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are free of entry and settlement in Great Britain to preach and minister wherever they choose, English clergymen are either prohibited in the Roman States, or are watched and haunted by inquisitorial police.
At page 164 we have alluded to the impracticability of navigating and trading under the Papal flag. In the formation of this reciprocal trading treaty there is evidently a lack of sound judgment and foresight on the part of the British Government. What are the manufactured articles imported into this country from Rome? Pictures, statues, and articles of taste; and the market will be filled with idol images, crucifixes, Madonnas, beads, amulets, and bones 'gathered out of the catacombs of Rome. Had the British Queen's Government demanded a free trade in Bibles to the Roman States, and a free circulation, there would have been wisdom and a right spirit displayed in the transaction. As it is, the British nation is compromised and humbled by the treaty declaration just concluded with the episcopal government of Rome.
A Design for a Standard and Ensign for the British and Irish
nation, on ethnographical principles, and on the basis of political equality.
We have with daring hands laid hold on the national standards, and protested against the use of the cross as an ensign either in peace or war.
It is unworthy an independent Protestant, and enlightened nation, to uprear the cross on its standard on the grounds which the history, and the tradition of the country, assign for its original adoption. The Scottish ensign is the offspring of a fable during an age of barbarity, invented to feed national vanity, or priestly cupidity. The English cross was the impious gift of a bishop of Rome to a foreign soldier, as his warrant for the invasion and conquest of England, and its subsequent title of the Cross of St. George was part of a fiction and fraud, meant, we suppose, to cover the disgrace of the defeat in the crusades.*
It is unworthy of a great Protestant nation; as the use of the cross, according to the principles of heraldry, constitutes it a standard of assumption and pretension.
* The legend, or fable of Saint George and the Dragon is quite unworthy of an enlightened Christian nation, and the sooner that such mummeries are consigned altogether to the pantomime for holiday children, the better it will be for the advance of civilisation. Why should a philosophic Christian people retain the tomfooleries of the dark ages, and thereby encourage the pretensions of Rome? Middleton, the learned author of “The Life of Cicero,” and translator of his works, wrote a letter from Rome, about the middle of last century, in
It is unworthy of the nation, inasmuch as it exposes itself to the acute observation of heathen and Mahometan peoples who witness the cross unfurled in battle by men who bear the name of Christians, and the religion is thus spurned and rejected for the inconsistency of its professors.
The national standard and ensign ought to be changed on principles of reason and taste, with a view to represent more correctly the predominant ideas in the minds of the people in the advanced civilisation of
The national ensign of England, Scotland, and Ireland, as it at present stands, is of a varied nature. The English portion of it received its character on the battle-field of Hastings. The portions respectively representing Scotland and Ireland were inserted under national treaties, and confirmed by the imperial legislature, in the year 1707 and 1800. The ensign is thus a standard, representing the alliance of three independent nations under one head, and unfurled to the world as that of the united kingdom of England, Scotland, and Ireland. This great idea of three nations united into one must, therefore, be embodied in any new symbol of nationality. It would be pleasing were Wales to be recognised in the national standard of alliance, but to do so would carry us back to a period of which he established the facts that the ritual, dresses, ceremonies, idols, and temples of the Romish Church, were borrowed, or transferred, from the ancient pagan worship. He gives the Latin inscription on an image or idol of Saint George, from which it appears that the name was substituted for Mars. The inscription on the pedestal was as follows:
“ As Mars our fathers once adored, so now,
To thee, O George, we humbly prostrate bow.”
English history too remote from the present times, and besides, it is represented in the red colour, typical of England. In forming the design for a national flag the predominant idea or principle must be embodied in a proper form, and in suitable and expressive colours-taking care that among all the nations of the world there is no similar model.
Historical tradition and custom have established the particular colours that belong to the respective nations. We have England represented by RED-Scotland by BLUE, and Ireland by GREEN; and a national ensign must therefore be composed of these three original and beautiful colours. These will give an ensign of three bars. With respect to the position and arrangement of the colours, the following suggestions might be tendered. Horizontal bars of equal breadth. In regard to the relative importance of the three nations, the red, as the symbol of England, ought to be at the top-as the most distinguished place—but it is placed in the middle to save the delusive effect of the blue and green in contact. In regard to the position of the blue and the green, Scotland takes precedence in the order of union, and the blue bar ought, therefore, to be at the top. But in national treaties the confederating parties treat on the principle of equality. The horizontal position of the bars is necessary for the sake of ethnological distinction, of the three peoples treating as three independent nations. This idea could not be well represented by perpendicular bars. The banner staff is fixed in the earth, and points to heaven ; and in this case it forms the band of union of the three colours which stream from it in the sight of the world, as the ensign of the nation. For the choice of the horizontal bars waving from the staff there is another deep and impressive meaning. We are in
imagination arranging a rainbow banner to serve as an ensign of peace to the nation. The mind's eye, in straining itself through the vista of time, amidst the gloom which lowers over the prospect, discovers the distant dawn of brighter skies, and of more peaceful times. It is this hope and this vision which refresh the eye and cheer the mind in present troubles and anxieties. But another alternative must be met and grappled with, for, in the interval which separates the present from the distant future, who can tell what convulsions and calamities may befall this nation? Men have been so accustomed to extraordinary changes and revolutions, and overthrow of kingdoms within the last fifty years, that they ought to allow no event, however strange, to take them by surprise. The time may come when the British nation may have to nail its banner to the mast in defence of its country; and in this dire extremity the people would doubtless stand by their colours as long as a nail stuck to the staff, or a rag fluttered in the storm of war.
We have sketched a national standard for three nations united into one, and we have drawn it as representing the ethnographical principles, and the political equality contained in the union. But in order to concentrate, in this emblematical symbol, other great ideas and principles, the following triads may be suggested as comprising the religious, moral, and economical condition of the people composing the great national community:
RELIGIOUS Faith, Hope, Charity.
Truth, Honour, Valour.