We are much interested in this publication, supposing it to represent the feeling of a large body of the working men, born of Germany, and to be regenerated in America.
But though we ourselves profess to belong to the “extreme left” of the army of Progress, though we hail the spirit of Reform wherever it seems to us to be a vital, creative, healthy, and not a feverish, restless, morbid spirit, yet, precisely for that reason, would we say to all concerned, “you must be sure your light is in proportion to your heat. Reform supposes not merely the melting to pieces by your hot desires the old form, but that there is also a vital re-creative principle engaged, fit to organize a new form, and the presence of this is apt to make us calm, though glowing. The fire must be fit for the altar, and rise in a clear, steady flame. The spirit of defiance and haste exhibited by the Volks-Tribun is not the spirit for Young America. She needs it not.—She needs only a deep intelligence of principles, a religious devotion to them in practice, and all things would be her’s.
We cannot wonder, Germans, if, after having thrown off so heavy and galling a harness, you fume and champ to find the bit still in your mouths; yet let this impatience be transient, and prize more justly and deeply the vast privileges you have already attained. Seek to extend them, to complete and elevate their scope—but let it be with deep, earnest conviction and well-considered acts, and not with heat and abuse.
Let our warlike friend look into his own breast, and see whether, if assailed and challenged in the same tone he used in addressing his “rich” compatriots, he is quite sure he would have responded in a more “human” fashion. It is not to a challenge, but an expectation of kindness and justice, that the human heart replies. Only the divine sheds its dew on all who will receive, on supplicants and challengers alike.
For the rest, there is a generosity in the temper of these pages, and we are glad to hear what are the signs of the times among the working men of German birth. Nor will the wise among their connection hold such lightly, but answer with candid counsel instead of contempt, whether in speech or silence.*
“Der Volks-Tribun . . . ,” 5 January 1846. New-York Daily Tribune, 17 January 1846, p. 1.