« AnteriorContinuar »
God has had a prophet on the earth, he has told the people plainly what the Lord did require.
In short, the keystone of the Mormon system is the making every dogma of religion a present reality, and this was the startingpoint of the other and far more elaborate discourse to which we have referred. There was once a true Church, possessing a living revelation, inspired prophets, apostles with full authority, a priesthood that had power to remit sins and to give the Holy Ghost:
one Lord, one faith, one baptism. That Church was lost in the ordinances of men. All unity is gone. By many spirits they are baptised into different bodies—but all false, and all rejected of God, till His time came to place man again in his natural but forfeited position of direct converse with God-revelations by inspired prophets—a real order of priests. The true Church has again its prophets and apostles, its gifts and miracles. The true believer accepts four great principles : repentance, that is, a change of life-faith in the new Gospel of Christ-baptism by immersion for the remission of sins—the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, bringing with it powers of healing, tongues, and miracles. The Church thus gathered is, literally, called out of the world, to take refuge in the far-western Zion from the judgments beginning to be poured out on Christendom. There it will enjoy every earthly blessing, and form a political society, which is destined to conquer the whole world. This was asserted without disguise or compromise.
It is unnecessary to give our readers any further account of these discourses—to trace the numerous elements of truth and falsehood, borrowed from Jew and Gentile, Catholic and ultraProtestant, Methodist and Antinomian, Millennarian and unbeliever—the claims of priestcraft mingled with the curiosities of prophecy—which make new converts feel that they are not altogether breaking with the past, while they may hope everything for the future-ay! and above all, a future close at hand. The question is too large to enter upon now, by what means the spiritual truths which these false teachers caricature can be so brought home to the classes whom they are misleading as to keep them from wandering from the fold, or to bring them for the first time within it: but we may hope to have done something towards suggesting its serious consideration.
We must not close without doing justice to Mr. Dixon's book which has furnished the occasion for our article. It is the work of a keen observer, and it appears at an opportune season. Those who would pursue all the varied phenomena, of which we have attempted an outline, must not be content with the results of a
four months' tour, compressed into two volumes of moderate size; but, in all their further reading and personal observation, they will have reason to be grateful to the intelligent and lively guide who has given them such a sample of the enquiry.*
* Since this article was in type we have had the opportunity of attending the semi-annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,' in the Music Hall, Store Street, Bedford Square. It was mentioned, with no small exultation, that this gathering, on the 7th of April, 1867, took place exactly thirtyseven years after that 6th of April, 1830, on which Joseph Smith formed his church of six members. The hall was well filled, especially in the afternoon and evening, with a congregation almost entirely of the lower classes, a large number being women and children. The chair was occupied by Brigham Young, jun., . President over all the Saints in Great Britain and Europe,' and at present also Commissioner for Utah to the Paris Exhibition. He is about to return, as is the custom with all the Mormon missionaries, to enjoy the comforts of Salt Lake City; and his successor, F. D. Richards, sat by his side. On his left was Orson Pratt; and the front row of the platform was filled by some seventeen presidents of branches, elders, missionaries, &c., men of the most commonplace and unintellectual aspect, but with faces marked by either stolid or smirking self-conceit. Brigham Young, jun., looks like a substantial yeoman, who has lived up to his privileges in the temporal good things of Zion. Orson Pratt has a very different aspect; his patriarchal beard setting off strongly-marked massive features, of which Lavater might have hesitated to pronounce whether they belonged to a fac: or a mask. It is the very face of a false prophet' was the involuntary expression of our companion. The first proceedings (after singing and prayer) were businesslike. The travelling elders' gave in their reports in a tone of general satisfaction (*I feel well about it,' was their American phrase), but not without bitter allusions to false brethren, and especially the Josephites ; confirming the fact that this body, which boasts its unity in contrast to a divided Christendom, has already a large dissent within its bosom. The hospitality of the saints was dwelt upon with a satisfaction somewhat at variance with the highly-coloured pictures found in books of the hardships endured by Mormon missionaries. Every speaker insisted briefly, but with a wearisome sameness, on the common-places of Mormon doctrine, and ended with a blessing in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen;' the Amen being echoed in tones expressive of various degrees of applause. Then came the Presidents of the Conferences of London, Essex, and Kent. (The stronger organization of Wales and the North meets at Liverpool, the head-quarters of Morinonism in England). From them we gathered the following statistics : London has ten branches (i.e. congregations), ninety-three elders, fifty-four priests, twentyone deacons, 1030 members on the books, of whom from thirty to forty are missing. We were struck with the large proportion of office-bearers, and also with the fact that while 110 converts were baptised in the course of the year, forty-four were excommunicated. Here is a measure of the hold that Mormonism has on London. The money raised in the year has been (omitting odd shillings and pence) for tithes (which, we believe, go to the building-fand for the temple), 1101.; missions, 3371.; books, 1011.; individual emigration, 6131.; all remitted to Liverpool, except what has been retained for the support of the ministry and for rent of meeting-rooms, the latter item amounting to 2001. It was added that this year's emigration would be small, as no teams are coming down from Utah to the plains, but great preparations are making for 1868, when all the Mormons were earnestl exhorted to clear out from this land to their home among the mountains,' a desire in which most English ‘Gentiles' will sympathise. No statistics were given for Essex; but Kent has ten branches, thirty-eight elders, seventeen priests, thirteen teachers, eight deacons ; five bave been excommunicated, and two have died during the year; thirty-six have emigrated; forty-one have been baptised : total
ART. IX.-1. Report of the Select Committee of the House of
Lords on Railway Companies' Borrowing Powers. 1864. 2. Table of the Statutes passed in the First Session of the Nineteenth Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Ireland. 3. The Standing Orders of the House of Commons. 1867. 4. The Standing Orders of the House of Lords. 1867. 5. “Gardner v. the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway.'
Judgment of Lords Justices Turner and Cairns. 1867. 6. Facts for the Times. No. 2.-Railway Finance. Reprinted
(by permission) from “The Pall Mall Gazette.' By •B. 1867. TNSOLVENCY in the case of railway companies is a new I feature in the commercial world, and it has taken everybody by surprise. There are so many reasons why it ought never to have occurred, that it has been almost unprovided for in the statutes, and at all events its results, which are not even yet quite apparent, have never been foreseen by the public or by investors. This supposed immunity from a fate not very unusual with other joint-stock enterprises is due, in a great degree, to the nature of the business carried on. A railway can never,
of members and officers, 422. Annual income 2041. 158. 7d., composed of_tithes, 471. 88. 4d.; sale of books, 361. 88. 11 d.; individual emigration, 197. 158. 10d. (these sums have been sent to Liverpool); poor fund, ill. 28. 7d. (all expended save lls. 10 d.); mission fund, 891. 198. 10 d., of which 631. 138. 11d. were expended for rent, and 261. 58. 11 d. for the support of elders. These items will show the care with which their finance is managed. It was stated that many of the families contributing these sums have such wages that, after allowing ld. per head for each meal, only 1s. is left for firing, clothing, rent, and the like.
The chief feature of the afternoon's proceedings was the formal submission by Apostle Orson Pratt to the votes of the Assembly of the several officers and councils of the church, from · Brigham, the Prophet and Revelator,' downwards. The show of hands following each proposal indicated that but few strangers were present. The negatire was not put. “If any are of the contrary opinion,' said Orson Pratt, slily, 'I presume the Latter-Day Saints do not wish to know the mind of such persons; all are entitled to religious liberty. The form of popular assent to authorities, derived entirely from revelation, was manifestly designed to bind the Saints-like some body of conspirators—to that obedience which was insisted upon with an emphasis only equalled by the appeals for money. His speech disappointed us as an intellectual effort; but we were struck by his emphatic assertion of the pretensions of Joseph Smith and his book. We had before seen the Bible recognised, but not opened; now it did not even appear on the President's table ; but Orson Pratt held up the book of Mormon, open in his hand, as the standard of faith. The monotonous reiteration of the succeeding speeches was only varied by the bold assertion of an elder from Wales that he had twice cured cancer by anointing with oil and the laying on of hands. One of the healed is beyond the reach of enquiry, in Utah, but neither he nor his father (the chief witness of the miracle) has joined the church. On the whole, the meeting looked like a gigantic emigration agency; and next to this, the one prevailing impression with which we left the hall was, that all was done for the glorification of the leaders. Vol. 122.-No. 244.
like like an unproductive mine, earn nothing at all,—and the travelling requirements of a population, although they fluctuate, may generally be safely reckoned on, up to a certain limit. So also the first cost, except in extraordinary cases, and the expenses of managing the undertaking, may be calculated with tolerable accuracy : under these circumstances, therefore, and seeing that men do not invest money without the expectation of a fair return, it would seem a very unlikely thing that they should be so far mistaken as not only to get no return at all, but to be actually unable to meet the debts they have incurred. But the belief that railways could never fail has been still more fostered by the special legislative care bestowed upon them. The question of the formation of a railway company does not rest with any number of individuals, who may be inexperienced, or rash, or over sanguine. It depends upon the formal action of impartial tribunals, appointed by Parliament, which investigate estimates, hear objections, and enquire into the prospects of the undertaking; and only suffer it to come into being when they have been satisfied on all these points. And when the line is sanctioned and the company in operation, its financial management is still under control : a certain capital has been fixed, sufficient, according to the estimates already approved, for the purposes required. No more may be raised without leave, and no money may be borrowed, except to an amount also determined beforehand, and which can in no case exceed a third part of the capital provided. All these things are determined by the Special Act which authorizes the existence of the company, and, supposing them to be faithfully observed, it follows that in every railway three-fourths of the capital must belong to proprietors or shareholders, who are not likely to have given their money without reasonable expectation of a profit. For a company to .fail'—failure being the inability to pay the interest on the borrowed money--the shareholders must have been so entirely at fault in their calculations that, whereas they can hardly have expected to get less than 5 per cent. for their money, and probably considerably more, it turns out that the amount earned is less than 11 per cent. ; for even 14 per cent. on the original share capital would be equal to 5 on the borrowed fourth. Under these circumstances, since shares, whatever may have been the case in 1845, are not now taken up except after the exercise of reasonable caution, since the data for calculating profits are reasonably trustworthy, and since these data, more especially the estimate of cost, must have satisfied not only the shareholders, but a competent and impartial tribunal, -it is not to be wondered at that, until lately, the absolute failure of rail
way way companies had gradually come to be looked upon as impossible, and consequently that the borrowed portion of the capital, in one word, the debentures, were regarded as perfectly safe. . And, undoubtedly, this confidence would never have been disturbed, had the intentions of the legislature been carried out, as they stand in the financial provisions of Acts of Parliament. That they have not been so carried out, the history of the last thirty years will abundantly prove. Whatever efforts have been made from time to time to render them more stringent, the means of evasion have always been found ; and some eminent lawyers have now given it as their opinion that, practically, such provisions cannot be enforced at all. To take first the case of the most important of these provisions :-The rule with respect to debentures is, that they may only be issued to the amount of onethird of the share capital, and they may not be issued at all until one-half of the latter shall have been paid up and expended on the undertaking. This rule has always been embodied in the Standing Orders of both Houses of Parliament; and it is repeated in every special act, the borrowing powers being invariably fixed at one-third of the proposed capital. But, although by these clauses the loans on mortgage are thus limited (the few cases of over-issue of debentures that have taken place not being of sufficient amount to be worth considering here) yet other and irregular modes of borrowing have been resorted to at various times. Thus in the Act for the Regulation of Railways passed in 1844, we find it recited that many companies have borrowed money in a manner unauthorized by their acts of incorporation, upon the security of “ loan notes” or other instruments purporting to give a security for the repayment of the principal sums borrowed at certain dates.' It is consequently enacted that "any Company issuing such notes in future shall forfeit to her Majesty a sum equal to that in the note.' This enactment, however, did not stop the practice of borrowing, but only caused it to assume a somewhat different form, and Mr. Lloyd, the eminent counsel, by drawing up the form of bond which bears his name, seems to have shewn companies how to borrow to nearly any amount in spite of these prohibitory clauses. Although it is illegal now to borrow money beyond a fixed amount, still, if money is owing, there is no law to compel payment of a debt so long as the creditor is content to abstain from asking for it: and a Lloyd's bond is simply an agreement between a company and any person to whom they may owe money, whether for land or goods or services performed, that instead of paying at once, they are to pay in three or four years' time with interest. Thus the company cannot borrow money, but they borrow money's worth, which comes to the same thing. 2 K 2