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phers, whose names are celebrated throughout Europe, Petion," Syeyes,t Condorcet, and others, surrounded in our Pantheon, as the Greek philosophers were at Athens, with a crowd of disciples coming from all parts of Europe, walking like the Peripatetics, and teachingthis man, the system of the universe, and developing the progress of all human knowledge; that, perfectioning the social system, and showing, in our decree of the 17th of June, 1789, the seeds of the insurrections of the 14th of July and the 10th of August, and of all those insurrections which are spreading with such rapidity throughout Europeso that these young strangers, on their return to their respective countries, may spread the same lights, and may operate, for the happiness of mankind, similar revolutions throughout the world."
(Numberless applauses arose, almost throughout the whole Assembly, and in the galleries.)
* Jerome Petion, a French advocate, and deputy in the National Assembly; where he proposed, at the beginning of the revolution, to suppress these words, in the royal title, “By the grace of God.” He afterwards became mayor of Paris; and it was in his administration, that the massacre of the 2d of September, 1792, occurred. In the reign of terror, as it was called, he was obliged to fly, and perished by famine in a field; where his body was found half devoured by birds of prey."
+ The Aubé Syeyes distinguished himself, at the beginning of the revolution in 1789, by his active opposition to the council; and, wonderful to relate, he weathered all the changes that ensued, by his cowardice, policy, and tergiversation. He lived to see monarchical government reestablished in the person of Napoleon, and died in peace.
Marie Jean, Marquis de Condorcet, one of the first mathematicians in Europe. He took an early part in the revolution; but when Robespierre became the ascendant, Condorcet took to flight, and, on being captured, poisoned himself, to avoid the guillotine. He was a determined atheist.
THE SPEECH OF M. DUPONT,
ON THE SUBJECTS OF
RELIGION AND PUBLIC EDUCATION.
It is presumed that it may not be thought unseasonable, at this critical time, to offer to the public, and especially to the more religious part of it, a few slight observations, occasioned by the late famous speech of M. Dupont, which exhibits the confession of faith of a considerable number of the French National Convention. Though the speech itself has been pretty generally read, yet it was thought necessary to prefix it to these remarks, lest such as have not already perused it might, from an honest reluctance to credit the existence of such principles, dispute its authenticity, and accuse the remarks, if unaccompanied by the speech, of a spirit of invective and unfair exaggeration. At the same time it must be confessed, that its impiety is so monstrous, that many good men were of opinion it ought not to be made familiar to the minds of Englishmen; for there are crimes with which even the imagination should never come in contact, and which it is alınost safer not to controvert than to detail.
But, as an ancient nation intoxicated their slaves, and then exposed them before their children, in order to increase their horror of intemperance, so it is hoped that this piece of impiety may be placed in such a light before the eyes of the Christian reader, that, in proportion as his detestation is, raised, his faith, instead of being shaken, will be only so much the more strengthened.
This celebrated speech, though delivered in an assembly of politicians, is not on a question of politics, but on one as superior to all political considerations as the soul is to the bodv; as eternity is to time. The object of this oration is
not to dethrone kings, but Him by whom kings reign. It does not excite the cry of indignation in the orator that Louis the Sixteenth reigns, but that “the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth."
Nor is this the declaration of some obscure and anonymous person, but it is an exposition of the creed of a public leader. It is not a sentiment hinted in a journal, hazarded in a pamphlet, or thrown out at a disputing club, but it is the implied faith of the rulers of a great nation.
Little notice would have been due to this famous speech, if it had conveyed the sentiments of only one vain orator; but it should be observed, that it was heard, received, applauded, with two or three exceptions only-a fact which you, who have scarcely believed in the existence of atheism, will hardly credit, and which, for the honor of the eighteenth century, it is hoped that our posterity will reject as totally incredible.
A love of liberty, generous in its principle, inclines some well-meaning but mistaken men still to favor the proceedings of the National Convention of France. They do not yet perceive, that the licentious wildness which has been excited in that country, is destructive of all true happiness, and no: more resembles liberty than the tumultuous joys of the drunkard resemble the cheerfulness of a sober and well-rege ulated mind.
To those who do not know of what strange inconsistencies: man is made up ; who have not considered how some persons, having at first been hastily and heedlessly drawn in as. approvers, by a sort of natural progression, soon become principals; to those who have never observed by what a variety of strange associations in the mind, opinions that seem the most irreconcilable meet at some unsuspected turning, and come to be united in the same man ;-to all such it may appear quite incredible, that well-meaning and even pious people should continue to applaud the principles of a set of men who have publicly made known their intention of abolishing Christianity, as far as the demolition of altars, priests, temples, and institutions, can abolish it. As to the religion itself, this also they may traduce and reject; but we know, from the comfortable promise of an authority still sacred in this country at least, that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Let me not be misunderstood by those to whom these slight remarks are principally addressed; by that class of well
intentioned but ill-judging people, who favor at least, if they do not adopt, the prevailing sentiments of the new republic. You are not here accused of being the wilful abettors of infidelity. God forbid! “We are persuaded better things of you, and things which accompany salvation.” But this ignis fatuus of liberty and universal brotherhood, which the French are madly pursuing, with the insignia of freedom in one hand, and the bloody bayonet in the other, has bewitched your senses, is misleading your steps, and betraying you to ruin. You are gazing at a meteor raised by the vapors of vanity, which these wild and infatuated wanderers are pursuing to their destruction; and though, for a moment, you mistake it for a heaven-born light, which leads to the perfection of human freedom, you will, should you join in the mad pursuit, soon discover that it will conduct you over dreary wilds and sinking bogs, only to plunge you in deep and inevitable destruction.
Much, very much, is to be said in vindication of your fa. voring, in the first instance, their political projects. The cause they took in hand seemed to be the great cause of human kind. Its very name insured its popularity. What English heart did not exult at the demolition of the Bastile ? What lover of his species did not triumph in the warm hope, that one of the finest countries in the world would soon be one of the most free ? Popery and despotism, though chained by the gentle influence of Louis the Sixteenth, had actually slain their thousands. Little was it then imagined, that anarchy and atheism, the monsters who were about to succeed them, would soon slay their ten thousands. If we cannot regret the defeat of the two former tyrants, what must they be who can triumph in the mischiefs of the two latter ? Who, I say, that had a head to reason, or a heart to feel, did not glow with the hope, that from the ruins of tyranny, and the rubbish of Popery, a beautiful and finely-framed edifice would in time have been constructed, and that ours would not have been the only country in which the patriot's fair idea of well-understood liberty, the politician's view of a perfect constitution, together with the establishment of a pure and reasonable, a sublime and rectified Christianity, might be realized ?
But, alas ! it frequently happens, that the wise and good are not the most adventurous in attacking the mischiefs which they are the first to perceive and lament. With a timidity in some respects virtuous, they fear attempting any thing which may possibly aggravate the evils they deplore, or put to hazard the blessings they already enjoy. They dread plucking up the wheat with the tares, and are rather apt, with a spirit of hopeless resignation,
- To bear the ills they have Than fly to others that they know not of.
While sober-minded and considerate men, therefore, sat mourning over this complicated mass of error, and waited till God, in his own good time, should open the blind eyes, the vast scheme of reformation was left to that set of rash and presumptuous adventurers, who are generally watching how they may convert public grievances to their own personal account. It was undertaken, not upon the broad basis of a wise and well-digested scheme, of which all the parts should contribute to the perfection of one consistent whole : it was carried on, not by those steady measures, founded on rational deliberation, which are calculated to accomplish so important an end ; not with a temperance which indicated a sober love of law, or a sacred rogard for religion ; but with the most extravagant lust of power, with the most inordinate vanity which, perhaps, ever instigated human measures-a lust of power which threatens to extend its desolating influence over the whole globe; a vanity of the same destructive species with that which stimulated the celebrated incendiary of Ephesus, who being weary of his native obscurity and insignificance, and preferring infamy to oblivion, could contrive no other road to fame and immortality, than that of setting fire to the exquisite temple of Diana. He was remembered, indeed, as he desired to be, but it was only to be execrated; while the seventh wonder of the world lay prostrate through his crime.
But too often that daring boldness which excites admiration, is not energy, is not virtue, is not genius. It is blindness in the judgment; is vanity in the heart. Strong and unprecedented measures, plans instantaneously conceived, and as rapidly executed, argue, not ability, but arrogance. A mind continually driven out in quest of presumptuous novelties, is commonly a mind void of real resources within, and incapable of profiting from observation without. Sure principles cannot be ascertained without experiment; and experiment requires more time than the sanguine can spare, and more patience than the vain possess. In the crude speculations of these rash reformists, few obstructions occur. It is like taking a