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    February 1887

    “The National Reform Doctrine of Majorities” The American Sentinel 2, 2, p. 11.


    Last October, at the Wichita, Kansas, Reform Convention, Rev. J. M. Armour, of Sterling, Kansas, delivered an address, in which he inveighed against the idea of “government of the people, by the people, for the people,” and maintained that “Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed,” in the following manner:—AMS February 1887, page 11.1

    “If government be of man,—if it be the mere will of the people,—why should I stand in awe of it? I do not. I cannot look with awe and reverence upon the decisions and mandates of neighbor Jones, for I know that he is not the source of law to me; he is but my equal. Now if he and Smith agree to say what I shall do, must I recognize in Jones and Smith my rightful rulers? the government that I ought to respect and obey? Nay; if Jones and Smith and Brown agree to lay down the law for me, I am still unsubdued. I will assert my right.... Nay, let millions of men, each of them my equal, command what is wrong or what is right, and their commands can never inspire in me profound reverence. Their will cannot be law to me.... It is but the Jones, Smith, and Brown power at best. Multiply it by the millions, it is the Jones, Smith, and Brown power still. Its will is not law. It has no authority but what belongs to brute force. Neither God nor my conscience bind me to obey the will of a million any more than one of my neighbors.”—Christian Statesman, Dec. 13, 1883.AMS February 1887, page 11.2

    The same doctrine was held in the Cleveland National Convention. Rev. A. M. Milligan said:—AMS February 1887, page 11.3

    Nor is the consent of the majority sufficient. One man cannot consent for another. Three-fourths of the people cannot consent for the remaining fourth. Forty-nine million, nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine people cannot consent for the fifty-millionth man.”AMS February 1887, page 11.4

    Again Mr. Armour said:—AMS February 1887, page 11.5

    “Any command by whomsoever issued, that has not the sanction and approval of God, is not only not binding upon those to whom it is addressed, but they to whom such command comes are solemnly bound to disobey and resist... So all men owe it to themselves to obey no command but such as, traced to its source, has a divine sanction.”AMS February 1887, page 11.6

    From these plain and forcible declarations, it would naturally be supposed that the National Reform party expect that the Religious Amendment will be adopted so entirely unanimously that there will not be one single dissenting voice. Because by the foregoing they plainly allow that if there shall be the fifty-millionth man who holds their work or their laws to be not of God, that “fifty-millionth man” is not bound to obey, but “solemnly bound to disobey and resist” the authority of their Government under the Religious Amendment. And the unanimous voice of the other “forty-nine million, nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine” “cannot consent for” him.AMS February 1887, page 11.7

    But if the National Reform party means this, where then is the efficacy of their movement? “Aye! there’s the rub;” they don’t mean it; for proof of which, now see character in “their Government.” Please observe, “their (?) Government.” Christian Statesman, November 1, 1881, editorial.AMS February 1887, page 11.8

    Again:—AMS February 1887, page 11.9

    “This Amendment of the Constitution means that a majority of the people of this land shall first believe the principles embodied there; and so believe them that their views shall crystallize into the form of law, and that in its most potent form.” Please observe, “most potent.” See Statesman, December 20, 1883, page 1.AMS February 1887, page 11.10

    Again:—AMS February 1887, page 11.11

    “How is the Amendment to be carried out practically? ... A majority must decide.”—Id., Feb. 21, 1884.AMS February 1887, page 11.12

    So, then, if the Government be purely civil and secular, it is only the Jones, Smith, and Brown power at best, though it be multiplied by “millions.” But if it call itself Christian and religious, it is instantly clothed with “divine right.” Neither God nor conscience binds us to “obey the will of a million any more than one,” unless that “million” call itself Christian. “The consent of the majority is not sufficient,” provided that majority shall not call itself Christian. “Any command, by whomsoever issued, that has not the sanction and approval of God, is to be solemnly disobeyed and resisted,” unless said command should be issued by a power calling itself Christian. But if the power choose to call itself Christian, though every act be the opposite of Christian principle; though it transcend by a “higher law” the sum of all Christian duty, yet if it only call itself Christian, then if it be a majority it “must decide,” and exact obedience to its “views” by the “most potent form of law.”AMS February 1887, page 11.13

    How ingenuous! How magnanimous! How eminently Christian! How pre-eminently charitable the National Reform party is, to be sure!!AMS February 1887, page 11.14

    A. T. J.

    “‘Are Our Politics to Be Purified’” The American Sentinel 2, 2, pp. 12, 13.


    THIS is a question asked by the National Reform party. We, too, may ask the same question. The Reform party place great reliance upon the success of their movement for the accomplishment of this (much-to-be-desired, indeed!) result. Dr. Merrick in his address at the Cleveland National Reform Convention, said:—AMS February 1887, page 12.1

    “Where, then, is the antidote [for corrupt politics] to be found? Unhesitatingly I answer, In the religion of Jesus Christ.... How can it fail to purify our politics if Christianity be allowed its legitimate place in our Government?”—Christian Statesman, Dec. 1883.AMS February 1887, page 12.2

    Dr. McAllister, also, in the same convention said:—AMS February 1887, page 12.3

    “Finally, the proposed Amendment will draw to the administration of the Government such men as the law of God requires,—not the reckless, the unprincipled, the profane but able men, who fear God and hate covetousness.”—Ibid., Dec. 27, 1888.AMS February 1887, page 12.4

    This thing has been tried several times, and always with the same result, namely, to make corruption more corrupt. Given, human nature what it is, and make profession of religion a qualification for governmental favor, or political preference, and the inevitable result will always be that thousands will profess the required religion expressly to obtain political preferment, and for no other reason; and so to dishonest ambition is added deliberate hypocrisy.AMS February 1887, page 12.5

    The first to employ this method was he to whom can be traced almost every ill that Christianity has suffered (this last one being by no means the least),—Constantine. He made the bishop of Rome a prince of the empire, and clothed the inferior bishops with such power that they not only ruled as princes, but imitated the princes in pride, luxury, worldly pomp, and hateful haughtiness,—imitated the princes in these, and imitated the emperor in persecuting with relentless vigor all who differed with them in faith. And the bishop of Rome, above all in rank, held the supremacy also in pride, arrogance, and profusion of luxury, to such a degree that one of most eminent of the heathen writers exclaimed, either in envy or indignation, “Make me bishop of Rome and I will be a Christian.”AMS February 1887, page 12.6

    Nor were the governmental favors of Constantine confined to the bishops; they extended to all orders; and by the promise of a white garment, and twenty pieces of gold to every convert, there was secured in a single year the baptism of no fewer than twelve thousand men, besides a proportionate number of women and children. See Gibbon, “Decline and Fall of Rome,” chap. 20, par. 17. And the inevitable consequence was that “formalism succeeded faith, and religion fled from a station among the rulers of Christendom to shelter in her native scenes among the suffering and the poor.” Was politics purified there? No! religion was corrupted and faith debased; and amidst and by it all, were taken the widest and most rapid strides of the Church of Rome toward that fearful height of power and depth of degradation which was the astonishment and the shame of the world.AMS February 1887, page 13.1

    Another notable instance was Louis XIV. of France. The early part of his reign was a time of much license; “but in his old age he became religious; and he determined that his subjects should be religious too. He shrugged his shoulders and knitted his brows if he observed at his levee, or near his dinner table; any gentleman who neglected the duties enjoined by the church. He rewarded piety with blue ribands, pensions, invitations to Marlé, governments, and regiments. Forthwith Versailles became in everything but dress, a convent. The pulpits and confessionals were surrounded by swords and embroidery. The marshals were much in prayer; and there was hardly one among the dukes and peers who did not carry good little books in his pocket, fast during lent, and communicate at Easter. Madame de Maintenon, who had a great share in the blessed work, boasted that devotion had become quite the fashion.”AMS February 1887, page 13.2

    And was politics purified? With a vengeance! We read on: “A fashion indeed it was; and like a fashion it passed away. No sooner had the old king been carried to St. Denis than the whole court unmasked. Every man hastened to indemnify himself, by the excess of licentiousness and impudence, for years of mortification. The same persons who, a few months before, with meek voices and demure looks, had consulted divines about the state of their souls, now surrounded the midnight table, where, amidst the bounding champagne corks, a drunken prince, enthroned between Dubois and Madame de Parabere, hiccoughed out atheistical arguments and obscene jests. The early part of the reign of Louis XIV. had been a time of license; but the most dissolute men of that generation would have blushed at the orgies Regency.”—Macaulay’s Essay on Leigh Hunt.AMS February 1887, page 13.3

    But undoubtedly the most notable instance of all is that of the Puritan rule, of the Commonwealth of England. “It was solemnly resolved by Parliament ‘that no person shall be employed but such as the House shall be satisfied of his real godliness.’ The pious assembly had a Bible lying on the table for reference.... To know whether a man was really godly was impossible. But it was easy to know whether he had a plain dress, lank hair, no starch in his linen, no gay furniture in his house; whether he talked through his nose, and showed the whites of his eyes; whether he named his children Assurance, Tribulation, and Maher-shalal-hash-baz; whether he avoided Spring Garden when in town, and abstained from hunting and hawking when in the country; whether he expounded hard scriptures to his troops of dragoons, and talked in a committee of ways and means about seeking the Lord. These were tests which could easily be applied. The misfortune was that they proved nothing. Such as they were, they were employed by the dominant party. And the consequence was that a crowd of impostors, in every walk of life, began to mimic and to caricature what were then regarded as the outward signs of sanctity.”—Ibid.AMS February 1887, page 13.4

    Thus has it ever been, and thus will it ever be, where Governments, as such, attempt to propagate a religion. The only means which it is possible for Governments to employ are “reward and punishment; powerful means indeed for influencing the exterior act, but altogether impotent for the purpose of touching the heart. A public functionary who is told that he will be promoted If he is a devout Catholic, and turned out of his place if he is not, will probably go to mass every morning, exclude meat from his table on Fridays, shrive himself regularly, and perhaps let his superiors know that he wears a hair shirt next his skin. Under a Puritan [or a National Reform also we may say] Government, a person who is apprised that piety is essential to thriving in the world [see Christian Statesman of Nov. 21, Dec. 21 and 27, 1883, and Feb. 21, 1884. particularly, but in fact almost any number], will be strict in the observance of the Sunday, or, as he will call it, Sabbath; and will avoid a theater as if it were plague-stricken. Such a show of religion as this the hope of gain and the fear of loss will produce, at a week’s notice, in any abundance which a Government may require. But under this show, sensuality, ambition, avarice, and hatred retain unimpaired power, and the seeming convert has only added to the vices of a man of the world all the still darker vices which are engendered by the constant practice of dissimulation. The truth cannot be long concealed. The public discovers that the grave persons who are proposed to it as patterns, are more utterly destitute of moral principle and of moral sensibility than avowed libertines. It sees that these Pharisees are further removed from real goodness than publicans and harlots. And, as usual, it rushes to the extreme opposite to that which it quits. It considers a high religious profession as a sure mark of meanness and depravity. On the very first day on which the restraint of fear is taken away, and on which men can venture to say what they think, a frightful peal of blasphemy and ribaldry proclaims that the short-sighted policy which aimed at making a nation of saints has made a nation of scoffers.”—Ibid.AMS February 1887, page 13.5

    Yet in the very face of these plainest dictates of pure reason, and these most forcible lessons of history, and in utter defiance of all the teaching of universal history itself, the National Reform party, with that persistence which is born of the blindness of bigoted zeal, is working, and will continue to work, with might and main, to bring upon this dear land all this fearful train of disorders. Their movement reminds us of nothing so much as of these quack medicines that are so abundant, warranted to cure every ill that is known to the human body; while at the same time they will create a thousand ills that the human system has never known before. As with these, so with the National Reform; it is warranted to cure all the ills of the body politic, while, as anyone with half an eye can see, it bears in its hands a perfect Pandora’s box, wide open, to inflict its innumerable evils upon our country; and, as they will learn when it is too late, they will have no power to retain even hope. She herself will have flown away, and nothing remain but utter, irretrievable, awful ruin.AMS February 1887, page 13.6

    A. T. J.

    “History Repeating Itself” The American Sentinel 2, 2, p. 15.


    THE AMERICAN SENTINEL aims to be true to its name, and to call attention to the dangers threatening our country. And though the chief danger, and that in which all other dangers culminate, lies in National Reform, yet it is both interesting and profitable to take other views of the political horizon than that which lies directly in the line of vision toward National Reform. The following we think is worthy the serious consideration of every thoughtful person.AMS February 1887, page 15.1

    In 1857 Lord Macaulay writing of the American Republic used these words:—AMS February 1887, page 15.2

    “The day will come when, in the State of New York, a multitude of people, not one of whom has had more than half a breakfast, or expects to have more than half a dinner, will choose a Legislature. Is it possible to doubt what sort of a Legislature will be chosen? On one side is a statesman preaching patience, respect for vested rights, strict observance of public faith; on the other is a demagogue, canting about the tyranny of capitalists and usurers, and asking why anybody should be permitted to drink champagne and to ride in carriages, while thousands of honest folks are in want of necessaries. Which of the two candidates is likely to be preferred by the workingman who hears his children crying more bread? I seriously apprehend that you will, in some such seasons of adversity as have described, do things which will prevent prosperity from returning. Either some Cesar or Napoleon will seize the reins of government with a strong hand, or your Republic will be as fearfully plundered and laid waste by barbarians in the twentieth century as the Roman Empire was in the fifth, with this difference, that the Huns and Vandals will have been engendered within your own country and by your own institutions.”AMS February 1887, page 15.3

    With that please read the following editorial note from the Argonaut (S. F.), of November 6, 1886.—AMS February 1887, page 15.4

    “Mr. Henry George has not carried New York, and has not become its mayor, but this is what has been done: An impecunious adventurer, who has no property, pays no taxes, has no residence or citizenship anywhere—so far as we know—takes his grip-sack in his hand and moves to the great American metropolis, and, gathering around him all there is of poverty, ignorance, discontent, and crime, proclaims himself a candidate for mayor; without party, or press, or money, he organizes discontent, and, becoming its leader, he marshals a band of men who have little to lose and much to gain, and marches them to the ballot-box to obtain control of the government of a city containing more than a million of people and more than a thousand millions of aggregated wealth. That he does not succeed may be a matter of congratulation; that he came within a few thousand votes of his successful opponent, seems to us an incident of great significance, that carried with it the suggestion of danger. In saying this it is not necessary to deny to Mr. Henry George great ability thorough integrity of purpose. We may not call him crank or impracticable theorist; but the danger lies in the fact that the class of discontents is so numerous, and that it can be brought together for a political purpose, and become subordinate to party discipline, and wielded for political use. When one reflects in this direction, he can but question whether the unlimited exercise of the elective franchise ought not to be taken from an alien immigrating class, in order that the ranks of this dangerous and restless element may be prevented from further enlargement.”AMS February 1887, page 15.5

    Then in connection with these two extracts the following from an editorial in the November Century is interesting and strongly suggestive. Under the heading of “The Congressional Balance-sheet” is given a striking illustration of the incapability, if not the failure, of Congress as a legislative body. The editor says:—AMS February 1887, page 15.6

    “The reader may perhaps desire an explanation of this failure of our national Legislative. Let him then go to Washington while the two Houses are in session. Let him sit in the gallery of the Senate, provided an ‘executive session’ does not turn him out; let him scan the faces of the Senators, reflect upon their previous records, and consider how many of them came to occupy their present positions.AMS February 1887, page 15.7

    “Let him then go and sit for a time in the gallery of the House of Representatives, and watch that national bear-garden. Let him enjoy the usual scene—one purple-faced Representative sawing the air in the progress of what is technically called an ‘oration;’ a dozen or more highly-amused colleagues surrounding him; the rest of the members talking at the top of their voices, clapping their hands for pages, writing, reading, telling funny stories and laughing uproariously at them, making social calls from desk to desk, doing anything and everything except the business for which they are paid.AMS February 1887, page 15.8

    “Let him try to estimate the rapidity with which a plain business man, finding his clerks engaged in such a scene during business hours, would make a ‘clean sweep’ of them. He will no longer ask an explanation of the congressional balance-sheet. What better result could be expected from two Houses, each in its own way controlled by influences antagonistic to intelligent legislation? Congress is no longer a legislative body. Its degeneration is now admitted. It consists now of a plutocracy at one end, and a mobocracy at the other. The two chronic perils of a democracy have a firm grip on the Congress of the United States.AMS February 1887, page 15.9

    “Here is no question of comparative guilt or responsibility. Each House is as bad in its way as the other. Nor is there any partisan question involved. The course of Congress has for years been downhill. Able and sincere men are still to be found in both Houses, yet each successive Congress is, on the whole, worse than its predecessors; not because Democrats or Republicans control it, but because it is two years further on the road...AMS February 1887, page 15.10

    “The Congress of the United States has become the most incapable legislative body of the constitutional world. So far as the Senate is concerned, its case is hopeless; the only remedy is outside of it, in the regeneration of the constituencies which elect the Senators. The case of the House is somewhat different; its failure may be redeemed by reform within itself.”AMS February 1887, page 15.11

    But the prospect of a cure by this prescription is as hopeless as is the case for which it is given. “The only remedy for the Senate” is said to be in the regeneration of the constituencies which elect the Senators. But the constituencies are as corrupt as is the Senate. Else how is it that the Senate is so bad? The House it is said “may be redeemed by reform within itself.” It might be it is true. But will it be? Is there hope of reform from such a source? To think so is like expecting a man to lift himself by the straps of his boots. In the last resort therefore we see only that the whole case, as the editor says of that of the Senate, is hopeless.AMS February 1887, page 15.12

    In view of these things stated by the Argonaut and the Century, Lord Macaulay’s words are remarkable. And when we view the destructive violence of the participants in the almost perpetual strikes, their secret and sometimes open sympathy with Anarchists, and their always open advocacy of Socialism, which can only end in anarchy, it appears as though the American “Huns and Vandals” mentioned by Macaulay are almost ready to burst upon the nation. And though Macaulay places the time of plunder in “the twentieth centuy;” and though there remain but thirteen years before the twentieth century comes; yet we very much doubt whether the nineteenth century instead of the twentieth will not see this time of ruin so clearly pictured by this justly eminent writer and thinker. For when the Hun and the Vandal came upon Rome there was no Cesar, and the time of the American Huns and Vandals seems too near to hope for a Cesar here.AMS February 1887, page 15.13

    Yet there is one more step that may be taken before ruin is reached. That is, let the whole body—representatives and constituencies—become permeated with the vileness of an apostate church; let religious hypocrisy be added to political chicanery and legislative incompetency, then will be reached the condition in which Rome stood at the time to which Macaulay refers, and having reached it, a dreadful fall awaits this nation, as surely as red-handed ruin fell upon Rome. And that there may not be a single color lacking in the lurid picture, National Reform presents itself, and in it the embodiment of the last element of corruption needed to fill up the cup of iniquity, as Rome’s was filled when ruin overtook her. History does repeat itself. And if any just lesson may be drawn from history, it seems that this one must be that ruin stands at the doors of our nation to-day; and the National Reform party has its hand upon the latch ready to open and let her in.AMS February 1887, page 15.14

    A. T. J.

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