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one not an American presumes to reiterate the belief—which may perhaps have been instilled into his mind by American arguments—that the Union will be disrupted, he is either told that he knows nothing about the matter, or that, being filled with a mean jealousy of American greatness, " the wish is father to the thought."
Whatever may happen in future there is no present danger to the Union; and the violent expressions to which over ardent politicians of the North and South sometimes give vent have no real meaning. And those who would truly understand the feeling of Americans in this respect must remember that the North and the South have not all the arguments to themselves, and do not compose the whole Union. The largest portion, and one which promises to be hereafter the richest and most prosperous of the whole Confederation, is the West. The "Great West," as it is fondly called, is in the position even now to arbitrate between North and South should the quarrel stretch beyond words, or should the anti-slavery, or any other question succeed in throwing any difference between them, which it would take revolvers and rifles rather than speeches and votes to put an end to. General Cass, who in early life was United States Com
missioner for the Indian Territory west of the Ohio— a territory at the borders of which now stands the large city of Cincinnati, and which is covered for hundreds of miles beyond that point with cities, towns, and villages, and all the stir of a busy civilization—expressed at a recent railway meeting in Cincinnati the prevalent idea of his countrymen on this subject:—" I have," said he, "traversed this western region when it was a wilderness—an almost unbroken forest from this point to the Pacific Ocean— a forest inhabited only by the wild Indian and by the wilder animals which God gave him for his support. Where I then followed the war-path I now pass up the railway. I have in the interval visited the most highly civilised nations of the Old World, and I have returned, I think, a better citizen, and a wiser man. I say that there is not on this earth from the rising to the setting sun a more prosperous country than the United States, a better Government, or a happier people. You, my fellow citizens of the West, hold the destinies of this magnificent Republic in your hands. Say to the North or to the South, or to any quarter whence conies a threat of disunion, 'Peace, be still!' We in the West have the power to preserve this precious work of our fathers, and we will preserve it! The Hebrews of old had their pillar of cloud by day and their pillar of fire by night to guide them through the desert to the promised land; and since the memorable day of our exodus from the bondage of England we have had guides—pillars by day and night—which have led us through many trials and dangers, till there is now no one to injure us but ourselves, and nothing to fear but the just judgments of God. Let us pronounce then with one voice, 'Withered be the hand that is stretched out to touch the Ark of the Union. The mighty West will defend it, now and for ever!'"
And no doubt this is the feeling of Americans of all parties wherever they reason calmly upon the subject, and are not betrayed into petulance by the slavery question. As the venerable statesman truly observes, the United States incur no danger from foreign aggressions; there is no one to injure them but themselves; and they have nothing to fear but "the just judgments of God." But this is only a portion of the subject, and the questions still remain, Will they not injure themselves? And, will they not incur the judgments of God by contravention of his moral laws, and by their lust of territory—bringing them into collision with foreign Powers? That the people will increase and multiply and replenish the
whole continent no one can doubt: and that in the course of ages North America will be as populous as Europe, and reach a far higher civilization than Asia ever attained even in the pre-historic ages, which have left us no other records but their marvellous architectural ruins, it would be a want of faith in the civilizing influences of freedom and Christianity to deny. But in speculating upon the future of a people the mind clings to the idea of Empire and Government—and we ask ourselves whether Empire in this noble region will be one or many—central or local—imperial or republican? Whether the great Republic shall exist undivided, or whether it will fall to pieces from its own weight and unwieldiness, or from some weakness in the chain which shall be the measure and the test of its strength? Or whether for mutual convenience, and by common consent, these AngloSaxon commonwealths—when they have doubled, trebled, or quintupled their numbers by the subjugation of the entire wilderness—shall not re-arrange themselves into new combinations, and form a binary or a trinary system, such as the telescope shows us in the heavens? Or whether, in consequence of internal strife, some new Alexander, Charlemagne, or Napoleon of the West, shall arise to make himself lord absolute and hereditary? and at his death leave the inheritance to be scrambled for and divided by his generals? Though it may be folly to attempt to look too far into the future, or for a statesman to legislate with a view to what may or what may not happen a hundred and fifty years hence, still true wisdom requires that men charged with the destinies of great nations, and having the power to influence the course of events by their deeds and their opinions, should not confine themselves to the things of to-day, but calculate by aid of the experience of history, and by knowledge and study of human nature, how the deeds of to-day may influence the thoughts of to-morrow, and how the thoughts of to-morrow may produce deeds in endless succession through all future time.
That the Union may be disturbed or disrupted at some period near or remote, is an idea familiar to the mind of every inquirer and observer; and were it not so the very threats of the North or South, meaningless as they may be at the present tune, would serve to make it so. Mr. Buchanan, the actual President, whose perceptions have beea enlarged by European travel and residence, and whose mind is not entirely enclosed within an American wall, as the minds of some of his countrymen are, is among the number of statesmen in the