« AnteriorContinuar »
Old World have been overrun with bankruptcies, conspiracies, rebellions, and Revolutions; and are at this moment trembling in the consciousness of their insecurity, and vainly endeavoring to repress irrepressible discontents, by confederated violence and terror.
2. FALSE NOTIONS OF GOVERNMENT VIGOR.-Rev. Sydney Smith.
I CANNOT describe the horror and disgust which I felt at hearing Mr. Perceval call upon the then Ministry for measures of vigor in Ireland. If I lived at Hampstead upon stewed meats and claret,—if I walked to church, every Sunday, before eleven young gentlemen of my own begetting, with their faces washed, and their hair pleasingly combed, if the Almighty had blessed me with every earthly comfort, -how awfully would I pause before I sent for the flame and the sword over the cabins of the poor, brave, generous, open-hearted peasants of Ireland!
How easy it is to shed human blood; how easy it is to persuade ourselves that it is our duty to do so, and that the decision has cost us a severe struggle; how much, in all ages, have wounds and shrieks and tears been the cheap and vulgar resources of the rulers of mankind; how difficult and how noble it is to govern in kindness, and to found an empire upon the everlasting basis of justice and affection! But what do men call vigor? To let loose hussars, and to bring up artillery, to govern with lighted matches, and to cut, and push, and prime, I call this, not vigor, but the sloth of cruelty and ignorance. The vigor I love consists in finding out wherein subjects are aggrieved, in relieving them, in studying the temper and genius of a People, in consulting their prejudices, in selecting proper persons to lead and manage them, in the laborious, watchful, and difficult task of increasing public happiness, by allaying each particular discontent. In this way only will Ireland ever be subdued. But this, in the eyes of Mr. Perceval, is imbecility and meanness; - houses are not broken open, women are not insulted, the People seem all to be happy, they are not ridden over by horses, and cut by whips. Do you call this vigor? Is this Government?
3. REJECTION OF THE REFORM BILL, 1831. — Rev. Sydney Smith.
MR. CHAIRMAN, I feel most deeply the rejection of the Reform Bill by the Lords, because, by putting the two Houses of Parliament in collision with each other, it will impede the public business, and diminish the public prosperity. I feel it as a churchman, because I cannot but blush to see so many dignitaries of the Church arrayed against the wishes and happiness of the People. I feel it, more than all, because I believe it will sow the seeds of deadly hatred between the aristocracy and the great mass of the People. The loss of the Bill I do not feel, and for the best of all possible reasons, because I have not the slightest idea that it is lost. I have no more doubt, before
the expiration of the winter, that this Bill will pass, than I have that the annual tax bills will pass; and greater certainty than this no man can have, for Franklin tells us there are but two things certain in this world, death and taxes. As for the possibility of the House of Lords preventing, ere long, a reform of Parliament, I hold it to be the most absurd notion that ever entered into human imagination. I do not mean to be disrespectful; but the attempt of the Lords to stop the progress of reform reminds me very forcibly of the great storm of Sidmouth, and of the conduct of the excellent Mrs. Partington on that occasion. In the winter of 1824, there set in a great flood upon that town; the tide rose to an incredible height; the waves rushed in upon the houses, and everything was threatened with destruction. In the midst of this sublime and terrible storm, Dame Partington, who lived upon the beach, was seen at the door of her house, with mop and pattens, trundling her mop, squeezing out the sea-water, and vigorously pushing away the Atlantic Ocean! The Atlantic was roused; Mrs. Partington's spirit was up; but I need not tell you that the contest was unequal. The Atlantic Ocean beat Mrs. Partington. She was excellent at a slop, or a puddle, but she should not have meddled with a tempest.
Gentlemen, be at your ease, Mrs. Partington.
be quiet and steady. You will beat
4. ADDRESS TO THE YOUNG MEN OF ITALY.-Joseph Mazzini.
The following extract, translated from the Italian, is from an impassioned Address, delivered by Mazzini, at Milan, on the 25th of July, 1848, at the request of a National Association, on the occasion of a solemn commemoration of the death of the brothers Bandiéra, and their fellowmartyrs, at Cosenza.
WHEN I was commissioned by you, young men, to proffer in this temple a few words consecrated to the memory of the brothers Bandiéra, and their fellow-martyrs at Cosenza, I thought that some one of those who heard me might perhaps exclaim, with noble indignation, "Why thus lament over the dead? The martyrs of liberty are only worthily honored by winning the battle they have begun. Cosenza, the land where they fell, is enslaved; Venice, the city of their birth, is begirt with strangers. Let us emancipate them; and, until that moment, let no words pass our lips, save those of war." But another thought arose, and suggested to me, Why have we not conquered? Why is it that, whilst our countrymen are fighting for independence in the North of Italy, liberty is perishing in the South? Why is it that a war which should have sprung to the Alps with the bound of a lion has dragged itself along for four months with the slow, uncertain motion of the scorpion surrounded by the circle of fire? How has the rapid and powerful intuition of a People newly arisen to life been converted into the weary, helpless effort of the sick man, turning from side to side?
Ah! had we all arisen in the sanctity of the idea for which our martyrs died; had the holy standard of their faith preceded our youth
to battle; had we made of our every thought an action, and of our every action a thought; had we learned from them that liberty and independence are one; we should not now have war, but victory! Cosenza would not be compelled to venerate the memory of her martyrs in secret, nor Venice be restrained from honoring them with a monument; and we, here gathered together, might gladly invoke those sacred names, without uncertainty as to our future destiny, or a cloud of sadness on our brows; and might say to those precursor souls, "Rejoice, for your spirit is incarnate in your brethren, and they are worthy of you." Could Attilio and Emilio Bandiéra, and their fellow-martyrs, now arise from the grave and speak to you, they would, believe me, address you, though with a power very different from that given to me, in counsel not unlike that which now I utter.
Love! Love is the flight of the soul towards God; towards the great, the sublime, and the beautiful, which are the shadow of God upon earth. Love your family; the partner of your life; those around you, ready to share your joys and sorrows; the dead, who were dear to you, and to whom you were dear. Love your country. It is your name, your glory, your sign among the Peoples. Give to it your thought, your counsel, your blood. You are twenty-four millions of men, endowed with active, splendid faculties; with a tradition of glory, the envy of the Nations of Europe; an immense future is before you, your eyes are raised to the loveliest Heaven, and around you smiles the loveliest land in Europe; you are encircled by the Alps and the sea, boundaries marked out by the finger of God for a people of giants. And you must be such, or nothing. Let not a man of that twenty-four millions remain excluded from the fraternal bond which shall join you together; let not a look be raised to that Heaven, which is not that of a free man. Love humanity. You can only ascertain your own mission from the aim placed by God before humanity at large. Beyond the Alps, beyond the sea, are other Peoples, now fighting, or preparing to fight, the holy fight of independence, of nationality, of liberty; other Peoples striving by different routes to reach the same goal. Unite with them, they will unite with you.
And love, young men, love and reverence the Ideal; it is the country of the spirit, the city of the soul, in which all are brethren who believe in the inviolability of thought, and in the dignity of our immortal natures. From that high sphere spring the principles which alone can redeem the Peoples. Love enthusiasm, the pure dreams of the virgin soul, and the lofty visions of early youth; for they are the perfume of Paradise, which the soul preserves in issuing from the hands of its Creator. Respect, above all things, your conscience; have upon your lips the truth that God has placed in your hearts; and, while working together in harmony in all that tends to the emancipation of our soil, even with those who differ from you, yet ever bear erect your own banner, and boldly promulgate your faith.
Such words, young men, would the martyrs of Cosenza have spoken, had they been living amongst you. And here, where, perhaps, invoked
by our love, their holy spirits hover near us, I call upon you to gather them up in your hearts, and to make of them a treasure amid the storms that yet threaten you; but which, with the name of our martyrs on your lips, and their faith in your hearts, you will over
God be with you, and bless Italy!
5. APPEAL TO THE HUNGARIANS, 1849. — Louis Kossuth.
OUR Fatherland is in danger! Citizens! to arms! to arms! Unless the whole Nation rise up, as one man, to defend itself, all the noble blood already shed is in vain; and, on the ground where the ashes of our ancestors repose, the Russian knout will rule over an enslaved People! Be it known to all Hungary, that the Austrian Emperor has let loose upon us the barbarous hordes of Russia; that a Russian army of forty-six thousand men has broken into our country from Gallicia, and is on the march; that another has entered Transylvania; and that, finally, we can expect no foreign assistance, as the People that sympathize with us are kept down by their rulers, and gaze only in dumb silence on our struggle. We have nothing to rest our hopes upon, but a righteous God, and our own strength. If we do not put forth that strength, God will also forsake us.
Hungary's struggle is no longer our struggle alone. It is the struggle of popular freedom against tyranny. Our victory is the victory of freedom, our fall is the fall of freedom. God has chosen us to free the Nations from bodily servitude. In the wake of our victory will follow liberty to the Italians, Germans, Poles, Vallachians, Sclavonians, Servians, and Croatians. With our fall goes down the star of freedom over all. People of Hungary! will you die under the exterminating sword of the savage Russians? If not, defend yourselves! Will you look on while the Cossacks of the far North tread under foot the bodies of your fathers, mothers, wives and children? If not, defend yourselves! Will you see a part of your fellow-citizens sent to the wilds of Siberia, made to serve in the wars of tyrants, or bleed under the murderous knout? If not, defend yourselves! Will you behold your villages in flames, and your harvests destroyed? Will you die of hunger on the land which your sweat has made fertile? If not, defend yourselves!
We call upon the People, in the name of God and the Country, to rise up in arms. In virtue of our powers and duty, we order a general crusade of the People against the enemy, to be declared from every pulpit and from every town-house of the country, and made known by the continual ringing of bells. One great effort, and the country is forever saved! We have, indeed, an army which numbers some two hundred thousand determined men; but the struggle is no longer one between two hostile camps; it is the straggle of tyranny against freedom, of barbarism against all free Nations. Therefore
must all the People seize arms and support the army, that, thus united, the victory of freedom for Europe may be won. Fly, then, united with the army, to arms, every citizen of the land, and the victory is sure!
6. THE CONTENTMENT OF EUROPE. - Kossuth, Nov. 12, 1851.
THE question, the comprehensive question, is, whether Europe shall be ruled by the principle of freedom, or by the principle of despotism, by the principle of centralization, or by the principle of self-government. Shall freedom die away for centuries, and mankind become nothing more than the blind instrument of the ambition of some few, or shall the print of servitude be wiped out from the brow of humanity, and mankind become noble in itself, and a noble instrument to its own forward progress? Woe, a hundred-fold woe, to every Nation, which, confident in its proud position of to-day, would carelessly regard the comprehensive struggle of those great principles! It is the mythical struggle between Heaven and Hell. Woe, a thousand-fold woe, to every Nation which would not embrace, within its sorrows and its cares, the future, but only the present time! In the flashing of a moment the future becomes present, and the objects of our present labors have passed away. As the sun throws a mist before the sun rises, so the spirit of the future is seen in the events of the present.
A philosopher was once questioned, how could he prove the exist ence of God? Why," answered he, " by opening my eyes. God is seen everywhere, in the growth of the grass, and in the movement of the stars; in the warbling of the lark, and in the thunder of Heaven." Even so I prove that the decisive struggle in mankind's destiny draws near. I appeal to the sight of your eyes, to the pulsations of your hearts, and to the judgments of your minds. How blind are those who assert that the continent of Europe, but for the revolu tionary acts of certain men, would be quiet and contented! Contented? With what? With oppression and servitude? France contented, with its Constitution subverted? Germany contented, with being but a fold of sheep, pent up to be shorn by some thirty petty tyrants? Switzerland contented, with the threatening ambition of encroaching despots? Italy contented, with the King of Naples ?or with the priestly Government of Rome, the worst of human invention? Austria, Rome, Prussia, Dalmatia, contented with having been driven to butchery, and, after having been deceived, plundered, oppressed, and laughed at as fools? Poland contented with being murdered? Hungary, my poor Hungary, contented with being more than murdered-buried alive?- for it is alive! Russia contented with slavery? Vienna contented? Lombardy, Pesth, Milan, Venice, Prague, contented?-contented with having been ignominiously branded, burned, plundered, sacked, and its population butchered?