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"WE cannot conceal from ourselves that in the present day, in these times of strife and turmoil, the spirit of impiety and moral depravation has struck deep roots in the earth. We cannot deny that the respect for the Law has been destroyed, and that the notions of Right and Honour have been confused." I take these few lines from the speech with which M. de Schlayer, Minister to the King of Würtemberg, opened the sittings of the Chamber at Stuttgard, on the 1st of December, 1849. I take them because they express very exactly what I wish to say myself.
It is daily more and more affirmed, that in England we care nothing for what passes upon the Continent; that the more grave events become, the more we seem to find a sort of proud pleasure in announcing to the world our satisfaction at our own ignorance, and our utter indifference to whatever may happen to our neighbours. To be consistent, we ought, then, at least to abstain from all hasty and impartial judgments, and if it be true that we do not care for what the real state of the question may be, we should at any rate avoid taking a one-sided view of it, and caressing an error with the fervour wherewith we affect to declare that not even the truth, whatever it might be, could animate us.
But there is one point in all the late revolutions of Europe, which must unavoidably touch us, in common with all honest men upon the surface of the globe, unless we mean openly to
profess entire indifference to what hitherto we have been famed for revering: namely, whatever comes under the head of honour or morality in any shape. As the lines I have quoted say, we cannot conceal from ourselves, nor can we deny the progress of the evil, the perversion of the notions of right and wrong in men's minds: it then remains to be seen how far we are justified in affecting indifference at sight of such perversion. I have heard two reasons assigned for this indifference: " Things will settle and come round of themselves," say some, "it is not worth attending to." Nothing of all this can touch us," say some others. In the one assertion there is too much levity, in the other too much selfishness, and both repose upon grounds. too essentially false for me to believe that the greater portion of my countrymen are guided by either.
It is false that "things will come round of themselves :" on the contrary, they will only come round where the spirit of revolt is encountered by the most uncompromising spirit of
It is false that what touches our neighbours does not touch us. If it were so, it would be so ungenerous a reason for indifference that one should blush to hear it alleged by Englishmen; but it is not so. I do believe that against any merely political revolution we are proof-I believe that against any moral or social revolution we are likely to be longer proof than perhaps any other nation, but it must be remembered that the revolutionary principles held by the Anarchists of our day strike so directly at the main root of the legal organized existence common to all civilized countries, that a Radical of Mr. Cobden's school finds himself almost as much menaced thereby as a Conservative of Prince Metternich's. If the insane theories of the Anarchists could be established anywhere, their influence would be felt by us, as by every other nation, not in twenty or perhaps in fifty years,—but they would be so in the end.
But in such cases as these, to base all reasoning upon mere interest is quite unworthy. If by some special favour of Providence, England were destined to be for ever free from the contagious disorder which has invaded other lands, I say that that could not be adduced as an excuse for not caring for whatever they may have suffered. In the war of those who possess not, against those who possess, every nation, every race plays, more or less, a part, and may be expected to side morally at least with the right. All Europe has rung for the last two years, with the clamours of those who wanted but to overthrow or to enjoy, and the honours of history alone await those who opposed these wild clamours by the two words: "obey and deserve."
I will not yet believe that in England there is any one who can be the advocate of theories whose professors openly avow themselves the fanatics of wrong; that has been one of my reasons for writing this book.
A second reason has been, that I do not even believe the indifference to the success of these anarchical theories to exist in the proportion which is often represented; and I think there may be many who, in consideration of the truths they contain, will overlook the inability with which the following pages may be written, and follow with some interest the recital of certain events as they have really occurred.
My third reason for publishing these volumes has been the desire to refute, with all my power, the supposition that anarchy has been spread in the same degree all over Europe. No! I repeat it; the spirit of revolt is everywhere, is the same everywhere, and offers a common danger to all; but it has not atttained, as yet, to the same strength everywhere. It has attained to its full development only in France.
It has everywhere been characterized by the same symptoms, but it has in France only been victorious. With the exception
of the lands on the banks of the Rhine, it has throughout Germany met with a resistance it could not overcome-it has found the subject of its attacks healthful, and it has, for the moment, been mastered. But that does not prevent the disease itself from being a moral plague, nor diminish the obligation which exists for all nations to unite in warding off its poisonous influences. It is, in my mind, equally incumbent upon all those who may have had opportunities of studying the facts, to signalize, on the one hand, the frightfulness of the danger which still exists, and to note, on the other, the various cases where, for the moment, that danger has been repelled.
In order that I might "nothing extenuate, nor set down aught in malice," I have, where censure seemed to me a positive duty, taken mostly the arguments whereon I based my censure, from the mouths of those who were the supporters of the cause I blamed. I have represented men and things as they are—as circumstances afforded me facilities for observing them, and I pretend to this only-to have spoken the truth: this book has at least that one merit: it is true.
6TH OF AUGUST, 1850.
COLOGNE AND ITS BANQUETS.
FREDERICK WILLIAM IV. AND THE ARCHDUKE JOHN.
Plerumque in conviviis consultant, tanquam nullo magis tempore aut ad simplices cogitationes pateat animus, aut ad magnas incalescat."
THEY are just what they always were!
You dearly beloved, worthy friends of mine, you inimitable, unalterable Germans, who are always imitating other people, and talking of your own successive transformations, you are just what you were eight years ago, when I spent such happy years of early budding youth amongst you. Railroads have not changed you; revolutions have not