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machinery into works of fiction, it would be arrogance in us to pretend to lay down any precise rules. Indeed, the capacity of being interested by things of this nature, depends so much upon constitution and temperament, and is so variously modified by accident and education, that all principles relating to the subject must be extremely general and indefinite. That author, however, may be pronounced happy in the use of supernatural machinery, who succeeds in exciting by it an interest in the minds of the majority of readers. The most effectual way of doing this, is to have recourse to notions which make a part of the popular and general belief. Now it seems to us that the conception of Hadad is not too far removed from that belief, to be willingly entertained by the mind. The common doctrine attributes to evil spirits an influence upon the minds of men, and it is not stepping very far out of the shadowy and uncertain boundaries of that doctrine, to allow them power over matter. We shall then have no difficulty in conceiving that a fallen spirit
may enter and bear about limbs abandoned of human life. We think, however, that the author has given Hadad too large a retinue. We could allow him the “ dromedary fiend,” as it is only once mentioned by Obil, one of the king's grooms, but the crook-back Maagrabin, a vulgar subordinate devil, lodged, as it appears, like Hadad in a human body, and withal a most unsightly one, is a gratuitous and unnecessary addition. The same thing may be said of the phantom raised by BalaamHaddon in the sepulchre of David. We could wish that all the supernatural agency of the piece were concentrated in Hadad; we are convinced that this would greatly increase the effect which his character, and the part he takes in the action, are fitted to produce. At present, the terrific interest inspired by these is in some degree weakened by being divided among a number of agents. The work before us has been written with no small degree of
It is a work which will bear more than one reading, and is constructed of materials that will endure. It is delightful to take up a native production, and among so many things worthy of praise, to find so few opportunities to censure. This is not a book in which a few striking and powerful passages appear amidst a waste of surrounding feebleness, like green oases in an African desert. Here are no unfinished characters, no gaps nor obscurities in the plot, nor puerilities of language or of sentiment. Every page bears the marks of unusual talent strenuously and successfully exerted. Into almost every work of taste, there will unavoidably creep, in the course of the composition,
extravagances, weaknesses, and inconsistencies, and imperfect or languid passages will be produced in moments of hurry and lassitude. These our author has resolutely blotted out, and has come before the public with a present worthy of himself and of them—with the fruits of his strength, and his skill, and his happiest inspirations.
ART. II.-- Report of the Secretary of War, of a Plan for the re
duction of the Armyof the United States. December 12, 1820. Washington : Printed by Gales and Seaton.
Before we proceed to the consideration of Mr. Calhoun's plan of organizing the Peace Establishment of the United States, we propose to examine a question, which has excited much discussion in past times, as well as the present, and on which it is desirable that every citizen in the community should entertain correct opinions. It is not enough for the preservation of liberty, that men should think with freedom : they must also be able to think justly—especially upon subjects, which have a serious influence upon the character as well as upon the interests of the particular society, of which they constitute a part.
It is an opinion sanctioned by time and experience, that standing armies are inimical to popular liberty. This proposition is one of those, which are true only under certain limitations, and these it will be our business to discuss. The physical relations of our country with other nations, the nature of our social organization, and the intellectual condition of the people, give us elements of stability and exemption from public commotions, both external and domestic, which no other country has ever possessed. We are emphatically, as we have often been denominated, “ a thinking people,” capable of strong and elevated resolutions, but little liable to excitement, except upon questions connected with our public liberty. Fortified as we are by our prevailing temper and character, and by the free institutions to which they have given existence, the subject we are about to discuss might not have attracted our attention, but from the renewed importance, which it has received from an authority high in the eyes of the nation ;* especially, as we have ever been disposed to regard apprehensions of danger from the prevalence of the military spirit, in a country like
ours, as the fruits of a prejudice, which the progress of mind has nearly exploded.
* See Mr. Clay's letter to Judge Brooke.
In monarchical governments, where all appointments to military offices are made by the prince; where the military establishment is subject to his exclusive authority; where the soldier, oftentimes a foreigner, being enlisted for life, becomes identified with him ; where the body of the soldiery, being an essential part of the public police, becomes confounded with the public authority; and where a continued habit of dependance transfers to the person of the sovereign those feelings of loyalty, which properly belong to the country, numerous mercenary forces, endued with a cultivated discipline, strengthen the arm of government, diminish the character and importance of the citizen, and render life, liberty, and property, less secure. But in a nation of freemen, where the representatives of the people have a voice in all military appointments; where enlistments are for a short period; where the soldier is almost always a native; where the Chief Magistracy, being reversionary, presents to the army no individual endowed with permanent authority, or provided with any independent means of securing its affections; and where the soldiery has no part in enforcing the execution of the laws—a small military estab lishment, subject to the annual enactments of the national legislature, cannot, without extraordinary powers of fancy, be deemed dangerous to the quietude and security of the state. In the former
case, there are many reasons why the soldier should forget the duties of the citizen, and sink into a passive instrument of power. In the latter case, there are as many reasons why the soldier should be so much of a citizen as to fail in the principle of subordination, and carry with him to the performance of his duties a spirit of independence hardly compatible with the arbitrary nature of military rule.
In history, as in experimental philosophy, the omission of an operating cause in the examination of a result, necessarily vitiates the inference which is drawn from the examination. In experimental philosophy, whenever a practical application of principles is attempted, if all the necessary powers be not present at the experiment, the result will be different from that which is expected or has been foretold. So in history, if, in tracing events back to their origin, every thing which concerns the social institutions, habits, character, and geographical relations of a people, be not contained in the estimate, the conclusion, being illegitimately drawn, cannot safely be assumed as a guide in the subsequent transactions of society. Inaccuracies are the more likely to occur in historical conclusions, because causes remote in their rise, and silent in their operation, often
have as certain an agency in the production of a result, as those more immediately present and obvious,* and because there is no common unerring standard, to which these conclusions may be brought for a test, like experimental proof in mechanical analysis. It is, therefore, safer for every man to draw his own conclusions from the study of events, than to adopt implicitly the conclusions of those, who, like himself, are embarrassed in their inquiries by the common weakness of an erring reason. The necessity of caution in adopting the opinions of others in those departments of knowledge, which give a scope to speculation, becomes the more apparent, when we reflect that the best of modern historical compositions, the most perfect analysis of legal science, and the political portion of one of the ablest treatises on moral and social obligation,s are deeply imbued with prejudice and error.
The example which has most commonly been brought to illustrate the proposition, that standing armies are inimical to the spirit of free institutions, is the subversion of Roman liberty. But it has often occurred to us, in passing over the contests of Pompey and Cæsar, and the portion of Roman history immediately preceding them, that the change of government, which these rival factionists were instrumental in bringing about, is to be attributed, in a great degree, to causes unconnected with the prevalence of the military spirit. A reference to the annals of Rome will exhibit, before the days of the triumvirate, a total relaxation of public morals, the original constitution of society completely changed, an equal distribution of property superseded by excessive wealth and extreme poverty, a mercenary and effeminate servitude overspreading the face of the land, and the robust spirit of republicanism surviving only in a few individuals, whose efforts and fate served but to illustrate the general depravation. So completely was the sense of moral obligation destroyed, that Pompey openly paid bribes in his garden to such of the tribes as supported the election of his friend Lucius Afranius to the Consulship öll and tables were publicly set forth in the market places, to pay the people the price of
In many historians we might almost fancy the law maxim_" Causa proxima, non remota, spectatur”--to be assumed as the rule of their conclusions, with regard to the influences by which the great revolutions of society are brought about.
+ Hume's History of England.
their votes.* So unequal was the distribution of wealth, and so great the dependance of the populace on men of power, that, besides laws for a division of lands and the relief of indigent debtors, Cato induced the Senate, with a view to check the growing influence of Cæsar, to distribute an amount of bread corn among the people, which added five millions five hundred thousand drachmas to the annual burthens of the state. A nation enervated by the ascendency of every species of vice and disorder, needs not the agency of a disciplined soldiery to complete its subjugation. If Rome had not possessed a single soldier, her fate would have been the same. The body politic had become too corrupt and disorderly for freedom, and in the last struggles of liberty, intrigue and faction bore as powerful a sway as the arm of force. Cæsar, after the defeat of his rival, relied upon the arts of a politician for the security of his dominion. Augustus, if the Roman historian may be credited, was indebted to political management, and not to the sword, for the acquisition of his power.—“ Ubi militem donis, populum annona, cunctos dulcedine otii pellexit, insurgere paullatim, munia senatûs, magistratuum, legum in se trahere, nullo adversante.”
The same historian, in commencing his view of the empire after a short interval from the downfall of the Republic, compresses into the following detail the character of the events he is about to describe, exhibiting a maturity of vice, which could have been nothing less than the fruit of ages of degeneracy: “Et urbs incendiis vastata, consumptis antiquissimis delubris, ipso capitolio civium manibus incenso; pollutæ ceremoniæ : magna adulteria : plenum exsiliis mare: infecti cædibus scopuli: atrocius in urbe sævitum. Nobilitas, opes, omissi gestique honores pro crimine.” “ Odio et terrore, corrupti in dominos servi, in patronos liberti : et quibus deerat inimicus, per amicos oppressi."'$
We assent most freely to the proposition that standing armies are to be deprecated, but we are compelled by an examination of the course of society, to regard them as the consequence rather than the cause of a corrupt state of the body
* Plutarch's Life of Julius Cæsar.
$ Hist. lib. I. s. 2.-The disorder last enumerated-domestic treaciery-is incident to the very last stage of social depravity. In Rome it was not effectually suppressed until the time of Tragan. See Pliny's panegyrics. 42. “Reddita est amicis fides, liberis pietas, obsequium servis.”