Page images
PDF
EPUB

nature declares: “Be ye temperate in all things. By keeping constantly within the limits of this law, man maintains his independence of its power.

So by maintaining a harmonious relation with mental and moral laws, with common and municipal, martial, marine, commercial, ecclesiastical, and international laws, individuals, Churches, and States are independent of their power. So also the spirit of independence is visible in the spheres of conscience and of religion, while a harmonious relation is kept up with the law of everlasting life.

But it may be said, that old laws pass away, are changed, modified, reformed, and that new laws are discovered and declared. Wbat then, it may be asked, becomes of independence, when the old laws in harmonious relation with which it once existed have passed away, and the new laws are discovered and declared? Is independence then lost? No. Forindependence like happiness is a relative term, and like law and happiness, it also is progressive. The spirit of independence advances with the discoveries and declarations of law, and forms again a harmonious relation with the new order of things. Independence keeps exact pace with law. By the penetrating glance of its eagle eye, and by the indomitable energies of the lion heart of this spirit, it is continually making discoveries in every sphere of truth, and declaring and establishing these new truths to be new laws, and thus continually going on civilizing and enlightening the world. The Patent Office bears record of the truth of this position touching mechanical law. The United States bears witness of the truth of this position touching political law. The Christian Church bears record of the truth of this position touching divine law. The spirit of independence in mechanics, politics, and divinity bas civilized and enlightened men, States and Churches; and because this spirit is so great a benefactor of the human family, therefore, as Jefferson has said, even 'error may be tolerated when reason is left free to combat it.'

"Truth is mighty and will prerail.' In order that the most striking and plainest view may be given of this subject of independence, take the case of an individual and see in what his independence consists, and as the other kinds of independence, are characterized by analogous peculiarities, as Governments are mainly colossal representations of families, the other cases of independence may be elaborated at leisure, from

the hints here dropped, with modifications to suit the circumstances which alter the cases. The main points only will be regarded.

Our glorious Declaration of Independence holds it to be self evident that all men are created equal, and it might have added free and fraternal. The equal, free and fraternal state, is the real one which is in harmony with the will of the Creator.

Any other state is devoid of pure independence. It contains an incongruity, which is bound one day or another to be modified and reformed, in order that a harmonious union may be established.

Man to man the world o'er

Shall brothers be for all that.' The spirit of .compromise' is abroad. This fraternal element is now working throughout the political mass, and like leaven it will permeate the “whole lump’ of our l'nion. It will modify and reform our political character, liberate our country from internal throes and convulsions, and elevate our people to a higher heaven, in which, the heaven we now enjoy shall seem a hell.') Might not Churches take a hint from the 'compromise question' and cultivate the fraternal feelings? Would we not then have more of a heaven on earth than we now possess, and the will of Our Father there, be done here, more in accordance with the immortal prayer of 'Ilis Son ?'

Let us return from this digression to contemplate the plain case of manly independence; and without passing through the stages of a wild savage state; let us take a case 'out of the thick' in the civilized state, in which we find ourselves.

Look at the child who is growing up a member of a family, becoming a member of society, a citizen. How can he gain the highest practical point of independence and maintain and manifest its purest spirit? The answer is plain, by devotion, in the family, to the law of his father, in society to the law of its common sense, and as a citizen, to the law of the land. When a man acts in harmony with the law he is free from the law, but when he breaks the law he becomes a slave to the law. Even a threat to break the peace, will put him under bonds to keep the peace. Slight breaches lock him in jail, gross breaches confine him in the penitentiary, and for murder or treason he suffers death. By devoted compliance, with the will of the father, he becomes the favorite in the family, and he is favored with the largest liberty. So the largest liberty is granted him by society when he shows he has the strong. est common sense, and when, as a citizen, he pay's most regard to the laws of the land, we bestow upon him not only extraordinary privileges, but we even raise him to the highest point of pdependence, and beg of himn to be our law maker, our Judge, our Gov. ernor, our President.

1) “And in the lowest depth, a lower deep

Still threat’ning to devoir me, opens wide,
To which the hell I suffer seems a Heaven.'-_Mion.

As independence characterizes individuals, so, analogously, it characterizes countries.

Our own is a living and glorious illustration of this analogy.

The Father of American Independence published his will to the world. To this, as also to all nations, he said: be equal, free, and fraternal. Be at peace with all, have ‘entangling alliances' with none, and maintain your own equality. This country has grown up obedient to his will. It has maintained its own equality among the nations of the earth. From the days of the past reign of terror, to the days of the approaching reign of terror, from the days of Washington, to the days of Fillmore, it has kept aloof free_from the alluring political whirlpools yawning to devour the inhabitants and ships of state along the doomed land of Europe. Yet the trait of independence which most brilliantly distinguishes, and which irradiates over the whole face and from the very heart of our nation—wbich is the element of its most ineffable glory,is the fraternal, the moral, the enthusiastic spirit which it pours forth, to warm up and gladden the heart, to raise up and strengthen the mind of the down trodden' heroes of liberty, even when more ‘material aid' is unlawful.

The point of time when acts of interposition may be lawfully committed in behalf of a nation which has struggled for liberty, is as one of the judicial heroes of our own nation has declared:

'It is not susceptible of precise limitations, and is extremely delicate in the application. It must be submitted to the guidance of eminent discretion, and controlled by the principles of justice and sound policy. It would clearly be a violation of the law of nations, to invite subjects to revolt who were under actuill obedience, however just their complaints ; or to endeavor to produce discontents, violence and rebellion, in neighboring States, and under color of a generous assistance, to consummate projects uf ambition and doininion. The most unexceptionable precedents are those in which the interference diil not take place until the new States had actually been established, and sufficient incans and

spirit had been displayed to excite a confidence in their stability. The assistance that England gave to the United Netherlands when they were struggling against Spain, and the assistance that France gave to this country during the war of our revolution, were justifiable acts, founded in wisdom and sound policy. And it is not to be doubted that the government of the United States had a perfect right, in the year 1822, to consider, as it then did, the Spanish Provinces in South America as legitimate powers which had atained sufficient solidity and strength to be entitled to the rights ind privileges belonging to independent States.'-)

Yet as Washington wept while he condemned Maj. André, who does not also both weep over and condemn the deluded followers of Lopez, the notorious leader of the Cuban expedition in 1851 ?

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

LOUIS KOSSUTH. What now shall be said of the appeal of the illustrious Kossuth in behalf of the claims of the independence of Hungary? We answer: we will hail to the independence of Hungary with electric 2) Sze Kent's Comməntaries on American Law. 21. Lecture, page 21 and fol.

joy, the instant she displays sufficient means and spirit to establish and maintain her own independence. But as Hungary has not already proved this point, every act to war in her behalf which our nation or our citizen, may commit, would not only be unlawful in us, but very likely, most mournful for her.

Were “material aid' and republican counsel, 'means and spirit' enough, given to Hungary by our people, to establish her independence, what proof have we that she could even then maintain her independence? On the other side have we not strong circumstantial evidence tending to the conviction that the means and spirit thus poured upon her by our people, would produce the effect of the vials of wrath poured out by the Angels in the Revelation where the sea “became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea," and the rivers and fountains of waters became blood,' 'men were scorched with fire,' blood was given them to drink," "and they knawed their tongues for pain.' That the way of the kings of the East might be prepared for a reign of terror to come unparalleled even by the reign of terror in France. Let our people read the bloody history of this most enlightened people of Europe, and let their arms be pålsied, sooner than raised to curse the banks of the Danube with the mistaken mercies of their wrath. What then shall we do for Hungary? For our sympathies are aroused in her behalf. Our intense passion for her happiness demands satisfaction. Mere expression is not enough. Something must be done. Well. Right. Bring her here – to our own home. On the banks of the Mississippi her children may enjoy the fruits of liberty, which do not flourish on the uncongenial soil of the Danube. We want them here to increase the glory of our country. We want more farmers, we want more mechanics, we want more manufacturers, we want our wild lands settled, our railroads built, our mines opened, and our manufactories inaintained. Hungary can do more good both for herself and for us, by coming here, than we can do for her, by going there.

Do we not want tillers of our ground, smelters of our mines, workmen of our factories to free ourselves from our own present allegiance to Russia? How much longer shall these glorious United States, so boastful of independence , rumainstill dependent on Russia ? materially dependent even on Russia ? Aye bound to her by bands of hemp and of iron? Our Navy and our Firesides are our witnesses! With the old Roman we would ask: “Who is

« PreviousContinue »