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conflicting interests, have been without any grand ideas of a common mission; and hence, though they have assisted to make the fame of Charlemagne, Frederick Barbarossa, Napoleon, and other heroes, and though they have sustained the Roman empire of Otho, the Austrian glories, and the Prussian renown, have never distinguished themselves as a German nation. In less than this period of a thousand years, England has become the mistress of the seas; France has been, again and again, master of Europe; and Hungary, Poland, Spain, and Turkey have each made themselves a place in history. All these have had, in their day, an idea, an enthusiasm; but the German people as yet have had none.
“There are but two nations now, in the civilized world, which may be said to have an idea. The mission of England, which was that of colonization, is nearly over; for that empire, which grew by commerce with her dependencies, has visibly passed the zenith of her power. France, in like manner, is waning; for the idea of military glory is effete. Wars, indeed, will prevail, but they will rage to secure an end, and not, as with most French wars, merely for the sake of war. Italy, Spain, and Turkey have, long ago, fulfilled their destiny, and now exist merely as dead forms, and not as living vitalities. All those powers, not even excluding France, have made no progress for a century: and this would be additional proof, if more was required, to show that they have passed their prime. But there is an empire, even in Europe, which prospers. Russia has doubled itself in the last hundred years, and promises to increase as much in the hundred to come. For Russia is possessed with an idea. In the New World, our own republic thrives even more vigorously than Russia in the Old: for the United States, too, has its idea. And these two empires-in Europe, Russia ; in America, the United States—are destined, in the future, to divide the glories of history.
“The idea of Russia is that of modernized despotism; the idea of the United States is federative republicanism. The great problem to be solved, in succeeding centuries, is which shall prevail. Both nations are civilized; both are comparatively young; both are full of enthusiasm and confidence in themselves. Intelligent Russians believe as firmly that they are to conduct Europe to a higher development, as the citizens of this republic believe in the superiority of a free government and in the final extension of liberal principles over the globe. Both cannot be correct in these visions of the future. If Russia prevails, the United States must fail. It is too late, in an age of steam communication, to hold that absolutism may reign paramount in Europe, while republicanism controls the Western Hemisphere. Two antagonistic ideas cannot thus geographically divide the world. To say that a man may think freely on one side of the Atlantic, yet must cease to think on the other side--and that this state of things is to continue through a whole cycle of the world's history-is to assert an impossibility. Printing presses, education, the growth of political knowledge will not allow of such an absurdity. It is a question of mind, not of armies. Indeed, so evidently is it so that the battle will be fought in books, in newspapers, in the rostrum, long before it will come to the arbitration of cannon, as come it will in the end. The war of thought, in truth, has already begun. The letter of Webster to Hulseman is the first gun in this campaign. Centuries may pass before the last is fired.
“Do we doubt the result of this conflict? Not for a moment. As firmly as we believe that Russia is destined to become, if she is not already, the dictator of Europe, so firmly do we believe that, in time, the United States will dictate even to her. It was for some great purpose that the hand of Providence was so signally exhibited in the settlement of these shores and the formation of this republic; and that purpose we hold to be the dissemination of liberal principles, and the extension of that wonder of political science, federative republicanism. We believe in progress. We have no faith in the dotards who tell us that the world has seen its best days; who sneer at the mighty inventions of the past century; who trace a thousand evils to freedom of thought; and who recommend to us a return to the parental form of government in politics as in religion. We repudiate the idea that men, who have once tasted of freedom, can subside into slavery. We cannot be persuaded that our descendants, in this hemisphere, will ever voluntarily give up selfgovernment; and we know that no empire, or even coalition of empires, can compel them to resign it unwillingly. Instead of imitating the Old World, the Old World must imitate us. We believe, therefore, that, in this great struggle, the cause of freedom must prevail, and that Russia, the exponent of modern absolutism, will perish, as the old French monarchy, the representative of feudal despotism, perished seventy years ago. It will be a terrible, a protracted conflict, and, in the end, when Russia becomes all-powerful in Europe, it may, indeed it must, come to the arbitrament of cannon. But the victory will be with freedom. To believe otherwise would be to despair of the world, of humanity, of religion itself.”
It is as follows: that Britain is at last compelled to write down her acknowledgments of the stability and purity of our government, and the dignity and strength of our Union.
“The Americans carried with them, across the ocean, not only the forms of good government, but the principles of good citizenship. They never built upon political theories, or effected any change except upon sound reasons and by sober means. They did not substitute a republic for a monarchy in deference to any imaginary code of rights antecedent to recorded laws, but when, in pursuance of settled convictions, they had reluctantly renounced an allegiance, they made the best provisions in their power for administering the government themselves. Little was changed beyond the form of the executive. They devised no new relations between man and man, nor did they deem themselves competent to recast the frame of civil society. They retained every institution and practice which could be accommodated to a Congress instead of a king. Far from extemporizing new laws, they preserved, in their reverence, even the least desirable attributes of the old, and have only just now reformed their system of procedure, when we, their elder brethren, are confessing a like necessity and acknowledging the goodness of their example. These were the principles which preserved them. Amid a variety of temptations, apparently infinite when viewed from this side of the Atlantic, but perhaps less serious when more closely contemplated, they have always acknowledged that private opinions must yield to the recorded will of society at large, and that no community can maintain a political existence where every citizen claims the right of promoting by violence his own speculative conceits.
“The thirteen States of the Union have already become three and thirty, if not more, for they increase as we write, and there is space and verge enough for converting the number into a hundred. It is beyond all human power to calculate the prospects of a government to which one continent supplies territory and another population. What California is to America, America is to the whole world. No example has ever yet been seen of such a mighty and interminable conflux of people. Ireland alone supplies yearly to this extraordinary State the population of a first class city. San Francisco has increased more in two years than Brighton in fifty. The treasures of the new territory have attracted immigrants in equal numbers from the two proverbial extremities of the world—from China and Peru, and yet by some wonderful process the system of the Union appears to absorb and assimilate to its constitution these various and conflicting elements.”
FANATICS AND FACTIONS.
Political meetings-Squads—Cabals—Impotence of_Slavery-Free soil
Factions-Election of General Taylor-Precedents-Law of majorityTrial of the queen-The Union, Finale.
THE ignorant and exploded notion that the safety and the morals of the people are endangered by numerous gatherings at the elections has been for more than fifty years shown in the United States to be an entire mistake.
If the demagogues and leaders of factions did not, by music and banners, occasionally collect the giddy and the idle, the elections would come off with little show, except the immense and quiet throngs pressing with firm and steady tread to the place of suffrage.
Town meetings are not much encouraged ; and the elections are now conducted with appropriate decorum.
There is no fear of the influence of foreigners; they are charmed by our institutions. Let them fly here by thousands. From them and ourselves there come up at every national poll more than half a million of native born voters, with whom everything in politics but republican freedom and religious toleration is abhorred and despised.
This fresh race of proud and educated American noblemen have just now cast off the odious incubus of party policy, and all incidental questions of local or minor movement have been driven from the great platform of national action.
They have proclaimed abroad to all men that the fundamental elements of their compact shall not be disturbed by aspirants for power. That designing demagogues and crafty philanthropists shall not be suffered to engraft their heresies upon the great magna charta of American liberty. That they will not suffer one lash from the scourge of faction or party discipline, and that the purifying machinery of their elections shall blow to oblivion all the sophistries and profanities of political gamesters and scolding fanatics.