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places among dear friends, now in heaven, with whom I have sometimes forgotten all my sorrows, and seen nothing of the long winding path that still lay before me. My story will not be all of sorrow and desolation ; for how could that be true? I have walked under cloudy skies, and I have walked in sunshine. I have wandered through deserts, and I have strolled through gardens. I have, prudently, entitled the narrative I am about to write, “A Fragment ;” for how can I hope to have either courage or time sufficient to tell all that I have seen, heard, known, and suffered? The question is, what part of my story I must tell. Let none imagine that I am writing for fame, or to amuse the minds of the present age.
Fame! I have seen and heard too much of it to care for it. I know a mightier voice than that of public opinion. I know the voice of the Truth sounding through all ages, heard, now and then, by some awe-struck soul, above all the noise and bustle of ephemeral life. Fame! I could cover a ream of paper, closely written, with the names of those whom I have known famous in their day, now forgotten, gone like the down swept by the wind from a thistle four thousand years ago. Fame! I care indeed for the voice of the world ; but it is the world of all past and all coming ages--the whole world for the passing breath of that little part that exists just now, it moves me no more than the feeblest, dying, evening breeze stirs the deeplyrooted mountain. Men who would criticise what I write, do so if it amuses you ; but, meanwhile, I am calmly looking into the vast future in which you and all your works will be lost as rain-drops in the ocean.
I write not for the amusement of the people. Literary idler ! turn away to other pages : I have no tales to tell such as you would like to hear. I could, indeed, fill for you a host of volumes with antiquarian curiosities, such as all your poring over old records can never bring to light; I could tell you stories of the Arabian prophet, the earnest dark-eyed enthusiast, whom I knew from his boyhood to his death, and other similar rarities ; but I have a greater work to do. The work that is urgent is to give the moral of my existence, and my pen must not forget its purpose amid manifold descriptions of my wanderings in China, India, Palestine, Arabia, and interior Africa. I must mark out narrow limits for myself, and write so that those whose breath is but as a morning vapour,
but little while and then vanishes away, may have time to learn, in the compass of a few pages,
the lessons produced for their benefit by the experience of many centuries.
Let me give here, in a few words, the purport of all I have to tell.; and this will be enough to turn away the mere idler, the amusement seeker, from my pages. Know, then, that the Truth is eternal, and must always fulfil itself in the world. But it may be fulfilled by men in two ways ; either willingly and happily, or unwillingly and unhappily. To be its friends or its victims-this is the only choice left to men. To go with it, is to be carried along victoriously, far above all time and fate :—to oppose it is to stand in the way of a planet in its irresistible movement ; nay, to stand in the way of the whole living, moving universe, and be crushed to dust! Is this hard to be understood ?-I will make it plain. First, then, would you know what I mean by the Truth? you shall be told without the use of any difficult words. It is that in which the life and well-being of all creatures consists. Shall I tell you more plainly? That happy world of which all prophets have spoken; that world where every man shall know his work, and be permitted to do it, and where every part of the work of humanity shall have its share of honour; where men shall know how to dwell together, and help each other in the development of all that is good and beautiful—that is the truth towards which the world has been striving on through a thousand errors and delusions ; and according to his influence in promoting or hindering that truth, and its reign upon earth, must every man and all his works be judged. Humanity must come to know its own true interest at last, and will pronounce a final and authoritative verdict
upon all its members, as to whether they have been faithful or unfaithful to it.
The light of the past the light of history—is a prophetic radiance for the future. I have seen so much of the past that I know what will come in the future. What I have first to do is to select such a portion of my past history as shall serve best as a Warning to the present. I may be led aside into some digressions of memory which may serve to amuse the reader who will attend to the more serious part of my narrative ; but I shall chiefly confine myself to recollections of those events which appear to be most pregnant with instruction for the present times. “The thing that hath been is the thing that shall be.
I once lived as the legislator of a great and mighty nation. I was then numbered with the rulers, and counted a man of power
and influence, not a lonely student or a poor obscure wanderer such as I am now. I make my confession at the outset of my tale. I was not true and faithful in the use of the power confided in hands. I employed it for the few rather than for the whole of the people. I acted from motives of present expediency rather than faith in eternal justice. Even now I seem to hear the sentence pronounced upon me by my opponent, the man for the people, the man for all times, whose name indeed is lost but whose spirit (and that was all he cared for) still lives and works in the world. Said he : “ You have resisted the progress of truth and justice ; you have added to the hardships of humanity, and now all the evil to which I would sentence you is, that you might live to see and feel the consequences of your own false principles, until you repent of them !” This denunciation has been fulfilled : I, who would not be warned and guided by the light of prophecy, have been converted and made to know eternal truth by the progress of history; and now, as one of the fruits of my repentance, I wish to give to my fellow-men, in these pages, the lessons which I have -gained in the severest of schools that of experience. I may give the purport, the aim of my labour, at the outset, and here it is :to teach men to be guided by the kindly light of true prophecy into those truths of which they have hitherto been convinced only by the hard, irresistible facts of history—this has been and is the true aim of every philosopher and philanthropist. I shall explain this sentence fully as I proceed with my story. My political opponent (to whom I may give the name of Constantine) was a man well worthy of remembrance. I always honoured him in my heart though, while he lived on earth, I sometimes joined with others in calling him a dreamer, a visionary, a fool, and all such names as the vagabond pseudo-prophets among the Jews, no doubt, applied to Isaiah. Constantine was the man for all mankind and for all ages :- I was the man of the day. His rule was right mine was expediency. He consulted the one eternal interest of
universal humanity—I trimmed between the petty interests of a few classes of society. Constantine was great inwardly, and reallyI was great outwardly, but only in show. He had all the world against him, but eternal, unwearying, unconquerable truth on his side ; I had all the seeming world of the so-called great and noble on my side, but everlasting truth and justice were arrayed against me. He acted so as to be found right at the last day (which comes every day, every hour, every moment ; for justice
NO. XIX, VOL. IV.
lives and acts eternally); I acted so as to seem right in the eyes of men for the present day. He was a good and true man—I was a partisan. I have said it was a great nation of which I was the legislator. Our commerce extended far over the seas ; the triumphs of our industry were displayed in many lands. We levelled mountains, made viaducts over valleys, crossed rivers with noble bridges, built enormous warehouses, sent forth famous vessels, and gathered into our treasury the taxes paid by millions. Yet we were not happy : the richest, the noblest, the mightiest among us were not happy. We never felt the strength and health of knowing that we were right. We did not walk upon the firm basis of permanent truth and justice, but upon the sandy, slippery ground of temporary expediency. At heart we knew this, though we did not dare to confess it to each other. But, to explain more fully my own conduct and that of my fellow statesmen, I must describe more particularly the condition and circumstances of the country which we governed.
The institutions of the country were the growth of ancient time, and traditionally derived from various sources. They formed altogether a curious balance of opposite tendencies, which might easily be disturbed by any "powerful reigning party in the state. For instance, there was such a mixture of monarchy and democracy in our constitution that it could vibrate from despotism to anarchy. The people had originally acquired for themselves the right of electing a certain number of their own rulers ; but in practice this right had been so abused and neglected, through a long course of time, that it had become more a show than a reality of popular representation. In the same manner our religious institutions, which were originally of the most simple and benevolent character, had become so complicated with old prejudices and party interests that their truly noble primitive design had almost vanished from the sight of the people.
The history of corruption and injustice is essentially the same in all countries : it has everywhere its period of rank, unwholesome flourishing, and it hastens to involve itself and all things connected with it in destruction. I shall not, therefore, stay to recount all the causes which had conduced to the corrupt state of our country during the time of my administration, but shall briefly notice a feir of the more striking features of our condition.
First, then, I must notice the portentous appearance of the extremes of wealth and poverty in the country. The wealthy showed like precious diamonds, scattered here and there among heaps of rubbish.
Our palaces and mansions were like jewels set in broad frames of misery and penury. We had here a man materially deified, and there crowds of men materially little better than the brutes. I cannot paint this fact of our condition in colours striking enough. Our aristocracy, civil and spiritual, was like a Goshen, full of light and luxury, while the rest of the country was like Egypt with all its plagues. For one man we had a vast mansion, and a park like a sylvan world around it, varied with lakes, woods, meandering walks, shaded seats, waterfalls, parterres, and all the pleasing fancies of landscape gardening ; for the thousands living around him, with ears, eyes, hearts, and minds like his own, we had hardly room to allow them to see the light and feel the fresh air ; they dwelt in miserable hovels, and if they moved abroad, could hardly stir beyond the hard pavements of our towns without .committing a trespass. All things were cultivated among us, before fair human charity and the general well-being of the people. We were fond of piece-meal reforms, but did not like to view evils in their whole connections ; so, while on one hand we kept in sharp exercise a severe penal code, on the other me nourished the corrupt tendencies of society, from which crimes are sure to be produced. We surrounded the poor, that is the great body of the people, with every possible temptation to crime, and then banished them from a country which it was scarcely a hardship to leave, or deprived them of an existence which we had never taught and helped them to cultivate and employ in a rational and happy way.
The metropolis of our country was a monster city, which, in a great measure, monopolised the wealth and intelligence of all the provinces. To this centre flowed all the lovers of pleasure, refinement, power, riches, and luxury; and so formed, as it were, a splendid head begirt with jewels, while the body was pining and dressed in rags-a gay, gilded, glittering cupola upon a structure insecurely founded, and badly built. The splendours of our aristoeracy were not like the topmost boughs of a healthy tree, glorious in the sunshine, but rather like too costly exotic flowers, forced from the soil at the expense of the nutriment which should have supplied more useful productions.