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THE HOLY ALLIANCE.
WITHIN the four score years of the life of man two powers have grown from insignificance to be the arbiters of the world.
They occupy opposite continents. They are actuated by hostile principles. They are organized on antagonist theories of political power. In each is the principle of its existence absolute, pervading every department of government, infused into every element of society, and controlling the administration of affairs. There is no formally organized opposition to the existing order of things. There is no serious division of feeling or of opinion among the citizens. The people are equally devoted to the form and to the substance of their respective constitutions. The foundations of both governments firmly rest on the express or implied assent of the people-who are ready to signalize their devotion on the field of battle.
Each is the incarnation of one of the two great spirits, pure, absolute, unchecked, uncontrolled, unlimited, which have always striven and now still strive on the theatre of nations for the mastery of mankind.
Those two spirits are Liberty and Despotism-the Ormuzd and Ahriman of the political world. Their purest incarnations are-The Republic of America and The Empire of Russia.
There are other free States beside those of America. There are other despotisms beside that of Russia. But there are none of either class so purely and simply the impersonations of the antagonist spirits. England is a free government: but the doctrine of popular sovereignty is limited by aristocratic privileges, and the field is cumbered still by the ruins of the progressing conflict. The dormant power of the people is denied by some, opposed by others, and struggles to retain while it strives to extend its confessed domain. France is a republic in form, in principle, and by the feeling of the vast majority of her people; but sinister influences mis-direct her power, conflicting pretences paralyze her activity-she is yet the theatre of conflict of contending principles, not the great domain of any confessed and conceded power. The Bourbon, the Orleanist, the Bonapartist still lift their aspiring heads in contentious emulation against the majesty of the Republic.
Austria and Prussia are despotic military monarchies-but their thrones are not beds of roses. The people of both are alive with hostile hopes and fermenting with pent up energies and fiery wrath. They restlessly heave beneath the military weight which oppresses them. Their sighs and their groans testify to their discontent, while they confess the power of a despotism they cannot throw off.