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SHOWING THE PERVERSION OF THEM AND THE CONSEQUENT
FAILURE OF THEIR ACCOMPLISHMENT.
BY J. P. BLANCHARD
PRESS OF DAMRELL AND MOORE,
16 DEVONSHIRE STREET.
PRINCIPLES OF THE REVOLUTION.
The American Revolution is yet unaccomplished, or it is a splendid failure. It rose before the world on a basis of political purity, undiscerned in the speculations of heathen philosophy, or the vaunted intelligence of European civilization. The development of the truth, that all men have equal right to life, to liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, broke on the anxious sight of millions of the oppressed, as the harbinger of their release from the thraldom of ages. We have come upon the day when the mournful disappointment of all these hopes is no longer doubtful. The despots of Europe, and the military chiefs of South America, still wave their sceptres of steel over the most enlightened portions of the globe ; and when their struggling vassals turn their eyes to our self-gratulating Republic, they hear not amid the rattling chains of slavery, see not through the smoke of our martial desolations, feel not in the nets of our monopolizing legislation, and the cramps of our antiquated jurisprudence, the liberty and safety their ardent desires anticipated. Our land is yet sought by the starving for food, by the impoverished for remunerated labor; but the El Dorado dream of freedom, prosperity, and equal rights, has vanished with the awakening of the age. The unseen leaders of conflicting parties now hold in their grasp the potent ballot-box, from which popular government was unwisely expected : departed patriotism has left its name and its cloak to cover avidity for the spoils of office : republican economy has given place to excessive indirect taxation, and profuse, ostentatious expenditure. Our professions of peace and forbearance are falsified by our martial spirit and rapacious hostile encroachments.
And in all this there is no degeneracy. On the contrary, as a people, in our individual and social relations, we are improved. Since our Revolution, religion, literature, science, have spread over our land their healing wings: extending commerce has bound us to our race in a humanizing chain of brotherhood, and the newborn spirit of reform, searching through the dark caverns of moral corruption, is bringing their hideous forms of evil into day, and preparing to light up the flame of charity with their consuming remains. Those who look back to the birth of our nation, as the Saturnian age of purity, cherish a misdirecting illusion. Our revolutionary fathers saw but obscurely the forms of the liber. ty and justice their language proclaimed. It is true, the Declaration of Independence held“ these truths to be self-evident; that, all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, lib- . erty, and the pursuit of happiness ” ; but the Constitutions professed to be formed on the basis of this declaration, and still more the laws and actual practice under them, exhibit but little departure from the usages of the mother land. There is still the same unlimited power in the States-so far as not granted to the Union--to regulate every commercial and social relation in private life ; still the same authority in the voluminous and perplexing decisions of courts; the same predominance given to the domination of government, or the majority of the people, over the interests and rights of individuals; still the same op: pressive power in judicial officers; the same exclusive reliance on physical force, and the menace of personal or pecuniary punishment for the maintenance of order, and still the same compulsion to civil and military service; and these ungranted usurpations were deliberately re-enacted by our patriot fath. ers, in the face of their “self-evident truths," with strangely inconsistent blindness. These “self-evident truths never understood, and the experiment of political liberty and equal rights, so loudly announced, has never yet been made.
The source of this unhappy delusion, which still clouds the minds of our greatest statesmen, is not difficult to discover.