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be free, and to extend itself; and if, in popular representative republics, this tendency is stronger than in other forms of government-all which is readily admitted, yet it is also afirmed that there is, in such popular representative republics, a greater capacity and fitness for the fullest exercise and extension of that power; and that, therefore, it is a great error in many writers on the permanency of republics, to suppose that in them the passions only are freely developed ; whereas power, intellectual and moral pow. er, keeps pace with and is actually quickened into life, by the development of independent man. Freedom energizes the whole body; it clothes the limbs; gives grace to its motions, and elegance to its whole appearance. Where has there been more energy of character than in the old republics of Greece and Rome, and in the free cities and confederations of the middle ages, and in Cromwell's Protectorate, and in the United States? If we admit, therefore, that our government has a strong tendency to increase its power, it is abundantly equal, in all other respects, to sustain itself with an increase of power--while our institutions foster the instincts of acquisition and empire, they also enlarge our capacities for self-government, and multiply the disposition and means of benevolence. And, with us, the spirit and the body are harmoni
The union is happy—the form of our government is just such as the people desire; or, if it be not, we have constitutionally provided for a revolution every four years. There can be no inducement for an insurrection, or a violent overthrow of our institutions. A little patience and time will effect any change that the great body of the people really desire.
The manifest tendency of our age and of modern society, is progression onward. Progress is the law of man. Revolutions may be thrown aside—they may be thrown into improper channels, but they do not go backwards. In every convulsion, and revolution, and war in Europe, since 1688, down to this moment, the people have gained something upon their oppressors. There have been failures in attempts at revolution--great mistakes have been committed And there will be more failures; great errors will be perpetrated. Patriots will yet fall in this glorious work-but something is gained for God and man at every blow. Truth crushed to earth will rise again. Long and fierce the strife may rage, but truth and libery will prevail.
" For Freedom's battle once begun,
Though baffled ost, is ever won." Among the elements of permanence in modern civilization, not yet introduced in my discourse, I shall, in conclusion, name two -the PRINTING PRESS, AND MAN'S SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS THAT HE OUGHT TO BE FREE. The art of printing and publishing, so well understood in our day, is justly regarded as the chief of all the inventions that have marked the progress of human genius. It is the most momentous work in man's history. It is an art that
contributes to ornament, elegance, and utility. In preserving the memory of former discoveries and perpetuating the knowledge of the past, it confers the greatest advantages on mankind. As the human mind gains on the ignorance of the past, the press daguerreotypes its highest and best forms for the future, and enables us to begin our enquiries at the point which the diligent research of our fathers had arrived at. But the utility of the press is not only seen in its power of perpetuating knowledge, but also in giving to human ideas and knowledge an almost unlimited diffusion. The Creator gave man language to communicate his ideas and perpetuate his discoveries. When the art of printing was not in use, the means of communication were scanty, and the method of perpetuating knowledge, still more defective. The arts of man in a savage state are handed down from father to son, and the history of their deeds, both public and private, is preserved chiefly in songs.
But important as the art of writing was, still, even in its most improved state, it fell unspeakably short of the art of printing. In the East, and generally, it was monopolized by the priests; and when their colleges and temples were overturned and destroyed, then learning perished likewise. Among the Greeks and Romans the cost of transcribing was so great, that but few could possess copies of books, and learning was confined to few individuals. The works of authors who had written in the most elegant style, or on the most useful subjects, were continually in danger of being lost, on account of the small number of copies, by the ravages of time, fire, or civil commotion, or by coming into the possession of men utterly ignorant of their value. Learning has sustained immense losses from all of these causes in past ages; but they cannot be repeated since printing has so multiplied the copies of all the valuable works known to mankind. Nor can the world be any longer imposed upon by the forgeries, interpolations, and corruptions of bigots—such as was practiced to an incredible extent in the dark ages.
By means of the press, the knowledge of different schools and of the most eminent philosophers of all countries is brought to the chamber of the student.
The press has made the acquisition and communication of all knowledge, both ancient and modern, more easy, general, and certain, and perpetuates it to all future ages. By it the continuance of learning in the world is placed beyond the reach of any temporary or local barbarism, or invasion, or national degeneracy; and by it also we are enabled to transmit our discoveries and reflections, and a knowledge of our inventions and improvements in arts and arms, in agriculture and manufactures, and in the science of government, to the ends of the earth, and to the end of ages. Printing is superior to every other art of a like kind in the
perpetuity of its youth. It is not subject, like other arts, to the baneful influence of time or accident; the works of the sculptor are often broken to fragments and reduced to dust: paintings fade, or are broken to shreds, and finally perish. But printing stamps im. mortality upon the ideas committed to it, by renewing at will, and without ceasing, exact copies of its work.
In written discourses, images, illustration, variety of language, and power of style are perpetuated, and masterly thoughts are made to live and beget their like. We are made to stand before the living man--and see his reasonings exact, clear, overpowering -his exquisite shadings and the harmonious blending of colorsuntil we see beneath a transparent and glossy skin, the blood circulate, the veins turn blue, and the muscles assume their strength.
The mere speaker is like a statue placed in an elevated niche, that must be cut somewhat roughly and of a proportioned oversize to produce the proper effect at a distance. The written discourse is the life-like natural size. "The press is the tribune amplified. Speech is the vehicle of intelligence, and intelligence is the mistress of the material world.*"
Nor is the beneficial influence of the press confined to the useful arts alone, since it is also intimately connected with whatever is ornamental in the arts of man. For it is the faithful register of the refined inventions of the sublimest geniuses in the most polished ages and countries; and, though the productions of elegant artists may be destroyed--though the best contributions of modern civilization should perish, yet the descriptions of the artist's work, and of these institutions being preserved by the press, will serve to raise in future, other artists and other institutions, that shall rival those that have preceded. The press makes immortal the works of elegant authors and artists, and thereby holds up a light and example to guide and assist aspiring minds to superior excellence.
The press and the tribune were the two-edged sword of the old French revolution, and of all the revolutions of the present year in Europe. It was the press that taught France to think and to act in 1789, and in February, 1848. The written discourses of Foy, Bignon, Lafitte, Constant, Dupont De l'Eure, Royer-Collard, and the impassioned appeals of Mirabeau and his colleagues, accomplished the political education of France. Speeches that produce but little effect in the Senate, often exercise a great influence in print. If they have less influence in the formation of laws, they have more in the formation of public opinion, and it is public opinion that gives sanction, execution, and permanence to the laws, or overturns and remodels them. He, therefore, who has a thousand readers has a greater influence than he who has a thousand hearers. And as this is peculiarly an age of publishing what is spoken, as well as what is written: so the institution of popular liberty, founded and supported in a great degree by the press, must live and flourish so long as liberty has a voice to speak.
Benjamin Constant: Orators of France, p. 127.
The Heaven-descended right of suffrage, is the mother of all our laws and institutions. It is the foundation of our whole gov. ernment and of our whole constitution. Our constitution is our body politic at rest. Our elections are our body politic in action. And the great guarantee of the one and trumpet-call of the other is the press
. An arbitrary, iniquitous, chaotic aristocracy, may grow up where there is no press, and sit like an incubus for centuries upon the inalienable rights of man. Leagues, alliances, public and secret, may be cemented by charters, monopoly grants, and royal marriages, to enable certain families and classes to con sume without producing--to live without laboring, and possess themselves of all the public offices without being qualified to fill them, and to seize upon all the honors of the state, without having merited any—but when the press speaks forth, their days are numbered. There is no power in earth or hell that can prevail over and keep a people in slavery, that are taught by an unfettered press the right of self-government.
The press is more mighty than armies, kings, and senates-as rapid and intelligent as thought. None are too low for it to reach. None can be above its influence. It fascinates, inspires, and forms the masses of society for every effort. The strugglings of the press for liberty, and of the conscience for freedom, have filled all Europe with convulsions. It was the press, aided by the living teacher, that produced the great revolution of the sixteenth century. It
press that made England a Protestant country. The press has removed the moss of ages that had covered up the origin and root of things, and discovered their true nature. It has opened the book of inalienable rights to the people, and taught them how to resist the usurpations of force and
fraud. It was the press that overthrew the parliaments of the French Restoration. And of the blood and vitals of the press were born the government and monarchy of July, 1830; and yet under his majesty, Louis Philippe, the press was fettered and tortured. For seventeen years this press-made monarch compelled the press either to lie or to be sileni-compelled it either to abstain from discussing the principles of the government, or to submit to the blows of a gouty senate. It was bound hand and foot, and placed in manacles between the "ruins of confiscation and the burning tombs of Salazie."
But the day of reckoning came. For the press, like Prometheus, the more it is bound and fettered, the more eloquent, the more inspired, the more indignant, the more tempestuous, and the more Jove-defying it becomes. The very shaking of its chains sent the ungrateful monarch it had made, and all his dynasty, to the "tomb of all the Capulets,” even before a righteous Providence had given his body to the worms. "Unlimited liberty of the press," was the exclamation with which General Bertrand closed all his public speeches. And he was right. The bulwarks of all republics are the Bible and the unlimited freedom of the press.
It is true that the press, like every other good thing, may be
abused, and be employed to spread error and impiety. It is sometimes the case that Divine Providence permits those very means, which, when applied, are the most effectually conducive to the best purposes, to be so abused and misapplied as to become the most potent engines of mischief.
Even the Son of Mary was set for the fall and rise of many, and for a sign which shall be spoken against. The result of Messiah's coming among men, depends altogether upon their own spiritual discernment of Him. T'he gospel is salvation to the believer, but destruction to the unbeliever. Salvation and doom are correlative terms. Heaven and hell are correlative places. Great blessings suppose great evils.
It is impossible for printing to spread errors more baneful than were propagated before its invention, while on the other hand, it enables the friends of truth and religion to pursue the baleful steps of their adversary with an antidote that cannot be nullified, so that this wonderful effort of human skill not only supplies the most sure methods of perpetuating every new discovery in the other arts and sciences, but at the same time affords the ablest assistance in the support of religion, truth, and virtue.
There remains one other out of many more grounds of hope for the perpetuity of Republics, that I cannot wholly omit; and that is- Man's self-consciousness that he is a child of Liberty, and that he is capable of self-government, and of perpetuating the best principles and forms of government. Philosophers and theologians tell us of a moral sense, and a feligious sense in man, the existence of which prove that man is a moral and religious being, just as his lungs prove that he was made to breathe. So likewise the political sense,--that is, a faculty of being conscious that we possess within us the elements of freedom from our Maker, and which also excites all men, in all ages, to desire the fullest enjoyment of civil liberty, is a proof that man is made to be free, and to be happy only in the enjoyment of freedom. The soul's self-consciousness of its own existence, of its own free agency, and of the existence of God, has long been regarded as one of the strongest proofs of a Deity. “The longing after immortality,” in all men, and in all countries, and the conjectures and hopes, even of the rudest, for a brighter existence after death, is proof almost as strong as demonstration, that there is a future immortal state of being. In like manner, the hopes of mankind, concerning a political millennium, may be deemed a prophecy of its coming. Such hopes have existed from the earliest times, and have grown stronger and stronger, and spread wider and wider, as cycle after cycle rolled down the skies. Have the ardent longings of the purest and best men, of the wisest and the holiest men of antiquity and of modern times, been raised up merely to be thrown to the ground! Divine Providence will not thus tantalize the sons of men. The longings of our race after freedom have sometimes been embodied in tradition, in songs, and in fables; but even the