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Among the special phenomena of our time, the Emigration which is going forward on so large a scale from the old world into the new, is one that well deserves a thorough consideration, from the American point of view, and with regard particularly to its German relations. One is involuntarily reminded by it of those migrations of whole tribes, which preceded the Etrurian and Grecian states, of the Voelkerwanderung that helped to bring in the Middle Ages, of the crusades and their associated schemes of colonization, which broke the way for the Reformation and introduced into Europe .a new view of the world. 'True, the emigration of our time may easily be distinguished from these kindred manifestations. It is not the act of any one people as such; it is not the result of religious fanaticism ; it carries in it no warlike tendency; it is for the most part the fruit of what may be styled best family need; only in Ireland perhaps might we refer it more suitably to a real national need springs prevailingly, either from the inviting picture of future prosperity which the fancy of the would-be emigrant sets in contrast with the harsh realities of his previous condition, or from vexation and disappointment, in noi being able with the best will and at least the imagination also of the best judgment, to get forward rightly in previously existing relations. In the case of the German indeed, (with which we are here more particularly concerned,) there comes in besides, in vast many instances, his peculiar tendency out into the wide world, a sort of “Heimwch nach dem All”—that same cosmopolite felling, which is the occasion at once of the genial all sided humanism, as well as of the political weakness, of the German fatherland. There is America open before him, a new world; and with the opportunity of making it the home of his family, follows without difficulty its full adoption as his proper country. At the same time, the greatest factor of this whole vast movement from East to West would be omitted, if we failed to mention the will of Providence, which now again also, by such commotion among the nations, seems only to be opening the way for a new grand period in universal history.
While however we doubt not for a moment, that the Divine Providence is pursuing here, as elsewhere, its own sure course, and will at last reach its own sure end by the co-operation of causes out of our sight, we hold still that we are not in the least authorised for this reason to let the interest now in view lake its own course, without direct care or concern about it, without close attention to the way in which it is going forward at this present time, and the consequences to which it may immediately lead. Would to God, the citizens of the old world and of the new might see this to be part of the plan of Providence, that they should show themselves here also co-workers with God, and actively seek to advance what is good and avert what may do harm.
Many may be ready to say indeed: What good is there that can be done? Who can exercise an influence on these immense crowds, now pouring themselves on the shores of the new world? We grant it is no small task. But this precisely forms the strongest requisition on every man to do his part, and such vigorous concert of effort could not fail to have a good effect. And it is not to be concealed, that every single man must himself undergo a distinct influence from so mighty an influx of foreign life into the United States ; so that every inhabitant of the country is more or less concerned in it, wheiher he choose to lay the fact to heart or not. The complaint is often repeated, that the immigration is bringing the most important institutions of the land into danger. This may proceed often, we know, from the most impure motives, from a narrow minded selfishness mistaking even its own interest, from extreme political short-sightedness, or from a generally contracted and malignant nature; but still it carries with it a side also of deeply earnest and solemn significance, which is entitled to serious attention. All goes to settle the reception which the foreigners must meet, on the part of the community whose citizenship they come lo share. On the whole, both the General Government and the separate States treat the immigration with every sort of encouragement; and from this it is reasonable to conclude, that those who represent the highest intelligence of the country, not only apprehend no injury to the nation from the enormous accessions it is gaining to its population, but expect from it rather the most real advantage. Every one knows too, that this is wholly in the spirit of the American Constitution; and we believe that nothing has served so much as just this cosmopolitism to make it a document of world-historical importance. It stands there as the political Magna Charta, not of one people only, but of the nations. The confidence which we as citizens of this country repose in its fundamental principles is so great, that we fear no influence from without as likely to undermine them. The American of the common stamp is happily persuaded besides, that every sor. eigner comes to him only to acquire from himn and to learn.
That Church and State are united in Europe, he explains to himself, with an average vast ignorance of history, or a traditional most onesided view of it, as the violence of political and hierarchic powers exercised over masses held in dumb subjection; and as the Revolution has here cut the knot at one stroke with the sword, and separated the Church from the State, he takes it for granted that there is no room to conceive of any considerable action of one upon the other as in any way possible. We may all congratulate ourselves, if this quiet confidence shall turn out in coming years to have been well grounded. Let us not forget however, that it is not those that have least knowledge of history, the great teacher, who are least able to make such confidence their own, and that it is this same enlightened class who see clouds rising above the horizon of our freedom and peace, without being able to tell how the danger is to be met and turned aside.
The numerical amount of the immigration must itself satisfy any one who considers it without prejudice, that aside from all other relations its mere mass alone forms a highly significant factor, notwithstanding the immense extent of territory over which it is spread. Several thousand came lately in only two days into a single town of the United States; and from the present condition of Europe, the new facilities that are offered for going abroad, and the political views also that are gaining ground more and more in the old world, it may be concluded, that if no special unforeseen events interpose a bar, the movement for a long time to come will increase rather than diminish. In three months, during the present year, as many as ninety-five thousand emigrants came into the harbor of New York. Great as the West of our continent is, if such numbers are to be taken as anything like a measure, it will not need centuries to cover it wiih as full a population beyond St. Louis as is found now in any part of the East. What a thought, for those who ponder seriously the onward course of humanity! The true historical siguificance of all this, however, its proper meaning for the world, is found in the supposition that this broad vast territory, thus fully peopled, shall continue to be held together by the bond that now makes the country one; that the same spirit, the same political principles, the same toleration, the same freedom, shall then also pervade and animate the Union, extending from ocean to ocean. This is the great problem, which it may be the will of Providence perhaps that the human race should in due time solve on the American continent. Then indeed would a new stadium be gained for history. The old reproach of European
scholars and statesmen, that America with all its institutions and culture is but an echo of European civilization, would then first find a full reply. The apprehension that its constitution, though seeming to answer some good purpose for a time, will not prove equal to more difficult relations that must rise hereafter, would then at length be fairly put to rest. True indeed, many nations have been bound together in older huge organizations, by one and the same political authority. This was the case for centuries in the Roman empire ; so also in the Papacy, whose ban lay more heavily on the nations it professed to spare, than on those that fell under it in form by setting it at defiance. America is the land, where Protestantism should show itself worldhistorical on the largest scale. Here lies the true mission of the country, in its growth. But just here too must it pass through its refining process. Let us bestow some farther thought on this point.
The most comprehensive expression for the principle of Proiestantism, may be found in the idea of centrifugalism. History before it was inainly centripetal. All right then, all power, all freedom, all majesty, fell in on some centre, whether as pope in the church, liege lord in the feudal system, or monarch in the state. To these middle points was referred every individual nature and interest from the periphery beyond; in them all else was absorbed as of only transient account; while the entire order rested on one central pillar, drew light from one central sun, and was nourished from the same central fountain. easily be seen, that the other half also of the world included in the civilization of the Middle Ages, the nations of Islam, owned properly the very same principle both in politics and religion. The doctrine of fatalism besides of itself causes all individual life to vanish before the unconditional will of God, as before the absolute commands of the ruler of the faithful must vanish too all private will and private opinion. Thus universally was this period pervaded, East and West, with the tendency to centralization. One sees plainly, how narrow that style of thinking is, which after the pragmatical fashion of looking at history affects to refer such general traits of a great world-period, to the personal peculiarities and extravagancies of single conspicuous individuals, as their ultimate cause. We might in this way just as well deny the centrifugal character of our own period, and pretend to account for the spirit of our age, with its whole pressure towards freedom, as the doubtful product simply of some similar agency. Since the revolution however which came in with the 16th century, the history of the civilized world has become one
continued protestation against the former absorption of the individual. Single minds are no longer willing to give up their personal rights, in favor of certain consecrated centres of power. The cry of freedom and emancipation, accordingly, is heard in all lands. In Church and State, centrifugalism has become the order of the day. All seeks to move in its own way by its own light; and there are now millions of men, who seem actually to have lost all centre for their life and ils pursuits. All must inhale liberty, though it be an air in which multitudes, living as it were on oxygen gas, are sure after a brief rapture of intoxication miserably to wilt away. Altogether, however, no spectacle is more affecting, than the wrestling of the new period still held in the fetters of the old. In such throes Europe now labors, and still has no power to bring forth a new birth. Through all its kingdoms, in all relations, a party of stability is engaged in conflict with a party of unconditional progress. Let it not be supposed, that the conservative side is governed only by selfish interests and aims. Nor let it' be forgotten either on the other side, that the cry of freedom in our day includes but small enthusiasm for the idea, and springs chiefly from the most crass egoism. It has much more to do with the question of Have and Shall, than with any everlasting good; and political fanaticism shows itself at last of a much more vulgar nature,
than that which is religious. Nor is it so easy, alas, to answer the existing political powers and thrones of Europe, when they say that they must resist the spirit of revolution, if Europe is not to become a theatre of overflowing desolation, a true murderers' den. But let no one think that we mean by this, to defend the scandalous expeditions of Russia against the mountain tribes of Caucasus, or the old wrong of England towards Ireland. Nay, we are ourselves persuaded rather that just on the self-will of the European potentates, and their policy running counter to the spirit of the century, must lie mainly the blame of that inward dissolution of relations which is now going forward. The gentleinen reap what they have sown. Let any one look only at Germany without prejudice. However quiet may be restored outwardly for a time, the whole rests on a hollow foundation. Silence may be imposed on the mouth, and chains on the restless hand; but thought still goes free, and the spirit of the age is not turned aside from its settled scope. Most significant however is this, that just in Germany the spirit of religious emancipation has reached its extreme. How many of the educated there look upon all positive interest in religion as a want of culture! They indeed have lost the centre; they have a world