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the luxuries bought by gold, but rays and the moon her silvery beauty; he is chosen for nature's favourite the landscape is fertile in the olive and playmate, and shares the boun- and the vine; and life moves onward ties which are showered upon the in tranquil contentment, devoid of lilies of the field. He may boast care. Nature is everywhere making of no high birth or long lineage, pictures, and man weaving a robut his is the heritage of the sky. mance. And the student has but to The poet, in the well-known lines surrender himself to the poetry of of Schiller, comes too late to take the passing hour to make his mind his part in the division of the world, a welcome habitation for all the and the gods, in recompense, make beauteous thoughts that flock on him a denizen of the heavens. And every side; and thus fostering in surely, if in any favoured spot of himself the artist growth, his works earth the artist be given a charmed will be true to the nature that lives existence, it is in the clime of Italy. around him and the genius which The sun showers richly his golden prompts within.
Printed by William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh.
“What do they think of us in his leek, swearing horribly as he England ?” was said to be one of the chews it, why should we be grave questions of late most frequently when a whole nation of Ancient heard in America. And what, we Pistols are enacting a screaming should like to ask, do they imagine farce, and, moreover, a farce conthat we think of them? That they taining a moral for all mankind? are the greatest and noblest people This moral might have been conon the face of the earth? That they veyed in a tragedy. The American are just, moderate, and dignified in people might have felt all the earpeace, and strong and irresistible nestness they have so spasmodically in war? Do they picture us as endeavoured to simulate. They viewing their government as a thing might have sent out armies anito be envied by the rotten old mon- mated with the old Puritan resoluarchies of Europe? Do they fancy tion : men who would have testified that they are impressing all nations convincingly to their faith in the with the belief which they profess cause, with a valour claiming rethemselves to entertain of the im- spect even in defeat. In such a measurable advantages of the con- case we need not say that we should stitution of the Union over every have granted their claim in full mezother constitution that the world sure. Though we should none the has seen, and that we are lost in less have deduced political lessons admiration of the system which has from the fate of the Union, yet we led inevitably to their present con- should have commented on them in dition in the cabinet and the field ? sorrow, feeling that even political Or do they not know that we must wisdom might be too dearly bought feel as all men feel in viewing the by the sufferings of a noble race. exposure of the empty pretensions But at present the tragic element is of a bully, and that we cannot even altogether wanting. Whether we repretend to keep our countenance gard the attempt of the North to rewhen the exploits of the Grand establish by force a Union founded Army of the Potomac are filling on consent-their Congress seeking all Europe with inextinguishable to maintain the war by a tax which laughter? If everybody is amused includes in its operation the seced. when Ancient Pistol is made to eat ed States—their orators still paradVOL. XC.NO. DLII.
ing, in lieu of argument and elo- grand army of the Potomac, that quence, the old stage properties of the muse of history will seriously the star-spangled banner and the concern herself even with the Fire Genius of Liberty, which have done Zouaves, or that any poet or painter, service on so many Fourths of July whether American or European, -their newspapers raving defiance will ever depict Liberty as quitting to England in one column, and pub- the earth arm-in-arm with the Last lishing records of the utter worth of the Presidents. And the venerlessness of their troops in another able Lincoln, the respectable Seward, —their President and Commander- the raving editors, the gibbering in - Chief impelled to premature mob, and the swift-footed warriors action by these infallible journals- of Bull's Run, are no malicious tricks Mrs Beecher Stowe writing letters of fortune played off on an unwary to Lord Shaftesbury teeming with nation, but are all of them the sanguinary philanthropy—that rab- legitimate offspring of the great ble of Bobadils which they called Republic their army, with its “Fire Zouaves," In past centuries, philosophers and its Irish regiments “stripped and historians were used to feel and to their pants," all in desperate grope their way towards political career the wrong way, led by those truth with speculations on theories immortal three months' men of of government. For ages these Pennsylvania; where we know not were only speculations, for mankind whether to pity most the officers seemed to acquiesce in the sentiwho lead such men, or the men who ment of obedience to constituted are led by such officers,—all is farce power. As alchemists in rags dreamof the very broadest stamp. No ed of the absolute, so sages dreamed satirist ever invented such a gigan- of equality, of rights of man, of tic joke as the editor of the New social contracts, of the duties of York Herald, rolling his eye in a princes—while all around them the fine frenzy as he threatened Great people, ignorant and careless of Britain and Spain with the venge- politics, lived under whatever disance of the troops, “better than pensation Heaven had pleased to French," whose fastest runners were bestow, acquiesced in any despoteven then beginning to spread dis- ism not absolutely intolerable, as may in Washington.
in gravitation, and were dependent Independent of motives of hu- for good or bad government on the manity, we are glad that the end of chance dispositions of their rulers, the Union seems more likely to be But the conceptions of these specuridiculous than terrible. To the lators were not without fruit. In American people we wish nothing the American and French revolubut good. But for our own benefit tions, in the wars of the French and the instruction of the world, we republic and empire and the wish to see the faults, so specious changes that have ensued from and so fatal, of their political sys- them, and in the constant efforts in tem, exposed in the most effective our own country to transfer power way. The faults of a system that to the people, we see these theories expires nobly and pathetically are in action. And now the present apt to be forgotten in the romance day gives us the result. In broad of its end. Had the Union died characters, statesman, historian, and silent, resolute, devoted, grand, in philosopher may study, not theories, future ages republican poets and but facts ; they may view, painters might have loved to depict “With eye serene, the very pulse of the Freedom shrieking at the scene, as machine"she did when Kosciusko fell. But and even those unreflecting politiit is impossible to conceive that cians who would disregard the warnanything great or noble was in- ings of what might be cannot shut volved in the catastrophe of the their eyes to what is.
In Austria absolutism has its in which there was nothing exaspechoice between concession and de- rating, from whence the machinery struction. In Naples and Rome the of law and order emerged unharmed, alternative was neglected, and the and which had secured to the new attributes of despotism have vanish- nation respect at home and abroad. ed, as the coins in the Eastern story There was no old nobility to be turned to withered leaves when the swept out of the way, and to bear magic spell ceased. Over the semi- to other lands the tale of spoliation barbarous peoples of Russia and and of wrong. When the royal Turkey the ruling power is still authority disappeared, there was a absolute. Judging from these facts clean page to write the constitution taken alone, we might infer that on. It was framed with deliberaabsolutism is only possible, in our tion; the deficiences of the existing time, in the absence of intelligence. Confederation served as a warning, But in France we see a people its merits as an example; and the boasting to be more advanced in chief who, at the outset, presided civilisation than Germans or Italians over the destinies of the Republic apparently content to be ruled with was a man of pre-eminent influence, a rod of iron. And we know that great good sense, and remarkable the reason why such a state is pos- moderation. The nation, thus prosible to them is, that they have vided with all political safeguards, learnt by a tremendous experience commenced its career on a theatre to dread the excesses of liberty more where no rival powers existed to than the excesses of power. The perplex or disturb, and where illi- , empire is not loved, and could not mitable territory and inexhaustible endure, but that there is a class of supplies of material wants were se- . order in France that prefers it to curity against the poverty and dis- : red-republicanism. Yet, in choos- content which form the severest trial ing between the principles whose and knottiest problem of govern- : conflict is represented in the up- ments. Yet, thus dandled and nursed heavings of society in the present —one might say coddled-by Forcentury, the friends of democracy tune, the spoiled child Democracy, might retort that the system they after playing strange pranks before plead for has never, in France, had high heaven, and figuring in odd and a fair trial, and that the excesses of unexpected disguises, dies as sheerly liberty there were owing, not to any from lack of vitality as the oldest vice inherent in the principles of of worn-out despotisms. the Revolution, but to the natural Amid the crash and chaos of violence of the rebound from pre- governments and peoples, England vious tyranny and long mis-govern- still rears her head a landmark for ment; and that for those excesses the wrecks of nations. The constidespotism itself was thus ultimately tution whose origin goes beyond the responsible. Thus, it would have ancient records of the state is still been still possible for them to dream fresh, vigorous, and elastic, mainof their ideal, but that America has taining freedom amid the rush and furnished the example necessary to whirl of this age as it did five hunsupplement former experience. Here dred years ago. We still offer to we saw the liberty which enthusi- the political Edipus the grand enastic sages imagined, realised under igma whose solution is liberty; the most favourable conditions. A while the constitution framed in century of mild rule had fostered the time of our fathers, by the light the principles of freedom planted by of all experience, to be the shame the Pilgrims, who had gathered them of the past, the glory of the present, amid the abundant crop of the great the example of the future, is gone civil wars of King and Parliament, like a bubble on the stream. From The independence of the Confeder- our own history we learn how liberty ated States ensued from a struggle can come to make her home with a
people. She does not seek to rise on moral support would, in the case by a sudden bound on the ruins of of contending interests, be dependdespotism, for that we know leads ent on a majority; and if, before only to anarchy, and through anarchy acting, it should wait to ascertain back again to despotism. She estab and appeal to the majority, it would lishes herself by steps slow and suc- never act at all. Its action must be cessive. Her path, like the path of independent of all disturbing influa planet, is the result of opposing ences; and thus a strong executive forces. It is the process of winning becomes an essential condition of privileges from the governing power, liberty. But a government that is and of maintaining them when won, independent and strong may assail that constitutes liberty. And when liberty; and how to prevent that, is all are won-when the governing a problem that we have practically power is bankrupt—then liberty has solved, by committing to the governalready departed, leaving only a ment the power of the sword, and shadow which a breath will dissi- retaining for the people the power pate.
of the purse. The strength of our But when a people already free executive needs not to be exactly from restraint take counsel how to defined, because the force necessary produce that balance of powers for the defence of the country will whose regulated vibrations shall de- always be more than sufficient for fine the bounds of liberty, the pro- the assertion of the laws. But in cess that we have passed through is America, where no foreign enemy exactly reversed. With us it was was feared, and where, consequently, at first the people's scale that kicked the people must tax themselves for the beam. In this other case, it is the support of the executive with the scale of the government that the single object of internal governflies upward. The people now have ment, the measure of strength that not to take, but to give. Power is should be allotted was much more not to be won from the government, nicely calculated. And the limitabut conferred upon it; and the peo- tion of the powers of the President, ple are much more apt at taking and the mode of his appointment, than giving power. And this is the formed, accordingly, the grand difficase which American institutions culty of the framers of the constituillustrate.
That the people shall bear their It is impossible to doubt that full share in legislation, and that those statesmen intended to allot the laws so made shall be impar- due influence to each power of the tially administered, are important state. It is true, the foundation steps towards good government, but they professed to raise it on was still only steps. The laws so made what they somewhat paradoxically must be executed with certainty and termed the sovereignty of the peopromptitude. But a government ple. But, whatever meaning they that rests only on the moral influ- may have attached to the phrase, ence derived from the support of the they certainly would not have interpeople, can be efficient only so long preted it to signify the supremacy as the nation is of one mind respect of the mob. There were men among ing the laws that are to be executed. them—Washington himself, for inLaws framed for the general benefit stance-proud, dignified, even arisare frequently opposed to the de- tocratic in temperament, severe in sires and interests of classes or sec discipline, and of steady judgment; tions of the community. The sup- and such are not friends to the dopression of discontent must be pro- mination of the many. And one vided for; unpopular taxes must be especial object of their labours was levied; and, to this end, the executive to remedy the want of a paramount must be armed with material force. executive power in the existing conFora government that depended only federation of states. But the spirit