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النشر الإلكتروني

FIRST TASTE OF BLOOD.

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on its own side, to attempt with words and formulas, or even physical force, to arrest the avalanche rush of millions towards their rights.

The memory of injuries treasured up through long centuries of oppression, the pangs of present suffering, the rage under insult and falsehood, the scorn of betrayers, the consciousness of right, the energy of despair, and the strength of God, are all on their side.

The movements, hitherto often lawless and distracted, are now combined and regular, and directed by a single feeling on a common wrong. And what is opposed to all this? An imbecile and rotten government-drunken with pride and blackspotted with crime-conscious of wrong, and backed only by a few cannon they dare not use, and laws they cannot enforce, and upheld only by the base motives, love of power and love of money.

XXVII.

ΟΥ

VER such frail barriers the tread of the multitude will be like the march of the storm. The throne and crown-mitres, heraldry and titles, they will fling about them like withered leaves, those playthings of the tempest. When the last hope of relief is abandoned, and respect for the laws, and reverence for ancient customs, and fear of death, are all broken over, and maddened men have got the first taste of blood and power, you can chain the lightnings of heaven, or the in-rolling tide of the sea, as easily as them.

Such fears, I know, are called idle, by those who talk dignifiedly of law and order. The apparent repose and firmness of the surface cheat the wisest politicians into the dream of security, till they feel the ground actually heaving beneath them. They forget the clap is never heard till the bolt has struck. It is this blindness which has strewn the earth with the fragments of ancient monarchies. Kings and rulers can be stupid sometimes, for the owl and the bittern sing of it in the mouldering desolate palaces of fallen empires.

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THE DOOM OF ENGLAND.

Having shown, as I think I have in this book conclusively, both from her financial prospects and the extremity of suffering which must increase under the present policy of government, and more than all, from the steady resistless progress of democracy in England, that she must reform or be revolutionized, I will add only one other argument. It is drawn from the gov ernment of God. There is a throne above that looks down on thrones below. And if it be true, that God keeps a record of the doings of rulers on earth, and the judgment day to nations is in this world, England has indeed reason to be afraid.

Obeying no law but her own imperious will, she has conquered without justice, and slaughtered without mercy. Her throne, based on the necks of the people, has grown hoary with oppression. No enlightened nation has ever in time of peace inflicted such suffering upon its subjects. The records of no nation present so dark, so bloody a picture as that of England's jurisdiction over Ireland. Her very Church has robbed the poor, and imprisoned the widow and him that had no helper, under the blasphemous pretence that she was doing God's service.

And if it be true that God visits the iniquities of rulers on their own heads, and the cry of the poor reaches his ear, and he does break the arm of the oppressor, then the doom of Babylon is written on the walls of her greatness unless she repent.

XXVIII.

BES

ESIDES, the government of England is based on a lie-a great lie that the many ought to suffer for the happiness and luxury of the few. The Creator cares for his truth. It may be buried so deep by the strong hand of oppression, that it may seem lost forever; but there is a day appointed for its resurrection. Surely, though it may be slowly, it works its way back to light and power. Centuries may roll by, and the few who have buried the truth may rejoice in security, for its grave is grown over, but it will yet arise and stare its murder

POPULAR LIBERTY ADVANCING.

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ers in the face. "All men are born free; and equally entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness"—is the great truth which despots, have tried to prove a lie, but which is to be the rallying cry of an enslaved world.

It is not always to be that nine-tenths of mankind are to die from starvation, in order that the remaining fraction may be able to die of surfeit. Equality among all classes is the goal towards which the world is straining, and it will reach it. What tumults and chaos and blood lie between them and it no man can tell. But if needs be through these it must be reached -through them it will pass-and armed with the Almighty's decree, press enslaved mankind to freedom. How fast, or how slow is to be its march, none but the God of nations can tell. We only hear the mighty tread of the advancing multitude. We only know that it is a part of the Almighty's plan to bring the world back to competence and happiness, and England must wheel into the movement that shall accomplish it. Vainer than a dream is the expectation of arresting this onward movement of the race. The world (to repeat from my own Introduction) shall not be dragged back to its former darkness and slavery. The power to do it has passed forever from the hands of despots. War, anarchy and madness may drench the earth in blood; but civilized man is no longer to sit tamely down under oppression. Its silent, deadly tooth is no longer to sink unresisted into his bruised and bleeding flesh. The world has heard the shout of freedom and is straining on its fetters. It is saying to its oppressors, the cup of trembling you have so long pressed to our lips we will drain no more forever. We are men!

To this crisis every careful observer acknowledges the world to be tending. Of all the monarchies of Europe, England is nearest this crisis. There the struggle has already commenced. The great battle-field of human rights is spread out, and the governments of the Old World are anxiously awaiting the issue. If the feudal principle fall there, it must fall everywhere.

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EMERSON'S TRIBUTE TO FREEDOM.

XXIX.

N lifting the veil from English society to reveal the terrible shapes that lay beneath it; in going over the painful details of oppression and suffering inflicted by a heartless few to increase their pleasures and their pride; especially in speaking of the fearful, but inevitable crisis to which all things are steadily tending, I may seem to some readers to have been betrayed into an asperity of language that would seem inconsistent with the feelings such disasters should awaken. But while I would not avert the crisis which shall relieve the people from an oppressive government and heartless church, whatever be the means by which it must be reached, I pity the stupidity and selfishness that will probably make it so terrible.

Freedom is dearer than life: it is a part of our nature, and burns on forever a sacred flame. "I have lived," says Emerson, "to hear that blessed name taken in vain, used in caricature, uttered with a sneer. It will not be so always. Prophets proclaimed it, noble men died for it, and felt the price cheap. None counted how much gold could be coined out of fetters. Dimly seen, imperfectly understood, its dimmest shapes, its shadowy visions even rising amidst bloody clouds, have been heralds of joy. Not brighter and more glad to the forlorn and weary traveler the first rays which look out through the golden dawn, than to commonwealths and men the day-break of liberty. I may regret, to be sure, that a dagger should ever have been hidden in a myrtle bough; I may mourn that in the name of liberty the least wrong should ever have been done; would that the blessed form needed never but voice soft as the gentlest evening wind. More deeply should I mourn, my tears more hopeless, if I saw her assailed, nor hand nor voice lifted in her defence. Nay, as in the worst superstitions I welcome the divine idea of religion, as through dreams and filthy tales of mythology I see and bless the living God, nor ever feel more sure that God is, that truth is, and

AN OPERATIVE'S MEMORIAL.

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that man is made for God and truth; so in and through frantic excesses of an incomplete and infantile freedom, I see, I feel, that freedom is, and is sacred, and that it is everything to the soul of man. Carry me to Paris in the frenzy of its first revolution; carry me to St. Domingo in the storm of its insurrection; carry me to Bunker's Hill and its carnage; carry me to Thermopyla while its three hundred wait the sure death; set me beside those whose names may scarce be uttered without contempt and hate-a Wat Tyler; set me where and with whom you will, be it but man struggling to be free, to be himself, I recognize a divine presence, and wish not to withhold my homage. Pardon me, but in the slavish quietude of the ages, I see nothing but despondency. Freedom, be it wild as it may, quickens my hope. The wildness is an accident which will pass soon; that slavish quietude is death. There is a grandeur in the earthquake or volcano ; in the dark, dank, offensive vault -something else."

XXX.

A

FEW years ago, in addressing the following Memorial to the Queen, an English operative expressed the feelings of his whole class:

"It is not unknown to you, Madam, that among large bodies of my fellow-subjects, there prevails an ill-defined, but strong opinion, that Whigs and Tories are alike their natural enemies; that, in fact, all the middle and upper classes are in one grand conspiracy to trample on and oppress them. Let an attempt be made to pass through the fearful approaching winter without some grand legislative effort made to relieve the industry of the country, and the spirit of Chartism-aye! and something worse will once more raise its head, and neither churches nor yeomanry, neither bayonets nor sabres, will put it down. We have had Jack Cades and Wat Tylers in England, and these have been put down; we have had great gatherings in Birmingham, riots in Bristol, Ludism, Radicalism, and physical force Chartism-and all these have been

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