When the North
commenced its insane crusade for the Union
, it scarcely expected that four years of the crusade would simply end in the subversion of its own liberties.
But it has been justly observed that there is nothing new in the moral world under the sun, because the changing theatre of human events exhibits, in different ages, under every different combination of human affairs, the certain operation of the same passions, desires and vices.
is indifferently acquainted with the history of its own Puritan
forefathers in England
, or it has studied that history to little purpose, if it does not discover that it has only been treading over again the old and beaten path by which Liberty ends in Despotism.
When the English
nation, in 1642, raised the standard of revolt against Charles I., their brains ran made with visions of republican freedom.
They as little anticipated the actual result as did the North
They did not expect that taxation was to be quadrupled, personal freedom destroyed, government carried on solely by the major generals
, and themselves made the victims of the most crushing military oppression.
When they took up arms in order to wrest the command of the militia from Charles, they did not dream that within fifteen years they would have to pay a greater sum, in war-contributions and taxes, than had been raised in England
in all the centuries put together since the Norman conquest.
If the North
wishes to know all that is in store for it, as the fruits of its own politico-religious enthusiasm of 1861, it has only to consult Hume
7, 241: "To raise the new imposition called the decimation, the Protector
instituted twelve major generals
, and divided the whole of England
into so many military jurisdictions.--These men, assisted by commissioners, had power to subject whom they pleased to decimation, to levy all the taxes imposed by the Protector
and his council, and to imprison any person who should be exposed to their jealousy or suspicion; nor was there any appeal from them but to the Protector
himself and his council.
Under color of these powers, which were sufficiently exorbitant, the major-generals exercised a power still more exorbitant, and acted as if absolute masters of the property and persons of every subject.
All reasonable men now concluded that the very mask of liberty was at length thrown aside, and that the nation was forever subject to military and despotic government — exercised, not in the legal European
nations, but according to the maxims of Eastern Before Lincoln
's second term has expired, the North
will ascertain that in this, as in other chapters of its experiences, there is nothing new under the sun.
, in 1789, flung forth the banner of democratic freedom, how little did it anticipate that the only results of their passionate political enthusiasm was to be the extinguishment of every vestige of freedom under the colossal throne of a military despot ! They expected the enfranchisement of the human race, and they only proved that the depravity of the human heart is made more manifest, deplorable and ruinous of government by increasing the number and destroying the responsibility of those who govern a country.
And this is the universal testimony of all ancient and modern history. "Democracy," said Pius VI., "is not contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ
; only it requires those sublime virtues which are alone to be found in the Gospel."--The United States
is running the career, and approaching the end, of all similar governments, and for the same reason. "The necessity," says Coleridge
, "for external government to man is in the inverse ratio of the vigor of his self-government.
Where the last is most complete the first is least wanted.
Hence the more virtue, the more liberty." What virtue is left among the Northern
What virtue in map anywhere, except that which proceeds from the regenerating influence of Christianity?
Hence the universal failure of such governments as that of the United States
. M. de Tocqueville
, in his impartial and philosophical survey of American equality, long ago portrayed seeds in the undisguised "tyranny of the majority" of the eventual destruction of civil liberty.
There is nothing new under the sun. The forms of free government alone remain in the United States
; but it is substantially a military despotism.
It has gone the way of all like experiments of the "vox populi vox dei."
But it might have finished with dignity, instead of selecting as its first master a man whom Cromwell
would only have employed as a sutler.