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be launched on the Tigris and the Euphrates; the railroad may be laid across the plains and sands of Arabia—and who can tell what changes it may make in the affairs of men ?-and Alexandria may renew its beauty and splendor. But though the steamboat and the railroad may again divert that commerce, they will not conduct it where the caravan conducted it; and the cities which owed their splendor to commerce, as it then was,
have fallen to rise no more. Men may account for these changes as they please. The facts are not to be denied. The result was foreseen and described. Men, claiming to be prophets of God, said how things would be. More than 2500 years ago, they described the scene as if they had been now on the ground, and were fellow-travellers with Volney, and were portraying what they saw. Their permanent records were not the result of natural sagacity. There were no causes then that tended to make Babylon, and Tyre, and Petra what they are, any more than there were causes which could be foreseen to produce the malaria in the neighborhood of Rome, or to pour burning ashes and lava on Herculaneum and Pompeii; or than there are causes in existence which can be foreseen, that will make Philadelphia or London pools of water and habitations of owls. Mere political sagacity could never, in Palestine or anywhere else, have foreseen the discovery of the Cape of Good Hope, or the effects following from the use of the magnetic needle, or the changes produced by the railroad or the steamer ;nor could political sagacity have predicted the flowing in of the sands that were to block up the harbor of Tyre. The Burkes and the Cannings of the political world do not thus look into future times, and discern far on, in advancing generations, what shall be the condition—the permanent, unchanging condition-of the capitals of nations.
I have stated one cause of the remarkable changes which have occurred in the commerce of the East, and of the desolations which are now seen there. But why, it may be asked, do those desolations continue? Why do those cities lie in ruins ? Why is that region, once the Paradise of the earth, now desolate? Why do not steamboats go up the Euphrates as well as the Hudson; why not swarm on the Euxine and the Caspian, as well as on Lake Erie'; and why do not fleets find an anchorage, laden with the avails of commerce, along the coasts of Palestine and Asia Minor, as well as along the shores of the Atlantic? I will state, therefore, another cause. Liberty there is dead ; and the sceptre of despotism, paralyzing to commerce, to agriculture, and to the arts, is swayed over all that once fertile land, and it keeps prostrate the walls of its cities, and turns its fields into desolate wastes, and represses the aspirings of human genius, and bows down the bodies and the souls of men. Liberty is essential to successful commerce. The latter cannot live without the former. It must be protected at home; and it must feel that the power of a free nation, respected by the kingdoms of the world, will be stretched out to defend it abroad. There must be safety ; there must be stability. But over all those lands there is now a government weak, capricious, flexible, tyrannical ;-and commerce dies, and enterprise is paralyzed. Success in any enterprise depends on stability in the government, and in the principles by which it is administered. In commerce, as in all things pertaining to human affairs, we must know what to expect; we must be able to calculate on something definite and certain—even when there is much that is apparently fluctuating. Even the restless tides of the ocean may be depended on, and made tributary to commerce; for we know when they rise and fall. The regular monsoons-though blowing half the year against those who would seek a particular direction-may be made tributary to commerce, though they baffled and perplexed Nearchus so much; for we know what to depend on, and we understand their laws. But if the tides and the monsoons were governed by caprice, who could confide in them? So of the passions that rage in the bosom of a capricious monarch; of a government where liberty has fled; of kingdoms that are controlled by caprice. Give us the laws of the Medes and Persians, “ that change not,” unreasonable though they may be, and the enterprises of men can be directed with certainty. The caravan is safe—for it will be protected. But how can it be safe when it may be plundered to support the government, or to maintain a luxurious and effeminate court ? Liberty is connected with all that is good, and great, and sure on earth; and is essential to commerce. What nations are now most distinguished for commerce? Whose sails whiten the seas, and find their way to the ends of the earth? They are those which bear the flags of England and Americamother and daughter—the freest nations on the face of the globe; nations not governed by caprice, nor yet by mobs—but by law; nations, the thunder of whose navies would be heard in the farthest part of the ocean, to protect the humblest sloop or schooner that should seek to secure a part in an honorable traffic. Every vessel that leaves our port is dependent on liberty and law at home for success; and can be sure of success only when it is certain that, when she returns, no matter how long her cruise, the same liberty, the same morals, the same laws, the same public virtue will be found, as when the receding sail disappeared from the shore.
I could state another cause of the sad and long desolations of that once busy and fertile land—the land that once flowed with milk and honey. In one simple fact in our land I would find that cause.
Here every man is secure of the avails of his labor. The ground which he cultivates is his own. The fee-simple to the soil makes a broad and impassable line in wealth, and virtue, and intelligence, and moral worth—in all that makes a man-between him and the tribes that roam over a savage land, or the nations that live under the caprice of a despot. Here, the harvest that is reared, the book that is made, the article of manufacture that is wrought, is ours. No one can seize it; no one can tell us how to dispose of it; no one can wrest it from us. It is ours, in such a sense, that the whole energy of 15,000,000 of freemen is pledged to defend it. He walks abroad in the conscious dignity of a freeman; and though himself obscure and unknown, he may have this consciousness, that armies and navies, the sword of battle and the thunder of war would protect his feeblest rights against the world. Give but this consciousness to the wandering Bedouin; let this be felt on the plains of Chaldea, and along the hills and vales of Palestine, and the desert would again blossom there as the rose, and the wilderness and the solitary place would be glad. It is this consciousness of protection in our rights, that makes us what we are; this, that under the favor of heaven has built the cities and towns that stand so thick in our land; this, that speeds the vessel on its way across the
The want of this has strewed the Oriental world with broken pillars, and crumbling walls, and prostrate temples; and this lost, our own land would soon be desolate.
The conclusions to which we have come in this article, are, that the commerce of the world is under the control of an intelligent, and all-wise director of events—who presides over winds and waves, over monsoons and pathless sands; and that
it is changing its place and its form in accordance with laws which may be understood, and that the past furnishes important lessons in regard to those laws; that prosperous commerce is connected with high moral character and public virtue ;—that it exists only in the spirit of liberty, and of mutual confidence; and particularly, that commerce tends to equalize all nations, and to diffuse to all the blessings enjoyed by few. On board the vessel that we send from our ports there may be the elements of all that is fitted to change the face of nations. There is science, directing its way across the ocean; there is the mariner's compass, that has produced so many changes on the earth ; there is the quadrant; and there may be the press; and there may be those who are imbued with the love of liberty; and there may be the heralds of salvation, bearing that gospel to which we owe public virtue and civil liberty, to distant and barbarous climes.
I have said that the great prize sought in ancient and in modern times has been the wealth of the Indies. In seeking that prize, the New World—more rich in its native resources, and in all that contributes to human happiness than the Eastwas disclosed. That moment, when Columbus placed his foot on St. Salvador-supposing that he had reached the Indieschanged the destiny of commerce and of nations. With what purpose, with what heart did he come? With what feelings did he place his foot on the long-sought land ? He came as a Christian. He came to give thanks to God. "No sooner did he land,” says his elegant biographer—Irving—“than he threw himself upon his knees, kissed the earth, and returned thanks to God with tears of joy. His example was followed by the rest, whose hearts overdlowed with the same feelings of gratitude.” “O Lord God, Eternal and Almighty,” said he, “thou hast by thy sacred word created heaven, and earth, and sea ; blessed and glorified be thy name; lauded be thy majesty, who has deigned to grant, that by thy humble servant thy sacred nam should be known, and proclaimed in this the other part of the world.” Irving's Columbus, Vol. I. p. 150. With these views he trod the New World; for the honor of the name of the Creator he had crossed the ocean ; with a desire that the true religion should spread all over that new world, he lived and died.
Just one hundred and twenty-eight years after this, another frail bark approached the western world. It was in the cold of December—having crossed the ocean after a long and perSECOND SERIES, VOL. V. NO. I.
ilous voyage. The storms of winter howled along the coast; the rivers and bays were frozen; the interminable, leafless forests spread before them. No light-house then told them of the place of danger or of safety; no city, no town, no sweet and peaceful village invited them to a place of repose. The smoke ascended indeed on the hills but it rose from the cabin of the wandering and barbarous savage; and the sound of welcome was not heard on the shore. They came to the bleak and barren coast of New England. Heaven-directed, they enterednot by accident--the only place where safety then could have been found—where the everlasting mountains seemed to decline towards them, and to stretch out their arms far into the sea to embrace them. On board that vessel--the May-Flower--was the
of this great nation—of that nation whose vessels now whiten every sea, and to whom every river and lake and bay and ocean of the world are open. Like Columbus, they came with hearts filled with gratitude to God-and on the rock of Plymouth they erected the altar and the cross. On board that humble bark was formed the solemn compact which has since gone into all our constitutions and which contains the elements of liberty. They came, a race of hardy, and virtuous, and holy men ; they came bearing the elements of liberty, and science, and law, and pure religion, that they might here have a home. They came with the Bible; with the love of sound learning, and of public faith and morals. Like that humble bark-with the same principles, and feelings, and views which reigned there, let our vessels—driven by the wind, or impelled by storms— visit all the world. Let them go as fit representatives of the land discovered by Columbus, and planted by the Pilgrims. Let them take the Bible, and the press ; let them go to scatter the blessings of religion and liberty ; let the pennant at the head of the tall mast, as she is seen on the deep, be hailed as the harbinger of all that can bless the nations. Back to Western Asia and to India; to the mouths of the Ganges, the Indus, and the Euphrates; to the Red Sea and the Nile; let American vessels yet bear the fruits, not only of our industry, but of our virtue, literature and religion. Let them carry the principles, by which all that now devoted region may be clothed with fertility; by which freedom shall visit the land of oppression; by which its cities may rise beautiful like our own, and far surpassing in moral worth and loveliness those which time has crumbled into ruins--making it again the Eden of the world.