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as a host of ten thousand brawling and hungry malcontents, can be quieted and dispersed by the sound of a bugle, the clattering of a horse's hoofs, or the glittering of a musket barrel, can such people expect to be free? Assuredly not, we think. No where will despotism or aristocracy peaceably resign their long established preponderance without a struggle, and like our own revolution, the contest will at last come to the crisis-" we must fight, Mr. Speaker, we must fight,” as said the intrepid Patrick Henry,--and we did fight. So must Europe if it expects emancipation. All the governments of that quarter of the globe, are now sustained by a military force--and by force only can they be overthrown or modified, to suit the great changes which have taken place in the feelings and relative situation of the different orders of society.
That the present state and future prospects of that renowned and illustrious quarter of the globe, are ominous of a continued succession of storms and troubles, we think appears too obvious. The night that is approaching, will be long and dark, in all human probability-it may end in a total regeneration--in a confirmed and inflexible despotism; or in that precise state of things which characterized what are called, the dark ages of Europe-in the establishment of a hundred petty states, governed by a hundred petty tyrants, eternally at variance, and agreeing in nothing but in oppressing the people. Great standing armies are at present the conservators of the great powers of Europe, and public sentiment is no longer the sole or principal cement of empires; when these are gone, as they must be, ere the nations which they oppress can be free, then all the little sectional and provincial jealousies and antipathies, every real or imaginary opposition of interests, and even feelings of personal rivalry, will have an opportunity of coming into full play, and the result may very probably be, the erection of a vast many petty states, which will never be brought to act together in any great system of policy. Thus situated, they will never be able to make head against the growing power of the vast states of the new world, tion. They are serving their apprenticeship--they will soon be out of their time, and may safely set up for themselves.
But, however doubtful may be the final result of the great struggle between the kings and the people—or of the aristocracy and the people—for this seems to be the real struggle after all -whatever may be its final result, one thing is certain as fate. While it continues, it must inevitably arrest the prosperity of Europe, such as it is, and force it to retrograde for a time. Instead of devoting their attention to the interests of the nation abroad, and encouraging the industry and intelligence of the people at home, kings will be employed in watching and restraining their subjects. Fearing the intelligence and wealth, as the means of increasing their discontents as well as their power, they will seek to diminish both by new restraints or new exactions; and thus the best ends of government will be perverted to purposes of ignorance and oppression. This is the history of the degradation, and consequent internal weakness of all nations, and a perseverance in such a course in Europe, will only afford another example, that the same effects proceed from similar causes, every where, and at all times.
In the mean while, as oppression, civil wars, internal disaffection, anarchy, and expatriation of wealth and numbers, all combined, are gradually undermining the strength of Europe, and draining her veins, the new world will be, in all human probability, every day acquiring what the old is losing. If she once pass the other, if it be only by the breadth of a single hair, it is scarcely to be anticipated that age and decrepitude will ever be able to regain the vantage ground, against the primitive energies of vigorous youth. Once ahead, and the new world will remain so, until the ever revolving course of time, and the revolutions it never fails to accomplish, shall perhaps again transfer to Asia the sceptre of arts, science, literature, power, and dominion, which was wrested from her by Europe.
To realize these bold anticipations, nothing seems necessary but for the people of the United States to bear in mind, that they are the patriarchs of modern emancipation—that the spark which animates the people of Europe was caught from them—that they led the way in the great common cause of all mankind—that the
eyes of the world are upon them—and that they stand under a solemn obligation to do nothing themselves, to suffer their leaders to do nothing, which shall bring the sacred name of liberty into disgrace, or endanger the integrity of our great confederation. “ While other nations are moulding their governments after ours, may we not destroy the pattern.
ART. VII. —Speeches and Forensic Arguments, by DANIEL
WEBSTER: 8vo. pp. 520. Boston: 1830.
It has often enough been objected to books written and published in the United States, that they want a national air, tone, and temper. Unhappily, too, the complaint has not unfrequently been well founded; but the volume before us is a striking exception to all such remarks. It consists of a collection of Mr. Webster's Public Addresses, Speeches in Congress, and Forensic Arguments, printed chiefly from pamphlets, already well known; and it is marked throughout, to an uncommon degree, with the best characteristics of a generous nationality. No one, indeed, can open it, without perceiving that, whatever it contains, must have been the work of ne born and educated among ou
free institutions,-formed in their spirit, and animated and sustained by their genius and power. The subjects discussed, and the interests maintained in it, are entirely American; and many of them are so important, that they are already become prominent parts of our history. As we turn over its pages, therefore, and see how completely Mr. Webster has identified himself with the great institutions of the country, and how they, in their turn, have inspired and called forth the greatest efforts of his uncommon mind, we feel as if the sources of his strength, and the mystery by which it controuls us, were, in a considerable degree, interpreted. We feel that, like the fabulous giant of antiquity, he gathers it from the very earth that produced him; and our sympathy and interest, therefore, are excited, not less by the principle on which his power so much depends, than by the subjects and occasions on which it is so strikingly put forth. We understand better than we did before, not only why we have been drawn to him, but why the attraction that carried us along, was at once so cogent and so natural.
When, however, such a man appears before the nation, the period of his youth and training is necessarily gone by. It is only as a distinguished member of the General Government, probably in one of the two Houses of Congress, that he first comes, as it were, into the presence of the great mass of his country men. But, before he can arrive there, he has, in the vast majority of cases, reached the full stature of his strength, and developed all the prominent peculiarities of his character. Much, therefore, of what is most interesting in relation to him,much of what goes to make up his individuality and momentum, and without which, neither his elevation nor his conduct can be fully understood or estimated, is known only in the circle of his private friends, or, at most, in that section of the country from which he derives his origin. In this way, we are ignorant of much that it concerns us to know about many of our distinguished statesmen; but about none, probably, are we more relatively ignorant than about Mr. Webster, who is eminently one of those persons, whose professional and political career cannot be fairly or entirely understood, unless we have some acquaintance with the circumstances of his origin, and of his early history, taken in connection with his whole public life. We were, therefore, disappointed, on opening the present volume, not to find prefixed to it a full biographical notice of him. We were, indeed, so much disappointed and felt so fully persuaded, that neither the contents of the volume itself, nor the sources of its author's power, nor his position before the nation, could be properly comprehended without it, that we determined at once to connect whatever we should say on any of these subjects, by such notices of his life, as we might be able to collect under unfavourable circumstances. We only regret that our efforts have not been more successful,—and that our notices, therefore, are few and imperfect.
Mr. Webster was born in Salisbury, a farming town of NewHampshire, at the head of the Merrimack, in 1782. His father, always a farmer, was a man of a strongly marked and vigorous character,-full of decision, integrity, firmness, and good sense. He served under Lord Amherst, in the French war,
that ended in 1763; and, in the war of the Revolution, he commanded a company chiefly composed of his own towns-people and friends, who gladly fought under his leading nearly every campaign, and at whose head he was found, in the battle of Bennington, at the White Plains, and at West-Point, when Arnold's treason was discovered. He died about the year 1806; and, at the time of his death, had filled, for many years, the office of Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, for the state of New Hampshire.
But, during the early part of Mr. Webster's life, the place of his birth, now the centre of a flourishing and happy population, was on the frontiers of civilization. His father had been one of the very first settlers, and had even pushed further into the wilderness than the rest, so that the smoke sent up amidst the soli
tude of the forest, from the humble dwelling in which Mr. • Webster was himself born, marked, for some time, the ultimate
limit of New England adventure at the North. Undoubtedly, in any other country, the sufferings, privations, and discouragements inevitable in such a life, would have precluded all thought of intellectual culture. But, in New England, ever since the first free school was established amidst the woods that covered the peninsula of Boston, in 1636, the school-master has been found on the border line between savage and civilized life, often indeed with an axe to open his own path, but always looked up to with respect, and always carrying with him a valuable and preponderating influence.
It is to this characteristic trait of New England policy, that we owe the first development of Mr. Webster's powers, and the original determination of his whole course in life; for, unless the school had sought him in the forest, his father's means would not have been sufficient to send him down into the settlements to seek the school. The first upward step, therefore, would have been wanting; and it is not at all probable, that any subsequent exertions on his own part, would have enabled him to retrieve it. The value of such a benefit cannot, indeed, be measured; but it seems to have been his good fortune to be able in part, at least, to repay it; for no man has explained with such simplicity and force as he has explained them, the very principles and foundations on which the free schools of New England rest, or shown, with such a feeling of their importance and value, how truly the free institutions of our country must be built on the education of all. We allude now to his remarks in the Convention of Massachusetts, where, speaking of the support of schools, he says:
“In this particular we may be allowed to claim a merit of a very high and peculiar character. This commonwealth, with other of the New England states, early adopted, and has constantly maintained the principle, that it is the undoubted right, and the bounden duty of government, to provide for the instruction of all youth. That which is elsewhere left to chance, or to charity, we secure by law. For the purpose of public instruction, we hold every man subject to taxation, in proportion to his property, and we look not to the question, whether he, himself, have or have not children to be benefited by the education for which he pays. We regard it as a wise and liberal system of police, by which property, and life, and the peace of society are secured. We seek to prevent, in some measure, the extension of the penal code, by inspiring a salu. irry and conservative principle of virtue, and of knowledge, in an early age. We hope to excite a feeling of respectability, and a sense of character, by enlarging the capacity, and increasing the sphere of intellectual enjoyment. By general instruction, we seek, as far as possible, to purify the whole moral atmosphere ; to keep good sentiments uppermost, and to turn the strong current of feeling and opinion, as well as the censures of the law, and the denunciations of religion, against immorality and crime. We hope for a security, beyond the law, and above the law, in the prevalence of enlightened and well principled moral sentiment. We hope to continue and to prolong the time, when, in the villages and farm houses of New England, there may be undisturbed sleep, within unbarred doors. And knowing that our government rests directly on the public will, that we may preserve it, we endeavour to give a safe and proper direction to that public will. We do not, indeed, expect all men to be philosopbers, or statesmen; but we confidently trust, and our expectation of the duration of our system of government rests on that trust, that by the diffusion of general knowledge, and good and virtuous sentiments, the political fabric may be secure, as well against open violence and overthrow, as against the slow but sure undermining of licentiousness." pages 209, 210.
“ I rejoice, Sir, that every man in this community may call all property his own, so far as he has occasion for it, to furnish for himself and his children the blessings of religious instruction and the elements of knowledge. This celestial, and this earthly light, he is entitled to by the fundamental laws. It is every poor man's undoubted birth-right, it is the great blessing which this constitution