Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature: An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891. Vols. VIVIII: Literature of the Republic, Part III., 18351860
Twelve Little Dirty Questions
By Charles Taber Congdon (18211891)
[Tribune Essays. 1869.]
WE should very much like to know what in the opinion of the Rev. Dr. Hawks constitutes a large and clean question. In the Protestant Episcopal Convention last Monday, Dr. Hawks, arguing that the Church must treat its rebellious children with lenity, courtesy, and affection, used the following language: We must not lug in all the little dirty questions of the day which will be buried with their agitation.
To the Protestant Episcopal Church is unquestionably due the reverence of some of us and the respect of others; but Heaven knows there is nothing in its history, nothing in its present position, which justifies this sublime scorn of political affairs which Dr. Hawks professes .
Shall the Loyal States see the rolls of their citizens decimated, the flower of their youth slain in battle, the homes only a little while ago the happiest in the world made desolate, the honest accumulations of industry scattered, the enterprises of benevolence arrestedand all without hope of indemnity or of security? This is Dr. Hawkss Little Dirty Question, No. Three.
Shall the wildest and wickedest perjury, the most Satanic defiance of the Majesty of Heaven, the clearest and least defensible of crimes, flourish and bloom in the establishment of a great empire, and out of the dissolution of society secure the prosperous fortunes of the turbulent and the ambitious? This is Dr. Hawkss Little Dirty Question, No. Four.
Shall the great experiment of political self-government utterly fail, while we, crouching and crawling through the vicissitudes of anarchy, find refuge at last in blind obedience to the edicts of an autocrat? This is Dr. Hawkss Little Dirty Question, No. Five.
Shall a system of labor be perpetuated which, without regard to its abstract equity, without consideration of its injustice to the employed, has so demoralized the employer, that treason, robbery, and murder seem to him to be Christian virtues? This is Dr. Hawkss Little Dirty Question, No. Six.
Shall a system of labor be perpetuated which so utterly degrades the spiritual nature of the enslaved as to expose it in its very yearning for sacred culture to a fanaticism analogous to idolatry? This is Dr. Hawkss Little Dirty Question, No. Seven.
Shall a system of labor be perpetuated the very essence of which is a denial of the fundamental principle of Christian ethicsthat the laborer is worthy of his hire? This is Dr. Hawkss Little Dirty Question, No. Eight.
Shall these acts be considered by the Church mere peccadilloes, when perpetrated by its Southern slaveholding members, which in its Northern communicants it would at once visit with its censure and even its excommunication? This is Dr. Hawkss Little Dirty Question, No. Nine.
Shall a Church which every Sunday prays the Good Lord to deliver us from all sedition, privy conspiracy, and rebellion, and to give to all nations unity, peace, and concord, still hold communion with a Church which is full of sedition, privy conspiracy, and rebellion against the unity, peace, and concord of the land? This is Dr. Hawkss Little Dirty Question, No. Ten.
Shall a Church which every Sunday prays for the President of the United States, and all others in authoritynot merely as fellow-men, but because they are in authorityshall the Church withhold its censure of those of its members who in contempt of authority are waging a felonious war against law and order? This is Dr. Hawkss Little Dirty Question, No. Eleven.
Whether, finally, these communicants of the Church in the rebel States who have been so disregardful of its discipline and so false to its teachings as to avowedly violate all laws Divine and human are entitled to anything more than Christian pity, are at all entitled in their double tort to Christian Fellowship, is a Little Dirty Question well worth the consideration of every Christian Patriot; and is Dr. Hawkss No. Twelve.