Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

to each other by despotic governments not he formed for himself a national party, and only justifies, but necessitates the mutual aid became a leader of the people in his native of republicans.

land. That, as the combinations of arbitrary Shut in at length, on all sides, by the governments against the liberties of states jealousy of a foreign government, he turned are prompted and sustained by the Autocrat himself toward the material interests of the of Russia, the natural defender of despot- people, and was here checked and hindered ism; it is both honorable and prudent for in the same manner. His countrymen bethe sovereign people of the United States, gan now to understand him, and to feel an the natural defenders of state rights, to favor ardent sympathy and respect for his proall movements and combinations for their ceedings. His friends became the majority defense.

of the nation, and began a system of politiThat the continued and legalized cruel- cal and social reform, extending important ties of despotic governments are more de- benefits to the lower and middle classes of structive than all the casualties of war and the people. The opposition of Austria, and revolution; the duration of human life in her direct interference in the domestic affairs Russia being at an average of 25 years, of Hungary, gave rise to serious difficulties, while in America it is 35 years.

and finally to a war between the Emperor That the massacres, confiscations, and im- of Austria and the people of Hungary. The prisonments, ordered by despotic govern- failure of the war is attributed principally to ments for the suppression of the liberties of the intervention of Russia, directed against independent states, ought to be regarded the republican tendencies of Hungary, as by a nation who have attained to happiness the Czar himself declared; and secondly, to and power by resistance to foreign interven- the treachery of a leading general, whose tion, as terrible calamities, not only to those surrender demoralized and disorganized the who suffer, but to themselves, and that | Magyar army. the people of the United States, as the The history of this man is a cycle. At natural and able guardians of state rights, first, a humble citizen, he interests himself ought to interpose their powerful influence as a lawyer in the constitutional code of his to prevent the perpetration of crimes against nation. That nation was an independent the laws of God and of nations.

member of the empire of Southern Europe, In his reply to a political deputation, he as the colonies of New-England were of the declares that the curtailment of his own empire of Great Britain. He discovers rights as a citizen of Hungary by the Aus- alarming violations of the internal law of trian government, and his personal suffer- his nation by the imperial power, whose ings under a despotism, were his first initia- policy it is to consolidate the members of tion into the great society of freedom, and the empire, under the direct government of made him the head and organizer of a con- the Centre. He becomes an advocate of stitutional revolution in his native land. He state rights. He attempts, in public, the comes before the world, not as a constitution vindication of the internal freedom of Hunmaker, but as one who claims only freedom gary, against the arbitrary consolidation of for his state, after having in person under the Centre. The power of the Centre imgone the ordeal of political slavery.

prisons him.

His nation releases him. He Believing that the first course for the then discovers the first secret of republican regeneration of Hungary was freedom of liberty, freedom of opinion, violated first in thought, he proceeded to write and circulate his own person. a journal of the proceedings of the Hunga- Without power to enforce his principle, rian Parliament. For this he was three after many unsuccessful attempts to establish years unlawfully incarcerated, and only set it, he would at least render aid to his counfree by the refusal of his Parliament to grant trymen by plans for their material interests. supplies until his sentence should be re- Here, also, he is met by despotism, and disversed. From that time forward he employ- covers, in consequence, the second secret of ed himself in the political instruction of the popular freedom, namely: that the citizen people, first by a newspaper, and, when that should be free in business and industry as was suppressed, by lithographed letters, and well as in opinion. finally, by social eloquence. By this coursel But one more step is needed for so phi

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

losophical a mind, to make him a practical | not have so interested the affections of three republican; he must assert the freedom of powerful nations. Without virtue, he could self-defense

, or of arms. He does so, and is not have maintained the reputation of a pure defeated.

and upright statesman. Without genius Observing that, if it had not been for com- and originality, he could not have led a party binations of despotic powers, Hungary would toward national reform; and unless inspired have vindicated her ancient right of self- with the great sentiment of patriotism, his government, and himself be in the enjoy- own sufferings would not have suggested to ment of a free citizenship, instead of exile; him those of his country. There is nothing he considers, that the freedom of the humblest vain, trifling, or theatric in the man. · His citizen of a sovereign state is dependent upon exterior is modest, but profoundly serious, the conduct, not of himself alone, or of his and his countenance bears marks of the companions in arms, but of the entire consti- highest order of reflection. All things contutional and enlightened world; that there sidered, Kossuth seems to us by far the most is a membership, a brotherhood of con- imposing character of this age ; a characgenial governments, as well republican as ter whose deeds have reacted upon itself, despotic; that as despotism had hitherto and converted enthusiasm into an earnestbeaten republicanism in detail, crushing, one ness almost superhuman. His coming to by one, the disjointed members of its great us begins an epoch, and throws a new light enemy, a time must arrive for the union of upon our own future and that of the world. free states ; and when the day of union Hitherto we have thought only of ourselves should arrive, Hungary would be able to and our internal relations; the time has armaintain her independence, and become a rived when we must take our position bepowerful member of the grand fraternity. fore the world as one of the brotherhood of Acting upon this thought, he makes the tour nations, and employ our powerful influence of the world, seeking every where the aid of for the establishment of a law of nations concivilized nations, and calling upon them to genial to our own institutions. recognize and stand by each other.

Kossuth is a thoroughly educated and a Thus do we seem to ourselves to have ex- thoroughly philosophical republican, even plained the most wonderful phenomenon of amongst ourselves. He declares that there modern days—that the chief of an Asiatic can be no freedom while the central power tribe understands the practice and philoso- absorbs that of the citizen, or of the states, phy of the American Constitution; is able or of the municipalities. He speaks of the to give them eloquent lessons in the purest sovereignty of the people as an individual doctrines of modern polity, the doctrines of right, inherent in the citizen, and as that state sovereignty, and of the inherent liberty from which all other sovereignty originates. of the citizen.

"The People," he says, “must be a sovereign Here, too, we conceive, must lie the secret in his family”—by which opinion he abjures of his popularity and power as an orator and aristocracy — "in his country"-by which writer, in the fact that he derives the great he would have the central power a mere doctrines of American republicanism, not elected agent of the citizens—"and in his from books, but from personal suffering by state ;" by which he defends municipalities their violation.

and states from the domination of the cenHe is then no rhetorician, appealing to tre, and lodges the supreme power in its the passions of men, in order to obscure their original source, the heart and mind of every understandings. The motives of his elo intelligent member of the state. Kossuth quence are not based on pride and fury. He seems to be of opinion that there will be Lao. mci fabricated a system upon false pre- no peace in the world while nations are nises, but upon sincere and manly expe- oppressed ; that is to say, while the rights ience. He appeals to us as free men, not of the citizen are denied. He observes that o flatter, but to reprove our inattention to the cheer of humanity which has greeted ffairs in which we have a vital interest; and him, even from Sweden to the United t is by a truly honest enthusiasm that he States, is a revelation of the fraternal, the verthrows, for a time, all the calculations brotherly sentiment of distant nations," and f interest.

persuades him that there is a "solidarity, A man without courage or talent could l an identity, in the destinies of mankind."

Surely, similarity is the principle of union, at more than three millions; and as they even among brutes ; much more then among are soldiers by profession and preference, a men, who in nothing so much associate, single call will bring an army of half a miland are bound together, as in moral sen- lion into the field of the Maygars alone. timent, in religion, and political feeling. It is only by the combination of two great The citizen of republican Hungary is pro- powers that Hungary has been subdued. perly in close sympathy with the citizen of It was as though England and France had the United Sates, because they are of one combined together for the suppression of the mind and one conscience in regard to na American colonists, numbering also three tional affairs, and each regards the other as millions. prospering for the common good, or suffer- It cannot be denied that the policy of ing for the common cause.

the exile, or, rather, our own acquiescence The great exile professes to have no re- in that policy, might hasten the general gard for his own personal grandeur, but only catastrophe of revolation in Europe, and, for the correct representation of principles. by a remote possibility, even in the British Nor does he appear as the attorney or diplo- empire. But we cannot suffer these conjecmatic ambassador of his nation, representing tural catastrophes to stand before us in the interests, in the capacity of an agent. As path of duty, if that be clear. As a nation, he was the first and greatest sufferer in the we must regard our own interests as the cause of freedom, he is its proper represent- paramount interests of the New Continent, ative. If the crown of Hungary is ever ten- were Hungary obliged thereby to wait ten dered to him, he can put it aside, and say, years longer for her own release. Possibly " It was the desire of personal liberty, of the it is the will of God that Catholic countries freedom of a citizen in his state, that prompt- shall be always despotically governed. The ed all my conduct. I have attained the protestantism of Europe is identical with its height of my desire. To receive a crown republicanism, and it may perhaps be a would be to resign that for which I gave my condition imposed by nature upon men,

that life."

they shall abjure the Jesuit before it is posHe wishes his country to become what it sible for them to shake off the despot. The has been, the bulwark of European civiliza- liberal party in Hungary, we are assured, is tion against Asiatic despotism; the van- Protestant; but they are immersed in a maguard of freedom against the power of the jority of superstition, and have the Jesuitical East, which advances out of Siberia and the power and the empire (now transferred to Ukraine to overwhelm Europe. Russia is to St. Petersburgh) united against them. If, Europe what Media and Assyria were to on the other hand, constitutional monarchy, Tyre and Jerusalem; what Persia and Tar- and not republicanism, is the goal toward tary have been at times to the entire East; which they move, their success in that diwhat the Empire of Bajazet once was to the rection, for a population mixed and discordChristianity of the West, when Greece and ant like that of Hungary, is perhaps still Hungary defended Italy and Germany sin- worthy of the powerful and hearty good will gle-handed against the Mohammedans. and effectual influence of republics. The

But the aspirations of the illustrious exile existence of such a monarchy would indeed are by no means romantic; he asks help, but depend upon the character of the sovereign, he does not demand a Crusade. He asks of who might be a Charles X. or an Alfred, England and America to reinstate Hungary with a mighty difference for the nation; desby aid and protest in their own behalf, and tined in the one case to become the slave of to give her a listed field, and fair play, to Russia, and in the other to be gradually make herself the champion of state sove- moulded to a form of law and liberty, movreignty in Europe.

ing toward the same point; with England and The Czar, throughout his empire, com- France in company. But upon such points mands an army of a million of men, which as these it needs but little to seem wise, and can be augmented to a million and a half. the knowledge of a god, to arrive at any By extraordinary efforts, he could concen- valuable conclusion. trate a third of this number

the fron- It is now an open question to the people tiers of Hungary. The Magyar population of the United States, whether they shall or have been lately estimated by the Austrians shall not exert their powerful influence in the

upon

cause of state rights and free citizenship for in the cause of popular or of constitutional all the world. If they take the position freedom, are the longest lived, and the offered to them by all republicans, it will most peaceful and humane in social life. involve them in considerations of not less Human life is ten years longer in the United magnitude then those which occupied the States than it is in Russia. An addition of framers of the Constitution of the Union. ten years, from the age of twenty-five to

Before entering upon the question, whe- that of thirty-five, the best years of human ther we shall or shall not exert our direct in- life, secured to us by our superior freedom fluence in the cause of state rights and free and refinement. Had a million of men percitizenship—a question which no man shall ished in the war of Independence, that loss gainsay our title to agitate and to pro- of life would have been but a small fraction nounce upon, in our own honorable right as of the increase of population, and of life itthe equal of all good citizens in the great self, consequent upon the freedom of the republic-as a member, by our voice, and American States. whatever ability may be ours, however small, Nothing, on the other hand, is more adof the governing and sovereign people of vantageous to a man, and, consequently, to a America, the mightiest power on which the nation, than a reputation for martial courage; sun has ever shone-exercising this right, as nor is any trait more commonly associated we desire the glory of our country and are with generosity and delicacy of character. prospered in soul with its prosperity, strong Christianity, the gentlest, has been, since its with its strength, and honored in its good rise, the most valiant and victorious faith ; name; before entering upon a free discussion and its founder has expressly told us that of this topic of the century, which hearts" he came not to bring peace, but a sword.” more than heads are threatening to decide Republicanism, itself the fruit of war, refor us in hot haste, while we deliberate; it moves almost all the causes of internal irriis necessary to dispose of certain moralities, tation, and, consequently, of civil war, from that have thrust themselves in of late among a nation. But the opposition of its princithe great arguments of polity, like ghosts at ple to that of despotism places it in an attia banquet.

tude of opposition toward all governments The doctrine of unconditional peace, and based upon their violation. By their very of negro equality, have arisen, to vex and nature, despotic empires extend their bouncomplicate the formation of our foreign daries. Conceding no inherent rights, and policy.

acknowledging no liberties, their rulers reA “Society of Peace” has been formed, gard it as a duty, and find it in practice a which proposes to substitute arbitration for necessity, to enlarge the circle of their conthe sword.' But there are some things which trol; and if a power like Hungary, rises cannot be submitted to arbitration, such as upon the edge of a despotic empire, impethe freedom of the people and the liberty of rious necessity urges its subjugation. states. Arbitration by kings or despotic For is not republicanism—the acknowledg. presidents will not set forward the cause of ment of a right inherent in the citizen, not state rights, nor restrain the arms and diplo- only to govern himself, but to form his state macy of a powerful empire. Though the the most contagious of all systems to the state of

peace be natural to men," so also is nature of men ? Were it once discovered the state of war; nor was there ever a good by the subjects of the Czar that freedom cause without its soldiers and its martyrs. adds years of happiness to human life, that Submission to despotism is the death of man- it gives splendor to youth, and wealth and hood, and there are millions, says Kossuth, wisdom to maturer years; would they not who would rather die than be enslaved. It cast themselves headlong into the gulf of seems to us to be a condescension on the part revolution, to secure these blessings for their of reasonable men to argue the "peace ques- children? They could not be men and do tion," as it is called, at all; when it appears less than that. that a " series of resolutions" will not take us In a word, it is not the peace question into the Millennial epoch. Freedom, like the which at present agitates us, but very strictkingdom of heaven, "is taken by violence, ly the “ war question;" and until the sword and the violent taketh it by force.” Of all na- of despotism ceases to wave as now, naked tions, those who are readiest to sacrifice life I and glittering over the heads of the people,

the peace question, for republicans at least, is wonder-struck at the spectacle of foreign a remarkably futile topic of eloquence. A wars. More intellectual than any nation, truce, then, to these idle and, as they waste we have allowed ourselves to be stultified by our time and stultify us, these vicious ab- Teutonic obscurities, which would merit our stractions.

Whether the people of the contempt, had they risen amongst ourselves. United States shall throw their powerful in- Scientific as it were by nature, and with ease fluence into the scale against despotism, as reaching the most labored conclusions of anthe patrons and defenders of state rights, tiquity, we crowd and weaken our mental is a question of prudence merely: to do faculties with foreign criticism. A nation of this may be wrong and ruin to-day, and beautiful women and of men with the vigor necessity and safety to-morrow. It is a and nerve of heroes, we ravin and devour question of time. If it appears that their a literature of obese aristocracy. Freed aid is effectual and beneficial to the cause, from the vicious circles that hedge in the the people of America will not fail to render nobleman, and make him the slave of form it. Why then have we not already taken a and physical delicacy, we establish a puny step forward in this direction? Is it because exclusiveness, confessing our inability to suswe have been taught from infancy to despise tain ourselves. and fear ourselves? Has our education from The doctrine of negro equality stumbles infancy led us to believe that we are in us on the very threshold of this argument. need of Europe, and not Europe of us? Since If we assume the position of defenders of the mighty truth has struck them, that the State sovereignty, we must cease to interest Western Empire is even physically greater, ourselves in the internal affairs of any State in resources, in wealth, and in military but our own. If, in defiance of this fundapower, than either Britain or the Czar; mental doctrine, we intervene between the since they have seen that the stalwart youth two classes of inhabitants in the Southern whose hand is equally familiar with the States, and make war upon our fellow-citiaxe and the rifle, who knows no master but zens, to procure the election of the negro his God, has maintained, thus far, a silence slave to an equality of position with ournot of indifference, but of prudence and selves, it will be a final period not so cernecessity, in regard to foreign affairs; that tainly to the union of the States as to their the secret of the future is in the heart, not freedom, after so imperial an usurpation of of kings, as in the old time, but of the fiery the central power. manhood of the West; the people of Europe No persons of the sect called Abolitionists, look toward America with eyes of supplica- however numerous and patriotic they may tion, and stretch out their hands toward us be, can favor the movements of Kossuth, if and heaven. A veil has fallen, under which they have a right appreciation of his docthe mighty toil of men and angels went on trine. The unnatural violence required for so long in darkness, and the dazzling beauty the enforcement of extreme ideas compel all and vast proportions of the work are at once ultraists to assume a despotic tone, and to made visible. The genius of the nation, show a spirit of usurpation. whose shrines are in the hearts of all just Leaving all such discussions as, in fact, irmen, advances modestly toward the glorious relevant, let us adhere to the guiding prinseat founded for her by the wisdom of our ciples of State sovereignty. We cannot at fathers, and, ere she assumes it, looks fear- once accomplish all the decrees of destiny. fully upward, as if supplicating the Most The work before us is already too great for High against the pride of her exalted state. our genius and our power.

Educated by the literature of Europe, have While we are deliberating whether to give we not hitherto lived one life and dreamed aid to the republics of Europe, the news another ? Has not the ridicule of experi- arrives of the usurpation of supreme power ment attached itself to our institutions ? by the President of the French Republic. Have we not fancied our very skin to be a He arrests a fourth part of the people's retemporary clothing?

presentatives; he offers universal suffrage to Reality has been theory, and fiction the the people, and a new election for himself. sole thing to be revered. A nation of sol- Every step taken by this man since his diers such as no battle-field has yet seen, we election has been a movement toward imare awed by the thunder of foreign cannon, Iperial power. It was the virtual suffrage of

« AnteriorContinuar »