summer's morning" like fax at the touch of fire.” But in order that it may do so, other times, and other men, as the martyred Emmet said upon the gallows, “must do justice to our character."

However painful the subject; however dangerous the inquiry, even to him who makes it, truth demands, and justice requires investigation. Be it then our task.

· He's a bad surgeon who for pity spares,

The part infected till the gangrene spreads,
And all the body perishes.”

Aristides was banished, because the illiterate burghers of Athens were . vexed at hearing him called “the just.” On the Persians' approach, however, his sentence unexpectedly ended, and Marathon, Salamis and Platea, witnessed his glory.

The house being once on fire, the time, or the cause of its commencement, is no longer material. To extinguish the flames, and protect, by thus doing, “ourselves and our little ones," is the perfection of wisdom. Let us then direct our energies thither.

u When the mariner has been tossed for many days in foul weather, on an unknown șea, he naturally avails himself of the first pause in the storm, the earliest glance of the sun, to take his latitude, and ascertain how far the elements have driven him from his course. Let us imitate this prudence, and before we float any farther, refer to the point from which

*We have no idea that the three millions and fifty thousand dollars, will ever be litigated. We wish merely to be understood, that the manner in which it was extinguished is calcu. lated to injure our character; and as the character of a nation is a part always of its wealth, the facts previously stated must tend, in some measure, to impair them both.

we departed, that we may, at least, be able to conjecture where we

are."*

Before, however, we take even this preliminary step, let us inquire whether a public debt is desirable, as by some is pretended.

Whatever may become of this State ar her debt, we have this to console us, it has not been contracted, like some of the great debts in Europe, to carry fire and sword into the harmless cottage, and extirpate its peaceful occupants.

Public debts are of modern invention. Men formerly went to war as amateurs ; and among savage nations now, they go to war without pay, merely for plunder, glory, or revenge. Kings and conquerors, however, at an early day, found it necessary to subsidize their troops with money. Hence, annual contributions were resorted to, and the maintenance of these mercenary cut-throats was thus thrown upon the productive classes, and every species of exaction and violence put in requisition to extort money from every quarter. (See note 1.)

Europe for several centuries, groaned under these continued depletions of blood and wealth. The diffusion, however, of knowledge began finally to inspire mankind with some correct notions of human rights, and some feeble conceptions of the duty of human Governments.

Murmurs became audible ; and rulers at once perceived, that annual contributions to carry on long continued and bloody wars, must terminate in resistance or rebellion ; that their schemes of ambition must be de. feated ; and that carnage and bloodshed must cease, unless some new expedient could be devised to sustain this work of devastation. A public debt was thus brought to its aid; and the land and labor of unborn mil. lions were pledged to pay its interest.

A tax upon the future, thus commenced—and as the future is endless, no assignable limits could be affixed to their career. The paper-mills furnished the means, and the everlasting bonds issued from thence, with the speed and fatality of the whirlwind. Wars were not only multipled and protracted, but rendered more expensive by the facilities thus furnished for carrying them on ; until debt upon debt, and taxes upon taxes, like Ossa heaped upon Pelion, so accumulated, that many Governments in Europe have actually been involved in, and others are now threatened with ruin.

Nine-tenths of all the bloodshed and desolation which, for the last two centuries, have devastated Europe, and in which America has been compelled, on three memorable occasions, to participate, would have been avoided, or rendered impossible, but for this system of borrowing.

Great Britain has outstripped her neighbors in the splendor of her career; her public debi (see note 2.) has subsidized millions of human murderers, and produced more butchery than would cover the whole Island with human bones, and float her vast navy in blood. To portray

* Webster's speech in the United States Senate.

the sacked cities, the smoking ruins, the mangled limbs, and dying groans; the pestilence, the famine, the widowed desolation, and orphans' cries, which this debt has occasioned, would set the force of numbers at defiance, and mock the descriptive energy of language.

The fires of the smouldering ruins are extinct, the mangled limbs have ceased to quiver, the death-groans are mute ; even the bones of most of the dead have crumbled to dust, the bereaved widow and orphan rest quietly in their

graves ; the agonies of the past are over, and no more tor. ture the ear, or wring the heart. Multipled, however, and stupendous as they have been, they were temporary, and sink into utter insignifi. cance, when compared with the perpetual, and crushing load of living exaction and wretchedness, which that debt is designed to confer on the unborn millions of future times.*

In imitation of England's example we have done the like, though not for the same cause. We have hypothecated the earnings of other times, to satiate the vulture rapacity of the present. We have eat the bread of unborn children. We have taken their means of support and education from them. We have thrown gratuitous poison into their future cup, and bound their limbs in fetters of iron; and while we have been singing peans of glory to the great apostle of liberty, (Thomas Jefferson,) who warned us against a public debt, we have trampled on all his precepts, and with meretricious impudence, too shameless to seek disguise, become its hardened advocates. We have endeavored to exercise a projectile power, which is designed to cast more enormous and shadowy loads into the future than were wielded by Milton's belligerent angels, to crush the coming harvest, to bury the toil, to blast the hopes, and to "shut the gates of mercy on mankind.”+

The “ beginning, however, of the end,” as Talleyrand once said, is approaching; the knell of public credit has been sounded in our ears, and the deluded multitude who spurned their reasoning powers, and disregarded cause and effect, who once rioted in fictitious wealth, are beginning, like Dives, to awake in torment; the schemes of demagogues are beginning to be unfolded, and lessons of practical honesty to be taught.

If the present generation will not bear a portion of the load which they have created, how can it be expected that succeeding ones will bear the whole ? that they will bow their necks to the yoke, and become the willing victims of that stupendous profligacy of which we are living examples ?

If debt, like original sin, be inherent in our nature, Heaven, we hope, will interpose in mercy for our redemption.

As God, however, works by means, some efforts on our part must needs be required. Let us then, in the spirit of candor, each for himself, inquire whether the means put into our hands have hitherto been judiciously employed; and if not, had we not better set about it in earnest ? Is it not time, and is it not for our immediate interest, to put them in requisition ?

* Colonel Young's lecture on civilization, delivered at Saratoga Springs, New York, 1841.

+ Colonel Young,

« ZurückWeiter »