[From the Avenir National, May 3, 1865.]

The speech of M. Rouher and the despatch of M. Drouyn de Lhuys, which we published yesterday; the speech of M. Troplong, and the address of the journals, which we publish to-day, are a striking and unmistakable testimony of the sympathy of Prance with the United States. The address of the four journals adds nothing to what they have already said, each one individually, since the day when they learned the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. We might, therefore, appear to be useless as well as, to have come late; but our confreres thought that a collective manifestation would give more force to the expression of our common sentiments, and we have not hesitated to identify ourselves with it. Under circumstances so solemn, it cannot be too often repeated, in every variety of tone, that the triumph of the north is the triumph of democracy; and we cannot express in too strong a manner to the United States the gratitude we owe them for the examples and lessons they have given us.

The United States have performed two great services, one to liberty, the other to human dignity.

It was a very old axiom of a very old school of publicists, that the durable establishment of a democratic government was not possible in a country of great extent and with a numerous population.

The United States extend over a territory thirteen or fourteen times as large as France; they have a population of thirty-five millions, and from the most moderate calculations, and without taking into account the constantly increasing emigration, North America, before the end of the present century, will contain from seventy to eighty millions, united by everything that can make a people great and strong—commerce, industry, the form of government, and the configuration of the territory.

What dominates in this country, to which so great a past promises so brilliant a future, is not only the republic, it is the greatest democracy and the most absolute which ever existed. And not only has this democracy endured from 1787, but it has not ceased a single day to enlarge itself and to gather strength. “I know nothing so annoying,” said Joseph de Maistre, “as the praises lavished on this infant in swaddling clothes; let it grow.” The infant has grown; it is now the most powerful republic that has ever appeared, a people with which Europe has for a long time had extensive dealings, and who shares with her the empire of the seas.

Democracy, in its conception and affiliation, in the most radical spirit, is, therefore, not incompatible with great extent of territory, or the power and duration of a great government. This has been demonstrated on the other side of the Atlantic, and that is the service which the United States have rendered to liberty.

They have rendered another equally important to human dignity, in showing that the citizen has become among them great and powerful, precisely because he has been little governed; they have proved that the real grandeur of the State depends upon the high personal qualities of the individuals. In our old societies power put the man in tutelage, or rather the man put himself in that position in the hands of the government, whom he looked to for everything he [Page 113] wanted in life, and for solutions which no government, whether monarchical or republican, could give.

The United States, on the contrary, have granted to public power just what it is fit that that power should possess, neither more nor less. There the government meddles neither with religion nor education, nor with morals. It does not, under the pretence of protection, hinder anything, impose restraints upon any one, or cause destruction of any kind. In demanding of governments what it is not in their power to confer, we have multiplied problems and rendered the solutions impossible. The United States have solved almost everything, because they have simplified everything.

The fundamental principle of society in the United States is, that each draws his own conclusions and acts in an independent manner. The citizen has entire liberty of action; but this liberty is granted to him at his own risk and peril. “Go ahead; depend only upon yourself.” Such is the motto of the American; and this motto, applied as well to political as to private life, has made a great people and great citizens. This is the service that the United States has rendered to human dignity.

We should look in vain elsewhere for such examples, such lessons, for so valuable a subject of political observation; we cannot borrow everything from a people, and there are many things in America which are unsuitable to Europe. But that which we should avail ourselves of everywhere is experience, because experience, being applicable to things in general as well as to fundamental matters of policy, is independent of the latitude and divergencies of institutions, and teaches us to distinguish what forms the essence of a free government from that which is purely French, English, or American.

Now what in all countries constitutes the essence of a free government is the feeling of dignity and personal valor which urges the man to make his way in the world without direction and assistance—to struggle alone, with the help of his intelligence and labor, against the trials of public and private life. Consequently, whoever desires not only to be free, but worthy of freedom, must act upon the American motto— “Go ahead; depend upon yourself”