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power. The king was the state, and besides him there was no state. The people out of the state, without political organization, can act only as the mob. What they needed was an organization between them as simple individuals and the monarchy, which should shelter them from its despotism, restrain the exercise of its authority within the limits of justice, and prevent it from infringing the natural liberty of the subject. This, it strikes us, was obtainable without any essential political change, if the people had accepted the new system in good faith. It might have been easily effected by simply emancipating the church from her thrasdom to the state, and suffering her to enjoy her rightful independence of the temporal order; and this could have been effected withont any revolution or violent.struggle, by the simple return of the people to their active faith as Christians. Each bishop in his diocese, each priest in his parish, receiving his mission, and exercising his functions, without any intervention, direct or indirect, of the civil government, would have been, though without one particle of political power, a moral sovereign, competent to protect his flock from the oppressions of the monarch, and to secure them against all encroachments upon their rights as men. No king ever was or ever can be powerful enough to resist the clergy in his dominions, if they are independent of him, and are backed by the faith and conscience of the people. The people, then, might, if they had chosen, have compelled their kings to reign wisely and justly, without any political changes, and even without troubling their heads in the least about politics or the constitution of the state-simply by attending to their faith and duties as Christians.
But this was too simple and easy a method. The people hailed with joy the subjection of the spiritual order to the temporal, the church to the state, and then denounced the church because she did not protect them from its tyranny; they insisted on her subjection, and then demanded of her what she could not do unless independent. But as she did not do it, they arrayed themselves against both the church and the governinent, swore the destruction of both throne and altar, and thus compelled the church and the monarchy, as the condition of continuing to exist, to make common cause against the popular demands, and to postpone to more settled times the redress of political grievances. But the more the church and the government resisted the popular movement, the more determined and menacing it
became; and from the early part of the eighteenth century, the mob, seconded by the philosophers, a cause and an effect of the popular movement, became every day stronger and more exasperated, and before the close of that century succeeded in overthrowing monarchy, as, led on by the kinys, it had succeeded in overthrowing fendalism, and if it failed to overthrow the church, it was only becanse she is upheld by a divine hand. Anarchy, of course, followed, the reign of terror, and military despotism; reaction, and an insane restoration, which left matters worse than they were at the beginning.
Now the error in all this was not in seeking to get rid of evils, or to ameliorate the social condition. We know no law, human or divine, which sanctions misrule and oppression, or which forbids an oppressed people to labor for liberty and justice. The error was not here, not as to the end sought, but solely as to the means,-in supposing a fundamental political change, or a political revolution in favor of republicanism or of any other form of government, to be the only practicable remedy, or a practicable remedy at all. We do not maintain that wrongs are not to be redressed, that the people may not demand justice from the hands of their rulers; nor do we go so far as to maintain that individual kings may not be deposed, and dynasties changed, for good and sufficient reasons; for these are not the government, but its administrators, and they may abuse their trusts and forfeit their rights; but we do maintain that it is always a capital error to seek reform or redress by changing the form of government, the fundamental constitution of the state. That should be held sacred and inviolable, whether a fendal, a monarchical, an aristocratical, or a democratical constitution; for each is alike legitimate, where it is the established order. The man who dares attack it is guilty of sacrilege. Ile who advises its destruction, or its exchange for another, draws his counsel from hell, and the people who drink in his infernal advice, and prepare to act on it, are mad, and rush to their own destruc tion; for, whether they know it or not, the principles they adopt and the spirit they follow are, at bottom opposed to all government, render government, in any form, impracticable; and without government, there is and can be no society, no people, nothing but isolated individuals or the mob.
We must not lose sight of this fact. It is because the
tendency to redress evils by changing the form of the government is, at bottom, no-governmentism, that no popular revolution is ever final, or able to satisfy those who make it. Every popular revolution, if left to itself, necessarily develops in a series of revolutions, each removing society further and further from government. Thus, in the oid French revolution, we had first a revolution that brought up the notables, then another that brought up the respectables, and then still another that brought up the sans-culottes,Mirabeau and La Fayette, Vergniaud and Roland, Danton and Robespierre; and what we should have had next, if the series had not been cut short by the reaction, it is impossible to say, but some lower form of anarchy and terror is certain; for already, before his downfall, had Robespierre become too aristocratic and conservative for the mob. For the same reason, the policy of concession seldom avails to appease the revolutionary spirit, and to reëstablish order and content. The demands of the people, when made in a loyal spirit, without any thought of attacking the constitution of the state, may often be conceded with advantage both to them and to the government; but even when just, if they are prompted by the revolutionary spirit, or made under the conviction that the people have the right to overthrow the constitution when they please, and to institute a new government after their own ideas or fancies, the concession is useless, and even worse, if you mean to preserve the constitution unimpaired. Concessions then only stimulate new and greater demands, and weaken the government. The people, after them, if the shadow of government remains, find the same disproportion as ever between their actual and their ideal. They are still restrained, cramped, confined, and are not free in their sense of freedom. They have not reached Utopia, nor recovered the lost Eden. You must yield all the revolutionary spirit demands. grant each new demand as quick as it is made, or else resist it in the outset. Whoso goes an inch with the mob is a lost man, if he goes not with it whithersoever it will. You might as well undertake to guide or stay the tempest, as to attempt to direct or resist the mob, when once you have yielded to it. Who, that suffers himself to be drawn within its vortex, can hope to recover himself and escape from the Maelstrom?
The great difficulty arises at all times, in our view of the case, from the revolutionary spirit, the tendency to redress grievances by seeking to subvert the political constitution.
The evils, however great, can always be remedied, as far as in their nature remediable, without any thing of the sort,simply by the people accepting the government in good faith, and loyally laboring with it for improvement. But when the revolutionary spirit has once possessed a nation, and all harmony, all sympathy, between the people and the government are destroyed, and the government can sustain itself against its own subjects only by means of the military, there is perhaps little use in its attempting to sustain itself at all. It is no longer in a condition, if this state of things is to become permanent, to perform the legitimate functions of government. It, in fact, has ceased to be government, and is only the slave-master driving his miserable gang of wretched "slaves. And such had become the governments throughout the more civilized part of Europe, before the recent events. There had ceased to be any harmony between them and the people. Authority and the people were antagonistical, and could not work together; the state was almost universally dissolved, and the monarchs retained their crowns only by means of large standing armies, kept on the war footing, not by any means to defend them against one another, but against their own subjects. The expense of these immense armies, and of the various estab lishments connected with them, had become enormous, and the people were finding themselves obliged to part with nearly all their substance to pay for being governed, and yet not be governed after all. "The governments, instead of stimulating and aiding industry, were crippling it, and large portions of the population were reduced to poverty, to the starving point, and many even below it. Gaunt want was staring the millions in the face. How could matters be worse? The government, having no strength in the affections or convictions of the people, no moral support in the nation, could hardly do any thing for the public good, however well disposed, and the people, debauched by revolutionary ideas, would do nothing for themselves. Was such a state of things, growing worse every day, to last for ever?
Now we believe the fault of this state of things to be far more due to the disloyalty of the people than to the governments themselves. We cannot discover any period since the beginning of the last century, when the European governients had even the power to prevent or to remedy it. But however this may be, it seems to ns certain that things could not long remain as they were. Matters had come to
such a pass,
that an attempt to right them, in some way, was necessary and inevitable; and taking the people as they were, perverted by demagogues, sophists, and the malign influence of secret societies, with the revolutionary fever burning in their veins, and longing for democratic institutions, we see not what better could have been attempted than the fearful revolutions which have actually taken place, or are now taking place. If the people had been loyal, Christian, sober, something better would have been possible; but as they were, we see not what else was practicable. Monarchy had become anti-national, had ceased to be popular, and could not continne to exist. Without, then, abating any thing of our condemnation of the revolutionary ideas and spirit, without countenancing for a moment the absurd doctrine, that the people have always a natural right to democratic institutions, and that monarchy is in itself an illegitimate form of government, an encroachment upon natural liberty, or the still more absurd doctrine, that the republican order had become inevitable in consequence of the progress of man and society, we are, upon the whole, not sorry that these recent revolutions have been effected, and we accept, without reserve, THE NEW ERA they promise to usher in. Only give to the old order honorable burial, and you may, if you can, dig its grave so deep, that no one will think of disinterring its fleshless remains, and dressing them up anew in the robes of state.
We do not applaud the mob for what it has done, we will not consent to call a few thousands of the Parisian rabble “the glorious French people;” but we accept their work, now it is done, and are ready to resist all attempts to undo it and return to the monarchical centralism which has been dethroned and exiled. . Believing, also, that the principal nations of Europe, unless we except Great Britain and Russia, will be discontented and restless, torn and agitated, out of the condition to be well governed, till they obtain substantially republican institutions, we wish the work to continue till such institutions are secured. It is in vain to attempt to change, by any human means, the ideas and tendencies of the people, to arrest the present current of political thought, or to roll back the revolutionary tide. Europe, it seems to us, can be settled hereafter only on a republican basis; and since republicanism must come, sooner or later, we say the sooner the better. Half-way ineasures and feeble temporizing will avail nothing. Now that the hand is in, let the