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will one day be its victim. There is another view of the subject equally important. When the people see and feel themselves governed by force alone, they very naturally conclude they have a right to resist by force, and that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If the government cannot depend on the authority of the civil power, why should the people pay any respect to an imbecile nonentity? They will be prone to follow the example, and, when strong enough, repel force by force. There is no more certain mode of destroying all respect for the laws, than that of employing a military force in their execution; and, in our opinion, when a government cannot sustain itself at home, without a habitual resort to military force, the sooner its existence is terminated the better. The two parties to the compact can't keep the peace, and had better sue for a divorce.
In addition to this wide-spread discontent and uneasiness of the masses of Europe, and the revolutionary leaven fermenting in its bosom, there are other causes of discontent among people and rulers, arising out of the territorial distributions made by the Congress of Vienna, which have ever since created great dissatisfaction. The old balance of power, which had for ages been a fruitful source of bloodshed, and a capital cloak for ambition, was completely overthrown by the conquests of Napoleon, and the hypocritical attempt to restore it ended in each of the "high contracting parties," helping themselves and their friends to the lion's share. The secondary and smaller states, which had heretofore been considered as make-weights in the balance of Europe, could offer no effectual resistance to the concentrated power which directed this division of the spoils, and were obliged unwillingly to acquiesce in what they could not approve. Thus a basis was laid for future contention, by taking from one and giving unsatisfactory equivalents, or none at all. Integral portions of states were dismembered, and distant provinces, inhabited by distinct, often hostile races, speaking a different language, professing a different faith, and discordant in habits, manners, and judices, were patched together, and materials which, far from having any natural affinity, were little less than antipathies, fused into union with each other.
Prussia was dismembered at home to receive indemnity abroad. Bavaria was dissatisfied with the cession she was obliged to make to Austria. Denmark was deprived of Norway, which was given to Sweden, as an equivalent for far more valuable possessions ceded to Russia on the Baltic. The Netherlands were united under one sovereign. Holland lost
every vestige of its ancient freedom. Austria was reinstated with a population of 28,000,000, of which upwards of 18,000,000 were Italians, Poles, Hungarians, &c., to whom Austria was an object of hereditary abhorrence. Venice ceased to be an independent state, and Italy was little more than a fief of the imperial crown of Germany. Russia obtained all Finland, dismembered from Sweden, together with a great part of Poland; and England, with most magnanimous disinterestedness, was content with securing to herself almost all the colonies and commerce of Europe, together with all the maritime positions, enabling her to realize the boast of Sir George Simpson, namely, that of "commanding all the highways and byways of the ocean, and all its inlets."
Thus the old balance of Europe was restored by overthrowing it entirely, and reducing the weaker states to more than their original insignificance. Europe was parcelled out like a conquered country, and placed under the guardianship of the "high contracting powers." Finally, religion itself became the guaranty of those robberies committed under the name of restitution, through the medium of "The Holy Alliance," which announced its creed in the following sublime declaration:
"Agreeably to the words of the Holy Scriptures, which command all men to love each other as brethren, to remain united in the indissoluble bonds of true brotherly love; always to assist one another; to govern their subjects as parents; to maintain religion, peace, and justice: They consider themselves as members of one Christian family, commissioned by Providence to govern one Christian family. They call on all powers, who acknowledge similar principles, to join this holy alliance," &c., &c.
This holy alliance, consisting of Russia, Austria, and Prussia, had just finished the partition of Poland, and was reeking with the blood of that unhappy country. Had not religion so often been prostituted to the purposes of ambition, fraud, and rapacity, the world might have wondered at this barefaced hypocrisy. As it was, it was only laughed at and despised, at least in the United States, though, in truth, it was no laughing matter. The covert views of this holy alliance are still cherished, and acted upon, and are, in almost all respects, similar to those adopted by England under the guise of universal philanthropy, for precisely the same purpose, that of deceiving and subjugating mankind.
Many other causes, which we have not space to enumerate, conspire to menace the tranquillity of Europe, and convert the
diadem of kings into a crown of thorns. Enough has, however, been adduced, to show that the thrones of that quarter are not founded on a rock. In the apparent quiet calm the storm is brewing. Disaffection, instead of being on the wane, is increasing through the very means adopted for its suppression. To stop the mouths of men, and interdict their thoughts, is neither to quell their passions nor unnerve their hands. Whether the discontented masses of Europe will be eventually able to rise to their proper rank in the scale of human nature by a stern and manly resistance to the military despotism prepared for them, or gradually descend to the level of the people of Asia, is a problem to be solved only by time. If they fall much lower, they will be in great danger of never rising again, except through that long series of vicissitudes which sometimes changes refinement into barbarism, and savages into civilized men. Nations, like individuals, rise and fall, flourish and decay. Let no one dream he has seen the end of this mortal struggle in Europe.
The rise and fall of nations is a part of the system of Providence, and in strict accordance with the great attribute of Justice, since there is no good reason why a nation should continue to enjoy either glory, power, or happiness, after it has lost the virtues by which they were acquired. Cowardice, corruption, and effeminacy can never preserve what is won by courage, hardihood, and perseverance; physical weakness must sooner or later resign what was gained by physical strength; and moral degeneracy must never hope to retain what was originally the reward of virtue. These are things which cannot be regulated by human laws, or human institutions. Governments grown gray in iniquity, and nations, long steeped in the process of debasement, are difficult patients to deal with. One cannot easily be repaired, or a new edifice constructed from the rubbish of the old; nor the other become at once capable of a rational enjoyment of the benefits of reform. The sinews of these ancient bodies become too rigid and inflexible to yield to the friction of discontent; or, what is still more commonly the case, the constitution is so enfeebled by age that the power of renovation is extinguished, and even the cure of the disease cannot save the patients from speedy dissolution.
The present political and social state of Europe is unnatural and unjust; capital has become a tyrant and labor its abject slave. Money is now the great source of national as well as individual influence, and hence money has become the universal object of pursuit. But its attainment has been placed
VOL. I.-NO. VI.
beyond the reach of labor and economy, by a series of artificial restrictions. The laboring classes have been robbed of all share of what they themselves created. The disease of Europe is abject poverty among the many, rendered more acute by the contrast of superfluous wealth in the few. There must be a new distribution of the gifts of the Creator, or terrible will be the consequences to those who obstinately oppose any peaceable mode of bringing it about. The laboring man of Europe is infinitely worse off than the African slave of the United States. He does not, like him, partake in the prosperity of his employer, for his interests are in direct opposition, because they universally tend to decreasing his wages. He is equally the slave of the capitalist and the government, who divide between them all his surplus earnings, and neither of which, like the owner of the slave, is bound to provide comfortably for his children in their infancy or himself in old age. Between them both, when his energies are exhausted by labor, privation, disease, or old age, he is placed in the poorhouse in England, where his allowance of food is far less than that of a murderer confined in jail.* The philanthropic sympathizers in the woes of African bondage, and especially the benevolent ladies of Stafford House, had better put on their spectacles and look to this. The white people of England have feelings as well as the black slaves of America, and it is not right that the latter should monopolize all their sympathies. We beseech them to make an effort for the relief of the poor seamstresses of London, though they have the misfortune of wearing a white skin-who, as we perceive by late statements, though laboring from daylight to midnight, day after day, are, many of them, obliged to barter their most precious jewel, to escape dying of hunger within sight of Stafford House. We entreat them to bear in mind that charity, wheresoever it may end, begins at home; and that, however they may plume themselves on their late brilliant display in behalf of the American slave, the world will give little credit to their sincerity, when it learns that thousands of their own sex, their own race, their own color, and their own country, are suffering, under their very eyes, extremities of hunger and privation, accompanied by every pang that can rend the heart of woman, and every temptation leading to the destruction of both body and soul.
Whatever may be the capacity of European governments to sustain the operation of those rough medicines necessary to
See British Reports of the Comparative State of Paupers, and Prisoners confined in Jail for Felonies.
resuscitate the system, or of the people to make good use of reform, we think the experiment well worth trying. The former most assuredly do not fulfil the first duty of all good governments, that of administering to the happiness of the people, and the latter cannot lose much, for they have nothing to lose. The longer these reforms are delayed, the worse it will be for both parties, and the sooner the contest is decided the better for the people and their kings. The history of the first French revolution records in letters of blood the terrible consequences of delaying reforms until the people have become incapable of making a good use of reformation, and enforces a lesson equally on those who inflict, and those who suffer long-continued abuses. To one it teaches the danger of waiting till impatience becomes a frenzy; to the other, the fatal consequences of procrastination.
Every sincere friend to the welfare of mankind will earnestly hope that those who preside over the destinies of Europe may not, by an obstinate resistance to those salutary reforms which every long-established government indispensably requires to keep pace with those changes which time invariably produces, eventually draw on themselves and their country a long series of sore calamities. Governments, like men, contain within themselves the seeds of corruption and decay. Not one of them can last forever, but all may prolong their existence, and render it a blessing to the people, by adapting themselves to the progress of the human mind, and to those changes which are the moving springs of the great machinery of the world. Surely it is too much to expect that governments will remain the same while everything around them is changing. Those monarchs who persist in this belief will be in great danger of perishing without the reputation of martyrs.
Nothing is more certain than that the errors, excesses, and crimes of rulers, by causing the miseries of their people, in so far weaken the power of the state, and that their offences are sure to be punished by their own inevitable consequences. And, inasmuch as nations always pay the penalty for the faults of those who govern, it seems no more than just that these should at least bear a portion of the sufferings they have brought down on others. The dispensation is in strict accordance with Divine justice. It is the fault of the people if they permit themselves to be ill-governed, and the fault of the ruler to oppress them. They should, therefore, share the consequences between them; and, for ourselves, we feel no more sympathy for the death or exile of a king, than of a cobbler, provided they both equally deserve the penalty. There is one