or thought we knew, how much we were in love with free government
everywhere, although it might not take precisely the same form as our
own government. We were for free government in Italy; we were for free
government in Switzerland; and we were for free government, even under a
republican form, in the United States of America; and with all this,
every man would have said that England would wish the American Union to
be prosperous and eternal.
Now, suppose we turn our eyes to the East, to the empire of Russia, for
a moment. In Russia, as you all know, there has been one of the most
important and magnificent changes of policy ever seen in any country.
Within the last year or two, the present Emperor of Russia, following
the wishes of his father, has insisted upon the abolition of serfdom in
that empire; and twenty-three millions of human beings, lately serfs,
little better than real slaves, have been raised to the ranks of
freedom. Now, suppose that the millions of the serfs of Russia had been
chiefly in the South of Russia. We hear of the nobles of Russia, to whom
those serfs belonged in a great measure, that they have been hostile to
this change; and there has been some danger that the peace of that
empire might be disturbed during the change.