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The

Nation.

[Jab. 4, 3866

in such fashion as to make her rather a


prove that free institutions are rather
t hings to fly from thau to fight for.
All Comlnunicationszvhichpertain
to the literary
management
Of THE XWION
8hould
In this country the Southern school of economists and political
addressed
to the Editw.
~__-)hilosophers had been for years preaching ITit considerable SUCCC~S
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the failure of free society. Slavery was held up by them, and held
EIGHTEENHUNDREDAND'SIXTP-FIVE.
up with a cunning and an eloquence to which the more cultivated
THERE has probably been no year since the first of the present era lasses at the North made but a feeble or imperfect rcsistancc, as the
which the civilized world will have hereafter so much reason to rcmem- ole solution of the great problem of human poverty.
ber as that which closed last S&day night. The year in which Rome
A century more of such teaching and such progress, of this tranwas first entered by the barbarians was an awful year; the year in cluil buying and selling, where should we have found ourselves :! What
which Charles &;lartel stemmed the Saracen tide on the field of Poic- Vvould have become of our political, what of our religious ideas ? What
tiers was also a momentous year. The year in which Luther first raised k;ind of progress would our progress hereafter have been P What sort
his voice against Indulgences was another. Everybody who has a CIf civilization would have been produced by the final triumph of label
taste for what the schoolmen call the Media S&~&Z might weave an cjver capital? Should we have entered on the road along which Rome
enormous web of speculation by picturing what might have happened 1narched to her ruin, or should we, after going down a little tlistance
if these things we have been mentioning had not happened.
amd losing much time and much of things more precious than time, have
What, for instance, would have become of civilization if it had been aat last succeeded in retracing our steps to the point from whicll our
left much longer to the guardianship of the broken-down and enervated clescent began, to try ouce more, with dimmed eye and abated force, the
races in whose hands Alaric found it Y Would they, even with Christi- C)ld attempt to reconcile liberty with order and progress !
anity at their backs, have been able to keep the flame alive in those
Unless one thinks a little on these things hc can hardly form a just
deeper depths to which society in the last days of the empire was dea of the greatness of the salvation which the year that has jusl exrnpidiy sinking ? What sort of Europe should we have had, and what jired has brought to us, aud, through us, to the oivilizcd world. The
sort of America, if Charles Martel had given ground at Poictiers ? guns that annopnced the downfall of the Confederacy announced not
Would Mohammedanism, if forced upon the vigorous races of the West. mly that the civil war was over, but that modern society had entered
have met with a better fate than is overtaking it in the hands of the m a new path-that
a certain orclcr of ideas had finally ant1 conOrientals 1 Would the
call have fallen on more willing ears Jusively assumed the mastery ; that the future of modern socieLy was
if uttered in London and New York than in Constantinople and ;o be democratic and not monarchical or oligarchic ; that the existing
Bagdad ? And what kind of so&al and political system would havr divisions of society were conventional and evanescent ; that, in short,
grown up in Europe had the Reformation never come? Should wc tn opportunity had at last offered itself, and a people had been found
have seen the whole family of modern nations pulverized into a sort ol ;o use it, to prove beyond question that Christian principles could be
China, ruled by a theocracy, ancl supplied with books and ideas bg mccessfully applied to the solution of political problems uot only witha Propaganda, and making its boast from year to year and age to age: ,Jut injury, but with immense advantage to material progress.
that it was no wiser than its fathers ?
Anybody who considers what might have happened if all this
Attempts to answer questions of this sort may seem idle enough 1had npt come to pass, will recognize the claims of 1865 to be for
and yet it is difficult to form an adequate idea of the importance of anj T ,sver marked in all calendars as one of the most famous years of history.
one of the great events of history without endeavoring to conjure up zI And nothing is more certain than that it is future generations and not
picture before
own mincl of the possible or probable consequence:3 we I\-ho will appreciate the full importance of all that it has done. The
of its non-occurrence.
value of the past
work will probably not bc fully visible filr a tenIf we exercise our wits in this way upon the events of the yea r tury to come. But even now we are sensible that it witnessed an
which has just closed, we shall have no great difficulty in reaching thl immense step in human progress, perhaps the greatest ever made since
conclusion that, taken for all in all, no other year since the first of thl e that greatest one of all, 1805 years ago, of which the philosophers of
whole Christian era has done so much, or rather revealed so much tha t the day took so little count.
was already done, as 18G5. Anybody who paid much attention to th e
We are the more earnest in dwelling on this view of the crisis from
drift of European thought for the last twenty-five years must have see]1 which we have just emerged, because it is a view which is not by any
that there had been a steady ebbing of the humanitarian feeling whicl .l means universally received amongst us. There is, unquestional)ly, still
reached its height about 1830. In England, the contemptibleness of a large class at the North who do not believe that the events of ihe
weakness and poverty, the majesty and moral worth of force, even brut e past year have really any such meaning as we have ascribed to them,
force, the duty of the strong to larrup the weak into industry, th e and who believe that all the wisdom, if not all the right, IaS, in the late
grandeur of big crops and big buildings, and the worthlessness of th e contest, with the South; that the war was a gig;mtic &I, and only
great mass of the human race for any purpose but obedience, had bee!n evil ; that it has ended better than was expected, IJUt that the duty of
preached so faithfully by Carlyle, that society, government, the press4 patriotic men iS now to labor to efface 211 tracts of it, to consign the
and the bar were all infected by his ideas, and they at last found a fit ;- ideas which it brought into prominence to oblivion, ant1 to restore the
ting expression in the establishment of the Saturday Ileviezo and th old Southern theories of government ancl society to their old supremacy
clamor for interference in tho late war on behalf of the South, and endel1 in
minds, and t.o fix in them that there is no such thing as politin producing a scarcely concealed contempt amongst a large portion cIf ical progress possible in America, that wc got as IIC:L~peric~ction at the
the upper classes for every movement which did not promise materia 11 time of the Revolution as me can cyer get, aud that our i,usincas 1101~
results. On the Continent democracy, it is true, was making headway :7 is to secure, if not the return of the country lo the point then fixed, at
The goal of political progre: 1S
but it was social not political.democracy.
least to prevent any further departure from it. And, unless we are
there seemed to be a state of things in which the incapacity of men t 0 greatly mistaken, it will be found that the men who feel in this way
govern themselves would be laid down as one of the axioms of politics 11 about the results of the late struggle will resume, as the memory of it
science, and in which communities would be held to have attainef d becomes fainter, a portion at least of their olcl social influence, ant1
their highest aims when one ruled and all had plenty to eat and drink ;. will still need watching and counteracting.
The ideas bred by the Imperial regime in France, and which the su(:cess of that rBgime seemed to place beyond cavil, were spreadin 8
A CHRISTMASBOX,
rapidly over Europe; and even in Germany, the only road out of the
sl:rvcrp in which the people now grovel seemed to lead into a centralIN 1864,the Captain of the great march made over the city of &vanizetl clesl)otism, to which Bismark or somebody like him was to give nab, and, in effect, the Confederncv, as a Clrristmas gift to
shape and consistency. Italy was freed, it is true, in great part from Lincoln.
A twelvemonth later the new President relinquishes the
foreign domination, but not from foreign influence ; and that influence military Control Of the territory thus acquired, and restores self-govern&geles

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Vvarniug than an exampie, to