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instance of Northern cruelty and ferocity, but the other a true type of the revolting and soul-siekening vice of the Roman world?
In literature and the arts, the line is closely drawn. To the Roman we are indebted for the faultless outline and vivid color. ing, for the finish of the execution and the harmony of the whole; but it is to the German that we owe the creative thought, the lifebreathing principle, and the original idea that lives and breaths in all. The one is thought, the other sense; the one ideal, the other material. The German mind drinks in the idea of spiritual loveli. ness, and sees more beauty in the petal than in the leaves around it; while the Roman admires the outward perfection of form, and delights only in the gratification of the senses. Fancy contributes her brilliant imagery, and throws her iris-colored scarf and rainbow hues over the productions of the Roman; while the German ascends above, and bathes in the divine light of the imagination. The one is like the enchanted cave of Alladin, filled with all that can afford delight to the eye-crystal fruit and flowers, and buds of precious stones, cold, hard, and glittering; the other resembles a real garden, luxuriant with shade and warmed by the sun, loading the air with its perfume, and all instinct with life, and light, and motion.
In the nations of modern Europe, we mark the vast superiority of some over others, both in a moral and political sense, in national grandeur, and in vigor of intellect and fertility of thought. Some are fruitful in genius, while others are sunk to the lowest depths of degradation-immersed in ignorance-seemingly barren in every element of prosperity. To what is this owing, that the South is so far below the North? Perhaps some will answer, the influence of the Reformation. But the Reformation itself was begun among the Northern nations, and it is they alone who are Protestant. The true reason--the real secret of it all is, that in the one the spirit of individual liberty, introduced by their Gothic ancestors, was at work; while in the other, was the spirit engendered by the Romans. These, antagonisms we will still find at the bottom and at the root of all. Truth, as we said before, never changes, because it is eternal.
It is the purity of the origin of this. idea, and the preservation of these principles among the fathers of the English and American people, that has made, them so great, so glorious, so free, and so happy; so favored above and blessed above all other nations. Among the Saxon tribes these principles were best developed, and most strictly adhered to; and though some may shrink in pious horror at the thought of being descended. from pirates and robbers,
yet, in the words of an eloquent historian, “ from such
ancestors nation has, in the course of twelve centuries, been formed, which, inferior to none in every moral and intellectual merit, is superior to every other in the love and possession of useful liberty : a nation which cultivates, with equal success, the elegancies of art, the ingenious labors of industry, the energies of war, the researches of science, and the richest productions of genius."
We are indebted, more than perhaps we are aware, to these. Saxon tribes, for the liberties and priceless advantages we enjoy. Attracting the attention of the Romans at a late period, and man. fully resisting every attempt to enslave them, these old sea-kings, in whom we recognize so many future Howes, and Drakes, and Nelsons-so many harbingers of the Jones' and Decaturs, yet to be-these old ocean warriors lived free as the element around them. They reveled in no soft luxurious languor-they hearkened to no Circean strains of silken melody--they breathed no Sabean odors-inhaled no Syrian perfumes; but they drank in the fierce Northern breeze--listened to the harpings of the “ viewless winds," as they wailed through the ancient pines; and instead of the siren's song, they had the grander anthems of the ocean's roar, and the everlasting symphonies of nature ! Borne in their ocean steeds, as they called their ships, they laughed at threatening skies and lowering storms. In their stern energy, their deathless courage, their custom of lashing the opposing vessels together, in the shout of triumph heard above the wild din of the battle, and the hoarse cry of the waves, we discern a future, dimly seen it may be, but, at all events, grandly realized at Trafalgar and the Nile, on Champlain and Erie, in the dying words of Nelson and Perry's glorious victory!
The invasion of England by the Anglo-Saxons, was attended by the most beneficial results, both to their descendants and to man. kind. It rescued the island from the Roman cancer that has preyed so deeply on the vitals of other nations, and“substituted a brave and hardy race for an effeminate and degenerate people. To this may be traced the individual character, independent spirit, and reliant personality, which has ever distinguished the Englishman--that firm self-confidence and- inherent courage that makes him at home in every clime, and at ease in every situation. Second only to the Exodus of Israel from the valley of the Nile, seems to us the advent of this Saxon band on the shores of Britain. «Of a truth,” says a. celebrated writer, “ of a truth, whosoever had, with the bodily eye, seen Hengst and Horsa mooring on the mud beach of Thanet, on that-spring morning of the year 149; and then, with the spiritual, eye, looked forward to New York, Calcutta, Sidney Cove, across the ages and the oceans, and thought what Wellingtons and Washingtons, Shakspeares and Miltons, Watts' and Arkrights, William Pitts' and Davie Crocketts had to issue from that business, and do their several taskworks so, he would have said, those leather-boats of Hengst had a kind of cargo in them !"!
Yes! it was, indeed, a noble cargo==the richest freight ever borne in ship--the most fruitful seeds ever sown; seeds that fell on no stony ground, but, planted and nourished in fertile soil, produced a hundred fold; striking deep their roots, spreading wide their branches, overshadowing the world with their protecting shade; laden with the most fragrant and refreshing fruit; wafting their perfume and delicious aroma to the most distant shores; falling on every land like the golden shower on Danæ, springing up every where in abundan: harvests !
Let us contemn nothing because of the humbleness of its origin, or the smallness of its beginnings. The Nile itself springs from a small fountain, and the great Amazon dwindles to a rivulet at its source; and surely the history of our ancestors, and the place of their nativity, should be doubly dear to us. With what reverence should we approach the subject, and slowly and carefully unfold their story, as we would remove the rubbish and dirt that covers some old and valuable picture, until every lineament is restored and every hue distinct. How much more interesting should that holy isle of theirs be to us, than the luxurious Capreæ, or the resting place of Latona ; and the Castum Nemus, the sacred grove, than the woods of Delphos or the oracles of Crete!
To the Saxon tribes, and to Anglo-Saxon England, is the world indebted for those representative institutions, which are confessed to be the best hope of humanity--the ultima thule in the science and structure of government. That system of government, so elastic in its nature, keeping pace with the advancement of the age; not en. acting irrevocable laws, like the monstrous legislation of Lycurgus, but ever expressing the opinions and yielding to the desires of the people : here, we say, is the origin of this principle, which has become the political Aidean of the modern world. In the Saxon Witan we have not only the germ of what afterwards was called Parliament, and thence spread out into Congresses and Assemblies, but we possess the parliament itself, chosen in the same way, and from analogous classes. And so deeply were the people imbued with the spirit of these principles, such firm hold did they take in England, that after the conquest, the only thing desired and demanded from the throne, by both the Barons and the people—the higher orders and the masses-whether the insurgents were headed by a De Montford or a Cade, was a return to ancient laws and an observance of old customs. All the charters wrested from the crown at Runnymeade, and elsewhere, were but the assertion of former rights. Even habeas corpus itself, was derived from the old Saxon custom of admitting to bail; and here, too, do we find the origin of the noblest institution ever devised by man-trial by jury; which the great Burke declares to be the soul of all government.
These are the great ideas and ruling principles that has made the island so renowned in history—so famous in story. The most distant nations have felt her influence and experienced the benefits of her laws, her literature, and her science; which, like so many Alphean streams, have dived beneath the seas and reappeared in other lands, welling up in ever new Arethusas.
Would we had time and ability to follow the varying course, and mark the grand eras of English history. To show the effects of the Norman invasion; to watch the progress of liberty, through con. flicts of the Barons with the crown; of the crown with the people; through conventions at Runnymeade, and charters confirmed at Winchester; through battles on Barnet and Bosworth fields. To observe the growth of the commercial spirit, which was the first outward manifestation of greatness. To pause on the fifteenth century, the era of Columbus and of Cabot; the dawn of a purer religion and a holier faith. The time had come at last. The Roman Church had accomplished her task; she had preserved the treasures of science and protected the people, and, rising like another Ararat from the billows of barbarism, was the only resting place for the ark of civilization. Within her gates the oppressed found a refuge, and the friendless u home. She had given bread to the hungry and alms to the needy. She had knelt by the bed of the penitent, and forced the dying Thane, before she released his soul from the shackles of crime, to liberate his serfs; her mission was ended, and a brighter day revealed.
In England, then, first began the Reformation, for Wickliffe lived before Huss or Jerome; and Lollard was a name known and honored long before that of Lutheran. The Puritans, too, were, in a great measure, the offspring of the old English Reformers; and the “Morning Star of the Reformation” first threw its beams upon the path afterwards so gloriously illuminated by the sun of Geneva.
From one small isle in the German ocean, has, then, emanated all true liberty, all pure religion. It is truly, as a poet says, the “ heart of the world,” beating steadily, and with no fevered pulsa. tions. Streaming forth from it like mighty arteries in every quar. ter, has the unbending energy and iron will of the Saxon race been displayed, whether behind the crumbling walls of Acre, on the heights of Abraham, or among the mountain gorges of Lahore. In America, from the St. Lawrence, with his glittering line of lakes, to the golden shores of the southern sea, the whole long fallow continent feels, at last, its masters. The great rivers wind their white arms around huge mill-wheels, while every hill and glen re-echoes the clash of the engine and the blow of the hammer. The Dryads fly pale and affrighted, before the gleam of the axe and the crash of the falling forest; and the Mermaid no longer looks up from the glossy wave to dry her purple tresses in the sun-shine and gaze upon the wonders of the upper world, but seeks her quiet sea-green cave and coral grove, far from the rushing keel and the plash of the paddle! In England, the old Roman roads are replaced by iron highways, and the island trembles beneath the thunder tread of the fire-horse, as he pants on his smoking path from the silvery line of the Tweed to the snowy cliffs of Dover, or rushes madly over the bridge-spanned sea to the once dread shades of the Druids. But why mention all? for all are well known. The submarine mines of Whitehaven; Manchester, with her million spindles; the Thames, and its forest of masts; that great new forest of England-Birming. ham-with its thousand workshops; and Leeds, with her countless looms. From sea to sea- from the heavy swell of the German tide to the dashing foam of St. George's channel, is heard the ring of the anvil and the roar of the furnace; every where is seen the effects of the old Norse blood--the workings of the intensified spirit of labor !
Sprung from the same ancestors; guided to glory and greatness, wealth and honor, by following the same principles, how, then, should the American--how should all of Saxon blood-look upon England ? Surely with feelings of reverence and love. Let us not believe the foolish tale of her fall, or listen to the absurd recital of supposed decline. Unlike other nations, the English are a Christian people; and will it be said that the spirit of the gospel, like the “sorrowful tree' of the island of Goa, shall open its leaves and flourish in the night, but its blossoms fade, and its flowers wither at the approaching day-dawn of prosperity? No! Let us rather trust that Britain may ever remain firmly rooted in the Northern ocean, carrying her laws and her language to every land; raising up new Americas in Australia; regenerating the worn out east;