« ForrigeFortsæt »
figure in the centre, representing a lion on the face of the sun; and the flag of the Shah. It is singular not to find in the Persian ensigns any allusion to the ancient eagle of Cyrus.
The following is a general sketch of the division of all maritime flags into Christian, Mahometan, and Heathen :
CHRISTIAN powers, European and American
bar, Surat, Bengal—under British .
4 1 3
FLAGS, CRESCENT-Turkey and its dependencies
Africa and Arabia
The flags of the numerous independent tribes of Tartars in Arabia, Central and Southern Asia, are not included, nor are the flags of the unknown and numberless tribes of the interior of Africa. All the aboriginal inhabitants of America are covered by the flags of the Great Republic, of Britain, and the independent states, formerly colonies of Spain, and other European nations.
The result appears remarkable, as showing the disproportion between the numbers represented by standards and flags, and the actual population of the earth, divided between Christianity and all forms of false religion. At the same time, the general aspect thus presented is cheering for the spread of civilisation. We behold in this latter age of the world's history, Christianity advancing in majestic strides, and subduing the world and bringing it under its easy yoke; and we perceive the faith first preached by Christ and his humble fishermen on the sea shores of Tiberias, now professed by the most enlightened and powerful nations, and spread by them to the remotest parts of the earth reached over the great ocean.
A general survey of the Standards and Flags of all nations at
the beginning of the year 1848.—Reflections written at the end of that remarkable year.—Brief description of some of the principal Banners.—The Commercial Flag of the Bishop of Rome.—There can be no commercial or maritime enterprise under that flag.
In the great year of the shaking of the nations, of the overthrow of thrones, of the expulsion or abdication of kings, and of the adoption of new principles and forms of government, it becomes exceedingly interesting to take a survey of the standards, banners, and flags of all the nations and independent communities on the earth.
In casting the eye over the splendid array of banners, the symbols of the national independence, and the political power in peace and war, of all the kingdoms and states in the world, as they existed on the 24th of February, 1848, the beholder feels strange emotions, and he is disposed to regard those banners as the landmarks of countries mapped out on the globe, and as dates in the chronology of the history of nations. The beholder, in the silence of his solitude, places himself, in imagination, in a position whence he surveys all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and, as he ranges in thought from nation to nation, and among the various states, kingdoms, and empires, and by mental effort brings the past and the
present to bear on the future, he is agitated by fears and hopes unfelt before. But amidst the conflicting feelings which the close of such a remarkable year excites in the mind, faith and hope in the future preponderate. There is a mixture of joy and sadness, and the hope of better times to come is coloured with a solemnity awakened by the magnitude and extraordinary nature of the revolution which has shaken Europe. As the minds of men have been as much agitated as the nations, and opinions long cherished, on various subjects of vast importance, have not realised their consequences, it would be rash to hazard a prediction of the issue for good or evil of what shall come out of the events of the year, now running out by hours and days. But the beholder of the emblems of all nations may resign himself confidently into the future, and trust himself in it with the hopeful assurance of a glorious dawn to usher in the day of enlightened freedom to man, and of the regeneration of society.*
Nationality is not a mere name inscribed on certain countries in the geography of the globe, but it is a reality and a living principle in perfect harmony with the nature of man as a social being; but it has been abused and trampled on like many other beneficial principles and institutions, and turned by the hand of imperial and military force to the oppression and destruction of millions of the human race. The nationality of one people has thus been wielded as an instrument to destroy the nationality of another people. It is humiliating and unfortunate to the great mass of the
* The draft of this chapter was written on the 26th December, 1848, and the following days of that year, and the introductory paragraphs remain here almost the same as they were penned.
people of Christendom that they generally acquire a knowledge of their respective national banners and ensigns only as fatally displayed in war.
We feel confident that we shall receive a response from the depths of the sympathies of men's hearts to the hope that lost nationality may be restored to peoples, and that the arm of despotic military power stretched out to smite, may be withered and destroyed in the
In the beginning of the year 1848 there were 306 standards, ensigns, and flags recognised, the pictorial representations of which were published. Those were the maritime flags of all nations known in the great intercourse of the world.
The standards, ensigns, and flags thus exhibited form interesting subjects of study, and in their classification regard must be paid to geographical, ethnographical, religious, political, and commercial principles, with the understanding that the military question is here merged in the political. The history of national and tribal standards, and ensigns, would form a curious section of the general history of man, as showing the visible signs of ideas and opinions which affected and shaped the social condition of peoples. But for this we have here no space, and all we shall do will be to make a general division, with some particulars in illustration of the views which have been propounded in this work. With respect to the nomenclature used, we may say that the word “standard,” as applied to kingdoms and empires, properly means the large banner or flag on which are inscribed the armorial bearings of the dynasty or ruling family; when applied to Republics it means a large national ensign unfurled in presence of the chief or head of the government, or when hoisted on solemn occasions. A “ banner" is now a. poetical, term, and very expressive. An