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OR, UNFETTERED THINKER AND PLAIN SPEAKER FOR
TRUTH, FREEDOM, AND PROGRESS.
“AND though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously to misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple! Who ever knew Truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter?"- Milton's Areopagitica.
No. 21.—Vol. 1.]
FOR THE WEEK ENDING SATURDAY, MAY 25, 1850.
[Price One Penny.
THE TYPE OF THE PRINCIPLE OF ORDER.'
"Oh, Wellington-or Villainton...
Yet Europe doubtless owes you greatly more :
Don Juan. It is the celebration of the Queen's birth-day—the fifteenth of May. Having to pass by 'Apsley House,' and the colossal equestrian statue oft he • Iron Duke,' on my way from my own home to the city-an unusual bustle and running of people brought me to a halt. What a significant shew passes under that arch above which stands the giant image! It is a throng of general officers on horseback, with the Iron Duke himself, and Lord Hardinge with his one arm, and the 'royal duke,' Cambridge, abreast. How bolt upright the "hero of Waterloo' affects to sit, and yet how he rocks and totters, with his years of eighty-one !--and what a contrast there is between his gay scarlet coat and white plumes, and that bedimmed face and ever-mumbling mouth!
They escort him to the gates of Apsley House ; and a groupe of boys, streetsweepers, and cabmen, take off their hats and shout. All who were passing, 'gentle or simple,' stopped to gaze curiously at the old man ; but the shouters --of a verity, they were truly of the 'unwashed ! Yet this was the · Man of Order,' whom the well-to-do should have delighted to honour. But they left the honour-paying to the canaille !
Was not this a sign that thought is beginning to germinate in the minds of some? They looked on curiously; but they remembered that the ‘hero' was an expensive curiosity, and a slaughterous one. So the disposition to take off the hat and cheer, was not found in them. · And that old man himself—was not he a sign, too? Bedecked and bedizened, yet all his splendid trappings could not make him look young again. Like the principle of Order which he represents and has fought for-he is in his superannuation; and all his decorations only serve to make it more apparent. The last struggle is taking place with him--and with Kings, Popes, and President-Pretenders ; and all their shew and pretence of security cannot hide it. They belong to the Age-that-was, and their trappings too. The present age feels this, and groans to be delivered from both. Yet this deliverance may not be realised so soon as the most ardent could wish. The type may often put on his trappings, and enact that unseemly farce, yet ; and • Order' may yet, again and again, suppress the struggles of its victims, and often mount afresh its plumes, and don its holiday gear. But'Order' will eventually like its type--be stricken with the loss of breath, and put on its gala dresses no more. It must come to that, at length-at Apsley House, in the Elysee, in the Vatican, in every palace in Europe. It is in the very nature of things, that it should be so. Let mind grow-strengthen-deepen -widen ; and when false' Order' with its bloodshed and tinsel die out, true Order shall make a peaceful, rational, and happy world.
THE CRISIS AT HAND, IN FRANCE. So the workmen of Paris have shewn that they know how to win other victories than those of the barricades. Universal Suffrage works well. The President Pretender and his corrupt Ministry have been beaten by Eugene Sue and the Social Democrats of Paris. Consternation and alarm prevail in the ranks of the “Friends of Order." They had strained every nerve, they had used every artifice, they had slandered democracy, they had gagged the Press, they had suppressed meetings; in the army they had degraded the officers, and transported to Algeria the men who were known to be most imbued with socialist principles : no dodge was too meau, no trick too shabby; and, now that they are defeated, their rage and fury at the “ Cannibals" who have returned Eugene Sue, by a majority of 10,000, is proportioned to the extent of their fears, and the bitterness of their disappointment.
Eugene Sue is not only a republican and a socialist: there is a feature in his character which renders him particularly obnoxious to the friends of established abuses. The men of the long purse and the long acre, backed by the men of the long knife, would not have been so successful as they have been in promoting the reaction which has followed the Revolution of 1848, not only in France but throughout Europe, if they had not been aided by the men of the long head and the long conscience. The priests and monks and Jesuits have been at the bottom of the foul conspiracy against the rights and liberties of the people. They know that Eugene Sue understands their trickery ; and that he has both the courage and the ability, as well as the determination, to expose and denounce their machinations. He is their most formidable opponent. Hence their hatred and personal vituperation of him.
One thing is clear: Universal Suffrage and the present system of Order" will not hold together. Hence the heads of all the factions are now plotting to overthrow the Constitution and destroy Universal Suf, frage. The Special Constable' is seeking to strengthen the friendly relations already existing between his own government and those of Austria and Russia. The clouds are dark and lowering. The Revolutionary tempest threatens soon to rage more furiously than ever over the Con. tinent of Europe. Austria and Russia are collecting large armies upon their frontiers, in order to crush the republic without, if treason should be unsuccessful, from within. The aristocracy and the money jobber, and all the classes who have grown “fat and well favoured,” by the plunder of the industrious portion of the community, would be willing to league not only with Nicholas, but even with Beelzebub, to maintain their power, and perpetuate the slavery of the working-classes. The Monarchs of Europe are scarcely less alarmed at the Paris Elections than is Louis Napoleon himself.
They know that France is the advanced guard of Liberty in Europe, and that Paris sounds the key-note; and they would pay any price for the destruction of the French Republic, as a measure necessary for their owu security.
Well, France has been menaced before. Frenchmen will recollect that in 1792, in the name of the Sovereigns of Europe, and in defence of the throne and the altar,-Brunswick with the "truant chevaliers," the base and cowardly Aristocracy of France at his heels, and backed by British gold and Austrian and Prussian bayonets, advanced towards Paris issuing his famous Manifesto, in which he threatened to raze Paris to the ground and deliver the inhabitants over to military execution if “they dared to stand on the defensive." They will call to mind how their fathers responded to that threat: how they demolished the Bastille, and stormed the Tuil. ļeries : how they not only drove back the invaders, but how they who had dared to threaten the Capital of France had to do homage for their own. The people of Paris are more humane, but I trust not less heroic, than their fathers. We have no fear of France from foreign invasion. Let the despots send their assassin bands from every country in Europe. Let the Russian bear and the Austrian vulture hunt together. Let blind bigotted priestridden Spain add to their number, and Pio Nono, the last of the Popes, bless the banner of their liberticidal enterprize, France, in the power and grandeur of her democracy, will, as before, be prepared to receive them.
“Come then with every hireling, Sclave, Croat and Cossack ;
We dare your war! beware of ours! we tling your freedom back!" Meanwhile let tyrants bear in mind that in any new war against liberty (whatever be the disposition of the English Government) they will not be supported by British gold. We can't afford it; and we dont mean to try. Our past wars have bound us over to keep the peace, in securities of eight hundred millions! And let those who menace other nations look at home! The heart of Hungary still beats, and Kossuth lives. Poland bides her time, and trusts the day of coming retribution. Italy has not forgotten her ancient glory, nor abandoned her determination to realize Mazzini's glorious dream of the Italian Republic, one and indivisible. The idea of democracy, the common nature and the common rights of man, the realization of Christ's Gospel of fraternity, has everywhere taken deep hold of che hearts of men: hence our faith in the future. Force may be put down by force ; but it is impotent in combatting with opinion. Principles are indestructible : thought must in future govern the world. The Revolution of action has been preceded by a Revolution of thought and sentiment. The people are everywhere marching on toward the promised land of freedom. They have to pass through the Red Sea. Pharoah-Kings may harden their hearts, and follow after them with horses and chariots, to bring them back into the land of bondage; but they will be overwhelmed by the returning waves :
" Poor Kings they are all in the depths of the sca"Such was the prophetic dirge of Beranger. Time will show.
Life is like a game at cards ; we know the cards will beat any one, but he who plays them carefully will do more with the same cards, than he who throws them out at random. The gifts of nature, education, and fortune, are the cards put into our hands; all we bave to do is to manage them well by a steady adherence to the dictates of sound reason,-- Tucker's Light of Nature.
A REMINISCENCE OF WORDSWORTH.
(Concluded from number before last.) “ I am pleased to find,” he said, while we were taking about Byron, “that you preserve your muse chaste, and free from rank and corrupt passion. Lord Byron degraded poetry in that respect. Men's hearts are bad enough. Poetry should refine and purify their natures ; not make them worse."
I ventured the plea that Don Juan was descriptive, and that Shakspere had also described bad passions in anatomising the human heart, which was one of the great vocations of the Poet.
“But there is always a moral lesson," he replied, quickly, “in Shakspere's pictures. You feel that he is not stirring men's passions for the sake of awakening the brute within them : the pure and virtuous is always presented in high contrast, but the other riots in corrupt pictures, evidently with the enjoyment of the corruption.”
Í diverted him from a theme which it was clear created unpleasant thoughts in him ; and asked his opinion of the poetry of the day.
“ There is little that can be called bigh poetry,” he said ; "Mr. Tennyson affords the richest promise. He will do great things yet; and ought to have done greater things, by this time."
“ His sense of music,” I observed, “ seems more perfect than that of any of the new race of poets."
“Yes,” he replied, " the perception of harmony lies in the very essence of the Poet's nature ; and Mr. Tennyson gives magnificent proofs that he is endowed with it."
I instanced Tennyson's rich association of musical words, in his Morte d'Arthur,''Godiva,'Ulysses,' and other pieces-as proofs of his possessing as fine a sense of music in syllables as Keats, and even Milton; and the patriarch poet, with an approving smile assented to it.
I assured him how much I had been interested with Mrs. Wordsworth's conversation respecting Southey, and told him that James Montgomery of Sheffield, in an interview I had with him many years before, had spoken very highly of Southey.
"Well : that is pleasing to hear," he observed, “ for Mr. Montgomery's political opinions have never resembled Southey's.”
“ That was Mr. Montgomery's own observation," I rejoined, " while he was assuring me that he lived near to Mr. Southey for a considerable time, at at one period of his life, and he never knew a more estimable man. He affirmed, too, that when people attributed Mr. Southey's change of political opinions to corrupt motives they greatly wronged him."
“ And depend upon it they did,” Wordsworth answered, with great dignity: “ it was the foullest libel to attribute bad motives to Mr. Southey. No man's change was ever more sincere. He would have hated himself had he been a hypocrite; and could never afterwards have produced anything noble."
He repeated Mrs. Wordsworth's remarks on Southey's purity of morals, and immense industry in reading almost always with the pen in his hand; and his zeal in laying up materials for future works. With a sigh he recurred to his friend's mental decline and imbecility in his latter days—and again I led him to other topics.
“There will be great changes on the Continent," he said, “when the present King of the French dies. But not while he lives. The different governments will have to give constitutions to their people, for knowledge is spreading, and constitutional liberty is sure to follow.”
I thought him perfectly right about Louis Philippe—and which of us would not have thought him right in 1846 ? But yet I had mistaken his estimate of the King of the Barricades.'
“ Ay, he is too crafty and too powerful,” said I, “ to be easily overthrown : there will be no extension of French liberty in his days."
“Oh, but you are mistaken in the character of Louis Philippe,” he observed, very pointedly; " you should not call him crafty: he is a very wise and politic prince. The French needed such a man. Ile will consolidate French character, and render it fit for the peaceable acquirement of rational liberty, at his decease."
I remembered the venerable age and high mental rank of him with whom I was conversing, and simply said —“Do you think so, sir ?”—without telling him that I thought he scarcely comprehended his subject. But how the events of 1818 must have made him wonder!
He had the same views of the spread of freedom in England, in proportion to the increase of knowledge ; and descanted with animation on the growth of Mechanics’ Institutes and similar institutions. “ The people are sure to have the franchise,” he said, with an emphasis, “as knowledge increases ; but you will not get all you seek, at once--and you must never seek it again by physical force,” he added, turning to me with a smile : “it will only make you longer about it."
A great part of the time he was thus kindly and paternally impressing his thoughts upon me, we were walking on the terrace outside his house,—whither he had conducted me to note the beautiful view it commanded. It was indeed a glorious spot for a Poet's home. · Rydal Lake was in view from one window in the cottage, and Windermere from another-with all the grand assemblage of mountain and rock that intervened. From the terrace the view of Windermere was magnificent. The Poet's aged and infirm sister was being drawn about the court-yard in a wheeled-chair, as we walked on the terrace. He descended with me, and introduced me to her,—as a poet ! —and hung over her infirmity with the kindest affection, while she talked to me.
When I hastened to depart-fearing that I had already wearied him-he walked with me to the gate, pressing my hand repeatedly, smiling upon me so benevolently, and uttering so many good wishes for my happiness and usefulness—that I felt almost unable to thank him. I left him with a more intense feeling of having been in the presence of a good and great intelligence, than I had ever felt in any other moments of my life.
Seur KNOWLEDGE. --Who seeth not how great is the advantage arising from this knowJedge, and what misery must attend our mistakes concerning it. For he who is possessed of it not only knoweth himself, but knoweth what is best for him. He perceiveth what he can and what he cannot do; he applieth himself to the one, he gaineth what is necessary, and is happy; he attempts not the other, and therefore incurs neither distress nor disappointment. From knowing himself, he is able to form a right judgment of others, and turn thein to his advantage, either for the procuring some good or preventing some evil. On the contrary, he who is ignorant of himself, and maketh a wrong estimate of his own powers, will also mistake those of other men; he knows neither what he wants or undertakes, nor yet the means he maketh use of; so that it not only fails of success, but oftentimes falls into many misfortunes ; while the man who sees his way before him most commonly obtains the end he aims at, and not only so, but secures to himself reaown and honour.--Socrates in Xenophon.