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the whole of Germany, until all the different districts of Germany are made as many little republics, in substance and in spirit, if not in name; we say districts, and not states, because these are now constituted of provinces, or parts of territory which have been artificially patched together, when at the end of wars the princes divided and distributed the spoils.
The time when this desirable result will be effected we do not deem already close at hand, for we fear that the people will yet have to pass through repeated sanguinary struggles, before their victory will be entirely accomplished. Even after a complete overthrow of the absolute monarchial power, there remain still formidable obstacles to be overcome. The force of habit and custom deep rooted in the older generations ; interests and property founded upon the old order of things ; jealousies and fears of the persons in affluence and a superior social position; and, more than all, the ignorance and inexperience of the masses in political self-government, — all these and many other difficulties will yet, for a generation, prevent the troubled waters of the social and political life in Germany from finding a level and flowing calmly in their new channels. It is the coming generations, chiefly, who will enjoy the fruits and blessings of the present struggles and changes, and appreciate the sacrifices their fathers have made at the altar of their country. We do not find it strange, therefore, if many a one, in the bitterness of the present trials, calls out, in the words of Hamlet
"The time is out of joint; O cursed spite !
That ever I was born to set it right.” Since writing the foregoing remarks, the events which have taken place in Prussia and Austria furnish a sad proof how well founded our fears were of a reactionary movement on the part of the sovereigns of these two states. What faith and reliance could be placed upon men whose words and acts had always been in direct opposition to what they professed ? It was this well founded suspicion which induced the liberal party of the left, (often called “red republicans” by the English tory press and others of a like stagnant spirit, in derision of their warm zeal for the good cause,) in the national assembly at Frankfort and in the constituent assemblies at Vienna and Berlin, to insist upon more vigorous measures to wrest the means of arbitrary tyranny from the hands of the princes. It was with this view that the assembly at Berlin passed a resolution on the ninth of August and seventh of September, which enjoined upon the minister of war to issue an order to the army, commanding particularly the officers to conform to the present constitutional state of things, and to refrain from reactionary tendencies and actions. The king steadfastly resisted this order, but the assembly insisted upon its being executed. From this time, a crisis was preparing. The king could find no ministry to support his treachery, until he at last resorted to those very men who had been his ardent adherents before the revolution. He full well knew, that if his servile military hordes were taken from him, all hope of the execution of his iniquitous plans was lost. Through them he has succeeded, at least for a time, in breaking through all law and order again. The Constituent Assembly has been dissolved, and a constitution has been published of his own free will and absolute power. “Might is right” is the fundamental principle from which this new law flows. If the scales should now turn, no one can complain if the Might of the People should exercise a Right over the person of the king. Austria shared a similar fate before, but her imbecile monarch has now chosen to withdraw from the scene, and has entrusted the fate of his dominions to the strong hands of a youth of eighteen, who comes forward and assures his faithful subjects of his paternal good will! The national assembly at Frankfort continue in session, and prove by their timid and weak action in regard to all these momentous and reactionary movements, that they are surprised and overcome by these unexpected proceedings, and that a guilty conscience tells them how blind and deaf they have been to the forewarnings of the much abused left side of their body. We can only hope that the people will profit by this sad experience, and that, if in the next bloody conflict they are victorious, they will effectually remove the causes of reaction and disturbance of law and order, so that they may begin to enjoy the fruits of liberty and self-government.
Although the Constituent Assembly at Frankfort has now finished the framing of the projected constitution for United Germany, the most important part remains yet to be accomplished ; namely, to carry out its provisions. Whoever may be chosen the nominal head of the Germanic Union, which so far exists only on paper, and whatever title he may bear, whether Emperor or Protector, his best exertions will always encounter the insuperable obstacle of the sovereignty of the
other princes. Austria has already entirely withdrawn from the projected union, and will isolate itself as before, and the influence and the name of Prussia seem to absorb all that is German proper. The resistance and repugnance of the three middling powers — Hanover, Bavaria, and Wurtemburgmay, however, yet thwart the ambitious designs of the king of Prussia, and, although he may be chosen by the sage legislators at Frankfort, may prevent Germany from being converted into Prussia. The hostile position of the princes among themselves may finally produce some benefit to the people. The fond hopes of seeing the German people united into one sovereign nation seem now, at the beginning of the new year, almost entirely blighted; but we may indulge in the conviction that the events of the past year have taught a lesson to the people, which will increase their desire to make further advances in the science of self-government. It is to be hoped that they will, in future, entrust their interests not to the hands of fanciful, pedantic, learned professors and similar savants, who fancy that the dreams they indulged in whilst engaged in their libraries could be made realities. Instead of facing plain matters of fact and drawing practical inferences therefrom, such men begin with speaking on historical development, and descend into their “moral consciousness” to construct the frame-work of a law, the substance of which a mind not clouded by the dust of antiquarian books would have drawn from the simple truth that man is a moral and responsible being, or that the government is made for the people and not the people for the government.
The mass of the German people have so long lived in slavish dependence upon their governments, that the abject spirit engendered for so many years by the latter seems to have deadened in them the manly spirit of individual independence which prompts a man to walk upright and fear nobody, to repel indignantly and with energy any attempt at encroaching upon his sovereignty in his own affairs, and to maintain this his right at the hazard of all other goods of life. It is hoped that the rising generation will redeem the honor of the past, and learn to see and feel that a man, though possessed of all the learned lore of centuries and all the music and art which collective Europe can boast of, but who lacks the pride of a free and independent soul, sinks into insignificance by the side of men like Hermann and Tell, who, though unskilled in art and sciences, warm the heart as true examples of man's worth and dignity.
ART. II.- THE ETERNITY OF GOD.
A HYMN TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN.
Thou Ocean-deep of God's Eternity;
the point we call To-day, the worm,
O Meer von Gottes Ewigkeit!
Grund alles Fliehns von Welt und Zeiten!
Ist Dir ein Keim von Künftigkeiten.
In unserm Leben kaum Sekunden.
Und tausend sind noch nicht entbunden,
Du bleibst, und zählst nicht, die verschwunden.
The Stars, in all their silent majesty,
IV. In the Primeval Time when Life, new born And quickened by Almighty power, struggled 'Gainst chaos still; when Ancient Nothingness Had scantly left the threshold of that Life; Before e'en Gravity had learnt to fall, And ere the earliest gleam of new made Light Had shot upon the grim and desert DarkThou still wert there, wert then, and, spread abroad Far from thy source as now, didst all things fill!
Sie, die uns Jahr' und Monden sagen,
Wie Gras am schwülen Sommertagen.
Und kaum von neuer Wesen Schwelle
Eh' noch des Lichtes erste Helle
Gleich ewig fern von aller Quelle.