« AnkstesnisTęsti »
the country into an immense chanticleer; — and a very insincere political opposition. The country needs to be extricated from its delirium at once. Public affairs are chained in the same law with private ; the retributions of armed states are not less sure and signal than those which come to private felons. The facility of majorities is no protection from the natural sequence of their own acts. Men reason badly, but nature and destiny are logical.
But whilst we should think our pains well bestowed if we could cure the infatuation of statesmen, and should be sincerely pleased if we could give a direction to the federal politics, we are far from believing politics the primal interest of men. On the contrary, we hold that laws and governors cannot possess a commanding interest for any but vacant or fanatical people : for the reason that this is simply a formal and superficial interest; and men of a solid genius are only interested in substantial things.
The state, like the individual, should rest on an ideal basis. Not only man but nature is injured by the imputation that man exists only to be fattened with bread; but he lives in such connection with Thought and Fact, that his bread is surely involved as one element thereof, but is not its end and aim. So the insight which commands the laws and conditions of the true polity, precludes forever all interest in the squabbles of parties. As soon as men have tasted the enjoyments of learning, friendship, and virtue, for which the state exists, the prizes of office appear polluted, and their followers, outcasts.
A journal that would meet the real wants of this time must have a courage and power sufficient to solve the problems which the great groping society around us, stupid with perplexity, is dumbly exploring. Let it not show its astuteness, by dodging each difficult question, and arguing diffusely every point on which men are long ago unanimous. Can it front this matter of Socialism, to which the names of Owen and Fourier have attached, and dispose of that question ? Will it
cope with the allied questions of Government, Nonresistance, and all that belongs under that category? Will it measure itself with the chapter of Slavery, in some sort the special enigma of the time, as it has provoked against it a sort of inspiration and enthusiasm singular in modern history? There are literary and philosophical reputations to settle. The name of Swedenborg has in this very time acquired new honors, and the current year has witnessed the appearance, in their first English translation, of his manuscripts. Here is an unsettled account in the book of Fame; a nebula to dim eyes,
but which great telescopes may yet resolve into a magnificent system. Here is the standing problem of Natural Science, and the merits of her great interpreters, to be determined ; the ency. clopedical Humboldt, and the intrepid generalizations collected by the author of the “ Vestiges of Creation." Here is the
. balance to be adjusted between the exact French school of Cuvier, and the genial catholic theorists, Geoffroy St. Hilaire, Goethe, Davy, and Agassiz. Will it venture into the thin and difficult air of that school where the secrets of structure are discussed under the topics of mesmerism and the twilights of demonology ?
What will easily seem to many a far higher question than any other is that which respects the embodying of the Conscience of the Period. Is the age we live in unfriendly to the highest powers ; to that blending of the affections with the poetic faculty which has distinguished the Religious Ages ? We have a better opinion of the economy of nature than to fear that those varying phases which humanity presents, ever leave out any of the grand springs of human action. Mankind for the moment seem to be in search of a religion. The Jewish cultus is declining; the Divine, or, as some will say, the truly Human, hovers, now seen, now unseen, before us. This period of peace, this hour when the jangle of contending churches is hushing or hushed, will seem only the more propitious to those who believe that man need not fear the want of religion, be
cause they know his religious constitution, — that he must rest on the moral and religious sentiments, as the motion of bodies rests on geometry. In the rapid decay of what was called religion, timid and unthinking people fancy a decay of the hope of man. But the moral and religious sentiments meet us everywhere, alike in markets as in churches. A God starts
behind cotton bales also. The conscience of man is regenerated as is the atmosphere, so that society cannot be debauched. That health which we call Virtue is an equipoise which easily redresses itself, and resembles those rockingstones which a child's finger can move, and a weight of many hundred tons cannot overthrow.
With these convictions, a few friends of good letters have thought fit to associate themselves for the conduct of a new journal. We have obeyed the custom and convenience of the time in adopting this form of a Review, as a mould into which all metal most easily runs.
But the form shall not be suffered to be an impediment. The name might convey the impression of a book of criticism, and that nothing is to be found here which was not written expressly for the Review; but good
; readers know that inspired pages are not written to fill a space, but for inevitable utterance ; and to such our journal is freely and solicitously open, even though every thing else be excluded. We entreat the aid of every lover of truth and right, and let these principles entreat for us. We rely on the talents and industry of good men known to us, but much more on the magnetism of truth, which is multiplying and educating advocates for itself and friends for us. We rely on the truth for and against ourselves.
ART. I. — Message from the President of the United States
to the two Houses of Congress, at the commencement of the Second Session of the Twenty-ninth Congress, Dec. 8th, 1846. Washington. 1846.
There is a period in history when war is thought to be the natural state of mankind ; when, certainly, it is the common state, and peace an exception to the general rule. Labor is hated, and war honored. In such a time, no reason need be given for going to war; rather perhaps is a reason required for ceasing from battle and plunder. In the early period of Rome, the senate now and then made a truce, but never a peace. Peace was only an armistice for a limited period.
. Says Homer, “ It is the business of a man to fight; of a slave to till the ground.” He represented the general opinion of the “Heroic Age.” But now things are somewhat changed. War is the exception ; public opinion is against it. Merchants and mechanics dislike it, for it interferes with their productive operations, thinking men abhor it as unreasonable ; and good men look on it as wicked. In all European countries, the thinking men demand of their rulers a good reason for disturbing their relations of peace. The old talk about national honor has diminished not a little amongst intelligent men, who think the national honor which is gained or lost by a battle is of no great value. Indeed, so far have matters gone, that many men hold the opinion, and some have even a sober and settled conviction, that war between nations is no more reputable and manly, no more likely to establish justice, than trial by battle in courts of law; no better than duelling between
men of honor,” or a bout with fists between two Irish beggars partially drunken. They think that war is nothing but murder, murder in the first degree, with malice aforethought, and what is wrong for one man is equally wrong for twenty millions -- that injustice is not the less so for being a great injustice. Then again there are some religious men who think that Christianity actually forbids war. It is true the various churches of the world have taken little pains to say so, but a good deal of pains to say the opposite. We never yet have seen the creed, the litany, or the catechism, which gave us the smallest hint that Christianity and war were incompatible. Still there are religious men who think the religion of which
and navy is
God planted the germs in human nature, is thoroughly hostile to all war.
All of these men united may be few in number - Theorists, Philanthropists, Philosophers, and the like. Still they are not idle nor ineffective ; they have already produced a change in public opinion; and in this city and its neighbourhood, a very great change within a few years. Then, too, there are sound, sober, practical men, who look little at first principles, it may be, and the nature of things, but much at modes of operation, and effects. They see that war is costly; that it costs money; that it costs men ; that it is not productive. In short, they see that all which a nation consumes in its army a bad investment, stock which does not pay. Still further : there are humane men, aboriginal democrats, who think that Man is of more account than the Accidents of a man
CUStoms, institutions, property, and the like ; they think that all government should be designed for the good of all men, and therefore that it must accord with the principles of absolute justice, which God has written on the heart of mankind. They see that war tramples all these principles under foot, and therefore, and in the name of the people, they obstinately refuse to promote, to favor, or even to tolerate a war.
Now, by means of these small parties of original thinkers, the Theorists, Philosophers, the Economists, and the Philanthropists, it has come to pass that war is getting sadly out of favor. True there are men, and enough of them, in the name of Religion, of Philosophy, Economy, and Democracy, who defend the old usage. They think that war now and then is a good thing; "it invigorates the people “ ”
6 it kills off the rabble, and, for the latter purpose, is better than the jail and gallows, as well as swifter.” These men have a great many newspapers at their command, and sometimes occupy seats deemed more sacred than an editor's chair. Doubtless they retard the progress of true ideas, and so add to the misery of mankind. Yet they no longer govern public opinion ; their influence yearly becomes less, for man naturally loves justice, and is a human being, not a brute, nor a fool. It has now come to pass, that in all civilized countries the mass of men look on war as a terrible evil, and one not to be lightly incurred by the government of the nation.
It surprises no one when two savage tribes quarrel ; the cause is seldom inquired after, for it is known that in such a stage of progress war is to be looked for and expected. But