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ENGLAND NEARER LIBERTY.
English boy can enter an English university-when the sacred right of the ballot shall be conceded :-above all, when such a union of Church and State as the union which now compels the believer in one religion which he loves, to support another which he abhors, shall be abolished.
The legislators of England have generally had among them brave, bold and humane advocates of the rights of the people. And looking back over the last two or three decades, I cherish with glowing carnestness the hope which has dawned through many clouds of distrust and despondency, that a complete regeneration of the condition of the British people will be achieved, without much of the violence and blood of Revolution.
The beneficent changes which have occurred, have not been ushered in by tempests. They have been wrought out silently and effectually, as far as they have gone. The surface has remained the same, while the center has changed. England may be no nearer a Republic now, than she was a century ago, not half so near as in the time of Cromwell. But she is nearer liberty. The spirit of Reform has entered British legislation, and it will do its perfect work; for what Anglo-SaxonNorman men undertake, they are sure in the long run to perform. Conservatism itself has achieved reforms against which the Whigs fought twenty years ago. England is nearer freetrade with all the world, than either of the great parties of this Republic have ever been willing to come. Her great statesmen have at last made the discovery, which the political writers of Italy made more than two hundred years ago, that civilization, and the true policy of every nation require that all obstacles which the barbarism of former ages had raised to the free and unobstructed intercourse of mankind should be leveled. And in the abolition of her navigation laws, she has shown a more liberal policy towards foreign nations, than we have ever offered in any period of our history.
SIGNS OF DANGER AHEAD.
HAVE said that I never desired to make out a case against Great Britain as towards the United States, since she has made it out herself. Efforts enough were put forth by good citizens in the United States, and good subjects in Great Britain, during a long course of years, to heal the wounds that had been made between the two nations, from the Stamp Act to the sailing of the pirate "Alabama." But the most peacefully disposed men on both sides have lost their courage, because they have lost confidence in their ability to work, through peaceful means, the accomplishment of results which seem now to defy even destiny itself. It is more true with nations than with individuals, that ages are sometimes crowded into hours-that the flash of a sabre may do, in a second, what a whole generation has grown tired in waiting for-that exhausted patience among men and governments may assume the prerogatives of the Almighty, and make the bolt and the flash come together. Beware, however, where the bolt may strike.
This is all true in our own history of later days. The enemies of our own household undertook the overthrow of our Union, and to wind up our history as a first-class power. England has given them all the encouragement, aid and comfort which she dared to give. The course she has taken now looks strange enough, and in after times neither she nor her historians can explain her conduct to themselves. Men forget, on both sides of the Atlantic, that England will live in America when she shall have died at home.
NGLAND owes much of her progress to the spirit of liberty caught, at first, from her own wild hills; a spirit which was kept alive and invigorated by the fierce struggles through which she had to pass. More favorable circumstances than those in her history could not have combined for the
ORIGIN OF THE AMERICAN SYSTEM.
formation of a free, bravé and generous people. In the freedom of her political institutions, she was for ages in advance of the rest of the world; for the democratic principle had crept into her Constitution, long before mankind had elsewhere begun to question the divine right of kings. Many a time were English tyrants made to bow before the indignant Briton. Thus was the pride of the Norman princes humbled, when upon King John the assembled barons imposed the Magna Charta. Thus, too, did the nation avenge the insolence and tyranny of the Tudors, on their weakened and helpless successors, when a haughty line of monarchs went down in misfortune and blood, and the sceptre was grasped by the great Cromwell.
UCH has been said against Cromwell; but none deny
liberty assumed its broadest character. Scenes of riot and anarchy existed, it is true; but they were accompanied with blessings, for the absence of which nothing could atone. They waked in the bosom of the people those fires of liberty which have been the hope of England to this hour; fires, too, from which our own altars were kindled. For it was during that great struggle, with the sound of contention still in their cars, and the shout of liberty, mingled with prayers to God, still on their lips, that the Puritans bore away with them all England had ever known of political or religious freedom. England was unconscious at the time, that the greatest of her offspring were taking with them the fruits of that Revolution to a forest home, where they would rear an empire that could not be conquered.
History tells us, that after a great effort the human mind. settles into repose, and rests satisfied with past achievements. After the restoration of Charles II., who never should have been permitted to wear a crown, the flames of liberty seemed to go out, and the reign of tyranny again commenced. From
NOTHING YET DONE FOR THE MASSES.
that time, the mass of the people have sunk down in uncomplaining silence: "Now and then, indeed, they have bustled about and shook their chains," but to little purpose.
HE nation has increased in power, wealth, arts and learning; but the progress has been confined to the higher orders. The mass have been below the current of advancement-busy in toiling for bread. What has England's prosperity been to the poor? Machinery has only lessened the value of their honest labor; commerce only increased the luxuries of the rich; books, though abundant as the productions of the earth, have done nothing for the toil-worn craftsman, whom drudgery has left no time to read. The world has moved on, but brought to him none of the blessings civilization should profusely scatter in her progress; and while every other land is filled with the elegant productions of English art, the poor enjoy none of the abundance they so liberally dispense. Commerce, which in our times seems to unite with Christianity in achieving the world's redemption, is to him a bitter curse.
Is this the nation once the freest on earth? It is now more polished, opulent, and splendid than ever; but it has also within its bounds, deeper suffering and more crying wrong than it ever had in the days of its ancient obscurity; and this suffering and wrong seem the more intense and unnatural, in contrast with the spirit of the age.
there is a point where degradation passes the bounds of endurance; and England's people, who have so long bowed down in silent sorrow to the cruel arm of tyranny, are starting from their dream-like stupor. The sun of liberty, now advancing high in the heavens, begins to throw some glancing
THE MASSES NOT TO BE silenced.
beams through the gratings of their prison; they are looking anxiously abroad to find the occasion of their miseries; and wo to those from whom they conceive their miseries to flow. They drop the hammer upon the anvil; they pass from the clank of the factory, and ask for bread; it is not given: they will know why it is the English laborer must starve in a world of plenty. Once deeply stirred to a sense of injury and wrong, these men will not be silenced :
"Not poppy, nor mandragora,
Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world,
English legislators begin to feel this; and ever and anon Committees are appointed, Reports made, so charged with human wo that they almost drive the reader's brain to madness; and bills are passed ostensibly for relief; but the evil is not reached it is all shallow legislation.
Says Carlyle: "You abolish the symptom to no purpose, the disease is left untouched. Boils on the surface are curable or incurable; small matter, while the virulent humor festers deep within, poisoning the sources of life; and certain enough to find for itself new boils and sore issues; ways of announcing that it continues there, that it would fain not continue there."
Thus England's wise men cheat themselves, and the people for a while, by passing laws to quiet their discontent, grown fierce and mad. It is a silly expedient to play this game. "It is the resource of the ostrich, who, hard hunted, sticks his foolish head in the sand, and thinks his foolish unseeing body is unseen too."
COME men think England now more powerful than ever; but such persons forget the wild boiling sea of smothered discontent, which is heaving under the throne and the aristocracy.