MASSEY AND THE ‘RED’
- an introduction by David Shaw
COSSACK OR REPUBLICAN?
TO THE READERS AND FRIENDS OF THE RED REPUBLICAN.
PERSECUTION AND MARTYRDOM.
POETRY TO BE LIVED.
THE GREAT WANT OF THE
STUDENTS: GOTTFRIED KINKEL, AND THE MAYTRS OF 1848-49.
OUT OF EGYPT.
PETöFY, THE PEOPLE'S POET OF HUNGARY.
MASSEY AND THE ‘RED’
by David Shaw
Undoubtedly the most influential person for whom Massey worked in his early years was George Julian Harney (1817-1897).
Harney was guided into Chartism by Henry Hetherington, editor of
The Poor Man's Guardian for whom he had
worked and had been imprisoned three times for selling that unstamped paper.
The experience aligned him towards the more radical Chartist elements, and Feargus O'Connor recruited him in 1843 as a journalist for his paper,
The Northern Star.
Harney's ability led to him becoming editor in 1845. Massey's early poetry and radical articles came to Harney's attention via
The Uxbridge Spirit of Freedom in 1849, and Harney gave this paper and Massey's 'first-rate poetry' favourable reviews in
The Northern Star.
Towards the end of 1849, Massey had met two Chartist lecturers - Walter Cooper, a tailor, and Thomas Shorter,
They informed him of a proposal by J.M. Ludlow, lawyer and socialist, to commence Working Associations that, they hoped, would end capitalist owners' exploitation.
Ludlow had been joint editor for the Rev. Charles Kingsley's Politics for the
People. On the 8 January 1850 at a meeting in London that included Frederick Dennison Maurice, Thomas Hughes and Kingsley, it was decided to appoint Walter Cooper as manager of their first association, The Working Tailor's Association.
Cooper then invited Massey to take up the appointment of
Secretary. Working premises were obtained in Castle Street, off Oxford Street, London.
Around this time, Massey's poems in The Northern Star came to the attention of F.D. Maurice, who wrote to Charles Kingsley in
February...."Has Ludlow told you of our Chartist poet on Castle Street?
He is not quite a Locke, but he has I think some real stuff in him.
I hope he will not be spoiled."
With Massey now in London, two editors of powerful radical papers were taking stock of his developing literary talent.
In particular, George Julian Harney of The Northern Star and internationalist Democratic
Review, and Thomas Cooper of Cooper's Journal: or, Unfettered Thinker and Plain Speaker for Truth, Freedom, and
Massey's first poem published after his arrival in London
(from Uxbridge) when he was twenty-one, appeared on the 12 January 1850 in the second issue of Cooper's Journal.
'Twas Christmas Eve!' contrasted the day celebrated at a palace with that at a poor man's hovel.
Cooper published fourteen of Massey's socio-political poems during the Journal's run, as well as the particularly martial
'Song of the Red
Both before and following the 1848 revolutions in Europe, George Julian Harney had supported the refugees, and in January 1850 he enlarged the scope of his organisation 'The Society of Fraternal Democrats' that he had founded in 1845. The objectives included the diffusion of political and social knowledge and deliverance from the oppression of irresponsible Capital and usurping Feudalism, and would be promoted via meetings and Harney's
Democratic Review. Massey immediately joined with Harney, who was Secretary to the Association.
In June, Harney finally broke with Feargus O'Connor following political differences, discontinued his
Democratic Review, and commenced his most famous paper, The Red
Massey supported Harney by acting initially as secretary to the paper's committee, and immediately contributed an article,
'Cossack or Republican' and a stirring poem, 'The Red
During this period, the Christian Socialists whilst actively sympathetic with the sufferings of the working class, were made very unhappy by the extreme radicalism of Harney, O'Connor and others to whom they referred as 'that smoke of the pit'.
Being a member of the Christian Socialists at the same time as contributing to
The Red Republican, Gerald Massey also came under their scrutiny.
J. M. Ludlow was particularly annoyed, and had to reprimand Massey, finally giving him the choice between their Association and the 'Red'.
Massey responded by saying that if Ludlow had set up a paper for Christian Socialism he would have been willing to write for it.
Although appearing penitent following Ludlow's reprimand, Massey had no intention of breaking with Harney, and continued to write his more radical items under the pen-names of 'Bandiera' and
In November 1850, the first issue of the Christian Socialist was published, the journal lasting a year.
Massey contributed two extended articles on Tennyson's poetry during that period
("Tennyson's Princess" and "Tennyson
and his Poetry").
In December 1850 Harney changed the name of The Red Republican to
The Friend of the
People to make it sound more acceptable to the working class and booksellers, the paper continuing until the end of 1851.
Harney gave Massey's Voices of Freedom and Lyrics of Love a favourable review during this time.
The obvious decline of the Chartist movement then was made more apparent by the sale of the
Northern Star in 1852, and Harney risked much in purchasing the paper, renaming it
The Star of Freedom. A preliminary notice by Harney in The Friend of the People stated that '...my able and enthusiastic friend, Gerald Massey, is engaged as literary editor, and will, in addition to the Review department, superintend that portion of the paper devoted to subjects coming under the general denomination of Social
Reform'. Harney also continued his reporting of Chartist meetings, and lectures, where Massey is mentioned and quoted often as an active Chartist member and lecturer.
Massey wrote for the paper until it was forced to close at the end of 1852 due to decreased circulation.
Harney had now finally to admit that '...the Chartist organisation is literally dead. Yes, dead; and no galvanised efforts can revive it. [But]
its principles are immortal. They can never die...' This final statement ended Massey's working involvement with Harney.
Nevertheless, Massey sent Harney copies of his poetical works over the years, and Harney was able also to assist Massey in obtaining a short course of lectures in Jersey in 1862.
Neither did Massey forget Harney on his eightieth birthday in 1897, for which a subscription fund had been raised, and the sum of £200 was to be presented.
Harney, ill and confined to bed, confirmed to those present that he was the sole survivor of the delegates who constituted the first Chartist Convention that met on the 4 February, 1839. As Massey was unable to attend due to ill health, his daughter Christabel represented him.
Massey had one other reason to be grateful to Harney. Massey's
Ballad of Babe Christabel
was published in February 1854, and copies sent for review. Hepworth Dixon, chief editor of the
Athenaeum, casually picked it up from a number of items on his desk, and noticed one poem that seemed familiar.
He remembered that two years earlier he had been browsing in a London bookshop where he had looked through a bound edition of Harney's
Inside the dust-wrap cover had been a poem, 'The Song of the Red
Republican' by G.M., published originally in Cooper's Journal.
The authors were certainly the same. Dixon took the book to show Douglas Jerrold, former editor of the
Shilling Magazine and contributor to Punch.
Dixon reviewed the book in the Athenaeum, and Jerrold in Lloyd's
These gave an impetus to the sales, despite some negative comments from other magazines and resulted eventually through Dixon's influence, in Massey becoming a reviewer for the
Athenaeum and being introduced to society figures.
Recognition had thus been achieved - but Fate had some cruel blows waiting for him.
(For further information on Harney, see A.R. Schoyen's The Chartist
Challenge, London 1958, and John Saville's introduction to the Merlin Press reprint of
The Red Republican and Friend of the People, London 1966.)
SATURDAY, JUNE 22, 1850 [PRICE
COSSACK OR REPUBLICAN?
"IN fifty years," said Napoleon, "Europe will be either Cossack or Republican."
That prophecy is hastening to a swift fulfilment; day by day, and hour by hour, are the Peoples of Europe forming into two grand armies, Cossack and Republican.
Day by day are they gathering strength for the combat which must be fought on the battle ground of the Future.
Between these antagonistic powers there is war, "war to the knife!"
There can be no compromise; it is the fat and the lean kine; it is Aaron's rod swallowing all the others. Cossack or Republican? There is a
gulf between, which will be filled with blood and bridged with corpses.
The question for us is whose blood? whose corpses? Hitherto it has been the blood of the best and the bravest of men.
Hitherto it has been such workers for holy Liberty as Christ and Robespierre, the brothers Bandiera and Robert Blum.
Hitherto it has been my order, the poor, the "Canaille," who have always suffered, bled, and died.
But the sea saw of power ascends at our end now. We begin to obtain a fairer vantage-ground for the combat.
The Cossacks of Statecraft, the Cossacks of Priest-craft, and of the Bourgeoisie, comprehend their position well since 1848, and accordingly, have leagued together in a mutual bond of Ruffianhood, to crush and exterminate Republicanism and Socialism.
Oh, that we understood our position as well, and were but as united.
The correspondent of the Times is not merely fulminating, blustering, bullying, bravado, when he utters his cold-blooded and infernal provocations to massacre the masses; it is the language of the Cossack, of the Court, the Quirinal, and the Bourse. M. Montalembert advocates a crusade of murder against our republican brothers; he urges that they should be shot down like mad ,
beasts—he raves for a political St. Bartholomew. Well, the language is quite natural to them, it is
the language of the Cossack, and I do not bewail that they should speak openly.
I say let us respond to it. Let us take up the gauntlet, they fling at our feet.
Let us accept their challenge, with the battle-burst of defiance. Surely we should not shrink from the contest, we, who are the exponents of a million burning wrongs and injuries, the remembrance of which should nerve us to dare death, if need be, while our enemies are but as cowards who already quake at the shadow of coming retribution.
Brothers, let us not blench at the howl which will be raised against us of
"bloody Democrats," "vengeful and sanguinary mob," &c. Who are they that shall apply these epithets to us?
Who are they that shall accuse us of blood-thirstiness? Shall the hell-hounds of the red monarchy taunt us with cruelty?
Or they who for centuries have murdered in old religion's name, making God their accomplice?
Is it the traffickers in blood who shot down the brave Ouvriers in the streets of Paris because they demanded the "droit du travail?" Is it the authors of the massacres in Posen, Gallicia, and
Hungary? Are these the wretches who shall taunt us with being
"bloody?" Why, in all history the crimes against humanity, perpetrated by the most outraged slaves, ground down to the dust of degradation, and tortured to madness, can never equal the, premeditated butcheries and merciless atrocities that are chronicled in the record of tyranny's dark and bloody deeds.
We are not to be daunted by any such canting cry. We stand face to face with the mighty future.
We hear its earnest and solemn questioning, "Cossack or Republican?"
And we answer Republican, with war to the Cossack aristocracy. War to the Cossacks who have fastened their fangs in our hearts with the grip of blood-bounds.
War to the Cossack of competition—this spirit of trade, of mammnonism, of
profit-mongering,—which in the shape of an exchange-ocracy is killing
us—man, woman, and child—with a tyranny more atrocious than the deadly, blind, and opaque oppression of feudalism.
Cossack or Republican? All minor questions for us workingmen must be merged in this grand one which awaits our solution.
It is not whether free-trade is good, or protection better—we, have no power of ensuring to ourselves the fruits of either.
"Parliamentary" and "financial" reforms are all very well to be discussed by the philosophers of plenty, but they are too expensive of time for poor hungry devils like us.
A seven years' agitation for free trade! ten more to effect a reduction of ten millions in the expenditure!! Did you ever hear of the Chinese discovery of roast pork? Some of the celestials found in the ruins of a house which had been burnt down, the remains of a roasted
pig, and it was so delicious to their taste that they resolved to have some more roast pig, and in order to effect
this these sublime philosophers of Cathay were wont to shut a pig up in a house, and burn the house down to roast the pig. In like manner the free-traders having spent seven years to win free-trade, are resolved to have some more roast pig. Well, let the timid and the time-serving haggle on for pennyworths of that reform which must cost more than a
crown—a grander and a sterner work is missioned for us to perform; it is the abolition of the proletariat, or speculation in man by man;—the extinction of servitude, and of the terms "employer" and
"employed." This is the grand idea labouring into birth, and which causes all the commotion of the
age; it is the motive impulse of all the mighty workings of the
"Democracy," says Carlyle, "is the demand of the age we live in."
Yes, but not the Democracy of ancient Athens, with its hereditary helotage for the
masses; nor of old Rome with her slaves and gladiators; but the Democracy of Socialism, which
shall make as a law unto all men, the words of the Old Book, "he that will not
work neither shall he eat;" which shall eternalize the doctrine of Christ's equality, and recognize one common
landlord—God; the earth one common inheritance for the family of men.
This is the Democracy which is coming, which shall come, in spite of all Cossacks, for it is tyrant-proof. It was but dimly comprehended in the first revolution of France;—its manifestations were but as the blind gropings of the Cyclops, mad with agony in the cave.
There was but one man who wielded the destinies of that revolution who saw clearly its manifold, mighty, and terrible
meaning—it was Maximilian Robespierre, the truest champion of the Working Classes and the most
self-sacrificing man of policy and action the world ever saw.
Alas! he fell all too soon, for the abolition of property in man, and the inauguration of Socialism, Again it burst forth in June, 1848, that was the real revolution, not the revolution of
February; and if you will but read and heed the signs of the times, you shall see that this industrial revolution is even now at hand, and that wild Work will soon be made with the present
"order" or disorder of things. The trumpet of the time gives no uncertain, sound.
It calls us to the conflict for progress, freedom, and the rights of men.
And let the hypocrite, the coward, and the mammonite, slink to their graves, the true of heart will leap up at the sound of the coming battle, don the armour that is stronger than steel, and join the Peoples in their holy warfare against universal tyranny.
The old powers of Wrong and Evil will wrestle with the tide of destruction for a time, but it will be but as the faint efforts of the bubble striving on the edge of the cataract to resist the tremendous
torrent their fall is inevitable. Take heart my brothers, still hope on, trust on, work on, and fail
not; let it be our every day incentive and our life-long thought to do something to hasten
the coming of the glorious time of which we dream, to crown long years of blood, and wrongs, and tears, and dark degradation, when the poor man's heart shall leap for gladness, and the desert of his life shall blossom as the
rose. Many a hard battle has to be fought; many a wrong must be crumbled into the dust.
Let us then fling ourselves into the glorious work; let Chartists, Communists, and Republicans unite in one common
bond—forget all our idle feuds; and come what may—let us be found ever in the front rank, ever at the outposts, in fighting the battles of Freedom, and in our mutuality of faith, and the solidarité of an united will, may we cry in the words of the "Jacobin of Paris," to the powers that
"Come then with every hireling Sclave, Croat, and Cossack,
We dare your war, beware of ours, we fling your freedom back!"
TO THE READERS AND FRIENDS OF THE RED REPUBLICAN.
DEMOCRATS,—The first fruit of our exertions is now before
you; and but that our cause is a common one, we would thank you for the aid so generously yielded to our efforts. Let it suffice for us to state, that the generous sentiments which accompanied the larger subscriptions, and the touching expressions of sympathy received with the mites of our suffering brethren, have proved to us the spread of pure democratic principles, and the existence of a self-denying heroism, worthy of a better
age—worthy of the cause in which we are united.
Our work is but commenced, and foreseeing that further assistance will be required, we have resolved to continue our exertions as a committee for sustaining and promoting the success of the "RED REPUBLICAN."
We have received from provincial towns many applications for bills and posters, with offers to placard the same at the personal cost of the parties applying.
No better method could be adopted to give publicity to the "RED REPUBLICAN;" and as soon as we are financially in a position to respond to these applications we will do
so—with pleasure. For that and other purposes necessary to the success of the
publication; we call for further aid. For the greater part we are "men of toil," and we make this appeal with the more confidence inasmuch as we have given, and shall continue to give pecuniary and other aid to the extent of our ability.
Trusting that each man who feels the wrongs and indignities to which the Proletarians are subjected, will make the success of this publication a personal matter.
We are, brother Democrats, yours, &c.,
JAMES GRASSBY, Treasurer.
T. GERALD MASSEY, Secretary.
SATURDAY, JUNE 29, 1850 [PRICE
PERSECUTION AND MARTYRDOM.
THEY always fall on evil days who come into the world as the vicegerents of
freedom; and the high God mission flaming on their noble foreheads is as fatal as the brand of Cain.
It has ever been and still is martyrdom to those who devote themselves to the service of mankind.
They mist toil on through the dark nights of suffering and the dreary days of pain, ever labouring for the redemption of a world that repays them with the spurn and the sneer, the mouldy crust and the bitter misery; they must toil and battle on with danger and difficulty for the success of a cherished
principle—the high reward and fruition of which may not be reaped for ages, in the day of fearfullest pain and the night of keenest
trial—still keeping bright and burning the spirit that kindles within them, that it may be a beacon pillar of fire to those who are wandering in file wilderness of Slavery, holding on to prison, to exile, and to death.
Their very heart's blood shall be shed into the red-hot crucible of martyrdom to be coined into the words of flame that stir the souls of men, and make the veins run living fire; their lives of heroic temper shall be wrought out on the forge of suffering by tile blows of Persecution. And then, ah! me, how many a noble heart has given out its life of life—been severed from the dearest joy of its being, for the cause of the
People—sending forth from the blind obscurity in which it lived the Thoughts that champion the men of this nineteenth century to daring deeds for holy
liberty—holding fast on with the terrible tenacity of him of old, who clung to the side of the enemy's vessel till his hands were lopped off, and then held on with his teeth till he died. There is not a beam of the light of Knowledge which now illumines the world but is part made up of souls gone down in
darkness! There is not a liberty we now enjoy, but for which thousands of noble hearts have let out their
lives. Again and again have the World's proud Redeemers been crucified and slain at cross and stake and bloody scaffold; again and again have they been murdered in the dungeons of infernal, inquisitions, and mounted the scaffold to strain their weary eyes, on the future and through the mists of ages, yearned to catch one grey glimpse of that morning which is now so gloriously bursting on the World?
Far back in the ages arose the large-hearted Christ, to preach his divine doctrine to wear the crown of the Kings of Sorrow and Salvation, and to die on the
cross; he the glorious, God-like, child-like Gallilean, whose dying smile has lamped the gloom of eighteen centuries, and whose life
is coeval with the round of time. Six centuries ago, and that
splendid spirit Rienzi burst on the astonished World to redeem Rome and Italy, from
ages of shame and degradation. He expunged from her dark and bloody archives, much of her crime and guilt, humbled the haughty and rapacious nobles, tamed the brigand barons, re-adjusted the
bandage which had slipped the eyes of the olden Justice, and bade fair to reinstate her in all her ancient glory as the peerless mistress of the world, and he too, fell a victim to popular ignorance, sacrificed at
the shrine of Tyranny. Fifty years ago Church and State mobs of English workingmen could be hounded on by the money-lords and priests and
State-savages to burn in effigy the celebrated Dr. Priestly and the immortal
Thomas Paine; and in our own day we see the glorious Mazzini, the Rienzi of our time, Louis Blanc,
Kossuth, Ledru Rollin, John Mitchell, and Meagher, in exile, suffering for the land of their love. While
Barbés, Blauqui, Ernest Jones, and many another true patriot is being crushed out of existence in a prison cell.
A word, working-men, about our brother Ernest Jones, who is one of the noblest champions of our Cause; no finer spirit stands in the advanced
guard of Progress. He has known how sublime a thing it is to suffer and be strong, and the lines of a noble endurance are written in his
face; and after all it is only they who have suffered "with single hearts and free," who have won by battling with
adversity—the wrestling thews and iron sinews which serve to throw the world, who have come forth from the fiery ordeal as conquerers going forth to conquer,—who can be the true and real teachers of the People in their upward struggle and mighty march to the fulfilment of their glorious destiny! They who have known what the poor endure, and they alone, can speak the unspoken language of the poor mail's heart that bleeds and suffers dumbly.
From the hour that Ernest Jones became a hand-to-hand combatant in the ranks of the poor, a hand-and-heart helper
in our every-day strife, he has fought our battle bravely, manfully.
He saw how the poor were robbed and trampled mercilessly,—he saw how the soulless wretchess were eating our souls-how the tearless were draining our
tears—broke our hearts to yield them bread, and drank our blood for wine.
His chivalrous soul was madly stung, and when France arose like a giant roused from strengthening slumber and dashed the monarchical incubus from her indignant
bosom,—when Milan responded so gloriously to the trumpet-cry of Liberty—and Rome, even priest-ridden-besotted old Rome, asserted amid the mingling voices of
the awakened nations that the flower of Freedom still grew amid all her ruins and
desolation—that she the Capital of the Caesars, the proud City of the Seven Hills, and mother of Immortals, was still the nurse of children whose hearts were beating grand accompaniment to those of the Heroes and the Gods of old,
—Ernest Jones, daring and self-sacrificing, thought that the time had come to appeal to the down-trodden,
misery-cursed men of England, to bid them rise and win their claim to manhood.
He spake to them in burning words, he thought that—crushed and degraded, coward slaves, though Englishmen
were—they had not forgotten they were the sons of the men who taught the world the glorious lesson, that the divine Right of Kings was a lie when they rolled the royal head of Charles from the scaffold.
He thought that the spirit of liberty still smouldered on, not quite extinct in the hearts of
Englishmen, and that the breath of a free man might kindle it flame-wise. That Spirit which burned in the heroic hearts of Leonidas
and his Spartan three hundred in the red pass—the gory gap of Thermopylae; the spirit which nerved and fired the immortal old Patriot of Sempach, Arnold Von Winkelreed, who in fighting his last battle
for his country, when his comrades could not break the fiery front of their enemies ranks, flung himself on their naked spears, and gathering a sheaf of their points in his arms, plunged them into his noble heart, that his countrymen might
pass on to victory and to freedom, through the gap he had made with his devoted corpse. Ernest Jones thought
this Spirit was not dead; in its high and holy name he made loud and eloquent
appeal—he bade Englishmen to cringe no more that miscreants might lord it in
palaces—he bade them cease to die of slowest torture with decay, disease and death, in filthy huts and plague-smitten hovels, but to, come forth while the bow of, hope was
spanning the bread blue heaven of Humanity and stand erect in the glorious sunlight of God,
in the dignity of men, determined to dare death, so they might live free.
But want and misery had done their damning work—(day by day, hour by hour, is the clay rotting out the souls of
Englishmen)—they responded but faintly, and Ernest Jones has suffered two years of intense torture in a dungeon.
Honour to thee, my Brother, all honour to thee, that in this age of shams thou wert an earnest man.
With the weakness of my spirit I would fain uphold the strength of thine.
Thou hast sacrificed and suffered in the proud cause in which I long to prove me a valiant soldier, and I love thee.
But courage, my Brothers, persecution and martyrdom are the natural inheritance of those who do battle for the deliverance of humanity.
It has ever been so—it is so even now, and let thorn persecute:—
"Keep Galileo to thy thought
And nerve thy soul to bear,
They may gloat o'er the senseless words they wring
From the pangs of thy despair;
But they cannot blot thy spoken words
From the memory of man,
By all the poison ever was brewed
Since time its course began;
To-day abhorred, to-morrow adored,
Thus round and round we run;
And ever the Right comes uppermost,
And ever is justice done."
They were wont to gloat over the agony made manifest by the uplifted and quivering arms of the faithful martyrs, thrust upward from the fires of martyrdom at the
auto da fe; but it was not alone those upraised arms that were thrust forth from the fires of their suffering, but
Thoughts,—Thoughts mighty as the pangs of their torment, and ninny as the sparks of their torture-furnace, Thoughts that rushed through all the world as on the wings of mighty
winds, ploughing as with a fiery plough-share the seed-furrows in the hearts of men. Let them
persecute; where the plough drives the deepest the best fruits will spring; the field of Waterloo is one of the most fertile in Europe.
Many more martyrs must fall. Our pathway is strewn with the bleached bones of those who in other days have striven to pass, yet we halt
not—looking on them will wrench a tear from the brain, but it inspires a firmer grip of
"the Banner with the strange device," and the mounting god leaps at the heart of us, as we shout the Battle anthem,
[A pen name of Gerald Massey
SATURDAY, JULY 6, 1850 [PRICE
POETRY TO BE LIVED.
"A THING of beauty is a joy for
ever," sang the sweet poet John Keats, and poetry is a thing of beauty, and a joy for ever. The world is full, of
poetry—the poetry that never dies, written by the finger of the
everlasting on the mountains and clouds, the woods and the ripe waving corn, the faces of brave men and beautiful
women; and the world is as full of this poetry, now as it was in the old time of love.
The sun shines as gloriously in heaven to-day its it did a thousand years ago; the birds sing as sweetly on the blossomed boughs at this hour as they
sang in fabled Eden, when the young world unfolded to life and loveliness in the budding Creation's morning mirth; and the flowers the dear innocent flowers that we love
so much, brimful of God's own poetry for the human heart; the flowers that smile up
in our faces as though they knew we ought to have happy hearts and cheerful
countenances,—the glorious flowers that start up at the voice of Spring wherever we tread; many, and wonderful, as though the awakened earth had opened a million gamesome starry eyes, and march , over the meadows and the hills, the green roadside, and the lone groves, waving to every wind of heaven their banner of conquering beauty, they bloom as beautiful
on the earth's green bosom now, as when the world's grey fathers offered up sacrifice on the verdant sod!
Poetry' lives everywhere, in the budding, bright, melodious hour of the balmy
morning; in the starry tenderness of midnight; in the glorious greenery of the grand old
woods, musical with myraids of merry singers, that call us forth with the voice of ten thousand welcomes; in the sublime old
mountain peak that lifts its hoary front up against the sky, and through the eternal ages, worships in the religion of silence.
It lives in the magnificent ocean, and the little laughing steamlet, the thunder of
the tempest, and the song of the bird,—all of these are full of poetry, the poetry that never dies, the thing of beauty and the joy for ever! And the highest poetry that we can embody in our works
and lives is akin to this,—the poetry of the eternal; the highest poetry is above the schisms of sect and the pinnacle of party
zeal; we ascend by its influence up the mount of Transfiguration, the splendour of
God is upon us, and we feel it is good to be there! The commonest nature has some divine touch of , poetry in
it—crushed and degraded as we are, worn , down by suffering and sorrow, blighted by
the dry rot of slavery, and the branding stamp of tyranny, there are times when we walk on the angel-side of life, and feel that our lives do not all turn in
darkness—and the generous aspiration will be stirring at the heart, the sweet tears will be starting to the eyes, and we know we might have been something better, and lived a nobler life, if the world had done justice by us.
Those tears are as a telescope to the soul, through which it catches big glimpses of the infinite: and those aspirations realize unto us the highest kind of
poetry—the poetry to be lived. All honour to the noble hearts who have given out their lives in proud and glorious poetry, and with their trumpet-strains
of freedom, championed the peoples till the walls of Tyranny have fallen flat like
the walls of Jericho before the Israelites of old.—God's blessing, and the blessing of our humanity, on the brave spirits who have sought to trim the divine lamp of poetry in the poor man's heart and
home—to add a blessed beauty to his daily life, who, with a seraphic purpose of good, have permeated the poor man's cottage with divine influences, stolen, like the waters of life into the desert nooks of the world, and made the arid waste fruitful!
But it was in the absence of the reality that the poets have sought to win us with their ideal
fancies; the actual world was cold and desolate, and they have kept Eden alive, fresh, and green, in their hearts, and from thence created a world of glorious imagination to live in.
But the delight they give, is but as bringing a green sod of earth to the poor caged sky-lark, in its smoky city
prison—outside still lies the boundless land of loveliness, the tender green fields, the summer-blue heaven, the waving woods with their tides of green-leaf seas rippling up the
wind! the streams in the leafy dells prattling of their whereabouts with sweet and endless laughter, the songs of birds, and all the glad and glorious
world—bright and beautiful, as though there were neither a grave or sorrow in it! And all this is meant for us, with its beauty and its plenty, its freedom and its happiness, else is the poet's song a lure of the syren, and the boundless good with which his heart gushes, mere beggary and utter starvation. There is more poetry to be
lived than to be written! There is no poetry like to that of a noble life, wrought out amidst suffering and
martyrdom; there is no poetry like to that of playing a proud part in the byeways and the nooks of
the world—and, after all, the unknown heroism, the unchronicled greatness, and the unwritten poetry of the world, are its most glorious
graces—there is no poetry like that of living a noble life, and there be
many of God's own lion-hearted heroes who have lived, and others who are now living, in the foodless garret and the fireless cellar, with a moral
glory gilding their martyr lives, which would eclipse any amount of written poetry.
Take the life of Christ, which in itself is a perfect poem; it is written of him that
he went about doing good. And when he had preached his glorious equality and brotherhood, he bade defiance to all tyrants, and died in defence of his principles! He dared to
live his poetry—it was welded in the iron of his life! And it is not written poetry that speaks to us from
the thorn-crowned martyr of Calvary—it is the poetry of noble actions and deathless
deeds! It is not written poetry that speaks to us from the gallant land of the Magyar, when immortal Kossuth,
like one of the old Hebrew bards, filled with divinest inspiration, roused
the hero-hearted Hungarians to battle for their fatherland, and roll back the
tide of war from its shores with a crash that shattered the Austrian empire to its rotten
core; or when the brothers, Bandiera, Mazzini, and other patriot souls, threw themselves into the gap to stay their country's
destruction—the one, to fall by the bloody weapons of their enemies, and to
be consecrated evermore in the hearts of all the sons of progress—the other to live on, and rise from the waters of sorrow, and the tides of affliction, like the lands of Egypt from the overflowing of the Nile, more flourishing and fruitful—for Mazzini is like Massena on the field of combat, who was never so much himself as when the battle went sorest against
him—when he arose in all the pride arid strength of conquest, put on the robes of triumph, and went forth
victorious! That was the poetry of noble actions and deathless deeds.
Witness also the life of the poet Milton; grandly magnificent as is the poetry of "Paradise
Lost,"—there was a nobler, a truer poetry, in the life of the stern old republican.
Of all the poets upon record, the life of Milton was the proudest, the completest, the manfullest. The life of Shakspere was a chequered youth, a green old age. Coleridge's was dreaming and weird-like. Byron's was the storm, the grandeur, and the gloom of the tempest, his poetry was like fruit on
the side of Etna! Shelley's was like a drama, wherein Christ, Rousseau, and Ophelia should play their
parts! and Keats—dear Keats!—his life was like the song of the nightingale, heard in the rich, still summer night, pouring her soul out on the balmy air, in passionate cadences, singing you into
tears; as though the old fable were true that she sang with the thorn in her bleeding bosom.
But Milton's life was a colossal epic, ponderous but complete in all its
parts; in his youth he was a model of beauty and purity, in his manhood astern and valiant warrior in the Republican
camp—the compatriot and coadjutor of Cromwell and Hampden, and the other mighty
men of the Commonwealth: and then, in his old age, when he had battled and wrestled for the cause of
liberty—till he was blind—when the martyrs were sleeping in their bloody graves, when the second Charles had made the court of England once more a beastly
brothel—when his compeers, Ireton and Bradshaw, were dragged from their
tombs, and hung up to rot on the gibbet—still we find the immortal old
man, battling on in the good old cause, "bating no jot of heart or hope,"
true as ever to his principles—firm as ever in the Republican cause, and
bidding defiance to despot, death, and devil!
Brother Working-men, let us endeavour to live this poetry in our
lives! I know how the untoward circumstances will hem round, and, like
hounds of hell, bay at the aspiring soul; but still struggle on. It may be ye are born where light never comes, and where birth is the very sepulchre of the
soul—still hold on, for the day is breaking, and a light is coming whereby the poor man may read the many beautiful meanings that are so rudely inscribed on the chamber-walls of his
life! Never give up; there are lions in the way to the gate which is called "Beautiful," but, if you will but dare to go closer, you shall see they are
chained; only dare to look a lie in the face, and you have already half
"Never give up! 'tis the secret of glory,
Nothing more wise can philosophy preach;
Think of the men who are famous in story,
Never give up! is the lesson they teach.
"How have they compassed immortal achievements?
How have they moulded the world to their will?
'Tis that thro' dangers, and woes, and bereavements,
Never give up! was their principle still."
They have borne the cross of suffering—they have endured and conquered,
and even as they have done, so may we—
"Lives of great men all remind us,
We can make our lives sublime,
And departing leave behind us,
Footprints on the sands of time.
Footprints which perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
Some forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing shall take heart again."
Let us live noble lives, and they shall be as footprints in the sands of time to those who follow after us.
It is of little use that we proclaim ourselves to be Democrats unless we live our principles in our lives, which should be living epistles of our truthfulness to all men.
The man who is a slave to his own vices, his own passions, would be a slave
still, even through all the Political and Social tyranny which we war with, were abolished to-morrow; and a man who is a tyrant in his own household would be a tyrant in a Cabinet or a Crown.
Slaves are progenitors of Tyrants, and tyrants the poison-spawn of slaves.
Slaves are tyrants in the grub, and tyrants are only slaves mounting on the wings of power.
Believe, me brothers, these divine ideas of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, will need another birth-place than the barricade, another baptism than that of blood, they demand a birth and baptism in the souls of pure
and earnest men. They who cherish our principles should keep them as unsullied as their heart's first love, and in all circumstances keep some corner of the heart as a temple of the beautiful for them to dwell in.
The exponents of Democracy cannot render their lives too God-like. Think of the glorious aspiration bodied forth in Longfellow's noble poem "Excelsior."
higher—higher, evermore higher; that same Excelsior has been the very life-pulse beating in the hearts of all who have endeavoured to write their names in starry glory, side by side the suns of immortality.
The old man warns him that the path is dangerous—he can see the light of happy homes welcoming him
in; the lovely maiden bids him stay and rest his weary head on the soft pillow of her budding
bosom; but stern in the work he has to perform, filled with the might of his proud mission, he answers warning, welcome, and lure, with the clarion-cry of "Excelsior."
And "Excelsior" up higher, still higher, even though those we love should bid us stay; though friends should fail and the night gather darkly
around; though the scaffold frown, the axe gleam, and the grave gape, still let us lift the shout
"Excelsior." Let us bear the banner of our cause heavenward, and let the winds and the glorious sunshine of heaven play upon it so that all the world may read what is written thereon, and not trail it in the mire and dust
at our feet. And even though we may never reach the political and social Canaan for which we are suffering and
struggling; even though we may never reach the mount Pisgah of the Future and
look on the land of promise; nevertheless, let us do something to render the journey easier to those who follow
after; let us plant our footsteps firmly the mountain ascent of our up-hill
battle—so that others who follow in our track shall see where our foot-print have beaten out the rugged road, and with tears of joy, bless those who have gone before; and if, when we have toiled and struggled, we shall still fall by the wayside and
perish—if when we come to the last dark hour of the soul's dumb agony that leap in the dark,
Death—and there should be nothing beyond, if it be merely a long and welcome sleep which we have been
rehearsing every night for years, and nothing more, why then, conscious of the integrity of our own
being—that we have ever combatted for the Right and warred with Wrong—endeavouring to leave a better and happier world for our having lived in it—we shall lie down
like a tired child to rest, and welcome annihilation as a very joy. On the other hand, if there be a conscious Future, if the Spirit should burst the cold clutch of death and the cerements of the
grave—crack into glorious wings of splendour, and soar, and soar for evermore into the
boundless realm of
being—if we should meet with the mighty men of old, with whose spirits we have held sweet converse here, the prophets, apostles, and martyrs who once on earth struggled hard as we do now, with sufferings, tribulations, and
tear—if we should meet with the gods among immortals, Socrates, "the sans-culotte Christ,"
Shakspeare, Shelley, Rienzi,
"See Milton's eyes no longer dim,
See seraphs walk with slander'd Pym,"
why then: we, may rest assured that even as we have sown on earth, so
shall we reap on the fields of destiny. I say it is of no use for
the sham, the slave, the sensualist, and the coward, to proclaim
themselves to be Democrats. Red Republicans, the hour is coming that
will put them to the proof, and it will need a faith that will never
tire—a courage that will blench not!
No. 11.—Vol. I]
SATURDAY, AUGUST 31, 1850 [PRICE
THE GREAT WANT OF THE TIME.
Is union, unbounded union? It is by union, and union alone, that we can accomplish the emancipation of humanity, and the consummation of the people's proud destiny.
With all the preaching of the priests—with all the effect wrought on the
people—by their infernal dogmas and damnable "be content" doctrine—with all the power for soul crushing of their Governmental-machine
religion—with all the power of the aristocracy, and the middle classes to boot, against
us—we, the workers, could bid defiance to them all—were we but united!—were we but bound up together, hand to hand, and heart to heart, as with hooks of steel in a phalanx of might. It is as great a truism to-day as it ever was, that for a people to become free, it is sufficient that they will it.
Even as God said, let there be light, and there was light, so let the united people say, let there be freedom, and there shall be freedom!
But we, the democracy of England, are disunited and fragmentary; we are broken up into sects and parties; we have no Moses to lead us out of bondage; we have no David to number the host; we have no Mazzini preaching and inspiring us with the grand idea of unity, a people "one and indivisible;" we have no Louis Blanc permeating the minds of the masses with the element of'
"Solidarité"; we are even at war among ourselves, and well may the tyrants and oppressors laugh us to scorn. They can afford to mock our puny efforts to free ourselves from their clutches; they know there is little cause for disquiet so long as we are disunited.
Is the tramp of democracy's million feet, and the thunder-music of its million voices heard resounding through the
nations—what fear they? The People (of this land) are disunited. Is it bruited abroad that
France—that beating-heart of the world, which sends the pulse of liberty burning along the veins of the
nations—will ere long awake the world with the trumpet-voice of freedom. What matter?
The People are disunited. Are the many heart-broken by reason of their long, hopeless toil and travail, wearing the harness of life which cuts into their very life-strings, and weeping the agony-sweat and, bloody tears which are wrung out in poverty's hell of torture and grim combat with daily
death—that eternal Gethsemane! And do the few noble hearts who mourn over their sufferings, cry out in the anguish of their tortured hearts?
They must wear out their lives in exile or the felon's cell, there is no
help— the People are disunited. Have these divine ideas of right and eternal justice which are stirring the world to its uttermost bounds, and beating and breathing in the bounding heart of universal humanity; have they permeated the barracks and the guard-room as well as the hut and the hovel; and does the soldier feel that he is one of the people, and that their cause is his; does he yearn to grasp them by the hand and tell them all his heart? It avails nothing. The
People are disunited. We are isolated, divided, antagonistic; while those who oppose us and our demands have the very best organization and discipline in the world.
We can accomplish little or nothing, going on as we are at present. What will the new organization of the Chartists
effect—singly? Or what can the fraternal democrats do—isolated? or the "national" or "social" reformers? or any other body of reformers by themselves? Absolutely nothing toward arousing the mind of the country and combining it for action.
It is not that the English people, are cowards—that they bear on and still bear on though the furnace of their torture be heated seven times hotter!
there is more courage, there is more heroism in one year's suffering, than would suffice to make ten revolutions; but it is the courage and the heroism of endurance, instead of the courage and heroism of action.
It is courage and heroism employed in prolonging their misery, instead of being directed, to end it: and there is none to direct this wasted bravery in the right, direction; there is no party which the country recognizes as a national one.
There is no combination of men at the summit of affairs in which the masses will put their trust.
They see the leaders are at variance among themselves, and they hold aloof.
There is in this country a young mind, a growing intelligence, created and surged onward by the startling events of the last two years, of which no present party is the whole exponent.
It is more advanced and further-reaching than all the parties, save the "Reds," and it only needs a movement to be moulded and given the right direction, to embrace all this young mind, all this glorious intelligence, all this effervescent spirit of freedom, to make the next struggle the crowning effort of long years of agitation.
Some unitary policy must be adopted, or I am bound to say, that we shall be no nearer the realization of our hopes in
1860 than we are in 1850.
I would advocate that the leaders of the people and the champions of their cause should come together willing to sacrifice something of prejudices and to suppress all bickering and
cantankerousness, of spirit; wisely and brotherly to attain the grand object we all have in view.
Let it be understood, that each man and party should be at perfect liberty to advance and work out their own particular views independently.
But let there be some common ground of understanding, on which all might agree, as a basis for mutual notion, and on the strength of that unity let a manifesto be issued to the country, and there would be a most glorious response; for there is an universal desire for the union of all the veritable democrats.
We are all democrats; we are not all "reds," we are not all socialists, we are not all
communists—we are not all chartists—but we are all democrats! There is not a member of any one of the above-mentioned, but would subscribe to that.
We are all, democrats! Let the grand principles of democracy be the basis of our union.
Let as not quarrel about how we shall work them out in detail.
We are agreed upon democracy's wide and fundamental truth.
We all entertain the same faith in progress. We all know that he who will not work should not eat.
That all men are brothers (tyrants and slaves having given up their manhood, are not men, therefore should have no place in the family of men or in the world); that no one has a right to monopolize the fruits of the earth, while any lack the common things of life, nor afterward!
That wherever there is not equality of right, liberty is impossible. That all laws are void which do not emanate from the people.
That it is necessary for mankind to recognize an identity of interest.
That all have an equal right to room and opportunity for the growth and development is of their own unequal faculties.
That association is the necessary form of equality. That the terms '"employee" and "employed" must be abolished, and the workman be no longer an hireling.
That land, railways, fisheries, mines, gas and water works, should not be
held for individual aggrandizement, but for the benefit of the whole community.
That no taxation should be delegated, but direct, and only what may be necessary for conducting the affairs of the state.
We might also subscribe to the declaration, that in the present existing anarchy, it is the duty of every man who loves his country
and his kind to become a revolutionist. Surely these and other general truths constitute ample room and verge enough for an amalgamation of all true democrats.
We are all agreed that it is time to end this horrible state of things, which is killing us, man, woman, and child, by slow torture, which tears friends, brothers, sisters, wives, and little ones from our side to-day, and returns as hungry as ever to devour us to-morrow.
We are all agreed, that as the present legislators and statesmen of the world's governments do not know how to meet the crying misery, except with the persuasive reasoning of bullets and bayonets, as they are shrinking terribly aghast at the iron
logic of the nineteenth century, it is the people themselves who must give impulse and direction to their upward and onward march in the fulfilment of their destined redemption.
We are all agreed, that as this mighty problem of labour demands another solution than that of sabres and bayonets, it must be solved by the thinking brains and the hard hands of the workers.
Let us then unite Red Republicans, Communists, Socialists, Chartists, and Reformers!
Let us unite and be as one; nay, give the tyrants and oppressors a grand proof that their death-struggle is at hand.
Let us no longer allow them to plunder us of the fruits of our industry.
Let us no longer build wealth and establish power for others. Let us no longer till the fields, which yield us no harvest.
Let us no longer weave robes of lordly splendour, and queenly silks and costliest merchandize, yet enshroud our own hearts darkly in the pall of misery.
Let us no longer allow them to pauperize the people and curse the land; to rob us of all the pleasures of living, of all the wealth of intellect, and the sweet treasures of love.
Let us no longer allow them to prosecute and imprison our noblest advocates, trample us into the mire of misery, and make us the living records of their, cruel and bloody fame.
Let us unite and get power. It is unity which is the great want of the time; and if the egotism of men, calling themselves "Leaders" should stand in the way of this federation, let the party behind each leader push on.
He is no true man, no friend of the people, who will oppose this union.
Of course, there will be some; because they may not be the great "I AM" of the movement.
But it is the duty of the people, it is the urgent duty of the hour to release ourselves from the tyranny of leadership, as well as all other tyranny.
The cause of the people must not be sacrificed at the shrine of any man.
If there be any fearful—if there be any halting by the way—who dare not face the dark uncertain
future—let them make way for younger and more daring spirits, who, inspired with a higher trust, and a more iron perseverance, will march on hopefully and gallantly in
face of despot, death , or devil. We must not be frightened at the sound of mere names.
Men become used up, and movements require more vigorous life; and with regard to leaders, he is the greatest among us who, working most, is large-heartedly willing to be accounted least.
And not alone should the democrats of England be united in a federal bond, but we ought to be linked with all the men of progress and the champions of progression wherever they are found.
Our cause and our sympathies should be universal.
Wherever humanity is yearning to cast off the execrable tyranny which crushes
it—wherever there is a misery crying for redress—wherever there is a people groaning beneath the scorpion-lash of
despotism—there is our cause; and if we cannot wield the strong arm of power, our hearts do battle for them, and all our sympathies fight for them.
But if we were united, we should be able to wield the strong arm in that cause; we should not stand by and see a noble nation, like Poland, tortured and killed piecemeal by that grim giant of the
north—the miscreant Nicholas. We should not permit a gallant-hearted people like the Hungarians to pour out their, best and bravest blood in vain.
We should not let the millions and millions of murdered martyrs that have gone down to death feed the fiery Jaws of war without a triumph in the present as well as in the future.
All this we have done; all this has passed before our eyes; and we have helplessly looked on the bloody
tragedy— because we were disunited.
Shall such scenes be re-enacted in the next grand struggle as in the last?
Shall it be in the great day of the future as it was in 1848 and 1849?
Shall we countenance the massacre of noble nations struggling for life and liberty as we did then?
Shall our government be allowed in the dark to weave the same web as the spiders' of Vienna, Berlin,
Rome, St: Petersburgh, and the Elysee, for the purpose of murdering all who love liberty?
Shall it it be said that this land of ours, the country of Alfred, Sydney, Hampden, Milton, Cromwell, and the mighty men of the Commonwealth, the birthplace of Shakespeare, and the home of
Shelley—the nursing mother of heroic sons—shall it be said that this land, glorious in its thrilling associations; this land which once in history stood up amid the surrounding nations like Saul among his warriors, a head and shoulders above the rest, and foremost in the van of the world struck that battle-blow for freedom which abbreviated Charles the First by a head.
Is it this land which shall be a stumbling-block in the way of the nations who are stirring in the cause of right with a seraphic purpose of good?
No, no, by my soul, we richly merit the fiery hell which the bigot preaches, with its red jaws agape to grapple souls in the clutch of eternal horrors, if we do.
It is wonderful what a few may accomplish with unity of purpose and will.
Three hundred Spartans fought two million Persians in the gap of
Thermopylæ; and not more than three thousand formed the nucleus of the French Revolution of 1843.
We must have unity; we must have organization; so that when France shall again call the people to do battle once more, and trumpet them on in the holy warfare against universal tyranny; when Kossuth shall return from exile, and awaken ,heroic Hungary; when Mazzini's battle burst of defiance shall be heard once more in Rome; then we may say we have measured our strength.
We may be slaves, but each slave will unite with the weapon of a freeman's thought.
Beside, we have truth, justice, and right on our side, and they who oppose us, do but fight against the Lord; and we, will march with the fraternized peoples against the oppressors, determined to work out our mutual redemption manfully, or die together; for better were it we were rolled together in the darkness and the dust of death, than that we should bend God's living image longer at the shrine of tyranny.
Another Continental revolution will come; it is inevitable.
The breathing-space between revolutions grows shorter cash time. From 1793 to 1830 was 37 years; from 1830 to 1843 only 13 years.
The next pause will be shorter still. And then, you murderers of the
people—you liars and hypocrites—you Molochs and drinkers of human
blood—the numberless agonies of the people will outweigh your lying, promises, the cries of hunger, will drown the pleadings of the plague
stricken Mammonites who have crushed out of existence millions of the poor toilers.
Not for nothing have you wrought us all this bloody hurting; not for nothing have we toiled and suffered without hope or interest in life; not for nothing have you scorned, our petitions, and mocked all our pleadings. It is a bitter seed ye have sown.
The harvest cometh.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14, 1850 [PRICE
GERMAN STUDENTS: GOTTFRIED
KINKEL, AND THE MARTYRS OF 1848-49.
THROUGH all their history the spirit of liberty has burned brightly in the hearts of the famous students of Germany.
Upon all occasions when there was an opportunity of aiming a blow at tyranny, they have stood in the foremost ranks.
They stood by old John Huss and Luther; and the long bloody thirty years' war can well attest to their love of fatherland, their devotedness and their bravery! The field of Gmunden, where fell the fiery Unknown, drank a deep rich draught of effervescing
student blood. The Battle of Leipsic bears bloody testimony to their lion-hearted
valour; they did deeds worthy of Thermopylæ, and the inspired boys—the gallant band of Jahn—were literally cut to pieces.
And then how dastardly were they deceived by the false German princes.
The traitors, who, in their hour of need, cried to the brave young beating hearts to help them to liberate their country from the fetters of
Napoleon—and had no sooner achieved their victory over the invader, than they turned and trampled on the very hearts of
their gallant rescuers. He was a wise man who said, "put not your trust in princes!"
But warned by the past, the students of Germany will not again pour out their best and bravest blood at the beck and bidding of traitors and hypocrites.
The lesson has been burned and branded into the heart of them, and henceforth their arms, as well as their sympathies, are with the people.
In tile great day of the Future they will be found side by side with the proletarians, resolved to work out their country's salvation, or fall together.
Gottfried Kinkel, whose recent escape from the dungeons of Spandau, has
excited so much interest, was, in his youth, one of the glorious student-band.
Having distinguished himself in various branches of learning, he was appointed professor of Theology, in the University of Bonn.
His marriage with a lady who had renounced the Catholic religion to be come his wife, subjected him to such serious annoyances that he was induced to change
the theological chair for that of German Antiquity. With a family of four children his happiness was complete.
But the revolution of 1843 came, with its uprisings of the
long-oppressed—its wreck of thrones and dynasties.
France awoke the trumpet-voice of freedom, and Milan gloriously responded.
Berlin brought the bloody-minded and perjured Prussian king on his knees before the injured
People—and a republic was enthroned in the capital of the
Kinkel joined the democratic party, was elected a member of the Prussian National Assembly, and took his
seat on the extreme left. The revolution progressed. The Prussian king and the German princes proved themselves traitors.
Baden became the theatre of a sanguinary struggle. In one of the conflicts, Kinkel—who had joined the revolutionary army as a
volunteer—was wounded in the head and taken prisoner by
Nearly all the leading revolutionists who fell into the hands of the Prussians, were put through the mockery of a trial by court-martial, and
mercilessly shot. Kinkel was condemned to death, but escaped the fate
of so many of his comrades, his sentence being commuted to imprisonment with hard labour for life.
They clothed him in the dress of the vilest criminal, shaved his head, and gave
him the worst prison food. They deprived him of all books except the Bible, and made him wind wool from half-past four in the morning until five in the
evening—until his right arm was lamed and well nigh useless.
In one year his intense sufferings had wrought such a change in him that his own daughter did not recognise him.
This continued for twelve months, when he was tried with others for taking part in storming an arsenal.
His defence overpowered every heart. Even the soldiers guarding him were affected to
tears. All the accused were acquitted; but Kinkel remained under sentence of imprisonment for life.
His wife attempted to speak to him, but was brutally driven back by her husband's gaolers.
She was about to retire in despair, when Kinkel cried cried out in a loud voice,
"Jane, come to me: it is thy husband who calls thee!" Thereupon the soldiers lowered their arms, permitted her to approach, and she shed
bitter tears on the bosom of her husband. He was then transported to the jail of Spandau near Berlin, where he remained until his recent escape.
The Leader tells the story in a few words:—"An officer's uniform was secretly conveyed to him, the password given him, and by the aid of a duplicate key of his cell be walked out , was mistaken by the sentinel for an officer, and passed
without question. What a moment must that have been as he gave the password!
What a rolling of the stone from his breast as be fairly stepped beyond the shadow of Spandau!' Escaping his pursuers, Kinkel passed through France, and is now safe in England.
Kinkel is free: and our hearts beat higher, and our eyes grow brighter
as we read that at least one of freedom's apostles has escaped the hellish fangs of his blood-thirsty enemies.
Yet is our joy dashed with grief at the thought of the thousands of political prisoners who are pining in the dungeons of France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Poland, Hungary, and
Siberia? Men of England! let the thought burn into your souls, that, not merely for their own countrymen, but for us also these martyrs have suffered and are suffering.
For us, they have sacrificed heart love, and fond affection; home, friends, every thing! to live and die for freedom.
Then, think of the numbers that have gone down in their blood—who have laid down their bodies as
barricades for freedom, and can no more answer when the trump of liberty shall sound its
They are gone.
When hope's blossoms many-numbered—
Stirred as if to burst—
When on earthquake-edge all slumbered—
Who have man accurst—
When our hearts like throbbing drums,
Beat for Freedom, ha! it comes,
God! they stumbled among tombs.
They are gone.
Freedom's strong ones young and hoary,
Beautiful of faith;
And her first dawn-blush of glory—
Gilds their camp of death.—
There they lie in shrouds of blood,
Murdered where for Right they stood!
Murdered, Christ-like, doing good.
They are gone,
And 'tis good to die, up-giving
Valour's vengeful breath—
To nurse heroes of the living
Thus divine is death!
One by one, dear hearts! they left us,
Yet Hope hath not all bereft us,
Triumph lamps the gap they cleft us.
They are here!
Here! where life run bloody rain—
When power from God seem'd wrencht—
Here! where tears fall molten brain,
And hands are agony-clencht!
See them! count their wounds! ha! now
There's a glory where the plough
Of Pain's fire-crown seam' d each brow.
They are here!
In the Etna of each heart,
Where Vengeance laughs hell-mirth!
In the torture-tears that start
O'er their glorious worth!
Tears? aye, tears of fire! proud weepers!
T'avenge these soul-sepultured sleepers!
Fire! to smith Death's blood-seed reapers.
They are here!
In the starry march of Time,
Beating at our side!
Let us live their lives sublime,
Die as they have died!
God shall wake! these martyrs come
Myriad-fold, from their heart tomb!
In the Despot's day of doom.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 21, 1850 [PRICE
OUT OF EGYPT.
FULL of grand and glorious meaning is
that old tradition of the Israelites coming out of the land of
bondage. The people are crushed and ground into the mire of misery—they
must cry aloud in their desolation when there is none to answer, and
suffer in their sorrow when there is none to save; they must plod on, in
the night time of sore affliction and the dark days of adversity—bear
the stripes of the cruel taskmaster's lash, even make bricks without
straw, before the deliverance comes. Then arises the Moses, and
smites the bonds that bind them to the chariot-wheels of despotism, and
champions them in the noble march to freedom. They go up out
of Egypt, and pass the Red Sea of fierce tribulation. Forty long years
of toil and travail, must be wrought out with tears and agony-sweat in the
wilderness. Then comes the ascent of the Mount Pisgah, and behold the
boundless beauty of the promised land!
Brothers, the peoples of the world are now about to go
up out of Egypt, the land of slavery and the shadow of death! They have
suffered horrors unknown to the denizens in the land of the Pharoahs.
Mothers and Fathers torn asunder in their old age and thrust out of
existence in the parish bastille. Sons driven to choose between
starvation and the hulks, daughters thrust beneath the feet of the
trampling town, and little children torn in their early infancy from the
arms of their mothers, to earn their own dear bread by eternally taxing
their tender strength and cheapening their flesh and blood—thousands
of these are born annually even as the silkworms are, for the young life
to be wrung out of them, and fashioned into aristocratic raiment and
splendid attire. Having borne and suffered all the misery which is
chronicled in the lives of the poor, they will now go forth toward the
land of promise. The deliverer, the Moses, has arisen, and the land
is already ripe with preparations for the coming journey. We may not
live to see the day when the people shall burst the last manacles of
tyranny—for it is written that of all the
multitudinous host which went up out of Egypt, there were but few lived to
look on the Canaan of their aspirations; even so may we fall by the way
and perish. Yet, O! my Brothers, while the day of our being is yet
at the full—ere the night cometh when no man shall
work, let us work in earnest to hasten the time, let each of us resolve to
live a life which shall break at least one link of Error's mighty chain,
and the people shall soon go free! Let each of us resolve to pluck up one
weed, and humanity shall speedily become a garden of flowers. Hold on, and
let not the heart die within you, my Brother,—though
you are toiling and toiling with no other interest in life then to
toil and to suffer—though you have run the
gauntlet of misery—and in this glorious God's
world with its rich over-brimmings of plenteousness and its boundless
wealth of blessings and beauty—seem to have no
part nor lot save to toil in darkling despair. You were not
fashioned thus divinely to slink and skulk about the world as though you
were a helot and interloper; your place is here! your work is here! and
you were not meant to droop and suffer, believe that. Even now I see
a light burning in your eves which is the light of knowledge,
knowledge which shall enable you to conquer the evil circumstances which
surround you with such untoward influences. All this toil and suffering
and martyrdom for faith in progress has not been in vain. Not in
vain have the armies of death-devoted lived martyr lives and died the
martyr's death. Not in vain has their heroic thought been spoken, or
their daring deeds been done. Not in vain is the earth watered by
your sweat and tears. Not in vain do these groans and lamentations
go up to God. For martyrdom and victory are twins. Still hope,
still work on, my suffering brother, though you may never become great as
the world goes, though your life may not stand as' a glorious pillar of
strength in the new temple of humanity, yet there needs lath and plaster
as well as pillars to build with, and better is it to be as lath and
plaster in the Temple of Freedom than to stand as strong pillars of great
strength in the tabernacles of Tyranny.
Brave spirits are abroad, they are starting from our
midst, I mark them in the hidden ways of life doing the work of God's own
lion-hearted heroes! laying their lives on the altar of their
faith. The world may little need their proud daring, their majestic
struggling, and their silent sufferings now, but ere long shall the
up-thundering sound of their mighty workings dash down barrier and mound
and put the world to shame. The trumpet of the time gives no
uncertain sound, it calls upon all the truth and manliness which is in
men, and bids them prepare for the on coming battle. Let the hypocrite and
the mammonite, war's crimson worshipper, and the worn hack of expediency
slink to their hiding-holes and blind their eyes like the ostrich in the
sand, all true hearts will leap up at the sound of the battle, with war to
all shams and hypocrisies; and strike heart-home at all cowardice and
slavery: sloth and oppression have yet to be started by such utterances
from poverty's nether hell of torture, as all their silken pillows will
not drown; only rip up the surface of this silken seeming, there lies a
weltering hell of misery and wretchedness from which the smoke of torment
ascends, ever ascends. Toil was not meant to be a curse, nor the
destiny of the toiler hopeless want and endless drudgery; nor because we
refuse allegiance of kingcraft, priestcraft, and aristocraft are we about
to bow the divinity within us at the shrine of the mammonites, the golden
calves! No chivalry have they, no altar of love in their, hearts,
with their gilded hypocrisy, yelept respectability; and their hearts a
yearn for nothing nobler than breeches-pocket music; we shall not
prostrate ourselves before the Juggernaut of any such tyranny—which
is the sediment filtered from all past tyrannies. The people are
coming out of the land of bond-age—they will pass
through the long wilderness of this competitive strife—and
the tyrants will yet pass through the. Red Sea of the people's hatred;
and though we who are now sowing the grain of our being for the future
food of humanity—though we may not reap the fruit
of our own toil—yet shall the harvest come in its
own good time, even though it be garnered above our tombs.
The Friend of the People.
February 7, 1852.
PETöFY, THE PEOPLE'S POET OF HUNGARY.
the call of Kossuth in 1848, the great heart of Hungary leapt up as at the
sound of a trumpet, and all classes of the people gathered to his standard.
They needed neither conscription or press-gang to whip them to the defence
of their country. The noble left his mansion and estates, and the
peasant left his cottage and bit of land, and went together to the field of
battle. The farmer took the horse that had ploughed his fields, and
the merchant converted his stock in trade into outfit and ammunition. From
city and from hamlet—from mountain and valley they hurried, at the sound of
the fatherland in danger—burning with noble enthusiasm, and attended by the
blessings land exhortations of the mothers, wives, and sweethearts, left
behind. The student and the lawyer came, and among the rest, the poet PETöFY,
only twenty-five years of age, but
a hero in heart, and recognised as the chief of Hungary's poets,—the Korner
of the Madyars. Already were his stirring lyrics circulating
like fire among his countrymen—he had wielded the pen nobly, and now the
man of thought was called upon to become the man of
action—and he took his place in the ranks of those ardent volunteers, eager
to strike a blow for the country of his love.
Petöfy, like Burns, Beranger, and other national poets, sprang from the
mass, the "mob." Very provoking for young gargon-crammed
aristocrat, and mummied scholar, but poetry, the flower of
the world, will continually spring up amid the thorns and bushes, in the
wilderness—by the way-side, and from the crevices of the city
pavement! Petöfy was the son of a humble tavern-keeper. Born in 1823, he
became a soldier very early in life but steadfastly followed
his literary pursuits. At length, as his mind expanded, and he began to reflect on the condition of his country, he left the
Austrian service, of which he was thoroughly disgusted. He went
to Pesth, where he published his first volume of Poems,— these were the honest
utterances of his heart, and as such went these straight to the heart of the
people. They were something rude
and rugged; nevertheless, they were passionately truthful, and terribly in
earnest. Of course he got severely handled by the
critics, who could not tolerate the self-taught genius and son of the
people. Petöfy was a Republican, and was at the head of the
inhabitants of Pesth, who abolished the Censorship in that city, and printed
one of the poet's own songs, as the first offering to their new freedom. This song was a noble and patriotic appeal to the people of
Petöfy was one of the furthest seeing of the Hungarian republicans; they were then
in the minority, and out-voted. With others he mounted
the red feather, and went forth an apostle of the Republic; but, seeing
that the time was not ripe, and that weightier matters than
party questions pressed upon them, he quietly retired, rather than call
forth dissension. A worthy lesson! The Austrians were about to
swoop down upon them—the Fatherland was in danger—and so he joined the
army of Bem, who loved him as though he had been his
son. He accompanied the Polish hero in numerous expeditions against the Wallachs, against Puchner and the Russians. In several
combats Petöfy highly distinguished himself: on one occasion, side by side
with Bern, in a crisis of the battle, actually charging the
Russian infantry with nothing but their artillery, of which Bern was, perhahaps, the greatest general on record. When the poet was not fighting
with his good sword in his hand, he fought
with his pen—and bravely did his songs, breathing of freedom, and radiant
with victory, ring out in the pauses of battle—cheering his
comrades under defeat, exalting their patriotism, increasing their courage,
and elevating them in soul and action to dare and do the
deeds of "demigods."
Petöfy has not been heard of since the last campaign of Bem, through which
he fought. It is not known whether he fell
fighting, or shared the horrible fate of those Honveds, who, remaining
wounded in the defiles of Transylvania, were thrown by the
Wallachs into the salt mines; or still wanders about in disguise 'awaiting
better times, and happier circumstances to avow himself.
Be this as it may, Hungary cherishes his name and his poetry in the
warmest corner of her heart, and she will not forget her
poet-soldier in the day of her coming glory. We shall not be able to give
any of his lyrics in this short paper—a great many
which were written during the late war, and are not yet collected; but
they are not lost. The people will not let them die and their
hearts are a safer record than paper. At some future time we will invite our
readers to a Hungarian Banquet, at which Petöfy shall be
Lord of the Feast.
(January 1, 1823 – July 31, 1849)
Ed. — Petőfi joined Polish revolutionary
general Bem's Transsylvanian army. That army fought a successful campaign
against Habsburg troops, Romanian and Transsylvanian German militias, but
was defeated repeatedly when the Russians intervened to aid the Austrians.
He was seen last time in the battle of Segesvár (Sighişoara), July 31, 1849.
The circumstances of his death are mysterious and debated. Mainstream
opinion is that he died in the battle, but some believe he was captured and
brought to Russia where he was killed, or died naturally. After the
Revolution was crushed, Petőfi's memory again began to shine, his poems were
popular, and his rebelliousness served as role model for Hungarian
revolutionaries and would-be revolutionaries of every political colour ever
Today hundreds of streets are named
after him throughout Hungary (perhaps one in every village), beside a
national radio station and a bridge in Budapest.
The first complete edition of Petofi's poems appeared in
1874. The best critical edition is that of Haras, 1894. There are numerous
indifferent German translations.