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for discussion or that is the time, they will be laughed at another century as fools, and kicked for another century as slaves. Byron called England's Union with Ireland the union of the shark with his prey. Bentham's conclusion, from a survey of five hundred years of European history, was, Only by making the ruling few uneasy caanded at the sword's point. And a century later, only last year, Gladstone himself proclaimed in a public address in Scotland, England never concedes anything to Ireland except when moved to do so by fear. When we remember these admissions, we ought to clap our hands at every fresh Irish outrage, as a parrot-press styles it, awmen who made North's Boston port-bill a failure, while every leading journal sends daily over the water wishes for the success of Gladstone's copy of the bill for Ireland. If all rightful government rests on consent,--if, as the French say, you can do almost anything with a bayonet except sit on it, --be at least consistent, and d
Chatham (United Kingdom) (search for this): chapter 27
uch a despotism could exist without provoking the bloodiest resistance. I honor Nihilism, since it redeems human nature from the suspicion of being utterly vile, made up only of heartless oppressors and contented slaves. Every line in our history, every interest of civilization, bids us rejoice when the tyrant grows pale and the slave rebellious. We cannot but pity the suffering of any human being, however richly deserved; but such pity must not confuse our moral sense. Humanity gains. Chatham rejoiced when our fathers rebelled. For every single reason they alleged, Russia counts a hundred, each one ten times bitterer than any Hancock or Adams could give. Sam Johnson's standing toast in Oxford port was, Success to the first insurrection of slaves in Jamaica, --a sentiment Southey echoed. Eschew cant, said that old moralist. But of all the cants that are canted in this canting world, though the cant of piety may be the worst, the cant of Americans bewailing Russian Nihilism is
Vienna (Virginia, United States) (search for this): chapter 27
ess, amid the plaudits of his class, his loathing and contempt for John Brown, Europe thrilled to him as proof that our institutions had not lost all their native and distinctive life. She had grown tired of our parrot note and cold moonlight reflection of older civilizations. Lansdowne and Brougham could confess to Sumner that they had never read a page of their contemporary, Daniel Webster; and you spoke to vacant eyes when you named Prescott, fifty years ago, to average Europeans; while Vienna asked, with careless indifference, Seward, who is he? But long before our ranks marched up State Street to the John Brown song, the banks of the Seine and of the Danube hailed the new life which had given us another and nobler Washington. Lowell foresaw him when, forty years ago, he sang of,--Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne; Yet that scaffold sways the future, And behind the dim unknown Standeth God, within the shadow, Keeping watch above His own. And yet the
Venice (Italy) (search for this): chapter 27
hold Christianity to command entire non-resistance. But criticism from any other quarter is only that nauseous hypocrisy which, stung by threepenny tea-tax, piles Bunker Hill with granite and statues, prating all the time of patriotism and broadswords, while, like another Pecksniff, it recommends a century of dumb submission and entire non-resistance to the Russians, who for a hundred years have seen their sons by thousands dragged to death or exile, no one knows which, in this worse than Venetian mystery of police, and their maidens flogged to death in the market-place, and who share the same fate if they presume to ask the reason why. It is unfortunate, says Jefferson, that the efforts of mankind to secure the freedom of which they have been deprived, should be accompanied with violence and even with crime. But while we weep over the means, we must pray for the end. Pray fearlessly for such ends; there is no risk! Men are all tories by nature, says Arnold, when tolerably well
Concord (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 27
delled his chapters; and Everett carried Washington through thirty States, remembering to forget the brave words the wise Virginian had left on record warning his countrymen of this evil. Amid this battle of the giants, scholarship sat dumb for thirty years until imminent deadly peril convulsed it into action, and colleges, in their despair, gave to the army that help they had refused to the market-place and the rostrum. There was here and there an exception. That earthquake scholar at Concord, whose serene word, like a whisper among the avalanches, topples down superstitions and prejudices, was at his post, and with half a score of others, made the exception that proved the rule. Pulpits, just so far as they could not boast of culture, and nestled closest down among the masses, were infinitely braver than the spires and antique towers of stately collegiate institutions. Then came reform of penal legislation,--the effort to make law mean justice, and substitute for its barba
Hamilton, N. Y. (New York, United States) (search for this): chapter 27
of the city into most serious peril,--was the body of old office-holders, poisoned with length of official life, scoffing at the people as intrusive intermeddlers; men in whom something like a fixed tenure of office had killed all sympathy with the democratic tendency of our system. Some might fear that our government could not be carried on without this patronage. Hamilton is quoted as saying, Purge the British Government of its corruption, and give to its popular branch equality of representation, and it would become an impracticable government. The British Government has been pretty well purged, and its popular branch comes now very near to equality of representation. Yet, spite of Hamilton's prophecy, the machine still works, and works better and better for every successive measure of such purification and reform. So our government, relieved of the weight of this debasing patronage, would disappoint the sullen forebodings of Tory misgiving, and rise to nobler action.
St. Petersburg (Russia) (search for this): chapter 27
e bill for Ireland. If all rightful government rests on consent,--if, as the French say, you can do almost anything with a bayonet except sit on it, --be at least consistent, and denounce the man who covers Ireland with regiments to hold up a despotism which, within twenty months, he has confessed rests wholly upon fear. Then note the scorn and disgust with which we gather up our garments about us and disown the Sam Adams and William Prescott, the George Washington and John Brown, of St. Petersburg, the spiritual descendants, the living representatives of those who make our history worth anything in the worlds annals,--the Nihilists. Nihilism is the righteous and honorable resistance of a people crushed under an iron rule. Nihilism is evidence of life. When order reigns in Warsaw, it is spiritual death. Nihilism is the last weapon of victims choked and manacled beyond all other resistance. It is crushed humanity's only means of making the oppressor tremble. God means that
Harper's Ferry (West Virginia, United States) (search for this): chapter 27
arty's justice, the fairness of this law, the impolicy of that measure,--lofty, broad topics, training morals, widening views. Niebuhr said of Italy, sixty years ago, No one feels himself a citizen. Not only are the people destitute of hope, but they have not even wishes touching the world's affairs; and hence all the springs of great and noble thoughts are choked up. In this sense the Fremont campaign of 1856 taught Americans more than a hundred colleges; and John Brown's pulpit at Harper's Ferry was equal to any ten thousand ordinary chairs. God lifted a million of hearts to his gibbet, as the Roman cross lifted a world to itself in that divine sacrifice of two thousand years ago. As much as statesmanship had taught in our previous eighty years, that one week of intellectual watching and weighing and dividing truth taught twenty millions of people. Yet how little, brothers, can we claim for bookmen in that uprising and growth of 1856! And while the first of American scholars
Scotland (United Kingdom) (search for this): chapter 27
tory, was, Only by making the ruling few uneasy can the oppressed many obtain a particle of relief. Edmund Burke — Burke, the noblest figure in the Parliamentary history of the last hundred years, greater than Cicero in the senate and almost Plato in the academy — Burke affirmed, a century ago, Ireland has learned at last that justice is to be had from England only when demanded at the sword's point. And a century later, only last year, Gladstone himself proclaimed in a public address in Scotland, England never concedes anything to Ireland except when moved to do so by fear. When we remember these admissions, we ought to clap our hands at every fresh Irish outrage, as a parrot-press styles it, aware that it is only a far-off echo of the musket-shots that rattled against the Old State House on the 5th of March, 1770, and of the warwhoop that made the tiny spire of the Old South tremble when Boston rioters emptied the three India tea-ships into the sea,--welcome evidence of living
Arques (France) (search for this): chapter 27
ult their women. Years hence, when robust Saxon sense has flung away Jewish superstition and Eastern prejudice, and put under its foot fastidious scholarship and squeamish fashion, some second Tacitus, from the valley of the Mississippi, will answer to him of the Seven Hills, In all grave questions we consult our women. I used to think that then we could say to letters as Henry of Navarre wrote to the Sir Philip Sidney of his realm, Crillon, the bravest of the brave, We have conquered at Arques, et tu n'y etais pas, Crillon, --You were not there, my Crillon. But a second thought reminds me that what claims to be literature has been always present in that battlefield, and always in the ranks of the foe. Ireland is another touchstone which reveals to us how absurdly we masquerade in democratic trappings while we have gone to seed in Tory distrust of the people; false to every duty, which, as eldest-born of democratic institutions, we owe to the oppressed, and careless of the less
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