Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

arts and sciences, and true Christianity, it must be manifest that the ignorance of the mass of the people of Europe is a heritage from their fathers, carefully transmitted to them by spiritual and temporal rulers, who erroneously supposed that ignorance was a safe basis of power. It is alike obvious that general education of the people, intellectual and religious, is the sure and only mode of increasing the permanent power and felicity of a nation. Prussia is now laying the foundations of her strength wisely upon a general education of her people, which will ultimately give her preeminence among the continental nations. She perceives that a multiplication of mental and moral power is the most rapid mode of increasing the wealth, strength and prosperity of a nation.

Our own country is a striking example of the effect of free Christianity, of a free press, and of a free government. In a little more than two centuries our country has risen from a few emigrants to more than seventeen millions of people, according to our census of 1810. In 1776, our revolution, our population was about three millions. Religion here is left to voluntary support, and we have no union of Church and State to destroy religion and corrupt the state. Still the churches are well supported. In 1841, the United States contained 17,748 churches and 15,857 ministers. Education is confided to a self-governing people, and yet there are now 173 Colleges with more than 16,000 students, 3,242 Academies and Grammar Schools with more than 164,000 students, and 47,209 primary schools, with about 1,845,244 scholars. Americans are educated in these institutions, in these churches, in our legislative and electoral assemblies, in our primary meetings for political and social objects, as well as in our courts. Our electors are about two mil. lions and a half, in whom the sovereignty of the Republic resides. These are our governing princes and our officers judicial, executive and legislative are their agents and representatives. This people, since the year 1800, have constructed more than 2,900 miles of canal, and over 4,442 miles of rail-way. These are 43 years of herculean labor of our freemen. Our property amounts to about four thousand millions of dollars, and our annual income to about one thousand or twelve hundred millions. Our public domain, of near one thou

. sand millions of acres, has furnished, and for countless centuries, will furnish cheap fee simple farms to our people. The mass of our citizens have comfortable properties, and own the soil they live on. They are well clothed, well fed, moral, industrious and happy. As to arms, we seek only those of self-defence, hence we employ

Such are

ten or twelve thousand men in our army, and a small

navy to protect our commerce. the fruits of the Pilgrim Charter, which made selfgovernment the principle, and the law of God the rule of government for the commonwealth of the wilderness. Washington, the father of his country, in his Farewell Address, placed the Republic upon the eternal principles of peace, equity, justice and humanity. He forbade all wars, except those of self-defence, in accordance with the precept of the Gospel. On the 26th day of September, 1815, the declaration of Alexander of Russia, and his royal allies, gave their sanction to the noble principle that sovereigns were bound, in their international relations as well as municipal, to observe the precepts of the Gospel. As the allied sovereigns united upon that correct and holy prinple, it leads us to consider of a mode of applying our American policy to the monarchies of Europe.

We propose that the Holy Alliance, following out the precepts of the Gospel, and with a view to a permanent peace, should reassemble, and by a general treaty agree to disarm, so as to leave a military and marine for Europe of 300,000 men, distributed among the powers, so as to ensure a land and sea police. This plan would settle all contests for superiority except those of education, moral and social improvement, and honorable industrial rivalry. It would set at liberty probably 2,700,000 men, who are now supported at an annual expense of 510,000,000 of dollars. This annual saving in ten years would amount to 5,400,000,000. By applying a portion of this saving to educate the rising generation and improve the means of commercial intercourse, the balance might be employed to pay off the national debts of Europe. By gradually reducing the taxes, and thus devoting the revenue, in twenty five years the whole national debt of the European nations would be paid off, the rising generation would be educated, and extensive lines of rail-ways and canals might be constructed. Then taxes, poverty and misery would give place to plenty and happiness. would be exchanged for peace, and joy for mourning. This is a simple application of the principle of the Holy Alliance to the states of Europe without any change of their forms of government. It is most devoutly to be wished that the sovereigns of Europe would once more assemble and lay anew, by adopting this plan, the foundation of their thrones on the precepts of the Gospel, and in the hearts of an intelligent, peaceful, moral and industrious people.

Our code of the moral law of nations aims to substitute reason for force, peace for war, and to establish firmly, and practically, equity and hu

War

a

manity in international transactions. We merely re-assert the inspired declaration of the royal Psalmist :-" The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom-a good understanding have all they that do his commandments.” We rely for improvement in the code of public law upon the same onward and steady progress in the arts and sciences, in Christianity and civilization, which the history of the last two centuries records. Christianity, using in our day the power of the printing press and steam, is diffusing over the earth her genial influence, and impressing the doctrines of the Prince of Peace more efficaciously upon Christian as well as upon Pagan nations. For the future it must advance more rapidly than heretofore the civilization of mankind. Men of good understanding, and of humane disposition, in Europe and America, feeling the impulse, the moral rising of society, call for an amelioration of the law of nations, agreeable to the spirit of the Gospel, of right reason, and of this enlightened age. To meet this law of progress, and to aid its onward march'is our object. As light shines forth, darkness must be dissipated; as men become more Christian and more intelligent, a more powerful national public opinion will be found enforcing in international transactions peace, justice and benevolence.

« VorigeDoorgaan »