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moral as in the physical world. Eighty years elapsed in Rome from the time when the political passions were first stirred by Tiberius Gracchus, before its unruly citizens were finally subdued by the art, or decimated by the cruelty of Octavius. England underwent six years of civil war and suffering, before the ambition and madness of the Long Parliament were expelled by the purge of Pride, or crushed by the sword of Cromwell: twelve years elapsed between the convocation of the States-general in 1789, and the extinction of the license of the French Revolution by the arm of Napoleon. But, on this occasion, in one year, all, in the meantime at least, has been accomplished. Ere the leaves, which unfolded in spring amidst the overthrow of thrones, and the transports of revolutionists over the world, had fallen in autumn, the passions which had convulsed mankind were crushed for the time, and the triumphs of democracy were arrested. A terrible reaction had set in; experience of suffering had done its work; and swift as the shades of night before the rays of the ascending sun, had disappeared the ferment of revolution before the aroused indignation of the uncorrupted part of mankind. The same passions may again arise; the same delusions again spread, as sin springs up afresh in successive generations of men; but we know the result. They will, like the ways of the unrighteous, be again crushed.
So rapid was the succession of revolutions, when the tempest assailed the world last spring, that no human power seemed capable of arresting it; and the thoughtful looked on in mournful and impotent silence, as they would have done on the decay of nature or the ruin of the world. The Pope began the career of innovation: decrees of change issued from the Vatican; and men beheld with amazement the prodigy of the Supreme Pontiff the head of the unchangeable Church --standing forth as the leader of political reform. Naples quickly caught the flame a Sicilian revolution threatened to sever one-half of their dominions from the Neapolitan Bourbon; and internal revolt seemed to render his authority merely nominal
in his own metropolis. Paris, the cradle in every age of new ideas, and the centre of revolutionary action, next felt the shock: a reform banquet was prepared as the signal for assembling the democratic forces; the national guard, as usual, failed at the decisive moment: the King of the Barricades quailed before the power which had created him; the Orleans dynasty was overthrown, and France delivered over to the dreams of the Socialists and the ferocity of the Red Republicans. Prussia soon shared the madness: the population of Berlin, all trained to arms, according to the custom of that country, rose against the government; the king had not energy enough to permit his faithful troops to act with the vigour requisite to uphold the throne against such assailants, and the monarchy of Frederick the Great was overthrown. Austria, even, could not withstand the contagion: neither its proud nobility, nor its light-hearted sensual people, nor its colossal army, nor its centuries of glory, could maintain the throne in its moment of peril. The Emperor was weak, the citizens of Vienna were infatuated; and an insurrection, headed by the boys at the university and the haberdashers' apprentices in the streets, overturned the imperial government, and drove the Emperor to seek refuge in the Tyrol. All Germany caught the flame: the dreams of a few hotheaded enthusiasts and professors seemed to prevail alike over the dictates of wisdom and the lessons of experience; and, amidst the transports of millions the chimera of German unity seemed about to be realised by the sacrifice of all its means of independence. The balance of power in Europe appeared irrevocably destroyed by the breaking up of its central and most important powers, and England, in the midst of the general ruin, seemed rocking to its foundation. The Chartists were in raptures, the Irish rebels in ecstasy: threatening meetings were held in every town in Great Britain; armed clubs were organised in the whole south and west of Ireland; revolution was openly talked of in both islands, and the close of harvest announced as the time when the British empire was to be broken up, and
Anglian and Hibernian republics established, in close alliance with the great parent democracy in France. Amidst such extraordinary and unprecedented convulsions, it was with difficulty that a few courageous or far-seeing minds preserved their equilibrium; and even those who were least disposed to despair of the fortunes of the species, could see no end to the succession of disasters with which the world was menaced but in a great exertion of the renovating powers of nature, similar to that predicted, in a similar catastrophe, for the material world, by the imagination of the poet.
"Roll on, ye stars! exult in youthful prime, Mark with bright curves the printless steps of Time!
Near and more near your beaming cars approach,
And lessening orbs on lessening orbs encroach. Flowers of the sky! ye, too, to Fate must yield,
Frail as your silken sisters of the field; Star after star, from heaven's high arch shall rush,
Suns sink on suns, and systems systems crush; Headlong, extinct, to one dark centre fall, And Dark, and Night, and Chaos, mingle all; Till, o'er the wreck, emerging from the storm,
Immortal Nature lifts her changeful form, Mounts from her funeral pyre on wings of
And soars and shines, another and the same."
But the destiny of man, not less than that of the material world, is balanced action and reaction, not restoration from ruin. Order is preserved in a way which the imagination of the poet could not have conceived. Even in the brief space which has elapsed since the convulsions began in Italy in January last, the reality and ceaseless action of the preserving laws of nature have been demonstrated. The balance is preserved in social life by contending passions and interests, as in the physical world by opposite forces, under circumstances when, to all human appearance, remedy is impossible and hope extinguished. The orbit of nations is traced out by the wisdom of Providence not less clearly than that of the planets; there are centripetal and centrifugal forces in
DARWIN, Botanic Garden.
the moral as well as in the material world. As much as the vehement passions, the selfish desires, the inexperienced zeal, the expanding energy, the rapacious indigence, the mingled virtues and vices of man, lead at stated periods to the explosions of revolution,-do the desire of tranquillity, the interests of property, the horror at cruelty, the lessons of experience, the force of religion, the bitterness of suffering, reinduce the desire of order, and restore the influence of its organ, government. If we contemplate the awful force of the expansive powers which, issuing from the great mass of central heat, find vent in the fiery channels of the volcano, and have so often rent asunder the solid crust of the earth, we may well tremble to think that we stand suspended, as it were, over such an abyss, and that at no great distance beneath our feet the elements of universal conflagration are to be found.* But, strong as are the expansive powers of nature, the coercive are still stronger. The ocean exists to bridle with its weight the fiery gulf; the arch of the earth has been solidly constructed by its Divine architect; and the only traces we now discover, in most parts of this globe, of the yet raging war of the elements, are the twisted strata, which mark, as it were, the former writhings of matter in the terrible grasp of its tormentors, or the splintered pinnacles of mountains, which add beauty to the landscape, or the smiling plains, which bring happiness to the abodes of man. It is the same in the moral world. Action and reaction are the law of mind as well as matter, and the equilibrium of social life is preserved by the opposite tendency of the interests which are brought into collision, and the counteracting force of the passions which are successively awakened by the very convulsions which seem to menace society with dissolution.
A year has not elapsed since the revolutionary earthquake began to heave in Italy, since the volcano burst forth in Paris; and how marvel
+ “Thirty-five miles below the surface of the earth, the central heat is everywhere so great, that granite itself is held in fusion."-HUMBOLDT, Cosmos, i. 273.
lous is the change which already has taken place in the state of Europe! The star of Austria, at first defeated, and apparently about to be extinguished in Italy, is again in the ascendant. Refluent from the Mincio to the Ticino, her armies have again entered Milan, the revolutionary usurpation of Charles Emanuel has been checked almost as soon as it commenced; and the revolutionary rabble of Lombardy and Tuscany has fled, as it was wont, before the bayonets of Germany. Radetzky has extinguished revolution in northern Italy. If it still lingers in the south of the peninsula, it is only because the strange and tortuous policy of France and England has interfered to arrest the victorious arms of Naples on the Sicilian shores. Paris has been the theatre of a dreadful struggle, blood has flowed in torrents in its streets, slaughter unheardof stained its pavements, but order has in the end prevailed over anarchy. A dynasty has been subverted, but the Red Republicans have been defeated, more generals have perished in a conflict of three days than at Waterloo; but the Faubourg St Antoine has been subdued, the Socialists have been overthrown, the state of siege has been proclaimed; and, amidst universal suffering, anguish, and woe, with three hundred thousand persons out of employment in Paris, and a deficit of £20,000,000 in the income of the year, the dreams of equality have disappeared in the reality of military dospotism. It is immaterial whether the head of the government is called a president, a dictator, or an emperorwhether the civic crown is worn by a Napoleon or a Cavaignac-in either case the ascendant of the army is established, and France, after a brief struggle for a constitutional monarchy, has terminated, like ancient Rome, in an elective military despotism.
Frankfort has been disgraced by frightful atrocities. The chief seat of German unity and freedom has been stained by cruelties which find a parallel only in the inhuman usages of the American savages; but the terrible lesson has not been read in vain. It produced a reaction over the world; it opened the eyes of men to the real
tendency and abominable iniquity of the votaries of revolution in Germany; and to the sufferings of the martyrs of revolutionary tortures on the banks of the Maine, the subsequent overthrow of anarchy in Vienna and Berlin is in a great degree to be ascribed. They roused the_vacillating cabinets of Austria and Prussiathey sharpened the swords of Windischgratz and Jellachich-they nerved the souls and strengthened the arms of Brandenberg and Wrangel-they awakened anew the chord of honour and loyalty in the Fatherland. The national airs have been again heard in Berlin; Vienna has been regained after a desperate conflict; the state of siege has been proclaimed in both capitals; and order re-established in both monarchies, amidst an amount of private suffering and general misery-the necessary result of revolutions-which absolutely sickens the heart to contemplate. England has emerged comparatively unscathed from the strife; her time-honoured institutions have been preserved, her monarchy saved amidst the crash of nations. Queen Victoria is still upon the throne; our mixed constitution is intact; the dreams of the Chartists have been dispelled; the rebellion of the Irish rendered ridiculous; the loyalty of the great body of the people in Great Britain made manifest. The period of immediate danger is over; for the attack of the populace is like the spring of a wild beast-if the first onset fails, the savage animal slinks away into its den. General suffering indeed prevails, industry languishes, credit is all but destroyed, a woful deficiency of exports has taken place--but that is the inevitable result of popular commotions; and we are suffering, in part at least, under the effects of the insanity of nations less free and more inexperienced than ourselves. Though last, not least in the political lessons of this marvellous year, the papal government has been subverted-a second Rienzi has appeared in Rome; and the Supreme Pontiff, who began the movement, now a fugitive from his dominions, has exhibited a memorable warning to future ages, of the peril of commencing reforms in high places, and the impossibility of
reconciling the Roman Catholic religion with political innovation.
But let it not be imagined that, because the immediate danger is over, and because military power has, after a fierce struggle, prevailed in the principal capitals of Europe, that therefore the ultimate peril is past, and that men have only to sit down, under the shadow of their fig-tree, to cultivate the arts and enjoy the blessings of peace. Such is not the destiny of man in any, least of all in a revolutionary age. We are rather on the verge of an era similar to that deplored by the poet :
"Bella per Emathios plusquam civilia
In sua victrici conversum viscera dextrâ ;
Who can tell the immeasurable extent of misery and wretchedness, of destruction of property among the rich, and ruin of industry among the poor, that must take place before the fierce passions, now so generally awakened, are allayed-before the visions of a virtuous republic by Lamartine, or the dreams of communism by Louis Blanc and LedruRollin, or the insane ideas of the Frankfort enthusiasts have ceased to move mankind? The fire they have let loose will burn fiercely for centuries; it will alter the destiny of nations for ages; it will neither be quenched, like ordinary flames, by water, nor subdued, like the Greek fire, by vinegar: blood alone will extinguish its fury. The coming convulsions may well be prefigured from the past, as they have been recently drawn by the hand of a master:-"All around us, the world is convulsed by the agonies of great nations; governments which lately seemed likely to stand during ages, have been on a sudden shaken and overthrown. The proudest capitals of western Europe have streamed with civil blood. All evil passions-the thirst of gain and the thirst of vengeance-the antipathy of class to class, of race to race-have
LUCAN, i. 1-6.
broken loose from the control of divine and human laws. Fear and anxiety have clouded the faces, and depressed the hearts of millions; trade has been suspended, and industry paralysed; the rich have become poor, and the poor poorer. Doctrines hostile to all sciences, to all arts, to all industry, to all domestic charity-doctrines which, if carried into effect, would in thirty years undo all that thirty centuries have done for mankind, and would make the fairest provinces of France or Germany as savage as Guiana or Patagonia-have been avowed from the tribune, and defended by the sword. Europe has been threatened with subjugation by barbarians, compared with whom the
barbarians who marched under Attila or Alboin were enlightened and humane. The truest friends of the people have with deep sorrow owned, that interests more precious than any political privileges were in jeopardy, and that it might be necessary to sacrifice even liberty to save civilisation."t
It is now just a year since Mr Cobden announced, to an admiring and believing audience at Manchester, that the age of warfare had ceased; that the contests of nations had passed, like the age of the mastodon and the mammoth; that the steamengine had caused the arms to drop from her hands, and the interests of free trade extinguished the rivalries of nations; and that nothing now remained but to sell our ships of war, disband our troops, cut twenty millions off our taxation, and set ourselves unanimously to the great work of cheapening everything, and underselling foreign competitors in the market of the world. Scarcely were the words spoken, when conflicts more dire, battles more bloody, dissensions more inextinguishable than had ever arisen from the rivalry of kings, or the ambition of ministers, broke out in almost every country of Europe. The social supplanted the national passions. Within the bosom of society itself, the volcano had burst forth. It was no longer general that was matched against general, as in the wars, of Marlborough, nor
+ MACAULAY'S History of England, vol. ii. p. 669.
nation that rose up against nation, as in those of Napoleon. The desire of robbery, the love of dominion, the lust of conquest, the passion for plunder, were directed to domestic acquisitions. Human iniquity reappeared in worse, because less suspected and more delusive colours. Robbery assumed the guise of philanthropy; spoliation was attempted, under colour of law; plunder was systematically set about, by means of legislative enactments. Revolution resumed its old policy-that of rousing the passions by the language of virtue, and directing them to the purposes of vice. The original devil was expelled; but straightway he returned with seven other devils, and the last state of the man was worse than the first. Society was armed against itself; the devastating passions burned in its own bosom; class rose against class, race against race, interest against interest. Capital fancied its interest was to be promoted by grinding down labour; labour, that its rights extended to the spoliation of capital. A more attractive object than the reduction of a city, or the conquest of a province, was presented to indigent cupidity. Easier conquests than over rival industry were anticipated by moneyed selfishness. The spoliation of the rich at their own door-the division of the property of which they were jealous, became the dream of popular ambition; the beating down of their own labourers by free-trade, the forcible reduction of prices by a contraction of the currency-the great object of the commercial aristocracy. War reassumed its pristine ferocity. In the nineteenth century, the ruthless maxim-Væ victis! became the war-cry on both sides in the terrible civil war which burst forth in an age of general philanthropy. It may be conceived what passions must have been awakened, what terrors inspired, what indignation aroused by such projects. But though we have seen the commencement of the era of social conflicts, is there any man now alive who is likely to see its end?
Experience has now completely de
monstrated the wisdom of the Allied powers, who placed the lawful monarchs of France on the throne in 1815, and the enormous error of the liberal party in France, which conspired with the republicans to overthrow the Bourbon dynasty in 1830. That fatal step has bequeathed a host of evils to Europe: it has loosened the authority of government in all countries; it has put the very existence of freedom in peril by the enormity of the calamities which it has brought in its train. All parties in France are now agreed that the period of the Restoration was the happiest, and the least corrupted, that has been known since the first Revolution. The republicans of the present day tell us, with a sigh, that the average budgets of the three last years of Charles X. were 900,000,000 francs, (£36,000,000 ;) that the expenditure was raised by Louis Philippe at once to 1500,000,000 francs, (£60,000,000 ;) and that under the Republic it will exceed 1800,000,000 francs, (£72,000,000.) There can be no doubt of the fact; and there can be as little, that if the Red Republicans had succeeded in the insurrection of June last, the annual expenditure would have increased to £100,000,000-or rather, a universal spoliation of property would have ensued. Louis Blanc has given the world, in his powerful historical work, a graphic picture of the universal corruption, selfishness, and immorality, in public and private life, which pervaded France during the reign of Louis Philippe.* Though drawn by the hand of a partisan, there can be no doubt that the picture is too faithful in most of its details, and exhibits an awful proof of the effects of a successful revolution. But the misery which Louis Blanc has so ably depicted, the corruptions he has brought to light, under the revolutionary monarchy, have been multiplied fourfold by those which have prevailed during the last year in the republic established by Louis Blanc himself!
Paris, ever since the suppression of the great insurrection in June last, has been in such a state, that it is the most utter mockery to call it freedom.
* LOUIS BLANC, Histoire de Dix Ans de Louis Philippe, iii. 321, et seq.