The publishers of this interesting and spirited journal have, this year, begun to issue a weekly paper in addition to their former arrangement.—We regret not to have been able earlier to take some notice of their prospectus, but an outline of it will be new to most of our readers.
Their journal had hitherto been intended for German readers in this country, and has been devoted to topics of European interest, but by the addition of the Weekly, it hopes to discuss with some fulness those of American interest also, thus becoming “an organ of communication between Germans of the old and new home, as to their wants, interests, and thoughts.”
These judicious remarks follow,
“The editors do not coincide with those who believe it the vocation of the immigrant German by systematic separation from the people who offer him a new home, by voluntary withdrawal from the unaccustomed, and perhaps, for him too vehement stream of their life, in a word by obstinate adhesion to the old, to keep inviolate the stamp of his nationality.
“Rather is it their faith that it should be the most earnest desire of the immigrant, not merely to appropriate in form, but to deserve the rights of a citizen here, rights which we confide in the healthy mind of the nation to sustain him in, all fanatical opposition to the contrary notwithstanding. And he must deserve them by becoming an American, not merely in name but in deed, merely by assuming claims, but by appreciating duties.
“But while we renounce this narrow and one-sided isolation, desiring to integrate ourselves, fairly and truly, with the great family that receives us to its hospitality, we will hold so much the more firmly to the higher traits of our own race. We hold to the noble jewel of our native tongue, the memories of our nation’s ancient glory—the sympathy with its future as yet only glimmering in the dusk, our old, true, domestic manners—dear inherited customs, that give to the tranquilities of home their sanctity—to the intercourse between men a fresh, glad life.
“So much for our position in general.
“In the conduct of our plan two points of view are essential for us to consider. “We must look upon events in this country from the American point of view, and as our paper is destined for Europe also, must to the utmost of our power clarify the record from unjust and partial statements; such as, it is well known may be, in part at least deduced from home sources.
“And we would wish to look at American affairs from the European point of view, in so far as to hold ourselves remote from the party questions, except in their results. * * * *
“As to political affairs we shall limit ourselves, as much as possible, to a well-ordered chronicle of events, with summary remarks on topics of general interest, of trade and manufactures, and a survey of the more important products in the American Literature.”
They will also pay particular attention to whatever can interest their countrymen who are disposed to come hither.
They promise, as to American affairs, “to be just as far as in them lies, and independent, certainly.”
We think the tone of these remarks truly honorable and right-minded. It is such a tone that each division of our adopted citizens needs to hear from those of their compatriots, able to guide and enlighten them. We do want that each nation should preserve what is valuable in its parent stock. We want all the elements for the new people of the new world. We want the prudence, the honor, the practical skill of the English; the fun; the affectionateness, the generosity of the Irish; the vivacity, the grace, the quick intelligence of the French; the thorough honesty, the capacity for philosophic view, and deep enthusiasm of the German Biedermann; the shrewdness and romance of the Scotch—but we want none of their prejudices. We want the healthy seed to develope itself into a different plant, in the new climate. We have reason to hope a new and generous race—where the Italian meets the Dutch—the Swede the Jew. Let nothing be obliterated, but all be regenerated; let each leader say in like manner to his band, “Apply the old loyalty to a study of new duties. Examine yourself whether you are worthy of the new rights so freely bestowed upon you, and recognize that only intelligent action, and not mere bodily presence, can make you really a citizen on any soil. It is a glorious boon offered you to be a founder of the new dynasty in the new world, but it would have been better for you to have died a thousand deaths, beneath the factory wheels of England or in the prisons of Russia, than to sell this great privilege for selfish or servile ends. Here, each man has before him the choice of Esau, each may defraud a long succession of souls of their princely inheritance.”
“Do those whose bodies were born upon this soil reject you, and claim for themselves the name of natives? You may be natives, in another sort, for the soul may be re-born here. Cast for yourselves a new nativity, and invoke the starry influences that do not fail to shine into the life of a good man, whose heart is kept open daily to truth in every new form, whose heart is strengthened by a desire to do his duty valiantly to every brother of the human family. Offer upon the soil a libation of worthy feelings in gratitude for the bread it so willingly yields you, and it is true that the ‘healthy mind of the nation’ cannot long fail to greet you with joy, and hail your endowment with civic rights.”
“We must think there is a deep root, in fact, for the late bitter expressions of prejudice, however unworthy the mode of exhibiting them, against the foreign element in our population. We want all this new blood, but we want it purified, assimilated, or it will take all form of comeliness from the growing nation. Our country is a willing foster mother, but her children need wise tutors to prevent them from playing, willingly, or unwillingly, the viper’s part.”
There is a little poem in the Schnellpost by Mority Hartmann, called The Three, which would be a forcible appeal, if any were needed, in behalf of all who are exiled from their native soil. We translate it into prose, and this will not spoil it, as its poetry lies in the situation.
“In a tavern of Hungary are sitting together Three who have taken refuge there from storm and dark: In Hungary where the wind of chance drives together the children of many a land.
“Their eyes glow with fires of various light; their locks are unlike in their flow; but their hearts–their wounded hearts, are urns filled with the tears of a common grief.
“One cries—Silent companions! Shall we have no toast to cheer our meeting? I offer you one which you cannot fail to pledge—Freedom and greatness to the Father Land!
“To the Fatherland! But I am one that knows not where is his; I am a Gipsey; my fatherland lies in the realm of tradition; in the mournful tone of the violin swelled by grief and storm.
I pass musing over heath and moor, and think of my painful losses. Yet long since was I weaned from desire of a home, and think of Egypt, but as the cymbal sounds.
The second says. “This toast of Fatherland I will not drink, mine own shame should I pledge. For the seed of Jacob flies like the dried leaf, and takes no root in the dust of Slavery.”
The lips of the third seem frozen at the edge of his goblet. He asks himself in silence, “shall I drink to the Fatherland? Lives Poland yet, or is all life departed, and am I, like those, a motherless son?”
To those and others who, if they still had homes, could not live there, without starving body and soul, may our land be a Fatherland, and may they seek and learn to act as children in a father’s house!
A foreign correspondent of the Schnellpost, having, it seems, been reproved by some friends on the safe side of the water for the violence of his attack on crowned heads and other dilettanti, defends himself with great spirit, and argues his case well from his own point of view. We do not agree with him as to the use of methods, but cannot fail to sympathise in his feeling. Hereafter, we shall preface some of his sketches by these remarks of his, that our readers may judge by what light the picture was printed.
Anecdotes of Russian proceedings towards delinquents are well associated with one anecdote quoted of Peter, who yet was truly the Great.—In a foreign city, seeing the gallows, he asked the use of that three-cornered thing. Being told to hang people on, he requested that one might be hung for him, directly. Being told this unfortunately could not be done, as there was not criminal under sentence, he desired that one of his own retinue might be made use of. Probably he did this with no further thought than the Empress Catharine bestowed on having a ship of the line blown up as a model for the painter who was to adorn her palace with pictures of naval battles. Disregard for human life and human happiness is not confined to the Russian snows, or the eastern hemisphere; it may be found on every side, though, indeed, not on a scale so imperial.*
“Deutsche Schnellpost.” New-York Daily Tribune, 25 January 1845, p. 1.