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the secrets of archives boldly published to the world; but a subtler poison than art ever drew from plant or mineral, would diffuse its venom through your frame, till Truth herself was transformed to your jaundiced eye.
Midway between these two classes you will find that never-failing element of retrocession, the men of conciliatory expedients and half-way concessions. They form a large proportion, men of timid minds and contracted views, not without a certain sense of justice, but wholly devoid of those strong convictions which find a sufficient support in conscience and an ample compensation in the consciousness of duty fulfilled. These men would yield something, for they see that if they do not yield it voluntarily, it will be taken from them by force. They would pardon the past, for they feel what bitter repentance vengeance may prepare for the future. But they dare not look the evil in the face. It is not in their nature to meet it boldly, either by open opposition or by laboriously turning the current that they cannot stem. Many of them are old men, who know that they are near their end, and feel that if the danger can be averted for yet a little while they will soon be beyond its reach. Others are young, and were they beings of this world would still have life before them. But they are too near the top of the ladder. Their active career is almost run. They have no inward stimulant to exertion, and that from without has ceased to act upon them. Some fortuitous combination may perhaps lift them a little higher, or even raise them to the topmost round. But all this is so doubtful that it is scarcely worth the thought, and the days, as they flow on in grateful succession, bring too many tranquil pleasures with them to be sacrificed to an uncertain to-morrow.
There are three classes then, among the Pope's natural advisers, two at the extremes and one in the useless midway: one for absolute conservatism, one for material reform, and one for anything that shall preserve some of the shadow and as much as may be of the substance of their actual position. Now how will the Pope decide between them? What harmonious action can he derive from such conflicting elements? With Antonelli comes proscription, confiscation, the dungeon; with Marini, great changes in material life, activity, industry, enterprise, better tribunals and better laws,-full room for the body to move in, but stronger fetters for the mind,—no recognition of inalienable rights, a rigorous exclusion of laymen from political power, and a jealous enforcement of ecclesiastical privileges; with the third, nothing fixed, no decided aim,
a wavering to and fro betwixt irreconcilable extremes, a concession to-day, and to-morrow a restriction, a life of palliatives and expedients, of contradiction and vacillation. What has freedom to hope from men like these?
But the difficulty does not end here. The Pope has returned to Rome, it is true; but how did he get there ? Ask the republican bayonets of France. Ask that banner which has waved triumphant on a thousand battle-fields, and been freedom's surest pledge in the day of her trial. But we will not speak of this now. We cannot bear to dwell upon that darkest page of modern annals, that foul stain to humanity, the French invasion of Rome. It is with a sinking of the heart, a loathing like that with which we turn from some hideous deformity, that we turn from that scene of hypocritical mockery and worse than royal fraud. But in the moment of triumph France and Austria met face to face, each with her own interpretation of the past and her own plans for the future,-Austria firmly resolved to maintain her predominance in Italy, which can only be done by the bayonet, and France, reckless indeed of her promises, but unwilling to submit to a policy which can only lead to her own ruin by the aggrandizement of her rival. Here then is another knot for the Pope. Will he cut it, or can he untie?
It would be useless to add that we feel very little confidence in the future policy of Pius IX. Heaven forbid that we should judge him harshly, for he has done things which no bad-hearted man could have done. But there is an inherent vice in the Papal constitution which neither Pope nor cardinal can root out. We seldom indulge in minute political speculation. There is too much uncertainty about it to suit our more positive tastes. You may map it all out as neatly as if you could use rule and compass, and the very next hour may contradict your most plausible conjectures. We should as soon think of calculating the chances of an individual's life and grounding a theory upon our calculation. But though nobody would care to hazard much on such a chance, yet everybody feels perfect confidence in his life in
The individual may live or die; but the great law of mortality remains unchanged. You may not be able to foresee what the caprice of a sovereign or a minister may do, but you know that there are great general laws which both king and minister must obey.
Now there is no law more general in its nature or more invariable in its action, than that a government ceases to be efficient the moment that it ceases to fulfil the conditions of
its institution. If we look back upon the early periods of European history, we shall find governments wholly irreconcilable with our ideas of civil organization, and yet which are full for a time of vigor and vitality. The time passes, and they either sink by slow decay or are compelled by a violent shock to give place to some other form. The reason is perfectly evident. It was the force of circumstances that formed them, and as long as they met those circumstances, they were useful and lived. But, meanwhile, society had advanced; knowledge had spread ; political ideas had reached classes which they had never reached before ; men began to look about them and see how things were, and look within and see how much there was there which the forms under which they lived could never develop. From this moment the sympathy betwixt governor and governed ceased. There was no magic in a name which spoke only of the past, while all minds were full of the future ; no healing power in memory to make them forget that hope too is a birthright. But we need not go back to the past. This is a daily lesson. Life is filled with it. We may read it everywhere around us, in great things and in little things, in public events and in the calmer records of the domestic circle. The infant drops its coral as soon as its teeth are cut. The child throws away its toy when it can get into the open air. Let your boy once mount a pony, and then try to bring him back to his rockinghorse. Let man once feel that his mind is his own, and then fasten your shackles upon it if you can. Some may slumber on, it is true, in contented apathy, caring for little else as long as their coarser wants are supplied. There are grown-up children as well as little children. We are not speaking of them. But, thank God! though individuals may slumber, the mass still moves, and the law of our nature, in spite of all that we can do to pervert it, is still onward and upward.
Try the Papal government by this law and see how sadly it fails. What is there in it on which we can build a hope? Which of the infinite wants of our intellectual nature does it meet? Which of those deep sympathies, which bind the citizen to his country, does it cherish? : What great virtues does it call into action? What noble sentiments will expand and bring forth their fruit under its fostering influence? What will it do for all those delicate buds of human affection, when the earth itself, which nature formed for a garden, has withered beneath its sway, till stagnant waters have stifled its fertility, and noxious vapors corrupted the atmosphere that was once redolent with pleasant odors and shed
heaven's choicest influences on thousands whose memories we still love and revere ?
It is a stationary government. Its primal law is immobility and its highest aim repression. The world around it may change. The subjects over whom it rules may change. The living instruments of its action may change. But its nature can never change, and whether it fall to-morrow or struggle on through another century, it will still continue the same. There is no expansion in it, -no principle of life to flow upwards from the root and drink in nourishment from sunshine and shower. Hence wherever it meets the principle of life, it meets a mortal enemy. They cannot exist together. The living plant will send out its hardy roots and undermine the changeless mass, or shrink bruised and stunted by the intolerable burthen. Layman and ecclesiastic cannot share the throne. The triumph of the one is the defeat of the other.
It is an unsympathetic government. It has none of the qualities that endear or the sympathies that move. draws its principles from its own nature, and is as cold and as heartless as that nature. It sees mankind from a false point of view and judges them by a false standard. It has no fellow-feelings for human error, and no pardon but the pardon of the confessional. It can never look with compla cency upon the joyousness of an expansive nature or interpret the throbbings of an untainted heart. It commands obedience, but repels that love which makes obedience a pleasure. It tells you that you may confide in its protection, but meets your embraces with a coldness which renders confidence impossible. It is full of honeyed words and affectionate professions, but artful, insincere, and heartless in its actions. It threatens where it should expostulate, terrifies where it should allure, condemns where it should pardon, corrupts where it might purify, makes self-debasement the condition of its favor and submission its test of virtue.
It is founded upon a false principle, and lives by the propagation of an error. It traces its origin to an imperial grant,
and confirms its pretensions by the apostle's keys. All around it men are saying that governments are made for the people, but in Rome it is still assumed that the people are made for the government. Elsewhere charters and constitutions, the speculations of the closet and the debates of the senate chamber, appeal to the popular will as the source of power; but there common rights are a special privilege, and law the gracious expression of the sovereign mind. Elsewhere men preach peace, abolish capital punishments, temporize and negotiate where once they would have appealed to the sword; but there the bayonet is still a holy thing, and a dungeon an eloquent appeal. Thus false to nature, repulsive, vindictive, and incapable of change, can this government stand in an age like ours? We will not count by days or attempt to play the prophet, but it is only when we have ceased to believe in the great law of human progress, that we shall trust the hired vivats of April, or believe that the Papal throne has again been firmly planted on the Vatican.
Art. IX.-NOTICES OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.
Lake Superior : Its Physical Character, Vegetation, and Animals, compared
with those of other and similar regions. By Louis AGASSIZ. With a Narrative of the Tour, by J. ELLIOT CABOT, and contributions by other scientific gentlemen. Elegantly Illustrated. Boston: Gould, Kendall & Lincoln. 1850. Large 8vo, pp. 428.
This work commences with an interesting narrative, by J. E. Cabot, of an excursion made for scientific purposes, during the last summer, by Professor Agassiz and several of his scientific friends and students under his instruction, along the northern shore of Lake Superior to its western extremity. The narrative is followed by a series of papers, mostly by Agassiz himself
, on the Botany, Zoology, and Geology of the region visited. It might have been expected that these papers would be valuable chiefly as a record of facts, as a collection of observations on a region hitherto but little known. But this is not all that has been done in the present instance. The publication of these observations has been made the occasion of presenting some generalizations of great interest and value. The author has stood for the last fifteen years in the very front rank of the promoters of natural science, and these generalizations are the results of investigations made by himself or under his direction. If some of his conclusions are not at once accepted, it will still be admitted that the questions are fairly stated and fairly discussed.
We cannot be expected to give an extended account of these results, and it is unnecessary that we should, for every scientific man must have access to the work itself. A few of the conclusions, which are interesting and new, may be briefly noticed.
It has long been known that the floras of the United States and Europe are very similar, but that in most cases the similar species are not identical. A careful comparison is made of the vegetable species found on the northern shores of Lake Superior with European Alpine and sub-Alpine species, and it is found that they are all very similar, that about one third of the species in the higher orders are identical, and that in the lower orders there is absolute sameness. The specified localities in Europe are however fifteen degrees south of the isothermal line on which they are found here, but at an altitude such as to give them on the two continents essentially the same climate.