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spectators of a policy menacing their own safety and independence; and to this effect the Governments of those two States are pledged to each other and to Europe.

If the contest were to be altogether of this simple character, its issue might be predicted with greater confidence. If it were the Northeastern alliance in support of arbitrary power, against a Southwestern in defence of liberty, the result would be a simpler object of hope or fear, and a matter of easier calculation. But while the contest, in its very nature, threatens to draw in nearly all the States of Europe, there is danger that it will assume, in every State, the added horrors of a civil war. The elements of the contest are not concentrated on ihe two sides of a line; they are every where diffused. Each of the principles of this political Manicheism is possessed of a potent ubiquity; or if we cannot hope that the liberal principle has champions in the realms of absolutism, we must fear that the arbitrary principle has them openly combatting or secretly plotting in the camps and fortresses of liberty.

There is, therefore, to be a struggle of portentous vehemence, and uncertain fortune, in almost every State of Europe, at least in every State, in whose political condition we feel a lively interest.

It would require a large volume, written from the most extensive collection of facts, many of which cannot be known on this side of the water, even to those who take great pains to inform themselves, to set forth the nature and prospects of this contest in each European State. Each has its peculiar grievances, its odious institutions, its oppressive laws, its suffering condition, its unpopular men, its united or divided champions, its able or feeble leaders. In one country the laws are iniquitous, but the administration humane; the powers of the Government despotic, its discretion boundless, but its temper paternal. In another, the class, which by means of education, intelligence, and a competent stake in the community, is well calculated to lead a popular movement, finds a foe in the abjectness of the mass, as dangerous and as powerful, as in the tyranny of the Government. This is the case in Spain and Portugal. No where is there a worse Government, no where are there better or firmer patriots; but the people love their chains. There is throughout Europe a general suffering, a general uneasiness, a general excitement; but the causes of dissatisfaction, the means of giving effect to popular opinion, and the hopes of relief, are as various as the circumstances in which the different political communities are placed.

But, in saying this, we do not intend to say that there is not one great principle in the contest. Though it is a war of interests,—a war in each community of local grievance and disaffection, it is also the great war of opinion, which was rightly characterized by Mr. Canning as the struggle between the aristocratic and the democratic principle. This circumstance presents at once the most hopeful and the most alarming features of the contest. This consideration makes it a common cause on each side. This unites Governments, which have nothing else in common; and this excites sympathy between those whose peculiar evils may be such as almost to forbid union of feeling or action. Thus, if we contemplated merely the condition of the peasantry of Poland, in relation to the territorial nobility of that country, a condition of strict servitude, we could find no very strong reason for the sympathy which has been expressed in their struggle, by the friends of liberty in France and throughout the civilized world. But when we reflect, that it is the unavoidable effect of the Russian domination, to extinguish in Poland that pride of national character, which is the source of all national improvement, and that this domination began, and has been perpetuated by a policy, which makes a crime of patriotism, and turns all the noble and pure feelings, which the patriotic principle implies, into treason, we see a rational ground for the sympathy which the friends of freedom every where seel and express for this unhappy race. If we farther reflect, that the same power, which crushes revolutionary Poland, is actuated by the saine principle and moved by the same interests to crush revolutionary France; and that the archives of the late. Government in Warsaw contain the documents, which prove, that movements to that end were in contemplation, we feel that France would be justified in acting, as well as feeling, in concert with the Poles. When our own Lafayette, in the French Chamber of Deputies, gave countenance to the idea, that France ought to take a part in the struggle between Russia and Poland, it was regarded, by the over-prudent, as an indiscreet and dangerous sentiment. We doubt not the veteran understood well the ground on which he trod; and most amply has he been borne out by the cool sneer of him who passed the Balkan, "That the revolution of Poland had not even the merit of being well-timed, for it sound Russia actually embodying a force to put down the rebels in Belgium and France."

But what is this war of opinion; what are the real grounds of a contest between the aristocratic and democratic principles ? What do we mean by these principles? Are they mere phrases, -mere cant; or are they words of momentous significance?

They are words of appalling significance. Whatever be the historical origin of political communities, their object, the only object for which they are considered, in the eye of reason, as

, having been created, or as entitled to be respected and preserved, is the welfare of their members,—of the greatest possible majority of their members. There was a time in the history of the world, when it came to be believed, that the welfare of the greatest possible majority of the people required, that the civil government should be vested in certain individuals, emperors, kings, and princes, and transmitted in their families. But as it must at all times, and at every stage of civilization, have been extremely difficult to inculcate and keep up this belief, it was usual to dispense with it, as the actual foundation of government, which was theoretically put upon the ground of divine right, and practically on the right of the strongest. The main dependence was placed on the latter; and it became in fact a maxim of the English law, that the sovereign de facto was entitled to allegiance; which, taking the two principles together, was but another form of stating the irreverent proposition of Frederic the Great, who said, that he had observed, that the Lord was always the ally of the strongest party. But men are wonderfully swayed by prejudices early imbibed, -particularly by all such as can be made to connect themselves with religious faith ; and no mean success attended the efforts of the sivil and ecclesiastical rulers of the world, (whose interest was one,) to inculcate a sacred reverence for Government, an awful submission to power, which was carried in former days to utter prostration of self-respect and personal independence. While the Government was supported and upheld on these principles, its acts proved in all countries, that whatever the real wishes of the rulers might be, the happiness of the people was not the actual result of the whole system. On the contrary, the people were habitually oppressed with taxes and wars, having no other design than to settle the personal quarrels of their rulers; and as a necessary consequence of misgovernment, were kept ignorant and poor.

This was a state of things, of course, that could not stand against the first shock of any considerable effort of awakened


reason; one sound and popular treatise, from a bold and enlightened mind, could have overturned it at once. Luther, or Calvin, or Erasmus, could have overthrown it, in one appeal to the good sense and obvious interest of mankind. But the system was ancient, and consisted of many parts. It was political and ecclesiastical; and those who saw the defects of one part of the system, were blinded to the evils of the other, and thus clung to both. The reformation in religion was treason to the monarchy. The disaffected nobles and princes in France, the Condés and the Colignis, felt the indignities, which they suffered from the interference of Italian priests in a Government, which they claimed a right to monopolize themselves. They therefore joined the Protestant party in religion, but without any notions of political reform. On the same principle, Henry IV. becaine a Catholic, in order to obtain a peaceable possession of the sceptre; and in this step he was countenanced by the conscientious and Protestant Duke of Sully, as he was imitated in the next century by the illustrious Turenne.

But not only were Church and State so mingled, that political and religious prejudices acted in aid of each other ; but the entire frame-work of society was so artfully constructed, that the great and leading abuse of the organization of the Government was copied and perpetuated down to the lowest ranks in the community. The original plan of the feudal system produced this effect. It was a series of successive dependencies. The great barons who, as holding of the crown, were vassals, became lords, in reference to their dependent feudataries; and these exacted with interest, from their retainers, the deference and self-sacrifice paid by themselves to their superiors. The creation of an hereditary nobility, clothed with greater or less power in the government and engrossing a very large portion of the landed property, established in every little manor a miniature abuse, copied from the great primal evil of the arbitrary government of the State. And beyond this, the principle of primogeniture carried into every private family, whose possessions were considerable enough for its application, the same 'enormous faith of many made for one.' So all-pervading, so

' universal was this abusive system, so closely was it interwoven with all the relations of life, that no doubt it was regarded, nay is regarded by those for whose benefit it exists, as the natural order of things. The State was regulated, the Church was

VOL. XXXIII.-NO. 72. 21


organized, the army was commanded, justice administered, property held and transmitted, on this principle. Men were born to it, and lived under it, and drew the prizes and the blanks of life on no other principles. It enlisted one great portion of the world on the side of their interest, in its support ; and it laid upon the rest the hand of power, and what was far more terrific and effective, the leaden mace of their own ignorance. It was to the full as strong in the bigotry of its victims as in the craft of its chiefs. This was its strong hold; men gloried in being trained up to fight the battles of their own slavery. In the noble language of Lucan, they endured more, to decide whether Pompey or Cæsar should be the tyrant, than it would have been worth to have neither :

Proventu scelerum quærunt, uter imperet urbi ?
Vix tanti fuerat civilia bella moveri

Ut neuter. Finally, to all the strength of all the other abusive principles on which the old system rested, has been added, in each successive generation, the growing strength of habit. No man, in the Catholic Church, can take the first degrees of Saintship, under a century, nor be fully canonized under two. It requires a hundred years to raise human weakness to beatific purity ;-but the hundred years, if circumstances are favorable, will do it. What subsists to-day by violence, continues to-morrow by acquiescence, and is perpetuated by tradition ; till at last the hoary abuse shakes the grey hairs of antiquity at us, and gives itself out as the wisdom of ages. Thus the clearest dictates of reason are made to yield to a long succession of follies. And this is the foundation of the aristocratic system at the present day. Its strong hold, with all those not immediately interested in it, is the reverence of antiquity.

By this system we mean the aggregate of all the institutions which a people, supposing them to be virtuous and well informed, and meeting together free from all prejudices, to organize themselves into a political community, and capable of foreseeing consequences, would reject, as not tending to promote the greatest happiness of the greatest number. We will assume that a people ihus assembling would decide, that it was best to have an efficient civil government; composed of the legislative, executive, and judicial departments; that they would provide for the choice of the man, whom the majority should

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