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5. What would the Southern Confederacy be for the North? A foreign power established in America, with a frontier of fifteen hundred miles, a frontier open on all sides, and consequently always either menacing or menaced. This power, hostile from its very proximity, and more so still by its institutions, would possess one of the most considerable portions of the New World; it would have half of the seashore of the Union, it would command the Gulf of Mexico, an interior sea of a third the size of the Mediterranean; it would be mistress of the mouths of the Mississippi, and could at its humor' ruin the populations of the West.
6. "But the river would be made neutral," they tell us. We know what such promises amount to. We have seen that which Russia made with regard to the mouth of the Danube, and it required the Crimean war to restore to Germany the free enjoyment of her great river. If to-morrow a new war should break out between Austria and Russia, we may be sure that the possession of the Danube would be the stake of the contest. It could not be otherwise in America from the day when the Mississippi should flow for a distance of more than a hundred leagues between banks that were enslaved.
7. Thus the remains of the old Union must be always ready to defend themselves against their rivals. Questions of custom-duties, and of frontiers, rivalries, jealousies, all the scourges of old Europe would overwhelm America at once. It would be necessary to establish custom-houses on a space of five hundred leagues to construct and arm forts along this immense frontier, to support permanent and considerable armies, and to maintain a navy:-in other words, the old Constitution must be renounced, municipal independence must be enfeebled, and power concentrated.
8. Farewell to the old and glorious liberty! Farewell to those institutions which made America the com
mon country to all those to whom air was wanting in Europe! The work of Washington would be destroyed, and Americans would find themselves in a situation full of difficulties and dangers. That such a future may rejoice those people who cannot pardon America her prosperity and her greatness, I can understand. History is full of these sad jealousies. That a people habituated to liberty would risk its last man and its last dollar to keep the heritage of its fathers, that I understand better, and I approve it.
9. What I do not understand is, that there should be found in Europe people calling themselves liberal, reproaching the North for its noble resistance, and counseling it to a shameful abdication. War is a frightful evil, but from war a durable peace may spring; the South may become fatigued by the exhausting struggle; the old Union may be revived. The future may be saved. But what could come from a separation except a war without end, and miseries without number? This tearing asunder of the country is a downfall without remedy; men cannot accept such a misfortune until they are entirely overwhelmed.
XVII. HOW SLEEP THE BRAVE.
How sleep the brave, who sink to rest,
See in Index, DEWY, FAIRY, MOULD or MOLD, COLLINS. Probably no poem in the language, equal to this in brevity, has equaled it in celebrity.
Delivery. This should be in a soft middle pitch, force gentle, time moderate, quality pure, tones at once exultant and pathetic.
In the Spring of 1831, two young Frenchmen, one named ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE, the other GUSTAVE DE BEAUMONT, landed in New York. They came partly on an official mission to inspect the prisons of the United States. Both were subsequently distinguished in literature. They remained friends through life, and when one at last died, the following touching and beautiful tribute to his memory was paid by the survivor.
Pronunciation. Do not slight the sound of long o in MOST, ONLY, WHOLE, &c. For EAGERLY, LIBERTY, MODERN, REVERENCE, &c., see cautions, § 7. Pronounce EXHIBIT, egz-hibit, sounding the aspirate. For TRUTHS, see § 19.
See in Index, ARISTOCRAT, CHRISTIANITY, COMMONPLACE, MARVELOUS or MARVELLOUS, NEITHER, BEAUMONT, TOCQUEVILLE.
Delivery. The remarks, § 48, on the narrative style will apply here; but at the seventh paragraph, and thence to the end, the tones should be expressive of the tenderness, pathos, and nobleness of the sentiment.
1. AFTER having passed a year in the United States, Tocqueville returned to France. From that time his object was to write the book for which he had already formed the plan and collected the materials. The first two volumes of his "Democracy in America" he composed between the years 1832 and 1834. These two years were probably the happiest of his life. During this period not only did he devote himself with ardor to his book, but he was able to do so without a single anxiety.
2. Exempt from all professional duties, not yet married, but already attached to her who was to be his wife; his mind at rest, and his heart satisfied; he was in that state so rare and always so short-lived, in which a man, relieved from every obligation, every restraint, every care, taking part in the affairs of the world and of his domestic circle only as much as he chooses, free, in short, without being solitary, is in full possession of his intellectual independence.
3. The brilliant success of Tocqueville's "Democracy in America" was not confined to France. All parties seemed desirous of appropriating the book and its author. Some declared him to be a democrat; others said that he was an aristocrat. He was neither. Born in the ranks of the aristocracy, but with a love for liberty, he had found modern society in the hands of the democracy. His great object was to add liberty to the already existing equality; and he not only searched eagerly in a democratic country for the fundamental conditions of liberty, but it may even be said that he discovered and pointed them out.
4. The Americans could not understand how a stranger, after a residence among them of only a year, could, with such marvelous sagacity, master their institutions and manners; enter into the spirit of them; and exhibit, in a clear and logical form, what they themselves had, till then, only vaguely apprehended. There is not one eminent man in the United States who does not acknowledge that Tocqueville has revealed to him new ideas of the constitution of his country and of the philosophy of its society and laws.
5. Tocqueville died on the 16th of April, 1859. He was only fifty-four years old. He passed away peacefully, without any of the cruel pangs often caused by the immediate approach of death; and at the same time with the mental tranquillity of a man prepared for it, and for whom the close of life has neither terrors nor
threats. What better preparation can there be for death than a whole life spent in well-doing?
6. His death was that of a Christian, as had been his life. In the midst of his greatest perplexities he never ceased to be sincerely Christian. This sentiment amounted in him to a passion, and was even a part of his political creed; for he believed that there could be no liberty without morality, and no morality without religion.* Christianity and civilization were to him convertible terms. He believed firmly that, for the good of mankind, it was most desirable to see religious faith intimately united with the love of liberty; and it always deeply pained him to find them separated.
7. We have tried to paint the author, the philosopher, and the statesman; but who can paint the man himself, his heart, his grace, his poetical imagination, and at the same time his good sense; that heart so tender, that reason so firm, that judgment so keen and so sure, that intellect so clear and so deep, never either commonplace or eccentric, always original and sensible; in a word, all the qualities that made him so superior and distinguished above other men?
8. Tocqueville not only possessed great talents, but every variety of talent. His conversation was as brilliant as his compositions. He was as remarkable as a narrator as he was as a writer. He possessed another talent which is even more rare, that of being a good listener as well as talker. Gifted with activity indefatigable and almost morbid, he disposed of his time with admirable method. He found time for everything, and never omitted a moral or a social duty.
*This was emphatically the opinion of George Washington, as his writings in many places prove. "Religion and morality," says Washington, are essential pillars of civil society, the firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. Let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion." The studies of De Tocqueville led him to the same conviction.