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rests on the precarious footing of trade. Even if success were to crown your work, you would not be justified.”
To pacify is the policy of the time. Compromise if it will appease, and concede if it will not. Tide over the day as you can.
There is not wanting even in the popular mind of Europe a deep presentiment of nearing troubles—a presentiment which becomes prophecy. Almost every organ of public opinion gives expression to it. It is the subject of conversation on the Exchange, in the market, in the club, in the domestic circle, on the platform, and from the pulpit. The ground-swell of storm is everywhere felt. The insecurity of institutions, the uncertainty of finance, and the precariousness of life seem to be more deeply and extensively acknowledged. The waves of the great tribulation beat against thrones and capitals. Guizot justly remarks, “Can we now say toward what abysses or what havens we may yet be hurried by the great wind of 1789, so often lulled but never exhausted ?”
The whole fabric of Romanism, decorated with all the efforts of genius, with busts from the chisel of Canova and cartoons from Raphael, but defiled by the presence of man, the worshipper, unsanctified and unimproved, is rent from top to bottom, and threatens every hour to fall and bury its victims in its ruins. The armies of Europe are bivouacked, not disarmed ; cabinets are perplexed ; tremendous questions are not settled, but adjourned ; the democracy heaves from
its troubled depths. The prerogatives of crowns, the rights and passions of men, and the hoarded-up revenges and resentments of a thousand years, seem prepared to unsheath the sword and to try society as by fire.
Under the head of this sign of the times I cannot help quoting from a most remarkable speech delivered by Lord Shaftesbury, in the House of Peers, on Tuesday, July 23, 1867. “I have incessantly repeated in various forms what the page of prophecy foreshows. I have stated during twenty years that the great prophetic epochs expire with 1867, and that after its exhaustion will begin that shaking of all constituted things which God by the pen of Haggai predicts : * For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come.'”
Can any impartial mind ponder on what is now passing before us in Europe and in England, in Church and in State, without seeing, nay, feeling rolling in upon the shores of time a revolutionary wave of no common volume, and advancing at no ordinary speed? Of all men I know, Lord Shaftesbury is the least of a party man.
His is a chastened and sober intellect; a heart free from all heat of fanaticism; a lover of the people—the very residuum of the people --and their untiring benefactor and servant. His words are, therefore, weighty, even if too ominous, and well worth the study of those dilettanti who “de
spise prophesyings.” He says, “ Things are rapidly approaching to one great consummation. Surely, my lords, all these things are tending to a republic. If we have any doubt upon that point, we might refer to the authority of Mr Bright, who stated broadly in his speech that whatever might be the form, the principle of the government must be republican or democratic. And perhaps one of the heaviest charges which can be brought against this Bill is that it is accelerating our already too rapid progress. What is fresh one day becomes antiquated the next. The Reform Act of 1832 gave us a pause of 30 years. But what will the Reform Bill of 1867 do ? My lords, I do not believe it will give us a pause of a single Session. Everything at the present day is swift and gigantic. We have gigantic wars, gigantic ships, gigantic speculations, gigantic frauds, gigantic crimes, a gigantic Reform Bill, and I much fear that we shall have a gigantic downfall. After all this there will arise a great social question. From all which I have seen and heard I feel assured that there will arise in this country, and speedily too, a revival of that great feud instituted between the House of Want and the House of Plenty. You then will have new schemes, new agencies, new conditions, and new social questions, and I verily believe that those who have been foremost in urging the passing of this measure will be among the very first to condemn it. “Let me read a passage which will show your
lordships the feeling that is growing up in America ; and
if in America, why not here? In the Times of July 11 there was an able letter from our own correspondent’in the United States, and in that letter I read this very remarkaole narrative :
"Mr Wade, President of the Senate, has been making a tour west, in the course of which he indulged himself in some extraordinary speeches. In Kansas he said that, the slavery question being disposed of, that of labour and capital would next demand the attention of the country. “Property,' he said, “was not equally divided, and a more equal distribution of capital must be wrought out. That Congress, which had done so much for the slaves, cannot quietly regard the terrible distinction which exists between the man that labours and him that. does not.” He went on to argue that the Almighty “ never intended” that one man should work while another feasted in idleness. The position which Mr Wade holds in the Radical party gives these opinions a weighty significance, and they are a striking commentary on the perverse statements of the philosophers abroad who contend that this is the country of universal content, and that jealousies of class are unknown. We may have a “Redistribution-of-Property" party before many years are over.'
“I wish to call the particular attention of your lordships to this, because it is a man of eminence in the United States who lays down these principles. With the strong resemblance between the two countries, the frequent intercourse and interchange of
ideas, and the fraternization which takes place between the two peoples, may we not expect that what is going on in America will be imitated here, and that we shall come in this country to the assertion of similar principles and the agitation of similar questions ? Let me observe that such opinions may be expressed and acted on by large masses of the working people —and here I am speaking of what I know—in no spirit of spoliation. I know that a large proportion of the working classes have a deep and solemn conviction—and I have found it among working people of religious views-that property is not distributed as property ought to be; that some checks ought to be kept upon the accumulation of property in single hands; that to take away by a legislative enactment that which is in excess with a view to bestow it on those who have insufficient means, is not a breach of any law, human or divine. I am certain that many entertain these opinions ; I am certain also that in times of distress and difficulty these opinions, urged upon them by any great demagogue or by any person of power or influence among the people, would take possession of their minds and sink deeply into their hearts; and if they had power through their representatives to give expression to those principles, they would do so speedily and emphatically. But this measure would lead to other and certain evils. It is curious to find an hon. gentleman in the House of Commons, who, until lately, had no strong opinion in favour of the ballot, now declaring that he should