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merits more attention there than here. It will be onr own fault if we do not come to understand it better than it is un. derstood there. The men of Europe are too near the object to take in its gigantic proportions. Each man is too hotly engaged in the battle to see more than what passes immediately around him. Brutus chases one wing of the enemy from the field, without perceiving that on the other Cassiiis is routed. The spectator, from a distant hill, though too remote to hear the clang of steel or the groans of the dying, sees clearly this important fact, the timely knowledge of which might have changed the fate of the world. In this view we have read attentively all that has appeared in the leading Reviews of Great Britain, for fifteen months past, on the subject of continental disturbances, and have selected the last numbers of each as a text for our remarks.
It is not to be expected that these different Reviews should even look on any political matter in the same light. It is not their vocation to do so at any time, and there are certain well understood topics on which their differences may be said to be stereotyped. To this number every thing relating to the foreign policy of England or the domestic policy of the nations of the continent appears to belong, and the revolution of February, 1948, seems to fall exactly into that category. But that phenomenon was too slartling, too portentous, to be treated as a party matter. It produced a sort of lull, just as we sometimes see the light dancing waves that are glittering in the breeze suddenly beaten down by the first sweeping blast of the storm which is presently to raise then mountain high. Men appeared to be “frightened into propriety," and to feel that it “was no time to wrangle, when the props and pillars of our planet seemed to fail." The interval between the French outbreak and the decided demonstration of the chartists, and its decided failure on the 10th of April, was a season of anxiety and awe, in which men looked eagerly into each other's eyes, each turning paler at the sight of each other's paleness. From the generality of this remark, we of course except the chartists themselves and their oracle, the Westminster Review. To these the scenes passing in Paris, and the sufferings and couvulsions of the Irish were as welcome as a storm to Mother Carey's chickens, and the fluttering and screaming of the birds of evil omen did but increase the alarm of others. Blackwood's, on the other hand, wore an air of defiance, and the editor kept up the “who is afraid?" tone of John Wilson, with as much parade of assurance as if the crutch of Christopher North were any thing in his hands but the club of Hercules in the hands of Lichas. Among the other Reviews there was a sort of tacit terror, which continues to this day, in regard to this matter, and it would even appear that a more pacific spirit prevailed in all things. The interval between the conservatism of the London Quarterly and the whiggery of the Edinburgh is much narrowed, and, narrow as it is, the North British contrives to occupy a place somewhere between the two. In this enforced harmony we see signs of still remaining apprehension, as when children huddle together while listening to some tale
“Or shapes that walk at night and clank their chains
And shake the torch of hell around the murderer's bed." They all feel that the danger is not past, that they may yet have to unite their forces to repel it, and that, as "breihren in calaınity should love,” it may be well to prepare themselves for ihat evil day by cultivating more kindly feelings toward each other.
But while we thus infer this state of apprehension from the mutual forbearance of the parties, we are bound to admit that none of them express it in words. The Westminster Review, indeed, which hoped every thing, while others feared every thing, continues to hope, and to labor for the accomplishment of its hopes. Like Voltaire, it proclaims that “nos jeunes gens verront des belles choses," and proroises every thing to those who shall be so fortunate as to live in England in 1999.
Black wnod, on the other extreme, boastful and intolerant as ever, chants his never-ceasing epithalamium over the State married to the immortal Church. Dryden himself was not more sure of the immortality of his milk-white hind, of which even he might begin to doubt, were he living at this day, to see her flying from new dangers, more formidable than the “horns and hounds and Scythian shafts” which have heretofore assailed him in vain. Bit Dryden was too good a mythologist not to remember that Venus could not bestow immortality either on her human paramour or on the offspring of their love, and he would no more have inferred immortality for Spain from the Inquisition and the
ens resistantains asolute ocembling Philippe in
Escurial, than for England from Oxford, Lambeth and St. Paul's.
In the antagonism of these two extremes there is a diversity of tone well worthy of notice. The one, representing established power, knows all the value of a bold face, laughs at the very name of danger, spurns at remonstrance, scorns resistance and defies opposition. The other, abiding its time, maintains an attitude at once defensive and threatening-standing resolute on giard, and, while watching for an opening to thrust, dissembling all intention to do so. The one looks on the fall of Louis Philippe as a righteous judgment for his sins against legitimacy, in the person of Charles X. The other regards it as an example of the inevitable doom, muttered in subterranean thunder against all the kings of the earth. But, as such universal denunciation might be unsafe for a subject of the majesty of England, room is left for an exception in her favor. The reviewer lays all the sin of French misrule at the door of M. Guizot, and contents himself with running a parallel between that minister and Lord John Russell, showing that the latter is following exactly in the footsteps of the former. He leaves it to others to work the problem from these data, and if they shall infer that if the faulis of M. Guizot called for the dethronement of Louis Philippe, the like faults of Lord John call for the dethronement of Victoria—the inference is theirs, not his. He did but furnish an innocent formula. Thus it may be seen that, while Blackwood expresses more than he feels, and says more than any rational man can be supposed to mean, the Westminster reviewer means far more than he ventures to express, and would have proclaimed from the house-tops, had the event of the 10th ot April been different.
We advert to this attitude of the Westininster Review, and the manifest purposes of the party whose organ it is, merely as a fact to be considered in connection with what we have to say of the other three more moderate periodicals.
In these, and in almost all that issues from the British press, we find the prevailing idea, that the present distempered condition of Europe is nothing but a new phase of the strife of orders, which has been going on since the days of the Jacquerie and Wat Tyler. In one sense this may be true. It is a contest between classes, and the coincidence,
in point of time, between movements of this sort in different countries, not only in this instance but in all that have preceded it, shows that the particular proximate causes which operate in nations quite disconnected, are themselves but the effects of some remote general cause, of universal operation. We think that on former occasions this has been detected. We shall presently say what we suppose it to be in this instance. That it is essentially different from any that has heretofore existed we cannot doubt. If we are right in this, then it may well be questioned whether the same treatment of the disorder of the time, which has heretofore proved successful, is at all suited to the actual condition of the patient at this day.
We have at times thought, and, at the risk of being pronounced fanciful, we will venture to say so, that there is a strange and awful resemblance between this moral “pestilence that walketh in darkness," and, in twenty-four hours, accomplishes the dissolution of States, and that frightful disease which seems divinely sent to travel around the globe, admonishing all men every where, that “in the midst of life we are in death." Has the omen a double meaning ? Is it intended not only to remind man that he himself is but a flower that is cut down in a moment, but that the forest oak, under whose shade he grew, shall also perish, and that, of all the works of his hand none shall remain ? The meaning of the oracle is with him who spoke it, till the event. shall interpret it. But this we know—that all attempts to treat the cholera according to any fancied analogies to known diseases have proved worse than vain, so that the first thing to the purpose that science could teach, was the danger of any reliance on such analogies, or on any thing presuming to call itself experience.
To come at once to the point, we will say that the principle which influenced in all revolutionary movements, from Runnimede to the first agitation of the question of parliamentary reform, was exactly the reverse of that which is now stirring up society from its foundations. The corpus litis is the same, and the parties are the same, but they have changed sides. First and last, property is the real object of controversy in strife between the orders of society. For liberty, in abstracto, nations have never battled, nor do they now, nor will they ever. “High minds, of native pride and force," unbroken by habits of obedience formed in infancy, and kept up by protracted pupilage, have been often found ready 10 peril every thing for the bare name of liberty. But of such the mass of no people, enured to servitude, is ever composed. By these liberty is valued at its mar. ket price, and will never be preferred before a servitude which does not intersere with ease, security or enjoyment. Still less will it be sought, not only at ihe expense of these, but at the hazard of life itself. The Hampdens and Pyms of England knew that they never could engage the multitude in the cause of liberty, for which they themselves were willing 10 peril every thing, but by identifying it with property. The man who exclaimed “Give me liberty, or give me death," valued liberty at what it was worth to him, and no man knew better how to appreciate it by that standard, and accordingly none prized it more highly. Indeed, no one who understands the true character of the revolution which his breath blew into a flame will say that it forms any exception to the general proposition, that all revolutions growing out of the strises of orders or classes take their rise in property.
Property, then, of old, as now, was at the bottom of all the revolutionary movements of England. But, as we have said, the parties have changed sides. Such movements were formerly set on foot to vindicate the rights of property, but now to assail thein. All the controversies of old, according to the high authority of Edmund Burke, turned on the point of taxation. In other words, they turned on the great fundamental maxiin of English constitutional law, (a maxim which is of itself a constitution, and without which there is none,) that every man's property is absolutely his own, and can never be rightfully taken from him without his consent." From this proposition communism proposes to eliminate the word property, of which it will not admit that any right can be predicated. If this be done, the "rights of man” will be reduced to zero, unless some other word be put in its place. Now, the communist is a republican, and, of course, he claims for all men rights of some sort, which
• It can hardly be necessary to say that, in the sense in which we here use the word, nothing is a revolution which leaves the form of government unchanged. A change of rulers is no such revolution. So, too, the insurrectionary movements of a local mob like Jack Cade's, is without the scope of our observations, Cade was, perhaps, a genuine socialist, communist and fraternizer, but the march of mind in his day, unfortunately, had not extended far enongh, and the number of the enlightened was quite too small to accomplish the great reform.