TWO- N-A-TION.AL DREAM .
TREabiding jealousy- felt in Englend towards- the United Staten has many causes; some- of them just, more perbaps unjust, but one of them very strong- and very' little noticed. This is the difference- in' the• forecast which Englishmen and
Americans make as to. their own destiny. Some cause, which is very chlfieult to trate, but which is possibly the absence of here- ditary anxiety in America, has upon. this_ point absolutely separated. two people of the same. blood. and in_ most aspects. strangely similar. The Englishman when-he thinks at all. upon. the subject,: is.very apt' to forecast. am unpleasant future for his: country, to, believe the. day- will come whea:it. wilL be shut up: in.
the ocean, oastarvedfor, want of:: oorn,.or ruined by the exhaustion. of its coal, or deprived of its,pre-eminencein. manufactures, or in: some way or other thrown back to. a-. secondary rank. The notion that his countryhaa reached its zenith; and.m.uat from some cause unknown, recede, hair for 'a century, been constantly present_ to, thee Englishman's. mind.. The Americana on the contrary, believes- in a, boundless -future almost visibly before him, is the happier for• it and: the stronger,. accepts allildren. with greater readiness, meets- the:trot/hies, and. especiallythepersmiarytroubles„ of life with, greater -ease and:more perfect sang/avid. Somebody, he thinks' will always= be wanting-something ; if he, cannot grow corn he-can makelucifer matches, and- in a shortaime "we shall' be two hundred, millibns, Sir, and the, scream, of the American, eagle will drown' all the Te Dennis of the Old World; and' two hundred millions, Sir, will offer a market for lucifer matches- wide as the-universe, profitable, as dealings in• petroleum oil" It is all so amazingly- true, too. There is no vaster dream' dreamed; on earth than that of these Americans, and- yet it is all within the limits of the possible, so far-within them that its realization. is' more probable than' its failure. Tudgiag, as human beiegs- are alone entitled' to judge, on_ the evidence, it is much. more likely than not that in 1966' the American people will be. one hundred' and fifty millions, speaking, one language, and that English, and possessed of all. the knowledge that. language.. contains, with a country- of' all 'climates. and all scenes, re- sources scarcely-- explored, and an almost total', freed.= from physical distresa. Every race, cultivation, and capacity will be represented in its borders, and nearly, every civilization eompati- ble. with. Republicanism and a .very elastic Christianity. The number of the States will be at least fifty, and in. eachta marked and peculiar. society, will have- beem formed .under the gradual operation. of laws as different as the marriage- laws of Wisconsin and Vermont. now are, and of social systems as.separate aa those of Manyland, and Massachusetts. Experiments : of, the most gigan- tic character will have been' tried-to the full„ experiments as. wild as the Western one of a. nearly unlimited. right of, divorce,, or as those social, schemes tried so, often in Western New York, or as the idea;. so precious to every Democratic mind; et dispensing, with every oontrolsaee:that of the parish:constable. A hundred and fifty millions of menu of all races- and all instincts will belying together' on one soil under all: climates and possessed at every resource, coal; and iron, and'oonn, andwine,.coal-fielde so endless that even Americanlavishnesacannob. waste them, iron-fields so vast that they will consume &rests eoveringazontinent, corn-fields which, will feed the world, and vineyardawhicheven now send:their produce to the owners of Hermitage and Johannisberg. Thereis no science such a race may not prosecute in peace for ages, no form of literature it may not develops, no discovery possible to man it may not hope to make. It' will, without an effort, raise 300;000,000/. of revenue by a taxation lower-than. thatofFargland now is, and, employ the-whole, or nearly the whole of itaim works of peace. Distress, or tumultror resistance to authority;. on-dread of freedom in its most unrestrained: forms, will, says the American, be as unknown in that land asignorance or violent crime:. Every man will be secure in his home, every man equal, every matt free to do-whatsoever of good his-hand can,find, or-his brain, invent, or his heart conceive. So great will be the, love of the people for these institutions, that the idea of attack. will fade away, for what nation, could: dream, of attacking a. country in which thirty millions of armed males, capable, of becoming soldiers in. six weeks, will perish rather than suffer menace, and will own chips greater in nuraberthan those of the rest of the. earth ? Yet so great will be:the content of this people that Europe will paea an its way unharmed, unimpeded, and uncontrolled, save indeed, it may be, by an extorted agreement that America shall always be left open, a secure harbour of refuge, the "shadow of a great rock" to-the poor, and, the miserable, and the oppressed. To South and North alike the land will be open, and while the Dane eaten out of his home may find-in Maine a-climate: as rough and manners as kindly as his- own; the Italian unable to prosper may grow Lacrima Christi on-the slopes of Virgiatr, or -renew the 'myrtles 'of Sicily by the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico. There is room for all andlo spare, and when the tale is complete, and Americans outnumber every white race, there will still stretch before them other territories to possess, lands. more vast, mountains more various, plains more rich; rivers still broader, cultivations and possibilities of sociarlife yet more multiform and great, fOr they may cross the Isthmus,. fix a .capital greater than Rome, at a spot where the President can look from the White House upon.two oceans, and stretch away, pressing on in innumerable hordes, over the glorious wildernesses of Brazil and the rich alltivitim of the Amazon, mine the Andes, and fill those wonder- ful plateaus where, as in. Bogota, the apple and the pineapple grow side by side, and so spread-. slowly down away to the Antarctic zone.. The half of earth will then be American, andthe curse of divided language done away_; .and-the human race, rid at last of physical misery, of War, of inequality, and of the paralysis ofpowers produced by fears of each other may commence a. career as new as that which began. when man first instituted mar- siege and diScovered fire. It its a. pleasant dream, one which Makes New E-ngland farmers better, and softer, and nobler amidst their sordid- cares ; and it is all possible, or at least conceivable. NO Engliishman with an imagination denies that in his heart, on even doubts it, .and- it raises in. hitn, among other. things, that fierce. jealousy which broke out so strangely &ring the recent. .civil war.. 'He feels as if this structure thus visibly rising to the Mars cast a shadow over England, as if his own land' were lest in the haze around:that coming Empire, as if he were dwarfed by the presence of his mightier descendant. He feelis as a Jew might in the year 30, when, conscious that he shine of manitindlrecog- nized the grand intellectual, and moral truths; he. yet saw his, ecamtry nominally independent,. really but a. provities, of all', absorbing and luxurious Rome.
The bitterness is the• greater because the Englishman, ahnost. .alone among, mankind;- has neither past nor future, neither divas -on the glory of-hie forefathers nor rooks forward with hive to his -descendants. The Scotch peasant remembers. Bannockburn as if .it were yesterday; the Russian moujik believesin the day when Holy Russia, mistress of: Constantinople, shall give the law to inankitul. The average Erigliishinan knows nothing whiCh hap- penedbefore his father,. looks forward: to nothing in which .country will play a conspiCuons part. He lies few national tra- ditions and no national hopes.. The educated German believes -always in some caning Utopia, when oilmen shall have leisure to enjoy, and- Germany, safe in her unity,.sliali plunge fearlessly into thought ; and the educated Frenchman-never wearies of the past. of France; bulthe educated Englishman only wanders how men -endined lives so bad as those of his forefathers, looks for- -ward only to the time when the greatness of. England shall' . have passed away. Yet • if he dreamed,. as Americans dream, pleasant things, and yet possible,. the dream would not be -an ignoble one. He might dream of a little kingdom in a rough but healthy climate, cultivated like a garden,in which a society of forty millions had- been organized till it was as completelY an 'entity as a human- being,, in which. the slightest injury to the meanest was felt as the plucking of a hair in a.strong man's beard:: In that land,, so small and so cold, might exist a society coherent as the diamond, but with. colours as infinitely varied, a table . as bright, facets as definite, and as dissimilar—a society, in which men rich as the old.kings of the East realiied a luxury more than .Assyrian by the aid of arts more subtle than those of Greece, yet shared every luxury and every art with the meanest of those -around them ; and in which workers, never poor to pinching,. cordially aided" in producing the magpificence they freely enjoyed'.; in which thought,.far the first time really free, for. the first time .spread among millions, would -strike out new literatures and novel sciences,. and add every day, not only to man's dominion over nature—it was a savage who first tortured' earth into multiply- ing seed corn—but to man's . capacity for living noble Dag. in which so infinite .would be the variety of position, and' circum- stance, and work, that every capacity and every disposition should be able to put out and profit by the full measure of its powers ; in which- the latent use of-all' farms of weakness. should become in which the virtues should be able to act asmotors,_ the passions be pruned dawn into energies. He might dream' of an England' in which every man was educated' .and' could form. an opinion for Fiiinself,i every man. provided with means sufficient to give his faculties scope,. and every man able to rely on the aggregate force. of all for aid' against. nature,; or time, -or circumstance, as he now relies on it against violent evil=doers; an England in. which Parliament should' be the brain of a vast being, of a municipality witli a conscibuslife, gMdffigallinen, facilitating alt measures, making enterprises easy whieli_noirseem impossible or absurd. He might imagine Efigland*thus organized, thus throbbing with many-coloured' lire, ruling quietly over Southern Asia, breaking up sun-baked civilizations, sowing the seeds of-new life over half mankind; watering every germ as it grew to maturity, and learning, as an great gardeners learn, to recognize the beauty, and the meaning, and the use of things. which seem to the ignorant poisonous weeds. He might .dream of an England which had reconciled the great difficulties of man- kind, absolute freedom with perfect organization, liberty, with union, self-will with self-sacrifice, a State which could act like a man, yet of 'winch every citizen felt himsplf a free and' component part. He might ffnallY imagine an England not indeed as.power- fat as the Union, but so devoted to independence, so scientifically organized; so finely- and' strongly welded into a weapon, with AUglo-Sfixon for weight, Celt for edge, and. Scotch for temper, that to attack it would be simply to strike at a rapier with a crow- bar, which might destroy, but not in time to prevent a mortal wound. Nothing in all thatis impossible, once a generation is fully educated; and we shall' educate the next. Rapid intercommunication is already binding the nation. into one great family, till a hind cannot be horsewhipped' on a remote moorland without a. nationarroarof anger, andthe House of Commons becomes for
purposes the conseil de famille. Let but the spirit of localism,. pr; as we call'it; self!government, decay a little more, as it always dbes' under edttcatiOn, and' England' will be welded' as we have described; will present such an aspect of variegated, but not un- happy life. This dream seems to us as bright as the other, though not rte vast, as the lawn may be as beautiful as a prairie, Winder- mere as Erie, a garden as a wilderness of wild flowers. The element of vastness is alone wanting, and' we can find that in our purposes and our tropical possessions. Palissy's life was noble, though the end of that toil' and' endeavour was only n pretty enamel ; and the work of Athens was- vast, though she never covered the space of the Duke of Sutherland's estate. All that man knows of the ideas which should regulate human organization was worked out' by a nation of less than 30,000 freemen, so worked out that Ehrope ha no words for policy save those the Athenians used, andin eighteen hundred years has invented' but one new political idea, the possibility of rule by representation. Vastness is nothing, organization everything, the smallest entity with life and potentalities greater and more than the biggest, if it possesses neither. Grand as the mountain is, as Kingsley pubs it, and oppressive to the spirit, men who could' scarcely be seen on its aides tunnel through it at their' leisure. But then we want the fixed idea- that England, which cannot be the mountain, is to 1be the man.