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lands, in throwing off the yoke of Spain in the sixteenth century, exhibited to the world an example of extraordinary power in the union and calm resolution of small communities against the mightiest nation of Europe. A people united, and determined to free themselves, are certain of gaining their objects. A people of this energetic cast of frame will endure the extremity of distress, before they rouse themselves to sweep off the authors of their misery; but sooner or later they will move, and rise with a shout that will be heard round the globe. The French nation is a living example, in illustration of what is here stated. The constitutional temperament of a people has much to do in these matters.
Coolness of temper and mental reflection will lead some people to contend for a principle, and calmly proceed to arm themselves for its support and practical application. John Hampden, as representing the English people, deliberately brought the question of illegal taxation to an issue, on his refusal to pay the amount of twenty shillings, demanded of him by a king, who wished to rule with a vigour beyond the law. He calmly appealed to his country, and roused it to resist the unjust claim: the country responded to his call, and a great revolution was the consequence.
The people of the British American colonies, stung by the injustice offered them by a dominant party in the mothercountry, pledged their property, and perilled their lives, in a struggle with a powerful nation, on a question of a demand of three-pence of duty on a pound of tea. They fought, and achieved their independence; and this marks an era in the history of mankind. It is not without its use to state these changes in terms, to show at a glance the origin, progress, and end of great revolutions.
On the authority of history, unjust taxation irritates a people into violent measures; and cruel exactions justify revolutions.—They are cause and effect, and the relation is preserved by the Governor of all created beings.
When one considers by centuries, the great events in the history of the world, and connects them together in groups, it is remarkable how closely they appear related; and in taking this view of them, and beginning with the outbreak under John Hampden, it will not perhaps be mere fancy to trace the connecting links from that event, to the consolidation of oligarchical power under George the Third, to the American war undertaken to crush the liberties of a great portion of British citizens, and to the revolution and independence of the North American States. Again, from that revolution was carried the torch that lit up in France the funeral pile of a defunct system of corruption— then followed the crash of thrones in all the kingdoms of Europe, save two—and kings became wanderers amidst the crowds of cities, or captives at the chariot-wheels of Napoleon. All Europe was convulsed, and all the nations of the earth looked on and trembled. Spain was torn up, and again cast down; and those vast regions of America, which she presumptuously claimed as her own, shook off the chains that bound them, and sprang into an independent existence.
The world was moved to its centre, and presents in the present day a new aspect, from the mighty revolution which issued from one great movement of the British race of people. Well may a man be proud of the British or Irish name, when he reflects on the powerful influence which it has pleased Almighty God to give to the people that bear it, over the destiny of the world! Let foreign nations, who begin to raise the heel, and turn round in an attitude as if to trample on this country, first count the cost to themselves of their daring designs; and, on the other hand, let the aristocratic party of this nation weigh its own fate in the balance, should perseverance in oppressive and unjust measures force the people to rouse themselves, and in the triumph of their own victory, to raise the shout of freedom from tyranny in all the nations of the earth. And let the sovereign of this great empire remember, and let her tell it to her children, and let her children tell it to another generation, that she occupies the throne of these realms, and bears the sceptre, by virtue of a title derived from a revolution which issued out of an attempt of a former monarch to lay an unconstitutional tax on the people.
As these historical sketches are not arranged chronologically, but are selected merely to illustrate the connection between partial and cruel taxation, and the revolutions to which it leads, the following instances are adduced ; and in bringing the Crusades to bear on the subject, it will be admitted that no more important event can be selected since the Christian era.
In the year 1096, the first of those extraordinary expeditions marched from Europe for Palestine, and the ninth and last of them departed in 1271; and in 1291, the final ruin of the European cause in the Holy Land, was effected by the recapture, by the Saracens, of the important fortress of Acre. Thus, for the space of about two hundred years, every country and state of Europe, from Sweden and Denmark, Scotland and Ireland, to Spain and Italy, poured forth their population, to fall by the sword of the infidels, or perish of hunger and thirst, or by pestilence, on the soil of Syria. It is calculated that about 2,000,000 of persons perished in these wild enterprises.
Before tracing the causes of, and motives for, the Crusades some of the consequences which ensued from them will first be noticed.
Perhaps the advantages which have been attributed to the intercourse with the East have been overrated, in considering the condition of Europe during the progress and after the cessation of the religious wars. The importation into the countries of Europe of the plunder of the East, certainly did not replace the wealth that was carried out of them for the prosecution of those wars; and the use of luxuries, not before known, and an improvement in manners, did not compensate for an increased ferocity of disposition acquired in such fanatical struggles. However, the common opinion is, that the civilization of Europe was advanced by the warlike intercourse for two centuries with the East. And it is supposed, that literature and refinement of taste were introduced from that part of the world. The various orders of military knights, half priests half soldiers, had their origin in the expeditions of the Crusades. The immense wealth of those orders excited the cupidity of the kings of France and other countries; and the vicious lives and supposed dangerous designs of the members of those secret societies, formed a plea for their suppression, and for the confiscation of their property.
One circumstance which always produces a deep impression on society, occurred during the progress of the Crusades; and that was, a pretty general transfer of property, in order to raise funds for the fitting out of the expeditions. Lands, houses, and moveable property, frequently changed hands, and the wealth of the church was augmented during the process. Indeed, the Crusades were so profitable to the coffers of the holy church, that several popes stimulated, by every means, kings, princes, and people, to carry them on. The English were beset by the emissaries from Rome, but were persuaded in vain " to commute their piety into gold." In fine, the condition of the common people was not improved, nor was the tyranny of the aristocracy broken, by the holy wars. However, there can be no doubt of the public mind, throughout Europe, having been heated and strongly excited by the extraordinary military, and partly commercial, enterprises of the Crusades. And this mental activity, nurtured by the knowledge derived from expeditions undertaken by men into the interior of Asia, gradually increased by what it fed on, and ended in those glorious discoveries, of America by Columbus, and of the doubling of the Cape of Good Hope by Vasco de Gam a. And these two important discoveries taking place about the same time, changed the destiny of the world.
The demand for shipping, for the conveyance of men and horses to the Holy Land during the Crusades, called into existence the fleets of Genoa, Marseilles, and Venice, and the commerce of those towns was extended to all parts of the shores of the Mediterranean sea. The principles of the maritime law, at present in force in Europe, were established in the thirteenth century, by the commercial cities of the Mediterranean. The important principle that the flag covers the merchandise, and that, during war, private property on board of vessels should be protected, was established by the municipality of Marseilles. The very forms of the charter-parties, now in use in the seaports of Great Britain, were taken from the contracts entered into with Genoa, to convey troops, pilgrims, and goods to the ports of Syria.
To a manufacturing and commercial people like the British, the revolutions of the Crusades have been of the greatest importance, as they have, more than any other nation, profited by the new channels of navigation and