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wealth. What is wanted is a new field for employmentwider space for the accumulated capital and pent-up labour of old countries to flow into. Nor has this further and indispensable condition of prosperity been withheld from us by Providence. Within this century, immense tracts of fertile country have been laid open to the enterprize and industry of Europe. Of regions long colonized, only a small part has been brought into cultivation, and the latent resources have not been developed, but only just brought into view. All these territories want inhabitants, want industry, want the wealth which is unproductively stagnating in Europe. Who does not recognize in this fact the voice of Providence, calling upon men to go forth and people the earth, and impart to all its inhabitants the blessings of a common civilization ? New countries furnish in great abundance the materials of food and clothing and furniture and the other constituents of civilized existence, and find remunerative employment for the agriculturalist, the grazier and the miner; while the old send back to them the manufactured products which only an advanced civilization can supply, and, in wildernesses shared but a few years ago by the wild beast and the savage, replenish multitudes of new-built homes with all the comforts and refinements of Europe. Thus one end of the world enriches the other; and both are made prosperous and happy by a simple interchange of industry. Just at this crisis everything occurs to stimulate emigration, and to accomplish by natural means the divine purpose of peopling the earth. In no other
could emigration have been so easily carried on. Never before was the motive to it equally strong. Dissatisfaction with the state of things at home is impelling thousands every year
every part of Europe, to seek a new country and a brighter future for their children, on the virgin soil where industry meets with an ampler return and human rights may look for more equal protection and respect. Distance is actually lessened by the perfection of steam-navigation. America and Australia are less remote from England now than the Levant a century ago; and the transmission of intelligence to and fro in the course of a day between points the widest apart on the surface of the globe, is already within the limits of possibility. To all these incentives to the dispersion of our race, the sudden discovery of a fresh supply of the precious metals has given a new and feverish activ On the ultimate effects of this last event, both moral and economic, it would be premature to offer an opinion. The wisest and most experienced confess themselves here at fault. But it is mysteriously significant of the change which is passing over our human world, that this discovery should come in aid of that immense commercial activity which is already the characteristic feature of our time, and operate as a new and most powerful attraction to draw off from Europe the superabundant population by which it has been loaded, and, either directly or through the dislodgment of previous settlements, to deposit the elements of a new civilization far and wide over the earth. Apprehension and anxiety mingle largely, it is true, with the mode in which this dispersion is taking place, and with the motives by which it has been primarily actuated. But let us recollect the circumstances under which all human societies, with very few exceptions, were originally founded. Have we any reason to believe, that in this case the strife, the selfishness, the spoliation, have been at all greater or more deeply corrupting in their influence, than such as have always attended the first occupation of a territory by the sword ? I suspect that the difference of our impressions in the two cases arises simply from the fact, that we get one in the hard outline of reality, without
tincture of poetry, from the undisguised and uncoloured statements of our newspapers ; and too generally imbibe the other amidst the refined associations of literature, from the softened pictures of the historian and the poet. Yet who ever paused for a moment to realize to himself distinctly some of the details which we constantly allow ourselves to glance over unthinkingly in the old chronicle or the old epic, without feeling his very heart made sick within him, and turning almost instinctively from the recital as a truth too horrible to be dwelt upon ? That we are more alive to evil in the modern instance, is some security for a more effectual resistance to it.
One consideration cannot be overlooked in the vast prospect which is thus opened before us- -I mean the unparalleled opportunity for honourable advancement which the new circumstances of the world afford to the energetic and intelligent of the working class. Of the different classes which compose society, theirs is the one which is now perceptibly in the ascendant. Food is cheap ; trade is free ; labour is enhanced in value; the whole world is open before them. There is not one advantage, one privilege, even one distinction in society, which is now shut out to them. If they do not henceforth rise as a class (I am speaking particularly of our own country), the fault will be their own. The priest, the soldier, the merchant, have each had their day. The time for the working man has now come, if he knows how to use it. His rise is now in preparation-not, as his flatterers and false friends would fain persuade him, that his class should become the dominant class in society, weighing down all others by simple numerical superiority, but that he should rise by personal merit to his just position in it, and take his part with capitalists, professional men, scholars, ministers of religion, magistrates and statesmen, in the enjoyment of civic rights and the exercise of civic functions. What means of good are here ! Why is not their result more abundant and conspicuous ? How startling is this disproportion between promise and fulfilment !
Throughout Europe, even under the most despotic governments, the resources of social well-being are immense, as compared with any former period of human history. There is, first, an unexampled perfection in everything material, in all that conduces to health and cleanliness and public decency, with facility of locomotion and ready intercourse by writing, from one end of Europe to the other. All the arrangements dependent on the police and the central government are admirable. The inns, the roads, the bridges, the railways, the interpostal communication—all that constitutes the material framework of society, and conduces to physical security and comfort—has attained a completeness on all the great lines of human intercourse which is not to be surpassed.
Nor are these things to be undervalued in relation to the moral and spiritual interests of the human race. They are not indeed substitutes for public spirit, freedom, morals and intelligence; but they are great aids to the development of those higher interests of humanity, which without them could not proceed beyond a certain point. When we see them, we naturally look for their moral and spiritual counterpart; and if it is absent, we experience a great disappointment, and exclaim, “Why is it thus ?” How immensely, for instance, are we in advance in all these respects of the Romans in their most cultivated age, that of the Antonines ! And yet the comparative perfection of the material civilization even of that age—its widespread commerce, its facilities of communication between all parts by its great highways, and the excellence of its policewas among the most powerful of the natural causes of the propagation of Christianity, and the dispersion over the whole earth of the seeds of a purer and nobler civilization. Nor can public instruction be complained of as a want in most of the great communities of modern Europe. Even Austria has more systematically provided for it than England. Learned men abound in the universities and great capitals; and science is prosecuted with an ardour and a success beyond example. Journals and
the results elaborated by the student, clothe them in a popular form, and diffuse them through every region of society. Never perhaps was knowledge so widely disseminated as now. Notions of trade, government, industry, education and religion, which even a century ago were confined to a thoughtful and inquiring few, have now become almost axioms in the great mercantile and industrious class, and are descending rapidly into all the classes beneath it. Nor does this movement terminate in ideas alone. It has borne practical fruit. Observe the efforts everywhere made for raising the condition of the poor. See how literature has adapted itself to their wants. In the higher and educated ranks, there is more consideration for their well-being, a more strenuous effort to promote their health, their comfort, their mental and moral improvement, and even their amusements, than was ever before witnessed in the world. When we look at all these things together, we cannot mention one material resource, one mechanical power, one outward instrumentality, conducive to the highest civilization, which is wanting in our age, if the spirit were only there to animate them into harmonious vitality. All the parts essential to the mere machinery of society are already in existence; but the higher organism which should combine them, and the governing idea which should supply the central spring of their joint action, are yet to come; and it is their absence which still leaves a moral chaos in the world. Seeing how much we have, and how little we do,—beholding the immense resources which lie at our feet and seem to place happiness within our grasp, and yet finding that it is still far off, the great problem of society still unsolved, -we again exclaim, with astonishment and perplexity, “ If it be so, why are we thus ?”
We shall be told, perhaps, that it is our religious weakness, our want of faith, our declension from the old and recognized forms of Christian belief, which is the cause of this disappointing result; or that it arises from our sectarian dissensions, and that if we would only go back to the satisfied, uninquiring uniformity of our ancestors, all would be well. But here, again, let us look at the actual facts of the case. Whatever may be its doubt or its disbelief, this is not, I maintain, in its general spirit and tendency, an irreligious age. It has no resemblance to the age of Diderot and Voltaire. Men desire a religion, even when they have it not. The spirit of our time is more like the dim dawn of a new and rising faith, than the fading light of one that is going down. What the freest thinkers protest against, is not the spirit of religion (that, when it is genuine, there was never perhaps a greater disposi