« IndietroContinua »
that these treaties were in his opinion unconstitutional, and thus claiming a right which could only be exercised, if at all, by the Supreme Court, he has exhibited, perhaps, the first unequivocal example of an illegal assumption of power by a President to be found in our history." It is singular and surprising, that the same persons, who habitually express the strongest alarm and jealousy respecting a tendency to encroachment by any of the departments of the Federal Government, should on this occasion have abetted General Jackson in his unwarrantable pretension.
We shall not, however, at present, pursue this subject any further.
We conclude with repeating the hope which we have already expressed, that the case will be presented anew to the Supreme Court in such a form, that it may be decided on its merits. Such a decision, if given at the suit of an individual, would still leave the Cherokee community unprotected in the rights which they possess as such, and would not wipe off from the national escutcheon the foul stain that now rests upon it of a breach of the public faith. It would, probably, however,
, involve an opinion on the constitutionality of the laws of Georgia, which would shake the basis of the President's objections to the treaties, and might induce him to reconsider his determination not to enforce them. Should he finally persist in his present course, we trust that there is enough of intelligence and virtue remaining in Congress, or in the body of the people, to show him that his duties and their plighted faith are not to be trifled with forever with impunity. We say not this from any feeling of party animosity.
We respect the President as the person invested by the confidence of the nation with the Chief Magistracy of this great republic, and should rejoice to be able to give to his measures the tribute of our approbation. But when, as in this case, the honor and interest of the country are at stake, the truth must be told. We are bound to these children of the forest by solemn obligations. A violation of them would disgrace us forever. To use the energetic language of the President himself on another occasion, they must be fulfilled.
VOL. XXXIII.-NO. 72. 20
Art. VII.-The Prospect of Reform in Europe.
Revue Encyclopedique. Paris. 1830. It has become a trite remark, that we live in an age of most extraordinary events. It is true, that men are prone to magnify the importance of the events, with which they are themselves connected, either as witnesses or actors. But after all due allowance is made for this exaggeration, we cannot but feel that the history of the civilized world, since the year 1775, has been marked with the most wonderful incidents. How important these incidents are, in all their consequences, we cannot yet say. We behold already the developement of momentous events, drawn along by obvious connexion in the train of the great revolution, of which the first scenes were performed on this side of the Atlantic ; but
; of which the subsequent acts, with fearful disregard of the unities of time and of place, bave been brought out on other continents, in disconnected societies of men, and after the original actors had passed from the stage. Much more, of which we can have no conception, will no doubt follow, in its appointed time and place.
It is not strange that huinan sagacity is so often at fault in foreseeing the great revolutions in the fate of nations, for the life of man is too short to measure them. We can fully comprehend but a small part even of contemporary movements.
Of what is passing before our eyes, many of the secret springs are hidden from our observation ; and of other parts what we
1 perhaps understand may be wholly misapprehended by spectators at a distance. But of the entire combination, of which we ourselves and the generation to which we belong form a part, ---whether mean or significant,—the original causes run back to a period antecedent to our observation, and the remote effects are to be developed long after our race is run. Successive generations of men, as well as the individuals that compose them, are social,--are parts of a whole; to speak in the language of science, they are complements to each other. Rousseau maintained, that the family was the only society directly constituted by nature. This is true only in a very limited sense. Looking to the whole nature of man, moral and intellectual, as well as physical, his social character, instead
of being confined to the limits of the family, extends not merely to the community, of which he is a member, and to the general class of nations, to which that community belongs, but to the past and future generations, whose public fortunes are connected with the present by the chain of cause and effect.
This is not mere speculation. Every volume of civil history makes us acquainted with well-defined national eras, marked by events succeeding each other in the obvious train of cause and effect, and extending through the line of many generations. It requires no straining of ingenuity to take up the English bistory with James I. of England, and show that in his reign, a movement commenced, distinctly marked in its character, and easily discriminated from the earlier incidents in the history of the British Constitution,—which has not yet wholly run out, though seemingly near its term. The French Revolution was thought to have reached its close, when Louis XVIII. was restored, and Napoleon was banished to Elba. perceive, that all that has hitherto passed, great and monentous as it is, has been but preliminary to events of still more awakening importance, the intelligence of which is crowding upon us by every arrival from Europe. On the general character and probable issue of these and other occurrences, which have taken place in Europe during the past year, we propose in the present article to make some desultory remarks.
No one can be insensible to the uncertainty of all speculation on these events, which assumes to foretell their issue. It is like gazing on the western sky at sun-set. We are amazed at the stupendous masses towering up from the horizon, and blazing in the light of the departed sun. We turn away for a moment, to call the attention of a friend to the spectacle ; and when we look again, the unutterable splendors have faded, the cloudy battlements have toppled down, and nothing is to be seen, but a sombre tract of deepening shadows. Europe, according to the last intelligence, seems on the eve of a general war; but the next vessel that arrives may inform us that some of the parties arming for the contest have been already trampled into the dust. We see France, Belgium, Holland, Italy, Austria, Poland, and Russia, already in arms or arming ; Prussia bristling with bayonets on either frontier; several of the smaller German principalities in revolt; Spain and Portugal, in Heaven knows what state of disorganization, and England in the process of a fundamental change in her Constitution; to say nothing of Greece, Turkey, and Barbary, whose condition is such, as at any other time would have been thought to contain the elements of discord between all the great Powers.
At the very moment when we write the words, the insurrection may have been crushed in Poland, without having so much as retarded the wheels of the great military Juggernaut, on his march toward Belgium. The plains of Italy may already have been overrun by squadrons of horse from Hungary and Transylvania. Lord Grey's plan of reform may have been voted down, and the Duke of Wellington have returned to the head of the British Government; and if all this has happened, Charles X. may be on the road to Paris. But we hold it much more probable, that a movement has commenced, to be marked no doubt by great vicissitudes, to prosper and to be retarded; to be alternately the object of anxiety, admiration, fear, and hope ; to be hailed with rapture, to be misrepresented, to be vilified; but destined to go on, and unfold a mighty train of the most momentous, and as we firmly trust, the most auspicious consequences.
In a word, it would seem that the war of opinion is at length begun, which in 1823 and 1826 was predicted by Mr. Canning, in language so emphatic; with a prophetic grasp of some of the characters of this war, and deep insensibility to others. On occasion of despatching an army to Portugal in 1826, that distinguished statesinan, in one of the boldest speeches that ever dropped from the lips of man, thus expressed himself :
* It will be recollected, that when some years ago, I took the liberty of adverting to a topic of this nature, when it was referred to in this house, with respect to the position of this country at the present time, I then stated that our position was not merely one of neutrality between contending nations, but between contending principles and opinions; that it was a position of neutrality, which alone preserved the balance of power, the maintenance of which, I believed necessary to the safety and welfare of Europe. Nearly four years, or rather three years and a half of experience, have confirmed and not altered the opinions then declared ; and I still fear that the next war in Europe, if it should spread beyond the narrow compass of Portugal and Spain, will be a war of the most tremendous nature, because it will be a war of conflicting opinions; and I know that if the interests and honor of this country should oblige us to enter into it, as I trust we shall always do with a firm desire to mitigate rather than exasperate, to contend
with arms and not with opinions; yet I know that this country could not avoid seeing ranked under her banners all the restless, and all the dissatisfied, whether with cause or without cause, of every nation with which she might be placed at variance.' This tremendous war, if not actually begun, would
seem very , near at hand. The governments and nations of Europe are yet pausing, for a moment aghast ;-like the foremost in the immense droves of wild animals in our western prairies, on the brink of the precipice toward which they have been driven; but the niomentum acquired is too great,
from behind is too mighty to be restrained, and they must take the chances of the awful leap.
This war, then, like that of our revolution, is a war of opinion; not a war springing from alliances or rival pretensions of sovereigns, family compacts, or reasons of state as estimated by Governments. The people of Poland are of opinion, that their country was iniquitously partitioned sixty years ago, and is oppressively governed by a foreign power at the present day; and they are fighting for independence. The people of different parts of Italy are of opinion, that they are miserably misruled by their papal, ducal, and imperial governors, and they desire a union of their provinces into one independent national organization, Italian in character, spirit, and interests. The Belgians are of opinion, that they should be more prosperous and happier in a voluntary union with a people of kindred language, faith, and manners, than in a compulsory union with a people differing from them in all these respects. In most, perhaps all of the German States, the people are of opinion, that they are fit for popular institutions; and that the charters of free Government promised them in 1814 have been too long delayed. Russia and Austria are of the contrary opinion; and say nay on these great questions of European reform. Russia has already laid her hand upon Poland, and has perhaps crushed her to the dust. The armies of Austria liave penetrated into the Ecclesiastical State, without meeting an effectual resistance; and it seems to be reserved for the plains of Belgium to be again the arena of a great contest between the powers of Europe. If Russia, and Austria, and Prussia undertake to constrain the people of Belgium to submit to a government not of their own choice, it is impossible that France, and eventually England, should remain passive