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ness of hereditary wealth and power.
As civilization advances, the aristocratic class becomes more educated, and seeks to ally itself more closely with the intellectual class. Thus the dignity of idleness is placed side by side with the dignity of intellectual' power, till by degrees men begin to see the difference. And while idleness is thus insensibly losing its exclusive honors, industry itself begins to be delivered from its reproach ; for knowledge is continually spreading wider and lower among the laboring classes; and political power is passing, sometimes by gradual reform, and anon by the convulsive shock of revolution, from the few to the many. But ages must yet elapse before the effects of the old order of things shall be effaced from the manners and from the opinions and feelings of the whole people.
I have not forgotten that there are causes at work in our own country, to degrade the true nobility of labor. I have not forgotten the ambition of some to import the ideas and to ape the habits of European life. This however, though aided by the constant circulation of English “tales of fashionable life," and of other things in the same style, can have but little efficacy in counteracting the tendency of the great facts of our condition. The fact that here the cultivators of the soil are the lords of the soil, will stand in spite of Blackwood's Magazine and Bulwer's novels, and in spite of the endeavors of here and there a rich man to make himself unhappy by living in the state and pomp of aristocratic laziness. And so in spite of all such influences, the fact will stand, that here all political power is in the hands of those who live by industry; and that other fact that the few who can live without labor are too few and too scattered to constitute a class, and that of them not one in five is willing to live without some active and useful employment. Nor have I forgotten that, by a mournful anomaly in the political organization of some portions of our country-an anomaly contradictory of all the principles and tendencies of the American civilization--labor is, in those localities, dishonorable; and if I were compelled to believe that such an anomaly will be permanent upon the American soil, outliving or subduing the various influences with which it is at war, I never should have thought of speculating, but with shame, upon the probable character and functions of American literature. That anomaly must pass away; or all that brightens and adorns this land with the promise of a new era of freedom
for mankind, must perish before it, and society itself must be constructed upon other principles than those which are now recognized as its foundation, yes, upon principles more preposterous than monarchy, and more barbarous than feudalism. The American structure of society must predominate here to the exclusion of every hostile element, or its very foundations must be subverted. The soil of freedom must be cultivated by the hands of freemen, or the time will come when from each traditionary hill, and from each sacred battle field, the voices of the guardian genii
, will be heard in tones of grief, “Let us depart." Where is the man, calling himself an American, who does not in his heart believe that this dark anomaly will pass away ; and that the time will come, when no spot in our vast union shall be profaned by a fettered step, or by the stroke of an unwilling hand, but every where jocund labor shall look up to heaven in the conscious nobleness of perfect freedom.
The feudal sentiment of honor, has had great influence on the literature of Europe from the romantic
ages to this hour. Ancient literature bears no trace of such a sentiment. The sense of right and wrong, the love of reputation, and a quick sensitiveness to the good or ill esteem of others, are common to mankind, and are most developed where human nature is most elevated by intellectual and moral culture ; but the feudal sentiment of honor, which tinges all modern literature, is something different from these. What is called the law of honor, is the most distinct and tangible manifestation of the feudal sentiment which has produced it. You could not make Cicero, or Cæsar, or Brutus, or Mark Antony, or the heroic Scipio understand the law of honor, even in its first principles-you could not make Pericles, or Epaminondas, with his “two immortal daughters," or Achilles iracundus et acer, understand it-any more than you could make Moses or Abraham understand it. It is a code made not for men as men, nor for men as citizens, nor for men as fathers, husbands, brothers, neighbors, friends; it is a code for gentlemen only, for men of birth, men of a certain feudal rank; if peasants or mechanics undertake to apply it, they only make themselves objects of ridicule. The sentiment of honor, as embodied in the law of honor, is not simply the feeling which revolts from doing what the wise and the good disapprove; a man may be covered thick with vices, he may be a drunkard, he may be a gambler, he may be a brawler in the streets, and the disturber of a congregation met for peaceful worship, he may abuse the wife of his bosom, he may be the seducer and betrayer of female innocence, he may be a murderer, and still be a flourishing specimen of the sentiment of honor; for none of these things prove him to be a chur), a peasant, a base mechanic, -none of them are inconsistent with his gentle birth and nurture. The sentiment of honor, as embodied in the law of honor, is not simply the fierce impulse of revenge for injuries,--of injuries as such it takes no direct cognizance ; it is the state of mind which feels a particular sort of insult from a particular sort of insulter, with a morbid sensitiveness, and which seeks to wipe away that insult not by mere vengeance, but by vengeance obtained through a particular process-a process the absurdity of which, as estimated by any rule of reason, or by any unsophisticated human feeling, is beyond expression. This is feudal honor, an arbitrary conventional sentiment appropriated to a particular highbred class, and which the peasantry, the vulgar, have no right to be acquainted with. Such a sentiment could not have originated under any system but that of the middle ages; it cannot be perpetuated in a community, where all are politically equal, and where all the institutions of society tend to make the man more honorable than the gentleman.
You need not tell me that the law of honor reigns with a bloody sway in some parts of our country. I know it ; and every man knows that if
the map of the United States, that region where the code of honor is recognised, you enclose just that region in which American institutions and American principles have not yet done their work. I mean nothing which ought to offend any man's honest sensibilities; for where are we to look for the true operation, the demonstrated tendency of the American structure of society? In one part of the country, this peculiar structure of society, built on the theory of equal rights, has existed without material change for more than two centuries. In another part of the country, the present order of things, so far as it is the same, dates no farther back, at the farthest, than the Declaration of Independence, and began even then amid embarrassments and counteracting influences which have not yet been removed. Where shall we look to ascertain the real tendency of the American civilization ? At Plymouth? Or at Pensacola ? I do not say that the man of Pensacola is 'to be blamed, or the man of Plymouth to be lauded, for the difference. They stand at two different points, on the broad stream of history. Travel over all those parts of the country, where the counties are divided into towns, and the towns into school districts, each town and each school district managing its own affairs; and where the soil, meted out into farms, is cultivated by the hands of its possessors; and where the votes that determine who shall be selectmen, and who shall go to Congress, and who shall be governor, are deposited in the ballot boxes by the hard huge hands of those who till the ground or strike at the anvil –in this organization you will see the American order of things. Tell me whether the law of feudal honor can be anything but a perishing exotic, under such institutions.
For these sentiments, then, which originated in the feudal structure of society, and which give a peculiar coloring to all the literature of Europe, there will ultimately be no place in the American character, and therefore there will be no place for them in the literature of the American people, when once it shall have been formed in harmony with that character and shall re-act upon it for salutary ends. In this country, above all others, the age of chivalry is gone;" and the age of the people has succeeded, the age of utility and justice, of common rights and common sense. Litera. ture, among us, must speak with a different tone from that which she learned at feudal courts and tournaments, or she will ever seem to speak with an ungraceful, because outlandish accent.
It is still more obvious that our literature whenever it shall meet our actual sentiments and wants as a people, must be rich in the illustration of certain civic and social virtues, for which there was but little scope under the now antiquated institutions of Europe. To explain what I mean by this position, let me just name to you some of the virtues which are essential to the well-working of such institutions as ours, and which may naturally be looked for under such institutions, but which are hardly expected to exist in other forms of society.
Patriotism, then, is the most obvious of these virtues, not the mere sentiment of attachment to one's native soil, but the intelligent and hearty love of country, prompting to thought and effort for the country's welfare. . This is the virtue of a freeman. Who expects the slave to love the country which will not own him for a man? The serf trodden into the soil
, with nothing to lose or to gain by the vicissitudes of empire—who expects him to care for any interest out of his own cabin? Patriotism is the virtue of a citizen, a member of the commonwealth, not of a mere subject. The whole political duty of a mere subject, whether under a monarchy or an oligarchy, is summed up in silent obedience. Where society is divided into orders, patriotism in the lower orders is a dangerous affair-dangerous to them. selves-dangerous to the state,--eminently dangerous to the established system. Hence though Europe has had patriot kings, and patriot nobles and statesmen; we hear of a patriot peasantry there, only in connection with tumult and arms. Patriotism among the people, is, in the old world, another name for revolution; the faintest whisper of it“ with fear of change perplexes monarchs.” But with us, patriotism is an every day duty for every man. Every man, not dead to virtue, loves his country with a manly affection-thinks, reasons, inquires, acts for his country's welfare. He loves his country as the virtuous sovereign loves his kingdom, because it is his own, because its destinies are in a degree entrusted to his hands. His pride of ancestry, is not that he is born of better blood than his countrymen, but that he is born of the same blood with the men of “the heroic age,” the men of Bunkerhill, of Bennington, and of Yorktown. His hopes, too, for his posterity, are all patriotic, not personal. His hopes for them are identical with his hopes for his country. That strong impulse which leads all men to care for their posterity in coming ages, leads him to care that these equal laws, this well ordered liberty, this universal diffusion of knowledge, these purifying and sustaining influences of Christian truth, may be perpetual.
Å peculiar regard for law is another republican virtue. In Europe there is a reverence for power, which secures obedience to the expression of the sovereign will
. The government there is a great power, and the people are its subjects. Crimes are offences not against the people, but against this great power at the metropolis. When a crime has been committed, popular sympathy, if awakened, is as likely to take the part of the criminal as of the law. The whole affair, from the commission of the crime to the infliction of the penalty, is a sort of conflict between the offender