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great eras of time,* he intervened between the effete and failing materialism (if we may so use a word which has a different and technical sense) of the empire, and the robust but still more barbarous materialism of the feudal age. Politically speaking, the world lost nothing. It was but the act of a bold Bramin, consigning a worn-out Hindoo to the Ganges. But neither did it directly gain any thing. Scarce a century later, Christianity herself was staked upon the issue of a single battle in the valleys of the Loire. Had the Saracens carried the day at Poitiers, they would have overrun Europe. As it was, it took eight centuries to expel a kindred people from Spain, nor is it the least remarkable of coincidences, that they were driven from their last stronghold in that country, in the very year which witnessed the discovery of America. We accept the omen. If the world then gained nothing politically, let it not be blind--let us not, of all others, be blind--to the fact, that aside from the gorgeousness of the Alhambra, and the glories of Oriental romance, we owe to the sciences, which the Moors brought with them to Europe, half the knowledge of that great navigator who first dreamed of our country. The revolutions of the world (a human name for the designs of Providence) are never without a mighty sequel. Who can now see the great northern potentate, already in contact with ourselves,t with his frontier constantly pushed farther and farther into the heart of Asia, and with the keys of the Dardanelles in his grasp, without believing that something more is designed than that a new horde of barbarians shall overturn the world? Would he venture too much who should dare to predict that Russia may, one day, receive an impulse from America, which, enlightening her, shall renovate the East; and that, though late and last, the old mother of science and art shall take back from united Europe and America, still nobler lights than those she gave them?
"Nos. . . . primus equis Oriens afflavit anhelis,
This is the true and only clew by which we can be guided towards the future, the belief in an advancing end commensurate with the preceding means. Men have not been, for six thousand years, battling for shadows. Shadowy as they are themselves, were such the case, or did they believe it to be so,
In the reign of Heraclius, "That prince," as Mr. Hallam elegantly says: "whose youth was crowned with the last victories over the successors of Artaxerxes, and whose age was clouded by the first calamities of Mahomedan invasion."-Hist. Mid. Ages.
Russia has a population of 50,000 inhabitants on the Northwest
human reason would revolt or despair. It is not for us to suppose that we are at the end of the great series of events, and that with our history will terminate the destinies of mankind. We are but a link in the chain,-lying midway between the two eternities. But we have dared to venture farther from the lessons and examples of those who have preceded us, than any other people. We have disdained the influence of others, and we have yet to abide our own upon ourselves. Though we have borrowed little from the past, we owe every thing to the present and the future.
The perpetuity of human institutions is a dream,—it would involve, by necessity, the foregone conclusion of the perfection of human opinions. The great discovery of modern politics, (the division of the legislature into houses,) cannot be traced farther back than Edward III. Sixty years earlier, county representation was unknown. England has not yet discovered a safe method of making that representation uniform. But there can be no more doubt that she will do so, than that we have done it already. We, therefore, care little for forms or systems. To-morrow will be wiser than to-day, and therein lies our hope. The progress is still onward and upward,--sometimes imperceptible, doubtless, and sometimes retarded; but always advancing. The moral every day encroaches upon the material influence. Europe is actually armed to keep the peace,-even the family wars, which still distract the Peninsula, are but contests between old and new principles. They do not present a simple question between two combatants for a crown-"on se lasse enfin de combattre pour des querelles dont le monde rit"— but between a crown on the one side, and a truth on the other. That is the real question; we have fought such battles ourselves. It is true that much evil attends the breaking up of a political system, but the wind which scatters a sheaf of grain, strews the ground, at the same time, with the seeds of a new and richer crop. Europeans tell us, that if the league, which now binds our own republic together, should be dissolved, which we admit to be very possible, we should fall into anarchy. It is not a contingency upon which we wish to dwell, because we are confident that it would produce serious evils, but we conceive that anarchy would be scarcely possible. We have twenty-four states ready organised for all purposes of internal administration, a people accustomed to self-government, and mutual sources of dependence which only a mad neglect of the most obvious interest could overlook. Our interest united us, and it has proved, thus far, too strong for fear or ambition. It must always bring us together again, not perhaps under circumstances so favourable as the present to our rapid development, but sufficiently so to preserve the essential interests of freedom.
With but a single political element, and that a democratic one, guarded by the state governments, it is hard to see whence convulsion is to spring. We can readily perceive a current in our history, we have said above, that we are in progress, in common, with the rest of the world; but we cannot discover that opposing obstacle which is to cause it to overflow. M. de Tocqueville has truly said, that there are no parties in the United States. To this very hour, the line between those of 1797 is so little appreciated, that were Hamilton to read the history of the present administration, democratic par excellence. as it is termed, he might almost term it ultra federal. It is so hybridous that the writer before us does not hesitate to say of its chief, that he is, fédéral par goût et républicain par calcul. Indeed, what administration of the present century has been otherwise? What the outs call power, the ins deem prerogative. The elder Adams made a federal war against France,-Mr. Madison a republican one against England. In the mean time, the two parties had changed places and arguments,-the same philippics answered for both. An honourable senator, not at present with those in power, but who was so in 1812, now finds them useful a third time.
It must be, then, in the over-expansion of the popular element that we are to seek the evils that are to overthrow our government. The peril can come from no other quarter. That man, however elevated, who should dare assume the power even to post a soldier at the gate of the palace, would make a suicide of his own greatness. There is a living monument to the memory of miscalculating ambition, within a day's hard riding of the capitol. The people will have no tribunes but of their own choosing. The idea of an aristocracy is absurd. What is to constitute it? Wealth, in a country where property is divided once in thirty years? Political distinction, where the people change their servants almost with every change of the moon? War? Frontier fighting is almost at an end; and we have no other field of glory. Family? Whose--" Tully's or your own?" Ten men against ten millions would be fearful odds. To us aristocracy is a legend, and nothing more; it sprang from the mail-clad barons of the dark ages, but no germ of feudality was ever imported hither. It will come to us only with the resumption of iron armour; but in the mean time the word is of wondrous use in the cant of party politics. The rostrum resounds with it, and we have known it borrowed to tag the sentences of reverend senators. The real aristocrat (we beg pardon of etymology) of America is he who would lord it over the people, not by force of a great name, great possessions, or the strong hand--resources of a by-gone age, but by the meaner, though surer, arts of the tribune-the
misuse of good institutions, the perversion of lawful ends, and all the practices of bad ambition. He is the demagogue whom you may see in the comitia showing his scars, or shouting in the senate-house, Appellamus ad populum-appellamus ad populum. He it is who alternately stimulates and restrains the people for his own ends, beginning by gaining their confidence, and ending by betraying it-like Lysander, eking out the lion's hide with the skin of the foe. He prates to them of liberty, by which he means license; and tells them to dictate their will to their servants in office, instead of awaiting the slow process of the constitution. He obstructs their way to the government in order to level the government to them. He counterfeits right to produce wrong, as savages lay green turf over a pitfall. He is the aristocrat of fraud.
If the respect and love of the American people for their government and laws are ever to be destroyed, it will be through such arts as these. Their fidelity will be sapped, not stormed. The reverence and affection which are felt for the authority of the constitution, diminish or increase with the diminution or increase of the dignity and purity of those who administer it. The choice of influences is always with those in power. If they do their duty to honour and conscience, there is no danger of the consequences. Posterity will right those to whom the present is unjust. We trust much to the virtue and mind of our countrymen. They are proof, as they have heretofore shown, against the violence of power-they are now undergoing the more dangerous ordeal of its flattery. Should they survive the test unharmed, the future will be almost cloudless. Should the issue be disastrous they will be the sufferers, but liberty is sure of a resurrection. We have watched the serious portents of commotion in the tumults of the last two years, and at times we have almost apprehended the rush of a wild and universal riot over the country to the overthrow of all true freedom. Yet have those portents left us not altogether without exultation, for they have discovered to us that the love of order is yet predominant, and that the turbulent element has thus far been controlled, if it cannot be extinguished, by the coolness of patriotism, and the severe majesty of the laws. The volcano is yet ribbed in by the snows of Ætna
"Et, quamvis nimio fervens exuberet æstu,
Scit nivibus servare fidem; fumoque fideli
ART. VIII.—1. Hernani, ou l'Honneur Castillan. de Lorme. 3. Angelo, Tyran de Padoue. Troisième edition. Drames. Par Victor Hugo. Paris, 1835.
Since what the author of the pieces above named has been pleased to call the "admirable revolution of 1830," a remarkable change has taken place in the character of the popular literature of France; of that most dependent for its existence upon the varying taste of the populace-novels and dramatic works particularly the latter. That the political vicissitudes which agitated the nation and the world, from the reign of Louis XIV to the restoration of the Bourbons, were without a corresponding effect produced immediately upon the lighter class of letters is undeniable; though we shall not hold ourselves bound to account for a fact not less singular than certain. Perhaps the chief cause of the phenomenon may be that the minds of men were too much absorbed in the stupendous scenes enacting on the great theatre of life, during that eventful century, to heed the exhibition of the passions or follies of men on a more limited scale. After the return of the exiled sovereigns to the throne, in the state of tranquillity and increased freedom of the press, enjoyed by the French, the influence of the same mutable spirit which had been already at work in every department of social life, began to be felt in literature; but it was not until the reign of Louis Philippe, that the advocates of the liberal system broke forth into unrestrained freedom, and boldly threw off even the pretence of respect for the usages of the old school. The liberty so newly obtained, soon ran into licentiousness. The writers fancied that, in freeing themselves from the yoke of the everlasting unities, they were entitled to dismiss all regard for the decencies of life; and that the proper reverse for the formality and antiquated stiffness of the adherents to the classic system, was the extravagant and mischievous license in which they indulged. Within the last three or four years, the romantic writers, or freethinkers as they might be termed, at the head of whom are Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas, have fully established their supremacy over the popular mind. That they have obtained this influence by a degree of extravagance and immorality unparalleled in the preceding history of the drama, and the temporary success of which is an appalling comment upon the state of morals and taste among the people that encourage such productions, may be proved by an examination of their works.
Victor Hugo pays homage to the genius of Shakspeare, by acknowledging that he has reached the utmost perfection of