Yet the transplanted race which has in two centuries stepped from Delft Haven to San Francisco has no reason to be ashamed of its physical achievements, the more especially as it has found time on the way for one feat of labor and endurance which may be matched without fear against any historic deed. When civilization took possession of this continent, it found one vast coating of almost unbroken forest overspreading it from shore to prairie. To make room for civilization, that forest must go. What were Indians, however deadly,—what starvation, however imminent,—what pestilence, however lurking,—to a solid obstacle like this? No mere courage could cope with it, no mere subtlety, no mere skill, no Yankee ingenuity, no labor-saving machine with head for hands; but only firm, unwearying, bodily muscle to every stroke. Tree by tree, in two centuries, that forest has been felled. What were the Pyramids to that? There does not exist in history an athletic feat so astonishing.
But there yet lingers upon this continent a forest of moral evil more formidable, a barrier denser and darker, a Dismal Swamp of inhumanity, a barbarism upon the soil, before which civilization has thus far been compelled to pause,—happy, if it could even check its spread. Checked at last, there comes from it a cry as if the light of day had turned to darkness,—when the truth simply is, that darkness is being mastered and surrounded by the light of day. Is it a good thing to “extend the area of freedom” by pillaging some feeble Mexico? and does the phrase become a bad one only when it means the peaceful progress of constitutional liberty within our own borders? The phrases which oppression teaches become the watchwords of freedom at last, and the triumph of Civilization over Barbarism is the only Manifest Destiny of America.
Recent publications have again attracted our attention to a subject which about thirty years ago was the cause of great excitement and innumerable speculations. The very extraordinary advent, life, and death of Caspar Hauser, the novelty and singularity of all his thoughts and actions, and his charming innocence and amiability, interested at the time all Europe in his behalf. Thrown upon the world in a state of utter helplessness, he was adopted by one of the cities of