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characterise the present generation of Frenchmen as compared with their forefathers of a century ago. The spur is gone 'That the clear spirit did raise

To scorn delight and live laborious days.'

The national character has gone down-all their better minds deplore it: those high-flown and sometimes irrational sentiments which used to reign so widely, even amid the idleness and profligacy of the old régime, seem to have given place to the pursuit of solid realities, far meaner, if far more tangible; idols are worshipped as before, and all idolatry is debasing,but its mischief is in proportion to the character of the idol, the nature of the offering, and the sordidness or splendour of the shrine; to pursue an ignis fatuus is finer and better than to grub in the dust-heap; and the desire of the moth for the star' is less abject and corrupting than the worship of the Golden Calf.

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The men of the eighteenth century knew little of that sort of passion for comfort which is the mother of servitude a relaxing passion, though it be tenacious and unalterable, which mingles and intertwines itself with many private virtues, such as domestic affections, regularity of life, respect for religion, and even with the lukewarm, though assiduous, practice of public worship, which favours propriety but proscribes heroism, and excels in making decent livers but base citizens. The men of the eighteenth century were better and they were worse.

The French of that age were addicted to joy and passionately fond of amusement; they were perhaps more lax in their habits, and more vehement in their passions and opinions than those of the present day, but they were strangers to the temperate and decorous sensualism that we see about us. In the upper classes men thought more of adorning life than of rendering it comfortable; they sought to be illustrious rather than to be rich. Even in the middle ranks the pursuit of comfort never absorbed every faculty of the mind; that pursuit was often abandoned for higher and more refined enjoyments; every man placed some object beyond the love of money before his eyes. "I know my countrymen," said a contemporary writer, in language which, though eccentric, is spirited: "apt to melt "and dissipate the metals, they are not prone to pay them habitual "reverence, and they will not be slow to turn again to their former "idols, to valour, to glory, and, I will add, to magnanimity." (P. 217.)

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M. de Tocqueville has written his book, as he assures us, and as is obvious in every line, without prejudice, but not without 'passion;' the actual condition of the country permitting 'no Frenchman to speak of his country and think of his time ' unmoved.' Some of the most remarkable passages in the

introduction are those where he traces the peculiar and paramount perils which surround every nation that has discarded or been deprived of its aristocracy, and shows how Despotism builds upon and nourishes social equality as its handiest tool, its strongest buttress, its surest precursor, its most natural ally. When the hierarchy of rank is gone, and classes and permanent combinations and divisions of citizens have ceased to exist among a people, the community is dissolved into a collection of units without coherence, and therefore without strength, and public virtue has no place when a narrow and selfish individualism everywhere prevails. This fatal tendency to isolation and dissociation, Despotism instinctively fosters as well as consciously delights in, by withdrawing from the people all common aims, all need of one another, all necessity for mutual understanding, all opportunity of united action. It does the business of the commonwealth: nothing is left for citizens to do except to look after their private interests. Despotism, if harsh and leaden, destroys citizenship and patriotism, by crushing them if bland and wise, by superseding them, by taking the breath out of their nostrils, the bread out of their mouths, the work out of their hands.

Then ensues a state of society, full of meretricious allurements and not wholly devoid of real charms, but, to an experienced eye, stamped with the unerring signs of disease and dissolution; a society refined perhaps, and sometimes prosperous and powerful, and containing within it, probably enough, excellent fathers, excellent husbands, enterprising merchants, beneficent proprietors, delightful writers, and even good Christians; but a community without elevation, and without enthusiasm; and in which the prevalent standard of intellect and morals will sink day by day. Wealth, being the sole distinction between man and man, acquires a new value; its possession gratifies ambition as well as the love of pleasure; while, at the same time, its easy acquisition, its rapid transfer, and its difficult retention, combine to concentrate upon it the desires and the energies of all. The pursuit of gain, and the thirst for material enjoyment, when united and unrelieved by higher aims, are at once the most abasing and the most enervating of passions; and they are precisely the passions which Despotism most favours and most stimulates. These are the best auxiliaries of arbitrary power; for they occupy the energetic spirits, amuse the restless, and carry off the fever of the excitable and turbulent, while they make the avaricious, the self-indulgent, and the pusillanimous, tremble at the bare idea of revolution or disturbance.

In reading M. de Tocqueville's description of communities reduced to this perilous condition, it is impossible not to recognise the likeness,-a likeness, only not perfect because the process is not yet complete, and because a handful of noble and undespairing patriots like himself still remain - the legacy of better days to cherish in solitude and retirement the sober wisdom and the lofty virtue for want of which Patriotism has so often succumbed; to sound from time to time a stirring note of warning and of exhortation, like the book before us; to keep the lamp trimmed and the light burning; and to wait, in patience but in readiness, the summons of a people less unworthy to be free.

ART. X.-1. Recent Speeches and Addresses. By CHARLES SUMNER. Boston: 1856.

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2. Essays on the American Constitution, from the Mercury.' Charleston, South Carolina: 1856.

3. Our Seaboard Slave States. By FREDERICK LAW OLMNew York and London: 1856.


4. Dred: a Tale. By Mrs. H. B. STOWE. London: 1856. 5. The Political Essays of Parke Godwin, Esq. New York:


6. A History of the American Compromises.

MARTINEAU. London: 1856.


7. An Address on the Nature and Power of the Slave States. By JOSIAH QUINCY. Boston: 1856.


F there are any persons in England so impatient of patience, and so discontented with content, as to feel themselves oppressed by the tranquillity of our own political atmosphere, they may take comfort from the present commotion and the prospective uproar of the elements in the Transatlantic skies. On the eve of the Presidential contest, which is carried on under circumstances of unparalleled danger and excitement, a struggle has commenced between principles far more deep and intense than the rallying cry of rival candidates.

Eurus Notusque ruunt, creberque procellis

Every breeze that blows to us from America comes laden with the shouts of contending parties. Nor are they shouts alone that reach us. Mingled with the storm of words sounds yet

more portentous fall upon the ear the noise of bludgeons and the cry of Senators stricken down in the Senate Chamber, and from the distant frontiers of the Republic the clash of arms and fury of civil war.

These are not the ordinary accompaniments of political conflict in a free state. It is long now since signs at all comparable to these attended the collision of parties in our own country; nor are they familiar to the history of American politics. Forty years ago John Randolph, the leader of the Southern Democracy, standing in his place in the House of Representatives, threatened that he and his would 'nail the Northern men to the counter like base coin,' and his followers were profuse of insults to their colleagues; but the last outrage of violent deeds was not then offered to the sanctity of the legislative character. Twenty years afterwards, the most upright and honourable man who had filled the Presidential Chair since the days of Washington, the highspirited and illustrious John Quincy Adams, was assailed with menaces and taunts for defending the right of petition; but the tempest which raged about that eloquent old man expended itself in the insolence of speech. That a Senator should be assailed, not in the heat of debate, by one of his fellows, but deliberately and of malice prepense, brutally beaten to the earth by a member of the lower house, for language uttered in his senatorial capacity, and stamped as Parliamentary by the acquiescence of all who listened to it, this is a feature so new and strange in the aspect of political affairs beyond the Atlantic, that too great importance can scarcely be attached to it as significant of a state of feeling in America, upon which no Englishman can look with indifference. Not less significant is the dread reality of armed strife now raging between citizens of the Northern and Southern sections of the Union upon the plains of the territory of Kansas.

How important to ourselves the possible consequences of a great political crisis in America must be, we need not say. Every intelligent Englishman is thoroughly aware of the many bonds that connect, we had almost said that unite, the interests of England with those of the mighty people issued of her loins;' and we can assure the Americans that the progress of their nation through the difficulties which seem now to be gathering about its path will be watched with a generous anxiety, and that the triumph of their Republican institutions over the dangers which now menace their existence, will be hailed with cordial satisfaction by all classes and parties of the English public. But important as it is for Englishmen to understand the present position of affairs in America, the difficulty of the task is equal to

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the importance of the subject. The kaleidoscopic (perhaps we ought to say the kakeidoscopic) play of principles and opinions which has been going on in America for the last ten years, bewilders the eye accustomed to the more regular outline and distinct colouring of European parties. In the whirl of Know 'Nothings' and Know Somethings,' of North Americans' and South Americans,' of Hards' and Softs,' of Fillmore 'Whigs,' and 'Old Line Whigs,' and 'Fremont Whigs,' and Buchanan Whigs,' and National Democrats,' and Free 'Democrats,' and Republicans,' and 'Liberal-Party Men,' and 'Abolitionists,' and 'States-Rights Men,' one is utterly at a loss whither to look for the representatives of tangible opinions, and how to trace the really deep and deepening furrows of public sentiment. It is our present purpose to disentangle as far as we can the true issues of American politics from this network of confusion; to put our readers in a position clearly to understand the steps by which the actual crisis in America affairs has been reached; and to draw from the facts of the case such inferences in regard to the probable future of America, as may legitimately suggest themselves to the mind.

But before we enter upon this task it may not be unprofitable for us briefly to notice some of the recent publications which bear upon the subject, and which have been of use to ourselves in the investigation of it.


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The Political Essays of Parke Godwin, Esq.,' are worthy of particular attention at this juncture of American affairs. Mr. Godwin was long associated with his father-in-law Wm. Cullen Bryant, the poet, in the editorial management of the 'New York Evening Post,' a journal eminent among American newspapers as the oldest, ablest, and most dignified organ of the Democratic party of New York. The papers comprised in this volume of Political Essays' were furnished by him, during the last few years, to the pages of Putnam's Monthly,' a periodical published at New York, and worthy of notice as the first successful instance of an attempt to maintain a magazine of the highest class by contributions purely American. In a series of Essays upon Parties and Politics,' the Kansas Ques'tion,' the Policy of President Pierce,' and kindred topics, Mr. Godwin discusses the recent political history of America from the point of view of an elevated and statesmanlike philosophy. He is rarely ambitious and never redundant in style, and his opinions have the importance which belongs to the representative of a large class of independent thinkers, who have been recently forced into the arena of political warfare by the pressure of the times.

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