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overturned--if not successful, then a despotism would be raised upon the ruins of a constitutional monarchy. “One man,” says Mr. Bulwer, “ wished to be an emperor among emperors, and he fell; for he was naturally the popular chief among a people of soldiers. Another man wished to be an absolute monarch over a nation which had received him as its constitutional king, and he fell; for his charter was-his crown.”
The character of Louis Philippe, although not eminently great, in many respects qualifies him for the position which he occupies. Sagacious in the cabinet, he secures the respect of his ministers. Brave in the field--undaunted in the hour of danger, he commands the respect of the people.
That alone, which will stay the raging conflict between old habits and new opinions, we repeat, is time--and time will do this, unless some sudden shock shall convulse the government, and arrest the peaceful policy it is now pursuing. A gradual effort to improve the condition, and not a violent attempt to alter the character, of the people is the true system. “ There is no foundation for our affairs in desperate courses. Public, as well as private life, has an usurious policy, which, to satisfy the emergencies of the instant, borrows too largely from the times that will come.
"Let all ministers beware of this policy! it saves for the moment, but it ruins in the end; and is equally unworthy of a people who love freedom, and of a monarchy which, with the aid of time and Providence, is well calculated to couple liberty with order."
ART. VI.--Constitution of the Trades' Union of the City and
County of Philadelphia, with the By-Laws and names of Trades. Instituted March, 1834. Philadelphia, 1835.
Each age reproduces the absurdities of its predecessors. Men go to the school of experience, (the only school, says Burke, at which they will learn any thing, but their wisdom drops with them into the grave, and their sons never think of searching for it there. The lessons which posterity learns of the past are viewed as texts for new commentaries, in which scribes and scholiasts may suggest conjectural readings, and speculate in versions and parallels. If there were one single political truth on the earth which mankind (even civilized mankind) had agreed to place beyond the reach of disputation--if there
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were an era or a character in history about which historians were unanimous, we would hail it, not as the foundation on which hope might rest, for hope has a mightier resting-place, but as the visible point of support for the lever, which must one day move the old world of folly and discontent. Philosophy must keep her eye on heaven, in order not to be sickened with the recklessness with which men disregard their acquisitions and their materials for happiness, and the restlessness with which they struggle for the distant and the possible. Laws, natural, social and divine, radiate on them from above, while they grovel after abstract rights and fancied privileges, like the miser in the allegory raking in the dung-heap, unmindful of the golden crown within his reach.
We do not deny that all the agitation and collision, the processes and the efforts of society, may produce out of violence and error both peace and light. We are bold assertors of the salutary progress of human affairs, as we are firm believers in it. It is the first and most consolatory result of our trust in an overruling Providence. We daily look to that principle with intense gratitude and earnest hope. We rejoice that we live where we do and when we do, because we are satisfied that as Americans, surrounded by the testimony of a rising world to the capacities and prosperity of human kind, we are better enabled to note and mark the advancement of our species than if our vision were obscured by the extremes and exaggerations of an old community. But we are not now considering the broad question of human destiny; we are arguing about the impediments and obstacles which lie in its path. We are looking less at the triumphal car than at the cost of the victory which the pageant' announces. We are counting the wrecks that lie between us and the smiling scene on the other side of an intervening ocean-wrecks which owe their misfortune to the storm of human passion and the fatal confidence of human pilotage. Every new evidence of infirmity, every new form of error, (and error is Protean,) every successful appeal to the influence of falsehood, though it touches but the verge and margin of society, may in time change its form and aspect. Truth then retreats to her well--Faith ascends to heavenJustice leaves her last foot-print in remote and primitive districts--extrema terris vestigia facit—and men begin, for the hundredth time, the old strife for repose, as if their political mythology demanded a periodical sacrifice for peace."
Not the least lamentable reflection to the philanthropist, is that which teaches him that the elevation of human condition is no sure guarantee for contentment. The great problem would be solved if, in increasing man's political rights and augmenting his physical comforts, he could be furnished with a right standard for the regulation of his desires. His condition would then be the index of a clear and glorious future. It would be impossible to impede his progress. We repel with all our energy the stagnant doctrine of some foreign politicians, that he is the happiest man who is driven by necessity, or who is apathetically content to follow his ancestors, in one mill-horse circle of labour and food, all his days; but we lament that when taken out of that circle, and placed in a higher and better sphere, he should uniformly leave behind him that contented mind which, if it had no aspirations, had at least few regrets. Ignorance is never bliss in a lofty view of the ends of creation, but there is a half-enlightened, half-matured wisdom, which knows too much and too little—too much for society, too little for its possessor. In such wisdom there is not only folly but danger.
Legislators are nonplussed by this anomaly in the moral man; they cannot count upon the selfish principle. Not content with plenty, he craves power. They guard his rights, build up a bulwark around his liberties, fence in his possessions, and enlighten his mind; and the first use he makes of his new acquisitions is to encroach upon those of his neighbours. He cannot comprehend the difference between social rights and political conventions. He levels them all only to find them grow up again according to a natural order, which stubbornly refuses to yield to the best theory in the universe. The first day of calm sees Industry beating his sword into a ploughshare, whose earliest furrow begins a new line of distinction and reproduces that everlasting separation of orders, which alone can sustain communities, whether monarchical or republican—the separation between the doers and the dreamers of life. It has ever been so. The moment that labour is looked upon as an unnatural condition, that moment its advantages are desired without its inconveniences. An envious glance is cast towards those who have inherited or acquired its rewards. Experiments are tried with the primeval curse. Alchymy peers into the crucible for gold, and wastes over it the health and strength that might have made the projector rich. Still toil accompanies and death terminates life. No jugglery can efface either branch of the sentence. Generation after generation learns this for itself, and writes it on marble, as the great lawgiver did his statutes, high up above the deluge, as a record for eternity; when anon comes a new sciolist, with a prism or a proverb, to enlighten or illustrate his era. The crowd gazes, wonders, believes; the bubble rises, floats and bursts; plectuntur Achivi—the people are the victims; and another chapter is added to the traditions of human credulity and suffering.
While men are thus lashed around the old circle, from fear to exertion, and from exertion to despondency,“goading themselves when others do not goad," cheated by the designing while they are free, and awed by the powerful when they are slaves—their own worst enemies always-knowledge can execute but half her mission. “ The brighter the light, the deeper the shadow," says the great German, and so it must ever be if obstacles are interposed between the source and the object of light. Perverted truth leads to the most dangerous errors. The human race has been compelled to rebel so long against injustice and force, that it is always on the watch for an enemy. Freedom and security do not satisfy it, (nor is it strange that they should not,) without an incessant invocation of new and extreme sanctions. We sincerely believe that during the reign of open violence, when every man was an Ishmael in the wilderness, the human mind was scarcely more pregnant with apprehension than it is at present. The dangerous spirits, the factious, the designing and the dark, know this well enough when they apply stimulants to a disease which requires a mild and soothing treatment. Like unfaithful menials, they conjure up imaginary ghosts to frighten unquiet children. They abuse terms, they pervert history, they dress up the effigies of old names, they decry knowledge and art, and pander to bad and unwholesome influences. They place the passions between the light of the laws and the public tranquillity. They are agitators by trade; men who, like the spies and informers of despotic governments, live upon denunciation and falsehood ; and who style themselves, in the fever of revolution, like Camille Desmoulins, attorneys-general of the lamp-post. The worst enemies of popular rights are the professional trumpeters of popular privileges. In a government of laws there can be no privileges, save such as those laws confer, and they in receiving legal sanction become rights. Neither have the people reserved any power ; they have merged it in the laws-they have even prescribed the very method whereby it should be resumed if necessary. Power resides in the representatives of authority. There is more power (in the proper acceptation of the term,) in a constable's staff, than in the whole physical strength of the United States. That body without a soul, that rudis indigestaque moles, is capable of nothing, save the exercise of brute force. The moment it is up and in action in any other than the prescribed form, that moment it ceases to be the object of any man's allegiance, of any man's trust. It becomes a shadow on a cloud-"one thunder-word,” one moral convulsion, one elemental struggle may sweep it quite away.
Have we been dealing in abstractions? If we have, abstractions are the experimental tests of morals. It is well, moreover, sometimes to set them forth, like points of light on a dark path, were it but to stand at gaze at them, like Claudian's Fauns “ wondering at the stars." But we are now bent upon the more serious business of their application. Our own 'country, albeit we abate no jot of heart or hope in her progress and destinies, has problems enough for philosophy and patriotism. It is impossible not to see in the recent fermentation of American society something more remote and deeper seated than the operation of mere physical causes. The progress of power, the profligacy of party, the rude license of pen and tongue, before which nothing has remained sacred, and the diligent appeals to caste, (that odious old cry of poor against rich which demagogues have ever found so potent a destroyer of happiness,) are producing their certain effects. Studied or not, there has been in our recent history a successful array of passion against experience, a powerful and overwhelming combination of exciting influences against national repose and individual contentment. Let those who have aroused that passion and invoked those influences look to it, lest they are found in that class of pseudo-magicians who, like the servant in Apuleius, know but one half the secret; who can brutify and disguise humanity, but who are without the potential charm to redeem it. Their paper laws will be scattered to the winds, if men find, as they have lately seemed to imagine, that they may be violated at the dictates of caprice or convenience. Opinion, even where a material force exists to back it, is the soul of civilization and order ; how much more so when it stands alone, the guardian as well as the creator of the laws. Break down the ideal majesty, the uncrowned, unsceptred, but mystic and awful royalty of that opinion, and the only choice left is between anarchy and the bayonet. Corrupt it, and you substitute an irregular, fluctuating will, for the rule of reason and right. Degrade it, and a thousand pretenders will rise in its place, each more fantastic and more shadowy than its predecessor. Midnight alarms, dwellings rifled, and citizens driven into exile or gibbeted in the market place, are wretched yet obvious results of this corruption and degradation of opinion; of an upstart and bastard authority which ventures to sit in judgment on the laws themselves, and dares to usurp functions and defy forms which lie at the very foundation of individual security, and the tranquillity of the republic. It is the Jacobinism of the press and the rostrum, carried out into practice. If men will sow dragons' teeth, they must expect the crop of Cadmus, without his good fortune. Sowing salt is not much better. No society can live in a perpetual fever. “Function is smothered in surmise” by incessant agitation, and the public