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took to enforce it against the will of the government already existing? Is it necessary for us at this day, even after the decision of the higlrest tribunals known to our laws, to defend Rhode Island, and to prove that, in suppressing the Dorr rebellion, she did not violate the fundamental principles of the American state, and that too against such a lawyer and statesman as Mr. Secretary Webster?
Mr. Webster cannot be ignorant that the leading principle which he says was announced by the allied sovereigns after the restoration of the Bourbons, that “popular or constitutional rights are holden no otherwise than as grants and indulgences from crowned heads," was not announced as a universal principle, but as a special principle applicable only to the monarchical states of Europe, and was the simple statement of an historical fact, known to every decently-read man on the subject to be an historical fact, rather than the announcement of a principle at all. If we recollect aright, it was not even then stated as a reason against such rights, but as a reason for granting or confirming them. At least such is the fact with regard to the charter granted by Louis XVIII., of France, one of those sovereigns, to his subjects, after his restoration to the throne of his ancestors, in the preamble to which it is set forth. At any rate, it had, it could have, and was intended to have, no application to this country, where monarchy had no historical rights. Mr. Webster should not have confounded the statement of a fact with the announcement of a principle, nor the announcement of a special with the announcement of a universal principle. The allied sovereigns have on no occasion announced any principle that denies the lawfulness of our governinent, unless we so assert our government as to deny the lawfulness of every other not constituted like it. They have denounced the popular ideas of the age, we grant, but not “in terms so comprehensive as of necessity to include the United States, and their forms of government,” for they have never denied the legality of popular government as such. They have denied its legality only when it attempts to assert itself in opposition to established law and historical right, and we, who yield to no man in our republicanism, or in our loyalty to our government, have done and still do as much, and so must every American citizen who knows the distinction between a sovereign state and a mob, or a legal convention and an electioneering caucus. That they have denounced, in denouncing the popular ideas of the age, doctrines which many of our people have imbibed, and in accordance with which there is a strong tendency among us at present to interpret our constitutions, is no doubt true, but tliose doctrines are not the foundation of our forms of government; they are irreconcilably hostile to them, as no man knows better, or on occasions feels more deeply, than Mr. Webster himself, as it would be easy to collect from his support of the fugitive slave law, and his denunciations of resistance to it.
Mr. Webster says that the allied sovereigns have not unfrequently felt it their right to interfere with the political movements of foreign states," and he appears to wish to leave the iinpression, that they have interfered to put down popular government, and that, as they have done this, they ought not to complain when we only express our sympathy with the various movements to establish such governments. We are not the apologists of the sovereigns of Europe, but we have no right to misrepresent them, and we must say that this stateinent, in the sense it appears to be made, is far from being correct. The allied sovereigns have, undoubtedly, interfered occasionally in the political movements of foreign states, but rarely, if ever, in the political movements of any foreign state without the invitation or consent of its sovereign, and never to put down popular government as such, nor at all where it could pretend even to a shadow of political or historical right. They have interfered against usurpers and rebels in defence of legal constitutions and historical rights, but never to put down a government merely becanse it was founded on popular principles. It is against illegality, against revolutionism, against the disrespect for undeniable historical and political rights, against disorder and anarchy, that they have interfered. If they have interfered with republicanisin as such, why have they not interfered to suppress republicanism in Switzerland, in San Marino, and the free towns of Germany? No, the principle of intervention asserted by the allied sovereigns has been misunderstood, and often maliciously misrepresented. We in this country, instead of looking at the facts, and ascertaining the principle on which the sovere:gns profess to act, have generally relied, withont any critical examination, on the statements of European liberals, a class of men to whom truth is for the most part a stranger, and whose passions, prejudices, and purposes very naturally lead them to calunniate their sovereigns, against whom they are everywhere and continually conspiring, and who have so often thwarted their criminal attempts. The principle on which the sovereigns have interfered is respect for historical rights, and the preservation of liberty and social order in Europe. Where republicanism existed, and had an historical right to exist, they have respected republicanism; where monarchy survived, and had an historical right to reign, they have respected monarchy, and exerted themselves to put down its enemies. It does not therefore follow, because in defence of national constitutions and historical rights the allied sovereigns have frequently claimed the right to interfere to suppress usurpers and rebels, that they have no right to complain of us for everywhere sympathizing with usurpers and rebels, with the party in arms, against national constitutions and the historical rights of sovereignties, which we, as a government, are as much interested in maintaining as are the allied sovereigns themselves.
It may be asked, why these sovereigns have not left to each state the settlement of its own domestic affairs. It might as well be asked, why our government interfered to prevent the reëstablishment of monarchy in Mexico, and why the press las called upon it to interfere and put down monarchy in Cuba and in Hayti
. The answer to the question is, that the intervention was necessary for the common good of all the states, and the preservation of social order in Europe. The several states were so connected one with another, that a convulsion could not occur in one without shaking another, and often the individual sovereign was too weak to suppress the revolutionists in his own dominions, aided as they were by their sympathizers in other states. If
your children fire your house, and you will not or cannot extinguish its flames, I am not obliged to stand quiet and see it burn down, when it is so situated that it cannot burn down without burning down mine with it. I have the right to interfere and extinguish the flames, and if not able to do it alone, I have a right to call in my neighbors to help me. The principles and proceedings of the popular party in Europe were incompatible with civilization, inasinuch as they respected no public law, and attacked all political rights, and even social order itself. The European sovereigns entered into an alliance and intervened against them, because they asserted democracy as the only form of government that is or can anywhere be lawful; because they denied the lawfulness of kingly governments as such, and as
serted the right of the people, and exerted themselves to · induce the people to exercise the right, everywhere to rebel against monarchical governments, and overthrow them simply becanse monarchical; because they assumed the position and character of armed propagandists, and formed among themselves, as they do at this moment, a league or confederation in every country for the express purpose of revolutionizing all monarchical states. The sovereigns of Enrope were bound, as the heirs of the historical rights of the European nations, and by their position and coronation oaths, to interfere, and, if possible, save the civilized world from its most deadly enemies; and if they had not interfered, they would have been false to God and to society, and would have deserved the utter reprobation of every friend of civilization.
Now it is precisely sympathy with these banded European conspirators, these Jacobins, red-republicans, socialists, Carbonari, Freemasons, Illuminati, Friends of Light, or by whatever other name they may call themselves or be called by their opponents, and with their detestable principles and criminal movements, that Mr. Webster defends, and undeniably defends, on the ground that their principles are ours, and cannot be denounced without of necessity including the United States and their forms of government. That is, our institutions are founded on the denial of the lawfulness of all forins of government but the democratic, the assertion of the legality of the popular form of government universally, and the indefeasible right of the people everywhere to conspire, to rebel, against monarchy, in utter disregard of public law, or of historical rights, for the sake of establishing it! And this pernicious doctrine is put forth, not by some foreign refugee from the dungeon or the halter, not by some obscure radical desirous of attracting notoriety by the extravagancy of his paradoxes, but by the distinguished lawyer and statesman, Daniel Webster, and by him not as a private citizen, but as secretary of state, by authority of the president of the United States, in a grave official document addressed to a foreign court in defence of the American government and people!
“Non tali auxilio, nec defensoribus istis
Tempus eget.” Here is our well-founded objection to Mr. Webster's reply to the Chevalier Hülsemann,-a reply which, though
not so intended, really calumniates this country, and insults every loyal American citizen. It is in striking contrast with the principles and policy of Washington, the father of his country; and it adopts principles, and paves
the way for a policy, to which we have been accustomed to regard Mr. Webster as the most strenuous and distinguished opponent among American statesmen. His intended defence, but real charge, we need not say, is unfounded, and we evidently cannot identify the principles of the American constitution and government with the principles of the European rebels and revolutionists, withont placing ourselves as a people out of the pale of civilized nations. We are, no doubt, a great people, in our way, but it behooves us to remember that we do not give law to the civilized world. The civilized world existed, civilized nations were constituted, public law was settled, and the principles and usages of civilization were determined, some centuries before we as an independent government were born. The fact of our existence has made no alteration in public law, or in the principles and usages of the civilized world; and we, in order to be a member of the civilized family, must not undertake to create anew public law and civilized usages, but conform to them as they existed before us. If we choose to arraign them, or to place ourselves in opposition to them, it is not other nations we uncivilize, but ourselves. The principles and movements of the European liberalists, or revolutionists, are, undeniably, in direct and systematic opposition to all law,—to the principles and usages of the whole civilized world, and we cannot indorse them, and maintain that our government cannot be defended without defending them, and not maintain that our government stands opposed to the whole civilized world, and therefore is not itself a civilized government.
As an American citizen we protest against this foul dishonor to our government and principles. There is no occasion to appeal to those popular ideas of the age, denounced by the allied sovereigns of Europe, in order to vindicate the lawfulness of our government, and here no more than in Austria or Russia are the sacredness and inviolability of national constitutions or historical rights of authority denied. If, as a fact, the people intervened in forming our constitution, it was because there was here, after the acknowledgment of our independence, no other power that had a right to do it, and they violated no historical or already existing