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yours, protection to the oppressed, malediction to ambitious oppressors,
and consolation to a vanquished just cause. And while from the old a
conquered world was ruled, you in yours provide for the common
federative interests of a territory larger than that old conquered
world. There sat men boasting that their will was sovereign of the
earth; here sit men whose glory is to acknowledge "the laws of nature
and of nature's God," and to do what their sovereign, the People, wills.

Sir, there is history in these contrasts. History of past ages and
history of future centuries may be often recorded in small facts. The
particulars to which the passion of living men clings, as if human
fingers could arrest the wheel of Destiny, these particulars die away;
it is the issue which makes history, and that issue is always coherent
with its causes. There is a necessity of consequences wherever the
necessity of position exists. Principles are the _alpha_: they must
finish with _omega_, and they will. Thus history may be often told
in a few words.

Before the heroic struggle of Greece had yet engaged your country's
sympathy for the fate of freedom, in Europe then so far distant and now
so near, Chateaubriand happened to be in Athens, and he heard from a
_minaret_ raised upon the Propylaeum's ruins a Turkish priest in
the Arabic language announcing the lapse of hours to the Christians of
Minerva's town. What immense history there was in the small fact of a
Turkish Imaum crying out, "Pray, pray! the hour is running fast, and the
judgment draws near."

Sir, there is equally a history of future ages written in the honour
bestowed by you on my humble self. The first Governor of Independent
Hungary, driven from his native land by Russian violence; an exile on
Turkish soil, protected by a Mahommedan Sultan from the blood-thirst of
Christian tyrants; cast back a prisoner to far Asia by diplomacy; was at
length rescued from his Asiatic prison, when America crossed the
Atlantic, charged with the hopes of Europe's oppressed nations. He
pleads, as a poor exile, before the people of this great Republic, his
country's wrongs and its intimate connection with the fate of the
European continent, and, in the boldness of a just cause, claims that
the principles of the Christian religion be raised to a law of nations.
To see that not only is the boldness of the poor exile forgiven, but
that he is consoled by the sympathy of millions, encouraged by
individuals, associations, meetings, cities, and States; supported by
effective aid and greeted by Congress and by Government as the nation's
guest; honoured, out of generosity, with that honour which only one man
before him received (a man who had deserved them from your gratitude,)
with honours such as no potentate ever can receive, and this banquet
here, and the toast which I have to thank you for: oh! indeed, sir,
there is a history of future ages in all these facts! They will go down
to posterity as the proper consequences of great principles.

Sir, though I have a noble pride in my principles, and the inspiration
of a just cause, still I have also the consciousness of my personal
insignificance. Never will I forget what is due from me to the
_Sovereign Source_ of my public capacity. This I owe to my
nation's dignity; and therefore, respectfully thanking this highly
distinguished assembly in my country's name, I have the boldness to say
that Hungary well deserves your sympathy; that Hungary has a claim to
protection, because it has a claim to justice. But as to myself, I am
well aware that in all these honours I have no personal share. Nay, I
know that even that which might seem to be personal in your toast, is
only an acknowledgment of a historical fact, very instructively
connected with a principle valuable and dear to every republican heart
in the United States of America. As to ambition, I indeed never was
able to understand how anybody can love ambition more than liberty. But
I am glad to state a historical fact, as a principal demonstration of
that influence which institutions exercise upon the character of

We Hungarians are very fond of the principle of municipal
self-government, and we have a natural horror against centralization.
That fond attachment to municipal self-government, without which there
is no provincial freedom possible, is a fundamental feature of our
national character. We brought it with us from far Asia a thousand
years ago, and we preserved it throughout the vicissitudes of ten
centuries. No nation has perhaps so much struggled and suffered for the
civilized Christian world as we. We do not complain of this lot. It may
be heavy, but it is not inglorious. Where the cradle of our Saviour
stood, and where His divine doctrine was founded, there now another
faith rules: the whole of Europe's armed pilgrimage could not avert this
fate from that sacred spot, nor stop the rushing waves of Islamism from
absorbing the Christian empire of Constantine. _We_ stopped those
rushing waves. The breast of my nation proved a breakwater to them. We
guarded Christendom, that Luthers and Calvins might reform it. It was a
dangerous time, and its dangers often placed the confidence of all my
nation into one man's hand. But there was not a single instance in our
history where a man honoured by his people's confidence deceived them
for his own ambition. The man out of whom Russian diplomacy succeeded in
making a murderer of his nation's hopes, gained some victories when
victories were the chief necessity of the moment, and at the head of an
army, circumstances gave him the ability to ruin his country; but he
never had the people's confidence. So even he is no contradiction to the
historical truth, that no Hungarian whom his nation honoured with its
confidence was ever seduced by ambition to become dangerous to his
country's liberty. That is a remarkable fact, and yet it is not
accidental; it springs from the proper influence of institutions upon
the national character. Our nation, through all its history, was
educated in the school of local self-government; and in such a country,
grasping ambition having no field, has no place in man's character.

The truth of this doctrine becomes yet more illustrated by a quite
contrary historical fact in France. Whatever have been the changes of
government in that great country - and many they have been, to be
sure - we have seen a Convention, a Directorate, Consuls, and one
Consul, and an Emperor, and the Restoration, and the Citizen King, and
the Republic; Through all these different experiments centralization was
the keynote of the institutions of France - power always centralized;
omnipotence always vested somewhere. And, remarkable indeed, France has
never yet raised one single man to the seat of power, who has not
sacrificed his country's freedom to his personal ambition!

It is sorrowful indeed, but it is natural. It is in the garden of
centralization that the venomous plant of ambition thrives. I dare
confidently affirm, that in your great country there exists not a single
man through whose brains has ever passed the thought, that he would wish
to raise the seat of his ambition upon the ruins of your country's
liberty, if he could. Such a wish is impossible in the United States.
Institutions react upon the character of nations. He who sows wind will
reap storm. History is the revelation of Providence. The Almighty rules
by eternal laws not only the material but also the moral world; and as
every law is a principle, so every principle is a law. Men as well as
nations are endowed with free-will to choose a principle, but, that once
chosen, the consequences must be accepted.

With self-government is freedom, and with freedom is justice and
patriotism. With centralization is ambition, and with ambition dwells
despotism. Happy your great country, sir, for being so warmly attached
to that great principle of self-government. Upon this foundation your
fathers raised a home to freedom more glorious than the world has ever
seen. Upon this foundation you have developed it to a living wonder of
the world. Happy your great country, sir! that it was selected by the
blessing of the Lord to prove the glorious practicability of a
federative union of many sovereign States, all preserving their
State-rights and their self-government, and yet united in one - every
star beaming with its own lustre, but altogether one constellation on
mankind's canopy.

Upon this foundation your free country has grown to prodigious power in
a surprizingly brief period, a power which attracts by its fundamental
principle. You have conquered by it more in seventy-five years than Rome
by arms in centuries. Your principles will conquer the world. By the
glorious example of your freedom, welfare, and security, mankind is
about to become conscious of its aim. The lesson you give to humanity
will not be lost. The respect for State-rights in the Federal Government
of America, and in its several States, will become an instructive
example for universal toleration, forbearance, and justice to the future
States, and Republics of Europe. Upon this basis those mischievous
questions of language-nationalities will be got rid of, which cunning
despotism has raised in Europe to murder liberty. Smaller States will
find security in the principle of federative union, while they will
preserve their national freedom by the principle of sovereign
self-government; and while larger States, abdicating the principle of
centralization will cease to be a blood-field to unscrupulous usurpation
and a tool to the ambition of wicked men, municipal institutions will
ensure the development of local elements; freedom, formerly an abstract
political theory, will be brought to every municipal hearth; and out of
the welfare and contentment of all parts will flow happiness, peace, and
security for the whole.

That is my confident hope. Then will the fluctuations of Germany's fate
at once subside. It will become the heart of Europe, not by melting
North Germany into a Southern frame, or the South into a Northern; not
by absorbing historical peculiarities into a centralized omnipotence;
not by mixing all in one State, but by federating several sovereign
States into a Union like yours.

Upon a similar basis will take place the national regeneration of
Sclavonic States, and not upon the sacrilegious idea of Panslavism,
which means the omnipotence of the Czar. Upon a similar basis shall we
see fair Italy independent and free. Not unity, but _union_ will
and must become the watchword of national members, hitherto torn rudely
asunder by provincial rivalries, out of which a crowd of despots and
common servitude arose. In truth it will be a noble joy to your great
Republic to feel that the moral influence of your glorious example has
worked this happy development in mankind's destiny; nor have I the
slightest doubt of the efficacy of that example.

But there is one thing indispensable to it, without which there is no
hope for this happy issue. It is, that the oppressed nations of Europe
become the masters of their future, free to regulate their own domestic
concerns. And to this nothing is wanted but to have that "fair play" to
all, _for_ all, which you, sir, in your toast, were pleased to
pronounce as a right of my nation, alike sanctioned by the law of
nations as by the dictates of eternal justice. Without this "fair play"
there is no hope for Europe - no hope of seeing your principles spread.

Yours is a happy country, gentlemen. You had more than fair play. You
had active and effectual aid from Europe in your struggle for
independence, which, once achieved, you used so wisely as to become a
prodigy of freedom and welfare, and a lesson of life to nations.

But we in Europe - we, unhappily, have no such fair play. With us,
against every pulsation of liberty all despots are united in a common
league; and you may be sure that despots will never yield to the moral
influence of your great example. They hate the very existence of this
example. It is the sorrow of their thoughts, and the incubus of their
dreams. To stop its moral influence abroad, and to check its spread at
home, is what they wish, instead of yielding to its influence.

We shall have no fair play. The Cossack already rules, by Louis
Napoleon's usurpation, to the very borders of the Atlantic Ocean. One of
your great statesmen - now, to my deep sorrow, bound to the sick bed of
far advanced age[*] - (alas! that I am deprived of the advice which his
wisdom could have imparted to me) - your great statesman told the world
thirty years ago that Paris was transferred to St. Petersburg. What
would he now say, when St. Petersburg is transferred to Paris, and
Europe is but an appendage to Russia?

[Footnote *: Henry Clay, since deceased.]

Alas! Europe can no longer secure to Europe fair play. England only
remains; but even England casts a sorrowful glance over the waves.
Still, we will stand our ground, "sink or swim, live or die." You know
the word; it is your own. We will follow it; it will be a bloody path to
tread. Despots have conspired against the world. Terror spreads over
Europe, and persecutes by way of anticipation. From Paris to Pesth there
is a gloomy silence, like the silence of nature before the terrors of a
hurricane. It is a sensible silence, disturbed only by the thousandfold
rattling of muskets by which Napoleon prepares to crush the people who
gave him a home when he was an exile, and by the groans of new martyrs
in Sicily, Milan, Vienna, and Pesth. The very sympathy which I met in
England, and was expected to meet here, throws my sisters into the
dungeons of Austria. Well, God's will be done! The heart may break, but
duty will be done. We will stand our place, though to us in Europe there
be no "fair play." But so much I hope, that no just man on earth can
charge me with unbecoming arrogance, when here, on this soil of freedom,
I kneel down and raise my prayer to God: "Almighty Father of Humanity,
will thy merciful arm not raise up a power on earth to protect the law
of nations when there are so many to violate it?" It is a prayer and
nothing else. What would remain to the oppressed if they were not even
permitted to pray? The rest is in the hand of God.

Sir, I most fervently thank you for the acknowledgment that my country
has proved worthy to be free. Yes, gentlemen, I feel proud at my
nation's character, heroism, love of freedom and vitality; and I bow
with reverential awe before the decree of Providence which has placed my
country into a position such that, without its restoration to
independence, there is no possibility for freedom and independence of
nations on the European continent. Even what now in France is coming to
pass proves the truth of this. Every disappointed hope with which Europe
looked towards France is a degree more added to the importance of
Hungary to the world. Upon our plains were fought the decisive battles
for Christendom; _there_ will be fought the decisive battle for the
independence, of nations, for State rights, for international law, and
for democratic liberty. We will live free, or die like men; but should
my people be doomed to die, it will be the first whose death will not be
recorded as suicide, but as a martyrdom for the world, and future ages
will mourn over the sad fate of the Magyar race, doomed to perish, not
because we deserved it, but because in the nineteenth century there was
nobody to protect "the laws of nature and of nature's God."

But I look to the future with confidence and with hope. Manifold
adversities could not fail to impress some mark of sorrow upon my heart,
which is at least a guard against sanguine illusions. But I have a
steady faith in principles. Once in my life indeed I was deplorably
deceived in my anticipations, from supposing principle to exist in
quarters where it did not. I did not count on generosity or chivalrous
goodness from the governments of England and France, but I gave them
credit for selfish and instinctive prudence. I supposed them to value
Parliamentary Government, and to have foresight enough to know the
alarming dangers to which they would be exposed, if they allowed the
armed interference of Russia to overturn historical, limited,
representative institutions. But France and England both proved to be
blind, and deceived me. It was a horrible mistake; and has issued in a
horrible result. The present condition of Europe, which ought to have
been foreseen by those governments, exculpates me for having erred
through expecting them to see their own interests. Well, there is a
providence in every fact. Without this mistake the principles of
American republicanism would for a long time yet not have found a
fertile soil on that continent, where it was considered wisdom to belong
to the French school. Now matters stand thus: that either the continent
of Europe has no future at all, or this future is American
republicanism. And who can believe that two hundred millions of that
continent, which is the mother of such a civilization, are not to have
any future at all? Such a doubt would be almost blasphemy against
Providence. But there is a Providence indeed - a just, a bountiful
Providence, and in it I trust, with all the piety of my religion. I dare
to say my very self was an instrument of it. Even my being here, when
four months ago I was yet a prisoner of the league of European despots
in far Asia, and the sympathy which your glorious people honours me
with, and the high benefit of the welcome of your Congress, and the
honour to be your guest, to be the guest of your great Republic - I, a
poor exile - is there not a very intelligible manifestation of Providence
in it? - the more, when I remember that the name of your guest is by the
furious rage of the Austrian tyrant, nailed to the gallows.

I confidently trust that the nations of Europe have a future. I am
aware that this future is vehemently resisted by the bayonets of
absolutism; but I know that though bayonets may give a defence, they
afford no seat to a prince. I trust in the future of my native land,
because I know that it is worthy to have one, and that it is necessary
to the destinies of humanity. I trust to the principles of
republicanism; and, whatever may be my personal fate, so much I know,
that my country will preserve to you and your glorious land an
everlasting gratitude.

A toast in honour of Mr. Webster, the Secretary of State, having then
been proposed, that gentleman responded in an ample speech, of which the
following is an extract: -

Gentlemen, I do not propose at this hour of the night, to entertain you
by any general disquisition upon the value of human freedom, upon the
inalienable rights of man, or upon any general topics of that kind; but
I wish to say a few words upon the precise question, as I understand it,
that exists before the civilized world, between Hungary and the Austrian
Government, and I may arrange the thoughts to which I desire to give
utterance under two or three general heads.

And in the first place I say, that wherever there is in the Christian
and civilized world a nationality of character - wherever there exists a
nation of sufficient knowledge and wealth and population to constitute a
Government, then a National Government is a necessary and proper result
of nationality of character. We may talk of it as we please, but there
is nothing that satisfies the human being in an enlightened age, unless
he is governed by his own countrymen and the institutions of his own
Government. No matter how easy be the yoke of a foreign Power, no matter
how lightly it sits upon the shoulders, if it is not imposed by the
voice of his own nation and of his own country, he will not, he cannot,
and he _means_ not to be happy under its burden.

There is not a civilized and intelligent man on earth that enjoys entire
satisfaction in his condition, if he does not live under the government
of his own nation - his own country, whose volitions and sentiments and
sympathies are like his own. Hence he cannot say "This is not my
country; it is the country of another Power; it is a country belonging
to somebody else." Therefore, I say that whenever there is a nation of
sufficient intelligence and numbers and wealth to maintain a government,
distinguished in its character and its history and its institutions,
that nation cannot be happy but under a government of its own choice.

Then, sir, the next question is, whether Hungary, as she exists in our
ideas, as we see her, and as we know her, is distinct in her
nationality, is competent in her population, is also competent in her
knowledge and devotion to correct sentiment, is competent in her
national capacity for liberty and independence, to obtain a government
that shall be Hungarian out and out? Upon that subject, gentlemen, I
have no manner of doubt. Let us look a little at the position in which
this matter stands. What is Hungary?

Hungary is about the size of Great Britain, and comprehends nearly half
of the territory of Austria.

[According to one authority its population is 14 millions and a half.]

It is stated by another authority that the population of Hungary is
_nearly_ 14,000,000; that of England (in 1841) nearly 15,000,000;
that of Prussia about 16,000,000.

Thus it is evident that, in point of power, so far as power depends upon
population, Hungary possesses as much power as England _proper_, or
even as the kingdom of Prussia. Well, then, there is population
enough - there are people enough. Who, then, are they? They are distinct
from the nations that surround them. They are distinct from the
Austrians on the west, and the Turks on the east; and I will say in the
next place that they are an _enlightened_ nation. They have their
history; they have their traditions; they are attached to their own
institutions - institutions which have existed for more than a thousand

Gentlemen, it is remarkable that, on the western coasts of Europe,
political light exists. There is a sun in the political firmament, and
that sun sheds his light on those who are able to enjoy it. But in
eastern Europe, generally speaking, and on the confines between eastern
Europe and Asia, there is no political sun in the heavens. It is all an
arctic zone of political life. The luminary, that enlightens the world
in general, seldom rises there above the horizon. The light which they
possess is at best crepuscular, a kind of twilight, and they are under
the necessity of groping about to catch, as they may, any stray gleams
of the light of day. Gentlemen, the country of which your guest to-night
is a native is a remarkable exception. She has shown through her whole
history, for many hundreds of years, an attachment to the principles of
civil liberty, and of law and order, and obedience to the constitution
which the will of the great majority have established. That is the
fact; and it ought to be known wherever the question of the
practicability of Hungarian liberty and independence are discussed. It
ought to be known that Hungary stands out from it above her neighbours
in all that respects free institutions, constitutional government, and a
hereditary love of liberty.

Gentlemen, my sentiments in regard to this effort made by Hungary are
here sufficiently well expressed. In a memorial addressed to Lord John
Russell and Lord Palmerston, said to have been written by Lord
Fitzwilliam, and signed by him and several other Peers and members of
Parliament, the following language is used, the object of the memorial
being to ask the mediation of England in favour of Hungary.

"While so many of the nations of Europe have engaged in revolutionary
movements, and have embarked in schemes of doubtful policy and still
more doubtful success, it is gratifying to the undersigned to be able to
assure your lordships that the Hungarians demand nothing but the
recognition of ancient rights and the stability and integrity of their
ancient constitution. To your lordships it cannot be unknown that that
constitution bears a striking family-resemblance to that of our own

Gentlemen, I have said that a National Government, where there is a
distinct nationality, is essential to human happiness. I have said that
in my opinion, Hungary is thus capable of human happiness. I have said
that she possesses that distinct nationality, that power of population,
and that of wealth, which entitles her to have a Government of her own;
and I have now to add what I am sure will not sound well upon the Upper
Danube; and that is, that, in my humble judgment, the imposition of a

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