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ercised over communities and masses of men. Patriotism, home, religion, freedom, honour, loyalty, a great principle of government, or some master passion, may be symbolized or typified by a particular banner. This banner shall be the known and the acknowledged sign of the feeling, sentiment, or principle that is working in the minds and influencing millions, and, as as it is upreared and seen by multitudes, an instantaneous impression is communicated to them, and the social world may be moved therefrom far and wide. This explanation may account for those scenes which history describes of extraordinary excitement and enthusiasm in a people, not for a day or a year, but for generations. The banner is the visible embodiment of an idea ; and, striking the senses of men as objective beings, it is handed down, by father to son, the emblem of undying nationality.
Wė thus perceive the source of the mysterious power of national or warlike symbols over the minds of men, and by carrying forward this reasoning, as it were conversely, to an opposite or hostile symbol, we behold armies and nations in terrible and destructive conflict. This is quite manifest—for if the sign of a people's nationality, or religion, or liberty, be in the presence of, and approaching to, the sign or symbol held up by another people with hostile pretensions, there results an increased mutual excitement which can only be quenched in blood, or extinguished by the subjugation of one by the other. Hence we also perceive the principle upon which the sacredness of a
* “In all ages it has been seen how great is the power predominant idea to work upon the inert mass of mankind, to rouse the spirit of a nation, and to urge its votaries, by thousands if need be, into the field of battle and the very jaws of death.” -D'Aubigné's History of the Reformation, vol. ii. p. 209.
presence of emi
banner rests, and the dishonour of allowing it to fall into the hands of an enemy. A military standardbearer professionally is bound to save his ensign at the expense of his life :- he takes his oath to it, and he is paid for it; but, apart from soldiery duty, there is a higher motive which ought to nerve the soldier's arm in holding up the colours of his country against any enemy whatever. This reasoning is borne out by the practice of almost all people in times of imminent danger. There is generally some sacred banner which is reserved for occasions of public extremity, and brought out and unfurled to confirm the hearts and strengthen the hands of the people in nent danger. The old Oriflamme of France, and the green Standard of Mahomet, are examples ; and every country may produce, if need be, some sacred ensign. Our space
here does not allow of illustrations of this subject from general history; all that we can do, is simply to mention the sanguinary factions under the white, red, green, and blue colours that disturbed Constantinople in the fifth and sixth centuries.* The very sight of the colours appeared to have the same effect on men objectively, as the red flag has in inflaming the bull in the Spanish Amphitheatre. Men under the “ blue” slew men apparently only because they were under the "
green.” In English history, during the fifteenth century, we find an extraordinary manifestation of the opposite symbols of the banners of the white and the red roses. We cannot easily perceive, from the common histories of the political and military events of England, the real ideas symbolized in those banners respectively. The general notion is, that they merely represented the pretensions of two families competing for the
* See Gibbon, for an account of these factions, chap. xl.
sovereign power of the nation. There is no doubt of the ostensible fact of those banners of " white" and “red” colours having been carried by the houses of York and Lancaster ; but there was a meaning in them which lay deep in the popular sympathies and the national traditions of that age.
It would take too much space to bring together here facts, from Thierry's “ History of the Norman Conquest of England," to show, that in all the convulsions of that country, there were the under movements of the native population against the foreign race introduced at and after the Conquest. As the races became in time more and more amalgamated, their distinct movements became less perceptible ; but it would not be difficult to prove that the final struggle for ascendancy, which ended in the enthronement of Henry Tudor, of Welsh extraction, may be considered as the triumph of genuine British power over foreign pretensions. In the choice of the symbols or colours which represented the great idea of nationality, there appeared to have been some confusion, and the result was a curious and almost a capricious display of the old red standard of Cambria, or Wales, over the ancient white flag of the Anglo-Saxons. There appears to us something very striking, and even solemn, in this view of the nationality of England being symbolized, after so many invasions and dynastic revolutions, by the red standard of the old race that first took possession of the island, and gave its name of Prydain.* The design of this Section is to describe man as an objective being, and accessible to impressions from external things—and hence we perceive the immediate connection between a sign and an idea. Henry Tudor, afterwards Henry VII. of England, on his
Thierry's “History of the Norman Conquest,” book i.
landing in Wales from France, where he had lived for some time, " displayed a red flag, the old banner of the Cambrians, as if his design had been to excite that nation to take up arms, and to render it independent of the English. That enthusiastic nation, over which the power of signs was always very great, without examining whether the dispute between Henry Tudor and Richard III. was not foreign to itself, rallied, by a sort of instinct, around its old standard. The red dragon was planted on the mountain of Snowdon as the rallying point for the Welsh who had promised to arm in his cause.
A volume might be written on the mysterious power of signs as the representatives of great ideas in the minds of a people—and these, after all, not airy nothings. Who can read without emotion the accounts of the struggles in Scotland for religious and civil liberty under the old BLUE BANNER of the Covenant! —and the living generation may be assured that should the people of that country ever have to resist despotic spiritual pretensions, the blue standard set up in the land will again rally the people to defend their rights.
We have in unhappy Ireland, objectively under the influence of foreign and native priests, cases of almost daily disturbance and danger from the display of signs; and the power of the imperial government is required to keep out of sight the fatal ORANGE banner, which, if upreared by one party, would serve, like the old fiery and blood-stained cross of the Scottish Highlands, to rouse the Irish population to deeds of violence throughout the length and breadth of the land; and the struggle would, in all probability, soon assume the dignity of a national war under the GREEN standard of independence.
* Thierry's “Norman Conquest.”
OF THE ORIGIN AND PROGRESS OF
THE CROSS AND THE CRESCENT,
AS STANDARDS IN WAR.
The source of the respect and reverence for the figure of the
Cross. — No evidence that the early Christians preserved the Cross on which the Saviour suffered.—Frequency of the use of the Cross as an instrument of punishment.-Numbers of . persons recorded as having suffered crucifixion.—In the fourth century the real Cross of Christ was said to have been discovered.—The wood made merchandize of.—The necessity for true believers in the nineteenth century to analyse relics said to be of the Cross, and apply the materials to the test of botanical chemistry.
The great doctrine of the cross, in the redemption of man by Christ crucified, has given to the figure of an instrument of torture and death a sacredness and a dignity in the estimation of Christians. The resurrection was the victory achieved by the Redeemer over death and the grave; and we may describe the feelings with which Christians regard the figure of the cross, as mixed with deep gratitude and affection towards Him who
his life a ransom for many. The apostles and friends of the Great Sufferer, who