Justice, Justice: woe betides us everywhere when, for this reason or for that, we fail to do justice! No beneficence, benevolence, or other virtuous contribution will make good the want. And in what a rate of terrible geometrical progression, far beyond our poor computation, any act of Injustice once done by us grows; rooting itself ever anew, spreading ever anew, like a banyan-tree,--blasting all life under it, for it is a poison-tree! There is but one thing needed for the world; but that one is indispensable. Justice, Justice, in the name of Heaven; give us Justice, and we live; give us only counterfeits of it, or succedanea for it, and we die!
Oh, this universal syllabub of philanthropic twaddle! My friend, it is very sad, now when Christianity is as good as extinct in all hearts, to meet this ghastly-Phantasm of Christianity parading through almost all. "I will clean your foul thoroughfares, and make your Devil's-cloaca of a world into a garden of Heaven," jabbers this Phantasm, itself a phosphorescence and unclean! The worst, it is written, comes from corruption of the best:--Semitic forms now lying putrescent, dead and still unburied, this phosphorescence rises. I say sometimes, such a blockhead Idol, and miserable _White_ Mumbo-jumbo, fashioned out of deciduous sticks and cast clothes, out of extinct cants and modern sentimentalisms, as that which they sing litanies to at Exeter Hall and extensively elsewhere, was perhaps never set up by human folly before. Unhappy creatures, that is not the Maker of the Universe, not that, look one moment at the Universe, and see! That is a paltry Phantasm, engendered in your own sick brain; whoever follows that as a Reality will fall into the ditch.
Reform, reform, all men see and feel, is imperatively needed. Reform must either be got, and speedily, or else we die: and nearly all the men that speak, instruct us, saying, "Have you quite done your interesting Negroes in the Sugar Islands? Rush to the Jails, then, O ye reformers; snatch up the interesting scoundrel-population there, to them be nursing-fathers and nursing-mothers. And oh, wash, and dress, and teach, and recover to the service of Heaven these poor lost souls: so, we assure you, will society attain the needful reform, and life be still possible in this world." Thus sing the oracles everywhere; nearly all the men that speak, though we doubt not, there are, as usual, immense majorities consciously or unconsciously wiser who hold their tongue. But except this of whitewashing the scoundrel-population, one sees little "reform" going on. There is perhaps some endeavor to do a little scavengering; and, as the all-including point, to cheapen the terrible cost of Government: but neither of these enterprises makes progress, owing to impediments.
"Whitewash your scoundrel-population; sweep out your abominable gutters (if not in the name of God, ye brutish slatterns, then in the name of Cholera and the Royal College of Surgeons): do these two things;--and observe, much cheaper if you please!"--Well, here surely is an Evangel of Freedom, and real Program of a new Era. What surliest misanthrope would not find this world lovely, were these things done: scoundrels whitewashed; some degree of scavengering upon the gutters; and at a cheap rate, thirdly? That surely is an occasion on which, if ever on any, the Genius of Reform may pipe all hands!--Poor old Genius of Reform; bedrid this good while; with little but broken ballot-boxes, and tattered stripes of Benthamee Constitutions lying round him; and on the walls mere shadows of clothing-colonels, rates-in-aid, poor-law unions, defunct potato and the Irish difficulty,--he does not seem long for this world, piping to that effect?
Not the least disgusting feature of this Gospel according to the Platform is its reference to religion, and even to the Christian Religion, as an authority and mandate for what it does. Christian Religion? Does the Christian or any religion prescribe love of scoundrels, then? I hope it prescribes a healthy hatred of scoundrels;--otherwise what am I, in Heaven's name, to make of it? Me, for one, it will not serve as a religion on those strange terms. Just hatred of scoundrels, I say; fixed, irreconcilable, inexorable enmity to the enemies of God: this, and not love for them, and incessant whitewashing, and dressing and cockering of them, must, if you look into it, be the backbone of any human religion whatsoever. Christian Religion! In what words can I address you, ye unfortunates, sunk in the slushy ooze till the worship of mud-serpents, and unutterable Pythons and poisonous slimy monstrosities, seems to you the worship of God? This is the rotten carcass of Christianity; this mal-odorous phosphorescence of post-mortem sentimentalism. O Heavens, from the Christianity of Oliver Cromwell, wrestling in grim fight with Satan and his incarnate Blackguardisms, Hypocrisies, Injustices, and legion of human and infernal angels, to that of eloquent Mr. Hesperus Fiddlestring denouncing capital punishments, and inculcating the benevolence on platforms, what a road have we travelled!
A foolish stump-orator, perorating on his platform mere benevolences, seems a pleasant object to many persons; a harmless or insignificant one to almost all. Look at him, however; scan him till you discern the nature of him, he is not pleasant, but ugly and perilous. That beautiful speech of his takes captive every long ear, and kindles into quasi-sacred enthusiasm the minds of not a few; but it is quite in the teeth of the everlasting facts of this Universe, and will come only to mischief for every party concerned. Consider that little spouting wretch. Within the paltry skin of him, it is too probable, he holds few human virtues, beyond those essential for digesting victual: envious, cowardly, vain, splenetic hungry soul; what heroism, in word or thought or action, will you ever get from the like of him? He, in his necessity, has taken into the benevolent line; warms the cold vacuity of his inner man to some extent, in a comfortable manner, not by silently doing some virtue of his own, but by fiercely recommending hearsay pseudo-virtues and respectable benevolences to other people. Do you call that a good trade? Long-eared fellow-creatures, more or less resembling himself, answer, "Hear, hear! Live Fiddlestring forever!" Wherefrom follow Abolition Congresses, Odes to the Gallows;--perhaps some dirty little Bill, getting itself debated next Session in Parliament, to waste certain
nights of our legislative Year, and cause skipping in our Morning Newspaper, till the abortion can be emptied out again and sent fairly floating down the gutters.
Not with entire approbation do I, for one, look on that eloquent individual. Wise benevolence, if it had authority, would order that individual, I believe, to find some other trade: "Eloquent individual, pleading here against the Laws of Nature,--for many reasons, I bid thee close that mouth of thine. Enough of balderdash these long-eared have now drunk. Depart thou; _do_ some benevolent work; at lowest, be silent. Disappear, I say; away, and jargon no more in that manner, lest a worst thing befall thee." _Exeat_ Fiddlestring!--Beneficent men are not they who appear on platforms, pleading against the Almighty Maker's Laws; these are the maleficent men, whose lips it is pity that some authority cannot straightway shut. Pandora's Box is not more baleful than the gifts these eloquent benefactors are pressing on us. Close your pedler's pack, my friend; swift, away with it! Pernicious, fraught with mere woe and sugary poison is that kind of benevolence and beneficence.