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Title: Charles Sumner; his complete works, volume 1 (of 20) - With an introduction by Hon. George Frisbie Hoar
Author: Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874
Language: English
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[Illustration: CHARLES SUMNER]

                     Statesman Edition      VOL. I

                            Charles Sumner

                          HIS COMPLETE WORKS

                           With Introduction


                       HON. GEORGE FRISBIE HOAR


                            LEE AND SHEPARD

                           COPYRIGHT, 1899,


                           LEE AND SHEPARD.

                          Statesman Edition.


                           OF WHICH THIS IS

                                No. 565

                            Norwood Press:
                        NORWOOD, MASS., U.S.A.

      Believe me still, as I have ever been,
      The steadfast lover of my fellow-men;
      My weakness, love of holy liberty;
      My crime, the wish that all mankind were free:
      Free, not by blood; redeemed, but not by crime;
      Each fetter broken, but in God's good time.



In this collection the arrangement is strictly chronological. Every
article will be found according to its date, without reference to the
subject or occasion, thus showing the succession of efforts as they



  INTRODUCTION. BY HON. GEORGE FRISBIE HOAR                        vii

  THE TRUE GRANDEUR OF NATIONS. An Oration before the
  Authorities of the City of Boston, July 4,                      1845

  Boston Daily Advertiser, September 16, 1845                      133

  THE WRONG OF SLAVERY. Speech at a Public Meeting in Faneuil
  Hall, Boston, against the Admission of Texas as a Slave State,
  November 4, 1845                                                 149

  EQUAL RIGHTS IN THE LECTURE-ROOM. Letter to the Committee of
  the New Bedford Lyceum, November 29, 1845                        160

  PRISONS AND PRISON DISCIPLINE. Article from the Christian
  Examiner, January, 1846                                          163

  THE EMPLOYMENT OF TIME. Lecture before the Boston Lyceum,
  delivered in the Federal Street Theatre, February 18, 1846       184

  Law Reporter of June, 1846                                       214

  Oration before the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Harvard University,
  at their Anniversary, August 27, 1846                            241

  Convention of Massachusetts, in Faneuil Hall, Boston, September
  23, 1846                                                         303

  Robert C. Winthrop, Representative in Congress from Boston,
  October 25, 1846                                                 317

  Papers, October 31, 1846                                         330

  SLAVERY AND THE MEXICAN WAR. Speech at a Public Meeting in the
  Tremont Temple, Boston, November 5, 1846                         333

  VOLUNTEERS FOR THE MEXICAN WAR. Argument before the Supreme
  Court of Massachusetts, January, 1847                            352

  Meeting in Faneuil Hall, Boston, February 4, 1847                374

[Illustration: GEORGE F. HOAR]



The speeches of Charles Sumner have many titles to endure in the memory
of mankind. They contain the reasons on which the American people
acted in taking the successive steps in the revolution which overthrew
slavery, and made of a race of slaves, freemen, citizens, voters. They
have a high place in literature. They are not only full of historical
learning, set forth in an attractive way, but each of the more
important of them was itself an historical event. They afford a picture
of a noble public character. They are an example of the application of
the loftiest morality to the conduct of the State. They are an arsenal
of weapons ready for the friends of Freedom in all the great battles
when she may be in peril hereafter. They will not be forgotten unless
the world shall attain to such height of virtue that no stimulant
to virtue shall be needed, or to a depth of baseness from which no
stimulant can arouse it.

Mr. Sumner held the office of Justice of the Peace, and that of
Commissioner of the Circuit Court, to which he was appointed by his
friend and teacher, Judge Story. He was a member of the convention
held in 1853 to revise the Constitution of the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts. With these exceptions, his only official service was as
Senator in Congress from Massachusetts, from the 4th of March, 1851,
when he was just past forty years of age, until his death, March 9,

If his career could have been predicted in his earliest childhood, he
could have had no better training for his great duties than that he
in fact received. He was one of the best scholars in the public Latin
School in Boston. He received the Franklin medal from the hands of
Daniel Webster, who told him that "the state had a pledge of him."
His school life was followed by four years in Harvard College, and a
course at the Harvard Law School, where he was the favorite pupil of
Judge Story. He was an eager student of the Greek and Roman classics.
But his special delight was in history and international law. After his
admission to the bar he was reporter of the decisions of his beloved
master, and edited twenty volumes of the equity reports of Vesey, Jr.,
which he enriched with copious and learned notes. A little later, when
he was twenty-six years old, he spent a month in Washington, tarrying
a short time in New York on his way. In that brief period he made
life-long friendships with some famous men, including Chancellor Kent,
Judge Marshall, and Francis Lieber. He had a rare gift for making
friendships with men, especially with great men, and with women. With
him in those days an acquaintance with any person worth knowing soon
ripened into an indissoluble friendship.

A few years later he spent a little more than two years in Europe,
coming home when he was just past twenty-nine years old. That time
was spent in attending courts, lectures of eminent professors, and
in society. No house which he desired to enter seems to have been
closed to him. Statesmen, judges, scholars, beautiful women, leaders
of fashionable society, welcomed to the closest intimacy this young
American of humble birth, with no passport other than his own
character and attainment. It is hardly too much to say that the youth
of twenty-nine had a larger and more brilliant circle of friendship
than any other man on either continent. The list of his friends and
correspondents would fill many pages. He says in a letter to Judge
Story, what would seem like boasting in other men, but with him was
modest and far within the truth:--

"I have a thousand things to say to you about the law, circuit life,
and the English judges. I have seen more of all than probably ever fell
to the lot of a foreigner. I have had the friendship and confidence
of judges, and of the leaders of the bar. Not a day passes without
my being five or six hours in company with men of this stamp. My
tour is no vulgar holiday affair, merely to spend money and to get
the fashions. It is to see men, institutions, and laws; and, if it
would not seem vain in me, I would venture to say that I have not
discredited my country. I have called the attention of the judges and
the profession to the state of the law in our country, and have shown
them, by my conversation (I will say this), that I understand their

He returned from Europe bringing his sheaves with him. He resolved to
devote himself to the study and practice of jurisprudence, to avoid
political strife and political office, hoping that he might, perhaps,
at some future time, succeed to the chair of Judge Story at Harvard.
He kept up his habit of incessant labor. He contributed to the reviews
and newspapers a few essays on literature and jurisprudence, and some
obituary notices of deceased friends. He became interested in prison
discipline and in the cause of peace. In January, 1846, he engaged in
an earnest debate in the Prison Discipline Society, in which he favored
the system of separate imprisonment for criminals, and maintained
his side with great power. July 4, 1845, he delivered in Boston the
oration printed in these volumes entitled, "The True Grandeur of
Nations," which was declared by Richard Cobden to be the most powerful
contribution to the cause of peace made by any modern writer. August
27, 1846, he delivered before the Phi Beta Kappa Society, at Harvard,
his oration entitled, "The Scholar, The Jurist, The Artist, The
Philanthropist," in which, in the form of eulogies of his four friends,
Pickering, Story, Allston, and Channing, he set forth with masterly
eloquence the beauties of the virtues of which they were shining

But he could not remain an indifferent spectator of the great contest
then going on between freedom and slavery for the possession of the
vast territory between the Mississippi and the Pacific. His first
public speech against slavery, printed in these volumes, was delivered
November 4, 1845. June 28, 1848, he was present at the meeting in
Worcester, where the Free Soil party, afterward the Republican party,
was founded, and from that time was recognized in Massachusetts, and
very largely throughout the country, as the most eloquent leader and
champion of the political movement against slavery. He was elected to
the seat of Daniel Webster, in the Senate of the United States, April
24, 1851, and took the oath of office December 1, 1851. The history of
his career from that time to his death, the history of the great party
he helped to found, the history of liberty in the United States, are
almost identical.

  "The record of the cause he loved
  Is the best record of its friend."

It was impossible for Charles Sumner to keep aloof from the great
contest for which he was the best equipped champion alive, or to
decline to obey the voice of the beloved commonwealth commanding him
to take his place in the front and heat of the battle. He had every
quality of soul and intellect, every accomplishment, every equipment,
needed to fit him for that lofty leadership. Emerson said of him that
he had the whitest soul he ever knew. In such warfare no armor of proof
is like the defence of absolute integrity, no temper of the sword is
like that of perfect purity.

  "My good sword cleaves the casques of men,
  My tough lance thrusteth sure,
  My strength is as the strength of ten,
  Because my heart is pure."

He was a man of absolute singleness of purpose and directness of aim. He
went straight to his mark. His public life was devoted to one object,
which absorbed his whole soul; that was to make righteousness and
freedom controlling forces in the government of the country. He had no
other ambition. He desired public office only as he could make it an
instrument to that end. He cared for history only as its lessons were
lessons of justice and freedom. He cared for literature only as he
could draw from it persuasion, argument, or illustration which would
advance that lofty purpose. He cared for art only when it taught a
moral lesson.

He had a marvellous capacity for work. From the beginning to the end,
his life was a life of incessant labor. He had no idle moments. Even
conversation, in which he delighted, was an intellectual exercise. In
college, the lonely light shone out from his study window, where he

  "outwatched the Bear"

long after the gayest of youthful revellers had gone to bed. Even in
the heat of summer, in Washington, his life was crowded with hard
work. I have known him more than once to fix the hour of midnight for
a meeting with delegations with whom he could find no time in the busy

The results of this incessant toil were retained in a memory from which
nothing seemed to escape. As it was impossible for him to be idle, so
it seemed impossible for him to forget. His mind was an encyclopædia
of the literature and history of constitutional liberty.

He had an indomitable courage. He never flinched or hesitated. He was
never troubled with doubts. He saw everything clearly, and could never
understand the state of mind of a man who could not see things as he

His was the most hopeful nature it was ever my fortune to know. The
great virtue of hope, the central figure in the mighty group which
the apostle tells us are forever to abide, possessed the very depths
of his soul. He came into public life when slavery controlled every
department of the government; legislated through Congress; administered
the law through the Executive; sat on the bench of the Supreme Court.
The first years of his public service were years of signal victories of
the slaveholding power. To common men the day seemed constantly growing
darker and darker, and the cause of freedom more and more hopeless.
Sumner never abated one jot or tittle of his sublime confidence. The
close of some of his speeches in those days is a trumpet note of

When he was stricken down in the Senate-chamber by the bludgeon of an
assassin, his first conscious utterance as he recovered from the stupor
caused by the terrible blows upon his head was that he would renew the
conflict with slavery in the Senate as soon as he could return there.
In his first public speech, a few weeks afterward, he said: "You have
already made allusion to the suffering which I have undergone. This is
not small, but it has been incurred in the performance of duty; and
how small is it compared with that tale of woe which is perpetually
coming to us from the house of bondage! With you I hail the omens of
final triumph. I ask no prophet to confirm this assurance. The future
is not less secure than the past."

He prefixed to his own edition of his works the motto from Leibnitz:--

  "Veniet fortasse aliud tempus, dignius nostro,
  Quo, debellatis odiis, veritas triumphabit."

But there was no "fortasse" about it, to his confident and triumphant

He had a gentle, affectionate, and magnanimous nature, incapable of
hatred or revenge. In spite of his severity of speech, his differences
with men were differences of principle, never personal. There is no
nobler sentence in political history than that with which he begins his
first speech after his injury, when he got back from Europe and took
his place again in the Senate:--

    "Mr. President: Undertaking now, after a silence of more than
    four years, to address the Senate on this important subject, I
    should suppress the emotions natural to such an occasion, if I did
    not declare on the threshold my gratitude to that Supreme Being
    through whose benign care I am enabled, after much suffering and
    many changes, once again to resume my duties here, and to speak
    for the cause so near my heart. To the honored commonwealth whose
    representative I am, and also to my immediate associates in this
    body, with whom I enjoy the fellowship which is found _in thinking
    alike concerning the Republic_, I owe thanks, which I seize the
    moment to express, for indulgence extended to me throughout the
    protracted seclusion enjoined on me by medical skill; and I trust
    it will not be thought unbecoming in me to put on record here, as
    an apology for leaving my seat so long vacant, without making way,
    by resignation, for a successor, that I acted under the illusion of
    an invalid, whose hopes for restoration to natural health continued
    against oft recurring disappointment.

    "When last I entered into this debate, it became my duty to
    expose the crime against Kansas, and to insist upon the immediate
    admission of that territory as a state of this Union, with a
    constitution forbidding slavery. Time has passed, but the question
    remains. Resuming the discussion precisely where I left it, I
    am happy to avow that rule of moderation which, it is said, may
    venture to fix the boundaries of wisdom itself. I have no personal
    griefs to utter; only a vulgar egotism could intrude such into this
    chamber. I have no personal wrongs to avenge; only a brutish nature
    could attempt to wield that vengeance which belongs to the Lord.
    The years that have intervened and the tombs that have opened since
    I spoke[1] have their voices, too, which I cannot fail to hear.
    Besides, what am I, what is any man among the living or among the
    dead, compared with the question before us? It is this alone which
    I shall discuss, and I begin the argument with that easy victory
    which is found in charity."

    [1] Preston S. Brooks and Senator Butler had both died in the

He was proud that he was an American, proud of his State, proud of his
birthplace, proud of his office. To his mind the most exalted position
on earth was the position of a Senator of the United States. And if he
thought that to be a Massachusetts Senator was a prouder title still,
who shall blame him? From the beginning he had Massachusetts behind
him; when he spoke from his seat, it was the voice, not of a man, but
of a commonwealth.

It seemed sometimes as if he thought everything that had been
accomplished for freedom was accomplished in the Senate; that even the
war was but a tumult which had disturbed the debates, somewhat. He kept
his senatorial robe unstained. He seemed never to lay it aside. There
was no place in his life for jesting or trifling. He had no sense of
humor. The pledge which he took upon his lips when he entered upon his
great office he kept religiously to the end. "To vindicate freedom
and oppose slavery is the object near my heart. Others may become
indifferent to these principles, bartering them for political success,
vain and short-lived, or forgetting the visions of youth in the dreams
of age. Whenever I forget them, whenever I become indifferent to them,
whenever I cease to be constant in maintaining them through good report
and evil report, then may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, may
my right hand forget its cunning."

His political creed, his political Bible, his Ten Commandments, his
Golden Rule, were the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution
of the United States penetrated, illuminated, interpreted by the
Declaration of Independence. There was not a syllable in that august
document to be omitted or qualified. It was to him a permanent,
perfect, universal law of national life.

On many of the great questions with which the American people had to
deal for the last thirty years of his life,--from 1844 to 1874--he
was the leader and guide. His speeches on these subjects, contained
in these volumes, were the speeches which attracted widest public
attention at the time. They contained the arguments which convinced the
public mind. They are probably, in most cases, the only ones remembered
now. Toward the close of his life he gave much study to the questions
of finance and currency. If his life had been spared he doubtless would
have been foremost in conducting the country in the path of financial
safety and integrity. The titles of the following speeches, to which
many others might be added, suggest the principal subjects with which
he dealt.


    The True Grandeur of Nations. July 4, 1845.

    The Wrong of Slavery. Nov. 4, 1845.

    Equal Rights in the Lecture Room. (Letter.) Nov. 29, 1845.

    Prison Discipline. (Separate System.) January, 1846.

    Scholar, Jurist, etc. Ph. B.R. Aug. 27, 1846.

    Antislavery Duties of the Whig Party. Sept. 23, 1846.

    Withdrawal of Troops from Mexico. Feb. 4, 1847.


    White Slavery in the Barbary States. Feb. 17, 1847.

    Fame and Glory. Aug. 11, 1847.

    Sundry Speeches in behalf of New Party to oppose Slavery.

    War System of Nations. May 28, 1849.


    Equality before the Law. Dec. 4, 1849.

    Welcome to Kossuth. Dec. 10, 1851.

    Justice to the Land States. Jan. 27, Feb. 17, March 16, 1852.

    Cheap Ocean Postage. March 8, 1852.

    Pardoning Power of the President. May 14, 1852.

    Freedom National, Slavery Sectional. Aug. 26, 1852.


    The Basis of the Representative System. July 7, 1853.

    Bills of Rights. July 25, 1853.

    Repeal of the Missouri Compromise. Feb. 21, 1854.

    Final Protest against Slavery in Nebraska and Kansas. May 25, 1854.

    Union of all Parties against the Slave Power. May 29, 1854.


    Origin of Appropriation Bills. Feb. 7, 1856.

    Abrogation of Treaties. May 8, 1856.

    The Crime against Kansas. May 19, 20, 1856.


    The Electric Telegraph. Aug. 17, 1858.

    The Barbarism of Slavery. June 4, 1860.


    Lafayette. Nov. 30, 1860.

    No Surrender of the Northern Forts, against the Crittenden
    Compromise. Feb. 15, 1861.

    Object of the War. July 24, 1861.

    Sympathies of the Civilized World not to be repelled. Speech
    against Increase of 10 per cent on all Duties. July 29, 1861.

    Emancipation our Best Weapon. Oct. 1, 1861.

    Slavery the Origin and Mainspring of the Rebellion. Nov. 27, 1861.


    Revision and Consolidation of the National Statutes. Dec. 12, 1861.

    Trent Case and Maritime Rights. Jan. 9, 1862.

    Treasury Notes a Legal Tender. Feb. 13, 1862.

    Help for Mexico against Foreign Intervention. Feb. 19, 1862.

    State Suicide and Emancipation. March 6, 1862.

    Final Independence of Haiti and Liberia. April 23, 1862.

    Final Suppression of the Slave Trade. April 24, 1862.

    Emancipation in the District. April 28, 1862.

    No Names of Victories over Fellow-citizens on Regimental Colors.
    May 8, 1862.

    Testimony of Colored Persons. May 12, 1862.


    Rights of Sovereignty and Rights of War. May 19, 1862.

    Help from Slaves. May 26, 1862.

    Tax on Cotton. May 27, 1862.

    War Powers of Congress. June 27, 1862.

    The Proclamation of Emancipation. Oct. 6, 1862.

    Emancipation Proclamation our Corner-stone. Oct. 10, 1862.

    Prudence in our Foreign Relations. Feb. 3, 1863.

    Employment of Colored Troops. Feb. 9, 1863.

    Pacific Railroad. May 23, 1863.


    Our Foreign Relations. Sept. 10, 1863.

    Power of Congress over the Rebel States. Atlantic Monthly. October,

    Equal Pay of Colored Soldiers. Feb. 10, 1864.


    French Spoliation Claims reported. April 4, 1864.

    National Banks and the Currency. April 27, 1864.

    Reform in the Civil Service. April 30, 1864.

    Slavery and the Rebellion One and Inseparable. Nov. 5, 1864.


    Motion to admit a Colored Lawyer to the Bar of the Supreme Court of
    the United States. Feb. 1, 1865.

    Participation of Rebel States not necessary in Ratification of
    Constitutional Amendments. Feb. 4, 1865.

    Opinion on the Case of the Smith Brothers. March 17, 1865.

    Guaranties for the National Freedmen and the National Creditor.
    Sept. 14, 1865.


    Republican Form of Government the Essential Condition of Peace.
    Dec. 4, 1865.

    Equal Rights of Colored Persons to be protected in the National
    Courts. Dec. 4, 1865.

    Whitewashing by the President. Dec. 19, 1865.

    Protection of the National Debt. Jan. 5, 1866.

    Protection of Civil Rights. Feb. 9, 1866.


    Ship Canal through the Isthmus of Darien. July 25, 1866.

    Metric System. July 27, 1866.

    The One Man Power _versus_ Congress. Oct. 2, 1866.

    Cheap Books and Public Libraries. Jan. 24, 1867.


    Cession of Russian America to the United States. April 9, 1867.


    Are We a Nation? Nov. 19, 1867.

    Expulsion of the President. Impeachment of Andrew Johnson. May 26,

    Specie Payments. July 11, 1868.


    Powers of Congress to prohibit Inequality, Caste, etc. Feb. 5, 1869.

    Claims on England. April 13; Sept. 22, 1869.

    Return to Specie Payments. Dec. 7, 1869.

    Cuban Belligerency. Dec. 15, 1869.

    Specie Payments. Jan. 12, 26; Feb. 1; March 2, 10, 11, 1870.


    One Cent Postage with Abolition of Franking. June 10, 1870.

    Duel between France and Germany. Oct. 26, 1870.

    Naboth's Vineyard Speech on Proposed Annexation of San Domingo.
    Dec. 21, 1870.

    Italian Unity. Jan. 10, 1871.


    Violations of International Law and Usurpations of War Powers.
    March 27, 1871.

    One Term for President. Dec. 21, 1871.


    Arbitration a Substitute for War. May 31, 1872.

    Republicanism _versus_ Grantism. May 31, 1872.

    No Names of Battles with Fellow-citizens on the Regimental Colors
    of the United States. Dec. 2, 1872.

    International Arbitration. July 10, 1873.

    Civil Rights Bill. Jan. 27, 1874.

If any one doubt the practical sagacity and consummate statesmanship
of Charles Sumner let him read the speech in the Trent case. He had a
most difficult task. He had to reconcile a people smarting under the
sting of English disdain and dislike to meet an insolent demand to
give up men we had taken from an English ship, when every man in the
United States believed England would have taken them from us in a like
case; and to do this not only without dishonor, but so as to turn an
apparent defeat into victory. The English cabinet, as is often the case
with men who act arrogantly, acted hastily. They put their demand and
their menace of war on grounds which justified us and put them in the
wrong on the great contention which had existed from the beginning of
our government. The United States had been, till the outbreak of the
civil war, and hoped to be forever after that war was over, a great
neutral power. She was concerned to establish the immunity of the decks
of her ships. Sumner saw and seized our opportunity. Great as was
the influence of President Lincoln, it seems unlikely that even his
authority would have reconciled the American people to the surrender
of Mason and Slidell without the support of Sumner. It would certainly
have been a terrible strain upon his administration.

None of these speeches bears the marks of haste. In general no
important consideration is overlooked and no important authority fails
to be cited. Several of them were addressed to the Senate at a time
when in the beginning he was able to convince scarcely anybody but
himself. But in the end Senate and people came to his opinion.

Let me repeat what I said in reviewing Mr. Pierce's admirable

    "Let us hope that these volumes will always be a text-book for
    Americans. Let successive generations be brought up on the story of
    the noble life of Charles Sumner. Let the American youth think of
    these things. They are things true, honest, just, lovely, and of
    good report. There is virtue in them and praise, if there be any
    virtue, and if there be any praise. They do not belong to fiction,
    but to history. It is no Grecian, or Roman, or English heroism
    that the youth is invited to study. Charles Sumner belongs to us.
    His youth was spent under a humble American roof. His training
    was in an American school and college. He sleeps in American
    soil. He is ours, wholly and altogether. His figure will abide in
    history like that of St. Michael in art, an emblem of celestial
    purity, of celestial zeal, of celestial courage. It will go down
    to immortality with its foot upon the dragon of slavery, and with
    the sword of the spirit in its hand, but with a tender light in its
    eye, and a human love in its smile. Guido and Raphael conceived
    their 'inviolable saint,'

      "'Invulnerable, impenetrably armed;
      Such high advantages his innocence
      Gave him above his foe; not to have sinned,
      Not to have disobeyed; in fight he stood
      Unwearied, unobnoxious, to be pained
      By wounds.'

    The Michael of the painters, as a critic of genius akin to
    their own has pointed out, rests upon his prostrate foe light
    as a morning cloud, no muscle strained, with unhacked sword and
    unruffled wings, his bright tunic and shining armor without a
    rent or stain. Not so with our human champion. He had to bear the
    bitterness and agony of a long and doubtful struggle, with common
    weapons and against terrible odds. He came out of it with soiled
    garments, and with a mortal wound, but without a regret and without
    a memory of hate."

Charles Sumner will always be a foremost figure in our history. His
name will be a name to conjure with. Whenever freedom is in peril;
whenever justice is menaced, whenever the race, whose right he
vindicated, shall be trodden under foot, those lips of stone, from
the stately antechamber of the Senate, will again utter their high
commands. The noble form of Charles Sumner, to the vision of the lovers
of liberty, will seem to take its place again in the front of the

   "Pass thou first, thou dauntless heart,
    As thou wert wont of yore."

  December, 1899.

                     THE TRUE GRANDEUR OF NATIONS.


    O, yet a nobler task awaits thy hand,
    (For what can war but endless war still breed?)
    Till truth and right from violence be freed.

                        MILTON, _Sonnet to Fairfax_.

    Pax optima rerum
    Quas homini novisse datum est; pax una triumphis
    Innumeris potior; pax custodire salutem
    Et cives æquare potens.

                SILIUS ITALICUS, _Punica_, Lib. XI. vv. 592-595.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Sed majoris est gloriæ _ipsa bella verbo occidere_ quam homines
    ferro, et acquirere vel obtinere pacem pace, non bello.--AUGUSTINI
    _Epistola_ CCLXII., _ad Darium Comitem_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Certainly, if all who look upon themselves as men, not so much from
    the shape of their bodies as because they are endowed with reason,
    would listen awhile unto Christ's wholesome and peaceable decrees,
    and not, puffed up with arrogance and conceit, rather believe
    their own opinions than his admonitions, the whole world long ago
    (turning the use of iron into milder works) should have lived
    in most quiet tranquillity, and have met together in a firm and
    indissoluble league of most safe concord.--ARNOBIUS AFER, _Adversus
    Gentes_, Lib. I. c. 6.

       *       *       *       *       *

    And so for the first time [three hundred years after the Christian
    era] the meek and peaceful Jesus became a God of Battle, and
    the cross, the holy sign of Christian redemption, a banner of
    bloody strife. This irreconcilable incongruity between the symbol
    of universal peace and the horrors of war, in my judgment, is
    conclusive against the miraculous or supernatural character of the
    transaction [the vision of Constantine].--I was agreeably surprised
    to find that Mosheim concurred in these sentiments, for which I
    will readily encounter the charge of Quakerism.--MILMAN, _History
    of Christianity_, Book III. chap. 1.

       *       *       *       *       *

    When you see fighting, be peaceable; for a peaceable disposition
    shuts the door of contention. Oppose kindness to perverseness;
    the sharp sword will not cut soft silk. By using sweet words and
    gentleness you may lead an elephant with a hair.--SAADI, _The
    Gulistan_, translated by Francis Gladwin, Chap. III. Tale 28.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Si l'on vous disait que tous les chats d'un grand pays se sont
    assemblés par milliers dans une plaine, et qu'après avoir miaulé
    tout leur saoul, ils se sont jetés avec fureur les uns sur les
    autres, et ont joué ensemble de la dent et de la griffe, que de
    cette mêlée il est demeuré de part et d'autre neuf à dix mille
    chats sur la place, qui ont infecté l'air à dix lieues de là par
    leur puanteur, ne diriez-vous pas, "Voilà le plus abominable sabbat
    dont on ait jamais oui parler"? Et si les loups en faisaient de
    même, quels hurlements! quelle boucherie! Et si les uns ou les
    autres vous disaient _qu'ils aiment la gloire_, ... ne ririez-vous
    pas de tout votre coeur de l'ingénuité de ces pauvres bêtes?--LA
    BRUYÈRE, _Les Caractères: Des Jugements_.

    He was disposed to dissent from the maxim, which had of late years
    received very general assent, that the best security for the
    continuance of peace was to be prepared for war. That was a maxim
    which might have been applied to the nations of antiquity, and to
    society in a comparatively barbarous and uncivilized state.... Men,
    when they adopted such a maxim, and made large preparations in
    time of peace that would be sufficient in time of war, were apt to
    be influenced by the desire to put their efficiency to the test,
    that all their great preparations and the result of their toil and
    expense might not be thrown away.--EARL OF ABERDEEN, _Hansard's
    Parliamentary Debates_, July 20, 1849.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Bellum para, si pacem velis_, was a maxim regarded by many as
    containing an incontestable truth. It was one, in his opinion,
    to be received with great caution, and admitting of much
    qualification.... We should best consult the true interests of
    the country by husbanding our resources in a time of peace, and,
    instead of a lavish expenditure on all the means of defence, by
    placing some trust in the latent and dormant energies of the
    nation.--SIR ROBERT PEEL, _Hansard's Parliamentary Debates_, March
    12, 1850.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Let us terminate this disastrous system of rival expenditure,
    and mutually agree, with no hypocrisy, but in a manner and under
    circumstances which can admit of no doubt,--by a reduction of
    armaments,--that peace is really our policy.--MR. D'ISRAELI,
    _Hansard's Parliamentary Debates_, July 21, 1859.

       *       *       *       *       *

    All high titles of honor come hitherto from fighting. Your _Herzog_
    (Duke, _Dux_) is Leader of Armies; your Earl (_Jarl_) is Strong
    Man; your Marshal, Cavalry Horseshoer. A Millennium, or Reign of
    Peace and Wisdom, having from of old been prophesied, and becoming
    now daily more and more indubitable, may it not be apprehended that
    such fighting titles will cease to be palatable, and new and higher
    need to be devised?--CARLYLE, _Sartor Resartus_, Book III. chap. 7.

       *       *       *       *       *

    After the memorable conflict of June, 1848, in which, as _Chef
    de Bataillon_, he [Ary Scheffer] had shown a capacity for
    military conduct not less remarked than his cool courage, General
    Changarnier, then commanding the National Guard of Paris, tendered
    to Scheffer's acceptance the cross of _Commandeur_. He replied,
    "Had this honorable distinction been offered to me in my quality
    of Artist, and as a recognition of the merit of my works, I should
    receive it with deference and satisfaction. But to carry about
    me a decoration reminding me only of the horrors of civil war is
    what I cannot consent to do."--ARY SCHEFFER, _Life by Mrs. Grote_,

    Additional examples and illustrations have been introduced into
    this Oration since its publication, but the argument and substance
    remain the same. It was at the time the occasion of considerable
    controversy, and many were disturbed by what Mr. Sumner called his
    _Declaration of War against War_. This showed itself at the dinner
    in Faneuil Hall immediately after the delivery. There was friendly
    dissent also, as appears from the letters of Judge Story and Mr.
    Prescott, which will be found in the biographies of those eminent
    persons. A letter from John A. Andrew, afterwards the distinguished
    Governor of Massachusetts, shows the completeness of his sympathy.
    "You will allow me to say, I hope," he writes, "that I have read
    the Oration with a satisfaction only equalled by that with which I
    heard you on the 4th July. And while I thank you a thousand times
    for the choice you made of a topic, as well as for the fidelity
    and brilliant ability which you brought to its illustration,
    (both, to my mind, defying the most carping criticism,) I cannot
    help expressing also my gratitude to Providence, that here, in our
    city of Boston, one has at last stepped forward to consecrate to
    celestial hopes the day--the great day--which Americans have at
    best heretofore held sacred only to memory."

    The Oration was noticed extensively at home and abroad. Two
    or more editions were printed by the City Government, one by
    the booksellers, Messrs. W.D. Ticknor & Co., and several by the
    American Peace Society, which has recently issued another, making
    a small volume. Another edition appeared in London. Portions have
    been printed and circulated as tracts. There was also an abridgment
    in Philadelphia, edited by Professor Charles D. Cleveland, and
    another in Liverpool, by Mr. Richard Rathbone.


In accordance with uninterrupted usage, on this Sabbath of the Nation,
we have put aside our daily cares, and seized a respite from the
never-ending toils of life, to meet in gladness and congratulation,
mindful of the blessings transmitted from the Past, mindful also, I
trust, of our duties to the Present and the Future.

       *       *       *       *       *

All hearts turn first to the Fathers of the Republic. Their venerable
forms rise before us, in the procession of successive generations.
They come from the frozen rock of Plymouth, from the wasted bands of
Raleigh, from the heavenly companionship of Penn, from the anxious
councils of the Revolution,--from all those fields of sacrifice, where,
in obedience to the spirit of their age, they sealed their devotion
to duty with their blood. They say to us, their children, "Cease to
vaunt what you do, and what has been done for you. Learn to walk meekly
and to think humbly. Cultivate habits of self-sacrifice. Never aim at
what is not RIGHT, persuaded that without this every possession and
all knowledge will become an evil and a shame. And may these words of
ours be ever in your minds! Strive to increase the inheritance we have
bequeathed to you,--bearing in mind always, that, if we excel you in
virtue, such a victory will be to us a mortification, while defeat
will bring happiness. In this way you may conquer us. Nothing is more
shameful for a man than a claim to esteem, not on his own merits, but
on the fame of his ancestors. The glory of the fathers is doubtless
to their children a most precious treasure; but to enjoy it without
transmission to the next generation, and without addition, is the
extreme of ignominy. Following these counsels, when your days on earth
are finished, you will come to join us, and we shall receive you as
friend receives friend; but if you neglect our words, expect no happy
greeting from us."[2]

    [2] This is borrowed almost literally from the words attributed by
Plato to the Fathers of Athens, in the beautiful funeral discourse of
the Menexenus.

Honor to the memory of our fathers! May the turf lie lightly on their
sacred graves! Not in words only, but in deeds also, let us testify
our reverence for their name, imitating what in them was lofty, pure,
and good, learning from them to bear hardship and privation. May we,
who now reap in strength what they sowed in weakness, augment the
inheritance we have received! To this end, we must not fold our hands
in slumber, nor abide content with the past. To each generation is
appointed its peculiar task; nor does the heart which responds to the
call of duty find rest except in the grave.

Be ours the task now in the order of Providence cast upon us. And
what is this duty? What can we do to make our coming welcome to our
fathers in the skies, and draw to our memory hereafter the homage of
a grateful posterity? How add to the inheritance received? The answer
must interest all, particularly on this festival, when we celebrate
the Nativity of the Republic. It well becomes the patriot citizen, on
this anniversary, to consider the national character, and how it may be
advanced,--as the good man dedicates his birthday to meditation on his
life, and to resolutions of improvement. Avoiding, then, all exultation
in the abounding prosperity of the land, and in that freedom whose
influence is widening to the uttermost circles of the earth, I would
turn attention to the character of our country, and humbly endeavor to
learn what must be done that the Republic may best secure the welfare
of the people committed to its care,--that it may perform its part in
the world's history,--that it may fulfil the aspirations of generous
hearts,--and, practising that righteousness which exalteth a nation,
attain to the elevation of True Grandeur.

       *       *       *       *       *

With this aim, and believing that I can in no other way so fitly fulfil
the trust reposed in me to-day, I purpose to consider _what, in our
age, are the true objects of national ambition,--what is truly National
Honor, National Glory_,--WHAT IS THE TRUE GRANDEUR OF NATIONS. I would
not depart from the modesty that becomes me, yet I am not without hope
that I may do something to rescue these terms, now so powerful over the
minds of men, from mistaken objects, especially from deeds of war, and
the extension of empire, that they may be applied to works of justice
and beneficence, which are better than war or empire.

The subject may be novel, on an occasion like the present; but it is
comprehensive, and of transcendent importance. It raises us to the
contemplation of things not temporary or local, but belonging to all
ages and countries,--things lofty as Truth, universal as Humanity.
Nay, more; it practically concerns the general welfare, not only of
our own cherished Republic, but of the whole Federation of Nations. It
has an urgent interest from transactions in which we are now unhappily
involved. By an act of unjust legislation, extending our power over
Texas, peace with Mexico is endangered,--while, by petulant assertion
of a disputed claim to a remote territory beyond the Rocky Mountains,
ancient fires of hostile strife are kindled anew on the hearth of
our mother country. Mexico and England both avow the determination
to vindicate what is called the _National Honor_; and our Government
calmly contemplates the dread Arbitrament of War, provided it cannot
obtain what is called an honorable peace.

Far from our nation and our age be the sin and shame of contests
hateful in the sight of God and all good men, having their origin in no
righteous sentiment, no true love of country, no generous thirst for
fame, "that last infirmity of noble mind," but springing manifestly
from an ignorant and ignoble passion for new territory, strengthened,
in our case, in a republic whose star is Liberty, by unnatural desire
to add new links in chains destined yet to fall from the limbs of the
unhappy slave! In such contests God has no attribute which can join
with us. Who believes that the national honor would be promoted by a
war with Mexico or a war with England? What just man would sacrifice
a single human life to bring under our rule both Texas and Oregon?
An ancient Roman, ignorant of Christian truth, touched only by the
relation of fellow-countryman, and not of fellow-man, said, as he
turned aside from a career of Asiatic conquest, that he would rather
save the life of a single citizen than win to his power all the
dominions of Mithridates.[3]

    [3] Plutarch, _Lucullus_, Cap. VIII.

A war with Mexico would be mean and cowardly; with England it would be
bold at least, though parricidal. The heart sickens at the murderous
attack upon an enemy distracted by civil feud, weak at home, impotent
abroad; but it recoils in horror from the deadly shock between children
of a common ancestry, speaking the same language, soothed in infancy
by the same words of love and tenderness, and hardened into vigorous
manhood under the bracing influence of institutions instinct with the
same vital breath of freedom. The Roman historian has aptly pictured
this unnatural combat. Rarely do words of the past so justly describe
the present. _Curam acuebat, quod adversus Latinos bellandum erat,
lingua, moribus, armorum genere, institutis ante omnia militaribus
congruentes: milites militibus, centurionibus centuriones, tribuni
tribunis compares collegæque, iisdem præsidiis, sæpe iisdem manipulis
permixti fuerant._[4]

    [4] Livy, Hist., Lib. VIII. c. 6.

Can there be in our age any peace that is not honorable, any war that
is not dishonorable? The true honor of a nation is conspicuous only
in deeds of justice and beneficence, securing and advancing human
happiness. In the clear eye of that Christian judgment which must yet
prevail, vain are the victories of War, infamous its spoils. He is the
benefactor, and worthy of honor, who carries comfort to wretchedness,
dries the tear of sorrow, relieves the unfortunate, feeds the hungry,
clothes the naked, does justice, enlightens the ignorant, unfastens
the fetters of the slave, and finally, by virtuous genius, in art,
literature, science, enlivens and exalts the hours of life, or,
by generous example, inspires a love for God and man. This is the
Christian hero; this is the man of honor in a Christian land. He is no
benefactor, nor worthy of honor, whatever his worldly renown, whose
life is absorbed in feats of brute force, who renounces the great law
of Christian brotherhood, whose vocation is blood. Well may the modern
poet exclaim, "The world knows nothing of its greatest men!"--for thus
far it has chiefly honored the violent brood of Battle, armed men
springing up from the dragon's teeth sown by Hate, and cared little
for the truly good men, children of Love, guiltless of their country's
blood, whose steps on earth are noiseless as an angel's wing.

It will not be disguised that this standard differs from that of the
world even in our day. The voice of man is yet given to martial praise,
and the honors of victory are chanted even by the lips of woman. The
mother, rocking the infant on her knee, stamps the images of War upon
his tender mind, at that age more impressible than wax; she nurses his
slumber with its music, pleases his waking hours with its stories, and
selects for his playthings the plume and the sword. From the child is
formed the man; and who can weigh the influence of a mother's spirit
on the opinions of his life? The mind which trains the child is like
a hand at the end of a long lever; a gentle effort suffices to heave
the enormous weight of succeeding years. As the boy advances to youth,
he is fed like Achilles, not on honey and milk only, but on bears'
marrow and lions' hearts. He draws the nutriment of his soul from a
literature whose beautiful fields are moistened by human blood. Fain
would I offer my tribute to the Father of Poetry, standing with harp
of immortal melody on the misty mountain-top of distant Antiquity,--to
those stories of courage and sacrifice which emblazon the annals of
Greece and Rome,--to the fulminations of Demosthenes and the splendors
of Tully,--to the sweet verse of Virgil and the poetic prose of Livy;
fain would I offer my tribute to the new literature, which shot up
in modern times as a vigorous forest from the burnt site of ancient
woods,--to the passionate song of the Troubadour in France and the
Minnesinger in Germany,--to the thrilling ballad of Spain and the
delicate music of the Italian lyre: but from all these has breathed
the breath of War, that has swept the heart-strings of men in all the
thronging generations.

And when the youth becomes a man, his country invites his service
in war, and holds before his bewildered imagination the prizes of
worldly honor. For him the pen of the historian and the verse of the
poet. His soul is taught to swell at the thought that he, too, is a
soldier,--that his name shall be entered on the list of those who have
borne arms for their country; and perhaps he dreams that he, too, may
sleep, like the Great Captain of Spain, with a hundred trophies over
his grave. The law of the land throws its sanction over this frenzy.
The contagion spreads beyond those subject to positive obligation.
Peaceful citizens volunteer to appear as soldiers, and affect, in
dress, arms, and deportment, what is called the "pride, pomp, and
circumstance of glorious war." The ear-piercing fife has to-day filled
our streets, and we have come to this church, on this National Sabbath,
by the thump of drum and with the parade of bristling bayonets.

It is not strange, then, that the Spirit of War still finds a home
among us, nor that its honors continue to be regarded. All this may
seem to illustrate the bitter philosophy of Hobbes, declaring that the
natural state of mankind is War, and to sustain the exulting language
of the soldier in our own day, when he wrote, "War is the condition of
this world. From man to the smallest insect, all are at strife; and
the glory of arms, which cannot be obtained without the exercise of
honor, fortitude, courage, obedience, modesty, and temperance, excites
the brave man's patriotism, and is a chastening corrective for the
rich man's pride."[5] This is broad and bold. In madder mood, another
British general is reported as saying, "Why, man, do you know that a
grenadier is the _greatest character_ in this world,"--and after a
moment's pause, with the added emphasis of an oath, "and, I believe,
in the next, too."[6] All these spoke in harmony. If one is true, all
are true. A French voice has struck another note, chanting nothing less
than the divinity of war, hailing it as "divine" in itself,--"divine"
in its consequences,--"divine" in mysterious glory and seductive
attraction,--"divine" in the manner of its declaration,--"divine" in
the results obtained,--"divine" in the undefinable force by which its
triumph is determined;[7] and the whole earth, continually imbibing
blood, is nothing but an immense altar, where life is immolated without
end, without measure, without respite. But this oracle is not saved
from rejection even by the magistral style in which it is delivered.

    [5] Napier, Peninsular War, Book XXIV. ch. 6, Vol. VI. p. 688.

    [6] Southey, Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society, Coll.
VIII., Vol. I. p. 211.

    [7] Joseph de Maistre, Soirées de Saint-Pétersbourg, Tom. II. pp. 27,

Alas! in the existing attitude of nations, the infidel philosopher
and the rhetorical soldier, to say nothing of the giddy general and
the French priest of Mars, find too much support for a theory which
degrades human nature and insults the goodness of God. It is true
that in us are impulses unhappily tending to strife. Propensities
possessed in common with the beast, if not subordinated to what in
man is human, almost divine, will break forth in outrage. This is
the predominance of the animal. Hence wars and fightings, with the
false glory which crowns such barbarism. But the true civilization of
nations, as of individuals, is determined by the extent to which these
evil dispositions are restrained. Nor does the teacher ever more truly
perform his high office than when, recognizing the supremacy of the
moral and intellectual, he calls upon nations, as upon individuals,
to declare independence of the bestial, to abandon practices founded
on this part of our nature, and in every way to beat down that brutal
spirit which is the Genius of War. In making this appeal, he will be
startled as he learns, that, while the municipal law of each Christian
nation, discarding the Arbitrament of Force, provides a judicial
tribunal for the determination of controversies between individuals,
International Law expressly _establishes_ the Arbitrament of War for
the determination of controversies between nations.

Here, then, in unfolding the True Grandeur of Nations, we encounter
a practice, or _custom_, sanctioned by the Law of Nations, and
constituting a part of that law, which exists in defiance of principles
such as no individuals can disown. If it is wrong and inglorious when
individuals _consent and agree_ to determine their petty controversies
by combat, it must be equally wrong and inglorious when nations
_consent and agree_ to determine their vaster controversies by
combat. Here is a positive, precise, and specific evil, of gigantic
proportions, inconsistent with what is truly honorable, making within
the sphere of its influence all true grandeur impossible, which,
instead of proceeding from some uncontrollable impulse of our nature,
is _expressly established and organized by law_.

       *       *       *       *       *

As all citizens are parties to Municipal Law, and responsible for its
institutions, so are all the Christian nations parties to International
Law, and responsible for its provisions. By recognizing these
provisions, nations _consent and agree_ beforehand to the Arbitrament
of War, precisely as citizens, by recognizing Trial by Jury, _consent
and agree_ beforehand to the latter tribunal. As, to comprehend the
true nature of Trial by Jury, we first repair to the Municipal Law
by which it is established, so, to comprehend the true nature of the
Arbitrament of War, we must first repair to the Law of Nations.

Writers of genius and learning have defined this arbitrament, and laid
down the rules by which it is governed, constituting a complex code,
with innumerable subtile provisions regulating the resort to it and
the manner in which it must be conducted, called the _Laws of War_. In
these quarters we catch our first authentic glimpses of its folly and
wickedness. According to Lord Bacon, whose authority is always great,
"Wars are no massacres and confusions, but they are the highest _Trials
of Right_, when princes and states, that acknowledge no superior upon
earth, shall put themselves upon the justice of God _for the deciding
of their_ _controversies_ by such success as it shall please him to
give on either side."[8] This definition of the English philosopher is
adopted by the American jurist, Chancellor Kent, in his Commentaries on
American Law.[9] The Swiss publicist, Vattel, whose work is accepted
as an important repository of the Law of Nations, defines War as "that
state in which a nation _prosecutes its right by force_."[10] In this
he very nearly follows the eminent Dutch authority, Bynkershoek,
who says, "Bellum est eorum, qui suæ potestatis sunt, _juris sui
persequendi ergo_, concertatio per vim vel dolum."[11] Mr. Whewell, who
has done so much to illustrate philosophy in all its departments, says,
in his recent work on the Elements of Morality and Polity, "Though war
is appealed to, because there is no other ULTIMATE TRIBUNAL to which
states can have recourse, _it is appealed to for justice_."[12] And
in our country, Dr. Lieber says, in a work of learning and sagacious
thought, that war is undertaken "in order to obtain right,"[13]--a
definition which hardly differs in form from those of Vattel and

    [8] Observations upon a Libel, etc., Works, Vol. III. p. 40.

    [9] Lecture III., Vol. I. p. 45.

    [10] Book III. ch. 1, sec. 1.

    [11] Quæst. Jur. Pub., Lib. I. cap. 1.

    [12] Book VI. ch. 2. art. 1146.

    [13] Political Ethics, Book VII. sec. 19, Vol. II. p. 643.

In accordance with these texts, I would now define the evil which I
arraign. _War is a public armed contest between nations, under the
sanction of International Law, to establish_ JUSTICE _between them_:
as, for instance, to determine a disputed boundary, the title to
territory, or a claim for damages.

This definition is confined to contests between nations. It is
restricted to International War, carefully excluding the question,
often agitated, concerning the right of revolution, and that other
question, on which friends of peace sometimes differ, the right
of personal self-defence. It does not in any way throw doubt on
the employment of force in the administration of justice or the
conservation of domestic quiet.

It is true that the term _defensive_ is always applied to wars in
our day. And it is creditable to the moral sense that nations are
constrained to allege this seeming excuse, although its absurdity
is apparent in the equal pretensions of the two belligerents, each
claiming to act on the defensive. It is unreasonable to suppose that
war can arise in the present age, under the sanctions of International
Law, except to determine an _asserted right_. Whatever its character
in periods of barbarism, or when invoked to repel an incursion of
robbers or pirates, "enemies of the human race," war becomes in our
day, _among all the nations parties to existing International Law_,
simply a mode of litigation, or of deciding a _lis pendens_. It is
a mere TRIAL OF RIGHT, an appeal for justice to force. The wars now
lowering from Mexico and England are of this character. On the one
side, we assert a _title_ to Texas, _which is disputed_; on the other,
we assert a _title_ to Oregon, _which is disputed_. Only according to
"martial logic," or the "flash language" of a dishonest patriotism,
can the Ordeal by Battle be regarded in these causes, on either side,
as _Defensive War_. Nor did the threatened war with France in 1834
promise to assume any different character. Its professed object was
to obtain the payment of five million dollars,--in other words, to
determine by this _Ultimate_ _Tribunal_ a simple question of justice.
And going back still farther in our history, the avowed purpose of the
war against Great Britain in 1812 was to obtain from the latter power
an abandonment of the claim to search American vessels. Unrighteous as
was this claim, it is plain that war here was invoked only as a _Trial
of Right_.

       *       *       *       *       *

It forms no part of my purpose to consider individual wars in the past,
except so far as necessary by way of example. My aim is higher. I wish
to expose an irrational, cruel, and impious _custom_, sanctioned by the
Law of Nations. On this account I resort to that supreme law for the
definition on which I plant myself in the effort I now make.

After considering, in succession, _first_, the character of war,
_secondly_, the miseries it produces, and, _thirdly_, its utter and
pitiful insufficiency, as a mode of determining justice, we shall
be able to decide, strictly and logically, whether it must not be
ranked as crime, from which no true honor can spring to individuals or
nations. To appreciate this evil, and the necessity for its overthrow,
it will be our duty, _fourthly_, to consider in succession the various
prejudices by which it is sustained, ending with that prejudice, so
gigantic and all-embracing, at whose command uncounted sums are madly
diverted from purposes of peace to preparations for war. The whole
subject is infinitely practical, while the concluding division shows
how the public treasury may be relieved, and new means secured for
human advancement.


First, as to the essential character and root of war, or that part of
our nature whence it proceeds. Listen to the voice from the ancient
poet of Boeotian Ascra:--

    "This is the law for mortals, ordained by the Ruler of Heaven:
    Fishes and beasts and birds of the air devour each other;
    JUSTICE _dwells not among them: only to_ MAN _has he given_
    JUSTICE _the Highest and Best_."[14]

    [14] Hesiod, Works and Days, vv. 276-279. Cicero also says, "Neque ulla
re longius absumus a natura ferarum, in quibus inesse fortitudinem sæpe
dicimus, ut in equis, in leonibus; justitiam, æquitatem, bonitatem non
dicimus."--De Offic., Lib. I. cap. 16.

These words of old Hesiod exhibit the distinction between man and
beast; but this very distinction belongs to the present discussion.
The idea rises to the mind at once, that war is a resort to brute
force, where nations strive to overpower each other. Reason, and the
divine part of our nature, where alone we differ from the beast, where
alone we approach the Divinity, where alone are the elements of that
_justice_ which is the professed object of war, are rudely dethroned.
For the time men adopt the nature of beasts, emulating their ferocity,
like them rejoicing in blood, and with lion's paw clutching an asserted
right. Though in more recent days this character is somewhat disguised
by the skill and knowledge employed, war is still the same, only
more destructive from the genius and intellect which have become its
servants. The primitive poets, in the unconscious simplicity of the
world's childhood, make this boldly apparent. The heroes of Homer
are likened to animals in ungovernable fury, or to things devoid of
reason or affection. Menelaus presses his way through the crowd "like
a wild beast." Sarpedon is aroused against the Argives, "as a lion
against the crooked-horned oxen," and afterwards rushes forward "like
a lion nurtured on the mountains, for a long time famished for want of
flesh, but whose courage impels him to attack even the well-guarded
sheep-fold." In one and the same passage, the great Telamonian Ajax is
"wild beast," "tawny lion," and "dull ass"; and all the Greek chiefs,
the flower of the camp, are ranged about Diomed, "like raw-eating
lions, or wild-boars, whose strength is irresistible." Even Hector,
the model hero, with all the virtues of war, is praised as "tamer of
horses"; and one of his renowned feats in battle, indicating brute
strength only, is where he takes up and hurls a stone which two of
our strongest men could not easily lift into a wagon; and he drives
over dead bodies and shields, while the axle is defiled by gore, and
the guard about the seat is sprinkled from the horses' hoofs and the
tires of the wheels;[15] and in that most admired passage of ancient
literature, before returning his child, the young Astyanax, to the arms
of the wife he is about to leave, this hero of war invokes the gods for
a single blessing on the boy's head,--"that he may excel his father,
and bring home _bloody spoils_, his enemy being slain, and _so make
glad the heart of his mother_!"

    [15] Little better than Trojan Hector was the "great" Condé ranging
over the field and exulting in the blood of the enemy, which defiled
his sword-arm to the elbow.--Mahon, Essai sur la Vie du Grand Condé, p.

From early fields of modern literature, as from those of antiquity,
might be gathered similar illustrations, showing the unconscious
degradation of the soldier, in vain pursuit of _justice_, renouncing
the human character, to assume that of brute. Bayard, the exemplar of
chivalry, with a name always on the lips of its votaries, was described
by the qualities of beasts, being, according to his admirers, _ram in
attack, wild-boar in defence, and wolf in flight_. Henry the Fifth, as
represented by our own Shakespeare, in the spirit-stirring appeal to
his troops exclaims,--

        "When the blast of war blows in our ears,
    _Then imitate the action of the tiger_."

This is plain and frank, revealing the true character of war.

I need not dwell on the moral debasement that must ensue. Passions,
like so many bloodhounds, are unleashed and suffered to rage. Crimes
filling our prisons stalk abroad in the soldier's garb, unwhipped of
justice. Murder, robbery, rape, arson, are the sports of this fiendish
Saturnalia, when

    "The gates of mercy shall be all shut up,
     And the fleshed soldier, rough and hard of heart,
     In liberty of bloody hand shall range
    _With conscience wide as hell_."

By a bold, but truthful touch, Shakespeare thus pictures the foul
disfigurement which war produces in man, whose native capacities he
describes in those beautiful words: "How noble in reason! how infinite
in faculties! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action
how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god!" And yet this
nobility of reason, this infinitude of faculties, this marvel of form
and motion, this nature so angelic, so godlike, are all, under the
transforming power of War, lost in the action of the beast, or the
license of the fleshed soldier with bloody hand and conscience wide as


The immediate effect of war is to sever all relations of friendship and
commerce between the belligerent nations, and every individual thereof,
impressing upon each citizen or subject the character of enemy.
Imagine this instant change between England and the United States. The
innumerable ships of the two countries, the white doves of commerce,
bearing the olive of peace, are driven from the sea, or turned from
peaceful purposes to be ministers of destruction; the threads of social
and business intercourse, so carefully woven into a thick web, are
suddenly snapped asunder; friend can no longer communicate with friend;
the twenty thousand letters speeded each fortnight from this port alone
are arrested, and the human affections, of which they are the precious
expression, seek in vain for utterance. Tell me, you with friends
and kindred abroad, or you bound to other lands only by relations of
commerce, are you ready for this rude separation?

This is little compared with what must follow. It is but the first
portentous shadow of disastrous eclipse, twilight usher of thick
darkness, covering the whole heavens with a pall, broken only by the
lightnings of battle and siege.

Such horrors redden the historic page, while, to the scandal of
humanity, they never want historians with feelings kindred to those by
which they are inspired. The demon that draws the sword also guides the
pen. The favorite chronicler of modern Europe, Froissart, discovers
his sympathies in his Prologue, where, with something of apostleship,
he announces his purpose, "that the honorable enterprises and noble
adventures and feats of arms which happened in the wars of France and
England be notably registered and put in perpetual memory," and then
proceeds to bestow his equal admiration upon bravery and cunning, upon
the courtesy which pardoned as upon the rage which caused the flow
of blood in torrents, dwelling with especial delight on "beautiful
incursions, beautiful rescues, beautiful feats of arms, and beautiful
prowesses"; and wantoning in pictures of cities assaulted, "which,
being soon gained by force, were robbed, and men and women and children
put to the sword without mercy, while the churches were burnt and
violated."[16] This was in a barbarous age. But popular writers in
our own day, dazzled by false ideas of greatness, at which reason and
humanity blush, do not hesitate to dwell on similar scenes even with
rapture and eulogy. The humane soul of Wilberforce, which sighed that
England's "bloody laws sent many unprepared into another world," could
hail the slaughter of Waterloo, by which thousands were hurried into
eternity on the Sabbath he held so holy, as a "splendid victory."[17]

    [16] Froissart, Les Chroniques, Ch. 177, 179, Collection de Buchon,
Tom. II. pp. 87, 92.

    [17] Life of William Wilberforce, by his Sons, Ch. 30, Vol. IV. pp.
256, 261.

My present purpose is less to judge the historian than to expose the
horrors on horrors which he applauds. At Tarragona, above six thousand
human beings, almost all defenceless, men and women, gray hairs and
infant innocence, attractive youth and wrinkled age, were butchered
by the infuriate troops in one night, and the morning sun rose upon a
city whose streets and houses were inundated with blood: and yet this
is called a "glorious exploit."[18] Here was a conquest by the French.
At a later day, Ciudad Rodrigo was stormed by the British, when, in
the license of victory, there ensued a savage scene of plunder and
violence, while shouts and screams on all sides mingled fearfully with
the groans of the wounded. Churches were desecrated, cellars of wine
and spirits were pillaged, fire was wantonly applied to the city, and
brutal intoxication spread in every direction. Only when the drunken
dropped from excess, or fell asleep, was any degree of order restored:
and yet the storming of Ciudad Rodrigo is pronounced "one of the most
brilliant exploits of the British army."[19] This "beautiful feat of
arms" was followed by the storming of Badajoz, where the same scenes
were enacted again, with accumulated atrocities. The story shall
be told in the words of a partial historian, who himself saw what
he eloquently describes. "Shameless rapacity, brutal intemperance,
savage lust, cruelty, and murder, shrieks and piteous lamentations,
groans, shouts, imprecations, the hissing of fires bursting from the
houses, the crashing of doors and windows, and the reports of muskets
used in violence, resounded for two days and nights in the streets of
Badajoz. On the third, when the city was sacked, when the soldiers
were exhausted by their own excesses, the tumult rather subsided than
was quelled. The wounded men were then looked to, the dead disposed
of."[20] All this is in the nature of confession, for the historian is
a partisan of battle.

    [18] Alison, Hist. of Europe, Ch. 61, Vol. VIII. p. 237.

    [19] Ibid., Ch. 64, Vol. VIII. p. 482.

    [20] Napier, Hist. Peninsular War, Book XVI. ch. 5, Vol. IV. p. 431.

The same terrible war affords another instance of atrocities at a siege
crying to Heaven. For weeks before the surrender of Saragossa, the
deaths daily were from four to five hundred; and as the living could
not bury the increasing mass, thousands of carcasses, scattered in
streets and court-yards, or piled in heaps at the doors of churches,
were left to dissolve in their own corruption, or be licked up by
the flames of burning houses. The city was shaken to its foundations
by sixteen thousand shells, and the explosion of forty-five thousand
pounds of powder in the mines,--while the bones of forty thousand
victims, of every age and both sexes, bore dreadful testimony to the
unutterable cruelty of War.[21]

    [21] Napier, Book V. ch. 3, Vol. II. p. 46.

These might seem pictures from the life of Alaric, who led the Goths
to Rome, or of Attila, general of the Huns, called the Scourge of God,
and who boasted that the grass did not grow where his horse had set
his foot; but no! they belong to our own times. They are portions of
the wonderful, but wicked, career of him who stands forth the foremost
representative of worldly grandeur. The heart aches, as we follow him
and his marshals from field to field of Satanic glory,[22] finding
everywhere, from Spain to Russia, the same carnival of woe. The picture
is various, yet the same. Suffering, wounds, and death, in every form,
fill the terrible canvas. What scene more dismal than that of Albuera,
with its horrid piles of corpses, while all night the rain pours down,
and river, hill, and forest, on each side, resound with the cries
and groans of the dying?[23] What scene more awfully monumental than
Salamanca, where, long after the great battle, the ground, strewn with
fragments of casques and cuirasses, was still white with the skeletons
of those who fell?[24] What catalogue of horrors more complete than the
Russian campaign? At every step is war, and this is enough: soldiers
black with powder; bayonets bent with the violence of the encounter;
the earth ploughed with cannon-shot; trees torn and mutilated; the dead
and dying; wounds and agony; fields covered with broken carriages,
outstretched horses, and mangled bodies; while disease, sad attendant
on military suffering, sweeps thousands from the great hospitals, and
the multitude of amputated limbs, which there is no time to destroy,
accumulate in bloody heaps, filling the air with corruption. What
tongue, what pen, can describe the bloody havoc at Borodino, where,
between rise and set of a single sun, one hundred thousand of our
fellow-men, equalling in number the whole population of this city, sank
to earth, dead or wounded?[25] Fifty days after the battle, no less
than thirty thousand are found stretched where their last convulsions
ended, and the whole plain is strewn with half-buried carcasses of
men and horses, intermingled with garments dyed in blood, and bones
gnawed by dogs and vultures.[26] Who can follow the French army in
dismal retreat, avoiding the spear of the pursuing Cossack only to
sink beneath the sharper frost and ice, in a temperature below zero,
on foot, without shelter for the body, famishing on horse-flesh and
a miserable compound of rye and snow-water? With a fresh array, the
war is upheld against new forces under the walls of Dresden; and as
the Emperor rides over the field of battle--after indulging the night
before in royal supper with the Saxon king--he sees ghastly new-made
graves, with hands and arms projecting, stark and stiff, above the
ground; and shortly afterwards, when shelter is needed for the troops,
the order to occupy the Hospitals for the Insane is given, with the
words, "Turn out the mad."[27]

[22] A living poet of Italy, who will be placed by his prose among the
great names of his country's literature, in a remarkable ode which he
has thrown on the urn of Napoleon invites posterity to judge whether
his career of battle was True Glory.

"Fu vera gloria? Ai posteri L'ardua sentenza."--MANZONI, _Il Cinque

When men learn to appreciate moral grandeur, the easy sentence will be

    [23] Napier, Book XII. ch. 7, Vol. III. p. 543.

    [24] Alison, Ch. 64, Vol. VIII. p. 589.

    [25] Ibid., Ch. 67, Vol. VIII. p. 871.

    [26] Ibid., Ch. 68, Vol. VIII. p. 930. Ségur, Hist. de Napoléon, Liv.
IX. ch. 7, Tom. II. p. 153. Labaume, Rel. de la Campagne de Russie,
Liv. VII.

    [27] Alison, Ch. 72, Vol. IX. pp. 469, 553.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here I might close this scene of blood. But there is one other picture
of the atrocious, though natural, consequences of war, occurring
almost within our own day, that I would not omit. Let me bring to your
mind Genoa, called the Superb, City of Palaces, dear to the memory of
American childhood as the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, and one
of the spots first enlightened by the morning beams of civilization,
whose merchants were princes, and whose rich argosies, in those early
days, introduced to Europe the choicest products of the East, the
linen of Egypt, the spices of Arabia, and the silks of Samarcand.
She still sits in queenly pride, as she sat then,--her mural crown
studded with towers,--her churches rich with marble floors and rarest
pictures,--her palaces of ancient doges and admirals yet spared by
the hand of Time,--her close streets thronged by a hundred thousand
inhabitants,--at the foot of the Apennines, as they approach the blue
and tideless waters of the Mediterranean Sea,--leaning her back
against their strong mountain-sides, overshadowed by the foliage
of the fig-tree and the olive, while the orange and the lemon with
pleasant perfume scent the air where reigns perpetual spring. Who can
contemplate such a city without delight? Who can listen to the story of
her sorrows without a pang?

At the opening of the present century, the armies of the French
Republic, after dominating over Italy, were driven from their
conquests, and compelled, with shrunken forces, to find shelter under
Massena, within the walls of Genoa. Various efforts were made by the
Austrian general, aided by bombardment from the British fleet, to
force the strong defences by assault. At length the city was invested
by a strict blockade. All communication with the country was cut off,
while the harbor was closed by the ever-wakeful British watch-dogs of
war. Besides the French troops, within the beleaguered and unfortunate
city are the peaceful, unoffending inhabitants. Provisions soon become
scarce; scarcity sharpens into want, till fell Famine, bringing
blindness and madness in her train, rages like an Erinnys. Picture
to yourselves this large population, not pouring out their lives in
the exulting rush of battle, but wasting at noonday, daughter by the
side of mother, husband by the side of wife. When grain and rice fail,
flaxseed, millet, cocoa, and almonds are ground by hand-mills into
flour, and even bran, baked with honey, is eaten, less to satisfy than
to deaden hunger. Before the last extremities, a pound of horse-flesh
is sold for thirty-two cents, a pound of bran for thirty cents, a pound
of flour for one dollar and seventy-five cents. A single bean is soon
sold for two cents, and a biscuit of three ounces for two dollars and
a quarter, till finally none can be had at any price. The wretched
soldiers, after devouring the horses, are reduced to the degradation
of feeding on dogs, cats, rats, and worms, which are eagerly hunted in
cellars and sewers. "Happy were now," exclaims an Italian historian,
"not those who lived, but those who died!" The day is dreary from
hunger,--the night more dreary still, from hunger with delirious
fancies. They now turn to herbs,--dock, sorrel, mallows, wild succory.
People of every condition, with women of noble birth and beauty, seek
upon the slope of the mountain within the defences those aliments which
Nature designed solely for beasts. Scanty vegetables, with a scrap of
cheese, are all that can be afforded to the sick and wounded, those
sacred stipendiaries of human charity. In the last anguish of despair,
men and women fill the air with groans and shrieks, some in spasms,
convulsions, and contortions, yielding their expiring breath on the
unpitying stones of the street,--alas! not more unpitying than man.
Children, whom a dead mother's arms had ceased to protect, orphans of
an hour, with piercing cries, supplicate in vain the compassion of the
passing stranger: none pity or aid. The sweet fountains of sympathy
are all closed by the selfishness of individual distress. In the
general agony, some precipitate themselves into the sea, while the more
impetuous rush from the gates, and impale their bodies on the Austrian
bayonets. Others still are driven to devour their shoes and the leather
of their pouches; and the horror of human flesh so far abates, that
numbers feed like cannibals on the corpses about them.[28]

    [28] This account is drawn from the animated sketches of Botta (Storia
d' Italia dal 1789 al 1814, Tom. III. Lib. 19), Alison (History of
Europe, Vol. IV. ch. 30), and Arnold (Modern History, Lect. IV.). The
humanity of the last is particularly aroused to condemn this most
atrocious murder of innocent people, and, as a sufficient remedy, he
suggests a modification of the Laws of War, permitting non-combatants
to withdraw from a blockaded town! In this way, indeed, they may
be spared a languishing death by starvation; but they must desert
firesides, pursuits, all that makes life dear, and become homeless
exiles,--a fate little better than the former. It is strange that
Arnold's pure soul and clear judgment did not recognize the truth,
that the whole custom of war is unrighteous and unlawful, and that
the horrors of this siege are its natural consequence. Laws of War!
Laws in what is lawless! rules of wrong! There can be only _one Law of
War_,--that is, the great law which pronounces it unwise, unjust, and

At this stage the French general capitulated, claiming and receiving
what are called "the honors of war,"--but not before twenty thousand
innocent persons, old and young, women and children, having no part
or interest in the contest, had died the most horrible of deaths. The
Austrian flag floated over captured Genoa but a brief span of time; for
Bonaparte had already descended like an eagle from the Alps, and in
nine days afterwards, on the plains of Marengo, shattered the Austrian
empire in Italy.

       *       *       *       *       *

But wasted lands, famished cities, and slaughtered armies are not all
that is contained in "the purple testament of bleeding war." Every
soldier is connected with others, as all of you, by dear ties of
kindred, love, and friendship. He has been sternly summoned from the
embrace of family. To him there is perhaps an aged mother, who fondly
hoped to lean her bending years on his more youthful form; perhaps a
wife, whose life is just entwined inseparably with his, now condemned
to wasting despair; perhaps sisters, brothers. As he falls on the field
of war, must not all these rush with his blood? But who can measure the
distress that radiates as from a bloody sun, penetrating innumerable
homes? Who can give the gauge and dimensions of this infinite sorrow?
Tell me, ye who feel the bitterness of parting with dear friends and
kindred, whom you watch tenderly till the last golden sands are run
out and the great hour-glass is turned, what is the measure of your
anguish? Your friend departs, soothed by kindness and in the arms of
Love: the soldier gasps out his life with no friend near, while the
scowl of Hate darkens all that he beholds, darkens his own departing
soul. Who can forget the anguish that fills the bosom and crazes the
brain of Lenore, in the matchless ballad of Bürger, when seeking in
vain among returning squadrons for her lover left dead on Prague's
ensanguined plain? But every field of blood has many Lenores. All war
is full of desolate homes, as is vividly pictured by a master poet of
antiquity, whose verse is an argument.

    "But through the bounds of Grecia's land,
     Who sent her sons for Troy to part,
     See mourning, with much suffering heart,
     On each man's threshold stand,
     On each sad hearth in Grecia's land.
     Well may her soul with grief be rent;
     She well remembers whom she sent,
     She sees them not return:
     Instead of men, to each man's home
     Urns and ashes only come,
     And the armor which they wore,--
     Sad relics to their native shore.
     For Mars, the barterer of the lifeless clay,
     Who sells for gold the slain,
     _And holds the scale, in battle's doubtful day,
     High balanced o'er the plain_,
     From Ilium's walls for men returns
     Ashes and sepulchral urns,--
     Ashes wet with many a tear,
     Sad relics of the fiery bier.
     Round the full urns the general groan
     Goes, as each their kindred own:
     And one that 'mid the armed throng
     He sunk in glory's slaughtering tide,
     And for another's consort died.

         *       *       *       *       *

     Others they mourn whose monuments stand
     By Ilium's walls on foreign strand;
     Where they fell in beauty's bloom,
     There they lie in hated tomb,
     Sunk beneath the massy mound,
     In eternal chambers bound."[29]

    [29] Agamemnon of Æschylus: _Chorus_. This is from the beautiful
translation by John Symmons.


But all these miseries are to no purpose. War is utterly ineffectual
to secure or advance its professed object. The wretchedness it entails
contributes to no end, helps to establish no right, and therefore in no
respect determines _justice_ between the contending nations.

The fruitlessness and vanity of war appear in the great conflicts by
which the world has been lacerated. After long struggle, where each
nation inflicts and receives incalculable injury, peace is gladly
obtained on the basis of the condition before the war, known as the
_status ante bellum_. I cannot illustrate this futility better than
by the familiar example--humiliating to both countries--of our last
war with Great Britain, where the professed object was to obtain a
renunciation of the British claim, so defiantly asserted, to impress
our seamen. To overturn this injustice the Arbitrament of War was
invoked, and for nearly three years the whole country was under
its terrible ban. American commerce was driven from the seas; the
resources of the land were drained by taxation; villages on the
Canadian frontier were laid in ashes; the metropolis of the Republic
was captured; while distress was everywhere within our borders. Weary
at last with this rude trial, the National Government appointed
commissioners to treat for peace, with these specific instructions:
"Your first duty will be to conclude a peace with Great Britain; and
you are authorized to do it, _in case_ you obtain a satisfactory
stipulation against impressment, one which shall secure under our
flag protection to the crew.... If this encroachment of Great Britain
is not provided against, _the United States have appealed to arms in
vain_."[30] Afterwards, finding small chance of extorting from Great
Britain a relinquishment of the unrighteous claim, and foreseeing
from the inveterate prosecution of the war only an accumulation of
calamities, the National Government directed the negotiators, in
concluding a treaty, to "_omit any stipulation on the subject of
impressment_."[31] These instructions were obeyed, and the treaty that
restored to us once more the blessings of peace, so rashly cast away,
but now hailed with intoxication of joy, contained no allusion to
impressment, nor did it provide for the surrender of a single American
sailor detained in the British navy. Thus, by the confession of our own
Government, "the United States _had appealed to arms_ IN VAIN."[32]
These important words are not mine; they are words of the country.

    [30] Mr. Monroe to Commissioners, April 15, 1813: American State
Papers, Vol. VIII. pp. 577, 578.

    [31] Mr. Monroe to Commissioners, June 27, 1814: Ibid., Vol. VIII. p.

    [32] Mr. Jefferson, in more than one letter, declares the peace
_an armistice only_, "because no security is provided against the
impressment of our seamen."--Letter to Crawford, Feb. 11, 1815; to
Lafayette, Feb. 14, 1815: Works, Vol. VI. pp. 420, 427.

All this is the natural result of an appeal to war for the
determination of _justice_. Justice implies the exercise of the
judgment. Now war not only supersedes the judgment, but delivers over
the pending question to superiority of _force_, or to _chance_.

Superior force may end in conquest; this is the natural consequence;
but it cannot adjudicate any right. We expose the absurdity of its
arbitrament, when, by a familiar phrase of sarcasm, we deride _the
right of the strongest_,--excluding, of course, all idea of right,
except that of the lion as he springs upon a weaker beast, of the wolf
as he tears in pieces the lamb, of the vulture as he devours the dove.
The grossest spirits must admit that this is not justice.

But the battle is not always to the strong. Superiority of force is
often checked by the proverbial contingencies of war. Especially are
such contingencies revealed in rankest absurdity, where nations, as is
the acknowledged _custom_, without regard to their respective forces,
whether weaker or stronger, voluntarily appeal to this mad umpirage.
Who beforehand can measure the currents of the heady fight? In common
language, we confess the "chances" of battle; and soldiers devoted to
this harsh vocation yet call it a "game." The Great Captain of our
age, who seemed to drag victory at his chariot-wheels, in a formal
address to his officers, on entering Russia, says, "In war, _fortune_
has an equal share with ability in success."[33] The famous victory of
Marengo, accident of an accident, wrested unexpectedly at close of day
from a foe at an earlier hour successful, taught him the uncertainty of
war. Afterwards, in bitterness of spirit, when his immense forces were
shivered, and his triumphant eagles driven back with broken wing, he
exclaimed, in that remarkable conversation recorded by his secretary,
Fain,--"Well, this is War! High in the morning,--low enough at night!
From a triumph to a fall is often but a step."[34] The same sentiment
is repeated by the military historian of the Peninsular campaigns, when
he says, "_Fortune_ always asserts her supremacy in war; and often from
a slight mistake such disastrous consequences flow, that, in every age
and every nation, the _uncertainty_ of arms has been proverbial."[35]
And again, in another place, considering the conduct of Wellington, the
same military historian, who is an unquestionable authority, confesses,
"A few hours' delay, an accident, a turn of fortune, and he would have
been foiled. Ay! but this is War, _always dangerous and uncertain_, an
ever-rolling wheel, and armed with scythes."[36] And will intelligent
man look for justice to an ever-rolling wheel armed with scythes?

    [33] Alison, Ch. 67, Vol. VIII. p. 815.

    [34] Alison, Ch. 72, Vol. IX. p. 497.

    [35] Napier, Book XXIV. ch. 6, Vol. VI. p. 687.

    [36] Ibid., Book XVI. ch. 7, Vol. IV. p. 476.

Chance is written on every battle-field. Discerned less in the conflict
of large masses than in that of individuals, it is equally present in
both. How capriciously the wheel turned when the fortunes of Rome were
staked on the combat between the Horatii and Curiatii!--and who, at one
time, augured that the single Horatius, with two slain brothers on the
field, would overpower the three living enemies? But this is not alone.
In all the combats of history, involving the fate of individuals or
nations, we learn to revolt at the frenzy which carries questions of
property, freedom, or life to a judgment so uncertain and senseless.
The humorous poet fitly exposes its hazards, when he says,--

    "that a turnstile is more certain
     Than, in events of war, Dame Fortune."[37]

    [37] Hudibras, Part I. Canto 3, vv. 23, 24.

During the early modern centuries, and especially in the moral night of
the Dark Ages, the practice prevailed extensively throughout Europe of
invoking this adjudication for controversies, whether of individuals
or communities. I do not dwell on the custom of Private War, though it
aptly illustrates the subject, stopping merely to echo that joy which,
in a time of ignorance, before this arbitrament yielded gradually to
the ordinances of monarchs and an advancing civilization, hailed its
temporary suspension as _The Truce of God_. But this beautiful term,
most suggestive, and historically important, cannot pass without the
attention which belongs to it. Such a truce is still an example, and
also an argument; but it is for nations. Here is something to be
imitated; and here also is an appeal to the reason. If individuals
or communities once recognized the Truce of God, why not again? And
why may not its benediction descend upon nations also? Its origin
goes back to the darkest night. It was in 1032 that the Bishop of
Aquitaine announced the appearance of an angel with a message from
Heaven, engaging men to cease from war and be reconciled. The people,
already softened by calamity and disposed to supernatural impressions,
hearkened to the sublime message, and consented. From sunset Thursday
to sunrise Monday each week, also during Advent and Lent, and at the
great festivals, all effusion of blood was interdicted, and no man
could molest his adversary. Women, children, travellers, merchants,
laborers, were assured perpetual peace. Every church was made an
asylum, and, by happy association, the plough also sheltered from
peril all who came to it. This respite, justly regarded as marvellous,
was hailed as the Truce of God. Beginning in one neighborhood, it was
piously extended until it embraced the whole kingdom, and then, by the
authority of the Pope, became coextensive with Christendom, while those
who violated it were put under solemn ban. As these things passed,
bishops lifted their crosses, and the people in their gladness cried,
_Peace! Peace!_[38] Originally too limited in operation and too short
in duration, the Truce of God must again be proclaimed for all places
and all times,--proclaimed to all mankind and all nations, without
distinction of person or calling, on all days of the week, without
distinction of sacred days or festivals, and with one universal asylum,
not merely the church and the plough, but every place and thing.

    [38] Robertson, Hist. of Charles V., Vol. I. note 21. Semichon, La Paix
et la Trève de Dieu, Tom. II. pp. 35, 53.

       *       *       *       *       *

From Private Wars, whose best lesson is the Truce of God, by which for
a time they were hushed, I come to the _Judicial Combat_, or Trial by
Battle, where, as in a mirror, we behold the barbarism of War, without
truce of any kind. Trial by Battle was a formal and legitimate mode of
deciding controversies, principally between individuals. Like other
ordeals, by walking barefoot and blindfold among burning ploughshares,
by holding hot iron, by dipping the hand in hot water or hot oil,
and like the great Ordeal of War, it was a presumptuous appeal to
Providence, under the apprehension and hope that Heaven would give the
victory to him who had the right. Its object was the very object of
War,--_the determination of Justice_. It was sanctioned by Municipal
Law as an arbitrament for individuals, as War, to the scandal of
civilization is still sanctioned by International Law as an arbitrament
for nations. "Men," says the brilliant Frenchman, Montesquieu, "subject
even their prejudices to rules"; and Trial by Battle, which he does
not hesitate to denounce as a "monstrous usage," was surrounded
by artificial regulations of multifarious detail, constituting an
extensive system, determining how and when it should be waged, as War
is surrounded by a complex code, known as the Laws of War. "Nothing,"
says Montesquieu again, "could be more contrary to good sense, but,
once established, it was executed with a certain prudence,"--which
is equally true of War. No battle-field for an army is selected with
more care than was the field for Trial by Battle. An open space in the
neighborhood of a church was often reserved for this purpose. At the
famous Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, in Paris, there was a tribune
for the judges, overlooking the adjoining meadow, which served for the
field.[39] The combat was inaugurated by a solemn mass, according to a
form still preserved, _Missa pro Duello_, so that, in ceremonial and
sanction, as in the field, the Church was constantly present. Champions
were hired, as soldiers now.[40]

    [39] Sismondi, Hist. des Français, Part. V. ch. 9, Tom. X. p. 514.

    [40] The pivotal character of Trial by Battle, as an illustration of
War, will justify a reference to the modern authorities, among which
are Robertson, who treats it with perspicuity and fulness (History of
Charles V., Vol. I. note 22),--Hallam, always instructive (Middle Ages,
Vol. I. Chap. II. pt. 2),--Blackstone, always clear (Commentaries,
Book III. ch. 22, sec. 5, and Book IV. ch. 27, sec. 3),--Montesquieu,
who casts upon it a flood of light (Esprit des Lois, Liv. XXVIII. ch.
18-33),--Sismondi, humane and interesting (Histoire des Français, Part.
IV. ch. 11, Tom. VIII. pp. 72-78),--Guizot, in a work of remarkable
historic beauty, more grave than Montesquieu, and enlightened by
a better philosophy (Histoire de la Civilisation en France depuis
la Chute de l'Empire Romain, Tom. IV. pp. 89, 149-166),--Wheaton,
our learned countryman (History of the Northmen, Chap. III. and
XII.),--also the two volumes of Millingen's History of Duelling, if so
loose a compend deserves a place in this list. All these, describing
Trial by Battle, testify against War. I cannot conceal that so great an
authority as Selden, a most enlightened jurist of the Long Parliament,
argues the lawfulness of the Duel from the lawfulness of War. After
setting forth that "a duel may be granted in some cases by the law of
England," he asks, "But whether is this lawful?" and then answers,
"_If you grant any war lawful_, I make no doubt but to convince it."
(Table-Talk: _Duel_.) But if the Duel be unlawful, how then with War?

No question was too sacred, grave, or recondite for this tribunal. In
France, the title of an Abbey to a neighboring church was decided by
it; and an Emperor of Germany, according to a faithful ecclesiastic,
"desirous of dealing _honorably_ with his people and nobles" (mark here
the standard of honor!), waived the judgment of the court on a grave
question of law concerning the descent of property, and referred it to
champions. Human folly did not stop here. In Spain, a subtile point
of theology was submitted to the same determination.[41] But Trial by
Battle was not confined to particular countries or to rare occasions.
It prevailed everywhere in Europe, superseding in many places all other
ordeals, and even _Trials by Proofs_, while it extended not only to
criminal matters, but to questions of property. In Orléans it had an
exceptional limitation, being denied in civil matters where the amount
did not exceed five sous.[42]

    [41] Robertson, Hist. Charles V., Vol. I. note 22.

    [42] Montesquieu, Esprit des Lois, Liv. XXVIII. ch. 19.

Like War in our day, its justice and fitness as an arbitrament were
early doubted or condemned. Liutprand, a king of the Lombards, during
that middle period neither ancient nor modern, in a law bearing date
A.D. 724, declares his distrust of it as a mode of determining
justice; but the monarch is compelled to add, that, considering the
_custom_ of his Lombard people, he cannot forbid the _impious law_.
His words deserve emphatic mention: "_Propter consuetudinem gentis
nostræ Langobardorum_ LEGEM IMPIAM _vetare non possumus_ ..."[43]
The appropriate epithet by which he branded Trial by Battle is the
important bequest of the royal Lombard to a distant posterity. For this
the lawgiver will be cherished with grateful regard in the annals of

    [43] Liutprandi Leges, Lib. VI. cap. 65: Muratori, Rerum Italic.
Script., Tom. I. pars 2, p. 74.

This custom received another blow from Rome. In the latter part of the
thirteenth century, Don Pedro of Aragon, after exchanging letters of
defiance with Charles of Anjou, proposed a personal combat, which was
accepted, on condition that Sicily should be the prize of success.
Each called down upon himself all the vengeance of Heaven, and the
last dishonor, if, at the appointed time, he failed to appear before
the Seneschal of Aquitaine, or, in case of defeat, refused to consign
Sicily undisturbed to the victor. While they were preparing for the
lists, the Pope, Martin the Fourth, protested with all his might
against this new Trial by Battle, which staked the sovereignty of a
kingdom, a feudatory of the Holy See, on a wild stroke of chance. By
a papal bull, dated at Civita Vecchia, April 5th, 1283, he threatened
excommunication to either of the princes who should proceed to a combat
which he pronounced _criminal_ and _abominable_. By a letter of the
same date, the Pope announced to Edward the First of England, Duke of
Aquitaine, the agreement of the two princes, which he most earnestly
declared to be full of indecency and rashness, hostile to the concord
of Christendom, and reckless of Christian blood; and he urged upon the
English monarch all possible effort to prevent the combat,--menacing
him with excommunication, and his territories with interdict, if it
should take place. Edward refusing to guaranty the safety of the
combatants in Aquitaine, the parties retired without consummating
their duel.[44] The judgment of the Holy See, which thus accomplished
its immediate object, though not in terms directed to the suppression
of the _custom_, remains, nevertheless, from its peculiar energy, a
perpetual testimony against Trial by Battle.

    [44] Sismondi, Hist. des Français, Part. IV. ch. 15, Tom. VIII. pp.

       *       *       *       *       *

To a monarch of France belongs the honor of first interposing the royal
authority for the entire suppression within his jurisdiction of this
_impious custom_, so universally adopted, so dear to the nobility, and
so profoundly rooted in the institutions of the Feudal Age. And here
let me pause with reverence as I pronounce the name of St. Louis, a
prince whose unenlightened errors may find easy condemnation in an age
of larger toleration and wider knowledge, but whose firm and upright
soul, exalted sense of justice, fatherly regard for the happiness
of his people, respect for the rights of others, conscience void of
offence toward God or man, make him foremost among Christian rulers,
and the highest example for Christian prince or Christian people,--in
one word, a model of True Greatness. He was of angelic conscience,
subjecting whatever he did to the single and exclusive test of moral
rectitude, disregarding every consideration of worldly advantage, all
fear of worldly consequences.

His soul, thus tremblingly sensitive to right, was shocked at the
judicial combat. It was a sin, in his sight, thus to _tempt God_, by
demanding of him a miracle, whenever judgment was pronounced. From
these intimate convictions sprang a royal ordinance, promulgated
first at a Parliament assembled in 1260: "_We forbid to all persons
throughout our dominions the_ TRIAL BY BATTLE; ... _and instead of
battles, we establish proofs by witnesses_.... AND THESE BATTLES WE

    [45] Guizot, Hist. de la Civilisation en France, Leçon 14, Vol. IV. pp.

Such were the restraints on the royal authority, that this beneficent
ordinance was confined in operation to the demesnes of the king, not
embracing those of the barons and feudatories. But where the power of
the sovereign did not reach, there he labored by example, influence,
and express intercession,--treating with the great vassals, and
inducing many to renounce this unnatural usage. Though for years later
it continued to vex parts of France, its overthrow commenced with the
Ordinance of St. Louis.

Honor and blessings attend this truly Christian king, who submitted
all his actions to the Heaven-descended sentiment of Duty,--who began
a long and illustrious reign by renouncing and restoring conquests
of his predecessor, saying to those about him, whose souls did not
ascend to his heights, "I know that the predecessors of the King of
England lost altogether by right the conquest which I hold; and the
land which I give him I do not give because I am bound to him or his
heirs, _but to put love between my children and his children, who are
cousins-german_; and it seems to me that what I thus give I employ
to good purpose."[46] Honor to him who never by force or cunning
grasped what was not his own,--who sought no advantage from the turmoil
and dissension of his neighbors,--who, first of Christian princes,
rebuked the Spirit of War, saying to those who would have him profit
by the strifes of others, "Blessed are the peacemakers,"[47]--who,
by an immortal ordinance, abolished Trial by Battle throughout his
dominions,--who extended equal justice to all, whether his own people
or his neighbors, and in the extremity of his last illness, before the
walls of Tunis, under a burning African sun, among the bequests of his
spirit, enjoined on his son and successor, "in maintaining justice, to
be inflexible and loyal, turning neither to the right hand nor to the

    [46] Guizot, Hist. de la Civilisation en France, Leçon 14, Vol. IV. p.

    [47] "_Benoist soient tuit li apaiseur._"--Joinville, p. 143.

    [48] Sismondi, Hist. des Français, Part. IV. ch. 12, Tom. VIII. p. 196.

       *       *       *       *       *

To condemn Trial by Battle no longer requires the sagacity above his
age of the Lombard monarch, or the intrepid judgment of the Sovereign
Pontiff, or the ecstatic soul of St. Louis. An incident of history,
as curious as it is authentic, illustrates this point, and shows the
certain progress of opinion; and this brings me to England, where this
trial was an undoubted part of the early Common Law, with peculiar
ceremonies sanctioned by the judges robed in scarlet. The learned
Selden, not content with tracing its origin, and exhibiting its forms,
with the oath of the duellist, "As God me help, and his saints of
Paradise," shows also the copartnership of the Church through its
liturgy appointing prayers for the occasion.[49] For some time it
was the only mode of trying a writ of right, by which the title to
real property was determined, and the fines from the numerous cases
formed no inconsiderable portion of the King's revenue.[50] It was
partially restrained by Henry the Second, under the advice of his
chief justiciary, the ancient law-writer, Glanville, substituting the
Grand Assize as an alternative, on the trial of a writ of right; and
the reason assigned for this substitution was the uncertainty of the
Duel, so that after many and long delays justice was scarcely obtained,
in contrast with the other trial, which was more convenient and
swift.[51] At a later day, Trial by Battle was rebuked by Elizabeth,
who interposed to compel the parties to a composition,--although, for
the sake of their _honor_, as it was called, the lists were marked
out and all the preliminary forms observed with much ceremony.[52] It
was awarded under Charles the First, and the proceeding went so far
that a day was proclaimed for the combatants to appear with spear,
long sword, short sword, and dagger, when the duel was adjourned from
time to time, and at last the king compelled an accommodation without
bloodshed.[53] Though fallen into desuetude, quietly overruled by the
enlightened sense of successive generations, yet, to the disgrace of
English jurisprudence, it was not legislatively abolished till near
our own day,--as late as 1819,--the right to it having been openly
claimed in Westminster Hall only two years previous. An ignorant man,
charged with murder,--whose name, Abraham Thornton, is necessarily
connected with the history of this monstrous usage,--being proceeded
against by the ancient process of appeal, pleaded, when brought into
court, as follows: "Not guilty; and I am ready to defend the same by
my body": and thereupon taking off his glove, he threw it upon the
floor. The appellant, not choosing to accept this challenge, abandoned
his proceedings. The bench, the bar, and the whole kingdom were
startled by the infamy; and at the next session of Parliament Trial
by Battle was abolished in England. In the debate on this subject,
the Attorney-General remarked, in appropriate terms, that, "if the
appellant had persevered in the Trial by Battle, he had no doubt
the legislature would have felt it their imperious duty at once to
interfere, and pass _an ex post facto law to prevent so degrading a
spectacle from taking place_."[54]

    [49] Selden, The Duello, or Single Combat, from Antiquity derived into
this Kingdom of England; also, Table Talk, _Duel_: Works, Vol. III.
col. 49-84, 2027.

    [50] Madox, Hist. of Exchequer, Vol. I. p. 349.

    [51] "Est autem magna Assisa regale quoddam beneficium, ... quo vitæ
hominum et status integritati tam salubriter consulitur, ut in jure
quod quis in libero soli tenemento possidet retinendo, duelli casum
declinare possunt homines ambiguum.... Jus enim, _quod post mullas et
longas dilationes vix evincitur per duellum_, per beneficium istius
constitutionis commodius et acceleratius expeditur." (Glanville,
Tractatus de Legibus et Consuetudinibus Regni Angliæ, Lib. II. cap. 7.)
These pointed words are precisely applicable to our Arbitrament of War,
with its many and long delays, so little productive of justice.

    [52] Robertson, Hist. Charles V., Vol. I. note 22.

    [53] Proceedings in the Court of Chivalry, on an Appeal of High
Treason by Donald Lord Rea against Mr. David Ramsay, 7 Cha. I., 1631:
Hargrave's State Trials, Vol. XI. pp. 124-131.

    [54] Hansard, Parl. Debates, XXXIX. 1104. Blackstone, Com., III. 337:
Chitty's note.

These words evince the disgust which Trial by Battle excites in our
day. Its folly and wickedness are conspicuous to all. Reverting to
that early period in which it prevailed, our minds are impressed by
the general barbarism; we recoil with horror from the awful subjection
of justice to brute force,--from the impious profanation of God in
deeming him present at these outrages,--from the moral degradation
out of which they sprang, and which they perpetuated; we enrobe
ourselves in self-complacent virtue, and thank God that we are not as
these men,--that ours is an age of light, while theirs was an age of

       *       *       *       *       *

But remember, fellow-citizens, that this criminal and impious custom,
which all condemn in the case of individuals, is openly avowed by our
own country, and by other countries of the great Christian Federation,
nay, that it is expressly _established_ by International Law, as the
proper mode of determining _justice_ between nations,--while the feats
of hardihood by which it is waged, and the triumphs of its fields, are
exalted beyond all other labors, whether of learning, industry, or
benevolence, as the well-spring of Glory. Alas! upon our own heads be
the judgment of barbarism which we pronounce upon those that have gone
before! At this moment, in this period of light, while to the contented
souls of many the noonday sun of civilization seems to be standing
still in the heavens, as upon Gideon, the dealings between nations
are still governed by the odious rules of brute violence which once
predominated between individuals. The Dark Ages have not passed away;
Erebus and black Night, born of Chaos, still brood over the earth; nor
can we hail the clear day, until the hearts of nations are touched, as
the hearts of individual men, and all acknowledge _one and the same Law
of Right_.

What has taught you, O man! thus to find glory in an act, performed by
a nation, which you condemn as a crime or a barbarism, when committed
by an individual? In what vain conceit of wisdom and virtue do you
find this incongruous morality? Where is it declared that God, who
is no respecter of persons, is a respecter of multitudes? Whence do
you draw these partial laws of an impartial God? Man is immortal;
but Nations are mortal. Man has a higher destiny than Nations. Can
Nations be less amenable to the supreme moral law? Each individual is
an atom of the mass. Must not the mass, in its conscience, be like
the individuals of which it is composed? Shall the mass, in relations
with other masses, do what individuals in relations with each other
may not do? As in the physical creation, so in the moral, there is but
one rule for the individual and the mass. It was the lofty discovery
of Newton, that the simple law which determines the fall of an apple
prevails everywhere throughout the Universe,--ruling each particle in
reference to every other particle, large or small,--reaching from earth
to heaven, and controlling the infinite motions of the spheres. So,
with equal scope, another simple law, _the Law of Right_, which binds
the individual, binds also two or three when gathered together,--binds
conventions and congregations of men,--binds villages, towns, and
cities,--binds states, nations, and races,--clasps the whole human
family in its sevenfold embrace; nay, more, beyond

    "the flaming bounds of place and time,
     The living throne, the sapphire blaze,"

it binds the angels of Heaven, Cherubim, full of knowledge, Seraphim,
full of love; above all, it binds, in self-imposed bonds, a just and
omnipotent God. This is the law of which the ancient poet sings, as
_Queen alike of mortals and immortals_. It is of this, and not of any
earthly law, that Hooker speaks in that magnificent period which
sounds like an anthem: "Of Law there can be no less acknowledged
than that her seat is the bosom of God, her voice the harmony of the
world: all things in heaven and earth do her homage, the very least as
feeling her care, and the greatest as not exempted from her power: both
angels and men, and creatures of what condition soever, though each
in different sort and manner, yet all with uniform consent, admiring
her as the mother of their peace and joy." Often quoted, and justly
admired, sometimes as the finest sentence of our English speech, this
grand declaration cannot be more fitly invoked than to condemn the
pretence of one law for the individual and another for the nation.

Stripped of all delusive apology, and tried by that comprehensive
law under which nations are set to the bar like common men, War
falls from glory into barbarous guilt, taking its place among bloody
transgressions, while its flaming honors are turned into shame.
Painful to existing prejudice as this may be, we must learn to abhor
it, as we abhor similar transgressions by vulgar offender. Every word
of reprobation which the enlightened conscience now fastens upon the
savage combatant in Trial by Battle, or which it applies to the unhappy
being who in murderous duel takes the life of his fellow-man, belongs
also to the nation that appeals to War. Amidst the thunders of Sinai
God declared, "Thou shalt not kill"; and the voice of these thunders,
with this commandment, is prolonged to our own day in the echoes of
Christian churches. What mortal shall restrict the application of these
words? Who on earth is empowered to vary or abridge the commandments of
God? Who shall presume to declare that this injunction was directed,
not to nations, but to individuals only,--not to many, but to one
only,--that one man shall not kill, but that many may,--that one man
shall not slay in Duel, but that a nation may slay a multitude in the
duel of War,--that each individual is forbidden to destroy the life
of a single human being, but that a nation is not forbidden to cut
off by the sword a whole people? We are struck with horror, and our
hair stands on end, at the report of a single murder; we think of the
soul hurried to final account; we hunt the murderer; and Government
puts forth its energies to secure his punishment. Viewed in the
unclouded light of Truth, what is War but organized murder,--murder
of malice aforethought,--in cold blood,--under sanctions of _impious
law_,--through the operation of an extensive machinery of crime,--with
innumerable hands,--at incalculable cost of money,--by subtle
contrivances of cunning and skill,--or amidst the fiendish atrocities
of the savage, brutal assault?

By another commandment, not less solemn, it is declared, "Thou shalt
not steal"; and then again there is another forbidding to covet what
belongs to others: but all this is done by War, which is stealing and
covetousness organized by International Law. The Scythian, undisturbed
by the illusion of military glory, snatched a phrase of justice from an
acknowledged criminal, when he called Alexander "the greatest robber
in the world." And the Roman satirist, filled with similar truth, in
pungent words touched to the quick that flagrant, unblushing injustice
which dooms to condign punishment the very guilt that in another sphere
and on a grander scale is hailed with acclamation:--

    "Ille crucem sceleris pretium tulit, his diadema."[55]

    [55] Juvenal, Sat. XIII. 105. The same judgment is pronounced by
Fénelon in his counsels to royalty, entitled, _Examen de Conscience
sur les Devoirs de la Royauté_.

While condemning the ordinary malefactor, mankind, blind to the real
character of War, may yet a little longer crown the giant actor with
glory; a generous posterity may pardon to unconscious barbarism the
atrocities which have been waged; but the _custom_, as organized
by existing law, cannot escape the unerring judgment of reason and
religion. The outrages, which, under most solemn sanctions, it permits
and invokes for professed purposes of justice, cannot be authorized by
any human power; and they must rise in overwhelming judgment, not only
against those who wield the weapons of Battle, but more still against
all who uphold its monstrous Arbitrament.

       *       *       *       *       *

When, O, when shall the St. Louis of the Nations arise,--Christian
ruler or Christian people,--who, in the Spirit of True Greatness,
shall proclaim, that hence-forward forever the great Trial by Battle
shall cease,--that "these battles" shall be _abolished_ throughout
the Commonwealth of Civilization,--that _a spectacle so degrading_
shall never be allowed again to take place,--and that it is the duty
of nations, involving the highest and wisest policy, to establish
love between each other, and, in all respects, at all times, with all
persons, whether their own people or the people of other lands, to be
governed by the sacred _Law of Right_, as between man and man?


I am now brought to review the obstacles encountered by those who,
according to the injunction of St. Augustine, would _make war on War_,
and slay it with the word. To some of these obstacles I alluded at the
beginning, especially the warlike literature, by which the character is
formed. The world has supped so full with battles, that its modes of
thought and many of its rules of conduct are incarnadined with blood,
as the bones of swine, feeding on madder, are said to become red. Not
to be tempted by this theme, I hasten on to expose in succession those
various PREJUDICES so powerful still in keeping alive the _custom_ of
War, including that greatest prejudice, mighty parent of an infinite
brood, at whose unreasoning behest untold sums are absorbed in
Preparations for War.

       *       *       *       *       *

1. One of the most important is the prejudice from _belief in its
necessity_. When War is called a necessity, it is meant, of course,
that its object can be attained in no other way. Now I think it has
already appeared, with distinctness approaching demonstration, that
the professed object of War, which is justice between nations, is in
no respect promoted by War,--that force is not justice, nor in any
way conducive to justice,--that the eagles of victory are the emblems
of successful force only, and not of established right. Justice is
obtained solely by the exercise of reason and judgment; but these
are silent in the din of arms. Justice is without passion; but War
lets loose all the worst passions, while "Chance, high arbiter, more
embroils the fray." The age is gone when a nation within the enchanted
circle of civilization could make war upon its neighbors for any
declared purpose of booty or vengeance. It does "nought in hate, but
all in _honor_." Such is the present rule. Professions of tenderness
mingle with the first mutterings of strife. As if conscience-struck
at the criminal abyss into which they are plunging, each of the
great litigants seeks to fix upon the other some charge of hostile
aggression, or to set up the excuse of defending some asserted right,
some Texas, some Oregon. Each, like Pontius Pilate, vainly washes its
hands of innocent blood, and straightway allows a crime at which the
whole heavens are darkened, and two kindred countries are severed, as
the vail of the Temple was rent in twain.

Proper modes for the determination of international disputes are
Negotiation, Mediation, Arbitration, and a Congress of Nations,--all
practicable, and calculated to secure peaceful justice. Under existing
Law of Nations these may be employed at any time. _But the very law
sanctioning War may be changed_, as regards two or more nations by
treaty between them, and as regards the body of nations by general
consent. If nations can agree in solemn provisions of International Law
to establish War as Arbiter of Justice, they can also agree to abolish
this arbitrament, and to establish peaceful substitutes,--precisely
as similar substitutes are established by Municipal Law to determine
controversies among individuals. A system of Arbitration may be
instituted, or a Congress of Nations, charged with the high duty of
organizing an _Ultimate Tribunal_, instead of "these battles." To do
this, the will only is required.

Let it not be said, then, that war is a _necessity_; and may our
country aspire to the glory of taking the lead in disowning the
barbarous system of LYNCH LAW among nations, while it proclaims
peaceful _substitutes_! Such a glory, unlike the earthly fame of
battle, will be immortal as the stars, dropping perpetual light upon
the souls of men.

       *       *       *       *       *

2. Another prejudice is founded on _the practice of nations_, past and
present. There is no crime or enormity in morals which may not find
the support of human example, often on an extended scale. But it will
not be urged in our day that we are to look for a standard of duty
in the conduct of vain, fallible, mistaken man. Not by any subtile
alchemy can man transmute Wrong into Right. Because War is according
to the practice of the world, it does not follow that it is right.
For ages the world worshipped false gods,--not less false because all
bowed before them. At this moment the prevailing numbers of mankind
are heathen; but heathenism is not therefore true. Once it was the
practice of nations to slaughter prisoners of war; but the Spirit of
War recoils now from this bloody sacrifice. By a perverse morality
in Sparta, theft, instead of being a crime, was, like War, dignified
into an art and accomplishment; like War, it was admitted into the
system of youthful education; and, like War, it was illustrated by an
instance of unconquerable firmness, barbaric counterfeit of virtue. The
Spartan youth, with the stolen fox beneath his robe eating into his
bowels, is an example of fortitude not unlike that so often admired
in the soldier. Other illustrations crowd upon the mind; but I will
not dwell upon them. We turn with disgust from Spartan cruelty and
the wolves of Taygetus,--from the awful cannibalism of the Feejee
Islands,--from the profane rites of innumerable savages,--from the
crushing Juggernaut,--from the Hindoo widow on her funeral pyre,--from
the Indian dancing at the stake; but had not all these, like War, the
sanction of established usage?

Often is it said that we need not be wiser than our fathers. Rather
strive to excel our fathers. What in them was good imitate; but do not
bind ourselves, as in chains of Fate, by their imperfect example. In
all modesty be it said, we have lived to little purpose, if we are not
wiser than the generations that have gone before. It is the exalted
distinction of man that he is progressive,--that his reason is not
merely the reason of a single human being, but that of the whole human
race, in all ages from which knowledge has descended, in all lands
from which it has been borne away. We are the heirs to an inheritance
grandly accumulating from generation to generation, with the superadded
products of other lands. The child at his mother's knee is now taught
the orbits of the heavenly bodies,

    "Where worlds on worlds compose one Universe,"

the nature of this globe, the character of the tribes by which it is
covered, and the geography of countries, to an extent far beyond the
ken of the most learned in other days. It is true, therefore, that
antiquity is the real infancy of man. Then is he immature, ignorant,
wayward, selfish, childish, finding his chief happiness in lowest
pleasures, unconscious of the higher. The animal reigns supreme, and
he seeks contest, war, blood. Already he has lived through infancy and
childhood. Reason and the kindlier virtues, repudiating and abhorring
force, now bear sway. The time has come for temperance, moderation,
peace. We are the true ancients. The single lock on the battered
forehead of old Time is thinner now than when our fathers attempted
to grasp it; the hour-glass has been turned often since; the scythe is
heavier laden with the work of death.

Let us not, then, take for a lamp to our feet the feeble taper that
glimmers from the sepulchre of the Past. Rather hail that ever-burning
light above, in whose beams is the brightness of noonday.

       *       *       *       *       *

3. There is a topic which I approach with diffidence, but in the
spirit of frankness. It is the influence which War, though condemned
by Christ, has derived from the _Christian Church_. When Constantine,
on one of his marches, at the head of his army, beheld the luminous
trophy of the cross in the sky, right above the meridian sun, inscribed
with the words, _By this conquer_, had his soul been penetrated by the
true spirit of Him whose precious symbol it was, he would have found
no inspiration to the spear and the sword. He would have received the
lesson of self-sacrifice as from the lips of the Saviour, and learned
that by no earthly weapon of battle can true victory be won. The pride
of conquest would have been rebuked, and the bawble sceptre have fallen
from his hands. _By this conquer_: by patience, suffering, forgiveness
of evil, by all those virtues of which the cross is the affecting
token, _conquer_, and the victory shall be greater than any in the
annals of Roman conquest; it may not yet find a place in the records of
man, but it will appear in the register of everlasting life.

The Christian Church, after the early centuries, failed to discern the
peculiar spiritual beauty of the faith it professed. Like Constantine,
it found new incentive to War in the religion of Peace; and such is its
character, even in our own day. The Pope of Rome, the asserted head of
the Church, Vicegerent of Christ upon earth, whose seal is a fisherman,
on whose banner is a Lamb before the Holy Cross, assumed the command
of armies, mingling the thunders of Battle with the thunders of the
Vatican. The dagger projecting from the sacred vestments of De Retz,
while still an archbishop, was justly derided by the Parisian crowd as
"the Archbishop's breviary." We read of mitred prelates in armor of
proof, and seem still to catch the clink of the golden spurs of bishops
in the streets of Cologne. The sword of knighthood was consecrated by
the Church, and priests were expert masters in military exercises. I
have seen at the gates of the Papal Palace in Rome a constant guard
of Swiss soldiers; I have seen, too, in our own streets, a show as
incongruous and inconsistent,--the pastor of a Christian church
swelling the pomp of a military parade. And some have heard, within a
few short weeks, in a Christian pulpit, from the lips of an eminent
Christian divine, a sermon, where we are encouraged to _serve the God
of Battles, and, as citizen soldiers, fight for Peace_:[56] a sentiment
in unhappy harmony with the profane language of the British peer, who,
in addressing the House of Lords, said, "_The best road to Peace,
my Lords, is War_, and that in the manner we are taught to worship
our Creator, namely, by carrying it on with all our souls, with all
our minds, with all our hearts, and with all our strength,"[57]--but
finding small support in a religion that expressly enjoins, when one
cheek is smitten, to turn the other, and which we hear with pain from
a minister of Christian truth,--alas! thus made inferior to that of the
heathen who _preferred the unjustest peace to the justest war_.[58]

    [56] Discourse before the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, by
A.H. Vinton.

    [57] Earl of Abingdon, May 30, 1794: Hansard, Parl. Hist., XXXI. 680.

    [58] "_Vel iniquissimam pacem justissimo bello anteferrem_" are the
words of Cicero. (Epist. A. Cæcinæ: Epp. ad Diversos, VI. 6.) Only
eight days after Franklin had placed his name to the treaty of peace
which acknowledged the independence of his country, he wrote to a
friend, "May we never see another war! for, in my opinion, there never
was a good war or a bad peace." (Letter to Josiah Quincy: Works, ed.
Sparks, Vol. X. p. 11.) It is with sincere regret that I seem, by a
particular allusion, to depart for a moment from so great a theme; but
the person and the theme here become united. I cannot refrain from
the effort to tear this iron branch of War from the golden tree of
Christian Truth, even though a voice come forth from the breaking bough.

Well may we marvel that now, in an age of civilization, the God of
Battles should be invoked. "_Deo imperante_, QUEM ADESSE BELLANTIBUS
CREDUNT," are the appropriate words of surprise in which Tacitus
describes a similar delusion of the ancient Germans.[59] The polite
Roman did not think God present with fighting men. This ancient
superstition must have lost something of its hold even in Germany;
for, at a recent period, her most renowned captain,--whose false glory
procured for him the title of Great,--Frederick of Prussia, declared,
with commendable frankness, that he always found the God of Battles on
the side of the strongest regiments; and when it was proposed to place
on his banner, soon to flout the sky of Silesia, the inscription, _For_
GOD _and Country_, he rejected the first word, declaring it not proper
to introduce the name of the Deity in the quarrels of men. By this
elevated sentiment the warrior monarch may be remembered, when his fame
of battle has passed away.

    [59] De Moribus German., Cap. 7.

The French priest of Mars, who proclaimed the "divinity" of War,
rivals the ancient Germans in faith that God is the tutelary guardian
of battle, and he finds a new title, which he says "shines" on all the
pages of Scripture, being none other than _God of Armies_.[60] Never
was greater mistake. No theology, no theodicy, has ever attributed
to God this title. God is God of Heaven, God of Hosts, the Living
God, and he is God of Peace,--so called by St. Paul, saying, "Now
the God of Peace be with you all,"[61] and again, "The God of Peace
shall bruise Satan shortly,"[62]--but God of Armies he is not, as he
is not God of Battles.[63] The title, whether of Armies or of Hosts,
thus invoked for War, has an opposite import, even angelic,--the
armies named being simply, according to authorities Ecclesiastical
and Rabbinical, the hosts of angels standing about the throne. Who,
then, is God of Battles? It is Mars,--man-slaying, blood-polluted,
city-smiting Mars![64] It is not He who binds the sweet influences of
the Pleiades and looses the bands of Orion, who causes the sun to shine
on the evil and the good, who distils the oil of gladness upon every
upright heart, who tempers the wind to the shorn lamb,--the Fountain of
Mercy and Goodness, the God of Justice and Love. Mars is not the God
of Christians; he is not Our Father in Heaven; to him can ascend no
prayers of Christian thanksgiving, no words of Christian worship, no
pealing anthem to swell the note of praise.

    [60] Joseph de Maistre, Soirées de Saint-Pétersbourg, Tom. II. p. 27.

    [61] Romans, xv. 33.

    [62] Ibid., xvi. 20.

    [63] A volume so common as Cruden's Concordance shows the audacity of
the martial claim.

    [64] Iliad, V. 31.

And yet Christ and Mars are still brought into fellowship, even
interchanging pulpits. What a picture of contrasts! A national ship of
the line now floats in this harbor. Many of you have pressed its deck,
and observed with admiration the completeness which prevails in all
its parts,--its lithe masts and complex network of ropes,--its thick
wooden walls, within which are more than the soldiers of Ulysses,--its
strong defences, and its numerous dread and rude-throated engines of
War. There, each Sabbath, amidst this armament of blood, while the
wave comes gently plashing against the frowning sides, from a pulpit
supported by a cannon, in repose now, but ready to awake its dormant
thunder charged with death, a Christian preacher addresses officers and
crew. May his instructions carry strength and succor to their souls!
But, in such a place, those highest words of the Master he professes,
"Blessed are the peacemakers," "Love your enemies," "Resist not evil,"
must, like Macbeth's "Amen," stick in the throat.

It will not be doubted that this strange and unblessed conjunction of
the Church with War has no little influence in blinding the world to
the truth, too slowly recognized, that the whole custom of war _is
contrary to Christianity_.

Individual interests mingle with prevailing errors, and are so far
concerned in maintaining them that military men yield reluctantly
to this truth. Like lawyers, as described by Voltaire, they are
"conservators of ancient barbarous usages." But that these usages
should obtain countenance in the Church is one of those anomalies
which make us feel the weakness of our nature, if not the elevation
of Christian truth. To uphold the Arbitrament of War requires no more
than to uphold the Trial by Battle; for the two are identical, except
in proportion. One is a giant, the other a pygmy. Long ago the Church
condemned the pygmy, and this Christian judgment now awaits extension
to the giant. Meanwhile it is perpetual testimony; nor should it be
forgotten, that, for some time after the Apostles, when the message
of peace and good-will was first received, many yielded to it so
completely as to reject arms of all kinds. Such was the voice of
Justin Martyr, Irenæus, Tertullian, and Origen, while Augustine pleads
always for Peace. Gibbon coldly recounts, how Maximilian, a youthful
recruit from Africa, refused to serve, insisting that his conscience
would not permit him to embrace the profession of soldier, and then
how Marcellus the Centurion, on the day of a public festival, threw
away his belt, his arms, and the ensigns of command, exclaiming with
a loud voice, that he would obey none but Jesus Christ, the Eternal
King.[65] Martyrdom ensued, and the Church has inscribed their names
on its everlasting rolls, thus forever commemorating their testimony.
These are early examples, not without successors. But Mars, so potent,
especially in Rome, was not easily dislodged, and down to this day
holds his place at Christian altars.

    "Thee to defend the Moloch priest prefers
     The prayer of hate, and bellows to the herd,
     That Deity, accomplice Deity,
     In the fierce jealousy of wakened wrath,
     Will go forth with our armies and our fleets
     To scatter the red ruin on their foes!
     O, blasphemy! to mingle fiendish deeds
     With blessedness!"[66]

    [65] Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chap. XVI. Vol. I.
p. 680.

    [66] Coleridge, Religious Musings, written Christmas Eve, 1794.

One of the beautiful pictures adorning the dome of a church in Home,
by that master of Art, whose immortal colors speak as with the voice
of a poet, the Divine Raphael, represents Mars in the attitude of War,
with a drawn sword uplifted and ready to strike, while an unarmed angel
from behind, with gentle, but irresistible force, arrests and holds the
descending hand. Such is the true image of Christian duty; nor can I
readily perceive any difference in principle between those ministers of
the Gospel who themselves gird on the sword, as in the olden time, and
those others, unarmed, and in customary suit of solemn black, who lend
the sanction of their presence to the martial array, or to any form of
preparation for War. The drummer, who pleaded that he did not fight,
was held more responsible for the battle than the soldier,--as it was
the sound of his drum that inflamed the flagging courage of the troops.

       *       *       *       *       *

4. From prejudices engendered by the Church I pass to prejudices
engendered by the army itself, having their immediate origin in
military life, but unfortunately diffusing themselves throughout the
community, in widening, though less apparent circles. I allude directly
to what is called _the Point of Honor_, early child of Chivalry, living
representative of its barbarism.[67] It is difficult to define what
is so evanescent, so impalpable, so chimerical, so unreal, and yet
which exercises such fiendish power over many men, and controls the
intercourse of nations. As a little water, fallen into the crevice
of a rock, under the congelation of winter, swells till it bursts
the thick and stony fibres, so a word or slender act, dropping into
the heart of man, under the hardening influence of this pernicious
sentiment, dilates till it rends in pieces the sacred depository of
human affection, and the demons Hate and Strife are left to rage. The
musing Hamlet saw this sentiment in its strange and unnatural potency,
when his soul pictured to his contemplations an

    "army of such mass and charge,
     Led by a delicate and tender prince,...
     Exposing what is mortal and unsure
     To all that fortune, death, and danger dare,
    _Even for an egg-shell_";

and when, again, giving to the sentiment its strongest and most popular
expression, he exclaims,--

    "Rightly to be great
     Is not to stir without great argument,
    _But greatly to find quarrel in a straw,
     When honor's at the stake_."

    [67] The _Point of Honor_ has a literature of its own, illustrated by
many volumes, some idea of which may be obtained in Brunet, "Manuel du
Libraire," Tom. VI. col. 1636-1638, under the head of _Chevalerie au
Moyen Age, comprenant les Tournois, les Combats Singuliers_, etc. One
of these has a title much in advance of the age in which it appeared:
"Chrestienne Confutation du Point d'Honneur sur lequel la Noblesse
fonde aujourd'hui ses Querelles et Monomachies," par Christ. de
Chiffontaine, Paris, 1579.

And when is honor at stake? This inquiry opens again the argument with
which I commenced, and with which I hope to close. Honor can be at
stake only where justice and beneficence are at stake; it can never
depend on egg-shell or straw; it can never depend on any hasty word of
anger or folly, not even if followed by vulgar violence. True honor
appears in the dignity of the human soul, in that highest moral and
intellectual excellence which is the nearest approach to qualities we
reverence as attributes of God. Our community frowns with indignation
upon the profaneness of the duel, having its rise in this irrational
_point of_ _honor_. Are you aware that you indulge the same sentiment
on a gigantic scale, when you recognize this very point of honor as
a proper apology for War? We have already seen that justice is in no
respect promoted by War. Is True Honor promoted where justice is not?

The very word Honor, as used by the world, fails to express any
elevated sentiment. How immeasurably below the sentiment of Duty!
It is a word of easy virtue, that has been prostituted to the most
opposite characters and transactions. From the field of Pavia, where
France suffered one of the worst reverses in her annals, the defeated
king writes to his mother, "All is lost, except _honor_." At a later
day, the renowned French cook, Vatel, in a paroxysm of grief and
mortification at the failure of two dishes for the table, exclaims, "I
have lost my _honor_!" and stabs himself to the heart.[68] Montesquieu,
whose writings are constellations of epigrams, calls honor a prejudice
only, which he places in direct contrast with virtue,--the former being
the animating principle of monarchy, and the latter the animating
principle of a republic; but he reveals the inferiority of honor, as
a principle, when he adds, that, in a well-governed monarchy, almost
everybody is a good citizen, while it is rare to meet a really good
man.[69] The man of honor is not the man of virtue. By an instinct
pointing to the truth, we do not apply this term to the high columnar
qualities which sustain and decorate life,--parental affection,
justice, benevolence, the attributes of God. He would seem to borrow
a feebler phrase, showing a slight appreciation of the distinctive
character to whom reverence is accorded, who should speak of father,
mother, judge, angel, or finally of God, as _persons of honor_. In such
sacred connections, we feel, beyond the force of any argument, the
mundane character of the sentiment which plays such a part in history
and even in common life.

    [68] The death of the culinary martyr is described by Madame de Sévigné
with the accustomed coldness and brilliancy of her fashionable pen
(Lettres L. and LI., Tom. I. pp. 164, 165). It was attributed, she
says, _to the high sense of honor he had after his own way_. Tributes
multiply. A French vaudeville associates his name with that of this
brilliant writer, saying, "Madame de Sévigné and Vatel are the people
who _honored_ the age of Louis XIV." The _Almanach des Gourmands_,
in the Epistle Dedicatory of its concluding volume, addresses the
venerable shade of the heroic cook: "You have proved that the
_fanaticism of honor_ can exist in the kitchen as well as the camp."
Berchoux commemorates the dying exclamation in _La Gastronomie_, Chant

"_Je suis perdu d'honneur_, deux rôtis ont manqué."

    [69] Esprit des Lois, Liv. III. ch. 3-7.

The rule of honor is founded in the imagined necessity of resenting by
force a supposed injury, whether of word or act.[70] Admit the injury
received, seeming to sully the character; is it wiped away by any
force, and descent to the brutal level of its author? "Could I wipe
your blood from my conscience as easily as this insult from my face,"
said a Marshal of France, greater on this occasion than on any field of
fame, "I would lay you dead at my feet." Plato, reporting the angelic
wisdom of Socrates, declares, in one of those beautiful dialogues
shining with stellar light across the ages, that _to do a wrong is
more shameful than to receive a wrong_.[71] And this benign sentiment
commends itself alike to the Christian, who is bid to render good for
evil, and to the enlightened soul of man. But who confessing its truth
will resort to force on any point of _honor_?

    [70] This is well exposed in a comedy of Molière.

"_Don Pedre._ Souhaitez-vous quelque chose de moi?

"_Hali._ Oui, un conseil sur _un fait d'honneur_. Je sais qu'en ces
matières il est mal-aisé de trouver un cavalier plus consommé que

"Seigneur, _j'ai reçu un soufflet_. Vous savez ce qu'est un soufflet,
lorsqu'il se donne à main ouverte sur le beau milieu de la joue. _J'ai
ce soufflet fort sur le coeur; et je suis dans l'incertitude, si,
pour me venger de l'affront, je dois me battre avec mon homme, ou bien
le faire assassiner._

"_Don Pedre._ Assassiner, c'est le plus sûr et le plus court chemin."

 _Le Sicilien_, Sc. XIII.

    [71] This proposition is enforced by Socrates, with unanswerable
reasoning and illustration, throughout the _Gorgias_, which Cicero read
diligently while studying at Athens (De Oratore, I. 11).

In ancient Athens, as in unchristianized Christian lands, there were
sophists who urged that _to suffer_ was unbecoming a man, and would
draw down incalculable evil. The following passage, which I translate
with scrupulous literalness, will show the manner in which the moral
cowardice of these persons of little faith was rebuked by him whom the
gods of Greece pronounced Wisest of Men.

"These things being so, let us inquire what it is you reproach me
with: whether it is well said, or not, that I, forsooth, am not able
to assist either myself or any of my friends or my relations, or to
save myself from the greatest dangers, but that, like the infamous, I
am at the mercy of any one who may choose to smite me on the face (for
this was your juvenile expression), or take away my property, or drive
me out of the city, or (the extreme case) kill me, and that to be so
situated is, as you say, the most shameful of all things. But my view
is,--a view many times expressed already, but there is no objection
to its being stated again,--_my view, I say, is, O Callicles, that to
be struck on the face unjustly is not most shameful, nor to have my
body mutilated, nor my purse cut; but that to strike and cut me and
mine unjustly is more shameful and worse--and stealing, too,_ _and
enslaving, and housebreaking, and, in general, doing any wrong whatever
to me and mine, is more shameful and worse--for him who does the wrong
than for me who suffer it_. These things, which thus appeared to us in
the former part of this discussion, are secured and bound (even if the
expression be somewhat rustical) with iron and adamantine arguments, as
indeed they would seem to be; and unless you, or some one stronger than
you, can break them, it is impossible for any one, saying otherwise
than as I now say, to speak correctly: since, for my part, _I always
have the same thing to say,--that I know not how these things are, but
that, of all whom I have ever discoursed with as now, no one is able to
say otherwise without being ridiculous_."[72]

    [72] Gorgias, Cap. LXIV.

    Such is the wisdom of Socrates, as reported by Plato; and it has
    found beautiful expression in the verse of an English poet, who

    "Dear as freedom is, and in my heart's Just estimation prized above
    all price, _I had much rather be myself the slave And wear the
    bonds than fasten them on him_."[73]

    [73] Cowper, The Task, Book II. vv. 33-36.

The modern _point of honor_ did not obtain a place in warlike
antiquity. Themistocles at Salamis, when threatened with a blow, did
not send a cartel to the Spartan commander. "Strike, but hear," was the
response of that firm nature, which felt that true honor is gained only
in the performance of duty. It was in the depths of modern barbarism,
in the age of chivalry, that this sentiment shot up into wildest and
rankest fancies. Not a step was taken without it. No act without
reference to the "bewitching duel." And every stage in the combat, from
the ceremonial at its beginning to its deadly close, was measured
by this fantastic law. Nobody forgets _As You Like It_, with its
humorous picture of a quarrel in progress to a duel, through the seven
degrees of Touchstone. Nothing more ridiculous, as nothing can be more
disgusting, than the degradation in which this whole fantasy of honor
had its origin, as fully appears from an authentic incident in the life
of its most brilliant representative. The Chevalier Bayard, cynosure
of chivalry, the good knight without fear and without reproach,
battling with the Spaniard Señor Don Alonso de Soto Mayor, succeeded
by a feint in striking him such a blow, that the weapon, despite the
gorget, penetrated the throat four fingers deep. The wounded Spaniard
grappled with his antagonist until they both rolled on the ground, when
Bayard, drawing his dagger, and thrusting the point directly into the
nostrils of his foe, exclaimed, "Señor Don Alonso, surrender, or you
are a dead man!"--a speech which appeared superfluous, as the second
of the Spaniard cried out, "Señor Bayard, he is dead already; you
have conquered." The French knight "would gladly have given a hundred
thousand crowns, if he had had them, to have vanquished him alive,"
says the Chronicle; but now falling upon his knees, he kissed the
earth three times, then rose and drew his dead enemy from the field,
saying to the second, "Señor Don Diego, have I done enough?" To which
the other piteously replied, "Too much, Señor Bayard, for the _honor_
of Spain!" when the latter very generously presented him with the
corpse, it being his right, by the Law of Honor, to dispose of it as
he thought proper: an act highly commended by the chivalrous Brantôme,
who thinks it difficult to say which did most _honor_ to the faultless
knight,--not dragging the dead body by a leg ignominiously from the
field, like the carcass of a dog, or condescending to fight while
suffering under an ague![74]

    [74] La Tresjoyeuse, Plaisante et Recreative Hystoire, composée par
le Loyal Serviteur, des Faiz, Gestes, Triumphes et Prouesses du Bon
Chevalier sans Paour et sans Reprouche, le Gentil Seigneur de Bayart,
Chap. XXII.: Petitot, Collection Complète des Mémoires relatifs à
l'Histoire de France, Tom. XV. pp. 238-244. Brantôme, Discours sur les
Duels: OEuvres, Tom. VIII. pp. 34, 35.

In such a transaction, conferring honor upon the brightest son of
chivalry, we learn the real character of an age whose departure has
been lamented with such touching, but inappropriate eloquence. Thank
God! the age of chivalry is gone; but it cannot be allowed to prolong
its fanaticism of honor into our day. This must remain with the lances,
swords, and daggers by which it was guarded, or appear, if it insists,
only with its inseparable American companions, bowie-knife, pistol, and

A true standard of conduct is found only in the highest civilization,
with those two inspirations, justice and benevolence,--never in
any barbarism, though affecting the semblance of sensibility and
refinement. But this standard, while governing the relations of the
individual, must be recognized by nations also. Alas! alas! how long?
We still wait that happy day, now beginning to dawn, harbinger of
infinite happiness beyond, when nations, like men, shall confess that
it is better to receive a wrong than do a wrong.

5. There is still another influence stimulating War, and interfering
with the natural attractions of Peace: I refer to a selfish and
exaggerated _prejudice of country_, leading to physical aggrandizement
and political exaltation at the expense of other countries, and in
disregard of justice. Nursed by the literature of antiquity, we imbibe
the sentiment of heathen patriotism. Exclusive love for the land of
birth belonged to the religion of Greece and Rome. This sentiment was
material as well as exclusive. The Oracle directed the returning Roman
to kiss his mother, and he kissed Mother Earth. Agamemnon, according
to Æschylus, on regaining his home, after perilous separation for more
than ten years at the siege of Troy, before addressing family, friend,
or countryman, salutes Argos:--

    "By your leave, lords, first Argos I salute."

The schoolboy does not forget the victim of Verres, with the memorable
cry which was to stay the descending fasces of the lictor, "I am a
Roman citizen,"--nor those other words echoing through the dark Past,
"How sweet and becoming to die for country!" Of little avail the
nobler cry, "I am a man," or the Christian ejaculation, swelling the
soul, "How sweet and becoming to die for duty!" The beautiful genius
of Cicero, instinct at times with truth almost divine, did not ascend
to that heaven where it is taught that all mankind are neighbors and
kindred. To the love of universal man may be applied those words by
which the great Roman elevated his selfish patriotism to virtue, when
he said that _country alone embraced all the charities of all_.[75]
Attach this admired phrase to the single idea of country, and you see
how contracted are its charities, compared with that world-wide circle
where our neighbor is the suffering man, though at the farthest pole.
Such a sentiment would dry up those precious fountains now diffusing
themselves in distant unenlightened lands, from the icy mountains of
Greenland to the coral islands of the Pacific Sea.

    [75] "Cari sunt parentes, cari liberi, propinqui, familiares; sed
_omnes omnium caritates patria una complexa est_." (De Offic., Lib.
I. cap. 17.) It is curious to observe how Cicero puts aside that
expression of true humanity which fell from Terence, "_Humani nihil
a me alienum puto._" He says, "_Est enim difficilis cura rerum
alienarum._" Ibid., Lib. I. cap. 9.

It is the policy of rulers to encourage this exclusive patriotism, and
here they are aided by the examples of antiquity. I do not know that
any one nation is permitted to reproach another with this selfishness.
All are selfish. Men are taught to live, not for mankind, but only for
a small portion of mankind. The pride, vanity, ambition, brutality
even, which all rebuke in the individual, are accounted virtues, if
displayed in the name of country. Among us the sentiment is active,
while it derives new force from the point with which it has been
expressed. An officer of our navy, one of the heroes nurtured by War,
whose name has been praised in churches, going beyond all Greek,
all Roman example, exclaimed, "Our country, _right or wrong_,"--a
sentiment dethroning God and enthroning the Devil, whose flagitious
character must be rebuked by every honest heart. How different was
virtuous Andrew Fletcher, whose heroical uprightness, amidst the
trials of his time, has become immortal in the saying, that he "would
readily lose his life to _serve_ his country, but would not do a base
thing to _save_ it."[76] Better words, or more truly patriotic, were
never uttered. "Our country, our whole country, and _nothing but our
country_," are other delusive sounds, which, first falling from the
lips of an eminent American orator, are often painted on banners,
and echoed by innumerable multitudes. Cold and dreary, narrow and
selfish would be this life, if _nothing but our country_ occupied the
soul,--if the thoughts that wander through eternity, if the infinite
affections of our nature, were restrained to that place where we find
ourselves by the accident of birth.

    [76] Character, prefixed to Political Works, p. viii.

By a natural sentiment we incline to the spot where we were born, to
the fields that witnessed the sports of childhood, to the seat of
youthful studies, and to the institutions under which we have been
trained. The finger of God writes all these things indelibly upon the
heart of man, so that even in death he reverts with fondness to early
associations, and longs for a draught of cold water from the bucket in
his father's well. This sentiment is independent of reflection: for it
begins before reflection, grows with our growth, and strengthens with
our strength. It is the same in all countries having the same degree
of enlightenment, differing only according to enlightenment, under
whose genial influence it softens and refines. It is the strongest with
those least enlightened. The wretched Hottentot never travels away
from his melting sun; the wretched Esquimau never travels away from
his freezing cold; nor does either know or care for other lands. This
is his patriotism. The same instinct belongs to animals. There is no
beast not instinctively a patriot, cherishing his own country with all
its traditions, which he guards instinctively against all comers. Thus
again, in considering the origin of War, do we encounter the animal
in man. But as human nature is elevated, as the animal is subdued,
that patriotism which is without reason shares the generous change and
gradually loses its barbarous egotism. To the enlarged vision a new
world is disclosed, and we begin to discern the distant mountain-peaks,
all gilded by the beams of morning, revealing that God has not placed
us alone on this earth, but that others, equally with ourselves, are
children of his care.

The curious spirit goes further, and, while recognizing an inborn
attachment to the place of birth, searches into the nature of the
allegiance required. According to the old idea, still too prevalent,
man is made for the State, not the State for man. Far otherwise is
the truth. The State is an artificial body, for the security of the
people. How constantly do we find in human history that the people
are sacrificed for the State,--to build the Roman name, to secure for
England the trident of the sea, to carry abroad the conquering eagles
of France! This is to barter the greater for the less,--to sacrifice
humanity, embracing more even than country _all the charities of all_,
for the sake of a mistaken grandeur.

Not that I love country less, but Humanity more, do I now and here
plead the cause of a higher and truer patriotism. I cannot forget that
we are men by a more sacred bond than we are citizens,--that we are
children of a common Father more than we are Americans.

Thus do seeming diversities of nations--separated by accident of
language, mountain, river, or sea--all disappear, and the multitudinous
tribes of the globe stand forth as members of one vast Human Family,
where strife is treason to Heaven, and all war is nothing else than
_civil_ war. In vain restrict this odious term, importing so much of
horror, to the dissensions of a single community. It belongs also to
feuds between nations. The soul trembles aghast in the contemplation of
fields drenched with fraternal gore, where the happiness of homes is
shivered by neighbors, and kinsman sinks beneath the steel nerved by a
kinsman's hand. This is civil war, accursed forever in the calendar
of Time. In the faithful record of the future, recognizing the True
Grandeur of Nations, the Muse of History, inspired by a loftier justice
and touched to finer sensibilities, will extend to Universal Man the
sympathy now confined to country, and no war will be waged without
arousing everlasting judgment.

       *       *       *       *       *

6. I might here pause, feeling that those who have accompanied me to
this stage will be ready to join in condemnation of War, and to hail
Peace as the only condition becoming the dignity of human nature,
while it opens vistas of all kinds abundant with the most fruitful
promises. But there is one other consideration, yielding to none in
importance,--perhaps more important than all, being at once cause and
effect,--the cause of strong prejudice in favor of War, and the effect
of this prejudice. I refer to _Preparations for War_ in time of Peace.
Here is an immense practical evil, requiring remedy. In exposing its
character too much care cannot be taken.

       *       *       *       *       *

I shall not dwell upon the fearful cost of War itself. That is present
in the mountainous accumulations of debt, piled like Ossa upon Pelion,
with which civilization is pressed to earth. According to the most
recent tables, the public debt of European nations, so far as known,
amounts to the terrific sum of $7,777,521,840,--all the growth of War!
It is said that there are throughout these nations 17,000,000 paupers,
or persons subsisting at the public expense, without contributing to
its resources. If these millions of public debt, forming only a part of
what has been wasted in War, could be apportioned among these poor, it
would give to each $450,--a sum placing all above want, and about equal
to the average wealth of an inhabitant of Massachusetts.

The public debt of Great Britain in 1842 reached to $3,827,833,102, the
growth of War since 1688. This amount is equal to two thirds of all
the harvest of gold and silver yielded by Spanish America, including
Mexico and Peru, from the discovery of our hemisphere by Christopher
Columbus to the beginning of the present century, as calculated by
Humboldt.[77] It is much larger than the mass of all the precious
metals constituting at this moment the circulating medium of the
world. Sometimes it is rashly said, by those who have given little
attention to the subject, that all this expenditure has been widely
distributed, and therefore beneficial to the people; but this apology
forgets that it has not been bestowed on any productive industry or
useful object. The magnitude of this waste appears by contrast. For
instance, the aggregate capital of all the joint-stock companies in
England of which there was any known record in 1842, embracing canals,
docks, bridges, insurance, banks, gas-lights, water, mines, railways,
and other miscellaneous objects, was about $800,000,000,--all devoted
to the welfare of the people, but how much less in amount than the
War Debt! For the six years preceding 1842, the average payment for
interest on this debt was $141,645,157 annually. If we add to this
sum the further annual outlay of $66,780,817 for the army, navy, and
ordnance, we shall have $208,425,974 as the annual tax of the English
people, to pay for former wars and prepare for new. During this same
period, an annual appropriation of $24,858,442 was sufficient for the
entire civil service. Thus War consumed ninety cents of every dollar
pressed by heavy taxation from the English people. What fabulous
monster, what chimæra dire, ever raged with a maw so ravenous? The
remaining ten cents sufficed to maintain the splendor of the throne,
the administration of justice, and diplomatic relations with foreign
powers,--in short, all the more legitimate objects of a nation.[78]

    [77] New Spain, Vol. III. p. 431.

    [78] Here and in subsequent pages I have relied upon the Encyclopædia
Britannica, the Annual Register, McCulloch's Commercial Dictionary,
Laurie's Universal Geography, founded on the works of Malte-Brun and
Balbi, and the calculations of Hon. William Jay, in War and Peace, p.
16, and in his Address before the Peace Society, pp. 28, 29.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus much for the general cost of War. Let us now look exclusively at
the _Preparations for War in time of Peace_. It is one of the miseries
of War, that even in Peace its evils continue to be felt beyond any
other by which suffering humanity is oppressed. If Bellona withdraws
from the field, we only lose sight of her flaming torches; the baying
of her dogs is heard on the mountains, and civilized man thinks to
find protection from their sudden fury only by inclosing himself in
the barbarous armor of battle. At this moment, the Christian nations,
worshipping a symbol of common brotherhood, occupy intrenched camps,
with armed watch, to prevent surprise from each other. Recognizing War
as Arbiter of Justice, they hold themselves perpetually ready for the
bloody umpirage.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to arrive at any exact estimate of
these Preparations, ranging under four different heads,--Standing Army,
Navy, Fortifications, and Militia, or irregular troops.

The number of soldiers now affecting to keep the peace of European
Christendom, as a _Standing Army_, without counting the Navy, is
upwards of two millions: some estimates place it as high as three
millions. The army of Great Britain, including the forces in India,
exceeds 300,000 men; that of France, 350,000; that of Russia, 730,000,
and is reckoned by some as high as 1,000,000; that of Austria, 275,000;
that of Prussia, 150,000. Taking the smaller number, and supposing
these two millions to require for their support an average annual sum
of only $150 each, the result would be $300,000,000 for sustenance
alone; and reckoning one officer to ten soldiers, and allowing to each
of the latter an English shilling a day, or $88.33 a year, for wages,
and to the former an average annual salary of $500, we have for the
pay of the whole no less than $258,994,000, or an appalling sum-total,
for both sustenance and pay, of $558,994,000 a year. If the same
calculation be made, supposing the force three millions, the sum-total
will be $838,491,000! But to this enormous sum must be added another
still more enormous, on account of loss sustained by the withdrawal
of these hardy, healthy millions, in the bloom of life, from useful,
productive labor. It is supposed that it costs an average sum of $500
to rear a soldier, and that the value of his labor, if devoted to
useful objects, would be $150 a year. Therefore, in setting apart two
millions of men as soldiers, the Christian powers sustain a loss of
$1,000,000,000 on account of training, and $300,000,000 on account of
labor, in addition to the millions annually expended for sustenance
and pay. So much for the Standing Army of Christian Europe in time of

Glance now at the _Navy_. The Royal Navy of Great Britain consists
at present of 557 ships; but deducting such as are used for convict
ships, floating chapels, and coal depots, the efficient Navy comprises
88 ships of the line, 109 frigates, 190 small frigates, corvettes,
brigs, and cutters, including packets, 65 steamers of various sizes, 3
troop-ships and yachts: in all, 455 ships. Of these, in 1839, 190 were
in commission, carrying in all 4,202 guns, with crews numbering 34,465
men. The Navy of France, though not comparable with that of England, is
of vast force. By royal ordinance of 1st January, 1837, it was fixed
in time of peace at 40 ships of the line, 50 frigates, 40 steamers,
and 19 smaller vessels, with crews numbering, in 1839, 20,317 men.
The Russian Navy is composed of two large fleets,--one in the Gulf of
Finland, and the other in the Black Sea; but the exact amount of their
force is a subject of dispute among naval men and publicists. Some idea
of the Navy may be derived from the number of hands. The crews of the
Baltic amounted, in 1837, to not less than 30,800 men, and those of
the Black Sea to 19,800, or altogether 50,600,--being nearly equal to
those of England and France combined. The Austrian Navy comprised, in
1837, 8 ships of the line, 8 frigates, 4 sloops, 6 brigs, 7 schooners
or galleys, and smaller vessels: the number of men in its service, in
1839, was 4,547. The Navy of Denmark comprised, at the close of 1837,
7 ships of the line, 7 frigates, 5 sloops, 6 brigs, 3 schooners, 5
cutters, 58 gunboats, 6 gun-rafts, and 3 bomb-vessels, requiring about
6,500 men. The Navy of Sweden and Norway consisted recently of 238
gunboats, 11 ships of the line, 8 frigates, 4 corvettes, and 6 brigs,
with several smaller vessels. The Navy of Greece has 32 ships of
war, carrying 190 guns, with 2,400 men. The Navy of Holland, in 1839,
had 8 ships of the line, 21 frigates, 15 corvettes, 21 brigs, and 95
gunboats. Of the untold cost absorbed in these mighty Preparations it
is impossible to form an accurate idea. But we may lament that means
so gigantic are applied by Christian Europe, in time of Peace, to the
construction and maintenance of such superfluous wooden walls.

In the _Fortifications and Arsenals_ of Europe, crowning every height,
commanding every valley, frowning over every plain and every sea,
wealth beyond calculation has been sunk. Who can tell the immense
sums expended in hollowing out the living rock of Gibraltar? Who can
calculate the cost of all the Preparations at Woolwich, its 27,000
cannon, and its small arms counted by hundreds of thousands? France
alone contains more than one hundred and twenty fortified places; and
it is supposed that the yet unfinished fortifications of Paris have
cost upward of _fifty millions of dollars_.

The cost of the _Militia_, or irregular troops, the Yeomanry of
England, the National Guard of Paris, and the _Landwehr_ and
_Landsturm_ of Prussia, must add other incalculable sums to these
enormous amounts.

Turn now to the United States, separated by a broad ocean from
immediate contact with the Great Powers of Christendom, bound by
treaties of amity and commerce with all the nations of the earth,
connected with all by strong ties of mutual interest, and professing a
devotion to the principles of Peace. Are Treaties of Amity mere words?
Are relations of Commerce and mutual interest mere things of a day? Are
professions of Peace vain? Else why not repose in quiet, unvexed by
Preparations for War?

Colossal as are European expenditures for these purposes, they are
still greater among us in proportion to other expenses of the National

It appears that the average _annual_ expenses of the National
Government, for the six years ending 1840, exclusive of payments
on account of debt, were $26,474,892. Of this sum, the average
appropriation each year for military and naval purposes amounted
to $21,328,903, being eighty per cent. Yes,--of all the annual
appropriations by the National Government, eighty cents in every
dollar were applied in this unproductive manner. The remaining twenty
cents sufficed to maintain the Government in all its branches,
Executive, Legislative, and Judicial,--the administration of justice,
our relations with foreign nations, the post-office, and all the
light-houses, which, in happy, useful contrast with the forts, shed
their cheerful signals over the rough waves beating upon our long and
indented coast, from the Bay of Fundy to the mouth of the Mississippi.
The relative expenditures of nations for Military Preparations in time
of Peace, exclusive of payments on account of debts, when accurately
understood, must surprise the advocates of economy in our country.
In proportion to the whole expenditure of Government, they are, in
Austria, as 33 per cent; in France, as 38 per cent; in Prussia, as 44
per cent; in Great Britain, as 74 per cent; in the UNITED STATES, as 80
per cent![79]

    [79] I have verified these results, but do little more than follow
Judge Jay, who has illustrated this important point with his accustomed
accuracy.--_Address before the American Peace Society_, p. 30.

To this stupendous waste may be added the still larger and equally
superfluous expenses of the Militia throughout the country, placed
recently by a candid and able writer at $50,000,000 a year![80]

    [80] Jay, War and Peace, p. 13.

By a table of the National expenditures,[81] exclusive of payments on
account of the Public Debt, it appears, that, _in fifty-four years
from the formation of our present Government_, that is, from 1789 down
to 1843, $155,282,217 were expended for civil purposes, comprehending
the executive, the legislative, the judiciary, the post-office,
light-houses, and intercourse with foreign governments. During this
same period, $370,981,521 were devoted to the Military establishment,
and $169,707,214 to the Naval establishment,--the two forming an
aggregate of $540,688,735. Deducting from this amount appropriations
during three years of War, and we find that more than _four hundred
and sixty millions_ were absorbed by vain Preparations for War in time
of Peace. Add to this amount a moderate sum for the expenses of the
Militia during the same period, which, as we have seen, are placed
at $50,000,000 a year,--for the past years we may take an average of
$25,000,000,--and we have the enormous sum-total of $1,350,000,000
piled upon the $460,000,000, the whole amounting to _eighteen hundred
and ten millions_ of dollars, a sum not easily conceived by the human
faculties, sunk, under the sanction of the National Government, in mere
_peaceful Preparations for War_: almost _twelve times_ as much as was
dedicated by the National Government, during the same period, to all
other purposes whatsoever.

    [81] Executive Document No. 15, Twenty-Eighth Congress, First Session,
pp. 1018-19.

From this serried array of figures the mind instinctively recoils.
If we examine them from a nearer point of view, and, selecting some
particular item, compare it with the figures representing other
interests in the community, they will present a front still more dread.

Within cannon-range of this city stands an institution of
learning which was one of the earliest cares of our forefathers,
the conscientious Puritans. Favored child in an age of trial
and struggle,--carefully nursed through a period of hardship
and anxiety,--endowed at that time by the oblations of men like
Harvard,--sustained from its first foundation by the parental arm of
the Commonwealth, by a constant succession of munificent bequests,
and by the prayers of good men,--the University at Cambridge now
invites our homage, as the most ancient, most interesting, and most
important seat of learning in the land,--possessing the oldest and
most valuable library,--one of the largest museums of mineralogy and
natural history,--with a School of Law which annually receives into its
bosom more than one hundred and fifty sons from all parts of the Union,
where they listen to instruction from professors whose names are among
the most valuable possessions of the land,--also a School of Divinity,
fount of true learning and piety,--also one of the largest and most
flourishing Schools of Medicine in the country,--and besides these,
a general body of teachers, twenty-seven in number, many of whose
names help to keep the name of the country respectable in every part
of the globe, where science, learning, and taste are cherished,--the
whole presided over at this moment by a gentleman early distinguished
in public life by unconquerable energy and masculine eloquence, at a
later period by the unsurpassed ability with which he administered
the affairs of our city, and now, in a green old age, full of years
and honors, preparing to lay down his present high trust.[82] Such is
Harvard University; and as one of the humblest of her children, happy
in the memories of a youth nurtured in her classic retreats, I cannot
allude to her without an expression of filial affection and respect.

    [82] Hon. Josiah Quincy.

It appears from the last Report of the Treasurer, that the whole
available property of the University, the various accumulation of more
than two centuries of generosity, amounts to $703,175.

Change the scene, and cast your eyes upon another object. There
now swings idly at her moorings in this harbor a ship of the line,
the Ohio, carrying ninety guns, finished as late as 1836 at an
expense of $547,888,--repaired only two years afterwards, in 1838,
for $233,012,--with an armament which has cost $53,945,--making an
aggregate of $834,845, as the actual outlay at this moment for that
single ship,[83]--more than $100,000 beyond all the available wealth of
the richest and most ancient seat of learning in the land! Choose ye,
my fellow-citizens of a Christian state, between the two caskets,--that
wherein is the loveliness of truth, or that which contains the carrion

    [83] Executive Document No. 132, Twenty-Seventh Congress, Third

I refer to the Ohio because this ship happens to be in our waters; but
I do not take the strongest case afforded by our Navy. Other ships have
absorbed larger sums. The expense of the Delaware, in 1842, had reached

Pursue the comparison still further. The expenditures of the University
during the last year, for the general purposes of the College, the
instruction of the Undergraduates, and for the Schools of Law and
Divinity, amounted to $47,935. The cost of the Ohio for one year of
service, in salaries, wages, and provisions, is $220,000,--being
$172,000 above the annual expenditures of the University, and more than
_four times_ as much as those expenditures. In other words, for the
annual sum lavished on a single ship of the line, _four_ institutions
like Harvard University might be supported.

Furthermore, the pay of the Captain of a ship like the Ohio is $4,500,
when in service,--$3,500, when on leave of absence, or off duty. The
salary of the President of Harvard University is $2,235, without leave
of absence, and never off duty.

If the large endowments of Harvard University are dwarfed by comparison
with a single ship of the line, how must it be with other institutions
of learning and beneficence, less favored by the bounty of many
generations? The average cost of a sloop of war is $315,000,--more,
probably, than all the endowments of those twin stars of learning
in the Western part of Massachusetts, the Colleges at Williamstown
and Amherst, and of that single star in the East, the guide to many
ingenuous youth, the Seminary at Andover. The yearly expense of a sloop
of war in service is about $50,000,--more than the annual expenditures
of these three institutions combined.

I might press the comparison with other institutions of
beneficence,--with our annual appropriations for the Blind, that noble
and successful charity which sheds true lustre upon the Commonwealth,
amounting to $12,000, and for the Insane, another charity dear to
humanity, amounting to $27,844.

Take all the institutions of Learning and Beneficence, the crown jewels
of the Commonwealth, schools, colleges, hospitals, asylums, and the
sums by which they have been purchased and preserved are trivial and
beggarly, compared with the treasures squandered within the borders
of Massachusetts in vain Preparations for War,--upon the Navy Yard
at Charlestown, with its stores on hand, costing $4,741,000,--the
fortifications in the harbors of Massachusetts, where untold sums are
already sunk, and it is now proposed to sink $3,875,000 more,[84]--and
the Arsenal at Springfield, containing, in 1842, 175,118 muskets,
valued at $2,099,998,[85] and maintained by an annual appropriation
of $200,000, whose highest value will ever be, in the judgment of
all lovers of truth, that it inspired a poem which in influence
will be mightier than a battle, and will endure when arsenals and
fortifications have crumbled to earth. Some of the verses of this Psalm
of Peace may relieve the detail of statistics, while they happily blend
with my argument.

    "Were half the power that fills the world with terror,
    Were half the wealth bestowed on camps and courts,
    Given to redeem the human mind from error,
    There were no need of arsenals or forts:

    "The warrior's name would be a name abhorred,
    And every nation that should lift again
    Its hand against a brother on its forehead
    Would wear forevermore the curse of Cain."[86]

    [84] Report of Secretary of War, Senate Document No. 2, Twenty-Seventh
Congress, Second Session,--where we are asked to invest in a general
system of land defences $51,677,929.

    [85] Executive Document No. 3, Twenty-Seventh Congress, Third Session.

    [86] Longfellow, The Arsenal at Springfield.

Turn now to a high and peculiar interest of the nation, the
administration of justice. Perhaps no part of our system is regarded
with more pride and confidence, especially by the enlightened sense of
the country. To this, indeed, all other concerns of Government, with
all its complications of machinery, are in a manner subordinate, since
it is for the sake of justice that men come together in communities
and establish laws. What part of the Government can compare in
importance with the National Judiciary, that great balance-wheel of the
Constitution, controlling the relations of the several States to each
other, the legislation of Congress and of the States, besides private
interests to an incalculable amount? Nor can the citizen who discerns
the true glory of his country fail to recognize in the immortal
judgments of MARSHALL, now departed, and of STORY, who is still spared
to us--_serus in coelum redeat!_--a higher claim to admiration and
gratitude than can be found in any triumph of battle. The expenses of
this great department under the National Government, in 1842, embracing
the cost of court-houses, the salaries of judges, the pay of juries,
and of all the law officers throughout the United States, in short,
all the outlay by which justice, according to the requirement of Magna
Charta, is carried to every man's door, amounted to $560,990,--a
larger sum than is usually appropriated for this purpose, but how
insignificant, compared with the cormorant demands of Army and Navy!

Let me allude to one more curiosity of waste. By a calculation founded
on the expenses of the Navy it appears that the average cost of each
gun carried over the ocean for one year amounts to about fifteen
thousand dollars,--a sum sufficient to maintain ten or even twenty
professors of Colleges, and equal to the salaries of all the Judges of
the Supreme Court of Massachusetts and the Governor combined!

       *       *       *       *       *

Such are illustrations of that tax which nations constituting the great
Federation of Civilization, including our own country, impose on the
people, in time of profound peace, for no permanent productive work,
for no institution of learning, for no gentle charity, for no purpose
of good. Wearily climbing from expenditure to expenditure, from waste
to waste, we seem to pass beyond the region of ordinary measurement;
Alps on Alps arise, on whose crowning heights of everlasting cold, far
above the habitations of man, where no green thing lives, where no
creature draws breath, we behold the sharp, icy, flashing glacier of

In the contemplation of this spectacle the soul swells with alternate
despair and hope: with despair, at the thought of such wealth, capable
of such service to Humanity, not merely wasted, but bestowed to
perpetuate Hate; with hope, as the blessed vision arises of all these
incalculable means secured to purposes of Peace. The whole world labors
with poverty and distress; and the painful question occurs in Europe
more than here, What shall become of the poor,--the increasing Standing
Army of the poor? Could the voice that now addresses you penetrate
those distant councils, or councils nearer home, it would say, Disband
your Standing Armies of soldiers, employ your Navies in peaceful and
enriching commerce, abandon Fortifications and Arsenals, or dedicate
them to works of Beneficence, as the statue of Jupiter Capitolinus was
changed to the image of a Christian saint; in fine, utterly renounce
the present incongruous system of _Armed Peace_.

       *       *       *       *       *

That I may not seem to accept this conclusion too hastily, at least as
regards our own country, I shall consider the asserted usefulness of
the national armaments,--and then expose the fallacy, at least in the
present age and among Christian nations, of the maxim, that in time of
Peace we must prepare for War.

_For what use is the Standing Army of the United States?_ For many
generations it has been a principle of freedom to avoid a standing
army; and one of the complaints in the Declaration of Independence
was, that George the Third had quartered large bodies of troops in
the Colonies. For the first years after the adoption of the National
Constitution, during our period of weakness, before our power was
assured, before our name had become respected in the family of nations,
under the administration of Washington, a small sum was ample for the
military establishment of the United States. It was at a later day that
the country, touched by martial insanity, abandoned the true economy of
a Republic, and, in imitation of monarchical powers, lavished means,
grudged to Peace, in vain preparation for War. It may now be said
of our Army, as Dunning said of the influence of the Crown, it has
increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished. At this moment
there are in the country more than sixty military posts. For any of
these it would be difficult to present a reasonable apology,--unless,
perhaps, on some distant Indian frontier. Of what use is the
detachment of the Second Artillery at the quiet town of New London, in
Connecticut? Of what use is the detachment of the First Artillery in
that pleasant resort of fashion, Newport? By exhilarating music and
showy parade they may amuse an idle hour; but is it not equally true
that emotions of a different character will be aroused in thoughtful
bosoms? He must have lost something of sensibility to the dignity of
human nature who can observe, without at least a passing regret, all
the details of discipline--drill, marching, countermarching--which
fill the life of the soldier, and prepare him to become the rude,
inanimate part of that _machine_ to which an army is likened by the
great living master of the Art of War.[87] And this sensibility may be
more disturbed by the spectacle of ingenuous youth, in chosen numbers,
under the auspices of the Government, amidst the bewitching scenery of
West Point, painfully trained to these same exercises,--at a cost to
the country, since the establishment of this Academy, of above four
millions of dollars.

    [87] The Duke of Wellington.

In Europe, Standing Armies are supposed to be needed in support of
Government; but this excuse cannot prevail here. The monarchs of the
Old World, like the chiefs of the ancient German tribes, are upborne
on the shields of the soldiery. Happily, with us, Government needs no
janizaries. The hearts of the people are a sufficient support.

I hear a voice from some defender of this abuse, some upholder of this
"rotten borough," crying, The Army is needed for defence! As well might
you say that the shadow is needed for defence. For what is the Army of
the United States, but the feeble shadow of the American people? _In
placing the Army on its present footing, so small in numbers, compared
with the forces of great_ _European States, our Government tacitly
admits its superfluousness for defence._ It only remains to declare
that the country will repose in the consciousness of right, without the
extravagance of soldiers, unproductive consumers of the fruits of the
earth, who might do the country good service in the various departments
of useful industry.

_For what use is the Navy of the United States?_ The annual expense
of our Navy, during recent years, has been upwards of six millions of
dollars. For what purpose? Not for the apprehension of pirates, since
frigates and ships of the line are of too great bulk for this service.
Not for the suppression of the Slave Trade; for, under the stipulations
with Great Britain, we employ only eighty guns in this holy alliance.
Not to protect our coasts; for all agree that our few ships would
form an unavailing defence against any serious attack. Not for these
purposes, you admit; _but for the protection of our Navigation_. This
is not the occasion for minute estimates. Suffice it to say, that
an intelligent merchant, extensively engaged in commerce for the
last twenty years, and who speaks, therefore, with the authority of
knowledge, has demonstrated, in a tract of perfect clearness,[88] that
the annual profits of the whole mercantile marine of the country do
not equal the annual expenditure of our Navy. Admitting the profit of
a merchant ship to be four thousand dollars a year, which is a large
allowance, it will take the earnings of one hundred ships to build and
employ for one year a single sloop of war, of one hundred and fifty
ships to build and employ a frigate, and of nearly three hundred ships
to build and employ a ship of the line. Thus more than five hundred
ships must do a profitable business to earn a sufficient sum for the
support of this little fleet. Still further, taking a received estimate
putting the mercantile marine of the United States at forty millions
of dollars, we find that it is only a little more than six times the
annual cost of the Navy; so that this interest is protected at a charge
of more than _fifteen per cent_ of its whole value! Protection at such
price is not less ruinous than one of Pyrrhus's victories.

    [88] I refer to the pamphlet of S.E. Coues, "United States Navy: What
is its Use?"

It is to the Navy as an unnecessary arm of national defence, and part
of the War establishment, that I confine my objection. So far as it is
required for science, or for the _police_ of the seas,--to scour them
of pirates, and, above all, to defeat the hateful traffic in human
flesh,--it is a fit engine of Government, and cannot be obnoxious as
a portion of the machinery of War. But, surely, a most costly navy to
protect navigation in time of Peace against assaults from civilized
nations is absurdly superfluous. The free cities of Hamburg and Bremen,
survivors of the powerful Hanseatic League, with a commerce whitening
the most distant seas, are without a single ship of war. Following
this prudent example, the United States might be willing to abandon an
institution already become a vain and expensive toy.

_For what use are the Fortifications of the United States?_ We have
already seen the enormous sums locked in the odious mortmain of
their everlasting masonry. Like the Pyramids, they seem by mass and
solidity to defy Time. Nor can I doubt that hereafter, like these
same monuments, they will be looked upon with wonder, as the types
of an extinct superstition, not less degrading than that of Ancient
Egypt. Under the pretence of saving the country from conquest and
bloodshed they are reared. But whence the danger? On what side?
What people to fear? No civilized nation threatens our borders
with rapine or trespass. None will. Nor, in the existing state of
civilization, and under existing International Law, is it possible to
suppose any war with such a nation, unless, renouncing the peaceful
Tribunal of Arbitration, we voluntarily appeal to Trial by Battle.
The fortifications might be of service then. But perhaps they would
invite the attack they might be inadequate to defeat. According to
a modern rule, illustrated with admirable ability in the diplomatic
correspondence of Mr. Webster, non-combatants and their property on
land are not molested. So firmly did the Duke of Wellington act upon
this rule, that, throughout the revengeful campaigns of Spain, and
afterwards entering France, flushed with the victory of Waterloo,
he directed his army to pay for all provisions, even the forage of
their horses. War is carried on against _public_ property,--against
_fortifications, navy-yards, and arsenals_. If these do not exist,
where is its aliment, where the fuel for the flame? Paradoxical as it
seems, and disparaging to the whole trade of War, it may be proper to
inquire, whether, according to acknowledged laws, now governing this
bloody arbitrament, every new fortification and every additional gun
in our harbor is not less a safeguard than a danger. Do they not draw
the lightning of battle upon our homes, without, alas! any conductor to
hurry its terrors innocently beneath the concealing bosom of the earth?

_For what use is the Militia of the United States?_ This immense
system spreads, with innumerable suckers, over the whole country,
draining its best life-blood, the unbought energies of our youth. The
same painful discipline which we observe in the soldier absorbs their
time, though to a less degree than in the Regular Army. Theirs also is
the savage pomp of War. We read with astonishment of the painted flesh
and uncouth vestments of our progenitors, the ancient Britons. But the
generation will come, that must regard with equal wonder the pictures
of their ancestors closely dressed in padded and well-buttoned coats
of blue "besmeared with gold," surmounted by a huge mountain-cap of
shaggy bear-skin, and with a barbarous device, typical of brute force,
_a tiger_, painted on oil-skin tied with leather to their backs! In the
streets of Pisa the galley-slaves are compelled to wear dresses stamped
with the name of the crime for which they are suffering punishment,--as
theft, robbery, murder. Is it not a little strange that Christians,
living in a land "where bells have tolled to church," should
voluntarily adopt devices which, if they have any meaning, recognize
the example of beasts as worthy of imitation by man?

The general considerations belonging to Preparations for War illustrate
the inanity of the Militia for purposes of _national defence_. I do
not know, indeed, that it is now strongly urged on this ground. It
is oftener approved as an important part of the _police_. I would
not undervalue the advantage of an active, efficient, ever-wakeful
police; and I believe that such a police has been long required. But
the Militia, where youth and character are without the strength of
experience, is inadequate for this purpose. No person who has seen this
arm of the police in an actual riot can hesitate in this judgment. A
very small portion of the means absorbed by the Militia would provide
a substantial police, competent to all the domestic emergencies
of disorder and violence. The city of Boston has discarded a Fire
Department composed of _accidental volunteers_. Why not do the same
with the police, and set another example to the country?

I am well aware that efforts to reduce the Militia are encountered
by some of the dearest prejudices of the common mind,--not only by
the War Spirit, but by that other, which first animates childhood,
and, at a later day, "children of a larger growth," inviting to
finery of dress and parade,--the same which fantastically bedecks
the dusky feather-cinctured chief of the soft regions warmed by the
tropical sun,--which inserts a ring in the nose of the North American
Indian,--which slits the ears of the Australian savage, and tattoos the
New Zealand cannibal.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such are the national armaments, in their true character and value.
Thus far I have regarded them in the plainest light of ordinary worldly
economy, without reference to those higher considerations, drawn from
the nature and history of man and the truths of Christianity, which
pronounce them vain. It is grateful to know, that, though having yet
the support of what Jeremy Taylor calls "popular noises," the other
more economical, more humane, more wise, more Christian system is daily
commending itself to good people. On its side are all the virtues
that truly elevate a state. Economy, sick of pygmy efforts to stanch
the smallest fountain and rill of exuberant expenditure, pleads that
here is a measureless, fathomless, endless river, an Amazon of waste,
rolling its prodigal waters turbidly, ruinously, hatefully, to the
sea. It chides us with unnatural inconsistency, when we strain at a
little twine and paper, and swallow the monstrous cables and armaments
of War. Humanity pleads for the surpassing interests of Knowledge
and Benevolence, from which such mighty means are withdrawn. Wisdom
frowns on these Preparations, as nursing sentiments inconsistent with
Peace; Christianity calmly rebukes the spirit in which they have their
origin, as of little faith, and treacherous to her high behests; while
History, exhibiting the sure, though gradual, Progress of Man, points
with unerring finger to that destiny of True Grandeur, when nations,
like individuals, disowning War as a proper Arbiter of Justice, shall
abandon the oppressive apparatus of Armies, Navies, and Fortifications,
by which it is waged.

       *       *       *       *       *

Before considering the familiar injunction, _In time of Peace prepare
for War_, I hope I shall not seem to descend from the proper sphere
of this discussion, if I refer to the parade of _barbarous mottoes_,
and of _emblems from beasts_, as another impediment to the proper
appreciation of these Preparations. These mottoes and emblems,
prompting to War, are obtruded on the very ensigns of power and
honor, and, careless of their discreditable import, men learn to
regard them with patriotic pride. In the armorial bearings of nations
and individuals, beasts and birds of prey are the exemplars of True
Grandeur. The lion appears on the flag of England; the leopard on
the flag of Scotland; a double-headed eagle spreads its wings on the
imperial standard of Austria, and again on that of Russia; while a
single-headed eagle was adopted on the Napoleonic seal, and thus
far the same single-headed bird is enough for Prussia. The pennons
of knights, after exhausting the known kingdom of Nature, were
disfigured by imaginary and impossible monsters, griffins, hippogriffs,
unicorns, all intended to represent the exaggeration of brute force.
The people of Massachusetts unconsciously adopt this early standard.
The escutcheon used as the seal of the State has an unfortunate
combination, to which I refer briefly by way of example. On that part
in the language of heraldry termed the _shield_ stands an Indian with
a bow in his hand,--certainly no agreeable memento, except to those
who find honor in the disgraceful wars where our fathers robbed and
murdered King Philip of Pokanoket, and his tribe, rightful possessors
of the soil. The _crest_ is a raised arm _holding a drawn sabre in a
threatening attitude_,--being precisely the emblem once borne on the
flag of Algiers. The _scroll_, or legend, is the latter of two favorite
verses, in modern Latin, which are not traced to any origin more remote
than Algernon Sidney, by whom they were inscribed in an album at

    "Manus hæc inimica tyrannnis
    _Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem_."[89]

    [89] The Earl of Leicester, father of Sidney, in an anxious letter,
August 30, 1660, writes his son: "It is said that the University
of Copenhagen brought their Album unto you, desiring you to write
something therein, and that your did _scribere in Albo_ these words
[setting forth the verses], and put your name to it"; and then he
adds, "This cannot but be publicly known, if it be true.... Either you
must live in exile or very privately here, and perhaps not safely."
The restoration of Charles the Second had just taken place. (Meadley,
Memoirs of Algernon Sidney, pp. 84, 323-325.) Lord Molesworth, in a
work which first appeared in 1694, mentions the verses as written by
Sidney in "the Book of Mottoes in the King's Library," and then tells
the story, that the French Ambassador, who did not know a word of
Latin, on learning their meaning, tore them from the book, as a libel
on the French government, and its influence in Denmark. (Molesworth,
Account of Denmark, Preface.) The inference from this narrative would
seem to be that the verses were by Sidney himself.

With singular unanimity, the Legislature of Massachusetts has expressed
an earnest desire for the establishment of a High Court of Nations
to adjudge international controversies, and thus supersede the
Arbitrament of War. It would be an act of moral dignity consistent
with these professions, and becoming the character it vaunts before
the world, if it abandoned the bellicose escutcheon,--at least, that
_Algerine_ emblem, fit only for corsairs, if not also the Latin motto
with its menace of the sword. If a Latin substitute for the latter
be needed, it might be those words of Virgil, "_Pacisque_ imponere
morem,"[90] or that sentence of noble truth from Cicero, "Sine SUMMA
JUSTITIA rempublicam geri nullo modo posse":[91] the first a homage to
Peace, and the second a consecration to Justice. Where such a spirit
prevailed, there would be little occasion to consider the question of
War Preparations.

    [90] Æneid, VI. 852.

    [91] De Republica, Lib. II. cap. 43.

Massachusetts is not alone in the bellicose anachronism of her banner.
The nation is in the same category. Our fathers would have hesitated
long before accepting the eagle for the national escutcheon, had they
recalled the pungent words of Erasmus on this most unrepublican bird.
"Let any physiognomist, not a blunderer in his trade," says this most
learned scholar, "consider the look and features of an eagle, those
rapacious and wicked eyes, that menacing curve of the beak, those
cruel cheeks, that stern front,--will he not at once recognize _the
image of a king_, a magnificent and majestic king? Add to these a
dark, ill-omened color, an unpleasing, dreadful, appalling voice,
and that threatening scream at which every kind of animal trembles."
Proceeding with his indictment, he describes the eagle in old age as
satisfied with nothing but blood, with which he prolongs his hateful
life, the upper mandible growing so that he cannot feed on flesh, while
the natural rapacity continues,--all of which typifies the wicked
prince. But the scholar becomes orator, when, after mentioning that
there are innumerable species of birds, some admirable for richness
of plumage, some remarkable for snowy whiteness, some shining with
befitting blackness, some pre-eminent in bodily stature, some notable
for fecundity, some grateful at the rich banquet, some pleasant
from loquacity, some captivating in song, some distinguished for
courage, some created for the entertainment of man,--he proceeds to
say: "Of all birds, the eagle alone has seemed to wise men _the apt
type of royalty_: not beautiful, not musical, not fit for food,--but
carnivorous, ravenous, plundering, destroying, fighting, solitary,
hateful to all, the curse of all, and though able to do the greatest
harm, yet wishing to do more than he can."[92] Erasmus, who says this
and much more, is no mean authority. Brightest and best among the
scholars who illustrated the modern revival of letters, loving peace,
and detesting kings, he acquired a contemporary power and fame such
as letters never bestowed before, if since,--at least until Voltaire,
kindred in versatile genius, mounted the throne. In all the homage
profusely offered to the latter there was nothing stronger than that
of Luther to Erasmus, when the great Reformer asked, "Who is the man
whose soul Erasmus does not occupy, whom Erasmus does not instruct,
over whom Erasmus does not reign?" His face is still familiar from the
devotion of two great artists, Albert Dürer and Hans Holbein, each of
whom has left to us his portrait,--while he is commemorated by a bronze
statue in Rotterdam, his birthplace, and by a monument in the ancient
cathedral at Basel, where he died. It is this renowned scholar who
castigates our eagle. Doubtless for fighting qualities this royal bird
was transferred to the coin and seal of a Republic. His presence there
shows the spirit which unconsciously prevailed; and this same presence,
beyond all question, exercises a certain influence, especially with the
young, nursing a pride in that beak and those pounces which are the
menace of War.

    [92] Erasmi Adagia, Chil. III. Cent. VII. Prov. 1: _Scarabæus aquilam
quærit._ Hallam, Literature of Europe, Part I. ch. 4. sec. 43, 44.

       *       *       *       *       *

The maxim, _In time of Peace prepare for War_,[93] is transmitted from
distant ages, when brute force was the general law. It is the terrible
inheritance which painfully reminds present generations of their
connection with the Past. It belongs to the dogmas of barbarism. It is
the companion of harsh, tyrannical rules by which the happiness of the
many is offered up to the few. It is the child of suspicion, and the
forerunner of violence. Having in its favor almost uninterrupted usage,
it possesses a hold on popular opinion not easily unloosed. And yet
no conscientious man can fail, on careful observation, to detect its
mischievous fallacy,--_at least among Christian nations in the present
age_,--a fallacy the most costly the world has witnessed, dooming
nations to annual tribute in comparison with which the extortions of
conquest are as the widow's mite. So true is what Rousseau said, and
Guizot has since repeated, that "a bad principle is far worse than a
bad fact"; for the operations of the latter are finite, while those of
the former are infinite.

    [93] If countenance were needed in thus exposing a pernicious maxim, I
might find it in the German philosopher Kant, whose work on Perpetual
Peace treats it with very little respect. (Kant, Sämmtliche Werke,
Band VII., _Zum Ewigen Frieden_, § 1.) Since this Oration, Sir Robert
Peel and the Earl of Aberdeen, each Prime Minister of England, and
practically conversant with the question, have given their valuable
testimony in the same direction. Life has its surprises; and I confess
one in my own, when the latter, in conversation on this maxim, most
kindly thanked me for what I had said against it.

I speak of this principle with earnestness; for I believe it erroneous
and false, founded in ignorance and wrong, unworthy of civilization,
and disgraceful to Christians. I call it a principle; but it is a mere
_prejudice_,--sustained by vulgar example only, and not by enlightened
truth,--obeying which, we imitate the early mariners, who, steering
from headland to headland, hugged the shore, unwilling to venture upon
the broad ocean, with the luminaries of heaven for their guide. If not
yet discerned in its true character, it is because the clear light of
truth is discolored and refracted by an atmosphere where the cloud of
War covers all.

Dismissing the actual usage on the one side, and considerations of
economy on the other, I would regard these Preparations in the simple
light of reason, in a just appreciation of the nature of man, and in
the injunctions of the highest truth. Our conclusion will be very
easy. They are twice pernicious, and whoso would vindicate them must
satisfactorily answer these two objections: _first_, that they inflame
the people, exciting to deeds of violence, otherwise alien to the
mind; and, _secondly_, that, having their origin in the low motives of
distrust and hate, inevitably, by a sure law of the human mind, they
excite to corresponding action in other nations. Thus, in fact, are
they _promoters of War_, rather than _preservers of Peace_.

In illustration of the _first_ objection, it will occur at once to
every inquirer that the possession of power is in itself dangerous,
tempting the purest and highest, and too rarely enjoyed without
abuse. Nor is the power to employ force in War an exception. Nations
possessing the greatest armaments are the most belligerent. It is the
feebler powers which enjoy eras of Peace. Throughout more than seven
hundred years of Roman history resounds the din of War, with only two
short lulls of Peace; and in modern times this din has been echoed from
France. But Switzerland has had no din. Less prepared, this Republic
had less incentive to War. Not only in nations do we find this law. It
applies to individuals also. The same din which resounded in Rome and
was echoed from France has filled common life, and from the same cause.
The _wearing of arms_ has been a provocative, too often exciting, as it
furnished the weapon of strife. The odious system of private quarrels,
with altercation and hostile meetings even in the street, disgracing
the social life of modern Europe, continued with this habit. This was
its origin. But who can measure the extent of its influence? Dead
bodies stretched on the pavements, and vacant chairs at home, were the
contemporary witnesses. If death was hasty and unpremeditated, it was
only according to the law of such encounter. Poets and authors, wearing
arms, were exposed to the rude chances. The dramatist Marlowe, in some
respects almost Shakespearian, "renowned for his rare art and wit,"
perished ignominiously under the weapon of a vulgar adversary; and
Savage, whose genius and misfortune inspired the friendship and praise
of Samuel Johnson, was tried at the Old Bailey for murder committed in
a sudden broil. Nothing of this could have occurred without the habit
of wearing arms, which was a fashion. Out of this came the _Dance of

This pernicious influence is illustrated by Judge Jay with admirable
plainness. He shows the individual as an example to nations. Listen, a
moment, to what he says so well. "The expert swordsman, the practised
marksman, is ever more ready to engage in personal combats than the man
who is unaccustomed to the use of deadly weapons. In those portions of
our country where it is supposed essential to personal safety to go
armed with pistols and bowie-knives mortal affrays are so frequent as
to excite but little attention, and to secure, with exceedingly rare
exceptions, perfect impunity to the murderer; whereas at the North
and East, where we are unprovided with such facilities for taking
life, comparatively few murders of the kind are perpetrated. We might,
indeed, safely submit the decision of the principle we are discussing
to the calculations of pecuniary interest. Let two men, equal in age
and health, apply for an insurance on their lives,--one known to be
ever armed to defend his honor and his life against every assailant,
and the other a meek, unresisting Quaker: can we doubt for a moment
which of these men would be deemed by an Insurance Company most likely
to reach a good old age?"[94]

    [94] Address before the American Peace Society, pp. 23, 24.

With this practical statement and its strong sense I leave this
objection to War Preparations, adding a single supplementary
remark,--What is good for the individual is good for nations.

The _second_ objection, though different in character, is not less
operative. It is founded on that law of human nature according to
which the very hate or distrust to which these Preparations testify
excites in others a corresponding sentiment. This law is general and
fundamental. Though rarely recognized by nations as a rule of conduct,
it was never without its influence on individuals. Indeed, it is little
more than a practical illustration of the Horatian adage, _Si vis me
flere, dolendum est primum ipsi tibi_: If you wish me to weep, you must
yourself first grieve. Nobody questions its truth or applicability. But
does it not proclaim that War Preparations in a period of professed
Peace must naturally prompt adverse Preparations, and everywhere within
the circle of their influence quicken the Spirit of War? So are we all
knit together that the feelings in our own bosoms awaken corresponding
feelings in the bosoms of others,--as harp answers to harp in its
softest vibration, as deep responds to deep in the might of its power.
What in us is good invites the good in our brother; generosity begets
generosity; love wins love; Peace secures Peace;--while all in us that
is bad challenges the bad in our brother; distrust engenders distrust;
hate provokes hate; War arouses War. Therefore are we admonished to
avoid such appeal, and this is the voice of Nature itself.

This beautiful law is everywhere. The wretched maniac, in whose
mind the common principles of conduct are overthrown, confesses its
overruling power; and the vacant stare of madness is illumined by a
word of love. The wild beasts confess it: and what is the story of
Orpheus, whose music drew in listening rapture the lions and panthers
of the forest, or of St. Jerome, whose kindness soothed the lion to lie
down at his feet, but expressions of its prevailing power?[95]

[95] Scholars will remember the incident recorded by Homer in the
Odyssey (XIV. 30, 31), where Ulysses, on reaching his loved Ithaca, is
beset by dogs, described as wild beasts in ferocity, who rush towards
him barking; but he, with _craft_ (that is the word of Homer), seats
himself upon the ground _and lets his staff fall from his hand_. A
similar incident is noticed by Mr. Mure, in his entertaining travels in
Greece, and also by Mr. Borrow, in his "Bible in Spain." Pliny remarks,
that all dogs may be appeased in the same way: "_Impetus eorum et
sævitia mitigatur ab homine considente humi._" Nat. Hist., Lib. VIII.
cap. 40.

Even a fable may testify. I would not be tempted too far, but, at the
risk of protracting this discussion, I cannot forget illustrations
which show how poetry at least, if not history, has interpreted the
heart of man.

Looking back to the historic dawn, one of the most touching scenes
illumined by that auroral light is the peaceful visit of the aged
Priam to the tent of Achilles, entreating the body of his son. The
fierce combat ended in the death of Hector, whose unhonored corse the
bloody Greek has trailed behind his chariot. After twelve days of
grief, the venerable father is moved to seek the remains of the son
he has so dearly loved. He leaves his lofty cedarn chamber, and with
a single aged attendant, unarmed, repairs to the Grecian camp beside
the distant sounding sea. Entering alone, he finds Achilles in his
tent, with two of his chiefs. Grasping his knees, the father kisses
those terrible homicidal hands which had taken the life of his son.
Touched by the sight which he beholds, the heart of the inflamed, the
angry, the inflexible Achilles responds to the feelings of Priam.
He takes the suppliant by the hand, seats him by his side, consoles
his grief, refreshes his weary body, and concedes to the prayers of
a weak, unarmed old man what all Troy in arms could not win. In this
scene, which fills a large space in the Iliad,[96] the master poet,
with unconscious power, has presented a picture of the omnipotence of
that law, making all mankind of kin, in obedience to which no word of
kindness, no act of confidence, falls idly to the earth.

    [96] Book XXIV.

Among the early passages of Roman history, perhaps none makes a deeper
impression than that scene, after the Roman youth were consumed at
the Allia, and the invading Gauls under Brennus had entered the city,
where in a temple were seated the venerable Senators of the Republic,
too old to flee, and careless of surviving the Roman name, each on
his curule chair, unarmed, looking, as Livy says, more august than
mortal, and with the majesty of the gods. The Gauls gaze as upon sacred
images; and the hand of slaughter, which had raged through the streets
of Rome, is stayed by the sight of an unarmed assembly. This continued
until one of the invaders standing nearest reached his hand to stroke
gently the silver beard of a Senator, who, indignant at the license,
smote the barbarian with his ivory staff, which was the signal for
general vengeance. Think you that a band of savages could have slain
these Senators, if the _appeal to Force_ had not been made first by one
of their own number? This story, though recounted by Livy, and also
by Plutarch,[97] is repudiated by Niebuhr; but it is none the less
interesting as a legend, attesting the law by which hostile feelings
are aroused or subdued.

    [97] Liv., Lib. V. cap. 41. Plutarch, Life of Camillus.

This great scene, in its essential parts, has been repeated in another
age and country. The theatre was an African wilderness, with Christian
converts for Roman Senators. The little band, with their pastor, who
was a local chief, assembled on a Sabbath morning for prayer, when
suddenly robbers came upon them, as the Gauls upon Rome, and demanded
cattle. The pastor, asking his people to sit still, calmly pointed to
the cattle, and then turned back to unite with the rest in prayer. The
robbers, like the Gauls, looked on in silence, awed into forbearance,
until they quietly withdrew, injuring nobody and touching nothing. Such
an instance, which is derived from the report of missionaries,[98]
testifies again to the might of meekness, and proves that the Roman
story, though reduced to the condition of a legend, is in harmony with
actual life.

    [98] Moffat, Missionary Labors and Scenes in Southern Africa, Ch. 32.

An admired picture by Virgil, in his melodious epic, furnishes similar
testimony. The Trojan fleet, beaten by tempest on the raging waves,
is about to succumb, when the God of the Sea, suddenly appearing in
tranquil power, stills the hostile elements, as a man venerable for
piety and deserts by a gentle word assuages a furious populace just
breaking into sedition and outrage.[99] The sea and the populace were
equally appeased. Alike in the god and the man was the same peaceful
presence. Elsewhere is this same influence. Guizot, illustrates
this same influence, when, describing the development of mediæval
civilization, he exhibits an angry multitude subdued by an unarmed
man, employing the _word_ instead of the _sword_.[100] And surely no
reader of that noble historical romance, the _Promessi Sposi_, can
forget that finest scene, where Frà Cristoforo, in an age of violence,
after slaying his comrade in a broil, presents himself unarmed and
penitent before the family and retainers of his victim, and by
dignified gentleness awakens the admiration of men raging against him.
Both hemispheres are at this moment occupied with the popular romance,
_Le Juif Errant_, by Eugène Sue, where is an interesting picture of
Christian courage superior to the trained violence of the soldier.
Another example, made familiar by recent translations of _Frithiof's
Saga_, the Swedish epic,[101] is more emphatic. The scene is a battle.
Frithiof is in deadly combat with Atlé, when the falchion of the latter
breaks. Throwing away his own weapon, Frithiof says,--

    "_Swordless foeman's life
     Ne'er dyed this gallant blade._"

    [99] "Ille regit dictis animos et pectora mulcet."

_Æneid_, I. 146-154.

    [100] Guizot, Histoire de la Civilisation en France, Tom. II. p. 36.

    [101] Longfellow, Poets and Poetry of Europe, p. 161: Tegnér.

The two champions now close in mutual clutch; they hug like bears, says
the poet.

    "'Tis o'er; for Frithiof's matchless strength
     Has felled his ponderous size,
     And 'neath that knee, a giant length,
     Supine the Viking lies.
     'But fails my sword, thou Berserk swart,'
     The voice rang far and wide,
     'Its point should pierce thy inmost heart,
     Its hilt should drink the tide.'
     'Be free to lift the weaponed hand,'
     Undaunted Atlé spoke;
     Hence, fearless, quest thy distant brand:
     Thus I abide the stroke.'"

Frithiof regains his sword, intent to close the dread debate, while his
adversary awaits the stroke; but his heart responds to the generous
courage of his foe; he cannot injure one who has shown such confidence
in him.

    "_This quelled his ire, this checked his arm,
     Outstretched the hand of peace._"

I cannot leave these illustrations without alluding again to the
treatment of the insane, teaching, by conclusive example, how strong
in Nature must be the responsive principle. On proposing to remove
the heavy chains from the raving maniacs of the Paris hospitals,
the benevolent Pinel was regarded as one who saw visions or dreamed
dreams. At last his wishes were gratified. The change in the patients
was immediate; the wrinkled front of warring passion was smoothed
into the serene countenance of Peace. The treatment by Force is now
universally abandoned; the law of kindness takes its place; and these
unfortunates mingle together, unvexed by restraints implying suspicion,
and therefore arousing opposition. What an example to nations, who are
little better than insane! The ancient hospitals, with their violent
madness, making confusion and strife, are a dark, but feeble, type of
the Christian nations, obliged to wear the intolerable chains of War,
assimilating the world to one great mad-house; while the peace and
good-will now abounding in these retreats are the happy emblems of what
awaits mankind when at last we practically recognize the supremacy of
those higher sentiments which are at once a strength and a charm,--

    "making their future might
     Magnetic o'er the fixed, untrembling heart."

I might dwell also on recent experience, so full of delightful wisdom,
in the treatment of the distant, degraded convict of New South Wales,
showing how confidence and kindness on the part of overseers awaken a
corresponding sentiment even in outcasts, from whose souls virtue seems
blotted out.

Thus, from all quarters and sources--the far-off Past, the far-away
Pacific, the verse of the poet, the legend of history, the cell of the
mad-house, the congregation of transported criminals, the experience of
daily life, the universal heart of man--ascends spontaneous tribute to
that law according to which we respond to the sentiments by which we
are addressed, whether of love or hate, of confidence or distrust.

If it be urged that these instances are exceptional, I reply at once,
that it is not so. They are indubitable evidence of the real man,
revealing the divinity of Humanity, out of which goodness, happiness,
true greatness can alone proceed. They disclose susceptibilities
confined to no particular race, no special period of time, no narrow
circle of knowledge or refinement, but present wherever two or more
human beings come together, and strong in proportion to their virtue
and intelligence. Therefore on the nature of man, as impregnable
ground, do I place the fallacy of this most costly and pernicious

Nor is Human Nature the only witness: Christianity testifies in
familiar texts, and then again by holiest lips. Augustine, in one of
his persuasive letters, protests, with proverbial heart of flame,
_against turning Peace into a Preparation for War_, and then tells the
soldier whom he addresses to be _pacific even in war_.[102] From the
religion of his Master the great Christian saint had learned that Love
is more puissant than Force. To the reflecting mind, the Omnipotence
of God himself is less discernible in earthquake and storm than in
the gentle, but quickening, rays of the sun, and the sweet descending
dews. He is a careless observer who does not recognize the superiority
of gentleness and kindness in exercising influence or securing rights
among men. As the storms of violence beat upon us, we hug mantles
gladly thrown aside under the warmth of a genial sun.

    [102] "Non enim pax quæritur ut bellum excitetur.... Esto ergo etiam
bellando pacificus."--Augustini Epistola CCV., ad Bonifacium Comitem:
Opera, Tom. II. p. 318.

Christianity not only teaches the superiority of Love to Force, it
positively enjoins the practice of the former, as a constant, primal
duty. It says, "Love your neighbors"; but it does not say, "In time
of Peace rear the massive fortification, build the man-of-war, enlist
standing armies, train militia, and accumulate military stores, to
overawe and menace your neighbor." It directs that we should do to
others as we would have them do to us,--a golden rule for all; but how
inconsistent is that distrust in obedience to which nations professing
peace sleep like soldiers on their arms! Nor is this all. Its precepts
inculcate patience, forbearance, forgiveness of evil, even the duty
of benefiting a destroyer, "as the sandal-wood, in the instant of its
overthrow, sheds perfume on the axe which fells it." Can a people in
whom this faith is more than an idle word authorize such enormous
sacrifices to pamper the Spirit of War? Thus far nations have drawn
their weapons from earthly armories, unmindful that there are others of
celestial temper.

The injunction, "Love one another," is as applicable to nations as to
individuals. It is one of the great laws of Heaven. And nations, like
individuals, may well measure their nearness to God and to his glory by
the conformity of their conduct to this duty.

       *       *       *       *       *

In response to arguments founded on economy, the true nature of man,
and Christianity, I hear the skeptical note of some advocate of the
transmitted order of things, some one among the "fire-worshippers" of
War, saying, All this is beautiful, but visionary; it is in advance
of the age, which is not yet prepared for the great change. To such
I answer: Nothing can be beautiful that is not true; but all this is
true, and the time has come for its acceptance. Now is the dawning day,
and now the fitting hour.

The name of Washington is invoked as authority for a prejudice which
Economy, Human Nature, and Christianity repudiate. Mighty and reverend
as is his name, more mighty and more reverend is Truth. The words
of counsel which he gave were in accordance with the spirit of his
age,--which was not shocked by the slave-trade. But his great soul,
which loved virtue and inculcated justice and benevolence, frowns upon
those who would use his authority as an incentive to War. God forbid
that his sacred character should be profanely stretched, like the skin
of John Ziska, on a militia-drum, to arouse the martial ardor of the
American people!

The practice of Washington, during the eight years of his
administration, compared with that of the last eight years for which we
have the returns, may explain his real opinions. His condemnation of
the present wasteful system speaks to us from the following table.[103]

    [103] Executive Document No. 15, Twenty-eighth Congress, First Session.

  |         Years.       |   Military     |     Naval     |
  |                      | Establishment. | Establishment.|
  |         1789-91      |     $835,618   |         $570  |
  |         1792         |    1,223,594   |           53! |
  |         1793         |    1,237,620   |               |
  |         1794         |    2,733,539   |       61,409  |
  |         1795         |    2,573,059   |      410,562  |
  |         1796         |    1,474,672   |      274,784  |
  | Total, during eight  |}  -----------  |     --------  |
  | years of Washington, |}  $10,078,102  |     $747,378  |
  |                      |                |               |
  |         1835         |    $9,420,313  |   $3,864,939  |
  |         1836         |    19,667,166  |    5,807,718  |
  |         1837         |    20,702,929  |    6,646,915  |
  |         1838         |    20,557,473  |    6,131,581  |
  |         1839         |    14,588,664  |    6,182,294  |
  |         1840         |    12,030,624  |    6,113,897  |
  |         1841         |    13,704,882  |    6,001,077  |
  |         1842         |     9,188,469  |    8,397,243  |
  |                      |                |               |
  | Total, during eight  |} ------------  |  -----------  |
  |   recent years,      |} $119,860,520  |  $49,145,664  |

Thus the expenditures for the national armaments under the sanction
of Washington were less than _eleven million_ dollars, while during
a recent similar period of eight years they amounted to upwards of
_one hundred and sixty-nine millions_,--an increase of nearly _fifteen
hundred per cent_! To him who quotes the precept of Washington I
commend the example. He must be strongly possessed by the martial mania
who will not confess, that, in this age, when the whole world is at
peace, and our national power is assured, _there is less need_ of these
Preparations than in an age convulsed with War, when our national power
was little respected. The only semblance of argument in their favor
is the increased wealth of the country; but the capacity to endure
taxation is no criterion of its justice, or even of its expediency.

Another fallacy is also invoked, that _whatever is is right_. A
barbarous practice is elevated above all those authorities by which
these Preparations are condemned. We are made to count principles
as nothing, because not yet recognized by nations. But they are
practically applied in the relations of individuals, towns, counties,
and states in our Union. _All these have disarmed._ It remains only
that they should be extended to the grander sphere of nations. Be it
our duty to proclaim the principles, whatever the practice. Through us
let Truth speak.

       *       *       *       *       *

From the past and the present auspicious omens cheer us for the future.
The terrible wars of the French Revolution were the violent rending of
the body preceding the exorcism of the fiend. Since the morning stars
first sang together, the world has not witnessed a peace so harmonious
and enduring as that which now blesses the Christian nations. Great
questions, fraught with strife, and in another age heralds of War, are
now determined by Mediation or Arbitration. Great political movements,
which a few short years ago must have led to bloody encounter, are
now conducted by peaceful discussion. Literature, the press, and
innumerable societies, all join in the work of inculcating good-will
to man. The Spirit of Humanity pervades the best writings, whether the
elevated philosophical inquiries of the "Vestiges of the Creation," the
ingenious, but melancholy, moralizings of the "Story of a Feather," or
the overflowing raillery of "Punch." Nor can the breathing thought and
burning word of poet or orator have a higher inspiration. Genius is
never so Promethean as when it bears the heavenly fire to the hearths
of men.

In the last age, Dr. Johnson uttered the detestable sentiment, that
he liked "a good Hater." The man of this age will say that he likes
"a good Lover." Thus reversing the objects of regard, he follows a
higher wisdom and a purer religion than the renowned moralist knew.
He recognizes that peculiar Heaven-born sentiment, the Brotherhood of
Man, soon to become the decisive touchstone of human institutions. He
confesses the power of Love, destined to enter more and more into the
concerns of life. And as Love is more heavenly than Hate, so must its
influence redound more to the true glory of man and the approval of
God. A Christian poet--whose few verses bear him with unflagging wing
in immortal flight--has joined this sentiment with Prayer. Thus he
speaks, in words of uncommon pathos and power:--

    "He prayeth well who loveth well
     Both man and bird and beast.

     "He prayeth best who loveth best
     All things, both great and small;
     For the dear God who loveth us,
     He made and loveth all."[104]

    [104] Coleridge, Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Part VII.

The ancient Law of Hate is yielding to the Law of Love. It is seen in
manifold labors of philanthropy and in missions of charity. It is seen
in institutions for the insane, the blind, the deaf, the dumb, the
poor, the outcast,--in generous efforts to relieve those who are in
prison,--in public schools, opening the gates of knowledge to all the
children of the land. It is seen in the diffusive amenities of social
life, and in the increasing fellowship of nations; also in the rising
opposition to Slavery and to War.

There are yet other special auguries of this great change,
auspicating, in the natural progress of man, the abandonment of all
international Preparations for War. To these I allude briefly, but with
a deep conviction of their significance.

Look at the Past, and see how War itself is changed, so that its
oldest "fire-worshipper" would hardly know it. At first nothing but
savagery, with disgusting rites, whether in the North American Indian
with Powhatan as chief, or the earlier Assyrian with Nebuchadnezzar as
king, but yielding gradually to the influence of civilization. With the
Greeks it was less savage, but always barbarous,--also with Rome always
barbarous. Too slowly Christianity exerted a humanizing power. Rabelais
relates how the friar Jean des Entommeures clubbed twelve thousand
and more enemies, "without mentioning women and children, which is
understood always." But this was War, as seen by that great genius in
his day. This can be no longer. Women and children are safe now. The
divine metamorphosis has begun.

Look again at the Past, and observe the _change in dress_. Down to a
period quite recent the sword was the indispensable companion of the
gentleman, wherever he appeared, whether in street or society; but he
would be deemed madman or bully who should wear it now. At an earlier
period the armor of complete steel was the habiliment of the knight.
From the picturesque sketch by Sir Walter Scott, in the "Lay of the
Last Minstrel," we learn the barbarous constraint of this custom.

    "Ten of them were sheathed in steel,
     With belted sword, and spur on heel;
     They quitted not their harness bright,
     Neither by day nor yet by night:

     They lay down to rest
     With corslet laced,
     Pillowed on buckler cold and hard;
     They carved at the meal
     With gloves of steel,
     And they drank the red wine through the helmet barred."

But all this is changed now.

Observe the _change in architecture and in domestic life_. Places
once chosen for castles or houses were savage, inaccessible retreats,
where the massive structure was reared to repel attack and to enclose
its inhabitants. Even monasteries and churches were fortified,
and girdled by towers, ramparts, and ditches,--while a child was
stationed as watchman, to observe what passed at a distance, and
announce the approach of an enemy. Homes of peaceful citizens in
towns were castellated, often without so much as an aperture for
light near the ground, but with loopholes through which the shafts
of the crossbow were aimed. The colored plates now so common, from
mediæval illustrations, especially of Froissart, exhibit these
_belligerent armaments_, always so burdensome. From a letter of
Margaret Paston, in the time of Henry the Sixth, of England, I draw
supplementary testimony. Addressing in dutiful phrase her "right
worshipful husband," she asks him to procure for her "some crossbows,
and wyndacs [grappling-irons] to bind them with, and quarrels [arrows
with square heads]," also "two or three short pole-axes to keep within
doors"; and she tells her absent lord of apparent preparations by a
neighbor,--"great ordnance within the house," "bars to bar the door
crosswise," and "wickets on every quarter of the house to shoot out at,
both with bows and with hand-guns."[105] Savages could hardly live in
greater distrust. Let now the Poet of Chivalry describe another scene:--

    "Ten squires, ten yeomen, mail-clad men,
     Waited the beck of the warders ten;
     Thirty steeds, both fleet and wight,
     Stood saddled in stable day and night,
     Barbed with frontlet of steel, I trow,
     And with Jedwood axe at saddle-bow;
     A hundred more fed free in stall:
     Such was the custom of Branksome Hall."

    [105] Paston Letters, CXIII. (LXXVII. Vol. III. p. 315.)

This also is all changed now.

The principles causing this change are not only active still, but
increasing in activity; nor can they be confined to individuals.
Nations must soon declare them, and, abandoning martial habiliments and
fortifications, enter upon peaceful, _unarmed life_. With shame let it
be said, that they continue to live in the very relations of distrust
towards neighbors which shock us in the knights of Branksome Hall, and
in the house of Margaret Paston. They pillow themselves on "buckler
cold and hard," while their highest anxiety and largest expenditure
are for the accumulation of new munitions of War. The barbarism which
individuals have renounced nations still cherish. So doing, they take
counsel of the wild-boar in the fable, who whetted his tusks on a tree
of the forest when no enemy was near, saying, that in time of Peace he
must prepare for War. Has not the time come, when man, whom God created
in his own image, and to whom he gave the Heaven-directed countenance,
shall cease to look down to the beast for an example of conduct? Nay,
let me not dishonor the beasts by the comparison. The superior animals,
at least, prey not, like men, upon their own species. The kingly lion
turns from his brother lion; the ferocious tiger will not raven upon
his kindred tiger; the wild-boar of the forest does not glut his
sharpened tusks upon a kindred boar.

    "Sed jam serpentum major concordia: parcit
     Cognatis maculis similis fera: quando leoni
     Fortior eripuit vitam leo? quo nemore unquam
     Exspiravit aper majoris dentibus apri?
     Indica tigris agit rabida cum tigride _pacem

    [106] Juvenal, Sat. XV. 159-164.

To an early monarch of France just homage has been offered for effort
in the cause of Peace, particularly in abolishing the Trial by Battle.
To another monarch of France, in our own day, descendant of St. Louis,
and lover of Peace worthy of the illustrious lineage, Louis Philippe,
belongs the honest fame of first from the throne publishing the truth
that Peace is endangered by Preparations for War. "The sentiment, or
rather the principle," he says, in reply to an address from the London
Peace Convention in 1843, "that in Peace you must prepare for War,
_is one of difficulty and danger; for while we keep armies on land to
preserve peace, they are at the same time incentives and instruments
of war_. He rejoiced in all efforts to preserve peace, for that was
what all needed. He thought the time was coming when we should get
rid entirely of war in all civilized countries." This time has been
hailed by a generous voice from the Army itself, by a Marshal of
France,--Bugeaud, the Governor of Algiers,--who, at a public dinner
in Paris, gave as a toast these words of salutation to a new and
approaching era of happiness: "To the pacific union of the great human
family, by the association of individuals, nations, and races! To the
annihilation of War! To the transformation of destructive armies into
corps of industrious laborers, who will consecrate their lives to
the cultivation and embellishment of the world!" Be it our duty to
speed this consummation! And may other soldiers emulate the pacific
aspiration of this veteran chief, until _the trade of War_ ceases from
the earth![107]

    [107] There was a moment when the aspiration of the French marshal
seemed fulfilled even in France, if we may credit the early Madame de
Lafayette, who, in the first sentence of her Memoirs, announces perfect
tranquillity, where "no other arms were known than instruments for the
cultivation of the earth and for building, and the troops were employed
on these things." Part of their work was to divert the waters of the
Eure, so that the fountains at Versailles should have a perpetual
supply: but this was better than War.--MADAME DE LAFAYETTE, _Mémoires
de la Cour de France pour les Années 1688 et 1689_, p. 1.

To William Penn belongs the distinction, destined to brighten as men
advance in virtue, of first in human history establishing the _Law
of Love_ as a rule of conduct in the intercourse of nations. While
recognizing the duty "to support power in reverence with the people,
and to secure the people from the abuse of power,"[108] as a great
end of government, he declined the superfluous protection of arms
against foreign force, and aimed to "reduce the savage nations by just
and gentle manners to the love of civil society and the Christian
religion." His serene countenance, as he stands with his followers in
what he called the sweet and clear air of Pennsylvania, all unarmed,
beneath the spreading elm, forming the great treaty of friendship with
the untutored Indians,--whose savage display fills the surrounding
forest as far as the eye can reach,--not to wrest their lands by
violence, but to obtain them by peaceful purchase,--is to my mind the
proudest picture in the history of our country. "The great God," said
the illustrious Quaker, in words of sincerity and truth addressed to
the Sachems, "hath written his law in our hearts, by which we are
taught and commanded to love and help and do good to one another. It
is not our custom to use hostile weapons against our fellow-creatures,
for which reason we come unarmed. Our object is not to do injury, but
to do good. We are now met on the broad pathway of good faith and good
will, so that no advantage is to be taken on either side, but all is
to be openness, brotherhood, and love, while all are to be treated as
of the same flesh and blood."[109] These are words of True Greatness.
"Without any carnal weapons," says one of his companions, "we entered
the land, and inhabited therein, as safe as if there had been thousands
of garrisons." What a sublime attestation! "This little State," says
Oldmixon, "subsisted in the midst of six Indian nations without so
much as a militia for its defence." A great man worthy of the mantle
of Penn, the venerable philanthropist, Clarkson, in his life of the
founder, pictures the people of Pennsylvania as armed, though without
arms,--strong, though without strength,--safe, without the ordinary
means of safety. According to him, the constable's staff was the only
instrument of authority for the greater part of a century; and never,
during the administration of Penn, or that of his proper successors,
was there a quarrel or a war.[110]

    [108] Preface to Penn's Frame of Government of the Province of
Pennsylvania: Hazard's Register of Pennsylvania, Vol. I. p. 338. See
also Clarkson's Memoirs of Penn, Vol. I. p. 238, Philadelphia, 1814.

    [109] Clarkson's Memoirs of Penn, Vol. I. Ch. 18.

    [110] Ibid., Vol. II. Ch. 23.

Greater than the divinity that doth hedge a king is the divinity that
encompasses the righteous man and the righteous people. The flowers of
prosperity smiled in the footprints of William Penn. His people were
unmolested and happy, while (sad, but true contrast!) other colonies,
acting upon the policy of the world, building forts, and showing
themselves in arms, were harassed by perpetual alarm, and pierced by
the sharp arrows of savage war.

This pattern of a Christian commonwealth never fails to arrest the
admiration of all who contemplate its beauties. It drew an epigram of
eulogy from the caustic pen of Voltaire, and has been fondly painted by
sympathetic historians. Every ingenuous soul in our day offers willing
tribute to those graces of justice and humanity, by the side of which
contemporary life on this continent seems coarse and earthy.

Not to barren words can we confine ourselves in recognition of virtue.
While we see the right, and approve it too, we must dare to pursue it.
Now, in this age of civilization, surrounded by Christian nations, it
is easy to follow the successful example of William Penn encompassed
by savages. Recognizing those two transcendent ordinances of God, the
_Law of Right_ and the _Law of Love_,--twin suns which illumine the
moral universe,--why not aspire to the true glory, and, what is higher
than glory, the great good, of taking the lead in _the disarming of the
nations_? Let us abandon the system of Preparations for War in time
of Peace, as irrational, unchristian, vainly prodigal of expense, and
having a direct tendency to excite the evil against which it professes
to guard. Let the enormous means thus released from iron hands be
devoted to labors of beneficence. Our battlements shall be schools,
hospitals, colleges, and churches; our arsenals shall be libraries; our
navy shall be peaceful ships, on errands of perpetual commerce; our
army shall be the teachers of youth and the ministers of religion. This
is the cheap defence of nations. In such intrenchments what Christian
soul can be touched with fear? Angels of the Lord will throw over the
land an invisible, but impenetrable panoply:--

    "Or if Virtue feeble were,
     Heaven itself would stoop to her."[111]

    [111] These are the concluding words of that most exquisite creation
of early genius, the "Comus." Beyond their intrinsic value, they have
authority from the circumstance that they were adopted by Milton as a
motto, and inscribed by him in an album at Geneva, while on his foreign
travels. This album is now in my hands. The truth thus embalmed by the
grandest poet of modern times is also illustrated in familiar words by
the most graceful poet of antiquity:--

"Integer vitæ scelerisque purus Non eget Mauris jaculis, neque arcu,
Nec venenatis gravida sagittis, Fusce, pharetra."

HOR., _Carm._ I. xxii. 1-4.

Dryden pictures the same in some of his most magical lines:--

"A milk-white hind, immortal and unchanged, Fed on the lawns, and in
the forest ranged; Without unspotted, innocent within, _She feared no
danger, for she knew no sin_."

_The Hind and the Panther_, Part I. 1-4.

At the thought of such a change, the imagination loses itself in
vain effort to follow the multitudinous streams of happiness which
gush forth from a thousand hills. Then shall the naked be clothed
and the hungry fed; institutions of science and learning shall crown
every hill-top; hospitals for the sick, and other retreats for the
unfortunate children of the world, for all who suffer in any way, in
mind, body, or estate, shall nestle in every valley; while the spires
of new churches leap exulting to the skies. The whole land shall
testify to the change. Art shall confess it in the new inspiration of
the canvas and the marble. The harp of the poet shall proclaim it in
a loftier rhyme. Above all, the heart of man shall bear witness to it,
in the elevation of his sentiments, in the expansion of his affections,
in his devotion to the highest truth, in his appreciation of true
greatness. The eagle of our country, without the terror of his beak,
and dropping the forceful thunderbolt from his pounces, shall soar,
with the olive of Peace, into untried realms of ether, nearer to the

       *       *       *       *       *

I pause to review the field over which we have passed. We have beheld
War, sanctioned by International Law as a mode of determining _justice_
between nations, elevated into an _established custom_, defined and
guarded by a complex code known as the Laws of War; we have detected
its origin in an appeal, not to the moral and intellectual part of
man's nature, in which alone is Justice, but to that low part which
he has in common with the beast; we have contemplated its infinite
miseries to the human race; we have weighed its sufficiency as a
mode of determining justice between nations, and found that it is
a rude invocation to force, or a gigantic game of chance, in which
God's children are profanely treated as a pack of cards, while, in
unnatural wickedness, it is justly likened to the monstrous and impious
custom of Trial by Battle, which disgraced the Dark Ages,--thus
showing, that, in this day of boastful civilization, justice between
nations is determined by the same rules of barbarous, brutal
violence which once controlled the relations between individuals.
We have next considered the various prejudices by which War is
sustained, founded on a false belief in its necessity,--the practice
of nations, past and present,--the infidelity of the Christian
Church,--a mistaken sentiment of honor,--an exaggerated idea of the
duties of patriotism,--and finally, that monster prejudice which
draws its vampire life from the vast Preparations for War in time
of Peace;--especially dwelling, at this stage, upon the thriftless,
irrational, and unchristian character of these Preparations,--hailing
also the auguries of their overthrow,--and catching a vision of the
surpassing good that will be achieved, when the boundless means thus
barbarously employed are dedicated to works of Peace, opening the
serene path to that righteousness which exalteth a nation.

       *       *       *       *       *

And now, if it be asked why, in considering the TRUE GRANDEUR OF
NATIONS, I dwell thus singly and exclusively on War, it is because War
is utterly and irreconcilably inconsistent with True Greatness. Thus
far, man has worshipped in Military Glory a phantom idol, compared with
which the colossal images of ancient Babylon or modern Hindostan are
but toys; and we, in this favored land of freedom, in this blessed day
of light, are among the idolaters. The Heaven-descended injunction,
_Know thyself_, still speaks to an unheeding world from the far-off
letters of gold at Delphi: _Know thyself; know that the moral is the
noblest part of man_, transcending far that which is the seat of
passion, strife, and War,--nobler than the intellect itself. And the
human heart, in its untutored, spontaneous homage to the virtues of
Peace, declares the same truth,--admonishing the military idolater that
it is not the bloody combats, even of bravest chiefs, even of gods
themselves, as they echo from the resounding lines of the great Poet
of War, which receive the warmest admiration, but those two scenes
where are painted the gentle, unwarlike affections of our nature, the
Parting of Hector from Andromache, and the Supplication of Priam. In
the definitive election of these peaceful pictures, the soul of man,
inspired by a better wisdom than that of books, and drawn unconsciously
by the heavenly attraction of what is truly great, acknowledges, in
touching instances, the vanity of Military Glory. The Beatitudes
of Christ, which shrink from saying, "Blessed are the War-makers,"
inculcate the same lesson. Reason affirms and repeats what the heart
has prompted and Christianity proclaimed. Suppose War decided by
_Force_, where is the glory? Suppose it decided by _Chance_, where
is the glory? Surely, in other ways True Greatness lies. Nor is it
difficult to tell where.

True Greatness consists in imitating, as nearly as possible for finite
man, the perfections of an Infinite Creator,--above all, in cultivating
those highest perfections, Justice and Love: Justice, which, like that
of St. Louis, does not swerve to the right hand or to the left; Love,
which, like that of William Penn, regards all mankind as of kin. "God
is angry," says Plato, "when any one censures a man like Himself, _or
praises a man of an opposite character_: and the godlike man is the
good man."[112] Again, in another of those lovely dialogues precious
with immortal truth: "Nothing resembles God more than that man among
us who has attained to the highest degree of justice."[113] The True
Greatness of Nations is in those qualities which constitute the
true greatness of the individual. It is not in extent of territory,
or vastness of population, or accumulation of wealth,--not in
fortifications, or armies, or navies,--not in the sulphurous blaze
of battle,--not in Golgothas, though covered by monuments that kiss
the clouds; for all these are creatures and representatives of those
qualities in our nature which are unlike anything in God's nature. Nor
is it in triumphs of the intellect alone,--in literature, learning,
science, or art. The polished Greeks, our masters in the delights of
art, and the commanding Romans, overawing the earth with their power,
were little more than splendid savages. And the age of Louis the
Fourteenth, of France, spanning so long a period of ordinary worldly
magnificence, thronged by marshals bending under military laurels,
enlivened by the unsurpassed comedy of Molière, dignified by the
tragic genius of Corneille, illumined by the splendors of Bossuet, is
degraded by immoralities that cannot be mentioned without a blush, by a
heartlessness in comparison with which the ice of Nova Zembla is warm,
and by a succession of deeds of injustice not to be washed out by the
tears of all the recording angels of Heaven.

    [112] Minos, § 12.

    [113] Theætetus, § 85.

The True Greatness of a Nation cannot be in triumphs of the intellect
alone. Literature and art may enlarge the sphere of its influence; they
may adorn it; but in their nature they are but accessaries. _The True
Grandeur of Humanity is in moral elevation, sustained, enlightened, and
decorated by the intellect of man._ The surest tokens of this grandeur
in a nation are that Christian Beneficence which diffuses the greatest
happiness among all, and that passionless, godlike Justice which
controls the relations of the nation to other nations, and to all the
people committed to its charge.

But War crushes with bloody heel all beneficence, all happiness, all
justice, all that is godlike in man,--suspending every commandment of
the Decalogue, setting at naught every principle of the Gospel, and
silencing all law, human as well as divine, except only that impious
code of its own, the _Laws of War_. If in its dismal annals there
is any cheerful passage, be assured it is not inspired by a martial
Fury. Let it not be forgotten, let it be ever borne in mind, as you
ponder this theme, that the virtues which shed their charm over its
horrors are all borrowed of Peace,--that they are emanations from
the Spirit of Love, which is so strong in the heart of man that it
survives the rudest assault. The flowers of gentleness, kindliness,
fidelity, humanity, which flourish unregarded in the rich meadows of
Peace, receive unwonted admiration when we discern them in War,--like
violets shedding their perfume on the perilous edge of the precipice,
beyond the smiling borders of civilization. God be praised for all the
examples of magnanimous virtue which he has vouchsafed to mankind!
God be praised, that the Roman Emperor, about to start on a distant
expedition of War, encompassed by squadrons of cavalry, and by golden
eagles swaying in the wind, stooped from his saddle to hear the prayer
of a humble widow, demanding justice for the death of her son![114]
God be praised, that Sidney, on the field of battle, gave with dying
hand the cup of cold water to the dying soldier! That single act of
self-forgetful sacrifice has consecrated the deadly field of Zutphen,
far, oh, far beyond its battle; it has consecrated thy name, gallant
Sidney, beyond any feat of thy sword, beyond any triumph of thy pen!
But there are lowly suppliants in other places than the camp; there
are hands outstretched elsewhere than on fields of blood. Everywhere
is opportunity for deeds of like charity. Know well that these are not
the product of War. They do not spring from enmity, hatred, and strife,
but from those benign sentiments whose natural and ripened fruit of joy
and blessing are found only in Peace. If at any time they appear in the
soldier, it is less _because_ than _notwithstanding_ he is the hireling
of battle. Let me not be told, then, of the virtues of War. Let not the
acts of generosity and sacrifice sometimes blossoming on its fields
be invoked in its defence. From such a giant root of bitterness no
true good can spring. The poisonous tree, in Oriental imagery, though
watered by nectar and covered with roses, produces only the fruit of

    [114] According to the legends of the Catholic Church, this most
admired instance of justice opened to Trajan, although a heathen, the
gates of salvation. Dante found the scene and the "visible speech"
of the widow and Emperor storied on the walls of Purgatory, and has
transmitted them in a passage which commends itself hardly less than
any in the divine poem.--See _Purgatorio_, Canto X.

Casting our eyes over the history of nations, with horror we discern
the succession of murderous slaughters by which their progress is
marked. Even as the hunter follows the wild beast to his lair by
the drops of blood on the ground, so we follow Man, faint, weary,
staggering with wounds, through the Black Forest of the Past, which he
has reddened with his gore. Oh, let it not be in the future ages as in
those we now contemplate! Let the grandeur of man be discerned, not
in bloody victory or ravenous conquest, but in the blessings he has
secured, in the good he has accomplished, in the triumphs of Justice
and Beneficence, in the establishment of Perpetual Peace!

As ocean washes every shore, and with all-embracing arms clasps every
land, while on its heaving bosom it bears the products of various
climes, so Peace surrounds, protects, and upholds all other blessings.
Without it, commerce is vain, the ardor of industry is restrained,
justice is arrested, happiness is blasted, virtue sickens and dies.

Peace, too, has its own peculiar victories, in comparison with which
Marathon and Bannockburn and Bunker Hill, fields sacred in the history
of human freedom, lose their lustre. Our own Washington rises to a
truly heavenly stature, not when we follow him through the ice of the
Delaware to the capture of Trenton, not when we behold him victorious
over Cornwallis at Yorktown, but when we regard him, in noble deference
to Justice, refusing the kingly crown which a faithless soldiery
proffered, and at a later day upholding the peaceful neutrality of the
country, while he met unmoved the clamor of the people wickedly crying
for War. What glory of battle in England's annals will not fade by the
side of that great act of justice, when her Parliament, at a cost of
one hundred million dollars, gave freedom to eight hundred thousand
slaves? And when the day shall come (may these eyes be gladdened by
its beams!) that shall witness an act of larger justice still,--the
peaceful emancipation of three million fellow-men "guilty of a skin
not colored as our own," now, in this land of jubilant freedom, bound
in gloomy bondage,--then will there be a victory by the side of which
that of Bunker Hill will be as the farthing candle held up to the
sun. That victory will need no monument of stone. It will be written
on the grateful hearts of countless multitudes that shall proclaim it
to the latest generation. It will be one of the famed landmarks of
civilization,--or, better still, a link in the golden chain by which
Humanity connects itself with the throne of God.

As man is higher than the beasts of the field, as the angels are higher
than man, as Christ is higher than Mars, as he that ruleth his spirit
is higher than he that taketh a city,--so are the victories of Peace
higher than the victories of War.

       *       *       *       *       *

Far be from us, fellow-citizens, on this festival, the pride of
national victory, and the illusion of national freedom, in which we
are too prone to indulge! None of you make rude boast of individual
prosperity or prowess. And here I end as I began. Our country cannot do
what an individual cannot do. Therefore it must not vaunt or be puffed
up. Rather bend to unperformed duties. Independence is not all. We have
but half done, when we have made ourselves free. The scornful taunt
wrung from bitter experience of the great Revolution in France must
not be levelled at us: "They wish to be _free_, but know not how to be
_just_."[115] Nor is priceless Freedom an end in itself, but rather the
means of Justice and Beneficence, where alone is enduring concord, with
that attendant happiness which is the final end and aim of Nations, as
of every human heart. It is not enough to be free. There must be Peace
which cannot fail, and other nations must share the great possession.
For this good must we labor, bearing ever in mind two special objects,
complements of each other: first, the Arbitrament of War must end; and,
secondly, Disarmament must begin. With this ending and this beginning
the great gates of the Future will be opened, and the guardian virtues
will assert a new empire. Alas! until this is done, National Honor and
National Glory will yet longer flaunt in blood, and there can be no
True Grandeur of Nations.

    [115] "_Ils veulent être libres, et ne savent pas être justes_," was
the famous exclamation of Sieyès.

To this great work let me summon you. That Future, which filled the
lofty vision of sages and bards in Greece and Rome, which was foretold
by Prophets and heralded by Evangelists, when man, in Happy Isles,
or in a new Paradise, shall confess the loveliness of Peace, may you
secure, if not for yourselves, at least for your children! _Believe_
that you can do it, and you _can_ do it. The true Golden Age is before,
not behind. If man has once been driven from Paradise, while an angel
with flaming sword forbade his return, there is another Paradise,
even on earth, which he may make for himself, by the cultivation
of knowledge, religion, and the kindly virtues of life,--where the
confusion of tongues shall be dissolved in the union of hearts, and
joyous Nature, borrowing prolific charms from prevailing Harmony, shall
spread her lap with unimagined bounty, and there shall be perpetual
jocund Spring, and sweet strains borne on "the odoriferous wing of
gentle gales," through valleys of delight more pleasant than the Vale
of Tempe, richer than the Garden of the Hesperides, with no dragon to
guard its golden fruit.

Is it said that the age does not demand this work? The robber conqueror
of the Past, from fiery sepulchre, demands it; the precious blood of
millions unjustly shed in War, crying from the ground, demands it;
the heart of the good man demands it; the conscience, even of the
soldier, whispers, "Peace!" There are considerations springing from
our situation and condition which fervently invite us to take the
lead. Here should join the patriotic ardor of the land, the ambition
of the statesman, the effort of the scholar, the pervasive influence
of the press, the mild persuasion of the sanctuary, the early teaching
of the school. Here, in ampler ether and diviner air, are untried
fields for exalted triumph, more truly worthy the American name than
any snatched from rivers of blood. War is known as the _Last Reason
of Kings_. Let it be no reason of our Republic. Let us renounce and
throw off forever the yoke of a tyranny most oppressive of all in the
world's annals. As those standing on the mountain-top first discern the
coming beams of morning, so may we, from the vantage-ground of liberal
institutions, first recognize the ascending sun of a new era! Lift high
the gates, and let the King of Glory in,--the King of True Glory,--of
Peace! I catch the last words of music from the lips of innocence and

    "And let the whole earth be filled with His Glory!"

    [116] The services of the choir on this occasion were performed by the
youthful daughters of the public schools of Boston.

It is a beautiful picture in Grecian story, that there was at least one
spot, the small island of Delos, dedicated to the gods, and kept at all
times sacred from War. No hostile foot ever pressed this kindly soil,
and citizens of all countries met here, in common worship, beneath
the ægis of inviolable Peace. So let us dedicate our beloved country;
and may the blessed consecration be felt in all its parts, everywhere
throughout its ample domain! The Temple of Honor shall be enclosed
by the Temple of Concord, that it may never more be entered through
any portal of War; the horn of Abundance shall overflow at its gates;
the angel of Religion shall be the guide over its steps of flashing
adamant; while within its happy courts, purged of Violence and Wrong,
JUSTICE, returned to the earth from long exile in the skies, with equal
scales for nations as for men, shall rear her serene and majestic
front; and by her side, greatest of all, CHARITY, sublime in meekness,
hoping all and enduring all, shall divinely temper every righteous
decree, and with words of infinite cheer inspire to those deeds that
cannot vanish away. And the future chief of the Republic, destined to
uphold the glories of a new era, unspotted by human blood, shall be
first in Peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen.

While seeking these fruitful glories for ourselves, let us strive for
their extension to other lands. Let the bugles sound the _Truce of God_
to the whole world forever. Not to one people, but to every people,
let the glad tidings go. The selfish boast of the Spartan women, that
they never saw the smoke of an enemy's camp, must become the universal
chorus of mankind, while the iron belt of War, now encompassing the
globe, is exchanged for the golden cestus of Peace, clothing all
with celestial beauty. History dwells with fondness on the reverent
homage bestowed by massacring soldiers upon the spot occupied by the
sepulchre of the Lord. Vain man! why confine regard to a few feet of
sacred mould? The whole earth is the sepulchre of the Lord; nor can
any righteous man profane any part thereof. Confessing this truth, let
us now, on this Sabbath of the Nation, lay a new and living stone in
the grand Temple of Universal Peace, whose dome shall be lofty as the
firmament of heaven, broad and comprehensive as earth itself.

                        TRIBUTE OF FRIENDSHIP:

                        THE LATE JOSEPH STORY.


I have just returned from the funeral of this great and good man. Under
that roof where I have so often seen him in health, buoyant with life,
exuberant in kindness, happy in family and friends, I stood by his
mortal remains sunk in eternal rest, and gazed upon those well-loved
features from which even the icy touch of death had not effaced all the
living beauty. The eye was quenched, and the glow of life extinguished;
but the noble brow seemed still to shelter, as under a marble dome, the
spirit that had fled. And is he dead, I asked myself,--whose face was
never turned to me, except in affection,--who has filled the civilized
world with his name, and drawn to his country the homage of foreign
nations,--who was of activity and labor that knew no rest,--who was
connected with so many circles by duties of such various kinds, by
official ties, by sympathy, by friendship and love,--who, according
to the beautiful expression of Wilberforce, "touched life at so many
points,"--has he, indeed, passed away? Upon the small plate on the
coffin was inscribed, JOSEPH STORY, _died September 10th, 1845, aged 66
years_. These few words might apply to the lowly citizen, as to the
illustrious Judge. Thus is the coffin-plate a register of the equality
of men.

At his well-known house we joined in religious worship. The Rev. Dr.
Walker, present head of the University, in earnest prayer, commended
his soul to God who gave it, and invoked upon family and friends a
consecration of their afflictive bereavement. From this service we
followed, in mournful procession, to the resting-place which he had
selected for himself and his family, amidst the beautiful groves of
Mount Auburn. As the procession filed into the cemetery I was moved
by the sight of the numerous pupils of the Law School, with uncovered
heads and countenances of sorrow, ranged on each side of the road
within the gate, testifying by silent and unexpected homage their last
reverence to their departed teacher. Around the grave, as he was laid
in the embrace of the mother earth, were gathered all in our community
most distinguished in law, learning, literature, station,--Judges of
our Courts, Professors of the University, surviving classmates, and
a thick cluster of friends. He was placed among the children taken
from him in early life. _Of such is the kingdom of heaven_ were the
words he had inscribed over their names on the simple marble which now
commemorates alike the children and their father. Nor is there a child
in heaven of more childlike innocence and purity than he, who, full of
years and honors, has gone to mingle with these children.

There is another sentence, inscribed by him on this family stone,
which speaks to us now with a voice of consolation. _Sorrow not as
those without hope_ were the words which brought solace to him in his
bereavements. From his bed beneath he seems to whisper thus among
his mourning family and friends,--most especially to her, the chosen
partner of his life, from whom so much of human comfort is apparently
removed. He is indeed gone; but we shall see him once more forever.
With this blessed trust, we may find happiness in dwelling upon his
virtues and fame on earth, till the great consoler, Time, shall come
with healing in his wings.

From the grave of the Judge I walked a few short steps to that of his
classmate and friend, the beloved Channing, who died less than three
years ago, aged sixty-two. Thus these companions in early studies--each
afterwards foremost in important duties, pursuing divergent paths,
yet always drawn towards each other by the attractions of mutual
friendship--again meet and lie down together in the same sweet earth,
in the shadow of kindred trees, through which the same birds sing a
perpetual requiem.

The afternoon was of unusual brilliancy, and the full-orbed sun gilded
with mellow light the funereal stones through which I wound my way,
as I sought the grave of another friend, the first colleague of the
departed Judge in the duties of the Law School,--Professor Ashmun.
After a life crowded with usefulness, he laid down the burden of
disease which he had long borne, at the early age of thirty-three.
I remember listening, in 1833, to the flowing discourse which Story
pronounced, in the College Chapel, over the departed; nor can I forget
his deep emotion, as we stood together at the foot of the grave, while
the earth fell, dust to dust, upon the coffin of his friend.

Wandering through this silent city of the dead, I called to mind those
words of Beaumont on the Tombs in Westminster Abbey:--

    "Here's an acre sown indeed
     With the richest, royal'st seed
     That the earth did e'er suck in
     Since the first man died for sin;
     Here are sands, ignoble things
     Dropt from the ruined sides of kings."

A richer royalty is sown at Mount Auburn. The kings that slumber there
were anointed by more than earthly hand.

Turning again to the newest grave, I found no one but the humble
gardeners, smoothing the sod over the fresh earth. It was late in the
afternoon, and the upper branches of the stately trees that wave over
the sacred spot, after glistening for a while in the golden rays of the
setting sun, were left in the gloom which had already settled on the
grass beneath. Hurrying away, I reached the gate as the porter's curfew
was tolling to forgetful musers like myself the warning to leave.

Moving away from the consecrated field, I thought of the pilgrims
that would come from afar, through successions of generations, to
look upon the last home of the great Jurist. From all parts of our
own country, from all the lands where law is taught as a science, and
where justice prevails, they will come to seek the grave of their
master. Let us guard, then, this precious dust. Let us be happy, that,
though his works and his example belong to the world, his remains are
placed in our peculiar care. To us, also, who saw him face to face,
in the performance of his various duties, and who sustain a loss so
irreparable, is the melancholy pleasure of dwelling with household
affection upon his surpassing excellences.

His death makes a chasm which I shrink from contemplating. He was the
senior Judge of the highest Court of the country, an active Professor
of Law, and a Fellow in the Corporation of Harvard University. He was
in himself a whole triumvirate; and these three distinguished posts,
now vacant, will be filled, in all probability, each by a distinct
successor. It is, however, as the Jurist that he is to take his place
in the history of the world, high in the same firmament where beam
the mild glories of Tribonian, Cujas, Hale, and Mansfield. It was his
fortune, unlike that of many cultivating the law with signal success
on the European continent, to be called as a judge practically to
administer and apply it in the business of life. It thus became to
him not merely a science, whose depths and intricacies he explored
in his closet, but a great and godlike instrument, to be employed in
that grandest of earthly functions, the determination of justice among
men. While the duties of the magistrate were thus illumined by the
studies of the jurist, the latter were tempered to a finer edge by the
experience of the bench.

In the attempt to estimate his character as a Jurist, he may be
regarded in _three_ different aspects,--as Judge, Author, and Teacher
of Jurisprudence, exercising in each a peculiar influence. His lot is
rare who achieves fame in any single department of human action; rarer
still is his who becomes foremost in many. The first impression is of
astonishment, that a single mind, in a single life, should accomplish
so much. Omitting the incalculable labors, of which there is no trace,
except in the knowledge, happiness, and justice they helped to secure,
the bare amount of his written and printed works is enormous beyond
precedent in the annals of the Common Law. His written judgments on his
circuit, and his various commentaries, occupy _twenty-seven_ volumes,
while his judgments in the Supreme Court of the United States form an
important part of no less than _thirty-four_ volumes more. The vast
professional labors of Coke and Eldon, which seem to clothe the walls
of our libraries, must yield to his in extent. He is the Lope de Vega,
or the Walter Scott, of the Common Law.

We are struck next by the universality of his juridical attainments.
It was said by Dryden of a great lawyer in English history,--Heneage

    "Our laws, that did a boundless ocean seem,
     Were coasted all and fathomed all by him."

But the boundless ocean of that age was a "closed sea," compared with
that on which the adventurer embarks to-day. In Howell's Familiar
Letters there is a saying of only a few short years before, that
the books of the Common Law might all be carried in a wheelbarrow.
To coast such an ocean were a less task than a moiety of his labors
whom we now mourn. Called to administer all the different branches of
law, kept separate in England, he showed a mastery of all. His was
Universal Empire; and wherever he set his foot, in the various realms
of jurisprudence, it was as a sovereign,--whether in the ancient
and subtile learning of Real Law,--the Criminal Law,--the niceties
of Special Pleading,--the more refined doctrines of Contracts,--the
more rational system of Commercial and Maritime Law,--the peculiar
and interesting principles and practice of Admiralty and Prize,--the
immense range of Chancery,--the modern, but important, jurisdiction
over Patents,--or that higher region, the great themes of Public and
Constitutional Law. In each of these branches there are judgments
by him which will not yield in value to those of any other judge in
England or the United States, even though his studies and duties may
have been directed to only one particular department.

His judgments are remarkable for exhaustive treatment. The Common
Law, as every student knows to his cost, is found only in innumerable
"sand-grains" of authority. In his learned expositions not one of these
is overlooked, while all are combined with care, and the golden cord of
reason is woven across the ample tissue. There is in them, besides, a
clearness which flings over the subject a perfect day,--a severe logic,
which, by its closeness and precision, makes us feel the truth of the
saying of Leibnitz, that nothing approaches so near the certainty of
geometry as the reasoning of the law,--a careful attention to the
discussions at the bar, that nothing should be lost,--with a copious
and persuasive eloquence investing the whole. Many of his judgments
will be landmarks in the law: I know of no single judge who has set up
so many. I think it may be said, without fear of question, that the
Reports show a larger number of judicial opinions from Story, which
posterity will not willingly let die, than from any other judge in the
history of English or American law.

There is much of his character as a Judge which cannot be preserved,
except in the faithful memory of those whose happiness it was to enjoy
his judicial presence. I refer particularly to his mode of conducting
business. Even the passing stranger bore witness to his suavity of
manner on the bench, while all practitioners in the courts where
he presided so long attest the marvellous quickness with which he
seized habitually the points of a case, often anticipating the slower
movements of counsel, and leaping, or, I might almost say, flying, to
the proper conclusion. Napoleon's perception, at the head of an army,
was not more rapid. Nor can I forget the scrupulous care with which he
assigned reasons for every portion of his opinions, showing that it was
not _he_ who spoke with the voice of authority, but the _law_, whose
organ he was.

In the history of the English bench there are but two names with
combined eminence as Judge and Author,--Coke and Hale,--unless, indeed,
the "Ordinances in Chancery," from the Verulamian pen, should entitle
Lord Bacon to this distinction, and the judgments of Lord Brougham
should vindicate the same for him. Blackstone's character as judge is
lost in the fame of the Commentaries. To Story belongs this double
glory. Early in life he compiled an important professional work; but
it was only at a comparatively recent period, after his mind had
been disciplined by the labors of the bench, that he prepared those
elaborate Commentaries which have made his name a familiar word in
foreign countries. They who knew him best observed the lively interest
which he took in this extension of his renown. And most justly; for
the voice of distant foreign nations comes as from a living posterity.
His works have been reviewed with praise in the journals of England,
Scotland, Ireland, France, and Germany. They are cited as authorities
in all the Courts of Westminster Hall; and one of the ablest and most
learned jurists of the age, whose honorable career at the bar has
opened to him the peerage,--Lord Campbell,--in the course of debate in
the House of Lords, accorded to their author an exalted place, saying
that he "had a greater reputation as a legal writer than any author
England could boast since the days of Blackstone."[117]

    [117] Hansard, LXVIII. 667.

To complete this hasty survey, I should allude to his excellences
as a Teacher of law, that other relation which he sustained to
jurisprudence. The numerous pupils reared at his feet, and now
scattered throughout the country, diffusing, in their different
circles, the light obtained at Cambridge, as they hear that their
beloved master has fallen, will each feel that he has lost a friend.
He had the faculty, rare as it is exquisite, of interesting the
young, and winning their affections. I have often seen him surrounded
by a group of youths,--the ancient Romans might have aptly called
it a _corona_,--all intent upon his earnest conversation, and
freely interrogating him on matters of interest. In his lectures,
and other forms of instruction, he was prodigal of explanation and
illustration; his manner, according to the classical image of Zeno,
was like the open palm, never like the clenched fist. His learning
was always overflowing, as from the horn of abundance. He was earnest
and unrelaxing in effort, patient and gentle, while he listened with
inspiring attention to all that the pupil said. Like Chaucer's Clerk,

      "And gladly wolde he lerne, and gladly teche."

Above all, he was a living example of love for the law,--supposed by
many to be unlovely and repulsive,--which seemed to grow warmer under
the snows of accumulating winters; and such an example could not fail,
with magnetic power, to touch the hearts of the young. Nor should I
forget the lofty standard of professional morals which he inculcated,
filling his discourse with the charm of goodness. Under such auspices,
and those of his learned associate, Professor Greenleaf, large classes
of students, larger than any other in America, or in England, were
annually gathered in Cambridge. The Law School became the glory of the

He was proud of his character as Professor. In his earlier works he is
called on the title-page "Dane Professor of Law." It was only on the
suggestion of the English publisher that he was induced to append the
other title, "One of the Justices of the Supreme Court of the United
States." He looked forward with peculiar satisfaction to the time which
seemed at hand, when he should lay down the honors and cares of the
bench, and devote himself singly to the duties of his chair.

I have merely glanced at him in his three several relations to
jurisprudence. Great in each, it is on this unprecedented combination
that his peculiar fame will be reared, as upon an immortal tripod. In
what I have written, I do not think I am biased by partialities of
private friendship. I have endeavored to regard him as posterity will
regard him, as all must regard him now who fully know him in his works.
Imagine for one moment the irreparable loss, if all that he has done
were blotted out forever. As I think of the incalculable facilities
afforded by his labors, I cannot but say with Racine, when speaking of
Descartes, "_Nous courons; mais, sans lui, nous ne marcherions pas._"
Besides, it is he who has inspired in many foreign bosoms, reluctant
to perceive good in our country, a sincere homage to the American
name. He has turned the stream refluent upon the ancient fountains
of Westminster Hall, and, stranger still, has forced the waters
above their sources, up the unaccustomed heights of countries alien
to the Common Law. It is he also who has directed, from the copious
well-springs of Roman Law, and from the fresher currents of modern
Continental Law, a pure and grateful stream to enrich and fertilize our
domestic jurisprudence. In his judgments, his books, and his teachings,
he drew always from other systems to illustrate the Common Law.

The mind naturally seeks to compare him with eminent jurists, servants
of Themis, who share with him the wide spaces of fame. In genius for
the law, in the exceeding usefulness of his career, in the blended
character of Judge and Author, he cannot yield to our time-honored
master, Lord Coke; in suavity of manner, and in silver-tongued
eloquence, he may compare with Lord Mansfield, while in depth,
accuracy, and variety of juridical learning he surpassed him far; if
he yields to Lord Stowell in elegance of diction, he exceeds even
his excellence in curious exploration of the foundations of that
jurisdiction which they administered in common, and in the development
of those great principles of public law whose just determination helps
to preserve the peace of nations; and even in the peculiar field
illustrated by the long career of Eldon, we find him a familiar worker,
with Eldon's profusion of learning, and without the perplexity of his
doubts. There are many who regard the judicial character of the late
Chief Justice Marshall as unapproachable. I revere his name, and have
read his judgments, which seem like "pure reason," with admiration and
gratitude; but I cannot disguise that even these noble memorials must
yield in juridical character, learning, acuteness, fervor, variety of
topics, as they are far inferior in amount, to those of our friend.
There is still spared to us a renowned judge, at this moment the
unquestioned living head of American jurisprudence, with no rival
near the throne,--Chancellor Kent,--whose judgments and works always
inspired the warmest eulogy of the departed, and whose character as a
jurist furnishes the fittest parallel to his own in the annals of our

It seems idle to weave further these vain comparisons, particularly
to invoke the living. But busy fancy revives the past, and persons
and scenes renew themselves in my memory. I call to mind the recent
Chancellor of England, the model of a clear, grave, learned, and
conscientious magistrate,--Lord Cottenham. I see again the ornaments of
Westminster Hall, on the bench and at the bar, where sits Denman, in
manner, conduct, and character "every inch" the judge,--where pleaded
the consummate lawyer, Follett, whose voice is now hushed in the grave;
their judgments, their arguments, their conversation I cannot forget;
but thinking of these, I feel new pride in the great Magistrate, the
just Judge, the consummate Lawyer whom we lament.

It has been my fortune to know the chief jurists of our time, in the
classical countries of jurisprudence, France and Germany. I remember
well the pointed and effective style of Dupin, in one of his masterly
arguments before the highest court of France; I recall the pleasant
converse of Pardessus--to whom commercial and maritime law is under a
larger debt, perhaps, than to any other mind--while he descanted on
his favorite theme; I wander in fancy to the gentle presence of him
with flowing silver locks who was so dear to Germany,--Thibaut, the
expounder of Roman law, and the earnest and successful advocate of a
just scheme for the reduction of the unwritten law to the certainty
of a written text; from Heidelberg I pass to Berlin, where I listen
to the grave lecture and mingle in the social circle of Savigny, so
stately in person and peculiar in countenance, whom all the continent
of Europe delights to honor; but my heart and my judgment, untravelled,
fondly turn with new love and admiration to my Cambridge teacher and
friend. Jurisprudence has many arrows in her quiver, but where is one
to compare with that which is now spent in the earth?

The fame of the Jurist is enhanced by various attainments superinduced
upon learning in the law. His "Miscellaneous Writings" show a
thoughtful mind, imbued with elegant literature, warm with kindly
sentiments, commanding a style of rich and varied eloquence. Many
passages from these have become commonplaces of our schools. In early
life he yielded to the fascinations of the poetic muse; and here the
great lawyer may find companionship with Selden, who is introduced by
Suckling into the "Session of the Poets" as "hard by the chair,"--with
Blackstone, whose "Farewell to his Muse" shows his fondness for poetic
pastures, even while his eye was directed to the heights of the
law,--and also with Mansfield, whom Pope has lamented in familiar words,

    "How sweet an Ovid Murray! was our boast."

I have now before me, in his own handwriting, some verses written by
him in 1833, entitled, "Advice to a Young Lawyer." As they cannot fail
to be read with interest, I introduce them here.

      "Whene'er you speak, remember every cause
    Stands not on eloquence, but stands on laws;
    Pregnant in matter, in expression brief,
    Let every sentence stand with bold relief;
    On trifling points nor time nor talents waste,
    A sad offence to learning and to taste;
    Nor deal with pompous phrase, nor e'er suppose
    Poetic flights belong to reasoning prose.
    Loose declamation may deceive the crowd,
    And seem more striking as it grows more loud;
    But sober sense rejects it with disdain,
    As naught but empty noise, and weak as vain.
    The froth of words, the schoolboy's vain parade
    Of books and cases (all his stock in trade).
    The pert conceits, the cunning tricks and play
    Of low attorneys, strung in long array,
    The unseemly jest, the petulant reply,
    That chatters on, and cares not how nor why,
    Studious, avoid: unworthy themes to scan,
    They sink the speaker and disgrace the man;
    Like the false lights by flying shadows cast,
    Scarce seen when present, and forgot when past.

      "Begin with dignity; expound with grace
    Each ground of reasoning in its time and place;
    Let order reign throughout; each topic touch,
    Nor urge its power too little or too much;
    Give each strong thought its most attractive view,
    In diction clear, and yet severely true;
    And as the arguments in splendor grow,
    Let each reflect its light on all below.
    When to the close arrived, make no delays
    By petty flourishes or verbal plays,
    But sum the whole in one deep, solemn strain,
    Like a strong current hastening to the main."

But the jurist, rich with the spoils of time, the exalted magistrate,
the orator, the writer, all vanish when I think of the friend. Much
as the world may admire his memory, all who knew him will love it
more. Who can forget his bounding step, his contagious laugh, his
exhilarating voice, his beaming smile, his countenance that shone like
a benediction? What pen can describe these? What canvas or marble can
portray them? He was always the friend of the young, who never tired
in listening to his mellifluous discourse. Nor did they ever leave
his presence without a warmer glow of virtue, a more inspiring love
of knowledge, and more generous impulses of action. I remember him
in my childhood; but I first knew him after he came to Cambridge as
Professor, while I was yet an undergraduate, and now recall freshly, as
if the words were of yesterday, the eloquence and animation with which
at that time he enforced upon a youthful circle the beautiful truth,
_that no man stands in the way of another_. The world is wide enough
for all, he said, and no success which may crown our neighbor can
affect our own career. In this spirit he ran his race on earth, without
jealousy, without envy,--nay, more, overflowing with appreciation and
praise of labors which compared humbly with his own. In conversation
he dwelt with fervor upon all the topics which interest man,--not only
upon law, but upon literature, history, human character, the affairs
of every day,--above all, upon the great duties of life, the relations
of men to each other, to country, to God. High in his mind, above all
human opinions and practices, were the everlasting rules of _Right_;
nor did he ever rise to truer eloquence than when condemning, as I have
more than once heard him recently, that evil sentiment, "Our country,
_right or wrong_" which, in whatsoever form of language it may disguise
itself, assails the very foundations of justice and virtue.

He was happy in life, happy also in death. It was his hope, expressed
in health, that he should not be allowed to linger superfluous on the
stage, nor waste under the slow progress of disease. He was always
ready to meet his God. His wishes were answered. Two days before his
last illness he was in court, and delivered an elaborate judgment on a
complicated case in equity. Since his death another judgment in a case
already argued before him has been found among his papers, ready to be

I saw him for a single moment on the evening preceding his illness.
It was an accidental meeting away from his own house,--the last time
that the open air fanned his cheeks. His words of familiar, household
greeting still linger in my ears, like an enchanted melody. The morning
sun saw him on the bed from which he never rose.

Thus closed, after an illness of eight days, in the bosom of his
family, without pain, surrounded by friends, a life which, through
various vicissitudes of disease, had been spared beyond the grand
climacteric, that Cape of Storms in the sea of human existence.

    "Multis ille bonis flebilis occidit,
     Nulli flebilior quam mihi."

He is gone, and we shall see him no more on earth, except in his works,
and the memory of his virtues. The scales of justice, which he so long
held, have fallen from his hand. The untiring pen of the Author rests
at last. The voice of the Teacher is mute. The fountain, which was
ever flowing and ever full, is stopped. The lips, on which the bees of
Hybla might have rested, will no more distil their honeyed sweets. The
manly form, warm with all the affections of life, with love for family
and friends, for truth and virtue, is now cold in death. The justice
of nations is eclipsed; the life of the law is suspended. But let us
listen to the words which, though dead, he utters from the grave:
"Sorrow not as those without hope." The righteous judge, the wise
teacher, the faithful friend, the loving father, has ascended to his
Judge, his Teacher, his Friend, his Father in Heaven.

                         THE WRONG OF SLAVERY.


    The officers of this meeting were Hon. Charles Francis Adams,
    President; James M. Whiton, Charles G. Hovey, and William I.
    Bowditch, Secretaries. The President made a speech on taking the
    chair. He was followed by Hon. John G. Palfrey, Charles Sumner,
    Wendell Phillips, Henry B. Stanton, George S. Hillard, Rev. William
    H. Channing, and William Lloyd Garrison. The meeting was thus
    sympathetically described by the _Liberator_:--

    "Faneuil Hall next had a meeting, more worthy of its fame than
    the one which was held in it on Tuesday evening last, to set the
    ball in motion for another grand rally of the freemen of the North
    against the admission of Texas into the Union as a Slave State.
    The weather was extremely unpropitious,--the rain pouring down
    violently, the thunder roaring, and the lightning blazing vividly
    at intervals,--emblematic of the present moral and political
    aspects of the country."

    The _Daily Times_, a democratic paper of Boston, in its account of
    the meeting made the severe storm play an important part. Here is
    something of what it said:--

    "The elements seemed determined not to sanction any such
    traitor-like movement, and interposed every obstacle to its
    success. It was proper that such a foul project should have foul
    weather as an accompaniment. The night was dark, and so were the
    designs contemplated." To oppose the extension of slavery was
    traitor-like, foul, and dark.

    The Resolutions adopted at the meeting were drawn by Mr. Sumner,
    although introduced by another. They were the first political
    resolutions ever drawn by him, as the speech which follows was
    the first political speech ever made by him. The Resolutions,
    while condemning slavery and denouncing the plan to secure
    its predominance in the National Government, start with the
    annunciation of _Equal Rights and the_ _Brotherhood of all
    Men_, as set forth in the Declaration of Independence, which Mr.
    Sumner always, from beginning to end, made the foundation of his
    arguments, appeals, and aspirations.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "_Whereas_ the Government and Independence of the United States
    are founded on the adamantine truth of _Equal Rights and the
    Brotherhood of all Men_, declared on the 4th of July, 1776, a truth
    receiving new and constant recognition in the progress of time, and
    which is the great lesson from our country to the world, in support
    of which the founders toiled and bled, and on account of which we,
    their children, bless their memory,--

    "_And whereas_ it is essential to our self-respect as a nation, and
    to our fame in history, that this truth, declared by our fathers,
    should not be impeached or violated by any fresh act of their

    "_And whereas_ the scheme for the annexation of Texas as a Slave
    State, begun in stealth and fraud, and carried on to confirm
    Slavery and extend its bounds, in violation of the fundamental
    principle of our institutions, is not consummated, and may yet
    be arrested by the zealous and hearty co-operation of all who
    sincerely love their country and the liberty of mankind,--

    "_And whereas_ this scheme, if successful, involves the whole
    country, Free States as well as slave-owners, in one of the two
    greatest crimes a nation can commit, and threatens to involve them
    in the other,--namely, Slavery and unjust War,--Slavery of the most
    revolting character, and War to sustain Slavery,--

    "_And whereas_ the State Constitution of Texas, which will soon
    be submitted to Congress for adoption or rejection, expressly
    prohibits the Legislature, except under conditions rendering
    the exception practically void, from enacting any law for the
    emancipation of slaves, and for the abolition of the slave-trade
    between Texas and the United States, thereby reversing entirely the
    natural and just tendency of our institutions towards Freedom,--

    "_And whereas_ the slaveholders seek annexation for the purpose
    of increasing the market of human flesh, and for extending and
    perpetuating Slavery,--

    "_And whereas_, by the triumph of this scheme, and by creating new
    Slave States within the limits of Texas, the slaveholders seek to
    control the political power of the majority of freemen represented
    in the Congress of the Union:--

    "_Therefore be it resolved_, in the name of God, of Christ, and
    of Humanity, that we, belonging to all political parties, and
    reserving all other reasons of objection, unite in protest against
    the admission of Texas into this Union as a Slave State.

    "_Resolved_, That the people of Massachusetts will continue to
    resist the consummation of this wicked purpose, which will cover
    the country with disgrace, and make us responsible for crimes of
    gigantic magnitude.

    "_Resolved_, That we have the fullest confidence that the Senators
    and Representatives of Massachusetts in Congress will never consent
    to the admission of Texas as a Slave State, but by voice and vote
    will resist this fatal measure to the utmost at every stage.

    "_And furthermore, whereas_ the Congress of the United States, by
    assuming to connect this country with a foreign state, have already
    involved the people of the Free States in great expenditure for the
    protection of the usurped territory by force of arms on sea and

    "_And whereas_ a still greater outlay may hereafter be incurred to
    maintain by violence what is held by wrong:--

    "_Resolved_, That we protest against the policy of enlisting the
    strength of a free people to sustain by physical force a measure
    urged with the criminal purpose of perpetuating a system of slavery
    at war with the fundamental principle of our institutions.

    "_Resolved_, That a committee be appointed by the chair to present
    copies of these Resolutions to the Senators and Representatives
    from Massachusetts, and also to send them to every Senator and
    Representative in Congress from the Free States."

Mr. Chairman,--I could not listen to the appropriate remarks of my
friend, the Secretary of the Commonwealth,[118] without recalling an
important act in his life, and feeling anew what all must feel, the
beauty of his example in the fraternal treatment of slaves descended
to him by inheritance, manumitting them as he has done, and conducting
them far away from Slavery into these more cheerful precincts of
Freedom. In offering him this humble tribute, I am sure that I awaken
a response in every heart that has not ceased to throb at the recital
of an act of self-sacrifice and humanity. He has done as a citizen what
Massachusetts is now called to do as a State. He has divested himself
of all responsibility for any accession of slave property, and the
State must do likewise.

    [118] Hon. John G. Palfrey.

There are occasions, in the progress of affairs, when persons, though
ordinarily opposed to each other, come together, and even the lukewarm,
the listless, the indifferent unite heartily in a common object.
Such is the case in great calamities, when the efforts of all are
needed to avert a fatal blow. If the fire-bell startles us from our
slumbers, we do not ask of what faith in politics or religion is the
unfortunate brother whose house is exposed to conflagration; it is
enough that there is misfortune to be averted. In this spirit we have
assembled on this inclement evening,--putting aside all distinctions of
party,--forgetting all disagreements of opinion, to remember one thing
only, on which all are agreed,--renouncing all discords, to stand firm
on one ground only, where we all meet in concord: I mean opposition to
Texas as a Slave State.

The scheme for the annexation of Texas, begun in stealth and fraud,
in order to extend and strengthen Slavery, has not yet received the
final sanction of Congress. According to the course proposed by
these machinators, it is necessary that Texas should be formally
admitted into the family of States by a vote of Congress, and that
her Constitution should be approved by Congress. The question will be
presented this winter, and we would, if we could, strengthen the hearts
and words of those by whom the measure will be opposed.

Ours is no factious or irregular course. It has the sanction of the
best examples on a kindred occasion. The very question before us
occurred in 1819, on the admission of Missouri as a Slave State. I need
not remind you of the ardor and constancy with which this was opposed
at the North, by men of all parties, with scarcely a dissenting voice.
One universal chorus of protest thundered from the North against the
formation of what was called another _black State_. Meetings were
convened in all the considerable towns,--Philadelphia, Trenton, New
York, New Haven, and everywhere throughout Massachusetts,--to make this
opposition audible on the floor of Congress. At Boston, December the
3d, 1819, a meeting without distinction of party, and embracing the
leaders of both sides, was held in the State-House. That meeting, in
its object, was precisely like the present. A numerous committee to
prepare resolutions was appointed, of which William Eustis, afterwards
Governor of Massachusetts, was chairman. With him were associated John
Phillips, at that time President of the Senate of Massachusetts,--a
name dear to every friend of the slave, as father of him to whose
eloquent voice we hope to listen to-night,[119]--Timothy Bigelow,
Speaker of the House of Representatives, William Gray, Henry Dearborn,
Josiah Quincy, Daniel Webster, William Ward, William Prescott, Thomas
H. Perkins, Stephen White, Benjamin Pickman, William Sullivan, George
Blake, David Cummins, James Savage, John Gallison, James T. Austin, and
Henry Orne. No committee could have been appointed better fitted to
inspire the confidence of all sides. Numerous as were its members, they
were all men of mark and consideration in our community. This committee
reported the following resolutions, which were adopted by the meeting.

    "_Resolved_, as the opinion of this meeting, that the Congress
    of the United States possesses the constitutional power, upon
    the admission of any new State created beyond the limits of the
    original territory of the United States, to make the prohibition of
    the further extension of slavery or involuntary servitude in such
    new State a condition of its admission.

    "_Resolved_, That, in the opinion of this meeting, it is just and
    expedient that this power should be exercised by Congress upon the
    admission of all new States created beyond the original limits of
    the United States."

    [119] Wendell Phillips Esq.

The meeting in Boston was followed by another in Salem, called,
according to the terms of the notice, to consider "whether the immense
region of country extending from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean
is destined to be the abode of happiness, independence, and freedom,
_or the wide prison of misery and slavery_." Resolutions were passed
against the admission of any Slave State, being supported by Benjamin
T. Pickman, Andrew Dunlap, and Joseph Story, a name of authority
wherever found. In the meeting at Worcester, Solomon Strong and
Levi Lincoln took a prominent part. Resolutions were adopted here,
"earnestly requesting their representatives in Congress to use their
unremitted exertions to prevent the sanction of that honorable body to
any further introduction of slavery within the extending limits of the
United States." By these assemblies the Commonwealth was aroused. To
Slavery it presented an unbroken front.

Since these efforts in the cause of Freedom twenty-five years have
passed. Some of the partakers in them are still spared to us,--I
need not add, full of years and honors. The larger part have been
called from the duty of opposing slavery on earth. The same question
which aroused their energies presents itself to us. Shall we be less
faithful than they? Will Massachusetts oppose a less unbroken front
now than then? In the lapse of these few years has the love of freedom
diminished? Has sensibility to human suffering lost any of the keenness
of its edge?

Let us regard the question more closely. Congress is asked to
sanction the Constitution of Texas, which not only supports slavery,
but contains a clause prohibiting the Legislature of the State from
abolishing slavery. In doing this, it will give a fresh stamp of
legislative approbation to an unrighteous system; it will assume a
new and active responsibility for the system; it will again become
a dealer in human flesh, and on a gigantic scale. At this moment,
when the conscience of mankind is at last aroused to the enormity of
holding a fellow-man in bondage, when, throughout the civilized world,
a slave-dealer is a by-word and a reproach, we as a nation are about
to become proprietors of a large population of slaves. Such an act, at
this time, is removed from the reach of that palliation often extended
to slavery. Slavery, we are speciously told by those who defend it,
is not our original sin. It was entailed upon us by our ancestors, so
we are instructed; and the responsibility is often, with exultation,
thrown upon the mother country. Now, without stopping to inquire into
the truth of this allegation, it is sufficient for the present purpose
to know that by welcoming Texas as a Slave State we make slavery our
own original sin. Here is a new case of actual transgression, which we
cannot cast upon the shoulders of any progenitors, nor upon any mother
country, distant in time or place. The Congress of the United States,
the people of the United States, at this day, in this vaunted period of
light, will be responsible for it; so that it will be said hereafter,
so long as the dreadful history of Slavery is read, that in the present
year of Christ a new and deliberate act was passed to confirm and
extend it.

By the present movement we propose no measure of change. We do not
offer to interfere with any institution of the Southern States,
nor to modify any law on the subject of Slavery anywhere under
the Constitution. Our movement is conservative. It is to preserve
existing supports of Freedom; it is to prevent the violation of free
institutions in their vital principles.

Such a movement should unite in its support all but those few in
whose distorted or unnatural vision slavery seems to be a great good.
Most clearly should it unite the freemen of the North, by all the
considerations of self-interest, and by those higher considerations
founded on the rights of man. I cannot dwell now upon the controlling
political influence in the councils of the country which the annexation
of Texas will secure to slaveholders. This topic is of importance;
but it yields to the supreme requirements of religion, morals, and
humanity. I cannot banish from my view the great shame and wrong of
slavery. Judges of our courts have declared it contrary to the Law of
Nature, finding its support only in positive enactments of men. Its
horrors who can tell? Language utterly fails to depict them.

By the proposed measure, we not only become parties to the acquisition
of a large population of slaves, with all the crime of slavery, but we
open a new market for the slaves of Virginia and the Carolinas, and
_legalize a new slave-trade_. A new slave-trade! Consider this well.
You cannot forget the horrors of that too famous "middle passage,"
where crowds of human beings, stolen, and borne by sea far from their
warm African homes, are pressed on shipboard into spaces of smaller
dimensions for each than a coffin. And yet the deadly consequences
of this middle passage are believed to fall short of those sometimes
undergone by the wretched coffles driven from the exhausted lands
of the Northern Slave States to the sugar plantations nearer the
sun of the South. One quarter part are said often to perish in
these removals. I see them, in imagination, on their fatal journey,
chained in bands, and driven like cattle, leaving behind what has
become to them a home and a country, (alas! what a home, and what a
country!)--husband torn from wife, and parent from child, to be sold
anew into more direful captivity. Can this take place with our consent,
nay, without our most determined opposition? If the slave-trade is to
receive new adoption from our country, let us have no part or lot in
it. Let us wash our hands of this great guilt. As we read its horrors,
may each of us be able to exclaim, with conscience void of offence,
"Thou canst not say I did it." God forbid that the votes and voices of
Northern freemen should help to bind anew the fetters of the slave!
God forbid that the lash of the slave-dealer should descend by any
sanction from New England! God forbid that the blood which spurts from
the lacerated, quivering flesh of the slave should soil the hem of the
white garments of Massachusetts!

Voices of discouragement reach us from other parts of the country, and
even from our own friends in this bracing air. We are told that all
exertion will be vain, and that the admission of a new Slave State is
"a foregone conclusion." But this is no reason why we should shrink
from duty. "I will try," was the response of an American officer on
the field of battle. "England expects every man to do his duty," was
the signal of the British admiral. Ours is a contest holier than those
which aroused these stirring words. Let _us_ try. Let every man among
_us_ do his duty.

And suppose New England stands alone in these efforts; suppose
Massachusetts stands alone: is it not a noble isolation? Is it not
the post of honor? Is it not the position where she will find
companionship with all that is great and generous in the past,--with
all the disciples of truth, of right, of liberty? It has not been her
wont on former occasions to inquire whether she should stand alone.
Your honored ancestor, Mr. Chairman, who from these walls regards our
proceedings to-night, did not ask whether Massachusetts would be alone,
when she commenced that opposition which ended in the independence of
the Thirteen Colonies.

But we cannot fail to accomplish great good. It is in obedience
to a prevailing law of Providence, that no act of self-sacrifice,
of devotion to duty, of humanity can fail. It stands forever as a
landmark, from which at least to make a new effort. Future champions of
equal rights and human brotherhood will derive new strength from these

Let Massachusetts, then, be aroused. Let all her children be summoned
to this holy cause. There are questions of ordinary politics in which
men may remain neutral; but neutrality now is treason to liberty, to
humanity, and to the fundamental principles of free institutions. Let
her united voice, with the accumulated echoes of freedom that fill
this ancient hall, go forth with comfort and cheer to all who labor in
the same cause everywhere throughout the land. Let it help to confirm
the wavering, and to reclaim those who have erred from the right
path. Especially may it exert a proper influence in Congress upon the
representatives of the Free States. May it serve to make them as firm
in the defence of Freedom as their opponents are pertinacious in the
cause of Slavery.

Massachusetts must continue foremost in the cause of Freedom; nor can
her children yield to deadly dalliance with Slavery. They must resist
at all times, and be forearmed against the fatal influence. There is a
story of the magnetic mountain which drew out the iron bolts of a ship,
though at a great distance. Slavery is such a mountain, and too often
draws out the iron bolts of representatives. There is another story of
the Norwegian maelström, which, after sucking a ship into its vortex,
whirls the victim round and round until it is dashed in pieces. Slavery
is such a maelström. Representatives must continue safe and firm,
notwithstanding magnetic mountain or maelström. But this can be only by
following those principles for which Massachusetts is renowned.

A precious incident in the life of one whom our country has delighted
to honor furnishes an example for imitation. When Napoleon, already
at the pinnacle of military honor, but lusting for perpetuity of
power, caused a vote to be taken on the question, whether he should
be First Consul for life, Lafayette, at that time in retirement, and
only recently, by his intervention, liberated from the dungeons of
Olmütz, deliberately registered his _No_. Afterwards revisiting our
shores, the scene of his youthful devotion to freedom, and receiving
on all sides that beautiful homage of thanksgiving which is of itself
an all-sufficient answer to the sarcasm that republics are ungrateful,
here in Boston, this illustrious Frenchman listened with especial pride
to the felicitation addressed to him as "the man who knew so well how
to say _No_." Be this the example for Massachusetts; and may it be
among her praises hereafter, that on this occasion she knew so well how
to say NO!



    After accepting an invitation to lecture before the Lyceum at New
    Bedford, Mr. Sumner, learning that colored persons were denied
    membership and equal opportunities with white persons, refused to
    lecture, as appears in the following Letter, which was published in
    the papers of the time.

    Shortly afterwards the obnoxious rule was rescinded, and Mr. Sumner

                                 BOSTON, November 29, 1845.

    My Dear Sir,--I have received your favor of November 24, asking me
    to appoint an evening in February or March to lecture before the
    New Bedford Lyceum, in pursuance of my promise.

    On receiving the invitation of your Lyceum, I felt flattered, and,
    in undertaking to deliver a lecture at some time, to be appointed
    afterwards, I promised myself peculiar pleasure in an occasion
    of visiting a town which I had never seen, but whose refined
    hospitality and liberal spirit, as described to me, awakened my
    warmest interest.

    Since then I have read in the public prints a protest, purporting
    to be by gentlemen well known to me by reputation, who are members
    of the Lyceum, and some of them part of its government, from
    which it appears that in former years tickets of admission were
    freely sold to colored persons, as to white persons, and that no
    objection was made to them as members, but that at the present
    time tickets are refused to colored persons, and membership is also
    refused practically, though, by special vote recently adopted, they
    are allowed to attend the lectures without expense, provided they
    will sit in the north gallery.

    From these facts it appears that the New Bedford Lyceum has
    undertaken within its jurisdiction to establish a distinction of
    _Caste_ not recognized before.

    One of the cardinal truths of religion and freedom is the _Equality
    and Brotherhood of Man_. In the sight of God and of all just
    institutions the white man can claim no precedence or exclusive
    privilege from his color. It is the accident of an accident
    that places a human soul beneath the dark shelter of an African
    countenance, rather than beneath our colder complexion. Nor can I
    conceive any application of the divine injunction, Do unto others
    as you would have them do unto you, more pertinent than to the man
    who founds a discrimination between his fellow-men on difference of

    It is well known that the prejudice of color, which is akin to
    the stern and selfish spirit that holds a fellow-man in slavery,
    is peculiar to our country. It does not exist in other civilized
    countries. In France colored youths at college have gained the
    highest honors, and been welcomed as if they were white. At the Law
    School there I have sat with them on the same benches. In Italy
    I have seen an Abyssinian mingling with monks, and there was no
    apparent suspicion on either side of anything open to question. All
    this was Christian: so it seemed to me.

    In lecturing before a Lyceum which has introduced the prejudice of
    color among its laws, and thus formally reversed an injunction of
    highest morals and politics, I might seem to sanction what is most
    alien to my soul, and join in disobedience to that command which
    teaches that the children of earth are all of one blood. I cannot
    do this.

    I beg, therefore, to be excused at present from appointing a day
    to lecture before your Lyceum; and I pray you to lay this letter
    before the Lyceum, that the ground may be understood on which I
    deem it my duty to decline the honor of appearing before them.

    I hope you will pardon the frankness of this communication, and
    believe me, my dear Sir,

                                      Very faithfully yours,

                                                     CHARLES SUMNER.

  _To the Chairman of the Committee  }
      of the New Bedford Lyceum._    }

                  PRISONS AND PRISON DISCIPLINE.[120]


It is with a feeling of deference that we welcome Miss Dix's "Remarks
on Prisons and Prison Discipline." Her peculiar labors for humanity,
and her renunciation of the refined repose which has such attractions
for her sex, to go about doing good, enduring the hardships of travel,
the vicissitudes of the changing season, and, more trying still, the
coldness of the world, awaken towards her a sense of gratitude, and
invest her name with an interest which must attach to anything from her

    [120] 1. _Remarks on Prisons and Prison Discipline in the United
States._ By D.L. DIX. Second Edition. Philadelphia. 1845. 8vo. pp. 108.

2. _Nineteenth Annual Report of the Board of Managers of the Prison
Discipline Society._ Boston. 1844. 8vo. pp. 116.

3. _Prisons and Prisoners._ By JOSEPH ADSHEAD. With Illustrations.
London. 1845. 8vo. pp. 320.

4. _Report of the Surveyor-General of Prisons on the Construction,
Ventilation, and Details of the Pentonville Prison._ London. 1844. fol.
pp. 30.

5. _Revue Pénitentiaire des Institutions Préventives_, sous la
Direction de M. MOREAU-CHRISTOPHE. Tom. II. Paris. 1845. 8vo. pp. 659.

6. _Du Projet de Loi sur la Réforme des Prisons._ Par M. LÉON FAUCHER.
Paris. 1844. 8vo.

7. _Considerations sur la Réclusion Individuelle des Détenus._ Par W.H.
SURINGAR. Traduit du Hollandais sur la seconde Édition. Précédées d'une
Préface, et suivies du Résumé de la Question Pénitentiaire, par L.M.
MOREAU-CHRISTOPHE. Paris et Amsterdam. 1843. 8vo. pp. 131.

8. _Nordamerikas Sittliche Zustände._ (The Moral Condition of North
America.) Von Dr. N.H. JULIUS. 2 Bände. Leipzig. 1839. 8vo.

 9. _Archiv des Criminalrechts, herausgegeben_ von den Professoren
Criminal Law, edited by Professors ABEGG, etc.) Halle. 1843. 12mo. pp.

The chosen and almost exclusive sphere of woman is home, in the warmth
of the family hearth. Rarely is she able to mingle with effect in the
active labors which influence mankind. With incredulity we admire the
feminine expounder of the Roman law, illustrating by her lectures the
Universities of Padua and Bologna,--and the charities of St. Elizabeth
of Hungary are legendary in the dim distance; though, in our own day,
the classical productions of the widow of Wyttenbach, crowned Doctor
of Philosophy by the University of Marburg, and most especially the
beautiful labors of Mrs. Fry, recently closed by death, are examples
of the sway exerted by the gentler sex beyond the charmed circle of
domestic life. Among these Miss Dix will receive a place which her
modesty would forbid her to claim. Her name will be enrolled among
benefactors. It will be pronounced with gratitude, when heroes in the
strifes of politics and of war are disregarded or forgotten.

    "Can we forget the generous few
     Who, touched with human woe, redressive sought
     Into the horrors of the gloomy jail,
     Unpitied and unheard, where misery moans,
     Where sickness pines?"

Miss Dix's labors embrace penitentiaries, jails, alms-houses,
poor-houses, and asylums for the insane, throughout the Northern
and Middle States,--all of which she has visited, turning a face of
gentleness towards crime, comforting the unfortunate, softening a hard
lot, sweetening a bitter cup, while she obtained information of their
condition calculated to awaken the attention of the public. This labor
of love she has pursued earnestly, devotedly, sparing neither time
nor strength, neglecting no person, abject or lowly, frequenting the
cells of all, and by word and deed seeking to strengthen their hearts.
The melody of her voice still sounds in our ears, as, standing in the
long corridor of the Philadelphia Penitentiary, she read a Psalm of
consolation; nor will that scene be effaced quickly from the memory
of any then present. Her Memorials, addressed to the Legislatures of
different States, have divulged a mass of facts, derived from personal
and most minute observation, particularly with regard to the treatment
of the insane, which must arouse the sensibilities of a humane people.
In herself alone she is a whole Prison Discipline Society. To her
various efforts may be applied, without exaggeration, those magical
words in which Burke commemorated the kindred charity of Howard, when
he says that he travelled, "not to survey the sumptuousness of palaces
or the stateliness of temples, not to make accurate measurements of
the remains of ancient grandeur nor to form a scale of the curiosity
of modern art, not to collect medals or collate manuscripts, but to
dive into the depths of dungeons, to plunge into the infection of
hospitals, to survey the mansions of sorrow and pain, to take the gauge
and dimensions of misery, depression, and contempt, to remember the
forgotten, to attend to the neglected, to visit the forsaken, and to
compare and collate the distresses of all men."

Her "Remarks" contain general results on different points connected
with the discipline of prisons: as, the duration of sentences;
pardons and the pardoning power; diet of prisoners; water; clothing;
ventilation; heat; health; visitors' fees; dimensions of lodging-cells
in the State penitentiaries; moral, religious, and general instruction
in prisons; reformation of prisoners; penitentiary systems of the
United States; and houses of refuge for juvenile offenders. It would
be interesting and instructive to examine the conclusions on all these
important topics having the sanction of her disinterested experience;
but our limits restrict us, on the present occasion, to a single topic.

We are disposed to take advantage of the interest Miss Dix's
publication may excite, and also of her name, which is an authority, to
say a few words on a question much agitated, and already the subject of
many books,--the comparative merits of what are called the Pennsylvania
and Auburn Penitentiary Systems. This question is, perhaps, the most
important of all that grow out of Prisons; for it affects, in a
measure, all others. It involves both the construction of the prison,
and its administration.

The subject of Prison Discipline, and particularly the question between
the two systems, has of late years occupied the attention of jurists
and philanthropists in no ordinary degree. The discussion has been
conducted in all the languages of Europe, to such an extent that the
titles alone of the works would occupy considerable space in a volume
of Bibliography. We have before us, for instance, a list of no less
than eleven in Italian. But we must go back to the last century, if we
would trace the origin of the controversy.

To Howard, a man of true greatness, whose name will stand high on
the roll of the world's benefactors, belongs the signal honor of
first awakening the sympathies of the English people in this work
of benevolence. By his travels and labors he became familiar with
the actual character of prisons, and was enabled to spread before
the public an accumulation of details which fill the reader with
horror and disgust. The condition of prisons at that time in England
was appalling. Of course there was no system; nor was there any
civilization in the treatment of prisoners. Everything was bad. As
there was no care, so there was no cleanliness, on which so much
depends, and there was no classification or separation of any kind.
All commingled, so that the uncleanness of one befouled all, and the
wickedness of one contaminated all. While this continued, all hope of
reform was vain. Therefore, with especial warmth, Howard pleaded for
the _separation_ of prisoners, especially at night, "wishing to have so
many small rooms or cabins that each criminal may sleep alone,"[121]
and called attention to the fact he had observed in Holland, that "in
most of the prisons for criminals there are so many rooms that each
prisoner is kept separate."[122]

    [121] Howard, State of the Prisons, p. 22.

    [122] Ibid. p. 45.

The importance of the principle of separation was first recognized
at Rome, as long ago as 1703, by Clement XI., in the foundation
of the Hospital of St. Michael, or the House of Refuge, where a
separate dormitory was provided for each prisoner. Over the portal
of this asylum, in letters of gold, were inscribed the words of
wisdom which Howard adopted as the motto of his labors, and which
indicate the spirit that should preside over the administration of all
prisons: _Parum est improbos coercere poena, nisi probos efficias
disciplina_,--It is of small consequence to coerce the wicked by
punishment, unless you make them good by discipline. The first and
most important step in this discipline is to remove prisoners from all
evil influence,--which can be done only by separation from each other,
and by filling their time with labor.

In furtherance of this principle, and that he might reduce it to
practice, Howard, in conjunction with Sir William Blackstone, as early
as 1779, drew an Act of Parliament, the preamble to the fifth section
of which is an enunciation of the cardinal truth at the foundation of
all effective prison discipline.

"Whereas," says the Act, "if many offenders, convicted of crimes
for which transportation hath been usually inflicted, _were ordered
to solitary imprisonment, accompanied by well-regulated labor and
religious instruction_, it might be the means, under Providence, not
only of deterring others from the commission of the like crimes,
_but also of reforming the individuals_," etc. Noble words! Here,
for the first time in English legislation, the reformation of
the prisoner is proposed as a distinct object. This Act, though
passed, was unfortunately never carried into execution, through the
perverseness, it is said, of one of the persons associated with Howard
as commissioner for erecting a suitable prison.

As early as 1790 a law was passed in Pennsylvania, which is of
importance in the history of this subject, showing appreciation of the
principle of seclusion with labor. In the preamble it is declared, that
previous laws for the punishment of criminals had failed of success,
"from the _communication_ with each other not being sufficiently
restrained within the places of confinement, and it is hoped _that the
addition of unremitted solitude to laborious employment_, as far as
it can be effected, will contribute as much to reform as to deter",
and the Act further provides, that certain persons shall be "_kept
separate and apart from each other_, as much as the convenience of the
building will admit." The principle of separation, when first announced
by Howard, and practically attempted in Pennsylvania, was imperfectly
understood. It was easy to see the importance of separation; but how
should it be applied? In Pennsylvania it was attempted at first with
such rigor as to justify its designation as the _Solitary System_. But
as the new penitentiary in Philadelphia was about to be occupied, a
law was passed providing that after July 1st, 1829, convicts should,
"instead of the penitentiary punishments heretofore prescribed, be
sentenced to suffer punishment by _separate_ or solitary confinement at
_labor_"; and there is further provision for "visits to the prisoners."
Here were the two elements,--first, of labor, and, secondly, of
visits. In pursuance of this Act, that penitentiary was organized at
Philadelphia which afforded the first example on an extended scale of
the absolute separation of convicts from each other, combined with
labor. And this penitentiary has given its name to the class of prisons
founded on this principle.

It should be borne in mind that this system is distinguishable from
one of _solitary_ confinement with labor,--much more from one of mere
solitary confinement without labor. An intemperate opponent, too rash
or prejudiced to recognize all the truth, has often characterized the
present Pennsylvania system as the _Solitary System_, and by this term
not unfrequently aroused a feeling against it which must disappear
before a candid inquiry. It is easy to condemn any system of absolute
solitude without solace of labor or society. The examples of history
rise in judgment against such. Who can forget the Bastile? We have the
testimony of Lafayette, whose own further experience at Olmütz should
not be neglected, as to its effect. "I repaired to the scene," he says,
"on the second day of the demolition, and found that all the prisoners
had been deranged by their solitary confinement, except one. He had
been a prisoner twenty-five years, and was led forth during the height
of the tumultuous riot of the people, whilst engaged in tearing down
the building. He looked around with amazement, for he had seen nobody
for that space of time, and before night he was so much affected that
he became a confirmed maniac." But the Bastile is not the only prison
whose stones, could they speak, would tell this fearful tale; nor is
Lafayette the only reporter.

Names often have the importance of things; and it cannot be doubted
that the ignorant or dishonest application of the term _solitary_ to
the Pennsylvania system is a strong reason for the opposition it has

The _Separate System_ has but one essential condition,--the absolute
separation of prisoners from intercourse of any kind with each other.
On this may be engrafted labor, instruction, and even constant society
with officers of the prison, or with virtuous persons. In fact, these
have become, in greater or less degree, component parts of the system.
In constant employment the prisoner finds peace, and in the society
with which he is indulged innocent relaxation and healthy influence.
This is the Pennsylvania system.

There is another and rival system, first established in the _Maison de
Force_ at Ghent, but borrowing its name from the Auburn Penitentiary
of New York, where it was first introduced in 1816, by a remarkable
disciplinarian, Elam Lynds. Here the prisoners are separated only at
night, each sleeping in a small cell or dormitory by himself. During
the day they labor together in shops, or in the open air, according to
the nature of the work,--being prohibited from speaking to each other,
under pain of punishment. From the latter feature this is often called
the _Silent System_. As its chief peculiarity, in contradistinction
to the _Separate System_, is the working of prisoners in assemblies,
where all see and are seen, it may be more properly designated the
_Congregate System_.

Such, in brief, are these two systems, which, it will be observed,
both aim at the same object, _the separation of prisoners so that
they can have no intercourse with each other_. In the one this end is
attained by their physical separation from each other both night and
day; in the other, by such separation at night, with untiring watch by
day to prevent intercourse. Of course, separation by the Congregate
system is less complete than by the other. Conversation by words
may be restrained; though it is now admitted that no guardian can
be sufficiently watchful to intercept on all occasions those winged
messengers. The extensive unspoken, unwritten language of signs, the
expression of the countenance, the movements of the body, may telegraph
from convict to convict thoughts of stubbornness, hatred, or revenge.

If separation be desirable, should it not be complete? Should not the
conducting wires be broken, so that no electrical spark may propagate
its disturbing force? But the very pains taken in the Congregate system
to insure silence by day and separation by night answer this question.
Thus, by strange inconsistency, the advocates of the _Congregate_
system seek to enforce _separation_. Wedded to an imperfect practice,
they recognize the correct principle.

Before proceeding farther with this comparison it is proper to glance
at the real objects of prison discipline, that we may be better enabled
to determine which system is best calculated to answer these objects.

Three things are proposed by every enlightened system: first, to deter
others from crime; secondly, to prevent the offender from preying
again upon society; thirdly, discipline and care, so far as possible
to promote reformation. There are grounds for belief that the first
two purposes are best attained by the Separate system; but without
considering these particularly, let us pass to the question, Which is
best calculated to perform that truly heavenly function of reforming
the offender?

Is not the answer prompt and decisive in favor of that system which
most completely protects the prisoner from the pernicious influence of
brethren in guilt? It is a venerable proverb, that a man is known by
the company he keeps; and this is a homely expression of the truth,
that the character of a man is naturally in harmony with those about
him. If the society about him is virtuous, his own virtues will be
confirmed and expanded; on the other hand, if it be wicked, then will
the demon of his nature be aroused. Bad qualities, as well as good,
are quickened and strengthened under the influence of society. Every
association of prisoners must pervert, in greater or less degree, but
can never reform, those of whom it is composed. The obdurate offender,
perpetually brooding on evil, even though he utter no audible word,
will impart to the congregation something of his own hardness of
heart. Are we not told by the poet, that sheep and swine take contagion
from one of their number, and even a grape is spoiled by another grape?

    "Dedit hanc contagio labem,
     Et dabit in plures; sicut grex totus in agris
     Unius scabie cadit, et porrigine porci,
    _Uvaque conspecta livorem ducit ab uva_."[123]

    [123] Juv., Sat. II. 78-81.

From the inherent nature of things, this contagion must be propagated
by the Congregate system, while the Separate system does all that man
can do to restrain it. By the latter, as successfully administered,
the prisoner is, in the first place, withdrawn, so far as possible by
human means, from all bad influences, while, in the second place, he is
brought under the operation of good influences. The mind is naturally
diverted from thick-coming schemes of crime, and turned to thoughts
of virtue. What in it is bad, if not entirely subdued, is weakened by
inactivity, while the good is prompted to constant exercise.

It cannot be questioned, then, on grounds of reason, independent of
experience, that the Separate system is better calculated to promote
that great object of Prison Discipline, the reformation of the
offender. With this recommendation alone it would be entitled to the
regard of all who feel that the return of a single sinner is blessed.

But a further object is secured. As the prisoners never see one
another, they leave the penitentiary, at the expiration of their
punishment, literally unknowing and unknown. In illustration of
this fact, the delightful incident is mentioned, that the keeper of
the Philadelphia Penitentiary once recognized three persons at the
same place, engaged in honest labor, who had been in his custody as
convicts, though neither knew the career of the other two. Discharged
prisoners are thus enabled to slide back into the community, without
the chilling fear of untimely recognition by those with whom they
congregated in the penitentiary. They cannot escape the memory of the
punishment they have endured; but the brand is not upon the forehead.
They are encouraged to honest exertion by the hope of retrieving, on a
distant spot and under a new name, the fair character they have lost;
while, on the other hand, if evil-minded, they have no associations of
the prison to renew, or to stimulate to conspiracy against society.

A system of Prison Discipline with these benign features must long ago
have commended itself to general acceptance, if it had not been opposed
with exceptional ardor on grounds which, though in reality little
tenable, are calculated to exercise influence over the ignorance and
prejudice of men.

The first objection is, that it is productive of insanity, from an
unnatural deprivation of society. However just this may be when
directed against the Solitary system, it is inapplicable to what is
called the Separate system, which does not exclude the idea of society,
and, as practically administered at Philadelphia and elsewhere,
supplies both society and labor in ample measure. If the prisoner is
not indulged with society enough, it is a fault in the administration
of the system, and not in the system itself. In the publications of the
Boston Prison Discipline Society, elaborate tables have been arranged
showing a tendency to insanity in the Penitentiary at Philadelphia;
but careful and candid inquiry will demonstrate that these are founded
in misapprehension, and will exonerate that institution from such
imputation. The highest authorities in medicine have distinctly
declared, that the Separate system, if properly administered, with
labor and conversation, does not affect the reason. The names of
Esquirol and Louis give to this opinion the strongest sanction of
science throughout the civilized world. The same conclusion was
affirmed with precision and fervor by Lélut, in an elaborate memoir
before the Institute of France, and also by the Scientific Congress
assembled at Padua in 1843, and at Lucca in 1844.

The second objection charges the Separate system with being unfavorable
to health, as compared with the Congregate system. In reply we merely
say, that the great names in medicine to which we have already referred
expressly deny that it has any influence in shortening life; while
a statistical comparison of several penitentiaries conducted on the
Congregate system with the Philadelphia Penitentiary attests the
superiority of the latter in this respect.

The third and last objection is founded on the increased expense of the
Separate system. The Congregate system is recommended by suggestions of
economy and clamors of cupidity. It is said to be put into operation at
less cost, and afterwards to support itself, and even to bring profit
to the State. We are sorry to believe that this consideration has had
an extensive influence. It is humiliating to suppose that Government
would hesitate to adopt a system founded on enlightened humanity
because another might be had for less money,--counting the unworthy
gain or the petty economy as of higher consequence than the reformation
of an offender. Such a course were unworthy of our civilization.
The State has sacred duties to the unfortunate men it takes into its
custody. It must see not only that they receive no harm, but that they
enjoy all means of improvement consistent with their condition,--that,
while their bodies are clothed and fed, their souls are not left naked
and hungry. It assumes the place of parent, and owes a parent's care
and kindness; or rather, when we consider that the State itself is
child of the people, may we not say that it should emulate that famous
Roman charity, so often illustrated by Art, which descended into the
darkness of a dungeon, to afford an exuberant, health-giving bosom to
the exhausted being from whom it drew its own life.

Notwithstanding the uncompromising hostility the Separate system has
encountered, it wins constant favor. Many prisons are built on this
plan, and experience comes to confirm the suggestions of humanity and
science. The Penitentiary at Philadelphia, which first proved its
superiority, was followed in 1833 by one at Pittsburg and by a County
Prison at Alleghany, and in 1841 by another County Prison, on the same
system, at Harrisburg. In 1834 New Jersey followed the example of
her neighbor State, and established a penitentiary on this system at

Commissions from foreign governments, after visiting the different
prisons of the United States, have all reported _emphatically_ in favor
of the Separate system: as, that of Beaumont and De Tocqueville to the
French Government, in 1831; of Mr. Crawford to the English, in 1834; of
Dr. Julius to the Prussian, in 1836, after a most careful perambulation
of all the prisons of the country; of Demetz and Blouet to the French,
in 1837,--being the second Commission from the same Government; and of
Neilson and Mondelet to the Canadian Government, in 1836.

In accordance with these recommendations, numerous prisons have been
built or are now building in Europe. In England a model prison has
been constructed at Pentonville, which is perhaps the best prison in
the world. In the late Report of the Surveyor-General of Prisons, laid
on the table of Parliament during its last session, it was expressly
declared, from the experience gained in the Pentonville prison, "that
the separation of one prisoner from another is indispensable as the
basis of any sound system." As long ago as 1843, no less than seventeen
prisons on this principle were built or building in different counties
of England, and several in Scotland. In France the whole subject has
undergone most thorough discussion by the press, and also in debate
by the Chamber of Deputies. Among the works now before us is a volume
of more than six hundred pages, filled by a report of this debate,
with notes, which ended in the passage of a law during the last summer
appropriating ninety millions of francs for the building of thirty
prisons on the Separate system. Such is the testimony of France and

Similar testimony comes from other quarters: from Prussia, where five
prisons on this system have been built; from Denmark, where ten are
now building; from Sweden, where eight are building under the auspices
of the monarch, who, when Prince Oscar, wrote ably in advocacy of
the Separate system; from Norway, where one is now building in the
neighborhood of Christiania; from Poland, where one has long been in
existence, and three others are nearly completed; from Hungary, where
a project has been submitted to the Diet for the erection of ten on the
Separate system; from Holland, where one is about to be erected on the
plan of Pentonville; from Belgium, which has yielded to the Separate
system, and has even engrafted it upon the famous _Maison de Force_ at
Ghent, the model of our Auburn Prison; from the Duchy of Nassau; from
the Grand Duchy of Baden; from Frankfort-on-the-Main; from Hamburg;
from Geneva, in Switzerland: in all of which prisons on this system are
built or are building. From poor, distracted Spain proceeds the same

To this array of authorities and examples may be added two names
of commanding weight in all matters of Prison Discipline,--Edward
Livingston and Miss Dix. The first, whose high fortune it was to refine
jurisprudence by his philanthropy, as he had illumined it by his genius
and strengthened it by his learning, in his Introductory Report to the
Code of Prison Discipline, as long ago as 1827, urged with classical
eloquence a system of "seclusion, accompanied by moral, religious,
and scientific instruction, and useful manual labor." Miss Dix, after
attentive survey of different systems throughout our country, fervently
enforces, as well in the publication now before us as in her Memorials,
the merits of the Separate system, and of its administration in

It might be said that the voices of civilized nations, by a rare
harmony, concurred in sanctioning the Separate system, if the Boston
Prison Discipline Society had not raised a persistent note of discord,
which has gone on with a most unmusical _crescendo_. As the solitary
champion of an imperfect system which the world is renouncing, it
has contended with earnestness, which has often become prejudice,
and with insensibility to accumulating facts, which was injustice.
With frankness, as with sorrow, we allude to the sinister influence
it has exercised over this question, particularly throughout the
Northern States. But the truth which has been proclaimed abroad need
not be delicately minced at home. We do not join with the recent
English writer, who, among many harsher suggestions, speaks of the
"misrepresentation," the "trickery," the "imposture"[124] of the
Society or its agent,--nor with Moreau-Christophe, who says, "_La
Société des Prisons à Boston a juré haine à mort au système de
Philadelphie_";[125] for we know well the honesty and sincere interest
in the welfare of prisoners which animate its Secretary, and we feel
persuaded that he will gladly abandon the deadly war which he wages
against the Separate system, when he sees it as it is now regarded by
the science and humanity of the civilized world. But we feel that his
exertions, which in some departments of Prison Discipline have been
productive of incalculable good, for which his memory will be blessed,
on this important question have done harm. In his Reports he has never
failed to present all the evil of the Separate system, particularly
as administered in Philadelphia, sometimes even drawing upon his
imagination for facts, while he has carefully withheld the testimony in
its favor. This beneficent system and its meritorious supporters are
held up to obloquy, and the wide circle that confided implicitly in his
Reports are consigned to darkness with regard to its true character and
its general reception abroad.

    [124] Adshead, pp. 127, 129.

    [125] Revue Pénitentiaire, Tom. II. p. 589.

One of the most strenuous advocates of the Separate system at the
present moment, whose work of elaborate argument and detail now lies
before us, is Suringar, called sometimes the Howard of Holland, who
had signalized himself by previous opposition to it. He says, "I am
now completely emancipated from my former error. This error I do not
blush to confess openly. The same change has been wrought in the
opinions of Julius in Prussia, of Crawford in England, of Bérenger
and Demetz in France, and of all men of good faith, who are moved, in
their researches, only by the suggestions of conscience, unswayed by
prejudice or pride of opinion." Perhaps in these changes of opinion the
Secretary of the Boston Prison Discipline Society may find an example
which he will not be unwilling to follow; and it may be for us to
welcome him as a cordial fellow-laborer in the conscientious support of
what he has for a long period most conscientiously attacked.

From this rapid survey it will be seen that our convictions and
sympathies are with the Separate system. Nothing in Prison Discipline
seems clearer than the general duty of removing prisoners from the
corrupting influence of association, even though silent. But we are not
insensible to the encouragement and succor which prisoners might derive
from companionship with those struggling like themselves. It was a wise
remark of the English Professor, that "students are the best professors
to each other"; and the experience of Mrs. Farnham, the matron of
the female convicts at Sing-Sing, shows that this same principle is
not without its effect even among classes of convicts. Perhaps the
Separate system might be modified, so as to admit instruction and labor
together, in a small class, selected after a probationary period of
separation, as specially worthy of this indulgence and confidence. Such
a modification was contemplated and recommended by Mr. Livingston, and
would seem to find favor with Von Raumer in his recent work on America.
This privilege can be imparted to those only who have shown themselves
so exemplary that their society seems to be uncontaminating. But it
remains to be seen whether there is any subtile alchemy by which their
purity may be determined, so as to justify a departure from the general
rule of separation.

Finally, we would commend this subject to the attention of all. In
the language of Sir Michael Foster, a judge of eminence in the last
century, "No rank or condition of life, no uprightness of heart, no
prudence or circumspection of conduct, should teach any man to conclude
that he may not one day be deeply interested in these researches."
There are considerations of self-interest which may move those who
do not incline to labor for others, unless with ultimate advantage
to themselves. But all of true benevolence, and justly appreciating
the duties of the State, will join in effort for the poor prisoner,
deriving from his inferior condition new motives to action, that it may
be true of the State, as of law, that the very least feels its care,
as the greatest is not exempt from its power. In the progress of an
enlightened Prison Discipline, it may be hoped that our penitentiaries
will become in reality, if not in name, Houses of Reformation, and that
convicts will be treated with scrupulous regard for their well-being,
physical, moral, and intellectual, to the end, that, when they are
allowed to mingle again with society, they may feel sympathy with
virtue and detestation of vice, and, when wiser, may be better men.

In the promotion of this cause, the city of Boston at this moment
occupies a position of signal advantage. It has determined to erect a
new county jail, and the plans are still under consideration. It is
easy to perceive that the plan it adopts and the system of discipline
it recognizes will become an example. No narrow prejudice and no
unworthy economy should prevent the example from being such as becomes
a city of the wealth, refinement, and humanity of Boston. It is a
common boast, that her schools and various institutions of beneficence
are the best in the world. The prison about to be erected should share
this boast. _Let it be the best in the world._ Let it be the model
prison, not only to our own country, but to other countries. The rule
of separation, considered of such importance among the ripe convicts of
the penitentiary, is of greater necessity still in a prison which will
receive before trial both innocent and guilty. From the first moment he
is touched by the hand of the law, the prisoner should be cut off from
all association, by word or sight, with fellow-prisoners. The State,
as his temporary guardian, mindful of his weakness, owes him this
protection and this means of reformation.

The _absolute separation_ of prisoners, so that they can neither see,
hear, nor touch each other, is the pole-star of Prison Discipline. It
is the Alpha, or beginning, as the reformation of the offender is the
Omega, or the end. It is this principle, when properly administered,
which irradiates with heavenly light even the darkness of the
dungeon, driving far away the intrusive legion of unclean thoughts,
and introducing in their vacant place the purity of religion, the
teachings of virtue, the solace of society, and the comfort of hope.
In this spirit let us build our prisons. The jail will no longer be a
charnel-house of living men; the cell will cease to be the tomb where
is buried what is more precious than the body,--a human soul. From
their iron gates let us erase that doom of despair,

    "All hope abandon, ye who enter in,"

and inscribe words of gentleness, encouragement, love.

                        THE EMPLOYMENT OF TIME.

                      THEATRE, FEBRUARY 18, 1846.

"I have lost a day," was the exclamation of the virtuous Roman
Emperor,--"for on this day I have done no good thing." The Arch of
Titus still stands midway between the Forum and the Colosseum, and the
curious traveller discerns the golden candlesticks of conquered Judæa
sculptured on its marble sides; but this monument of triumph, and the
memory it perpetuates of the veteran legions of Rome and the twenty
cohorts of allies before whose swords the sacred city yielded its life
in terrible fire and blood, give not to the conqueror such true glory
as springs from these words,--destined to endure long after the arch
has crumbled to dust, and when the triumph it seeks to perpetuate has
passed from the minds of men. That day was not lost. On no day wast
thou so great or beneficent as when thou gavest this eternal lesson
to man. Across the ages it still reaches innumerable hearts, even as
it penetrated the friendly bosoms that throbbed beneath its first
utterance. The child learns it, and receives a new impulse to labor and
goodness. There are few, whether old or young, who do not recognize it
as more than a victory.

If I undertake to dwell on the suggestions of this theme, it is because
it seems to me especially appropriate to the young, at whose request
I have the honor of appearing before you. My subject is the Value of
Time, and the way in which it may be best employed. I shall attempt
nothing elaborate, but simply gather together illustrations and
examples, which, though trite and familiar, will at least be practical.

       *       *       *       *       *

The value of time is one of our earliest lessons, taught at the
mother's knee, even with the alphabet,--"_S_ is a sluggard,"--confirmed
by the maxims of Poor Richard, printed at the end of almanacs, and
stamped on handkerchiefs,--further enforced by the examples of the
copy-book, as the young fingers first learn to join words together
by the magical art of writing. Fable comes in aid of precept, and
the venerable figure of Time is depicted to the receptive, almost
believing, imagination of childhood, as winged, and also bald on the
top and back of the head, with a single tuft of hair on the forehead,
signifying that whoso would detain it must seize it by the forelock.
With such lessons and pictures the child is trained. Moralist,
preacher, and poet also enforce these teachings; and the improvement of
time, the importance of industry, and the excellence of labor become
commonplaces of exhortation.

The value of time has passed into a proverb,--"Time is money." It is so
because its employment brings money. But it is more. It is knowledge.
Still more, it is virtue. Nor is it creditable to the character of
the world that the proverb has taken this material and mercenary
complexion, as if money were the highest good and the strongest
recommendation. Time is more than money. It brings what money cannot
purchase. It has in its lap all the learning of the Past, the spoils
of Antiquity, the priceless treasures of knowledge. Who would barter
these for gold or silver? But knowledge is a means only, and not an
end. It is valuable because it promotes the welfare, the development,
and the progress of man. And the highest value of time is not even in
knowledge, but in the opportunity of doing good.

Time is opportunity. Little or much, it may be the occasion of
usefulness. It is the point desired by the philosopher where to plant
the lever that shall move the world. It is the napkin in which are
wrapped, not only the talent of silver, but the treasures of knowledge
and the fruits of virtue. Saving time, we save all these. Employing
time to the best advantage, we exercise a true thrift. Here is a wise
parsimony; here is a sacred avarice. To each of us the passing day is
of the same dimensions, nor can any one by taking thought add a moment
to its hours. But though unable to extend their duration, he may swell
them with works.

It is customary to say, "Take care of the small sums, and the large
will take care of themselves." With equal wisdom and more necessity
may it be said, "Watch the minutes, and the hours and days will be
safe." The moments are precious; they are gold filings, to be carefully
preserved and melted into the rich ingot.

Time is the measure of life on earth. Its enjoyment is life itself.
Its divisions, its days, its hours, its minutes, are fractions of this
heavenly gift. Every moment that flies over our heads takes from the
future and gives to the irrevocable past, shortening by so much the
measure of our days, abridging by so much the means of usefulness
committed to our hands. Before the voice which now addresses you shall
die away in the air, another hour will have passed, and we shall all
have advanced by another stage towards the final goal on earth. Waste
or sacrifice of time is, then, waste or sacrifice of life itself: it is
partial suicide.

The moments lost in listlessness or squandered in unprofitable
dissipation, gathered into aggregates, are hours, days, weeks, months,
years. The daily sacrifice of a single hour during a year comes at its
end to thirty-six working days, allowing ten hours to the day,--an
amount of time, if devoted exclusively to one object, ample for the
acquisition of important knowledge, and for the accomplishment of
inconceivable good. Imagine, if you please, a solid month dedicated,
without interruption, to a single purpose,--to the study of a new
language, an untried science, an unexplored field of history, a fresh
department of philosophy, or to some new sphere of action, some labor
of humanity, some godlike charity,--and what visions must not rise of
untold accumulations of knowledge, of unnumbered deeds of goodness! Who
of us does not each day, in manifold ways, sacrifice these precious
moments, these golden hours?

There is a legend of Mohammed which teaches how much may be crowded
into a moment. It is said that he was suddenly taken up by an angel,
and borne beyond the naming bounds of space, where he beheld the
wonders of Heaven and Hell, the bliss of the faithful and the torments
of the damned in measureless variety, and was then returned to the spot
of earth from which he had been lifted,--all in so short a time that
the water had not entirely run out of the pitcher which he let fall
from his hands when he was borne upwards. But actual life furnishes
illustrations of greater point. It is related of a celebrated French
jurist, one of the ornaments of the magistracy, that he composed a
learned and important work in the quarter hours that draggled between
dinner ordered and dinner served. Napoleon directed one of his generals
to move on a battery of the enemy, although reinforcements were in
sight, saying, "It will take them fifteen minutes to reach the point;
I have always observed that these _fifteen minutes_ decide great
battles." In the currents of common life they are often as decisive as
in the heady fight.

It would be easy, from literary and political history, from the lives
of all who have excelled in any way, to accumulate illustrations of the
power of industry. Among those who have achieved what the world calls
greatness, the list might be extended from Julius Cæsar to Napoleon,
whose feats of labor are among the marvels of history. Nor should
we forget Alfred, the father of English civilization, whose better
fame testifies also to the wise employment of time. Our own country,
this very town, furnishes a renowned example in Benjamin Franklin.
Here I pronounce a name which has its own familiar echoes. His early
studies, when a printer's boy,--his singular experience of life in its
extremes,--sounding in childhood all the humilities, as in maturer
years he reached all that was exalted in place,--the truant boy become
a teacher to the nations, and pouring light upon the highest schools of
science and philosophy, touching the throne with hands once blackened
by types and ink,--all this must be present to you. His first and
constant talisman was industry. The autobiography in which he has
recorded his progress in knowledge is a remarkable composition, where
the style flows like a brook of transparent water, without a ripple on
its smooth surface. Perhaps no single book has had greater influence
in quickening labor and the rigid economy of time, overcoming all
obstacles, among those whose early life has been chilled by penury or
darkened by neglect. But we must qualify our praise. It cannot fail
to be regretted that the lessons taught by Franklin are so little
spiritual in their character,--that they are so material, so mundane,
so full of pounds, shillings, and pence. "The Almighty Dollar," now
ruling here with sovereign sway and masterdom, was placed on the throne
by Poor Richard. When shall it be dethroned? When shall the thoughts,
the aspirations, the politics of the land be lifted from the mere greed
of gain, with an appetite that grows by what it feeds on, into the
serene region of inflexible justice and universal benevolence? Could
we imagine the thrift, the worldly wisdom, the practical sense, the
inventive genius of Franklin, softened, exalted, illumined, inspired
by the imagination, the grace, the sensibility, the heavenly spirit
of Channing, we should behold a character under whose influence our
country would advance at once in all spiritual as well as material
prosperity,--where money should not be the "main chance," but truth,
justice, righteousness, drawing in their train all the goods of earth,
and reflecting all the blessings of heaven. Then would time be the best
ally of man, and no day would pass without some good thing done.

Among the contemporaries of Franklin in England, unlike in the
patrician circumstances of his birth, education, and life, most unlike
in his topics of thought and study, but resembling him in the diligence
and constancy of labor marking his career, was Edward Gibbon, author of
the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. He also has
left behind an autobiography,--in style and tone how unlike the simple
narrative of Franklin!--where in living colors are depicted the labors
and delights of a scholar's life. This book has always seemed to me,
more than any other in the English language, calculated to enkindle the
love of learning, and to train the student for its pursuit. Here he
will find an example and guide in the various fields of scholarship,
who will challenge his admiration in proportion as he shares the same
generous aspiration. The autobiographies of Gibbon and Franklin are
complements of each other. They teach the same lesson of labor and
study in different spheres of life and to different classes of minds.
Both have rare excellence as compositions, and constitute important
contributions to that literature which illustrates the employment of

There is another character, of our own age, whose example is, perhaps,
more direct and practical, especially as described by himself: I mean
William Cobbett. To appreciate this example, you must know something of
his long life, from early and inauspicious youth to venerable years,
filled always with labors various, incessant, and Herculean, under
which his elastic nature seemed to rise with renewed strength. He
died in 1835, supposed to be seventy-three years of age, although the
exact date of his birth was never known, and such was the position he
had acquired that he was characterized at that time, even by hostile
pens, as one of the most remarkable men whom England, fertile in
intellectual excellence, ever produced. The lapse of little more than
ten years has begun to obscure his memory. It will be for posterity to
determine whether he has connected his name with those great causes
of human improvement which send their influence to future ages, and
are destined to be the only consideration on which fame hereafter will
be awarded or preserved. But the memory of his labors, and the voice
of encouragement to the poor and lowly which sounds throughout his
writings, must always be refreshing to those whose hopes of future
usefulness are clouded by discouragement and poverty. There can be none
so humble as not to derive succor from his example. He was conscious
even to vanity of his own large powers, and at the close of his long
career surveyed his succession of labors--the hundred volumes from his
sleepless pen, and the wide influence they had exercised--with the
self-gratulation of the miser in counting his stores of gold and silver.

The son of a poor farmer, at the age of twenty he ran away from
the paternal acres, and became for a short time copying-clerk to a
lawyer, but, tiring soon of these duties, he enlisted in the army and
found himself private in a regiment at Chatham, which was ordered to
America. His merit soon raised him to the rank of corporal, and then
of sergeant-major. At this time he saw his future wife and the mother
of his children. The circumstances of this meeting, as described by
himself in his own peculiar style, belong to this picture, while
they illustrate the subject. "When I first saw my wife," he writes,
"she was thirteen years old, and I was within a month of twenty-one.
She was the daughter of a sergeant-major of artillery, and I was the
sergeant-major of a regiment of foot, both stationed in forts near the
city of St. John, in the province of New Brunswick. I sat in the same
room with her for about an hour, in company with others, and I made up
my mind that she was the very girl for me. That I thought her beautiful
is certain, for that I had always said should be an indispensable
qualification; but I saw in her what I deemed marks of that sobriety
of conduct of which I have said so much, and which has been by far the
greatest blessing of my life. It was now dead of winter, and of course
the snow several feet deep on the ground, and the weather piercing
cold. It was my habit, when I had done my morning's writing, to go
out at break of day to take a walk on a hill at the foot of which our
barracks lay. In about three mornings after I had first seen her, I
had, by an invitation to breakfast with me, got up two young men to
join me in my walk, and our road lay by the house of her father and
mother. It was hardly light, but she was out on the snow, scrubbing
out a washing-tub. 'That's the girl for me!' said I, when we had got
out of her hearing."[126] To her he plighted faith. After eight years
of service in the army, and his return to England, he obtained his
discharge and married her.

    [126] Life, pp. 44, 45.

In 1792 Cobbett came to the United States, living in Philadelphia,
where he was bookseller, publisher, author, and libeller by profession.
As "Peter Porcupine" he is well known. He shot his sharp and malicious
quills at the most estimable characters,--Franklin, Jefferson,
Gallatin, Priestley, and even the sacred name of Washington. A heavy
judgment for libel hanging suspended over him, he fled from America,
and from the justice he had aroused, to commence in England a fresh
career of unquestioned talents, unaccountable inconsistency, and
inexhaustible malignity.

On his arrival in England Cobbett attached himself warmly to the
interests of Mr. Pitt, in whose behalf he wielded for a while his
untiring pen. At the same time he commenced business as bookseller, in
which he soon failed. In politics he showed himself more Tory than the
most Tory. Mr. Windham, in the House of Commons, made the remarkable
declaration, that "he merited a statue of gold."[127] His Letters on
the Treaty of Amiens produced a sensation throughout Europe.[128] The
celebrated Swiss historian, Von Müller, pronounced them more eloquent
than anything since Demosthenes. How transitory is fame! These Letters,
once so much admired, which, with profane force, helped to burst open
the Temple of Janus, happily closed by peace, are now forgotten. I do
not know that they are to be found in any library in this part of the

    [127] Speech, August 5, 1803: Hansard, XXXVI. 1679.

    [128] Letters to the Right Honorable Lord Hawkesbury and to the Right
Honorable Henry Addington, on the Peace with Buonaparté; to which is
added an Appendix. London, 1802.

It was at this period that he commenced his "Weekly Political
Register," which for more than thirty years was the vehicle of his
opinions and feelings. But the pungent Toryism with which he began his
career was changed into a more pungent Liberalism; from the oil of
Conservatism he passed to the vinegar of Dissent. He saw all things
in a new light, and with unsparing criticism pursued the men he had
recently extolled. His Ishmael pen was turned against every man. He
wrote with the hardihood of a pirate and the ardor of a patriot. At
length he was convicted of libel, and sentenced to pay a fine of a
thousand pounds and to be imprisoned for two years. This severe
incarceration he never forgave or forgot. With thoughts of vengeance
he emerged from his prison to unaccustomed popularity. His "Register,"
into which, as into a seething caldron, he weekly poured the venom of
his pen, reached the unprecedented circulation of one hundred thousand,
an audience greater than was ever before addressed by saint or sinner.
The soul swells in the contemplation of the good that might have been
wrought by a spirit elevated to the high purpose, having access to so
many human hearts. His pen waxing in inveteracy, and himself becoming
daily more obnoxious to the Government, in 1817, by timely flight, he
withdrew from the threatening storm, and sought shelter in the United
States, where he lingered, principally on Long Island, till 1819, when
he wandered back to England, there to renew his strifes and ruffle
again the waters of political controversy. As late as 1831, he was, for
the eighth time in his life, brought into court on a charge of libel.
The veteran libeller, then seventy years of age, defended himself in a
speech which occupied six hours. The jury did not agree,--six being for
conviction and six for acquittal.

At the general election for the Reform Parliament in 1832, Cobbett was
chosen member for the borough of Oldham, which seat he held until June
18, 1835, when his long, active, and disturbed career was closed by
death, leaving her whom he had loved at the wash-tub, amid the snows of
New Brunswick, his honored widow.

His character was unique. He was the most emphatic of writers, perhaps
the most voluminous. He was foremost in the crew of haters; he was the
paragon of turncoats. Sentiments uttered at one period were denied at
another. At one time he wrote of Paine as follows: "He has done all the
mischief he can in the world, and whether his carcass is at last to
be suffered to rot on the earth or to be dried in the air is of very
little consequence. Whenever or wherever he breathes his last, he will
excite neither sorrow nor compassion; no friendly hand will close his
eyes."[129] Later in life, on his second visit to America, he exhumed
the bones of the man he had thus reviled, and bore them in idolatrous
custody to the land of his birth.

    [129] Life of Thomas Paine: Political Censor, No. V., Sept., 1796:
Porcupine's Works, Vol. IV. pp. 112, 113.

Besides his multitudinous political writings, which in number remind
us of the cloud of "locusts warping on the eastern wind," he produced
several works of great and deserved popularity,--a Grammar of the
French Language, written while he rocked the cradle of his first
child,--a Grammar of the English Language,--a little volume, "Advice to
Young Men,"--and a series of sketches entitled "Rural Rides," in which
he gave unmixed pleasure to friend and foe.

I have dwelt thus long upon the life and character of Cobbett, as
a proper introduction to the picture of his marvellous industry,
which I am able to present in his own language. The labor which he
accomplished testifies; but in his writings he often refers to it with
peculiar pride. He tells us how he learned grammar. Writing a fair
hand, he was employed as copyist by the commandant of the garrison
where he first enlisted. In his autobiography he says: "Being totally
ignorant of the rules of grammar, I necessarily made many mistakes.
The Colonel saw my deficiency, and strongly recommended study. I
procured me a Lowth's Grammar, and applied myself to the study of it
with unceasing assiduity. The pains I took cannot be described. I
wrote the whole Grammar out two or three times; I got it by heart;
I repeated it every morning and every evening; and when on guard, I
imposed on myself the task of saying it all over once, every time I was
posted sentinel."[130] Would that all posted as sentinels were as well
employed as saying over to themselves the English grammar! If every
common soldier could do this, there would be little fear of war. The
evil spirits were supposed to be driven away by an Ave Maria or a word
of prayer. The grammar would be as potent. "Terrible as an army with
grammars" would be more than "Terrible as an army with banners."

    [130] Life, p. 38.

In his "Advice to Young Men" Cobbett says: "For my part, I can truly
say that I owe more of my great labors to my strict adherence to the
precepts that I have here given you than to all the natural abilities
with which I have been endowed; for these, whatever may have been their
amount, would have been of comparatively little use, even aided by
great sobriety and abstinence, if I had not in early life contracted
the blessed habit of husbanding well my time. To this, more than to any
other thing, I owed my very extraordinary promotion in the army. I was
_always ready_. If I had to mount guard at ten, I was ready at nine;
never did any man or any thing wait one moment for me.... My custom was
this: to get up in summer at daylight, and in winter at four o'clock;
shave, dress, even to the putting of my sword-belt over my shoulder,
and having my sword lying on the table before me, ready to hang by my
side. Then I ate a bit of cheese or pork and bread. Then I prepared my
report, which was filled up as fast as the companies brought me in the
materials. After this I had an hour or two to read before the time came
for any duty out of doors."[131]

    [131] Advice to Young Men, pp. 35, 36.

At a later period of life, when his condition was entirely changed,
and his name as a writer was in all men's mouths, he thus describes
his habits. "I hardly ever eat more than twice a day,--when at home,
never,--and I never, if I can well avoid it, eat any meat later than
one or two o'clock in the day. I drink a little tea or milk-and-water
at the usual tea-time (about seven o'clock). I go to bed at eight, if I
can. I write or read from about four to about eight, and then, hungry
as a hunter, I go to breakfast."[132]

    [132] Life, p. 137.

In another place he recounts with especial satisfaction a conversation
at which he was present, one of the parties to which was Sir John
Sinclair, the famous agriculturist and correspondent of Washington. "I
once heard Sir John Sinclair," he says, "ask Mr. Cochrane Johnstone
whether he meant to have a son of his, then a little boy, taught Latin.
'No,' said Mr. Johnstone, 'but I mean to do something a great deal
better for him.' 'What is that?' said Sir John. 'Why,' said the other,
'teach him to shave with cold water and without a glass.'"[133]

    [133] Advice to Young Men, p. 34.

With this pertinacious devotion to labor, and this unparalleled sense
of the value of time, Cobbett surrendered himself to the blandishments
of domestic life. The hundred-armed giant of the press, he always had
an arm for his child. "For my own part," he says, "how many days, how
many months, all put together, have I spent with babies in my arms! My
time, when at home, and when babies were going on, was chiefly divided
between the pen and the baby. I have fed them and put them to sleep
hundreds of times, though there were servants to whom the task might
have been transferred. Yet I have not been effeminate; I have not been
idle; I have not been a waster of time." "Many a score of papers have I
written amidst the noise of children, and in my whole life never bade
them be still. When they grew up to be big enough to gallop about the
house, I have, in wet weather, when they could not go out, written the
whole day amidst noise that would have made some authors half mad. It
never annoyed me at all."[134]

    [134] Advice to Young Men, pp. 142, 194.

These passages are like windows in his life, through which we discern
his character, where the domestic affections seem to vie with the sense
of time.

No person can become familiar with the career of Cobbett without
recognizing regular habits of industry as the potent means of producing
important results. Did the hour permit, it would be pleasant and
instructive to review the career of another distinguished character,
whose writings have added much to the happiness of his age, and whose
rare feats of labor illustrate the same truth: I mean the author of
"Waverley." There are points of comparison or contrast between Cobbett
and Scott which might be presented at length. They were strictly
contemporaries, spanning with their lives almost the same long tract
of time. They were the most voluminous authors of their age, perhaps
the most voluminous couple of any age. Since the days of Ariosto
no writers had been read by so many persons as was the fortune of
each. The marvellous fecundity of Scott was more than matched by the
prolific energy of Cobbett. The fame of the Scotsman was equalled by
the notoriety of the Englishman. If one awakened our delight, we could
not withhold from the other our astonishment. With Scott life was a
gala and a festival, with beauty, wit, and bravery. With Cobbett it was
a stern reality, perpetually crying out, like the witch in Macbeth,
"I'll do, I'll do, and I'll do." And yet Scott was hardly less careful
of time than his indefatigable contemporary. His life is a lesson of
industry, and the student may derive instruction from his example.
Both sought in early rising the propitious hours of labor; but the
morning brought its rich incense to the one, and its vigor to the
other. They departed this life within a short period of each other,
casting and leaving behind their voluminous folds of authorship. The
future historian will note and study these; but the world, which has
already dismissed Cobbett from its presence, will hardly cherish with
enduring affection the writings of Scott. He lived in the Past, and,
with ill-directed genius, sought to gild the force, the injustice, the
inhumanity of the early ages. Cobbett lived intensely in the Present,
and drew his inspiration from its short-lived controversies. For
neither had Hope scattered from her "pictured urn" the delights of an
unborn period, when the dignity of Humanity shall stand confessed.
A greater fame than is awarded to either will be his who hereafter,
with the imagination of the one and the energy of the other, without
the spirit of Hate that animated Cobbett, without the spirit of Caste
that prevailed in Scott, regarding life neither as a festival nor as
a battle, forgetting Cavalier and Roundhead alike, and remembering
only Universal Man, shall dedicate the labors of a long life, not to
the Past, not to the Present only, but also to the Future, striving to
bring its blessings nearer to all.

Such are some of the examples by which we learn the constant lesson of
the value of time. For them genius did much, but industry went hand in
hand with this celestial guide.

Here the student may ask by what rule time is to be arranged and
apportioned so as to accomplish the greatest results. If we interrogate
the lives of our masters in this regard, we shall find no uniform rule
as to the employment of the day, or even the hours of repose. The great
lawyer, Lord Coke, whose rare learning and professional fame cannot
render us insensible to his brutality of character, has preserved for
the benefit of the young student some Latin verses setting forth the
proper division of the day, allowing six hours for sleep, six for
the law, four for prayers, two for meals, while all the rest, being
six hours more, is to be lavished on the sacred muses.[135] These
directions are imperfectly reproduced in two English rhymes:--

    Six hours in sleep; in law's grave study six;
    Four spend in prayer; the rest on Nature fix."


"Sex horas somno, totidem des legibus æquis, Quatuor orabis, des
epulisque duas; Quod superest ultro sacris largire camoenis."

CO. LITT. 64.

A more estimable character than Lord Coke, in whose life clustered
literary as well as professional honors, Sir William Jones, himself a
model of the industry he inculcated, has said in a well-known distich:--

    "Six hours to law, to soothing slumber seven,
     Ten to the world allot, and all to Heaven."

The one hour here unappropriated is absorbed in the "all to Heaven."
Sir Matthew Hale, another eminent name in jurisprudence, studied
sixteen hours a day for the first two years after he commenced the law,
but almost brought himself to the grave thereby, though of a strong
constitution, and he afterwards came down to eight hours; but he would
not advise anybody to so much,--believing that six hours a day, with
constancy and attention, were sufficient, and adding, that "a man must
use his body as he would his horse and his stomach, not tire him at
once, but rise with an appetite."[136] Here is at once example and

    [136] Roscoe, Lives of Eminent British Lawyers: Notes, pp. 413, 414.

Sleep is the most exacting of masters; it must be obeyed. Couriers
slumber on their horses; soldiers drop asleep on the field of battle,
even amidst the din of war. In that famous retreat of Sir John Moore,
English soldiers are said to have slept while still moving. Ambition
and the pride of victory yield to sleep. Alexander slept on the field
of Arbela, and Napoleon on the field of Austerlitz. Bereavement and
approaching death are forgotten in sleep. The convict sleeps in the
few hours before his execution. According to Homer, sleep overcomes
even the gods, excepting Jupiter alone. Its beneficence is equal to its
power; nor has this ever been pictured more wonderfully than in those
agonized words of Macbeth, where he says,--

    "Macbeth does murther sleep, the innocent sleep,--
     Sleep, that knits up the ravelled sleave of care,
     The death of each day's life, sore labor's bath,
     Balm of hurt minds, great Nature's second course,
     Chief nourisher in life's feast."

The rule of sleep is not the same for all. There are some with whom its
requirements are gentle: a few hours will suffice. But such cases are
exceptional. The Jesuits have done much for education, but on this
question they seem to have failed. In settling the system for their
college at Clermont, they followed their physicians in a rigid rule.
The latter reported that five hours were sufficient, six abundant, and
seven as much as a youthful constitution could bear without injury. On
the other hand, Cobbett, whose experience of life was as thorough as
his diligence, says expressly: "Young people require more sleep than
those that are grown up: there must be the number of hours, and that
number cannot well be on an average less than eight; and if it be more
in winter-time, it is all the better."[137] George the Third thought
otherwise, at least for men. A tradesman, whom he had asked to call on
him at eight o'clock in the morning, arriving behind the hour, the King
said, "Oh! the great Mr. B.! What sleep do you take, Mr. B.?" "Why,
please your Majesty, I am a man of regular habits; I usually take eight
hours." "Eight hours!" said the King; "that's too much, too much. Six
hours' sleep is enough for a man, seven for a woman, and eight for a
fool,--Mr. B., eight for a fool." The opinions of physiologists would
probably incline with Mr. B., the tradesman, contrary to this royal

    [137] Advice to Young Men, p. 33.

It is impossible to lay down any universal rule with regard to the
proper portion of time for sleep. Each constitution of body has its
own habits; nor can any rule be drawn from the lives of the most
industrious, except of economy of time, according to the capacity
of each person. The great German scholar Heyne, who has shed such
lustre on classical learning, in the order of his early studies
allowed himself, for six months, only two nights' sleep in a week. The
eccentric Robert Hill, of England, who passed his life as a tailor,
but by persevering labor made rare attainments in Latin, Greek, and
Hebrew, was accustomed to sit up very late into the night, or else
to rise by two or three o'clock in the morning, that he might find
time for reading without prejudice to his trade, and although of a
weakly constitution, he accustomed himself to do very well with only
two or three hours of sleep in the twenty-four, and he lived to be
seventy-eight. But this is a curiosity rather than an example. Such
also is the story of the Roman Emperor Caligula, who slept only three
hours. In the list of men sleeping only four hours is Frederick
of Prussia, John Hunter, the surgeon, Napoleon, and Alexander von
Humboldt. That gallant cavalier and accomplished historian, renowned
for genius and misfortune, Sir Walter Raleigh, was accustomed, even
under the pressure of his arduous career, to devote four hours daily
to reading and study, while he allowed only five for sleep. Probably
all of us, in our own personal experience, have known men of study and
labor who, in the ardor of their pursuit, have foregone what is thought
the ordinary sleep, being late to bed and early to rise, reducing the
night to a narrow isthmus of time. Others there are with a vivacity
of industry which acts with intensity and rapidity, requiring long
periods of repose. I cannot forget that Judge Story, the person who
has accomplished more than any one within the circle of my individual
observation, whose life--now, alas! closed by death--was thickly
studded with various labors as judge, professor, and author, is a high
example of what may be wrought by wakeful diligence, without denying
the body any refreshment of repose. His habit, during the years of his
greatest intellectual activity, was to retire always at ten o'clock
and to rise at seven,--allowing nine hours for sleep. The tradesman
of George the Third might have sought shelter with him from the royal

Pursuing these inquiries as to the arrangement of the day, we find the
precept, if not the example, uniform with regard to early rising as
propitious to health and intellectual exertion. The old saw, "Early to
bed and early to rise," imprints the lesson upon the mind of childhood.
The magnificent period of Milton sounds in our ears: "My morning haunts
are where they should be, at home,--not sleeping, or concocting the
surfeits of an irregular feast, but up and stirring,--in winter often
ere the sound of any bell awake men to labor or to devotion,--in summer
as oft with the bird that first rouses, or not much tardier, to read
good authors or cause them to be read, till the attention be weary or
memory have its full fraught,--then with useful and generous labors
preserving the body's health and hardiness, to render lightsome, clear,
and not lumpish obedience to the mind, to the cause of religion, and
our country's liberty."[138] Sir Walter Scott is less stately in his
tribute to the morning, but he agrees with Milton: "The half-hour
between waking and rising has all my life proved propitious to any
task which was exercising my invention. When I got over any knotty
difficulty in a story, or have had in former times to fill up a passage
in a poem, it was always when I first opened my eyes that the desired
ideas thronged upon me. This is so much the case, that I am in the
habit of relying upon it, and saying to myself, when I am at a loss,
'Never mind, we shall have it at seven o'clock to-morrow morning.' If I
have forgot a circumstance, or a name, or a copy of verses, it is the
same thing."[139] In this equal dedication to the morning Milton and
Scott are alike, but how unlike in all else! Milton's testimony is like
an anthem; Scott's like an affidavit.

    [138] Apology for Smectymnuus: Prose Works, Vol. I. p. 220.

    [139] Diary: Lockhart's Life of Scott, Chap. VII. Vol. VI. p. 227.

Notwithstanding these great examples and the prevailing precept, it
may be doubted if the student can be weaned from those habits which
lead him to continue his vigils far into the watches of the night. From
time immemorial he has been said to "consume the midnight oil," and
productions marked by peculiar care are proverbially reputed to "smell
of the lamp," never to breathe the odor of the morning. An ingenious
inquirer might be inclined to trace in different writers, particularly
in poets, the distinctive influence of the hours they devoted to
labor, and, perhaps, to find in Milton and Scott the freshness and
vivid colors of the rosy-fingered dawn, and in Schiller and Byron the
sombre shade and sickly glare of the lamp. Whatever the result of
such speculations, which might be moralized by example, the midnight
lamp will ever be regarded as the symbol of labor. In the wonders it
has wrought it yields only to the far-famed lamp of Aladdin. They who
confess themselves among "the slaves of the lamp" say that there is
an excitement in study, increasing as the work proceeds, which flames
forth with new brightness at the close of the day and in the stillness
of those hours when the world is wrapped in sleep and the student is
the sole watcher. The heavy clock seems to toll the midnight hour
in the church-belfry for him alone, and, as he catches its distant
vibrations, he thinks that he hears the iron hoof of Time come sounding
by. All interruptions are ended, and he is in closer companionship
with his books and studies. He holds converse face to face with the
spirits of the mighty dead, while the learned page and glowing verse
become vocal with inspiring thought. The poet speaks to him with richer
melodies, and the soul responds in new and more generous resolves.

It is not for me on this occasion to interpose any judgment on a
question which comes within the precincts of physiology. My present
purpose is accomplished, if I teach the husbandry of time. To this
end I have adduced authority and example. But there are other
considerations which enforce the lesson with persuasive power.

In the employment of time will be found the sure means of happiness.
The laborer living by the sweat of his brow, and the youth toiling
in perplexities of business or study, sighs for repose, and repines
at the law which ordains the seeming hardship of his lot. He seeks
happiness as the end and aim of life, but he does not open his mind to
the important truth that occupation is indispensable to happiness. He
shuns work, but he does not know the precious jewel hidden beneath its
rude attire. Others there are who wander over half the globe in pursuit
of what is found under the humblest roof of virtuous industry, in the
shadow of every tree planted by one's own hand. The poet has said,--

    "The best and sweetest far are toil-created gains."

But this does not disclose the whole truth. There is in useful labor
its own exceeding great reward, without regard to gain.

The happiness found in occupation is the frequent theme of the
moralist, but nobody has illustrated it with more power than Luther
in his Table-Talk, where he presents an image of the human mind which
has always seemed to me one of the most striking in the whole range of
literature. Let me give it in the strong and fibrous diction of the
ancient translation from the original Latin.

"The heart of an humane creature is like a mill-stone in a mill: when
corn is shaked thereupon, it runneth about, rubbeth and grindeth it to
meal; but if no corn bee present (the stone nevertheless running still
about), then it rubbeth and grindeth it self thinner, and becometh less
and smaller: even so the heart of an humane creature will bee occupied;
if it hath not the works of its vocation in hand to bee busied therein,
then cometh the Divel and shooteth thereinto tribulations, heavie
cogitations and vexations, as then the heart consumeth it self with
melancholie, insomuch that it must starv and famish."[140] That it may
not starve and famish, it must be supplied with something to do; and
its happiness will be in proportion to the completeness with which all
its faculties are brought into activity.

    [140] Dr. Martin Luther's Divine Discourses at his Table, etc.,
translated out of the High Germane into the English Tongue by Capt.
Henrie Bell, London, 1652: Chap. XXXVII., _Of Tribulation and
Temptation_, p. 397.

It is according to God's Providence that there should be pleasure in
the exercise of all the powers with which we are blessed. There is
pleasure in seeing the sights and catching the sounds of Nature. There
is pleasure in the exercise of the limbs, even in extending an arm
or moving a muscle. Higher degrees of pleasure are allotted to the
exercise of the higher faculties. There is pleasure in the acquisition
of knowledge,--pleasure in the performance of duty,--pleasure in all
the labors by which we promote our own progress,--pleasure higher still
in those by which we promote the progress of others.

If this be so,--and surely it will not be doubted,--then is it our
duty to regulate our habits so as to cultivate all the faculties, to
the end that Time shall yield its choicest fruits. When I speak of
all the faculties, I mean all those which enter into and form the
character created in the image of God, not merely those which minister
to the selfish ends of life. There are faculties for business; there
are others which open to us the avenues of knowledge,--others which
connect us by chains soft as silk, but strong as iron, to the social
and domestic circle,--others still which reveal to us, in vistas of
infinite variety and inconceivable extension, our duties to God and
man. Nor can any one reasonably persuade himself that he has done
his whole duty, and employed his time to the best purpose, who has
neglected any of these, although he may have sacrificed much to the
others. Success in business will not compensate for neglect of general
culture; nor will attendance on "the stated preaching of the gospel"
atone for a want of interest in the great charities of life, in the
education of the people, in the sufferings of the poor, in the sorrows
of the slave.

There is a tendency to absorption by one pursuit or one idea, against
which we must especially guard. The mere man of business is "a man of
one idea,"[141] and his solitary idea has its root in no generous
or humane desires, but in selfishness. He lives for himself alone.
He may send his freights to the most distant quarters of the earth,
and receive therefrom returning argosies, but his real horizon is
restricted to the narrow circle of his own personal interests; nor does
his worldly nature, elated by the profits of cent per cent, see with
eye of sympathy, in cotton sold or sugar bought, the drops of blood
falling from the unhappy slaves out of whose labor they were wrung. In
the mere man of business the individual is lost in the profession or
calling, thinking only of that, and caring little for other things of
life. He is known by the character that business impresses upon him.
He is untiring in its pursuit, but with no true progress, for each day
renews its predecessor. Benevolence calls, but he is deaf, or satisfies
his conscience by a dole of money. Literature exhibits her charms, but
he is insensible. And innocent recreation makes her pleasant appeal,
but he will not listen. He is absorbed, engrossed, filled in every
vein by the "one idea" of business with new methods of adding to his
increasing gains, as the mouth of the money-seeking Crassus was filled
by the Parthians with molten gold.

    [141] At the date of this Lecture the Abolitionist was constantly
taunted, especially by business men, as "the man of one idea."

We learn to deride the pedant who sacrifices everything to the
accumulation of empty learning, which he displays at all times, as a
peddler his wares. The image of Dominie Sampson, in Scott's novel of
"Guy Mannering," is a happy scarecrow to frighten us from his "one
idea." But the merchant whose only talk is of markets, the farmer
whose only talk is of bullocks, and the lawyer whose only talk is
of his cases, are all Dominie Sampsons in their way. They have all
missed that completeness and harmony of development essential to the
balance of the faculties and to the best usefulness. They have become
richer in this world's goods; but they have sacrificed what money
cannot supply,--a general intelligence, an independence of calling or
position, and a catholic, liberal spirit. In the prejudices engendered
by exclusive devotion to a single pursuit, they have lost one of the
most important attributes of man,--the power to receive and appreciate

It is a common saying, handed down with reverence in my own profession,
where it is attested at once by Bacon and by Coke, that "every man
owes a debt to his profession." If by this is meant that every man
should seek to elevate his profession, and to increase its usefulness,
the saying is a truism, although valuable as at least one remove
from individual selfishness. But is it not too often construed so as
to exclude exertion in any other walk, or to serve as a cloak for
indifference to other things? Important as this debt may be,--and
I will not disparage it,--not for this alone are we sent into the
world. There are other debts which must not be postponed. Man was
not thus fearfully and wonderfully made,--the cunningest pattern of
excelling Nature,--endowed with infinite faculties,--traversing with
the angels the blue floor of Heaven,--ranging with light from system
to system of the Universe,--descending to the earth and receiving
in bountiful largess all its hoarded treasures,--girdling the globe
with the peaceful embrace of commerce,--imposing chains even upon the
lawless sea,--making the winds and elements do his bidding,--summoning
to his company all that is and all that has been the good and great
of all times, exemplars of truth, liberty, and virtue, all the grand
procession of history,--formed to throb at every deed of generosity
and self-sacrifice, and to send forth his sympathies wider and sweeter
than any south-wind blowing over beds of violets, until they reach the
most distant sufferer,--formed for the acquisition of knowledge and of
science,--gifted to enjoy the various feast of letters and art, the
breathing canvas and marble, the infinite many-choired voices of all
the sons of genius who have written or spoken, the beauty of mountain,
field, and river, the dazzling drapery of the winter snow, the glory
of sunset, the blushing of the rose,--man was not made with all these
capacities, looking before and after, spanning the vast outstretched
Past, penetrating the vaster unfathomable Future, with all its images
of beauty, merely to follow a profession or a trade, merely to be a
merchant, a lawyer, a mechanic, a soldier.

"So God created man in his own image; in the image of God created he
him." The image of God is in the soul, and the young must take heed
that it is not effaced by the neglect of any of the trusts they have
received. They must bear in mind that there are debts other than to
their profession or business, which, like gratitude, it will ever be
their pleasure, "still paying, still to owe,"--which can be properly
discharged only by the best employment of all the faculties with which
they are blessed,--so that life shall be improved by culture and filled
with works for the good of man.

In no respect would I weaken any just attachment to the business of
one's choice. Goethe advised every one to read daily a short poem;
and in the same spirit would I refine and elevate business by the
chastening influence of other pursuits, by enlarging the intelligence,
by widening the sphere of observation and interest, by awakening new

In the faithful husbandry of time, in the aggregation of all its
particles of golden sand, is the first stage of individual progress.
With the living spirit of industry, the student will find his way easy.
Difficulties cannot permanently obstruct his resolute career. He will
remember "rare Ben Jonson," one of England's admired and most learned
bards, working as a bricklayer with a trowel in his hand and a book in
his pocket,--Burns, wooing his muse as he followed the plough on the
mountain-side,--the beloved German Jean Paul, composing his earliest
works by the music of the simmering kettles in his mother's humble
kitchen,--and Franklin, while a printer's boy, straitened by small
means, beginning those studies and labors which make him an example to

Seek, then, occupation; seek labor; seek to employ all the faculties,
whether in study or conduct,--not in words only, but in deeds also,
mindful that "words are the daughters of Earth, but deeds are the
sons of Heaven." So shall you eat of that fabled fruit growing on the
banks of the river of Delight, whereby men gain a blessed course of
life without one moment of sadness. So shall your days be filled with

    "And when old Time shall lead you to your end,
     Goodness and you fill up one monument."

There is a legend of Friar Roger Bacon, so conspicuous in what may be
called the mythology of modern science, which enforces the importance
of seizing the present moment; nor could I hope to close this appeal
with anything better calculated to impress upon all the lesson I have
sought to teach. With wizard skill he had succeeded in constructing a
brazen head, which, by unimaginable contrivance, after unknown lapse
of time, was to speak and declare important knowledge. Weary with
watching for the auspicious moment, which had been prolonged through
successive weeks, he had sought the refreshment of sleep, leaving
his man Miles to observe the head, and to awaken him at once, if it
should speak, that he might not fail to interrogate it. Shortly after
he had sunk to rest, the head spake these words, _Time is_. But the
foolish guardian heeded them not, nor the commands of his master, whom
he allowed to slumber unconscious of the auspicious moment. Another
half-hour passed and the head spake the words, _Time was_, which
Miles still heeded not. Another half-hour passed, and the head spake
yet other words, _Time is past_, and straightway fell to the earth,
shivered in pieces, with a terrible crash and strange flashes of fire,
so that Miles was half dead with fear; and his master awoke to behold
the workmanship of his cunning hand and the hopes he had builded
thereupon shattered, while the voice from the brazen throat still
sounded in his ears, TIME IS PAST!



It was a remark of Lord Brougham, illustrated by his own crowded life,
that the complete performance of all the duties of an active member
of the British Parliament might be joined to a full practice at the
bar. The career of the late Mr. Pickering illustrates a more grateful
truth: that the mastery of the law as a science and the constant
performance of all the duties of a practitioner are not incompatible
with the studies of the most various scholarship,--that the lawyer
and the scholar may be _one_. He dignified the law by the successful
cultivation of letters, and strengthened the influence of these elegant
pursuits by becoming their representative in the concerns of daily life
and in the labors of his profession. And now that this living example
of excellence is withdrawn, we feel a sorrow which words can only
faintly express. We would devote a few moments to the contemplation of
what he did and what he was. The language of exaggeration is forbidden
by the modesty of his nature, as it is rendered unnecessary by the
multitude of his virtues.

       *       *       *       *       *

JOHN PICKERING, whose recent death we deplore, was born in Salem,
February 7, 1777, at the darkest and most despondent period of the
Revolution. His father, Colonel Pickering, was a man of distinguished
character and an eminent actor in public affairs, whose name belongs to
the history of our country. Of his large family of ten children John
was the eldest.[142] His diligence at school was a source of early
gratification to his family, and gave augury of future accomplishments.
An authentic token of this character, beyond any tradition of partial
friends, is afforded by a little book entitled "Letters to a Student in
the University of Cambridge, Massachusetts, by John Clarke, Minister
of a Church in Boston," printed in 1796, and in reality addressed to
him. The first letter begins with an honorable allusion to his early
improvement. "Your superior qualifications for admission into the
University give you singular advantages for the prosecution of your
studies.... You are now placed in a situation to become, what you have
often assured me is your ambition, _a youth of learning and virtue_."
The last letter of the volume concludes with benedictions, which did
not fall as barren words upon the heart of the youthful pupil. "May
you," says Dr. Clarke, "be one of those sons who do honor to their
literary parent. The union of _virtue_ and _science_ will give you
distinction at the present age, and will tend to give celebrity to the
name of Harvard. You will not disappoint the friends who anticipate
your improvements." They who remember his college days still dwell with
fondness upon his exemplary character and his remarkable scholarship.
He received his degree of Bachelor of Arts at Cambridge in 1796.

    [142] The reporter, Octavius Pickering, was so named from his being the
_eighth_ child.

On leaving the University he went to Philadelphia, at that time the
seat of government, his father being Secretary of State. Here he
commenced the study of the law under Mr. Tilghman, afterwards the
distinguished Chief Justice of Pennsylvania, and one of the lights of
American jurisprudence. But his professional lucubrations were soon
suspended by his appointment, in 1797, as Secretary of Legation to
Portugal. In this capacity he resided at Lisbon for two years, during
which time he became familiar with the language and literature of the
country. Later in life, when his extensive knowledge of foreign tongues
opened to him the literature of the world, he recurred with peculiar
pleasure to the language of Camoens and Pombal.

From Lisbon he passed to London, where, at the close of the last
century, he became, for about two years, the private secretary of our
Minister, Mr. King, residing in the family and enjoying the society and
friendship of this distinguished representative of his country. Here he
was happy in meeting with his classmate and attached friend, Dr. James
Jackson, of Boston, then in London, pursuing those medical studies
whose ripened autumnal fruits of usefulness and eminence he still lives
to enjoy. In pleasant companionship they perambulated the thoroughfares
of the great metropolis, enjoying together its shows and attractions;
in pleasant companionship they continued ever afterwards, till death
severed the ties of long life.

Mr. Pickering's youth and inexperience in the profession to which he
afterwards devoted his days prevented his taking any special interest,
at this period, in the courts or in Parliament. But there were several
of the judges who made a strong impression on his mind; nor did he
ever cease to remember the vivacious eloquence of Erskine or the
commanding oratory of Pitt.

Meanwhile, his father, being no longer in the public service, had
returned to Salem; and thither the son followed, in 1801, resuming
the study of the law, under the direction of Mr. Putnam, afterwards a
learned and beloved Judge of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, whose
rare fortune it has been to rear two pupils whose fame will be among
the choicest possessions of our country,--Story and Pickering. In due
time he was admitted to the bar, and commenced the practice of the law
in Salem.

Here begins the long, unbroken series of his labors in literature and
philology, running side by side with the daily, untiring business
of his profession. It is easy to believe, that, notwithstanding his
undissembled predilection for jurisprudence as a _science_, he was
drawn towards its _practice_ by the compulsion of duty rather than by
any attraction it possessed for him. Not removed by fortune from the
necessity, to which Dr. Johnson so pathetically alludes, of providing
for the day that was passing over him, he could indulge his taste
for study only in hours secured by diligence from the inroads of
business or refused to the seductions of pleasure. Since the oration
for Archias, perhaps no lawyer ever lived who could have uttered with
greater truth the inspiring words with which, in that remarkable
production, the Roman orator confessed and vindicated the cultivation
of letters: "Me autem quid pudeat, qui tot annos ita vivo, judices, ut
ab nullius unquam me tempore aut commodo aut otium meum abstraxerit,
aut voluptas avocârit, aut denique somnus retardârit? Quare quis tandem
me reprehendat, aut quis mihi jure succenseat, si, quantum cæteris ad
suas res obeundas, quantum ad festos dies ludorum celebrandos, quantum
ad alias voluptates, et ad ipsam requiem animi et corporis conceditur
temporum, quantum alii tribuunt tempestivis conviviis, quantum denique
aleæ, quantum pilæ, tantum mihi egomet ad hæc studia recolenda

    [143] Pro Archia, c. 6.

In his life may be seen two streams flowing side by side, as through a
long tract of country: one fed by the fresh fountains high up in the
mountain-tops, whose waters leap with delight on their journey to the
sea; while the other, having its sources low down in the valleys, among
the haunts of men, moves with reluctant, though steady, current onward.

Mr Pickering's days were passed in the performance of all the duties
of a wide and various practice, first at Salem, and afterwards at
Boston. He resided at the former place till 1827, when he removed to
the metropolis, where two years afterwards he became City Solicitor,
an office whose arduous labors he continued to discharge until within
a few months of his death. There is little worthy of notice in the
ordinary incidents of professional life. What Blackstone aptly calls
"the pert dispute" renews itself in infinitely varying form. Some
new turn of litigation calls forth some new effort of learning or
skill, calculated to serve its temporary purpose, and, like the manna
which fell in the desert, perishing on the day that beholds it. The
unambitious labors of which the world knows nothing, the advice to
clients, the drawing of contracts, the perplexities of conveyancing
furnish still less of interest than ephemeral displays of the

The cares of his profession and the cultivation of letters left
but little time for the concerns of politics. And yet, at different
periods, he filled offices in the Legislature of Massachusetts. He was
three times Representative from Salem, twice Senator from Essex, once
Senator from Suffolk, and once a member of the Executive Council. In
all these places he commended himself by the same diligence, honesty,
learning, and ability which marked his course at the bar. The careful
student of our legislative history will not fail to perceive his
obligations to Mr. Pickering, as the author of important reports and
bills. The first bill for the separation of Maine from Massachusetts
was reported to the Senate by him in 1816, and though the object failed
for the time with the people of Maine, the bill is characterized by the
historian of that State as "drawn with great ability and skill."[144]
The report and accompanying bill on the jurisdiction and proceedings
of the Courts of Probate, discussing and remodelling the whole system,
were from his hand.

    [144] Williamson, History of Maine, Vol. II. p. 663.

In 1833 he was appointed to the vacancy, occasioned by the death of
Professor Ashmun, in the commission for revising and arranging the
statutes of Massachusetts, being associated in this important work with
those eminent lawyers, Mr. Jackson and Mr. Stearns. The first part,
or that entitled _Of the Internal Administration of the Government_,
corresponding substantially with Blackstone's division _Of the Rights
of Persons_, was executed by him. This alone entitles him to be
gratefully remembered, not only by those having occasion to consult
the legislation of Massachusetts, but by all who feel an interest in
scientific jurisprudence.

His contributions to what may be called the literature of his
profession were frequent. The American Jurist was often enriched by
articles from his pen. Among these is a review of the valuable work of
Williams on the Law of Executors, and of Curtis's Admiralty Digest,
where he examined the interesting history of this jurisdiction; also an
article on the Study of the Roman Law, where, within a short compass,
he presented a lucid history of this system, and the growth in Germany
of the historical and didactic schools, "rival houses," as they may
be called, in jurisprudence, whose long and unpleasant feud has only
recently subsided.

In the Law Reporter for September, 1841, he published an article of
singular merit, on National Rights and State Rights, being a review
of the case of Alexander McLeod, recently determined in the Supreme
Court of New York. This was afterwards republished in a pamphlet, and
extensively circulated. It is marked by uncommon learning, clearness,
and power. The course of the courts of New York is handled with
freedom, and the supremacy of the Government vindicated. Of all the
discussions elicited by that interesting question, on which, for a
while, seemed to hang the portentous issues of peace and war between
the United States and Great Britain, that of Mr. Pickering will be
admitted to take the lead, whether we consider its character as
an elegant composition, or as a searching review of the juridical
questions involved. In dealing with the opinion of Mr. Justice Cowen,
renowned for black-letter and the bibliography of the law, he shows
himself more than a match for this learned Judge, even in these
unfrequented fields, while the spirit of the publicist and jurist gives
a refined temper to the whole article, which we vainly seek in the
other production.

In the North American Review for October, 1840, is an article by him,
illustrative of Conveyancing in Ancient Egypt, being an explanation of
an Egyptian deed of a piece of land in hundred-gated Thebes, written
on papyrus, more than a century before the Christian era, with the
impression of a seal or stamp attached, and a certificate of registry
in the margin, in as regular a manner as the keeper of the registry in
the County of Suffolk would certify to a deed of land in the City of
Boston at this day. Jurisprudence is here adorned by scholarship.

There is another production which, like the preceding, belongs to the
department of literature as well as of jurisprudence: his Lecture on
the Alleged Uncertainty of the Law, delivered before the Boston Society
for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. Though written originally for
the general mind, which it is calculated to interest and instruct in
no common degree, it will be read with equal advantage by the profound
lawyer. It is not easy to mention any popular discussion of a juridical
character, in our language, deserving of higher regard. It was first
published in the American Jurist, at the solicitation of the writer of
this sketch, who has never referred to it without fresh admiration of
the happy illustrations and quiet reasoning by which it vindicates the
science of the law.

       *       *       *       *       *

In considering what Mr. Pickering accomplished out of his profession,
we are led over wide and various fields of learning, where we can
only hope to indicate his footprints, without presuming to examine or
describe the ground.

One of his earliest cares was to elevate the character of classical
studies in our country. In this respect his own example did much.
From the time he left the University, he was always regarded as an
authority on topics of scholarship. But his labors were devoted
especially to this cause. As early as 1805, in conjunction with his
friend, the present Judge White, of Salem, he published an edition of
the Histories of Sallust with Latin notes and a copious index. This is
one of the first examples, in our country, of a classic edited with
scholarly skill. The same spirit led him, later in life, to publish in
the North American Review, and afterwards in a pamphlet, "Observations
on the Importance of Greek Literature, and the Best Method of Studying
the Classics," translated from the Latin of Professor Wyttenbach. In
the course of the remarks with which he introduces the translation,
he urges with conclusive force the importance of raising the standard
of education in our country. "We are too apt," he says, "to consider
ourselves as an insulated people, as not belonging to the great
community of Europe; but we are, in truth, just as much members of it,
by means of a common public law, commercial intercourse, literature,
a kindred language and habits, as Englishmen or Frenchmen themselves
are; and we must procure for ourselves the qualifications necessary
to maintain that rank which we shall claim as equal members of such a

His Remarks on Greek Grammars, which appeared in the American Journal
of Education in 1825, belongs to the same field of labor, as does
also his admirable paper, published in 1818, in the Memoirs of the
American Academy, on the Proper Pronunciation of the Ancient Greek
Language.[145] He maintained that it should be pronounced, as far
as possible, according to the Romaic or modern Greek, and learnedly
exposed the vicious usage introduced by Erasmus. His conclusions,
though controverted when first presented, are now substantially adopted
by scholars. We well remember his honest pleasure in a communication
received within a few years from President Moore, of Columbia College,
in which that gentleman, who had once opposed his views, announced his
change, and, with the candor that becomes his honorable scholarship,
volunteered to them the sanction of his approbation.

    [145] "Observations upon the Greek Accent" is the title of an essay
in the Royal Irish Transactions, Vol. VII., by Dr. Browne, suggested,
like Mr. Pickering's, by conversation with some modern Greeks, and
touching upon similar topics. Dr. Browne is the author of the learned
and somewhat antediluvian book on the Civil and Admiralty Law.

The Greek and English Lexicon is his work of greatest labor in the
department of classical learning. This alone would entitle him to
praise from all who love liberal studies. With the well-thumbed copy of
this book, used in college days, now before us, we feel how much we are
debtor to his learned toil. Planned early in Mr. Pickering's life, it
was begun in 1814. The interruptions of his profession induced him to
engage the assistance of the late Dr. Daniel Oliver, Professor of Moral
and Intellectual Philosophy at Dartmouth College. The work, proceeding
slowly, was not announced by a prospectus until 1820, and not finally
published until 1826. It was mainly founded on the well-known Lexicon
of Schrevelius, which had received the emphatic commendation of
Vicesimus Knox, and was generally regarded as preferable to any other
for the use of schools. When Mr. Pickering commenced his labors there
was no Greek Lexicon with definitions in our own tongue. The English
student obtained his knowledge of Greek through the intervention of
Latin. And it is supposed by many, who have not sufficiently regarded
other relations of the subject, as we are inclined to believe, that
this circuitous and awkward practice is a principal reason why Greek is
so much less familiar to us than Latin. In honorable efforts to remove
this difficulty our countryman took the lead. Shortly before the last
sheets of his Lexicon were printed, a copy of a London translation
of Schrevelius reached this country, which proved, however to be
"a hurried performance, upon which it would not have been safe to

    [146] Preface to Pickering's Lexicon.

Since the publication of his Lexicon, several others in Greek and
English have appeared in England. The example of Germany and the
learning of her scholars have contributed to these works. It were
to be wished that all of them were free from the imputation of an
unhandsome appropriation of labors performed by others. The Lexicon
of Dr. Dunbar, Professor of Greek in the University of Edinburgh,
published in 1840, contains whole pages taken bodily--"convey, the wise
it call"--from that of Mr. Pickering, while the Preface is content
with an acknowledgment, in very general terms, of obligation to the
work which is copied. This is bad enough. But the second edition,
published in 1844, omits acknowledgment altogether; and the Lexicon
is welcomed by an elaborate article in the Quarterly Review,[147] as
the triumphant labor of Dr. Dunbar, "well known among our Northern
classics as a clever man and an acute scholar. _In almost every page_,"
continues the reviewer, "_we meet with something which bespeaks the
pen of a scholar_; and we every now and then stumble on explanations
of words and passages, occasionally fanciful, but always sensible,
and sometimes ingenious, which amply repay us for the search.... _They
prove, moreover, that the Professor is possessed of one quality which
we could wish to see more general: he does not see with the eyes of
others_; he thinks for himself, and he seems well qualified to do so."
Did he not see with the eyes of others? The reviewer hardly supposed
that his commendation would reach the production of an American

    [147] Vol. LXXV. p. 299.

In the general department of Languages and Philology his labors were
various. Some of the publications already mentioned might be ranged
under this head. There are others which remain to be noticed. The
earliest is the work generally called _The Vocabulary of Americanisms_,
being a collection of words and phrases supposed to be peculiar to
the United States, with an Essay on the State of the English Language
in this country. This originally appeared in the Memoirs of the
American Academy, in 1815, and republished in a separate volume, with
corrections and additions, in 1816. It was the author's intention, had
his life been spared, to print another edition, with the important
gleanings of subsequent observation and study. Undoubtedly this work
has exerted a beneficial influence upon the purity of our language. It
has promoted careful habits of composition, and, in a certain degree,
helped to guard the "well of English undefiled." Some of the words
found in this Vocabulary may be traced to ancient sources of authority;
but there are many which are beyond question provincial and barbarous,
although much used in our common speech,--"_fæx quoque quotidiani
sermonis, foeda ac pudenda vitia_."[148]

    [148] De Oratoribus Dialogus, c. 32,--sometimes attributed to Tacitus.

In the Memoirs of the American Academy for 1818 appeared his Essay on
a Uniform Orthography for the Indian Languages of North America. The
uncertainty of their orthography arose from the circumstance that the
words were collected and reduced to writing by scholars of different
nations, who often attached different values to the same letter,
and represented the same sound by different letters; so that it was
impossible to determine the sound of a written word, without first
knowing through what alembic of speech it had passed. Thus the words
of the same language or dialect, written by a German, a Frenchman, or
an Englishman, would seem to belong to languages as widely different
as those of these different people. With the hope of removing from
the path of others the perplexities that had beset his own, Mr.
Pickering recommended the adoption of a common orthography, which
would enable foreigners to use our books without difficulty, and, on
the other hand, make theirs easy for us. To this end, he devised an
alphabet for the Indian languages, which contained the common letters
of our alphabet, so far as practicable, a class of nasals, also of
diphthongs, and, lastly, a number of compound characters, which it
was supposed would be of more or less frequent use in different
dialects. With regard to this Essay, Mr. Du Ponceau said, at an
early day, "If, as there is great reason to expect, Mr. Pickering's
orthography gets into general use among us, America will have had
the honor of taking the lead in procuring an important auxiliary to
philological science."[149] Perhaps no single paper on language,
since the legendary labors of Cadmus, has exercised a more important
influence than this communication. Though originally composed with a
view to the Indian languages of North America, it has been successfully
followed by the missionaries in the Polynesian Islands. In harmony with
the principles of this Essay, the unwritten dialect of the Sandwich
Islands, possessing, it is said, a more than Italian softness, was
reduced to writing according to a systematic orthography prepared by
Mr. Pickering, and is now employed in two newspapers published by
natives. Thus he may be regarded as one of the contributors to that
civilization, under whose gentle influence those islands, set like
richest gems in the bosom of the sea, will yet glow with the effulgence
of Christian truth.

    [149] Notes on Eliot's Indian Grammar, Mass. Hist. Coll., Second
Series, Vol. IX. p. xi. I cannot forbear adding, that in the
correspondence of Leibnitz there is a proposition for a new alphabet of
the Arabic, Æthiopic, Syriac, and similar languages, which may remind
the reader of that of Mr. Pickering. Leibnitz, Opera (ed. Dutens), Vol.
VI. p. 88.

His early studies in this branch are attested by an article in the
North American Review for June, 1819, on Du Ponceau's Report on the
Languages of the American Indians, and another article in the same
Review, for July, 1820, on Dr. Jarvis's Discourse on the Religion of
the Indian Tribes of North America. The latter attracted the particular
attention of William von Humboldt.

The Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society contain several
important communications from him on the Indian languages: in 1822
(Vol. IX. Second Series) an edition of the Indian Grammar of Eliot,
the St. Augustin of New England, with Introductory Observations on the
Massachusetts Language by the editor, and Notes by Mr. Du Ponceau,
inscribed to his "learned friend, Mr. Pickering, as a just tribute of
friendship and respect";--in 1823 (Vol. X. Second Series) an edition
of Jonathan Edwards's Observations on the Mohegan Language, with an
Advertisement and Copious Notes on the Indian Languages by the editor,
and a Comparative Vocabulary of Various Dialects of the Lenape or
Delaware Stock of North American Languages, together with a Specimen
of the Winnebago Language;--in 1830 (Vol. II. Third Series) an edition
of Cotton's Vocabulary of the Massachusetts Language. He also prepared
Roger Williams's Vocabulary of the Narragansett Indians for the Rhode
Island Historical Society. These labors were calculated, in no ordinary
degree, to promote a knowledge of our aboriginal idioms, and to shed
light on that important and newly attempted branch of knowledge, the
science of Comparative Language.

Among the Memoirs of the American Academy, published in 1833, (Vol. I.
New Series) is the Dictionary of the Abnaki Language, in North America,
by Father Sebastian Rasles, with an Introductory Memoir and Notes by
Mr. Pickering. The original manuscript of this copious Dictionary,
commenced by the good and indefatigable Jesuit in 1691, during his
solitary residence with the Indians, was found among his papers after
the massacre at Norridgewock, in which he was killed, and, passing
through several hands, at last came into the possession of Harvard
University. It is considered one of the most interesting and authentic
documents in the history of the North American languages. In the Memoir
accompanying the Dictionary, Mr. Pickering, with the modesty which
marked all his labors, says that he made inquiries for memorials of
these languages, "hoping that he might render some small service by
collecting and preserving these valuable materials for the use of those
persons whose leisure and ability would enable them to employ them
more advantageously than it was in his power to do, for the benefit of
philological science."

The elaborate article on the Indian Languages of America in the
Encyclopædia Americana is from his pen. The subject was considered so
interesting, in regard to general and comparative philology, while
so little was known respecting it, that a space was allowed to this
article beyond that of other philological articles in the Encyclopædia.
The forthcoming volume of Memoirs of the American Academy contains
an interesting paper of a kindred character, one of his latest
productions, on the Language and Inhabitants of Lord North's Island, in
the Indian Archipelago, with a Vocabulary.

The Address before the American Oriental Society, delivered and
published in 1843, as the first number of the Journal of that body, is
an admirable contribution to the history of languages, presenting a
survey of the peculiar field of labor to which the Society is devoted,
in a style which attracts alike the scholar and the less critical

Among his other productions in philology may be mentioned an
interesting article on the Chinese Language, which first appeared
in the North American Review for January, 1839, and was afterwards
_dishonestly reprinted, as an original article_, in the London Monthly
Review for December, 1840; also an article on the Cochin-Chinese
Language, published in the North American Review for April, 1841;
another on Adelung's "Survey of Languages," in the same journal, in
1822; a review of Johnson's Dictionary, in the American Quarterly
Review for September, 1828; and two articles in the New York Review
for 1826, being a caustic examination of General Cass's article in the
North American Review respecting the Indians of North America. These
two papers were not acknowledged by their author at the time they were
written. They purport to be by KASS-_ti-ga-tor-skee_, or _The Feathered
Arrow_, a fictitious name from the Latin CAS-_tigator_ and an Indian
termination _skee_ or _ski_.

Even this enumeration does not close the catalogue of Mr. Pickering's
productions. There are others--to which, however, we refer by their
titles only--that may be classed with contributions to _general
literature_. Among these is an Oration delivered at Salem on the Fourth
of July, 1804; an article in the Encyclopædia Americana, in 1829, on
the Agrarian Laws of Rome; an article in the North American Review
for April, 1829, on Elementary Instruction; an Introductory Essay
to Newhall's Letters on Junius, in 1831; a Lecture on Telegraphic
Language, before the Boston Marine Society, in 1833; an article on
Peirce's History of Harvard University, in the North American Review
for April, 1834; an article on the South Sea Islands, in the American
Quarterly Review for September, 1836; an article on Prescott's History
of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, in the New York Review for
April, 1838; the noble Eulogy on Dr. Bowditch, delivered before the
American Academy, May 29, 1838; and Obituary Notices of Mr. Peirce, the
Librarian of Harvard College, of Dr. Spurzheim, of Dr. Bowditch, and of
his valued friend and correspondent, the partner of his philological
labors, Mr. Du Ponceau; also an interesting Lecture, still unpublished,
on the Origin of the Population of America, and two others on Languages.

       *       *       *       *       *

The reader will be astonished at these various contributions to
learning and literature, thus hastily reviewed, particularly when he
regards them as the diversions of a life filled in amplest measure by
other pursuits. Charles Lamb said that his _real works_ were not his
published writings, but the ponderous folios copied by his hand in
the India House. In the same spirit, Mr. Pickering might point to the
multitudinous transactions of his long professional life, cases argued
in court, conferences with clients, and deeds, contracts, and other
papers, in that clear, legible autograph which is a fit emblem of his
transparent character.

His professional life first invites attention. Here it should be
observed that he was a thorough, hard-working lawyer, for the greater
part of his days in _full practice_, constant at his office, attentive
to all the concerns of business, and to what may be called the
humilities of the profession. He was faithful, conscientious, and
careful; nor did his zeal for the interests committed to his care ever
betray him beyond the golden mean of duty. The law, in his hands, was a
shield for defence, and never a sword to thrust at his adversary. His
preparations for arguments in court were marked by peculiar care; his
brief was elaborate. On questions of law he was learned and profound;
but his manner in court was excelled by his matter. The experience of a
long life never enabled him to overcome the native childlike diffidence
which made him shrink from public display. He developed his views with
clearness and an invariable regard to their logical sequence,--but he
did not press them home by energy of manner, or any of the arts of

His mind was rather judicial than forensic in cast. He was better able
to discern the right than to make the wrong appear the better reason.
He was not a legal athlete, snuffing new vigor in the atmosphere of
the bar, and regarding success alone,--but a faithful counsellor,
solicitous for his client, and for justice too.

It was this character that led him to contemplate the law as a science,
and to study its improvement and elevation. He could not look upon it
merely as the means of earning money. He gave much of his time to its
generous culture. From the walks of practice he ascended to the heights
of jurisprudence, embracing within his observation the systems of other
countries. His contributions to this department illustrate the turn and
extent of his inquiries. It was his hope to accomplish some careful
work on the law, more elaborate than the memorials he has left. The
subject of the _Practice and Procedure of Courts_, or what is called
by the civilians _Stylus Curiæ_, occupied his mind, and he intended to
treat it in the light of foreign authorities, particularly German and
French, with the view of determining the general principles, or natural
law, common to all systems, by which it is governed. Such a work,
executed with the fine juridical spirit in which it was conceived,
would have been welcomed wherever the law is studied as a science.

It is, then, not only as lawyer, practising in courts, but as jurist,
to whom the light of jurisprudence shone gladsome, that we are to
esteem our departed friend. As such, his example will command attention
and exert an influence long after the paper dockets in blue covers,
chronicling the stages of litigation in his cases, are consigned to the
oblivion of dark closets and cobwebbed pigeon-holes.

But he has left a place vacant, not only in the halls of jurisprudence,
but also in the circle of scholars throughout the world, and, it may
be said, in the Pantheon of universal learning. Contemplating the
variety, the universality of his attainments, the mind, borrowing
an epithet once applied to another, involuntarily exclaims, "The
admirable Pickering!" He seems, indeed, to have run the whole round of
knowledge. His studies in ancient learning had been profound; nor can
we sufficiently admire the facility with which, amidst other cares, he
assumed the task of lexicographer. Unless some memorandum should be
found among his papers, as was the case with Sir William Jones,[150]
specifying the languages to which he had been devoted, it might be
difficult to frame a list with entire accuracy. It is certain that
he was familiar with at least _nine_,--English, French, Portuguese,
Italian, Spanish, German, Romaic, Greek, and Latin, of which he spoke
the first five. He was less familiar, though well acquainted, with
Dutch, Swedish, Danish, and Hebrew,--and had explored, with various
degrees of care, the Arabic, Turkish, Syriac, Persian, Coptic,
Sanscrit, Chinese, Cochin-Chinese, Russian, Egyptian hieroglyphics, the
Malay in several dialects, and particularly the Indian languages of
America and the Polynesian Islands.

    [150] Sir William Jones had studied eight languages
critically,--English, Latin, French, Italian, Greek, Arabic,
Persian, Sanscrit; eight less perfectly, but all intelligible with
a dictionary,--Spanish, Portuguese, German, Runic, Hebrew, Bengali,
Hindi, Turkish; twelve least perfectly, but all attainable,--Tibetian,
Pâli, Phalavi, Deri, Russian, Syriac, Æthiopic, Coptic, Welsh, Swedish,
Dutch, Chinese: in all twenty-eight languages.--TEIGNMOUTH, _Life of
Jones_, p. 376, note.

The sarcasm of Hudibras on the "barren ground" supposed congenial to
"Hebrew roots" is refuted by the richness of his accomplishments.
His style is that of a scholar and man of taste. It is simple,
unpretending like its author, clear, accurate, and flows in an
even tenor of elegance, which rises at times to a suavity almost
Xenophontian. Though little adorned by flowers of rhetoric, it shows
the sensibility and refinement of an ear attuned to the harmonies of
language. He had cultivated music as a science, and in his younger
days performed on the flute with Grecian fondness. Some of the airs
he had learned in Portugal were sung to him by his daughter shortly
before his death, bringing with them, doubtless, the pleasant memories
of early travel and the "incense-breathing morn" of life. A lover of
music, he was naturally inclined to the other fine arts, but always had
particular pleasure in works of sculpture.

Nor were those other studies which are sometimes regarded as of a more
practical character foreign to his mind. In college days he was noticed
for his attainments in mathematics; and later in life he perused
with intelligent care the great work of his friend, Dr. Bowditch,
the translation of the _Mécanique Celeste_. He was chairman of the
committee which recommended the purchase of a first-class telescope for
the neighborhood of Boston, and was the author of their interesting
report on the use and importance of such an instrument. He was partial
to natural history, particularly botany, which he taught to some of his
family. In addition to all this, he possessed a natural aptitude for
the mechanic arts, which was improved by observation and care. Early
in life he learned to use the turning-lathe, and, as he declared in an
unpublished lecture before the Mechanics' Institute of Boston, _made
toys which he bartered among his school-mates_.

This last circumstance gives singular point to the parallel, already
striking in other respects, between him and the Greek orator, the
boast of whose various knowledge is preserved by Cicero: "Nihil esse
ulla in arte rerum omnium, quod ipse nesciret: nec solum has artes,
quibus liberales doctrinæ atque ingenuæ continerentur, geometriam,
musicam, literarum cognitionem et poetarum, atque illa, quæ de naturis
rerum, quæ de hominum moribus, quæ de rebuspublicis dicerentur; _sed
annulum, quem haberet, se sua manu confecisse_."[151] The Greek,
besides knowing everything, made the ring which he wore, as our friend
made toys.

    [151] De Oratore, Lib. III. cap. 32.

As the champion of classical studies, and a student of language,
or philologist, he is entitled to be specially remembered. It is
impossible to measure the influence he has exerted upon the scholarship
of the country. His writings and his example, from early youth, pleaded
its cause, and will plead it ever, although his living voice is hushed
in the grave. His genius for languages was profound. He saw, with
intuitive perception, their structure and affinities, and delighted
in the detection of their hidden resemblances and relations. To their
history and character he devoted his attention, more than to their
literature. It is not possible for this humble pen to determine the
place which will be allotted to him in the science of philology; but
the writer cannot forbear recording the authoritative testimony to
the rare merits of Mr. Pickering in this department, which it was his
fortune to hear from the lips of Alexander von Humboldt. With the
brother, William von Humboldt, that great light of modern philology, he
maintained a long correspondence, particularly on the Indian languages;
and his letters will be found preserved in the Royal Library at Berlin.
Without rashly undertaking to indicate any scale of pre-eminence or
precedence among the cultivators of this department, at home or abroad,
it may not be improper to refer to his labors in those words of Dr.
Johnson with regard to his own, as evidence "that we may no longer
yield the palm of philology, without a contest, to the nations of the

    [152] Preface to Dictionary.

If it should be asked by what magic Mr. Pickering was able to
accomplish these remarkable results, it must be answered, By the
careful husbandry of time. His talisman was industry. He delighted in
referring to those rude inhabitants of Tartary who placed idleness
among the torments of the world to come, and often remembered the
beautiful proverb in his Oriental studies, that by labor the leaf of
the mulberry is turned into silk. His life is a perpetual commentary on
those words of untranslatable beauty in the great Italian poet:--

    "Seggendo in piuma,
     In fama non si vien, nè sotto coltre:
     Sanza la qual, chi sua vita consuma,
     Cotal vestigio in terra di se lascia,
     Qual fumo in aere od in acqua la schiuma."[153]

    [153] Divina Commedia, _Inferno_, Canto XXIV. vv. 47-51.

With a mind thus deeply imbued with learning, it will be felt that
he was formed less for the contentions of the forum than for the
exercises of the academy. And yet it is understood that he declined
several opportunities of entering its learned retreats. In 1806 he was
elected Hancock Professor of Hebrew and other Oriental Languages in
Harvard University; and at a later day he was invited to the chair of
Greek Literature in the same institution. On the death of Professor
Ashmun, many eyes were turned towards him, as fitted to occupy the
professorship of law in Cambridge, since so ably filled by Mr.
Greenleaf; and on two different occasions his name was echoed by the
public prints as about to receive the dignity of President of the
University. But he continued in the practice of the law to the last.

He should be claimed by the bar with peculiar pride. If it be true, as
has been said, that Serjeant Talfourd has reflected more honor upon his
profession by the successful cultivation of letters than any of his
contemporaries by their forensic triumphs, then should the American
bar acknowledge their obligations to the fame of Mr. Pickering. He was
one of us. He was a _regular_ in our ranks; in other service, only a

The mind is led instinctively to a parallel between him and that
illustrious scholar and jurist, ornament of the English law, and
pioneer of Oriental studies in England, Sir William Jones, to whom I
have already referred. Both confessed, in early life, the attractions
of classical studies; both were trained in the discipline of the law;
both, though engaged in its practice, always delighted to contemplate
it as a science; both surrendered themselves with irrepressible ardor
to the study of languages, while the one broke into the unexplored
fields of Eastern philology, and the other devoted himself more
especially to the native tongues of his own Western continent. Their
names are, perhaps, equally conspicuous for the number of languages
which occupied their attention. As we approach them in private life,
the parallel still continues. In both there were the same truth,
generosity, and gentleness, a cluster of noble virtues,--while the
intenser earnestness of the one is compensated by the greater modesty
of the other. To our American jurist-scholar, also, may be applied
those words of the Greek couplet, borrowed from Aristophanes, and
first appropriated to his English prototype: "The Graces, seeking a
shrine that would not decay, found the soul of Jones."

While dwelling with admiration upon his triumphs of intellect and the
fame he has won, we must not forget the virtues, higher than intellect
or fame, by which his life was adorned. In the jurist and the scholar
we must not lose sight of the _man_. So far as is allotted to a mortal,
he was a spotless character. The murky tides of this world seemed to
flow by without soiling his garments. He was pure in thought, word,
and deed; a lover of truth, goodness, and humanity; the friend of the
young, encouraging them in their studies, and aiding them by wise
counsels; ever kind, considerate, and gentle to all; towards children,
and the unfortunate, full of tenderness. He was of charming modesty.
With learning to which all bowed with reverence, he walked humbly
before God and man. His pleasures were simple. In the retirement of
his study, and the blandishments of his music-loving family, he found
rest from the fatigues of the bar. He never spoke in anger, nor did any
hate find a seat in his bosom. His placid life was, like law in the
definition of Aristotle, "mind without passion."

Through his long and industrious career he was blessed with unbroken
health. He walked on earth with an unailing body and a serene mind;
and at last, in the fulness of time, when the garner was overflowing
with the harvests of a well-spent life, in the bosom of his family, the
silver cord was gently loosed. He died at Boston, May 5, 1846, in the
seventieth year of his age,--only a few days after he had prepared for
the press the last sheets of a new and enlarged edition of his Greek
Lexicon. His wife, to whom he was married in 1805, and three children,
survive to mourn their irreparable loss.

The number of societies, both at home and abroad, of which he was an
honored member, attests the widespread recognition of his merits. He
was President of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; President
of the American Oriental Society; Foreign Secretary of the American
Antiquarian Society; Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society,
the American Ethnological Society, the American Philosophical Society;
Honorary Member of the Historical Societies of New Hampshire, Rhode
Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Maryland, and Georgia;
Honorary Member of the National Institution for the Promotion of
Science, the American Statistical Association, the Northern Academy of
Arts and Sciences, Hanover, N.H., and the Society for the Promotion
of Legal Knowledge, Philadelphia; Corresponding Member of the Academy
of Sciences at Berlin, the Oriental Society of Paris, the Academy of
Sciences and Letters at Palermo, the Antiquarian Society at Athens,
and the Royal Northern Antiquarian Society at Copenhagen; and Titular
Member of the French Society of Universal Statistics.

For many years he maintained a copious correspondence, on matters of
jurisprudence, science, and learning, with distinguished names at home
and abroad: especially with Mr. Du Ponceau, at Philadelphia,--with
William von Humboldt, at Berlin,--with Mittermaier, the jurist, at
Heidelberg,--with Dr. Prichard, author of the Physical History of
Mankind, at Bristol,--and with Lepsius, the hierologist, who wrote to
him from the foot of the Pyramids, in Egypt.

The death of one thus variously connected is no common sorrow. Beyond
the immediate circle of family and friends, he will be mourned by the
bar, among whom his daily life was passed,--by the municipality of
Boston, whose legal adviser he was,--by clients, who depended upon his
counsels,--by good citizens, who were charmed by the abounding virtues
of his private life,--by his country, who will cherish his name more
than gold or silver,--by the distant islands of the Pacific, who will
bless his labors in the words they read,--finally, by the company of
jurists and scholars throughout the world. His fame and his works will
be fitly commemorated, on formal occasions, hereafter. Meanwhile, one
who knew him at the bar and in private life, and who loves his memory,
lays this early tribute upon his grave.


                  THEIR ANNIVERSARY, AUGUST 27, 1846.

    Then I would say to the young disciple of Truth and Beauty, who
    would know how to satisfy the noble impulse of his heart, through
    every opposition of the century,--I would say, Give the world
    beneath your influence a _direction_ towards the good, and the
    tranquil rhythm of time will bring its development.--SCHILLER.

    In this Oration, as in that of the 4th of July, Mr. Sumner took
    advantage of the occasion to express himself freely, especially
    on the two great questions of Slavery and War. In the sensitive
    condition of public sentiment at that time, such an effort would
    have found small indulgence, if he had not placed himself behind
    four such names. While commemorating the dead, he was able to
    uphold living truth.

    The acceptance of this Oration at the time is attested by the toast
    of John Quincy Adams at the dinner of the Society:--

    "The memory of the Scholar, the Jurist, the Artist, the
    Philanthropist; and not the memory, but the long life of the
    kindred spirit who has this day embalmed them all."

    This was followed by a letter from Mr. Adams to Mr. Sumner, dated
    at Quincy, August 29, 1846, containing the following passage:--

    "It is a gratification to me to have the opportunity to repeat the
    thanks which I so cordially gave you at the close of your oration
    of last Thursday, and of which the sentiment offered by me at the
    dinner-table was but an additional pulsation from the same heart.
    I trust I may now congratulate you on the felicity, first of your
    selection of your subject, and secondly of its consummation in the
    delivery.... The pleasure with which I listened to your discourse
    was inspired far less by the success and _all but_ universal
    acceptance and applause of the present moment than by the vista of
    the future which is opened to my view. Casting my eyes backward no
    farther than the 4th of July of last year, when you set all the
    vipers of Alecto a-hissing by proclaiming the Christian law of
    universal peace and love, and then casting them forward, perhaps
    not much farther, but beyond my own allotted time, I see you have
    a mission to perform. I look from Pisgah to the Promised Land; you
    must enter upon it.... To the motto on my seal [_Alteri sæculo_]
    add _Delenda est servitus_."

    Similar testimony was offered by Edward Everett in a letter dated
    at Cambridge, September 5, 1846, where he thanks Mr. Sumner for
    his "most magnificent address,--an effort certainly of unsurpassed
    felicity and power,"--then in another letter dated at Cambridge,
    September 25th, where he writes: "I read it last evening with a
    renewal of the delight with which I heard it. Should you never
    do anything else, you have done enough for fame; but you are, as
    far as these public efforts are concerned, at the commencement
    of a career, destined, I trust, to last for long years, of
    ever-increasing usefulness and honor."

    Mr. Prescott, under date of October 2d, writes:--

    "The most happy conception has been carried out admirably, as
    if it were the most natural order of things, without the least
    constraint or violence. I don't know which of your sketches I like
    the best. I am inclined to think the Judge; for there you are on
    your own heather, and it is the tribute of a favorite pupil to his
    well-loved master, gushing warm from the heart. Yet they are all
    managed well; and the vivid touches of character and the richness
    of the illustration will repay the study, I should imagine, of any
    one familiar with the particular science you discuss."

    Chancellor Kent, of New York, under date of October 6th, expresses
    himself as follows:--

    "I had the pleasure to receive your Phi Beta Kappa Address, and I
    think it to be one of the most splendid productions in point of
    diction and eloquence that I have ever read. You brought a most
    fervent mind to the task, glowing with images of transcendent
    worth, and embellished with classical and literary allusions drawn
    from your memory and guided by your taste, with extraordinary
    force.... You have raised a noble monument to the four great men
    who have adorned your State, and I feel deeply humbled with a sense
    of my own miserable inferiority when I contemplate such exalted

    These contemporary tokens of friendship and sympathy seem a proper
    part of this record.


To-day is the festival of our fraternity, sacred to learning, to
friendship, and to truth. From many places, remote and near, we have
come together beneath the benediction of Alma Mater. We have walked
in the grateful shelter of her rich embowering trees. Friend has
met friend, classmate has pressed the hand of classmate, while the
ruddy memories of youth and early study have risen upon the soul. And
now we have come up to this church, a company of brothers, in long,
well-ordered procession, commencing with the silver locks of reverend
age, and closing with the fresh faces that glow with the golden blood
of youth.

With hearts of gratitude, we greet among our number those whose
lives are crowned by desert,--especially him who, returning from
conspicuous cares in a foreign land, now graces our chief seat of
learning,[154]--and not less him who, closing, in the high service
of the University, a life-long career of probity and honor, now
voluntarily withdraws to a scholar's repose.[155] We salute at once
the successor and the predecessor, the rising and the setting sun.
And ingenuous youth, in whose bosom are infolded the germs of untold
excellence, whose ardent soul sees visions closed to others by the
hand of Time, commands our reverence not less than age rich in
experience and honor. The Present and the Past, with all their works,
we know and measure; but the triumphs of the Future are unknown and
immeasurable;--therefore is there in the yet untried powers of youth a
vastness of promise to quicken the regard. Welcome, then, not less the
young than the old! and may this our holiday brighten with harmony and

    [154] Hon. Edward Everett, President of Harvard University.

    [155] Hon. Josiah Quincy, late President of Harvard University.

As the eye wanders around our circle, Mr. President, in vain it seeks
a beloved form, for many years so welcome in the seat you now fill.
I might have looked to behold him on this occasion. But death, since
we last met together, has borne him away. The love of friends, the
devotion of pupils, the prayers of the nation, the concern of the
world, could not shield him from the inexorable shaft. Borrowing for
him those words of genius and friendship which gushed from Clarendon
at the name of Falkland, that he was "a person of prodigious parts
of learning and knowledge, of inimitable sweetness and delight in
conversation, of flowing and obliging humanity and goodness to mankind,
and of primitive simplicity and integrity of life,"[156] I need not add
the name of STORY. To dwell on his character, and all that he has done,
were a worthy theme. But his is not the only well-loved countenance
which returns no answering smile.

    [156] History of the Rebellion, Book VII.

This year our Society, according to custom, publishes the catalogue of
its members, marking by a star the insatiate archery of Death during
the brief space of four years. In no period of its history, equally
short, have such shining marks been found.

    "Now kindred Merit fills the sable bier,
     Now lacerated Friendship claims a tear;
     Year chases year, decay pursues decay,
     Still drops some joy from withering life away."[157]

    [157] Johnson, Vanity of Human Wishes, vv. 303-306.

Scholarship, Jurisprudence, Art, Humanity, each is called to mourn a
chosen champion. Pickering the Scholar, Story the Jurist, Allston the
Artist, Channing the Philanthropist, are gone. When our last catalogue
was published they were all living, each in his field of fame. Our
catalogue of this year gathers them with the peaceful dead. Sweet and
exalted companionship! They were joined in life, in renown, and in
death. They were brethren of our fraternity, sons of Alma Mater. Story
and Channing were classmates; Pickering preceded them by two years
only, Allston followed them by two years. Casting our eyes upon the
closing lustre of the last century, we discern this brilliant group
whose mortal light is now obscured. After the toils of his long life,
Pickering sleeps serenely in the place of his birth, near the honored
dust of his father. Channing, Story, and Allston have been laid to
rest in Cambridge, where they first tasted together the tree of life:
Allston in the adjoining church-yard, within sound of the voice that
now addresses you; Channing and Story in the pleasant, grassy bed
of Mount Auburn, under the shadow of beautiful trees, whose falling
autumnal leaves are fit emblem of the generations of men.

It was the custom in ancient Rome, on solemn occasions, to bring
forward the images of departed friends, arrayed in robes of office,
and carefully adorned, while some one recounted what they had done,
in the hope of refreshing the memory of their deeds, and of inspiring
the living with new impulse to virtue. "For who," says the ancient
historian, "can behold without emotion the forms of so many illustrious
men, thus living, as it were, and breathing together in his presence?
or what spectacle can be conceived more great and striking?"[158]
The images of our departed brothers are present here to-day, not in
sculptured marble, but graven on our hearts. We behold them again, as
in life. They mingle in our festival, and cheer us by their presence.
It were well to catch the opportunity of observing together their
well-known lineaments, and of dwelling anew, with warmth of living
affection, upon the virtues by which they are commended. Devoting the
hour to their memory, we may seek also to comprehend and reverence
the great interests which they lived to promote. Pickering, Story,
Allston, Channing! Their names alone, without addition, awaken a
response, which, like the far-famed echo of Dodona, will prolong
itself through the live-long day. But, great as they are, we feel
their insignificance by the side of those great causes to which their
days were consecrated,--_Knowledge_, _Justice_, _Beauty_, _Love_, the
comprehensive attributes of God. Illustrious on earth, they were but
lowly and mortal ministers of lofty and immortal truth. It is, then,
celebrate to-day, and whose pursuits will be the theme of my discourse.

    [158] Hampton's Polybius, Book VI. Ext. II. ch. 2.

Here, on this threshold, let me say, what is implied in the very
statement of my subject, that, in offering these tributes, I seek no
occasion for personal eulogy or biographical detail. My aim is to
commemorate the men, but more to advance the objects which they so
successfully served. Reversing the order in which they left us, I shall
take the last first.

       *       *       *       *       *

JOHN PICKERING, THE SCHOLAR, died in the month of May, 1846, aged
sixty-nine, within a short distance of that extreme goal which is the
allotted limit of human life. By Scholar I mean a cultivator of liberal
studies, a student of knowledge in its largest sense,--not merely
classical, not excluding what in our day is exclusively called science,
but which was unknown when the title of scholar first prevailed; for
though Cicero dealt a sarcasm at Archimedes, he spoke with higher
truth when he beautifully recognized the common bond between all
departments of knowledge. The brother whom we mourn was a scholar, a
student, as long as he lived. His place was not merely among those
called by courtesy _Educated Men_, with most of whom education is
past and gone,--men who have studied; he studied always. Life to him
was an unbroken lesson, pleasant with the charm of knowledge and the
consciousness of improvement.

The world knows and reveres his learning; they only who partook
somewhat of his daily life fully know the modesty of his character. His
knowledge was such that he seemed to be ignorant of nothing, while,
in the perfection of his humility, he might seem to know nothing. By
learning conspicuous before the world, his native diffidence withdrew
him from its personal observation. Surely, learning so great, which
claimed so little, will not be forgotten. The modesty which detained
him in retirement during life introduces him now that he is dead.
Strange reward! Merit which shrank from the living gaze is now observed
of all men. The voice once so soft is returned in echoes from the tomb.

I place in the front his modesty and his learning, two attributes by
which he will be always remembered. I might enlarge on his sweetness of
temper, his simplicity of life, his kindness to the young, his sympathy
with studies of all kinds, his sensibility to beauty, his conscientious
character, his passionless mind. Could he speak to us of himself, he
might adopt words of self-painting from the candid pen of his eminent
predecessor in the cultivation of Grecian literature, leader of its
revival in Europe, as Pickering was leader in America,--the urbane
and learned Erasmus. "For my own part," says the early scholar to
his English friend, John Colet, "I best know my own failings, and
therefore shall presume to give a character of myself. You have in me
a man of little or no fortune,--a stranger to ambition,--of a strong
propensity to loving-kindness and friendship,--without any boast of
learning, but a great admirer of it,--one who has a profound veneration
for any excellence in others, however he may feel the want of it in
himself,--who can readily yield to others in learning, but to none in
integrity,--a man sincere, open, and free,--a hater of falsehood and
dissimulation,--of a mind lowly and upright,--of few words, and who
boasts of nothing but an honest heart."[159]

    [159] Erasmi Epist., Lib. V. Ep. 4.

I have called him Scholar; for it is in this character that he leaves
so excellent an example. But the triumphs of his life are enhanced by
the variety of his labors, and especially by his long career at the
bar. He was a lawyer, whose days were spent in the faithful practice
of his profession, busy with clients, careful of their concerns in
court and out of court. Each day witnessed his untiring exertion in
scenes little attractive to his gentle and studious nature. He was
formed to be a seeker of truth rather than a defender of wrong; and
he found less satisfaction in the strifes of the bar than in the
conversation of books. To him litigation was a sorry feast, and a
well-filled docket of cases not unlike the curious and now untasted
dish of "nettles," in the first course of a Roman banquet. He knew that
the duties of the profession were important, but felt that even their
successful performance, when unattended by juridical culture, gave
small title to regard, while they were less pleasant and ennobling than
the disinterested pursuit of learning. He would have said, at least as
regards his own profession, with the Lord Archon of the _Oceana_, "I
will stand no more to the judgment of lawyers and divines than to that
of _so many other tradesmen_."[160]

    [160] Harrington's Oceana, p. 134.

It was the law as a _trade_ that he pursued reluctantly, while he had
true happiness in the science of jurisprudence, to which he devoted
many hours rescued from other cares. By example, and contributions
of the pen, he elevated the study, and invested it with the charm of
liberal pursuits. By marvellous assiduity he was able to lead two
lives,--one producing the fruits of earth, the other of immortality.
In him was the union, rare as it is grateful, of lawyer and scholar.
He has taught how much may be done for jurisprudence and learning even
amidst the toils of professional life; while the enduring lustre of his
name contrasts with the fugitive reputation which is the lot of the
_mere lawyer_, although clients beat at his gates from cock-crow at the

To describe his labors of scholarship would be impossible on this
occasion. Although important contributions to the sum of knowledge,
they were of a character only slightly appreciated by the world at
large. They were chiefly directed to two subjects,--classical studies
and general philology, if these two may be regarded separately.

His early life was marked by a particular interest in _classical
studies_. At a time when, in our country, accurate and extensive
scholarship was rare, he aspired to possess it. By daily and nightly
toil he mastered the great exemplars of antiquity, and found delight
in their beauties. His example was persuasive. And he added earnest
effort to promote their study in the learned seminaries of our country.
With unanswerable force he urged among us a standard of education
commensurate, in every substantial respect, with that of Europe. He
desired for the American youth on his native soil, under the influence
of free institutions, a course of instruction rendering foreign aid
superfluous. He had a just pride of country, and longed for its good
name through accomplished representatives, well knowing that the
American scholar, wherever he wanders in foreign lands, is a living
recommendation of the institutions under which he was reared.

He knew that scholarship of all kinds would gild the life of its
possessor, enlarge the resources of the bar, enrich the voice of the
pulpit, and strengthen the learning of medicine. He knew that it would
afford a soothing companionship in hours of relaxation from labor,
in periods of sadness, and in the evening of life; that, when once
embraced, it was more constant than friendship,--attending its votary,
as an invisible spirit, in the toils of the day, the watches of the
night, the changes of travel, and the alternations of fortune or health.

In commending classical studies it would be difficult to say that he
attached to them undue importance. By his own example he showed that
he bore them no exclusive love. He regarded them as an essential part
of liberal education, opening the way to other realms of knowledge,
while they mature the taste and invigorate the understanding. Here
probably all will concur. It may be questioned, whether, in our hurried
American life, it is possible, with proper regard for other studies,
to introduce into ordinary classical education the exquisite skill
which is the pride of English scholarship, reminding us of the minute
finish in Chinese art,--or the ponderous and elaborate learning which
is the wonder of Germany, reminding us of the unnatural perspective in
a Chinese picture. But much will be done, if we establish those habits
of accuracy, acquired only through early and careful training, which
enable us at least to appreciate the severe beauty of antiquity, while
they become an invaluable standard and measure of attainment in other

The classics possess a peculiar charm, as models, I might say masters,
of composition and form. In the contemplation of these august teachers
we are filled with conflicting emotions. They are the early voice of
the world, better remembered and more cherished than any intermediate
voice,--as the language of childhood still haunts us, when the
utterances of later years are effaced from the mind. But they show the
rudeness of the world's childhood, before passion yielded to the sway
of reason and the affections. They want purity, righteousness, and
that highest charm which is found in love to God and man. Not in the
frigid philosophy of the Porch and the Academy are we to seek these;
not in the marvellous teachings of Socrates, as they come mended by the
mellifluous words of Plato; not in the resounding line of Homer, on
whose inspiring tale of blood Alexander pillowed his head; not in the
animated strain of Pindar, where virtue is pictured in the successful
strife of an athlete at the Olympian games; not in the torrent of
Demosthenes, dark with self-love and the spirit of vengeance; not in
the fitful philosophy and boastful eloquence of Tully; not in the
genial libertinism of Horace, or the stately atheism of Lucretius. To
these we give admiration; but they cannot be our highest teachers. In
none of these is the way of life. For eighteen hundred years the spirit
of these classics has been in constant contention with the Sermon on
the Mount, and with those two sublime commandments on which "hang all
the law and the prophets."[161] The strife is still pending, and who
shall say when it will end? Heathenism, which possessed itself of
such Siren forms, is not yet exorcised. Even now it exerts a powerful
sway, imbuing youth, coloring the thought of manhood, and haunting the
meditation of age. Widening still in sphere, it embraces nations as
well as individuals, until it seems to sit supreme.

    [161] Terence, taught, perhaps, by his own bitter experience as slave,
has given expression to truth almost Christian, when he says,--

"Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto."

_Heauton._, Act I. Sc. 1.

And in the _Andria_,--

"Facile omnes perferre ac pati, Cum quibus erat cunque una: iis sese
dedere: Eorum obsequi studiis: advorsus nemini: Nunquam præponens se
illis." Act I. Sc. 1.

Our own productions, though yielding to the ancient in arrangement,
method, beauty of form, and freshness of illustration, are superior
in truth, delicacy, and elevation of sentiment,--above all, in the
recognition of that peculiar revelation, the Brotherhood of Man. Vain
are eloquence and poetry, compared with this heaven-descended truth.
Put in one scale that simple utterance, and in the other all the lore
of antiquity, with its accumulating glosses and commentaries, and the
latter will be light in the balance. Greek poetry has been likened to
the song of the nightingale, as she sits in the rich, symmetrical crown
of the palm-tree, trilling her thick-warbled notes; but these notes
will not compare in sweetness with those teachings of charity which
belong to our Christian inheritance.

These things cannot be forgotten by the scholar. From the Past he may
draw all it can contribute to the great end of life, human progress
and happiness,--progress, without which happiness is vain. But he must
close his soul to the hardening influence of that spirit, which is more
to be dreaded, as it is enshrined in compositions of such commanding

    "Sunk in Homer's mine,
     I lose my precious years, now soon to fail,
     Handling his gold; which, howsoe'er it shine,
     Proves dross, when balanced in the Christian scale."[162]

    [162] Cowper, Sonnet to John Johnson: Minor Poems.

In the department of _philology_, kindred to that of the classics,
our Scholar labored with similar success. Unlike Sir William Jones
in genius, he was like this English scholar in the multitude of
languages he embraced. Distance of time and space was forgotten, as
he explored the far-off primeval Sanscrit,--the hieroglyphics of
Egypt, now awakening from the mute repose of centuries,--the polite
and learned tongues of ancient and modern Europe,--the languages of
Mohammedanism,--the various dialects in the forests of North America,
and in the sandal-groves of the Pacific,--only closing with a _lingua
franca_ from an unlettered tribe on the coast of Africa, to which his
attention was called during the illness which ended in death.

This recital exhibits the variety and extent of his studies in a
department which is supposed inaccessible, except to peculiar and
Herculean labors. He had a natural and intuitive perception of
affinities in language, and of its hidden relations. His researches
have thrown important light on the general principles of this science,
as also on the history and character of individual languages. In
devising an alphabet of the Indian tongues in North America, since
adopted in the Polynesian Islands, he rendered a brilliant service to
civilization. It is pleasant to contemplate the Scholar sending forth
from his seclusion this priceless instrument of improvement. On the
distant islands once moistened by the blood of Cook newspapers and
books are printed in a native language, which was reduced to a written
character by the care and genius of Pickering. The Vocabulary of
Americanisms and the Greek and English Lexicon attest still further the
variety and value of his philological labors; nor can we sufficiently
admire the facility with which, amidst the duties of an arduous
profession and the temptations of scholarship, he assumed the appalling
task of the lexicographer, which Scaliger compares to the labors of the
anvil and the mine.

There are critics, ignorant, hasty, or supercilious, who are too apt
to disparage the toils of the philologist, treating them sometimes
as curious only, sometimes as trivial, or, when they enter into
lexicography, as those of a harmless drudge. It might be sufficient
to reply, that all exercise of the intellect promoting forgetfulness
of self and the love of science ministers essentially to human
improvement. But philology may claim other suffrages. It is its
province to aid in determining the character of words, their extraction
and signification, and in other ways to guide and explain the use
of language; nor is it generous, while enjoying eloquence, poetry,
science, and the many charms of literature, to withhold our gratitude
from silent and sometimes obscure labors in illustration of that great
instrument without which all the rest is nothing.

The science of Comparative Philology, which our Scholar has
illustrated, may rank with shining pursuits. It challenges a place
by the side of that science which received such development from
the genius of Cuvier. The study of Comparative Anatomy has thrown
unexpected light on the physical history of the animate creation; but
it cannot be less interesting or important to explore the unwritten
history of the human race in languages that have been spoken, to trace
their pedigree, to detect their affinities,--seeking the prevailing law
by which they are governed. As we comprehend these things, confusion
and discord retreat, the Fraternity of Man stands confessed, and the
philologist becomes a minister at the altar of universal philanthropy.
In the study of the Past, he learns to anticipate the Future; and in
sublime vision he sees, with Leibnitz, that Unity of the Human Race
which, in the succession of ages, will find its expression in an
instrument more marvellous than the infinite Calculus,--a universal
language, with an alphabet of human thoughts.[163]

    [163] Fontenelle, Éloge de Leibnitz: OEuvres, Tom. V. p. 493.
Leibnitz, Opera, ed. Dutens, Vol. V. p. 7.

As the sun draws moisture from rill, stream, lake, and ocean, to be
returned in fertilizing shower upon the earth, so did our Scholar
derive knowledge from all sources, to be diffused in beneficent
influence upon the world. He sought it not in study only, but in
converse with men, and in experience of life. His curious essay on the
Pronunciation of the Ancient Greek Language was suggested by listening
to Greek sailors, whom the temptations of commerce had conducted to our
shores from their historic sea.

Such a character--devoted to works of wide and enduring interest, not
restricted to international lines--awakened respect and honor wherever
learning was cultivated. His name was associated with illustrious
fraternities of science in foreign nations, while scholars who could
not know him face to face, by an amiable commerce of letters sought the
aid and sympathy of his learning. His death has broken these living
links of fellowship; but his name, that cannot die, will continue to
bind all who love knowledge and virtue to the land which was blessed by
his presence.

       *       *       *       *       *

From the Scholar I pass to THE JURIST. JOSEPH STORY died in the month
of September, 1845, aged sixty-six. His countenance, familiar in this
presence, was always so beaming with goodness and kindness that its
withdrawal seems to lessen sensibly the brightness of the scene.
We are assembled near the seat of his favorite pursuits, among the
neighbors intimate with his private virtues, close by the home hallowed
by his domestic altar. These paths he often trod; and all that our eyes
here look upon seems to reflect his genial smile. His twofold official
relations with the University, his high judicial station, his higher
character as Jurist, invest his name with a peculiar interest, while
the unconscious kindness which he showed to all, especially the young,
touches the heart, making us rise up and call him blessed. How fondly
would the youth nurtured in jurisprudence at his feet--were such an
offering, Alcestis-like, within the allotments of Providence--have
prolonged their beloved master's days at the expense of their own!

The University, by the voice of his learned associate, has already
rendered tribute to his name. The tribunals of justice throughout the
country have given utterance to their solemn grief, and the funeral
torch has passed across the sea into foreign lands.

He has been heard to confess that literature was his earliest passion,
which yielded only to a sterner summons beckoning to professional
life; and they who knew him best cannot forget that he continued to
the last fond of poetry and polite letters, and would often turn from
Themis to the Muses. Nor can it be doubted that this feature, which
marks the resemblance to Selden, Somers, Mansfield, and Blackstone, in
England, and to L'Hôpital and D'Aguesseau, in France, has added to the
brilliancy and perfection of his character as a jurist. In the history
of jurisprudence it would not be easy to mention a single person
winning its highest palm who was not a scholar also.

The first hardships incident to study of the law, which perplexed
the youthful spirit of the learned Spelman, beset our Jurist with
disheartening force. Let the young remember his trial and his triumph,
and be of good cheer. According to the custom of his day, while
yet a student in the town of Marblehead, he undertook to read Coke
on Littleton, in the large folio edition, thatched over with those
manifold annotations which cause the best-trained lawyer to "gasp and
stare." Striving to force his way through the black-letter page, he was
filled with despair. It was but a moment. The tears poured from his
eyes upon the open book. Those tears were his precious baptism into the
learning of the law. From that time forth he persevered, with ardor and
confidence, from triumph to triumph.

He was elevated to the bench of the Supreme Court of the United States,
by the side of Marshall, at the early age of thirty-two. At the same
early age Buller--reputed the ablest judge of Westminster Hall, in the
list of those who never arrived at the honors of Chief Justice--was
induced to renounce an income larger than the salary of a judge, to
take a seat by the side of Mansfield. The parallel continues. During
the remainder of Mansfield's career on the bench, Buller was the
friend and associate upon whom he chiefly leaned; and history records
the darling desire of the venerable Chief Justice that his faithful
assistant should succeed to his seat and chain of office; but these
wishes, the hopes of the profession, and his own continued labors
were disregarded by a minister who seldom rewarded any but political
services,--I mean Mr. Pitt. Our brother, like Buller, was the friend
and associate of a venerable chief justice, by whose side he sat for
many years; nor do I state any fact which I should not for the sake of
history, when I add, that it was the long-cherished desire of Marshall
that Story should be his successor. It was ordered otherwise; and he
continued a judge of the Supreme Court for the space of thirty-four
years,--a judicial life of almost unexampled length in the history of
the Common Law, and of precisely the same duration with the illustrious
magistracy of D'Aguesseau in France.

As judge, he was called to administer a most extensive jurisdiction,
embracing matters which in England are so variously distributed that
they never come before any one court; and in each department he has
shown himself second to none other, unless we unite with him in
deferring to Marshall as the greatest expounder of a branch peculiar
to ourselves, Constitutional Law. Nor will it be easy to mention any
other judge who has left behind so large a number of judgments which
belong to the first class in the literature of the law. Some excel in
a special branch, to which their learning and labor are directed. He
excelled in all. At home in the feudal niceties of Real Law, with its
dependencies of descents, remainders, and executory devises,--also in
the ancient hair-splitting technicalities of Special Pleading,--both
creatures of an illiterate age, gloomy with black-letter and verbal
subtilties,--he was most skilful in using and expounding the rules
of Evidence, the product of a more refined period of juridical
history,--was master of the common law of Contracts, and of Commercial
Law in its wide expanse, embracing so large a part of those topics
which concern the business of our age,--was familiar with Criminal Law,
which he administered with the learning of a judge and the tenderness
of a parent,--had compassed the whole circle of Chancery in its
jurisdiction and its pleadings, touching all the interests of life, and
subtilely adapting the Common Law to our own age; and he ascended with
ease to those less trodden heights where are extended the rich demesnes
of Admiralty, the Law of Prize, and that comprehensive theme, embracing
all that history, philosophy, learning, literature, human experience,
and Christianity have testified,--the Law of Nations.

It was not as judge only that he served. He sought other means of
illustrating the science of the law which he loved so well, and
to the cares of judicial life superadded the labors of author and
teacher. To this he was moved by passion for the law, by desire to
aid its elucidation, and by the irrepressible instinct of his nature,
which found in incessant activity the truest repose. His was that
constitution of mind where occupation is the normal state. He was
possessed by a genius for labor. Others may moil in law as constantly,
but without his loving, successful study. What he undertook he always
did with heart, soul, and mind,--not with reluctant, vain compliance,
but with his entire nature bent to the task. As in social life, so was
he in study: his heart embraced labor, as his hand grasped the hand of

As teacher, he should be gratefully remembered here. He was Dane
Professor of Law in the University. By the attraction of his name
students were drawn from remote parts of the Union, and the Law School,
which had been a sickly branch, became the golden mistletoe of our
ancient oak.[164] Besides learning unsurpassed in his profession, he
brought other qualities not less important in a teacher,--goodness,
benevolence, and a willingness to teach. Only a good man can be a
teacher, only a benevolent man, only a man willing to teach. He was
filled with a desire to teach. He sought to mingle his mind with
that of his pupil. To pour into the souls of the young, as into
celestial urns, the fruitful waters of knowledge, was to him a blessed
office. The kindly enthusiasm of his nature found a response. Law,
sometimes supposed to be harsh and crabbed, became inviting under
his instructions. Its great principles, drawn from experience and
reflection, from the rules of right and wrong, from the unsounded
depths of Christian truth, illustrated by the learning of sages and
the judgments of courts, he unfolded so as to inspire a love for their
study,--well knowing that the knowledge we impart is trivial, compared
with that awakening of the soul under the influence of which the
pupil himself becomes teacher. All of knowledge we can communicate is
finite; a few pages, a few chapters, a few volumes, will embrace it;
but such an influence is of incalculable power. It is the breath of a
new life; it is another soul. Story taught as priest of the law seeking
to consecrate other priests. In him the spirit spake, not with the
voice of earthly calling, but with the gentleness and self-forgetful
earnestness of one pleading in behalf of justice, knowledge, happiness.
His well-loved pupils hung upon his lips, and, as they left his
presence, confessed new reverence for virtue, and warmer love of
knowledge for its own sake.


"Talis erat species auri frondentis opaca Ilice."

_Æneis_, VI. 208.

The spirit which glowed in his teachings filled his life. He was, in
the truest sense, Jurist,--student and expounder of jurisprudence as
a science,--not merely lawyer or judge, pursuing it as an art. This
distinction, though readily perceived, is not always regarded.

Members of the profession, whether on the bench or at the bar, seldom
send their regard beyond the case directly before them. The lawyer is
generally content with the applause of the court-house, the approbation
of clients, "fat contentions, and flowing fees." Infrequently does he
render voluntary service felt beyond the limited circle in which he
moves, or helping forward the landmarks of justice. The judge, in the
discharge of his duty, applies the law to the case before him. He may
do this discreetly, honorably, justly, benignly, in such wise that the
community who looked to him for justice shall pronounce his name with

    "That his bones,
     When he has run his course and sleeps in blessings,
     May have a tomb of orphans' tears wept on 'em."

But the function of lawyer or judge, both _practising_ law, is unlike
that of the jurist, who, whether judge or lawyer, examines every
principle in the light of science, and, while doing justice, seeks
to widen and confirm the means of justice hereafter. All ages have
abounded in lawyers and judges; there is no church-yard that does not
contain their forgotten dust. But the jurist is rare. The judge passes
the sentence of the law upon the prisoner at the bar face to face; but
the jurist, invisible to mortal sight, yet speaks, as was said of the
Roman Law, swaying by the reason, when he has ceased to govern by the
living voice. Such a character does not live for the present only,
whether in time or place. Ascending above its temptations, yielding
neither to the love of gain nor to the seduction of ephemeral praise,
he perseveres in those serene labors which help to build the mighty
dome of justice, beneath which all men are to seek shelter and peace.

It is not uncommon to hear the complaint of lawyers and judges, as they
liken themselves, in short-lived fame, to the well-graced actor, of
whom only uncertain traces remain when his voice has ceased to charm.
But they labor for the present only. How can they hope to be remembered
beyond the present? They are instruments of a temporary and perishable
purpose. How can they hope for more than they render? They do nothing
for all. How can they think to be remembered beyond the operation
of their labors? So far forth, in time or place, as any beneficent
influence is felt, so far will its author be gratefully commemorated.
Happy may he be, if he has done aught to connect his name with the
enduring principles of justice!

In the world's history, lawgivers are among the greatest and most
godlike characters. They are reformers of nations. They are builders
of human society. They are fit companions of the master poets who fill
it with their melody. Man will never forget Homer, Virgil, Dante,
Shakespeare, Milton, Goethe,--nor those other names of creative force,
Minos, Solon, Lycurgus, Numa, Justinian, St. Louis, Napoleon the
legislator. Each is too closely linked with human progress not to be
always remembered.

In their train follow the company of jurists, whose labors have the
value without the form of legislation, and whose recorded opinions,
uttered from the chair of a professor, the bench of a judge, or, it may
be, from the seclusion of private life, continue to rule the nations.
Here are Papinian, Tribonian, Paulus, Gaius, ancient, time-honored
masters of the Roman Law,--Cujas, its most illustrious expounder in
modern times, of whom D'Aguesseau said, "Cujas has spoken the language
of the law better than any modern, and perhaps as well as any ancient,"
and whose renown during life, in the golden age of jurisprudence,
was such that in the public schools of Germany, when his name was
mentioned, all took off their hats,--Dumoulin, kinsman of our English
Queen Elizabeth, and most illustrious expounder of municipal law, one
of whose books was said to have accomplished what thirty thousand
soldiers of his monarch failed to do,--Hugo Grotius, filled with all
knowledge and loving all truth, author of that marvellous work, at
times divine, at other times, alas! too much of this earth, the "Laws
of War and Peace,"--John Selden, who against Grotius vindicated for
his country the dominion of the sea, supped with Ben Jonson at the
Mermaid, and became, according to contemporary judgment, the great
dictator of learning to the English nation,--D'Aguesseau, who brought
scholarship to jurisprudence throughout a long life elevated by justice
and refined by all that character and study could bestow, awakening
admiration even at the outset, so that a retiring magistrate declared
that he should be glad to end as the young man began,--Pothier, whose
professor's chair was kissed in reverence by pilgrims from afar, while
from his recluse life he sent forth those treatises which enter so
largely into the invaluable codes of France,--Coke, the indefatigable,
pedantic, but truly learned author and judge, Mansfield, the Chrysostom
of the bench, and Blackstone, the elegant commentator, who are among
the few exemplars within the boast of the English Common Law,--and,
descending to our own day, Pardessus, of France, to whom commercial
and maritime law is under a larger debt, perhaps, than to any single
mind,--Thibaut, of Germany, earnest and successful advocate of a just
scheme for the reduction of the unwritten law to the certainty of a
written text,--Savigny, also of Germany, renowned illustrator of the
Roman Law, who is yet spared to his favorite science,--and in our own
country one now happily among us to-day by his son,[165] James Kent,
the unquestioned living head of American jurisprudence. These are among
jurists. Let them not be confounded with the lawyer, bustling with
forensic success, although, like Dunning, arbiter of Westminster Hall,
or, like Pinkney, acknowledged chief of the American bar. The jurist
is higher than the lawyer,--as Watt, who invented the steam-engine, is
higher than the journeyman who feeds its fires and pours oil upon its
irritated machinery,--as Washington is more exalted than the Swiss,
who, indifferent to the cause, barters for money the vigor of his arm
and the sharpness of his spear.

    [165] Hon. William Kent, recently appointed Royall Professor of Law in
Harvard University.

The lawyer is the honored artisan of the law. Tokens of worldly success
surround him; but his labors are on the things of to-day. His name is
written on the sandy margin of the sounding sea, soon to be washed
away by the embossed foam of the tyrannous wave. Not so is the name of
the jurist. This is inscribed on the immortal tablets of the law. The
ceaseless flow of ages does not wear off their indestructible front;
the hour-glass of Time refuses to measure the period of their duration.

Into the company of Jurists Story has now passed, taking place, not
only in the immediate history of his country, but in the grander
history of civilization. It was a saying of his, often uttered in the
confidence of friendship, that a man may be measured by the horizon of
his mind, whether it embraces the village, town, county, or state in
which he lives, or the whole broad country,--ay, the world itself. In
this spirit he lived and wrought, elevating himself above the present,
and always finding in jurisprudence an absorbing interest. Only a few
days before the illness ending in death, it was suggested to him, that,
as he was about to retire from the bench, there were many who would
be glad to see him President. He replied at once, spontaneously, and
without hesitation, "that the office of President of the United States
would not tempt him from his professor's chair and from the law." So
spoke the Jurist. As lawyer, judge, professor, he was always Jurist.
While administering justice between parties, he sought to extract from
their cause the elements of future justice, and to advance the science
of the law. Thus his judgments have a value stamped upon them which
is not restricted to the occasions when they were pronounced. Like
the gold coin of the Republic, they bear the image and superscription
of sovereignty, which is recognized wherever they go, even in foreign

Many years ago his judgments in matters of Admiralty and Prize arrested
the attention of that famous judge and jurist, Lord Stowell; and Sir
James Mackintosh, a name emblazoned by literature and jurisprudence,
said of them, that they were "justly admired by all cultivators of
the Law of Nations."[166] He has often been cited as authority in
Westminster Hall,--an English tribute to a foreign jurist almost
unprecedented, as all familiar with English law will know; and the
Chief Justice of England made the remarkable declaration, with regard
to a point on which Story differed from the Queen's Bench, that his
opinion would "at least neutralize the effect of the English decision,
and induce any of their courts to consider the question as an open
one."[167] In the House of Lords, Lord Campbell characterized him
as "one of the greatest ornaments of the United States, who had a
greater reputation as a legal writer than any author England could
boast since the days of Blackstone";[168] and, in a letter to our
departed brother, the same distinguished magistrate said: "I survey
with increased astonishment your extensive, minute, exact, and familiar
knowledge of English legal writers in every department of the law. A
similar testimony to your juridical learning, I make no doubt, would be
offered by the lawyers of France and Germany, as well as of America,
and we should all concur in placing you at the head of the jurists of
the present age."[169] His authority was acknowledged in France and
Germany, the classic lands of jurisprudence; nor is it too much to say,
that at the moment of his death he enjoyed a renown such as had never
before been achieved, during life, by any jurist of the Common Law.

    [166] Letter of Sir James Mackintosh to Hon. Edward Everett, dated June
3, 1824: Life and Letters of Story, Vol. I. p. 435.

    [167] Letter of Lord Denman to Charles Sumner, Esq., dated September
29, 1840: Life and Letters of Story, Vol. II. p. 379. The case to which
Lord Denman referred was that of _Peters_ v. _The Warren Insurance
Company_, 3 Sumner's Rep. 389, where Mr. Justice Story dissented from
the case of _De Vaux_ v. _Salvador_, 4 Adolph. & Ellis, 420.

    [168] Hansard, Parl. Deb., LXVIII. 667.

    [169] Life and Letters of Story, Vol. II. p. 429.

In this recital I state simply facts, without intending to assert
presumptuously for our brother any precedence in the scale of eminence.
The extent of his fame is a fact. It will not be forgotten, as a proper
contrast to his fame, which was not confined to his own country or to
England, that the cultivators of the Common Law have hitherto enjoyed
little more than an insular reputation, and that even its great master
received on the Continent no higher designation than _quidam Cocus_,
"one Coke."

In the Common Law was the spirit of liberty; in that of the Continent
the spirit of science. The Common Law has given to the world trial by
jury, _habeas corpus_, parliamentary representation, the rules and
orders of debate, and that benign principle which pronounces that
its air is too pure for a slave to breathe,--perhaps the five most
important political establishments of modern times. From the Continent
proceeded the important impulse to the systematic study, arrangement,
and development of the law,--also the example of Law Schools and of

Story was bred in the Common Law; but while admiring its vital
principles of freedom, he felt how much it would gain from science,
and from other systems of jurisprudence. In his later labors he never
forgot this object; and under his hands we behold the development of a
study until him little known or regarded,--the science of _Comparative
Jurisprudence_, kindred to those other departments of knowledge which
exhibit the relations of the human family, and showing that amidst
diversity there is unity.

I need not add that he emulated the law schools of the Continent,--as
"ever witness for him" this seat of learning.

On more than one occasion, he urged, with conclusive force, the
importance of reducing the unwritten law to the certainty of a code,
compiling and bringing into one body fragments now scattered in all
directions, through the pages of many thousand volumes.[170] His views
on this subject, while differing from those of John Locke and Jeremy
Bentham,--both of whom supposed themselves able to clothe a people in
a new code, as in fresh garments,--are in substantial harmony with
the conclusions now adopted by the jurists of Continental Europe,
and not unlike those of an earlier age having the authority of Bacon
and Leibnitz, the two greatest intellects ever applied to topics of
jurisprudence in modern times.[171]

    [170] Encyclopædia Americana, article _Law, Legislation, Codes_,
Appendix to Vol. VII. pp. 576-592. Report of the Commissioners of
Massachusetts on the Codification of the Common Law. American Jurist,
Vol. XVII. p. 17.

    [171] Bacon, Offer to King James of a Digest to be made of the Laws of
England: Works, Vol. II. p. 548, 4to ed. Leibnitz, Ratio Corporis Juris
reconcinnandi; Epist. XV., ad Kestnerum: Opera, Tom. IV. Pars iii. pp.
235, 269.

In this catholic spirit he showed true eminence. He loved the law
with a lover's fondness, but not with a lover's blindness. He could
not join with those devotees of the Common Law by whom it is entitled
"the perfection of reason,"--an anachronism great as the assumed
infallibility of the Pope: as if perfection or infallibility existed
in this world! He was led, in becoming temper, to contemplate its
amendment; and here is revealed the Jurist,--not content with the
present, but thoughtful of the future. In a letter published since
his death, he refers with sorrow to "what is but too common in
our profession,--a disposition to resist innovation, even when it
is improvement." It is an elevated mind that, having mastered the
subtilties of the law, is willing to reform them.

And now farewell to thee, Jurist, Master, Benefactor, Friend! May thy
spirit continue to inspire a love for the science of the law! May thy
example be ever fresh in the minds of the young, beaming, as in life,
with encouragement, kindness, and joy!

       *       *       *       *       *

From the grave of the Jurist, at Mount Auburn, let us walk to that
of THE ARTIST, who sleeps beneath the protecting arms of those trees
which cast their shadow into this church. WASHINGTON ALLSTON died in
the month of July, 1843, aged sixty-three, having reached the grand
climacteric, that famous mile-stone on the road of life. It was
Saturday night; the cares of the week were over; the pencil and brush
were laid in repose; the great canvas, on which for many years he had
sought to perpetuate the image of Daniel confronting the soothsayers
of Belshazzar, was left, with fresh chalk lines designating the labor
to be resumed after the repose of the Sabbath; the evening was passed
in the converse of family and friends; words of benediction had fallen
from his lips upon a beloved relative; all had retired for the night,
leaving him alone, in health, to receive the visitation of Death,
sudden, but not unprepared for. Happy lot, thus to be borne away
with blessings on the lips,--not through the long valley of disease,
amidst the sharpness of pain, and the darkness that clouds the slowly
departing spirit, but straight upward, through realms of light,
swiftly, yet gently, as on the wings of a dove!

The early shades of evening began to prevail before the body of the
Artist reached its last resting-place; and the solemn service of
the church was read in the open air, by the flickering flame of a
torch,--fit image of life. In the group of mourners who bore a last
tribute to what was mortal in him of whom so much was immortal stood
our Jurist. Overflowing with tenderness and appreciation of merit in
all its forms, his soul was touched by the scene. In vivid words, as
he slowly left the church-yard, he poured forth his admiration and his
grief. Never was such an Artist mourned by such a Jurist.

Of Allston may we repeat the words in which Burke commemorated his
friend Sir Joshua Reynolds, when he says, "He was the first who
added the praise of the elegant arts to the other glories of his
country."[172] An ingenious English writer, who sees Art with the eye
of taste and humanity, and whom I quote with sympathy, if not with
entire assent, has said, in a recent publication on our Artist, "It
seemed to me that in him America had lost her third great man. What
Washington was as a statesman, Channing as a moralist, _that_ was
Allston as an artist."[173]

    [172] Prior, Life of Burke, Vol. II. p. 190.

    [173] Mrs. Jameson, Memoirs and Essays: _Washington Allston_, p. 126.
(New York, 1846.)

Here again is discerned the inseparable union between character
and works. Allston was a good man, with a soul refined by purity,
exalted by religion, softened by love. In manner he was simple, yet
courtly,--quiet, though anxious to please,--kindly to all alike, the
poor and lowly not less than the rich and great. As he spoke, in that
voice of gentlest utterance, all were charmed to listen; and the
airy-footed hours often tripped on far towards the gates of morning,
before his friends could break from his spell. His character is
transfigured in his works. The Artist is always inspired by the man.

His life was consecrated to Art. He lived to diffuse Beauty, as
writer, poet, painter. As an expounder of principles in his art, he
will take a place with Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Dürer, Sir Joshua
Reynolds, and Fuseli. His theory of painting, as developed in his still
unpublished discourses, and in that tale of beauty, "Monaldi," is an
instructive memorial of conscientious study. In the small group of
painter-poets--poets by the double title of pencil and pen--he holds an
honored place. His ode "America to Great Britain," which is among the
choice lyrics of the language, is superior to the satirical verse of
Salvator Rosa, and may claim companionship with the remarkable sonnets
of Michel Angelo. It was this which made no less a judge than Southey
place him among the first poets of the age.

In youth, while yet a pupil at the University, his busy fingers
found pleasure in drawing; and a pen-and-ink sketch from his hand at
that time is still preserved in the records of a college society.
Shortly after leaving Cambridge he repaired to Europe, in the pursuit
of Art. At Paris were then collected the masterpieces of painting
and sculpture, the spoils of unholy war, robbed from their native
galleries and churches to swell the pomp of the Imperial capital.
There our Artist devoted his days to diligent study of his profession,
particularly to drawing, so important to accurate art. At a later
day, alluding to these thorough labors, he said he "worked like a
mechanic." To these, perhaps, may be referred his singular excellence
in that necessary, but neglected branch, which is to Art what grammar
is to language. Grammar and Design are treated by Aristotle on a level.

Turning his back upon Paris and the greatness of the Empire, he
directed his steps towards Italy, the enchanted ground of literature,
history, and art,--strown with richest memorials of the Past,--filled
with scenes memorable in the Progress of Man,--teaching by the
pages of philosophers and historians,--vocal with the melody of
poets,--ringing with the music which St. Cecilia protects,--glowing
with the living marble and canvas,--beneath a sky of heavenly purity
and brightness,--with the sunsets which Claude has painted,--parted
by the Apennines, early witnesses of the unrecorded Etruscan
civilization,--surrounded by the snow-capped Alps, and the blue,
classic waters of the Mediterranean Sea. The deluge of war submerging
Europe had subsided here, and our Artist took up his peaceful abode in
Rome, the modern home of Art. Strange vicissitude of condition! Rome,
sole surviving city of Antiquity, once disdaining all that could be
wrought by the cunning hand of sculpture,--

    "Excudent alii spirantia mollius æra,
     Credo equidem: vivos ducent de marmore vultus,"--

who has commanded the world by her arms, her jurisprudence, her
church,--now sways it further by her arts. Pilgrims from afar, where
her eagles, her prætors, her interdicts never reached, become willing
subjects of this new empire; and the Vatican, stored with the priceless
remains of Antiquity, and the touching creations of modern art, has
succeeded to the Vatican whose thunders intermingled with the strifes
of modern Europe.

At Rome he was happy in the friendship of Coleridge, and in long walks
cheered by his companionship. We can well imagine that the author
of "Genevieve" and "The Ancient Mariner" would find sympathy with
Allston. It is easy to recall these two natures, tremblingly alive
to beauty of all kinds, looking together upon those majestic ruins,
upon the manifold accumulations of Time, upon the marble which almost
speaks, and upon the warmer canvas,--listening together to the flow
of perpetual fountains, fed by ancient aqueducts,--musing together in
the Forum on the mighty footprints of History,--and entering together,
with sympathetic awe, that grand Christian church whose dome rises a
majestic symbol of the comprehensive Christianity which is the promise
of the Future. "Never judge a work of art by its defects," was a
lesson of Coleridge to his companion, which, when extended, by natural
expansion, to the other things of life, is a sentiment of justice and
charity, more precious than a statue of Praxiteles or a picture of

In England, where our Artist afterwards passed several years, his
intercourse with Coleridge was renewed, and he became the friend and
companion of Lamb and Wordsworth also. Returning to his own country,
he spoke of them with fondness, and often dwelt upon their genius and

In considering his character as an Artist, we may regard him in three
different respects,--drawing, color, and expression or sentiment. It
has already been seen that he devoted himself with uncommon zeal to
drawing. His works bear witness to this excellence. There are chalk
outlines by him, sketched on canvas, which are clear and definite as
anything from the classic touch of Flaxman.

His excellence in color was remarkable. This seeming mystery,
which is a distinguishing characteristic of artists in different
schools, periods, and countries, is not unlike that of language in
literature. Color is to the painter what words are to the author;
and as the writers of one age or place arrive at a peculiar mastery
in language, so do artists excel in color. It would be difficult to
account satisfactorily for the rich idiom suddenly assumed by our
English tongue in the contemporaneous prose of Sidney, Hooker, and
Bacon, and in the unapproached affluence of Shakespeare. It might be
as difficult to account for the unequalled tints which shone on the
canvas of Tintoretto, Paul Veronese, and Titian, masters of what is
called the Venetian School. Ignorance has sometimes referred these
glories to concealed or lost artistic rules in combinations of color,
not thinking that they can be traced only to a native talent for
color, prompted into activity by circumstances difficult at this late
period to determine. As some possess a peculiar, untaught felicity and
copiousness of words without accurate knowledge of grammar, so there
are artists excelling in rich and splendid color, but ignorant of
drawing, and, on the other hand, accurate drawing is sometimes coldly
clad in unsatisfactory color.

Allston was largely endowed by Nature with the talent for color, which
was strongly developed under the influence of Italian art. While in
Rome, he was remarked for his excellence in this respect, and received
from German painters there the flattering title of "American Titian."
Critics of authority have said that the clearness and vigor of his
color approached that of the elder masters.[174] Rich and harmonious
as the verses of the "Faëry Queen," it was uniformly soft, mellow, and
appropriate, without the garish brilliancy of the modern French School,
calling to mind the saying of the blind man, that red resembles the
notes of a trumpet.

    [174] Bunsen, Beschreibung der Stadt Rom, Band I. p. 588. Article on
_Modern Art_, by K. Platner.

He affected no secret or mystery in the preparation of colors. What
he knew he was ready to impart: his genius he could not impart. With
simple pigments, accessible to all alike, he reproduced, with glowing
brush, the tints of Nature. All that his eyes looked upon furnished
a lesson. The flowers of the field, the foliage of the forest, the
sunset glories of our western horizon, the transparent azure above,
the blackness of the storm, the soft gray of twilight, the haze of an
Indian summer, the human countenance animate with thought, and that
finest color in Nature, according to the ancient Greek, the blush of
ingenuous youth,--these were the sources from which he drew. With a
discerning spirit he mixed them on his palette, and with the eye of
sympathy saw them again on his canvas.

But richness of color superadded to accuracy of drawing cannot secure
the highest place in Art; and here I approach a more harmonious
topic. Expression, or, in other words, the sentiment, the thought,
the soul, which inspires the work, is not less important than that
which animates the printed page or beams from the human countenance.
The mere imitation of inanimate Nature belongs to the humbler schools
of Art. The skill of Zeuxis, which drew birds to peck at the grapes
on his canvas, and the triumph of Parrhasius, who deceived his rival
by a painted curtain, cannot compare with those pictures which seem
articulate with the voices of humanity. The highest form of Art is that
which represents man in the highest scenes and under the influence
of the highest sentiments. And that quality or characteristic called
_expression_ is the highest element of Art. It is this which gives to
Raphael, who yields to Titian in color, such acknowledged eminence. His
soul was brimming with sympathies, which his cunning hand kept alive
in immortal pictures. Eye, mouth, countenance, the whole composition,
has life,--not the life of mere imitation, copied from common Nature,
but elevated, softened, refined, idealized. Beholding his works, we
forget the colors in which they are robed; we gaze at living forms, and
look behind the painted screen of flesh into living souls. A genius so
largely endowed with the Promethean fire has been not unaptly called

It was said by Plato that nothing is beautiful which is not morally
good. But this is not a faultless proposition. Beauty is of all kinds
and degrees; and it exists everywhere beneath the celestial canopy, in
us and about us. It is that completeness or finish which gives pleasure
to the mind. It is found in the color of a flower, and the accuracy of
geometry,--in an act of self-sacrifice, and the rhythm of a poem,--in
the virtues of humanity, and the marvels of the visible world,--in the
meditations of a solitary soul, and the stupendous mechanism of civil
society. There is beauty where there is neither life nor morality; but
the highest form of beauty is in the perfection of the moral nature.

The highest beauty of expression is a grace of Christian art. It
flows from sensibilities, affections, and struggles peculiar to
the Christian character. It breathes purity, gentleness, meekness,
patience, tenderness, peace. It abhors pride, vain-glory, selfishness,
intemperance, lust, war. How celestial, compared with that which dwells
in perfection of form or color only! The beauty of ancient art found
congenial expression in the faultless form of Aphrodite rising from
the sea,[175] and in the majestic mien of Juno, with snow-white arms,
and royal robes, seated on a throne of gold,[176]--not in the soul-lit
countenance of her who watched the infant in his manger-cradle, and
throbbed with a mother's heart beneath the agonies of the cross.

    [175] Ovid, Tristia, Lib. II. 527.

    [176] Martial, Epig., Lib. X. 89.

Allston was a Christian artist; and the beauty of expression
lends uncommon charm to his colors. All that he did shows purity,
sensibility, refinement, delicacy, feeling, rather than force. His
genius was almost feminine. As he advanced in years, this was more
remarked. His pictures became more and more instinct with those
sentiments which form the true glory of Art. Early in life he had a
partiality for pieces representing _banditti_; but this taste does not
appear in his later works. And when asked if he would undertake to
fill the vacant panels in the rotunda of the Capitol at Washington,
should Congress determine to order such a work, he is reported to have
said, in memorable words, "I will paint only one subject, and choose
my own: _No battle-piece!_"[177] This incident, so honorable to the
Artist, is questioned; but it is certain that on more than one occasion
he avowed a disinclination to paint _battle-pieces_. I am not aware
if he assigned any reason. Is it too much to suppose that his refined
artistic sense, recognizing expression as the highest beauty of Art,
unconsciously judged the picture? The ancient Greek epigram, describing
the Philoctetes of Parrhasius, an image of hopeless wretchedness and
consuming grief, rises to a like sentiment, when it says, with mild

    "We blame thee, painter, though thy skill commend;
    'Twas time his sufferings with himself should end."[178]

    [177] Dunlap's History of the Arts of Design, Vol. II. p. 188. Mrs.
Jameson's Memoirs and Essays: _Washington Allston_, p. 114.

    [178] Anthol. Lib. IV. Tit. viii. Ep. 26.

In another tone, and with cold indifference to human suffering,
Lucretius sings, in often-quoted verse, that it is pleasant, when
beyond the reach of danger, to behold the shock of contending armies:--

    "Suave etiam belli certamina magna tueri."[179]

    [179] Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, Lib. II. 6.

In like heathen spirit, it may be pleasant to behold a _battle-piece_
in Art. But this is wrong. Admitting the calamitous necessity of
war, it can never be with pleasure--it cannot be without sadness
unspeakable--that we survey its fiendish encounter. The artist of
purest aim, sensitive to these emotions, withdraws naturally from the
field of blood, confessing that no scene of battle finds a place in
the highest Art,--that man, created in the image of God, can never be
pictured degrading, profaning, violating that sacred image.

Were this sentiment adopted in literature as in Art, war would be shorn
of its false glory. Poet, historian, orator, all should join with the
Artist in saying, _No battle-piece!_ Let them cease to dwell, except
with pain and reprobation, upon those dismal exhibitions of human
passion where the life of friends is devoted to procure the death
of enemies. No pen, no tongue, no pencil, by praise or picture, can
dignify scenes from which God averts His eye. It is true, man has slain
his fellow-man, armies have rushed in deadly shock against armies,
the blood of brothers has been spilled. These are tragedies which
History enters sorrowfully, tearfully, in her faithful record; but
this generous Muse with too attractive colors must not perpetuate the
passions from which they sprang or the griefs they caused. Be it her
duty to dwell with eulogy and pride on all that is magnanimous, lovely,
beneficent; let this be preserved by votive canvas and marble also. But
_No battle-piece!_

In the progress of truth, the animal passions degrading our nature are
by degrees checked and subdued. The license of lust and the brutality
of intemperance, marking a civilization inferior to our own, are at
last driven from public display. Faithful Art reflects the character
of the age. To its honor, libertinism and intemperance no longer
intrude their obscene faces into its pictures. The time is at hand
when religion, humanity, and taste will concur in rejecting any image
of human strife. Laïs and Phryne have fled; Bacchus and Silenus are
driven reeling from the scene. Mars will soon follow, howling, as with
that wound from the Grecian spear before Troy. The Hall of Battles,
at Versailles, where Louis Philippe, the inconsistent conservator of
peace, has arrayed, on acres of canvas, the bloody contests in the
long history of France, will be shut by a generation appreciating true

In the mission of teaching to nations and to individuals wherein is
true greatness, Art has a noble office. If not herald, she is at least
handmaid of Truth. Her lessons may not train the intellect, but they
cannot fail to touch the heart. Who can measure the influence from
an image of beauty, affection, and truth? The Christus Consolator of
Scheffer, without a word, wins the soul. Such a work awakens lasting
homage to the artist, and to the spirit from which it proceeds, while
it takes its place with things that never die. Other works, springing
from the lower passions, are no better than gaudy, perishing flowers of
earth; but here is perennial, amaranthine bloom.

Allston loved excellence for its own sake. He looked down upon the
common strife for worldly consideration. With impressive beauty
of truth and expression, he said, "Fame is the eternal shadow of
excellence, from which it can never be separated."[180] Here is a
volume, prompting to noble thought and action, not for the sake of
glory, but for advance in knowledge, virtue, excellence. Our Artist
gives renewed utterance to that sentiment which is the highest grace in
the life of the great magistrate, Lord Mansfield, when, confessing the
attractions of "popularity," he said it was that which followed, not
which was followed after.

    [180] Mrs. Jameson, Memoirs and Essays: _Washington Allston_, p. 118.

As we contemplate the life and works of Allston, we are inexpressibly
grateful that he lived. His example is one of our best possessions. And
yet, while rejoicing that he has done much, we seem to hear a whisper
that he might have done more. His productions suggest a higher genius
than they display; and we are disposed sometimes to praise the master
rather than the work. Like a beloved character in English literature,
Sir James Mackintosh, he finally closed a career of beautiful, but
fragmentary labors, leaving much undone which all had hoped he would
do. The great painting which haunted so many years of his life, and
which his friends and country awaited with anxious interest, remained
unfinished at last. His Virgilian sensibility and modesty would
doubtless have ordered its destruction, had death arrested him less
suddenly. Titian died, leaving incomplete, like Allston, an important
picture, on which his hand was busy down to the time of his death. A
pious and distinguished pupil, the younger Palma, took up the labor
of his master, and, on its completion, placed it in the church for
which it was destined, with this inscription: "That which Titian left
unfinished Palma reverently completed, and dedicated to God." Where is
the Palma who can complete what our Titian has left unfinished?

       *       *       *       *       *

Let us now devoutly approach the grave of the brother whom, in order
of time, we were first called to mourn. WILLIAM ELLERY CHANNING, THE
PHILANTHROPIST, died in the month of October, 1842, aged sixty-two.
By an easy transition we pass from Allston to Channing. They were
friends and connections. The monumental stone which marks the last
resting-place of the Philanthropist was designed by the Artist. In
physical organization they were not unlike, each possessing a fineness
of fibre hardly belonging to the Anglo-Saxon stock. In both we observe
similar sensibility, delicacy, refinement, and truth, with highest
aims; and the color of Allston finds a parallel in the Venetian
richness which marks the style of Channing.

I do not speak of him as Theologian, although his labors have earned
this title also. It is probable that no single mind, in our age, has
exerted a greater influence over theological opinions. But I pass all
this by, without presuming to indicate its character. Far better dwell
on those labors which should not fail to find favor in all churches,
whether at Rome, Geneva, Canterbury, or Boston.

His influence is widely felt and acknowledged. His words have been
heard and read by thousands, in all conditions of life, and in various
lands, whose hearts now throb with gratitude towards the meek and
eloquent upholder of divine truth. An American traveller, at a small
village nestling on a terrace of the Tyrolese Alps, encountered a
German, who, hearing that his companion was from Boston, inquired
earnestly after Channing,--saying that the difficulty of learning
the English language was adequately repaid by the charm of his
writings. A distinguished stranger, when about to visit our country,
was told by a relative not less lovely in character than elevated in
condition, that she envied him his journey "for the sake of Niagara and
Channing." We have already observed that a critic of Art places him in
an American triumvirate with Allston and Washington. More frequently
he is associated with Washington and Franklin. Unlike Washington, he
was never general or president; unlike Franklin, he never held high
office. But it would be difficult to say that since them any American
has exerted greater sway over his fellow-men. And yet, if it be asked
what single measure he carried to a successful close, I could not
answer. It is on _character_ that he has wrought and is still producing
incalculable change. So extensive is this influence, that multitudes
now feel it, although strangers to his spoken or even his written word.
The whole country and age feel it.

I have called him Philanthropist, lover of man,--the title of highest
honor on earth. "I take goodness in this sense," says Lord Bacon, in
his Essays, "_the affecting of the weal of men_, which is that the
Grecians call _Philanthropia_.... This of all virtues and dignities
of the mind is the greatest, being the character of the Deity; and
without it man is a busy, mischievous, wretched thing, no better than
a kind of vermin." Lord Bacon was right. Confessing the attractions of
scholarship, awed by the majesty of the law, fascinated by the beauty
of Art, the soul bends with involuntary reverence before the angelic
nature that seeks the good of his fellow-man. Through him God speaks.
On him has descended in especial measure the Divine Spirit. God is
Love; and man, when most active in good works, most nearly resembles
Him. In heaven, we are told, the first place or degree is given to the
angels of love, who are termed Seraphim,--the second to the angels of
light, who are termed Cherubim.

Sorrowfully it must be confessed that the time has not come when even
his exalted labors find equal acceptance with all men. And now, as
I undertake to speak of them in this presence, I seem to tread on
half-buried cinders. I shall tread fearlessly, loyal ever, I hope, to
the occasion, to my subject, and to myself. In the language of my own
profession, I shall not travel out of the record; but I must be true
to the record. It is fit that his name should be commemorated here.
He was one of us. He was a son of the University, enrolled also among
its teachers, and for many years a Fellow of the Corporation. To him,
more, perhaps, than to any other person, is she indebted for her most
distinctive opinions. His fame is indissolubly connected with hers:--

    "And when thy ruins shall disclaim
     To be the treasurer of his name,
     His name, that cannot die, shall be
     An everlasting monument to thee."[181]

    [181] Ben Jonson's inscription for the "pious marble" in honor of

I have called him Philanthropist: he may also be called Moralist, for
he was the expounder of human duties; but his exposition of duties
was another service to humanity. His morality, elevated by Christian
love, fortified by Christian righteousness, was frankly applied to the
people and affairs of his own country and age. He saw full well, that,
in contest with wrong, more was needed than a declaration of simple
principles. A general morality is too vague for action. Tamerlane
and Napoleon both might join in general praise of peace, and entitle
themselves to be enrolled, with Alexander of Russia, as members of a
Peace Society. Many satisfy the conscience by such generalities. This
was not the case with our Philanthropist. He brought his morality
to bear distinctly upon the world. Nor was he disturbed by another
suggestion, which the moralist often encounters, that his views
were sound in theory, but not practical. He well knew that what is
unsound in theory must be vicious in practice. Undisturbed by hostile
criticism, he did not hesitate to arraign the wrong he discerned, and
fasten upon it the mark of Cain. His philanthropy was morality in

As a moralist, he knew that the truest happiness is reached only
by following the Right; and as a lover of man, he sought on all
occasions to inculcate this supreme duty, which he addressed to nations
and individuals alike. In this attempt to open the gates of a new
civilization, he encountered prejudice and error. The principles of
morality, first possessing the individual, slowly pervade the body
politic; and we are often told, in extenuation of war and conquest,
that the nation and the individual are governed by separate laws,--that
the nation may do what an individual may not do. In combating this
pernicious fallacy, Channing was a benefactor. He helped to bring
government within the Christian circle, and taught the statesman
that there is one comprehensive rule, binding on the conscience in
public affairs, as in private affairs. This truth cannot be too often
proclaimed. Pulpit, press, school, college, all should render it
familiar to the ear, and pour it into the soul. Beneficent Nature
joins with the moralist in declaring the universality of God's law;
the flowers of the field, the rays of the sun, the morning and evening
dews, the descending showers, the waves of the sea, the breezes
that fan our cheeks and bear rich argosies from shore to shore, the
careering storm, all on this earth,--nay, more, the system of which
this earth is a part, and the infinitude of the Universe, in which our
system dwindles to a grain of sand, all declare one prevailing law,
knowing no distinction of person, number, mass, or extent.

While Channing commended this truth, he fervently recognized the
Rights of Man. He saw in our institutions, as established in 1776, the
animating idea of Human Rights, distinguishing us from other countries.
It was this idea, which, first appearing at our nativity as a nation,
shone on the path of our fathers, as the unaccustomed star in the west
which twinkled over Bethlehem.

Kindred to the idea of Human Rights was that other, which appears
so often in his writings as to inspire his whole philanthropy,
the importance of the Individual Man. No human soul so abject in
condition as not to find sympathy and reverence from him. He confessed
brotherhood with all God's children, although separated from them by
rivers, mountains, and seas,--although a torrid sun had left upon
them an unchangeable Ethiopian skin. Filled with this thought, he was
untiring in effort to promote their elevation and happiness. He yearned
to do good, to be a spring of life and light to his fellow-men. "I
see nothing worth living for," he said, "but the divine virtue which
endures and surrenders all things for truth, duty, and mankind." In
this spirit, so long as he lived, he was the constant champion of

In the cause of education and of temperance he was earnest. He saw how
essential to a people governing themselves was knowledge,--that without
it the right of voting would be a dangerous privilege, and that with
it the nation would be elevated with new means of happiness and power.
His vivid imagination saw the blight of intemperance, and exposed it
in glowing colors. In these efforts he was sustained by the kindly
sympathy of those among whom he lived.

There were two other causes in which, more than any other, his soul was
enlisted, especially toward the close of life, and with which his name
will be inseparably associated,--I mean the efforts for the abolition
of those two terrible scourges, Slavery and War.

All will see that I cannot pass these by on this occasion; for not
to speak of them would be to present a portrait in which the most
distinctive features were wanting.

And, first, as to Slavery. To this his attention was particularly
drawn by early residence in Virginia, and a season subsequently in one
of the West India Islands. His soul was moved by its injustice and
inhumanity. He saw in it an infraction of God's great laws of Right
and Love, and of the Christian precept, "Whatsoever ye would that men
should do to you, do ye even so to them." Regarding it contrary to the
law of Nature, the Philanthropist unconsciously adopted the conclusions
of the Supreme Court of the United States, speaking by the mouth of
Chief Justice Marshall,[182] and of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts,
at a later day, speaking by the mouth of Chief Justice Shaw. A solemn
decision, now belonging to the jurisprudence of this Commonwealth,
declares that "slavery is contrary to natural right, to the principles
of justice, humanity, and sound policy."[183]

    [182] The Antelope, 10 Wheaton's Rep. 211.

    [183] Commonwealth _v._ Aves, 18 Pick. 211.

With these convictions, his duty as Moralist and Philanthropist did not
admit of question. He saw before him a giant wrong. Almost alone he
went forth to the contest. On his return from the West Indies, he first
declared himself from the pulpit. At a later day, he published a book
entitled "Slavery," the most considerable treatise from his pen. His
object, as he testifies, was "to oppose slavery on principles which, if
admitted, would inspire resistance to all the wrongs and reverence for
all the rights of human nature."[184] Other publications followed down
to the close of his life, among which was a prophetic letter, addressed
to Henry Clay, against the annexation of Texas, on the ground that
it would entail war with Mexico and the extension of slavery. It is
interesting to know that this letter, before its publication, was read
to his classmate Story, who listened to it with admiration and assent;
so that the Jurist and the Philanthropist joined in this cause.

    [184] Letter to Blanco White, July 29, 1836: Life of White, Vol. II. p.

In his defence of African liberty he invoked always the unanswerable
considerations of justice and humanity. The argument of economy, deemed
by some to contain all that is pertinent, never presented itself to
him. The question of profit and loss was absorbed in the question
of right and wrong. His maxim was,--Anything but slavery; poverty
sooner than slavery. But while exhibiting this institution in blackest
colors, as inhuman, unjust, unchristian, unworthy of an enlightened
age and of a republic professing freedom, his gentle nature found no
word of harshness for those whom birth, education, and custom bred
to its support. Implacable towards wrong, he used mild words towards
wrong-doers. He looked forward to the day when they too, encompassed by
a _moral blockade_, invisible to the eye, but more potent than navies,
and under the influence of increasing light, diffused from all the
nations, must acknowledge the wrong, and set the captive free.

He urged the _duty_--such was his unequivocal language--incumbent on
the Northern States to free themselves from all support of slavery. To
this conclusion he was driven irresistibly by the ethical principle,
that _what is wrong for the individual is wrong for the state_. No son
of the Pilgrims can hold a fellow-man in bondage. Conscience forbids.
No son of the Pilgrims can, through Government, hold a fellow-man
in bondage. Conscience equally forbids. We have among us to-day a
brother who, reducing to practice the teachings of Channing and the
suggestions of his own soul, has liberated the slaves which fell to
him by inheritance. Our homage to this act attests the obligation upon
ourselves. In asking the Free States to disconnect themselves from all
support of slavery, Channing called them to do as _States_ what PALFREY
has done as _man_. At the same time he dwelt with affectionate care
upon the Union. He sought to reform, not to destroy,--to eradicate,
not to overturn; and he cherished the Union as mother of peace,
plenteousness, and joy.

Such were some of his labors for liberty. The mind instinctively
recalls the parallel exertions of John Milton. He, too, was a defender
of liberty. His "Defence of the People of England" drew to him, living,
a larger fame than his sublime epic. But Channing's labors were of
a higher order, more instinct with Christian sentiment, more truly
worthy of renown. Milton's _Defensio pro Populo Anglicano_ was for the
_political_ freedom of the English people, supposed at that time to
number four and a half millions. It was written after the "bawble" of
royalty had been removed, and in the confidence that the good cause was
triumphantly established, beneath the protecting genius of Cromwell.
Channing's _Defensio pro Populo Africano_ was for the _personal_
freedom of three million fellow-men in abject bondage, none of whom
knew that his eloquent pen was pleading their cause. The efforts of
Milton produced his blindness; those of Channing exposed him to obloquy
and calumny. How justly might the Philanthropist have borrowed the
exalted words of the Sonnet to Cyriac Skinner!--

        "What supports me, dost thou ask?
    The conscience, friend, to have lost them overplied
   _In liberty's defence, my noble task,
    Of which all Europe rings from side to side_."

The same spirit of justice and humanity animating him in defence of
liberty inspired his exertions for the abolition of the barbarous
custom or institution of War. When I call war an institution, I mean
international war, sanctioned, explained, and defined by the Law of
Nations, as a mode of determining questions of right. I mean war, the
arbiter and umpire, the Ordeal by Battle, deliberately continued in an
age of civilization, as the means of justice between nations. Slavery
is an institution sustained by municipal law. War is an institution
sustained by the Law of Nations. Both are relics of the early ages, and
are rooted in violence and wrong.

The principle, already considered, that nations and individuals are
bound by one and the same rule, applies here with unmistakable force.
The Trial by Battle, to which individuals once appealed for justice, is
branded by our civilization as _monstrous_ and _impious_; nor can we
recognize honor in the successful combatant. Christianity turns from
these scenes, as abhorrent to her best injunctions. And is it right in
nations to prolong a usage, monstrous and impious in individuals? There
can be but one answer.

This definition leaves undisturbed that question of Christian ethics,
whether the right of self-defence is consistent with the example
and teaching of Christ. Channing thought it was. It is sufficient
that war, when regarded as a judicial combat, sanctioned by the Law
of Nations as an _institution_ to determine justice, raises no such
question, involves no such right. When, in our age, two nations,
parties to existing international law, after mutual preparations,
continued perhaps through years, appeal to war and invoke the God
of Battles, they _voluntarily_ adopt this unchristian umpirage; nor
can either side plead that overruling _necessity_ on which alone the
right of self-defence is founded. They are governed at every step by
the Laws of War. But self-defence is independent of law; it knows no
law, but springs from sudden tempestuous urgency, which brooks neither
circumscription nor delay. Define it, give it laws, circumscribe it by
a code, invest it with form, refine it by punctilio, and it becomes
_the Duel_. And modern war, with its definitions, laws, limitations,
forms, and refinements, is _the Duel of Nations_.

These nations are communities of Christian brothers. War is, therefore,
a duel between brothers; and here its impiety finds apt illustration in
the past. Far away in the early period of time, where uncertain hues
of Poetry blend with the clearer light of History, our eyes discern
the fatal contest between those two brothers, Eteocles and Polynices.
No scene stirs deeper aversion; we do not inquire which was right.
The soul cries out, in bitterness and sorrow, _Both were wrong_, and
refuses to discriminate between them. A just and enlightened opinion,
contemplating the feuds and wars of mankind, will condemn both sides as
wrong, pronouncing all war fratricidal, and every battle-field a scene
from which to avert the countenance, as from that dismal duel beneath
the walls of Grecian Thebes.

To hasten this judgment our Philanthropist labored. "Follow my white
plume," said the chivalrous monarch of France. "Follow the Right," more
resplendent than plume or oriflamme, was the watchword of Channing.
With a soul kindling intensely at every story of magnanimous virtue, at
every deed of self-sacrifice in a righteous cause, his clear Christian
judgment saw the mockery of what is called military glory, whether in
ancient thunderbolts of war or in the career of modern conquest. He
saw that the fairest flowers cannot bloom in soil moistened by human
blood,--that to overcome evil by bullets and bayonets is less great and
glorious than to overcome it by good,--that the courage of the camp is
inferior to this Christian fortitude found in patience, resignation,
and forgiveness of evil, as the spirit which scourged and crucified
the Saviour was less divine than that which murmured, "Father, forgive
them, for they know not what they do."

With fearless pen he arraigned that giant criminal, Napoleon Bonaparte.
Witnesses flocked from all his scenes of blood; and the pyramids of
Egypt, the coast of Palestine, the plains of Italy, the snows of
Russia, the fields of Austria, Prussia, Spain, all Europe, sent forth
uncoffined hosts to bear testimony against the glory of their chief.
Never before, in the name of humanity and freedom, was grand offender
arraigned by such a voice. The sentence of degradation which Channing
has passed, confirmed by coming generations, will darken the name of
the warrior more than any defeat of his arms or compelled abdication of
his power.

These causes Channing upheld and commended with admirable eloquence,
both of tongue and pen. Though abounding in beauty of thought and
expression, he will be judged less by single passages, sentences,
or phrases, than by the continuous and harmonious treatment of his
subject. And yet everywhere the same spirit is discerned. What he said
was an effluence rather than a composition. His style was not formal
or architectural in shape or proportion, but natural and flowing.
Others seem to construct, to build; he bears us forward on an unbroken
stream. If we seek a parallel for him as writer, we must turn our backs
upon England, and repair to France. Meditating on the glowing thought
of Pascal, the persuasive sweetness of Fénelon, the constant and
comprehensive benevolence of the Abbé Saint Pierre, we may be reminded
of Channing.

With few of the physical attributes belonging to the orator, he was
an orator of surpassing grace. His soul tabernacled in a body that
was little more than a filament of clay. He was small in stature; but
when he spoke, his person seemed to dilate with the majesty of his
thoughts,--as the Hercules of Lysippus, a marvel of ancient art, though
not more than a foot in height, revived in the mind the superhuman
strength which overcame the Nemean lion:--

    "Deus ille, Deus; seseque videndum
     Indulsit, Lysippe, tibi, _parvusque videri
     Sentirique ingens_."[185]

    [185] Statius, Silv., Lib. IV. Carm. 6.

His voice was soft and musical, not loud or full in tone; and yet, like
conscience, it made itself heard in the inmost chambers of the soul.
His eloquence was gentleness and persuasion, reasoning for religion,
humanity, and justice. He did not thunder or lighten. The rude
elemental forces furnish no proper image of his power. Like sunshine,
his words descended upon the souls of his hearers, and under their
genial influence the hard in heart were softened, while the closely
hugged mantle of prejudice and error dropped to the earth.

His eloquence had not the character and fashion of forensic effort
or parliamentary debate. It mounted above these, into an atmosphere
unattempted by the applauded orators of the world. Whenever he spoke
or wrote, it was with loftiest purpose, as his works attest,--not
for public display, not to advance himself, not on any question of
pecuniary interest, not under any worldly temptation, but to promote
the love of God and man. Here are untried founts of truest inspiration.
Eloquence has been called _action_; but it is something more. It
is that divine and ceaseless energy which saves and helps mankind.
It cannot assume its highest form in personal pursuit of dishonest
guardians, or selfish contention for a crown,--not in defence of a
murderer, or invective hurled at a conspirator. I would not over-step
the proper modesty of this discussion, nor would I disparage the genius
of the great masters; but all must join in admitting that no rhetorical
skill or oratorical power can elevate these lower, earthly things
to the natural heights on which Channing stood, when he pleaded for
Freedom and Peace.

Such was our Philanthropist. Advancing in life, his enthusiasm seemed
to brighten, his soul put forth fresh blossoms of hope, his mind
opened to new truths. Age brings experience; but, except in a few
constitutions of rare felicity, it renders the mind indifferent to
what is new, particularly in moral truth. His last months were passed
amid the heights of Berkshire, with a people to whom may be applied
what Bentivoglio said of Switzerland,--"Their mountains become them,
and they become their mountains." To them, on the 1st of August, 1842,
he volunteered an Anniversary Address, in commemoration of that great
English victory,--the peaceful emancipation of eight hundred thousand
slaves. These were the last public words from his lips. His final
benediction descended on the slave. His spirit, taking flight, seemed
to say,--nay, still says, _Remember the Slave_.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus have I attempted, humbly and affectionately, to bring before you
the images of our departed brothers, while I dwelt on the great causes
in which their lives were revealed. Servants of Knowledge, Justice,
Beauty, Love, they have ascended to the great Source of Knowledge,
Justice, Beauty, Love. Though dead, they yet speak, informing the
understanding, strengthening the sense of justice, refining the tastes,
enlarging the sympathies. The body dies; but the page of the Scholar,
the interpretation of the Jurist, the creation of the Artist, the
beneficence of the Philanthropist cannot die.

I have dwelt upon their lives and characters, less in grief for what we
have lost than in gratitude for what we possessed so long, and still
retain, in their precious example. Proudly recollecting her departed
children, Alma Mater may well exclaim, in those touching words of
parental grief, that she would not give her dead sons for any living
sons in Christendom. Pickering, Story, Allston, Channing! A grand
Quaternion! Each, in his peculiar sphere, was foremost in his country.
Each might have said, what the modesty of Demosthenes did not forbid
him to boast, that, through him, his country had been crowned abroad.
Their labors were wide as Scholarship, Jurisprudence, Art, Humanity,
and have found acceptance wherever these are recognized.

Their lives, which overflow with instruction, teach one persuasive
lesson to all alike of every calling and pursuit,--_not to live for
ourselves alone_. They lived for Knowledge, Justice, Beauty, Love.
Turning from the strifes of the world, the allurements of office,
and the rage for gain, they consecrated themselves to the pursuit of
excellence, and each, in his own sphere, to beneficent labor. They were
all philanthropists; for the labors of all were directed to the welfare
and happiness of man.

In their presence, how truly do we feel the insignificance of
office and wealth, which men so hotly pursue! What is office? and
what is wealth? Expressions and representatives of what is present
and fleeting only, investing the possessor with a brief and local
regard. Let this not be exaggerated; it must not be confounded
with the serene fame which is the reflection of generous labors in
great causes. The street lights, within the circle of their nightly
glimmer, seem to outshine the distant stars, observed of men in all
lands and times; but gas-lamps are not to be mistaken for celestial
luminaries. They who live for wealth, and the things of this world,
follow shadows, neglecting realities eternal on earth and in heaven.
After the perturbations of life, all its accumulated possessions must
be resigned, except those only which have been devoted to God and
mankind. What we do for _ourselves_ perishes with this mortal dust;
what we do for _others_ lives coeval with the benefaction. Worms may
destroy the body, but they will not consume such a fame.

Struggles of the selfish crowd, clamors of a false patriotism,
suggestions of a sordid ambition, cannot obscure that commanding duty
which enjoins perpetual labor for the welfare of the whole human
family, without distinction of country, color, or race. In this work,
Knowledge, Jurisprudence, Art, Humanity, all are blessed ministers.
More puissant than the sword, they will lead mankind from the bondage
of error into that service which alone is freedom:--

    "Hæ tibi erunt artes, _pacisque imponere morem_."[186]

    [186] Æneid, VI. 852.--Dryden, translating this passage, gives
distinctness to a duty beyond the language of Virgil:--

"_The fettered slave to free_, These are imperial arts, and worthy

The brothers we commemorate join in summons to this gladsome obedience.
Their examples have voice. Go forth into the many mansions of the house
of life. Scholar! store them with learning. Jurist! strengthen them
with justice. Artist! adorn them with beauty. Philanthropist! fill
them with love. Be servants of truth, each in his vocation,--sincere,
pure, earnest, enthusiastic. A virtuous enthusiasm is self-forgetful
and noble. It is the grand inspiration yet vouchsafed to man. Like
Pickering, blend humility with learning. Like Story, ascend above the
present, in place and time. Like Allston, regard fame only as the
eternal shadow of excellence. Like Channing, plead for the good of
man. Cultivate alike the wisdom of experience and the wisdom of hope.
Mindful of the future, do not neglect the past; awed by the majesty of
antiquity, turn not with indifference from the new. True wisdom looks
to the ages before, as well as behind. Like the Janus of the Capitol,
one front regards the past, rich with experience, with memories, with
priceless traditions of virtue; the other is directed to the All
Hail Hereafter, richer still with transcendent hopes and unfulfilled

We stand on the threshold of a new age, which is preparing to recognize
new influences. The ancient divinities of Violence and Wrong are
retreating before the light of a better day. The sun is entering a new
ecliptic, no longer deformed by those images of animal rage, Taurus,
Leo, Scorpio, Sagittarius, but beaming with the mild radiance of those
heavenly signs, Faith, Hope, and Charity.

    "There's a fount about to stream,
     There's a light about to beam,
     There's a warmth about to glow,
     There's a flower about to blow,
     There's a midnight blackness changing
     Into gray:
     Men of thought, and men of action,
     _Clear the way!_

    "Aid the dawning, tongue and pen!
     Aid it, hopes of honest men!
     Aid it, paper! aid it, type!
     Aid it, for the hour is ripe,
     And our earnest must not slacken
     Into play:
     Men of thought, and men of action,
     _Clear the way!_"

The age of Chivalry is gone. An age of Humanity has come. The Horse,
whose importance, more than human, gave its name to that early period
of gallantry and war, now yields the foremost place to Man. In serving
him, in studying his elevation, in helping his welfare, in doing him
good, are fields of bloodless triumph, nobler far than any in which
Bayard or Du Guesclin conquered. Here are spaces of labor, wide as the
world, lofty as heaven. Let me say, then, in the benison once bestowed
upon the youthful knight,--Scholar! Jurist! Artist! Philanthropist!
hero of a Christian age, companion of a celestial knighthood, "Go
forth, be brave, loyal, and successful!"

And may it be our office to light a fresh beacon-fire on the
venerable walls of Harvard, sacred to Truth, to Christ, and to the
Church,[187]--to Truth Immortal, to Christ the Comforter, to the Holy
Church Universal. Let the flame pass from steeple to steeple, from hill
to hill, from island to island, from continent to continent, till the
long lineage of fires illumine all the nations of the earth, animating
them to the holy contests of KNOWLEDGE, JUSTICE, BEAUTY, LOVE!

    [187] The legend on the early seal of Harvard University was _Veritas_.
The present legend is _Christo et Ecclesiæ_.


                      BOSTON, SEPTEMBER 23, 1846.

The Convention was organized by the appointment of Hon. Charles Hudson,
of Westminster, President,--Nathan Appleton, of Boston, Stephen C.
Phillips, of Salem, Amos Abbott, of Andover, Samuel Hoar, of Concord,
Thomas Kinnicutt, of Worcester, Isaac King, of Palmer, E.R. Coit, of
Pittsfield, A. Richards, of Dedham, Artemas Hale, of Bridgewater, and
Aaron Mitchell, of Nantucket, Vice-Presidents,--and F.W. Lincoln,
Jr., of Boston, William S. Robinson, of Lowell, George Marston, of
Barnstable, and E.G. Bowdoin, of South Hadley, Secretaries.

After the appointment of a committee to report resolutions, and its
withdrawal for this purpose, there was a call for Mr. Sumner, who
came forward and spoke. This incident was described by the _Daily
Advertiser_, in its account of the proceedings, as follows.

"After this committee had gone out, Charles Sumner, Esq., of this
city, in response to a general call, took the stand and made a very
eloquent speech, which was received with sympathy and repeated bursts
of applause.... An allusion which he made to Daniel Webster in terms
of the highest admiration, and an appeal to him to add to his title
of _Defender of the Constitution_ that of _Defender of Freedom_
[_Humanity_], was received with great applause."

Mr. Winthrop, at the call of the Convention, spoke immediately after
Mr. Sumner.

As Mr. Sumner stepped from the platform, Mr. Appleton, one of the
Vice-Presidents, said to him, "A good speech for Virginia, but out of
place here"; to which Mr. Sumner replied, "If good for Virginia, it is
good for Boston, as we have our responsibilities for Slavery." This
incident is mentioned as opening briefly the practical issue made by
many with regard to the discussion of Slavery at the North.


    Grateful for the honor done me in this early call to address the
    Convention, I shall endeavor to speak with sincerity and frankness
    on the duties of the Whig party. It is of Duties that I shall speak.

    On the first notice that our meeting was to be in Boston, many
    were disposed to regret that the country was not selected instead,
    believing that the opinions of the country, free as its bracing
    air, more than those of Boston, were in harmony with the tone
    becoming us at the present crisis. In the country is the spirit
    of freedom, in the city the spirit of commerce; and though these
    two spirits may at times act in admirable conjunction and with
    irresistible strength, yet it sometimes occurs that the generous
    and unselfish impulses of the one are checked and controlled by the
    careful calculations of the other. Even Right and Liberty are, in
    some minds, of less significance than dividends and dollars.

    But I am happy that the Convention is convoked in Faneuil Hall,--a
    place vocal with inspiring accents; and though on other occasions
    words have been uttered here which the lover of morals, of freedom,
    and humanity must regret, these walls, faithful only to Freedom,
    refuse to echo them. Whigs of Massachusetts, in Faneuil Hall
    assembled, must be true to this early scene of patriot struggles;
    they must be true to their own name, which has descended from the
    brave men who took part in those struggles.

    We are a Convention of Whigs. And who are the Whigs? Some may say
    they are supporters of the Tariff; others, that they are advocates
    of Internal Improvements, of measures to restrict the Veto Power,
    or it may be of a Bank. All these are now, or have been, prominent
    articles of the party. But this enumeration does not do justice to
    the Whig character.

    The Whigs, as their name imports, are, or ought to be, the party
    of Freedom. They seek, or should seek, on all occasions, to carry
    out fully and practically the principles of our institutions. Those
    principles which our fathers declared, and sealed with their blood,
    their Whig children should seek to manifest in acts. The Whigs,
    therefore, reverence the Declaration of Independence, as embodying
    the vital truths of Freedom, especially that great truth, "that
    all men are created equal." They reverence the Constitution of the
    United States, and seek to guard it against infractions, believing
    that under the Constitution Freedom can be best preserved. They
    reverence the Union, believing that the peace, happiness, and
    welfare of all depend upon this blessed bond. They reverence the
    public faith, and require that it shall be punctiliously kept in
    all laws, charters, and obligations. They reverence the principles
    of morality, truth, justice, right. They seek to advance their
    country rather than individuals, and to promote the welfare of the
    people rather than of leaders. A member of such an association,
    founded on the highest moral sentiments, recognizing conscience and
    benevolence as animating ideas, is not open to the accusation that
    he "to party gave up what was meant for mankind,"--since all the
    interests of the party must be coincident and commensurate with the
    manifold interests of humanity.

    Such is, as I trust, the Whig party of Massachusetts. It refuses
    to identify itself exclusively with those measures of transient
    policy which, like the Bank, may become "obsolete ideas," but
    connects itself with everlasting principles which can never fade or
    decay. Doing this, it does not neglect other things, as the Tariff,
    or Internal Improvements; but it treats them as subordinate. Far
    less does it show indifference to the Constitution or the Union;
    for it seeks to render these guardians and representatives of the
    principles to which we are attached.

    The Whigs have been called by you, Mr. President, _conservatives_.
    In a just sense, they should be conservatives,--not of forms only,
    but of substance,--not of the letter only, but of the living
    spirit. The Whigs should be conservators of the ancestral spirit,
    conservators of the animating ideas in which our institutions were
    born. They should profess that truest and highest conservatism
    which watches, guards, and preserves the great principles of Truth,
    Right, Freedom, and Humanity. Such a conservatism is not narrow and
    exclusive, but broad and expansive. It is not trivial and bigoted,
    but manly and generous. It is the conservatism of '76.

    Let me say, then, that the Whigs of Massachusetts are--I hope it
    is not my wish only that is father to the thought--the party which
    seeks the establishment of Truth, Freedom, Right, and Humanity,
    under the Constitution of the United States, and by the Union of
    the States. They are Unionists, Constitutionalists, Friends of the

    The question here arises, How shall this party, inspired by these
    principles, now act? The answer is easy. In strict accordance with
    their principles. It must utter them with distinctness, and act
    upon them with energy.

    The party will naturally express opposition to the present
    Administration for its treacherous course on the tariff, and
    for its interference by veto with internal improvements; but it
    will be more alive to evils of greater magnitude,--the unjust and
    unchristian war with Mexico, which is not less absurd than wicked,
    and, beyond this, the institution of Slavery.

    The time, I believe, has gone by, when the question is asked,
    _What has the North to do with Slavery?_ It might almost be
    answered, that, politically, it has little to do with anything
    else,--so are all the acts of our Government connected, directly
    or indirectly, with this institution. Slavery is everywhere.
    Appealing to the Constitution, it enters the Halls of Congress, in
    the disproportionate representation of the Slave States. It holds
    its disgusting mart at Washington, in the shadow of the Capitol,
    under the legislative jurisdiction of the Nation,--of the North as
    well as the South. It sends its miserable victims over the high
    seas, from the ports of Virginia to the ports of Louisiana, beneath
    the protecting flag of the Republic. It presumes to follow into
    the Free States those fugitives who, filled with the inspiration
    of Freedom, seek our altars for safety; nay, more, with profane
    hands it seizes those who have never known the name of slave,
    freemen of the North, and dooms them to irremediable bondage. It
    insults and expels from its jurisdiction honored representatives
    of Massachusetts, seeking to secure for her colored citizens
    the peaceful safeguard of the Union. It assumes at pleasure to
    build up new slaveholding States, striving perpetually to widen
    its area, while professing to extend the area of Freedom. It
    has brought upon the country war with Mexico, with its enormous
    expenditures and more enormous guilt. By the spirit of union among
    its supporters, it controls the affairs of Government,--interferes
    with the cherished interests of the North, enforcing and then
    refusing protection to her manufactures,--makes and unmakes
    Presidents,--usurps to itself the larger portion of all offices
    of honor and profit, both in the army and navy, and also in the
    civil department,--and stamps upon our whole country the character,
    before the world, of that monstrous anomaly and mockery, _a
    slaveholding republic_, with the living truths of Freedom on its
    lips and the dark mark of Slavery on its brow.

    In opposition to Slavery, Massachusetts has already, to a certain
    extent, done what becomes her character as a free Commonwealth.
    By successive resolutions of her Legislature, she has called for
    the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, and for the
    abolition of the slave-trade between the States; and she has also
    proposed an amendment of the Constitution, putting the South upon
    an equality with the North in Congressional representation. More
    than this, her judiciary, always pure, fearless, and upright, has
    inflicted upon Slavery the brand of reprobation. I but recall a
    familiar fact, when I refer to the opinion of the Supreme Court
    of Massachusetts, where it is expressly declared that "slavery is
    contrary to natural right, to the principles of justice, humanity,
    and sound policy."[188] This is the law of Massachusetts.

    [188] 18 Pick. Rep. 215.

    And shall this Commonwealth continue in any way to sustain an
    institution which its laws declare to be contrary to natural right,
    justice, humanity, and sound policy? Shall Whigs support what is
    contrary to the fundamental principles of the party? Here the
    consciences of good men respond to the judgment of the Court.
    If it be wrong to hold a single slave, it must be wrong to hold
    many. If it be wrong for an individual to hold a slave, it must be
    wrong for a State. If it be wrong for a State in its individual
    capacity, it must be wrong also in association with other States.
    Massachusetts does not allow any of her citizens within her borders
    to hold slaves. Let her be consistent, and call for the abolition
    of slavery wherever she is any way responsible for it, not only
    where she is a party to it, but wherever it may be reached by her
    influence,--that is, everywhere beneath the Constitution and laws
    of the National Government. "If any practices exist," said Mr.
    Webster, in one of those earlier efforts which commended him to our
    admiration, his Discourse at Plymouth in 1820,--"if any practices
    exist contrary to the principles of justice and humanity, within
    the reach of our laws or our influence, _we are inexcusable, if we
    do not exert ourselves to restrain and abolish them_."[189] This
    is correct, worthy of its author, and of Massachusetts. It points
    directly to Massachusetts as inexcusable for not doing her best to
    restrain and abolish slavery everywhere within the reach of her
    laws or her influence.

    [189] Works, Vol. I. p. 45.

    Certainly, to labor in this cause is far higher and nobler than to
    strive for _repeal of the Tariff_, once the tocsin to rally the
    NATIONAL GOVERNMENT is a watchword more Christian and more potent,
    because it embodies a higher sentiment and a more commanding duty.

    The time has passed when this can be opposed on constitutional
    grounds. It will not be questioned by any competent authority, that
    Congress may, by express legislation, abolish slavery: first, in
    the District of Columbia; secondly, in the Territories, if there
    should be any; thirdly, that it may abolish the slave-trade on the
    high seas between the States; fourthly, that it may refuse to admit
    new States with a constitution sanctioning slavery. Nor can it be
    questioned that the people of the United States may, in the manner
    pointed out by the Constitution, proceed to its amendment. It is,
    then, by constitutional legislation, and even by amendment of the
    Constitution, that slavery may be reached.

    Here the question arises, Is there any _compromise_ in the
    Constitution of such a character as to prevent action? This word
    is invoked by many honest minds as the excuse for not joining in
    this cause. Let me meet this question frankly and fairly. The
    Constitution, it is said, was the result of compromise between the
    Free States and the Slave States, which good faith will not allow
    us to break. To this it may be replied, that the Slave States, by
    their many violations of the Constitution, have already overturned
    all the original compromises, if any there were of perpetual
    character. But I do not content myself with this answer. I wish
    to say, distinctly, that there is no compromise on slavery not to
    be reached _legally and constitutionally_, which is the only way
    in which I propose to reach it. Wherever powers and jurisdiction
    are secured to Congress, they may unquestionably be exercised in
    conformity with the Constitution; even in matters beyond existing
    powers and jurisdiction there is a constitutional method of action.
    The Constitution contains an article pointing out how, at any time,
    amendments may be made. This is an important element, giving to
    the Constitution a _progressive_ character, and allowing it to be
    moulded according to new exigencies and conditions of feeling.
    The wise framers of this instrument did not treat the country as a
    Chinese foot,--never to grow after its infancy,--but anticipated
    the changes incident to its advance. "_Provided_, that no amendment
    which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred
    and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses
    in the ninth section of the first article, and that no State,
    without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the
    Senate." These are the words of the Constitution. They expressly
    designate what shall be sacred from amendment,--what compromise
    shall be perpetual,--and so doing, according to a familiar rule
    of law and of logic, virtually declare that the remainder of the
    Constitution may be amended. Already, since its adoption, twelve
    amendments have been made, and every year produces new projects.
    There has been a pressure on the floor of Congress to abrogate the
    veto, and also to limit the tenure of the Presidential office.
    Let it be distinctly understood, then,--and this is my answer to
    the pretension of binding compromise,--that, in conferring upon
    Congress certain specified powers and jurisdiction, and also in
    providing for the amendment of the Constitution, its framers
    expressly established the means for setting aside what are vaguely
    called compromises of the Constitution. They openly declare,
    "Legislate as you please, in conformity with the Constitution;
    and even make amendments rendered proper by change of opinion or
    circumstances, following always the manner prescribed."

    Nor can we dishonor the revered authors of the Constitution by
    supposing that they set their hands to it, believing that under
    it slavery was to be _perpetual_,--that the Republic, which they
    had reared to its giant stature, snatched from heaven the sacred
    fire of Freedom, only to be bound, like another Prometheus, in
    adamantine chains of Fate, while Slavery, like another vulture,
    preyed upon its vitals. Let Franklin speak for them. He was
    President of the earliest Abolition Society in the United States,
    and in 1790, only two years after the adoption of the Constitution,
    addressed a petition to Congress, calling upon them to "step to
    the very verge of the power vested in them for discouraging every
    species of traffic in the persons of our fellow-men."[190] Let
    Jefferson speak for them. His desire for the abolition of slavery
    was often expressed with philanthropic warmth and emphasis, and is
    too familiar to be quoted. Let Washington speak for them. "It is
    among my first wishes," he said, in a letter to John F. Mercer,
    "to see some plan adopted by which slavery in this country _may
    be abolished by law_."[191] And in his will, penned with his own
    hand, during the last year of his life, he bore his testimony
    again, by providing for the emancipation of all his slaves. It is
    thus that Washington speaks, not only by words, but by actions
    more significant "Give freedom to your slaves." The Father of his
    Country requires, as a token of the filial piety which all profess,
    that his example shall be followed. I am not insensible to the many
    glories of his character; but I cannot contemplate this act without
    a fresh feeling of admiration and gratitude. The martial scene
    depicted on that votive canvas may fade from the memory of men; but
    this act of justice and benevolence can never perish.

      "Ergo postque magisque viri nunc gloria claret."

    [190] Annals of Congress, First Congress, Second Session, col. 1198.

    [191] Sparks's Writings of Washington, Vol. IX. p. 159, note.

    I assume, then, that it is the duty of Whigs professing the
    principles of the fathers to express themselves openly,
    distinctly, and solemnly against slavery,--_not only against its
    further extension, but against its longer continuance under the
    Constitution and Laws of the Union_. But while it is their duty
    to enter upon this holy warfare, it should be their aim to temper
    it with moderation, with gentleness, with tenderness, towards
    slave-owners. These should be won, if possible, rather than driven,
    to the duties of emancipation. But emancipation should always be
    presented as the cardinal object of our national policy.

    It is for the Whigs of Massachusetts now to say whether the
    republican edifice shall indeed be one where all the Christian
    virtues will be fellow-workers with them. The resolutions which
    they adopt, the platform of principles which they establish, must
    be the imperishable foundation of a true glory.

    But it will not be sufficient to pass _resolutions_ opposing
    slavery; we must choose _men_ who will devote themselves earnestly,
    heartily, to the work,--who will enter upon it with awakened
    conscience, and with that valiant faith before which all obstacles
    disappear,--who will be ever loyal to Truth, Freedom, Right,
    Humanity,--who will not look for rules of conduct down to earth,
    in the mire of expediency, but with heaven-directed countenance
    seek those great "primal duties" which "shine aloft like stars,"
    to illumine alike the path of individuals and of nations. They
    must be true to the principles of Massachusetts. They must not
    be Northern men with Southern principles, nor Northern men under
    Southern influences. They must be courageous and willing on all
    occasions to stand alone, provided Right be with them. "Were there
    as many devils in Worms as there are tiles upon the roofs," said
    Martin Luther, "yet would I enter." Such a spirit is needed now
    by the advocates of Right. They must not be ashamed of the name
    which belongs to Franklin, Jefferson, and Washington,--expressing
    the idea which should be theirs,--Abolitionist. They must be
    thorough, uncompromising advocates of the repeal of slavery,--of
    its abolition under the laws and Constitution of the United States.
    They must be Repealers, Abolitionists.

    There are a few such now in Congress. Massachusetts has a
    venerable Representative,[192] whose aged bosom still glows with
    inextinguishable fires, like the central heats of the monarch
    mountain of the Andes beneath its canopy of snow. To this cause
    he dedicates the closing energies of a long and illustrious life.
    Would that all might join him!

    [192] John Quincy Adams.

    There is a Senator of Massachusetts we had hoped to welcome here
    to-day, whose position is of commanding influence. Let me address
    him with the respectful frankness of a constituent and friend.
    Already, Sir, by various labors, you have acquired an honorable
    place in the history of our country. By the vigor, argumentation,
    and eloquence with which you upheld the Union, and that
    interpretation of the Constitution which makes us a Nation, you
    have justly earned the title of _Defender of the Constitution_. By
    masterly and successful negotiation, and by efforts to compose the
    strife concerning Oregon, you have earned another title,--_Defender
    of Peace_. Pardon me, if I add, that there are yet other duties
    claiming your care, whose performance will be the crown of a long
    life in the public service. Do not forget them. Dedicate, Sir, the
    years happily in store for you, with all that precious experience
    which is yours, to grand endeavor, in the name of Human Freedom,
    for the overthrow of that terrible evil which now afflicts our
    country. In this cause are inspirations to eloquence higher than
    any you have yet confessed.

      "To heavenly themes sublimer strains belong."

    Do not shrink from the task. With the marvellous powers that are
    yours, under the auspicious influences of an awakened public
    sentiment, and under God, who smiles always upon conscientious
    labor for the welfare of man, we may hope for beneficent results.
    Assume, then, these unperformed duties. The aged shall bear witness
    to you; the young shall kindle with rapture, as they repeat the
    name of Webster; the large company of the ransomed shall teach
    their children and their children's children, to the latest
    generation, to call you blessed; and you shall have yet another
    title, never to be forgotten on earth or in heaven,--_Defender
    of Humanity_,--by the side of which that earlier title will fade
    into insignificance, as the Constitution, which is the work of
    mortal hands, dwindles by the side of Man, created in the image of

    [193] How Mr. Webster regarded this appeal will be seen in a letter
from him at the end of the Speech.

    To my mind it is clear that the time has arrived when the Whigs
    of Massachusetts, the party of Freedom, owe it to their declared
    principles, to their character before the world, and to conscience,
    that they should place themselves firmly on this honest ground.
    They need not fear to stand alone. They need not fear separation
    from brethren with whom they have acted in concert. Better be
    separated even from them than from the Right. Massachusetts can
    stand alone, if need be. The Whigs of Massachusetts can stand
    alone. Their motto should not be, "Our party, _howsoever bounded_,"
    but "Our party, bounded always by the Right." They must recognize
    the dominion of Right, or there will be none who will recognize
    the dominion of the party. Let us, then, in Faneuil Hall, beneath
    the images of our fathers, vow perpetual allegiance to the Right,
    and perpetual hostility to Slavery. Ours is a noble cause, nobler
    even than that of our fathers, inasmuch as it is more exalted to
    struggle for the freedom of _others_ than for _our own_. The love
    of Right, which is the animating impulse of our movement, is higher
    even than the love of Freedom. But Right, Freedom, and Humanity all
    concur in demanding the Abolition of Slavery.


                                         MARSHFIELD, October 5, 1846.

    MY DEAR SIR,--I had the pleasure to receive yours of September
    25th, and thank you for the kind and friendly sentiments which you
    express. These sentiments are reciprocal. I have ever cherished
    high respect for your character and talents, and seen with pleasure
    the promise of your future and greater eminence and usefulness.

    In political affairs we happen to entertain, at the present moment,
    a difference of opinion respecting the relative importance of some
    of the political questions of the time, and take a different view
    of the line of duty most fit to be pursued in endeavors to obtain
    all the good which can be obtained in connection with certain
    important subjects. These differences I much regret, but shall not
    allow them to interfere with personal regard, or my continued good
    wishes for your prosperity and happiness.

                              Yours truly,
                                                     DANIEL WEBSTER.



                       BOSTON, OCTOBER 25, 1846.

    Sir,--Newspapers, and some among your friends, complain of the
    manner in which many of your constituents are obliged to regard
    your vote on the Mexican War Bill. This vote is defended with an
    ardor such as even Truth, Freedom, and Right do not always find in
    their behalf,--while honest strictures are attributed to personal
    motives, sometimes to a selfish desire for the place you now hold,
    sometimes even to a wanton purpose to injure you.

    All this may be the natural and inevitable incident of political
    controversy; but it must be regretted that personal feelings
    and imputations of personal selfishness should intrude into the
    discussion of an important question of public duty,--I might say,
    of public morals. As a Whig, never failing to vote for you when I
    had an opportunity, I have felt it proper on other occasions to
    review your course, and to express the sorrow it caused. For this
    I am arraigned; and the question of public morals is forgotten
    in personal feeling. This is my excuse for recalling attention
    now to the true issue. Conscious of no feeling to yourself
    personally, except of good-will, mingled with the recollection
    of pleasant social intercourse, I refer with pain to your vote,
    and the apologies for it which have been set up. As one of your
    constituents, I single you, who are the representative of Boston,
    among the majority with whom you acted. I am not a politician;
    and you will pardon me, therefore, if I do not bring your conduct
    to any test of party or of numbers, to any sliding scale of
    expediency, to any standard except the rule of Right and Wrong.

    To understand your course, it will be necessary to consider the
    action of Congress in declaring war against Mexico. I shall state
    the facts and conclusions briefly as possible.

    By virtue of an unconstitutional Act of Congress, in conjunction
    with the _de facto_ government of Texas, the latter was annexed
    to the United States some time in the month of December, 1845.
    If we regard Texas as a province of Mexico, its boundaries must
    be sought in the geography of that republic. If we regard it as
    an independent State, they must be determined by the extent of
    jurisdiction which the State was able to maintain. Now it seems
    clear that the river Nueces was always recognized by Mexico as
    the western boundary; and it is undisputed that the State of
    Texas, since its Declaration of Independence, never exercised any
    jurisdiction beyond the Nueces. The Act of Annexation could not,
    therefore, transfer to the United States any title to the region
    between the Nueces and the Rio Grande. That region belonged to
    Mexico. _Certainly_ it did not belong to the United States.

    In the month of January, 1846, the President of the United States
    directed the troops under General Taylor, called the Army of
    Occupation, to take possession of this region. Here was an act of
    aggression. As might have been expected, it produced collision.
    The Mexicans, aroused in self-defence, sought to repel the invaders
    from their hearths and churches. Unexpected tidings reached
    Washington that the American forces were in danger. The President,
    in a message to Congress, called for succors.

    Here the question occurs, What was the duty of Congress in this
    emergency? Clearly to withhold all sanction to unjust war,--to
    aggression upon a neighboring Republic,--to spoliation of
    fellow-men. Our troops were in danger only because upon foreign
    soil, forcibly displacing the jurisdiction and laws of the rightful
    government. In this condition of things, the way of safety, just
    and honorable, was by instant withdrawal from the Rio Grande to the
    Nueces. Congress should have spoken like Washington, when General
    Braddock, staggered by the peril of the moment, asked the youthful
    soldier, "What shall I do, Colonel Washington?" "RETREAT, Sir!
    RETREAT, Sir!" was the earnest reply. The American forces should
    have been directed to _retreat_,--not from any human force, but
    from _wrong-doing_; and this would have been a true victory.

    Alas! this was not the mood of Congress. With wicked speed a
    bill was introduced, furnishing large and unusual supplies of
    men and money. In any just sense, such provision was wasteful
    and unnecessary; but it would hardly be worthy of criticism, if
    confined in its object to the safety of the troops. When made,
    it must have been known that the fate of the troops was already
    decided, while the magnitude of the appropriations and the number
    of volunteers called for showed that measures were contemplated
    _beyond self-defence_. Self-defence is easy and cheap. Aggression
    and injustice are difficult and costly.

    The bill, in its earliest guise, provided money and volunteers
    only. Suddenly an amendment is introduced, in the nature of a
    preamble, which gives to it _another character_, in harmony with
    the covert design of the large appropriation. This was adopted by
    a vote of 123 to 67; and the bill then leaped forth, fully armed,
    as a measure of open and active hostility against Mexico. As such,
    it was passed by a vote of 174 to 14. This was on the 11th of May,
    1846, destined to be among the dark days of our history.

    The amendment, in the nature of a preamble, and the important part
    of the bill, are as follows.

    "_Whereas, by the act of the Republic of Mexico, a state of war exists
    between that Government and the United States,_--

    "Be it enacted, &c., _That, for the purpose of enabling the Government
    of the United States to prosecute said war to a speedy and successful
    termination_, the President be, and he is hereby, authorized to employ
    the militia, naval, and military forces of the United States, and to
    call for and accept the services of any number of volunteers, not
    exceeding fifty thousand, and that the sum of ten millions of dollars
    be, and the same is hereby, appropriated for the purpose."

    This Act cannot be regarded merely as provision for the safety of
    General Taylor; nor, indeed can this be considered the principal
    end proposed. It has other and ulterior objects, broader and more
    general, in view of which his safety, important as it might be, is
    of comparative insignificance; as it would be less mournful to lose
    a whole army than lend the solemn sanction of legislation to an
    unjust war.

    This Act may be considered in six different aspects. It is six
    times wrong. Six different and unanswerable reasons should have
    urged its rejection. Six different appeals should have touched
    every heart. I shall consider them separately.

    _First._ It is practically a DECLARATION OF WAR against a sister
    Republic. By the Constitution of the United States, the power of
    declaring war is vested in Congress. Before this Act was passed,
    the Mexican War had no legislative sanction. Without this Act it
    could have no legislative sanction. _By virtue of this Act_ the
    present war is waged. _By virtue of this Act_, an American fleet,
    at immense cost of money, and without any gain of character, is
    now disturbing the commerce of Mexico, and of the civilized world,
    by the blockade of Vera Cruz. _By virtue of this Act_, a distant
    expedition, with pilfering rapacity, has seized the defenceless
    province of California. _By virtue of this Act_ General Kearney has
    marched upon and captured Santa Fe. _By virtue of this Act_ General
    Taylor has perpetrated the massacre at Monterey. _By virtue of this
    Act_ desolation has been carried into a thousand homes, while the
    uncoffined bodies of sons, brothers, and husbands are consigned
    to premature graves. Lastly, it is _by virtue of this Act_ that
    the army of the United States has been converted into a _legalized
    band_ of brigands, marauders, and banditti, against the sanctions
    of civilization, justice, and humanity. American soldiers, who have
    fallen wretchedly in the streets of a foreign city, in the attack
    upon a _Bishop's_ palace, in contest with Christian fellow-men
    defending firesides and altars, may claim the epitaph of Simonides:
    "Go, tell the Lacedæmonians that we lie here in obedience to their
    commands." It was in obedience to this Act of Congress that they
    laid down their lives.

    _Secondly._ This Act gives the sanction of Congress to an _unjust_
    war. War is barbarous and brutal; but this is unjust. It grows
    out of aggression on our part, and is continued by aggression. The
    statement of facts already made is sufficient on this head.

    _Thirdly._ It declares that war exists "_by the act of the Republic
    of Mexico_." This statement of brazen falsehood is inserted in the
    front of the Act. But it is now admitted by most, if not all, of
    the Whigs who unhappily voted for it, that it is not founded in
    fact. It is a national lie.

            "Whose tongue soe'er speaks false
     Not truly speaks; _who speaks not truly_ LIES."

    _Fourthly._ It provides for the prosecution of the war "_to a
    speedy and successful termination_,"--that is, for the speedy and
    successful prosecution of _unjust_ war. Surely no rule can be
    better founded in morals than that we should seek the establishment
    of _right_. How, then, can we strive to hasten the triumph of wrong?

    _Fifthly._ The war has its origin in a series of measures to extend
    and perpetuate slavery. A wise and humane legislator should have
    discerned its source, and found fresh impulses to oppose it.

    _Sixthly._ The war is dishonorable and cowardly, as the attack of
    a rich, powerful, numerous, and united republic upon a weak and
    defenceless neighbor, distracted by civil feud. Every consideration
    of honor, manliness, and Christian duty prompted gentleness and
    forbearance towards our unfortunate sister.

    Such, Sir, is the Act of Congress which received your sanction.
    Hardly does it yield in importance to any measure of our Government
    since the adoption of the National Constitution. It is the most
    wicked in our history, as it is one of the most wicked in all
    history. The recording Muse will drop a tear over its turpitude
    and injustice, while it is gibbeted for the disgust and
    reprobation of mankind.

    Such, Sir, is the Act of Congress to which by your affirmative vote
    the people of Boston are made parties. Through _you_ they are made
    to _declare unjust and cowardly war, with superadded falsehood, in
    the cause of Slavery_. Through _you_ they are made partakers in
    the blockade of Vera Cruz, the seizure of California, the capture
    of Santa Fe, the bloodshed of Monterey. It were idle to suppose
    that the soldier or officer only is stained by this guilt. It
    reaches far back, and incarnadines the Halls of Congress; nay,
    more, through you, it reddens the hands of your constituents in
    Boston. Pardon this language. Strong as it may seem, it is weak to
    express the aggravation of this Act. Rather than lend your hand to
    this wickedness, you should have suffered the army of the United
    States to pass submissively through the Caudine Forks of Mexican
    power,--to perish, it might be, like the legions of Varus. Their
    bleached bones, in the distant valleys where they were waging
    unjust war, would not tell to posterity such a tale of ignominy as
    this lying Act of Congress.

    Passing from the character and consequences of your vote, I proceed
    to examine the grounds on which it is vindicated: for it is
    vindicated, by yourself, and by some of your friends!

    The first vindication, apology, or extenuation appears in your
    speech on the Tariff, delivered in the House of Representatives,
    June 25th. This was a deliberate effort, more than six weeks
    subsequent to the vote, and after all the disturbing influences of
    haste and surprise had passed. It may be considered, therefore,
    to express your own view of the ground on which it is to be
    sustained. And here, while you declare, with commendable
    frankness, that you "would by no means be understood to vindicate
    the justice" (why not say the _truth_?) "of the declaration
    that war exists by the act of Mexico," yet you adhere to your
    vote, and animadvert upon the conduct of Mexico, in refusing to
    receive a minister instead of a commissioner, as if that were a
    vindication, apology, or extenuation! Do we live in a Christian
    land? Is this the nineteenth century? Does an American statesman
    venture any such suggestion in vindication, apology, or extenuation
    of war? On this point I join issue. By the Law of Nations as
    now enlightened by civilization, by the law of common sense, by
    the higher law of Christian duty, the fact presented in your
    vindication can form no ground of war. This attempt has given pain
    to many of your constituents hardly less than the original vote.
    It shows insensibility to the true character of war, and perverse
    adherence to the fatal act of wrong. It were possible to suppose a
    representative, not over-tenacious of moral purpose, shaken from
    his firm resolve by the ardors of a tyrannical majority ordaining
    wicked things; but it is less easy to imagine a deliberate
    vindication of the hasty wrong, when the pressure of the majority
    is removed, and time affords opportunity for the recovery of that
    sense of Right which was for a while overturned.

    Another apology, in which you and your defenders participate, is
    founded on the alleged duty of voting succors to our troops, and
    the impossibility of doing this without voting also for the bill,
    after it was converted into a Declaration of Falsehood and of War.
    It is said that patriotism required this vote. Is not that name
    profaned by this apology? One of your honored predecessors, Sir,
    a Representative of Boston on the floor of Congress, Mr. Quincy,
    replied to such apology, when, on an occasion of trial not unlike
    that through which you have just passed, he gave utterance to these
    noble words:--

    "But it is said that this resolution must be taken as 'a test of
    Patriotism.' To this I have but one answer. If Patriotism ask me
    to assert a falsehood, I have no hesitation in telling Patriotism,
    'I am not prepared to make that sacrifice.' The duty we owe to our
    country is, indeed, among the most solemn and impressive of all
    obligations; yet, high as it may be, it is nevertheless subordinate
    to that which we owe to that Being with whose name and character
    _truth_ is identified. In this respect I deem myself acting upon
    this resolution under a higher responsibility than either to this
    House or to this people."[194]

    [194] Speech on the Resolution concerning the Conduct of the British
Minister, Dec. 28, 1809: Annals of Congress, Eleventh Congress, Second
Session, col. 958.

    These words were worthy of Boston. May her Representatives never
    more fail to feel their inspiration! "But," say the too swift
    defenders, "Mr. Winthrop voted against the falsehood _once_."
    Certainly no reason for not voting against it _always_. But the
    excuse is still pressed, "Succors to General Taylor should have
    been voted." The result shows that even these were unnecessary.
    Before the passage of this disastrous Act of Congress, his troops
    had already achieved a success to which may be applied the words of

              "That _dishonest_ victory
          At Chæronea, _fatal to liberty_."

    But it would have been less wrong to leave him without succors,
    even if needful to his safety, than to vote falsehood and unjust
    war. In seeing that the republic received no detriment, you should
    not have regarded the army only; _your highest care should have
    been that its good name, its moral and Christian character,
    received no detriment_. You might have said, in the spirit of
    virtuous Andrew Fletcher, that "you would lose your life to
    _serve_ your country, but would not do a base thing to _save_
    it." You might have adopted the words of Sheridan, in the British
    Parliament, during our Revolution, that you "could not assent to
    a vote that seemed to imply a recognition or approbation of the

    [195] Speech, Nov. 27, 1780: Hansard, Parl. Hist., XXI. 905.

    Another apology is, that the _majority_ of the Whig party joined
    with you,--or, as it has been expressed, that "Mr. Winthrop voted
    with all the rest of the weight of moral character in Congress,
    from the Free States, belonging to the Whig party, _not included
    in the Massachusetts delegation_"; and suggestions are made in
    disparagement of the _fourteen_ who remained unshaken in loyalty
    to Truth and Peace. In the question of Right or Wrong, it is of
    little importance that a few fallible men, constituting what
    is called a majority, are all of one mind. Supple or insane
    majorities are found in every age to sanction injustice. It was
    a majority which passed the Stamp Act and Tea Tax,--which smiled
    upon the persecution of Galileo,--which stood about the stake of
    Servetus,--which administered the hemlock to Socrates,--which
    called for the crucifixion of our Lord. These majorities cannot
    make us hesitate to condemn such acts and their authors. Aloft on
    the throne of God, and not below in the footprints of a trampling
    multitude, are the sacred rules of Right, which no majorities can
    displace or overturn. And the question recurs, Was it _right_ to
    declare unjust and cowardly war, with superadded falsehood, in the
    cause of Slavery?

    Thus do I set forth the character of your act, and the apologies
    by which it is shielded. I hoped that you would see the wrong, and
    with true magnanimity repair it. I hoped that your friends would
    all join in assisting you to recover the attitude of uprightness
    which becomes a Representative from Boston. But I am disappointed.

    I add, that your course in other respects has been in disagreeable
    harmony with the vote on the Mexican War Bill. I cannot forget--for
    I sat by your side at the time--that on the Fourth of July, 1845,
    in Faneuil Hall, you extended the hand of fellowship to Texas,
    although this slaveholding community was not yet received among the
    States of the Union. I cannot forget the toast,[196] on the same
    occasion, by which you were willing to connect your name with an
    epigram of dishonest patriotism. I cannot forget your apathy at a
    later day, when many of your constituents engaged in constitutional
    efforts to oppose the admission of Texas _with a slaveholding
    constitution_,--so strangely inconsistent with your recent avowal
    of "uncompromising hostility to all measures for introducing new
    Slave States and new Slave Territories into our Union."[197] Nor
    can I forget the ardor with which you devoted yourself to the less
    important question of the Tariff,--indicating the relative value of
    the two in your mind. The vote on the Mexican War Bill seems to be
    the dark consummation of your course.

    [196] "Our country,--however bounded, still our country, to be defended
by all our hands."

    [197] Speech at the Whig Convention in Faneuil Hall, Sept. 23, 1846.

    Pardon me, if I ask you, on resuming your seat in Congress, to
    testify _at once_, without hesitation or delay, against the further
    prosecution of this war. Forget for a while Sub-Treasury, Veto,
    even Tariff, and remember this wicked war. With the eloquence
    which you command so easily, and which is your pride, call for the
    instant cessation of hostilities. Let your cry be that of Falkland
    in the Civil Wars: "Peace! Peace!" Think not of what you call
    in your speeches "an _honorable_ peace." There can be no peace
    with Mexico which will not be more honorable than this war. Every
    fresh victory is a fresh dishonor. "Unquestionably," you have
    strangely said, "we are not to forget that Mexico must be willing
    to negotiate."[198] No! no! Mr. Winthrop! We are not to wait for
    Mexico. Her consent is not needed; nor is it to be asked, while our
    armies are defiling her soil by their aggressive footsteps. She
    is _passive_. We alone are _active_. Stop the war. Withdraw our
    forces. In the words of Colonel Washington, RETREAT! RETREAT! So
    doing, we shall cease from further wrong, and peace will ensue.

    [198] Speech at the Whig Convention, Sept. 23, 1846.

    Let me ask you to remember in your public course the rules of Right
    which you obey in private life. The principles of morals are the
    same for nations as for individuals. Pardon me, if I suggest that
    you have not acted invariably according to this truth. You would
    not in your private capacity set your name to a falsehood; but you
    have done so as Representative in Congress. You would not in your
    private capacity countenance wrong, even in friend or child; but
    as Representative you have pledged yourself "not to withhold your
    vote from any reasonable supplies which may be called for"[199]
    in the prosecution of a wicked war. Do by your country as by
    friend or child. To neither of these would you furnish means of
    offence against a neighbor; do not furnish to your country any such
    means. Again, you would not hold slaves. I doubt not you would
    join with Mr. Palfrey in emancipating any who should become yours
    by inheritance or otherwise. But I do not hear of your effort or
    sympathy with those who seek to carry into our institutions that
    practical conscience which declares it to be as wrong in States as
    in individuals to sanction slavery.

    [199] Speech on the Tariff, June 25, 1846: Congressional Globe,
    Twenty-ninth Congress, First Session, p. 970.

    Let me ask you still further--and you will know if there is reason
    for this request--to bear testimony against the Mexican War, and
    all supplies for its prosecution, regardless of the minority in
    which you are placed. Think, Sir, of the cause, and not of your
    associates. Forget for a while the tactics of party, and all its
    subtle combinations. Emancipate yourself from its close-woven web,
    spun as from a spider's belly, and move in the pathway of Right.
    Remember that you represent the conscience of Boston, the churches
    of the Puritans, the city of Channing.

    Meanwhile a fresh election is at hand, and you are again a
    candidate for the suffrages of your fellow-citizens. I shall
    not anticipate their verdict. Your blameless private life and
    well-known attainments will receive the approbation of all; but
    more than one of your neighbors will be obliged to say,--

                              "Cassio, I love thee,
                  But nevermore be officer of mine!"

                          I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

                                                  CHARLES SUMNER.

      OCTOBER 26, 1846.



    After the appearance of Mr. Sumner's letter to Mr. Winthrop, there
    was a disposition with certain persons feeling strongly on Slavery
    and the Mexican War to seek a candidate against the latter. Mr.
    Sumner again and again refused to accept a nomination. Besides
    his constant unwillingness to enter into public life, he would
    not consent that his criticism of Mr. Winthrop should be weakened
    by the imputation of an unworthy desire for his place. In his
    absence from Boston, lecturing before Lyceums in Maine, a meeting
    of citizens was convened at the Tremont Temple on the evening
    of October 29, 1846, to make what was called an "independent
    nomination for Congress." The meeting was called to order by Dr.
    S.G. Howe, and organized by the choice of the following officers:
    Hon. Charles F. Adams, President,--J.P. Blanchard, Samuel May,
    George Merrill, Dr. Walter Channing, Dr. Henry I. Bowditch, and R.
    I. Attwill, Vice-Presidents,--Charles G. Davis and J.H. Frevert,
    Secretaries. A committee was appointed to draft resolutions and
    nominate a candidate. This committee, by its chairman, John A.
    Andrew, afterwards Governor of Massachusetts, reported an elaborate
    series of resolutions, setting forth reasons for a separate
    nomination, and concluding with a resolution in the following terms.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "_Resolved_, That we recommend to the citizens of this District
    as a candidate for Representative in the National Congress a man
    raised by his pure character above reproach, whose firmness,
    intelligence, distinguished ability, rational patriotism, manly
    independence, and glowing love of liberty and truth entitle him to
    the unbought confidence of his fellow-citizens,--CHARLES SUMNER, of
    Boston,--fitted to adorn any station, always found on the side of
    the Right, and especially worthy at the present crisis to represent
    the interests of the city and the cardinal principles of Truth,
    Justice, Liberty, and Peace, which have not yet died out from the
    hearts of her citizens."

       *       *       *       *       *

    Mr. Andrew followed the reading of the resolutions with a speech,
    in which he vindicated the position of Mr. Sumner as follows.

    "Mr. President, I shall have done no adequate justice to the views
    of the committee, to this meeting, to the distinguished friend of
    Peace and Liberty to whose nomination this crowded assembly has
    with such gratifying and enthusiastic heartiness so unequivocally
    responded, nor, indeed, to my own feelings, until I shall have made
    a single statement of fact in regard to the attitude of Mr. Sumner
    himself towards the act we have just felt it our duty to perform.

    "This nomination, grateful as it may be to his feelings, considered
    as an evidence of personal attachment and respect on the part of
    so many of his friends and fellow-citizens, will find him wholly
    unprepared for its reception; more than that, as I myself do know,
    he will hear of it with surprise and regret. Though I am unaware
    that any member of the committee, other than myself, has had any
    immediate personal knowledge of the views likely to be entertained
    by him in this regard, I say, what no living man can truly dispute
    or honestly question, that this nomination has been made upon the
    entire responsibility and sense of duty of this committee,--not
    only without the knowledge, approbation, or consent of Mr. Sumner,
    but in the face of his constant, repeated, and determined refusal,
    at all times, to allow his name, even for a moment, to be held at
    the disposal of friends for such a purpose.

    "A delicate and sensitive appreciation of his attitude, as one of
    the earliest, strongest, and most open of those opposed to the
    dealings of our present member of Congress with the matter of the
    Mexican War, determined Mr. Sumner, although looked to by--may I
    not say every individual who sympathizes in this present movement
    of opposition, as the man to bear our standard on the field of
    controversy?--determined him to resist every effort to draw him
    forth from the humblest station in our ranks.

    "He would think, write, and speak as his own mind and heart were
    moved; but he would do nothing, he would permit nothing to be done,
    for himself, for his own personal promotion."

       *       *       *       *       *

    Mr. Andrew then proceeded to mention what induced the committee to
    disregard Mr. Sumner's known wishes.

    The resolutions were adopted unanimously. A committee of vigilance
    was appointed. Mr. Sumner's letter to Mr. Winthrop, with the report
    of this meeting, signed by the President and Secretaries, was
    printed on a broad-side.

    Meanwhile Mr. Sumner returned from Maine, when, on learning what
    had passed, he at once withdrew his name in the following notice.

Late last evening, on my return from Bangor, where I had been in
pursuance of an engagement made last August, I was surprised to find
myself nominated as candidate for Congress.

I have never on any occasion sought or desired public office of any
kind. I do not now. My tastes are alien to official life; and I have
long been accustomed to look to other fields of usefulness.

My name has been brought forward, in my absence, without any
knowledge or suspicion on my part of such a purpose, and contrary to
express declarations, repeatedly made, that I would not, under any
circumstances, consent to be a candidate.

Grateful for the kindness of friends who have thought me worthy of
political confidence, and regretting much that it is not bestowed
upon some one else, who would fitly represent the idea of opposition
to the longer continuance of the unjust war with Mexico, I beg leave
respectfully, but explicitly, to withdraw my name from the canvass.

                                      CHARLES SUMNER.


                     SLAVERY AND THE MEXICAN WAR.


    The sentiment against Slavery and the Mexican War found expression
    in the independent nomination of Dr. S.G. Howe as Representative to
    Congress. At a meeting of citizens to support this nomination, John
    A. Andrew, Esq., was called to the chair. The following resolution
    was reported from the District Committee by John S. Eldridge, Esq.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "_Resolved_, That in the determination of our candidate, Dr.
    SAMUEL G. HOWE, 'to stand and be shot at,' we recognize the spirit
    of a man distinguished by a life of service in various fields
    of humanity; and, confidently trusting in the triumph of sound
    principles, we heartily pledge ourselves to make, with untiring
    zeal, every honorable effort to secure the election of a candidate
    who has boldly identified himself with the cause of Truth, Peace,
    Justice, the Liberties of the North, and the Rights of Man."

       *       *       *       *       *

    On this resolution Mr. Sumner made the speech given below. He was
    followed by Hon. C.F. Adams, who reviewed the Anti-Slavery policy
    pursued for several years by the Massachusetts Legislature, and the
    obstacles they encountered.

    At the election, which took place on Monday, November 9th, the vote
    was as follows: Winthrop (Whig), 5,980; Howe (Anti-Slavery), 1,334;
    Homer (Democrat), 1,688; Whiton (Independent), 331.

Mr. Chairman,--When, in the month of July, 1830, the people of Paris
rose against the arbitrary ordinances of Charles the Tenth, and, after
three days of bloody contest, succeeded in that Revolution which gave
the dynasty of Orléans to the throne of France, Lafayette, votary
of Liberty in two hemispheres, placing himself at the head of the
movement, made his way on foot to the City Hall, through streets
impassable to carriages, filled with barricades, and strewn with wrecks
of war. Moving along with a thin attendance, he was unexpectedly joined
by a gallant Bostonian, who, though young in life, was already eminent
by seven years of disinterested service in the struggle for Grecian
independence against the Turks, who had listened to the whizzing of
bullets, and narrowly escaped the descending scimitar. Lafayette,
considerate as brave, turned to his faithful friend, and said, "Do not
join me; this is a danger for Frenchmen only; reserve yourself for your
own country, where you will be needed." Our fellow-citizen heeded him
not, but continued by his side, sharing his perils. That Bostonian was
Dr. Howe. And now the words of Lafayette are verified. He is needed by
his country. At the present crisis, in our Revolution of "Three Days,"
he comes forward to the post of danger.

I do not disguise the satisfaction I shall feel in voting for him,
beyond even the gratification of personal friendship, because he is
not a politician. His life is thickly studded with labors in the best
of all causes, the good of man. He is the friend of the poor, the
blind, the prisoner, the slave. Wherever there is suffering, there his
friendship is manifest. Generosity, disinterestedness, self-sacrifice,
and courage have been his inspiring sentiments, directed by rare
sagacity and intelligence; and now, wherever Humanity is regarded,
wherever bosoms beat responsive to philanthropic effort, his name is
cherished. Such a character reflects lustre upon the place of his
birth, far more than if he had excelled only in the strife of politics
or the servitude of party.

He has qualities which especially commend him at this time. He is
firm, ever true, honest, determined, a lover of the Right. With a
courage that charms opposition, he would not fear to stand alone
against a fervid majority. Knowing war by fearful familiarity, he is an
earnest defender of peace. With a singular experience of life in other
countries, he now brings the stores he has garnered up, and his noble
spirit, to the service of his fellow-citizens.

But we are assembled to-night less to consider his praises--grateful
as these would be to me, who claim him as friend--than to examine the
principles now in issue. Not names, but principles, are now in issue.
Proud as we may be of our candidate, we feel, and he too feels, that
his principles on the grave questions now pending are his truest

In examining these questions, I shall regard those only which are put
in issue by the Whigs. It is with the Whigs that I have heretofore
acted, and may hereafter act,--always confessing loyalty to principles
above any party.

The Resolutions of the recent Whig State Convention present five
different questions, with the opinions of the party thereupon. These
are the Veto of the President, the Sub-Treasury, the Tariff, _Slavery_,
and _the Mexican War_. Now, of these five questions, it will not be
disguised that the last two are the most important. Slavery is a
wrong which justice and humanity alike condemn. The Mexican War is an
enormity born of Slavery. Viewed as a question of dollars and cents,
it overshadows the others; while the blackness of its guilt compels
them to the darkness of a total eclipse. Base in object, atrocious in
beginning, immoral in all its influences, vainly prodigal of treasure
and life; it is a war of infamy, which must blot the pages of our
history. No success, no bravery, no victory can change its character.
Vainly will our flag wave in triumph over twenty fields. Shame, and
not glory, will attend our footsteps, while, in the spirit of a bully,
we employ superior resources of wealth and numbers in carrying death
and devastation to a poor, distracted, long afflicted sister republic.
Without disparaging the other questions, every just and humane person
will recognize Slavery and the Mexican War as paramount to all
else,--so much so, that whoever is wrong on these must be so entirely
wrong as not to deserve the votes of Massachusetts men.

The Whig Convention has furnished a rule or measure of opinion. It has
expressly pledged the Whigs "to promote all constitutional measures
for the overthrow of Slavery, and to oppose at all times, with
uncompromising zeal and firmness, any further addition of slaveholding
States to this Union, out of whatever territory formed." The Mexican
War it has denounced as having its origin in _an invasion of Mexico by
our troops_.

Now on these subjects Dr. Howe's opinions are clear and explicit. He
is an earnest, hearty, conscientious opponent of Slavery, and in his
speech at your former meeting he denounced the injustice of the Mexican
War, and, as a natural consequence, demanded the instant _retreat_ of
General Taylor's troops to the Nueces.

And this brings me to Mr. Winthrop. Here let me carefully disclaim
any sentiment except of kindness towards him as a citizen. It is of
Mr. Winthrop the politician that I speak, and not of Mr. Winthrop the
honorable gentleman.

And, _first_, what may we expect from him against _Slavery_? Will he
promote all constitutional measures for its overthrow? Clearly one of
these is the Abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia. This
is within the constitutional powers of Congress, and has been called
for expressly by our State. It has sometimes occurred to me that
Slavery in our country is like the image in Nebuchadnezzar's dream,
whose feet of clay are in the District of Columbia, where they may
be shivered by Congressional legislation, directed by an enlightened
Northern sentiment, so that the whole image shall tumble to the earth.
Other measures against Slavery are sanctioned by the Massachusetts
Whigs, and by the Legislature of our State, in formal resolutions,
duly transmitted to Washington. I have never heard of Mr. Winthrop's
voice for any of these,--nor, judging by the past, have I any reason to
believe that he will support them earnestly. On these important points
he fails, if tried by Whig standards.

Will he oppose, at all times, without compromise, any further addition
of slaveholding States? Here again, if we judge him by the past, he is
wanting. None can forget that in 1845, on the Fourth of July, a day
ever sacred to memories of Freedom, in a speech at Faneuil Hall, he
volunteered, in advance of any other Northern Whig, to receive Texas
with a welcome into the family of States, although on that very day
she was preparing a Constitution placing Slavery beyond the reach of
legislative change.

The conclusion is irresistible, that Mr. Winthrop cannot fitly
represent the feeling palpitating in Massachusetts bosoms, and so often
expressed by our Legislature, with regard to Slavery.

What may we expect from him as to the _Mexican War_? This brings me to
a melancholy inquiry, on which I am the less disposed to dwell because
it has already been so fully considered. Will he ascend to the heights
of a true civilization, and, while branding the war as unjust, call
at once for its cessation, and the withdrawal of our forces? There is
no reason to believe that he will. He voted for the Act of Congress
under which it is now waged, and by that disastrous vote made his
constituents partakers in a wicked and bloody war. At a later day,
in an elaborate speech,[200] he vindicated his action, and promised
"not to withhold his vote from any reasonable supplies which may be
called for" in the prosecution of the war,--adding, that he should
vote for them "to enable the President to achieve that _honorable
peace_ which he has solemnly promised to bring about at the earliest
possible moment" _by the sword_. And, pray, what is Mr. Winthrop's idea
of an "honorable peace"? Is it peace imposed upon a weak neighbor by
brute force, the successful consummation of unrighteous war? Is it the
triumph of wrong? Is it the Saturnalia of Slavery? Is it the fruit of
sin? Is it a baptism of blood unjustly shed? In the same speech, with
grievous insensibility to the sordid character of the suggestion, he
pleads for the maintenance of the old Tariff, as necessary to meet "the
exigencies" of the Mexican War. "In a time of war, like the present,
more especially," he says, "_an ample revenue should be the primary
aim and end of all our custom-house duties_." Perish manufactures, let
me rather say, if the duties by which they seem to be protected are
swollen to feed "the exigencies" of unjust war! Afterwards, at Faneuil
Hall, before the Whig Convention, he shows a similar insensibility.
Nowhere does he sound the word _Duty_. Nowhere does he tell his country
to begin by doing right. Nowhere does he give assurance of aid by
calling for the instant stay of the war.

    [200] Speech on the Tariff, June 25, 1846.

There are those who, admitting that his vote was a mistake, say that
we are not to judge him on this account. Can we afford to send a
representative who can make such a mistake? But it is a mistake never
by him acknowledged as such. It is still persisted in, and hugged.
Among the last words of warning from the lips of Chatham, as he fell at
his post in the British Senate, almost his dying words, were "against
co-operation with men who still persist in unretracted error."

In his vote for the Mexican War Mr. Winthrop was not a Whig. He then
left the party: for surely the party is not where numbers prevail, but
where its principles are recognized. The true Whigs are the valiant
minority of _fourteen_. Once in Roman history, the vestal fire, the
archives, the sacred volumes of the Republic, were in the custody of a
single individual, in a humble vehicle, fleeing from the burning city.
With him was the life of the Republic. So in that small minority was
the life of the Whig party, with its principles and its sacred fire.

The true Whig ground, the only ground consistent with professed loyalty
to the sentiment of duty, is uncompromising opposition to the war,
wheresoever and howsoever opposition may be made. Expecting right from
Mexico, we must begin by doing right. We are aggressors, and must cease
to be so.

This is the proper course, having its foundations in immutable
laws. Let me repeat, that our country must do as an individual in
like circumstances. For, though politicians may disown it, there
is but one rule for nations and for individuals. If any one of
you, fellow-citizens, finding yourself in dispute with a neighbor,
had unfortunately felled him to earth, but, with returning reason,
discovered that you were wrong, what would you do? Of course, cease
instantly from _wrong-doing_. You would help your neighbor to his feet,
and with awakened benevolence soothe his wounded nature. Precisely so
must our country do now. This can be only by the withdrawal of our
forces. Peace would then follow. The very response sent to the Roman
Senate by a province of Italy might be repeated by the Mexicans: "The
Romans, having preferred _justice_ to _conquest_, have taught us to be
satisfied with submission instead of liberty."

That I may not found these conclusions upon general principles only, I
would invoke the example of English Whigs, Chatham, Camden, Burke, Fox,
and Sheridan, in opposition to the war of our Revolution,--denouncing
it at the outset as unjust, and ever, during its whole progress,
declaring their condemnation of it,--voting against supplies for its
prosecution, and against thanks for the military services by which it
was waged. Holding their example as of the highest practical authority
on the present question, and as particularly fit to be regarded by all
professing to be Whigs in America, I make no apology for introducing
the authentic evidence which places it beyond doubt. This is to be
found in the volumes of the Parliamentary Debates. I am not aware that
it has ever before been applied to the present discussion, although it
is in every word especially applicable.

I begin with that famous instance where two officers--one the son
of Lord Chatham, and the other the Earl of Effingham--flung up their
commissions rather than fight against constitutional liberty as upheld
by our fathers. In the case of the latter especially the sacrifice
was great; for he was bred to arms, and enjoyed the service. From his
place in the House of Lords, May 18, 1775, he vindicated his act in the
following terms.

    "Ever since I was of an age to have any ambition at all, my highest
    has been to serve my country in a military capacity. If there was
    on earth an event I dreaded, it was to see this country so situated
    as to make that profession incompatible with my duty as a citizen.
    That period is in my opinion arrived.... When the duties of a
    soldier and a citizen become inconsistent, I shall always think
    myself obliged to sink the character of the soldier in that of the
    citizen, till such time as those duties shall again, by the malice
    of our real enemies, become united."

These generous words found an echo at the time. A note in the
Parliamentary History says, "The Twenty-second Regiment of Foot, in
which he held a captain's commission, being ordered to America, he
resolved, though not possessed of an ample patrimony, to resign a
darling profession, and all hopes of advancement, rather than bear
arms in a cause he did not approve"; and the record proceeds to say
that "the cities of London and Dublin voted him their thanks for this
conduct."[201] If a soldier could bear testimony against an unjust war,
it was easy for others not under the constraint of martial prejudice to
do so. The sequel shows how the example prevailed.

    [201] Vol. XVIII., col. 688. See also Annual Register for 1776,
    Vol. XIX. p. 42

First came the famous Duke of Grafton, who, in the House of Lords,
on the Address of Thanks, October 26, 1775, after the Battles of
Lexington and Bunker Hill, said:--

    "I pledge myself to your Lordships and my country, that, if
    necessity should require it, and my health not otherwise permit it,
    I mean to come down to this House in a litter, in order to express
    my full and hearty disapprobation of the measures now pursuing,
    and, as I understand from the noble Lords in office, meant to be
    pursued. I do protest to your Lordships, that, if my brother or
    my dearest friend were to be affected by the vote I mean to give
    this evening, I could not possibly resist the faithful discharge
    of my conscience and my duty. Were I to lose my fortune and every
    other thing I esteem, were I to be reduced to beggary itself, the
    strong conviction and compulsion at once operating on my mind
    and conscience would not permit me to take any other part on the
    present occasion than that I now mean to adopt."

A protest at the close of this debate was signed by several peers,
containing the following emphatic clause:--

    "Because we cannot, as Englishmen, as Christians, or as men of
    common humanity, consent to the prosecution of a cruel civil war,
    so little supported by justice, and so very fatal in its necessary
    consequences, as that which is now waging against our brethren and
    fellow-subjects in America."

This was echoed in the House of Commons, where, on the same Address,
Mr. Wilkes said:--

    "I call the war with our brethren in America an unjust, felonious
    war.... I assert that it is a murderous war, because it is an
    effort to deprive men of their lives for standing up in the just
    cause of the defence of their property and their clear rights.
    It becomes no less a murderous war with respect to many of our
    fellow-subjects of this island; for every man, either of the navy
    or army, who has been sent by Government to America, and fallen a
    victim in this unnatural and unjust contest, has in my opinion been
    murdered by Administration, and his blood lies at their door. Such
    a war, I fear, Sir, will draw down the vengeance of Heaven upon
    this devoted kingdom."

Mr. Fox expressed himself as follows:--

    "_He could not consent to the bloody consequences of so silly a
    contest_ about so silly an object, conducted in the silliest manner
    that history or observation had ever furnished an instance of, and
    from which we were likely to derive nothing but poverty, misery,
    disgrace, defeat, and ruin."

He was followed by the eminent lawyer, Serjeant Adair:--

    "I am against the present war, because I think it unjust in its
    commencement, injurious to both countries in its prosecution, and
    ruinous in its event.... I think, from the bottom of my soul, that
    the Colonies are engaged in a noble and glorious struggle.... Sir,
    I could not be easy in my own mind without entering the strongest
    and most public protestations against measures which appear to me
    to be fraught with the destruction of this mighty empire. _I wash
    my hands of the blood of my fellow-subjects_, and shall at least
    have this satisfaction, amidst the impending calamities of the
    public, not only to think that I have not contributed to, but that
    I have done all in my power to oppose and avert, the ruin of my

During another debate in the Lords, November 15, 1775, that strenuous
friend of freedom and upholder of Whig principles, Lord Camden,
declared himself thus:--

    "Peace is still within our power; nay, we may command it. A
    suspension of arms on our part, if adopted in time, will secure
    it for us, and, I may add, on our own terms. _From which it is
    plain, as we have been the original aggressors in this business,
    if we obstinately persist, we are fairly answerable for all the
    consequences._ I again repeat, what I often urged before, that I
    was against this unnatural war from the beginning. I was equally
    against every measure, from the instant the first tax was proposed
    to this minute. When, therefore, it is insisted that we aim only
    to defend and enforce our own rights, I positively deny it. I
    contend that America has been driven by cruel necessity to defend
    her rights from the united attacks of violence, oppression,
    and injustice. I contend that America has been indisputably
    aggrieved.... I must still think, and shall uniformly continue to
    assert, that Great Britain was the aggressor, that most, if not
    all, the acts were founded in oppression, and that, if I were an
    American, I should resist to the last such manifest exertion of
    tyranny, violence, and injustice."

On another occasion, in the Commons, December 8, 1775, Mr. Fox
expressed himself thus sententiously:--

    "I have always said that the war carrying on against the Americans
    is unjust."

Again, in the Lords, March 5, 1776, the Earl of Effingham said:--

    "I never can stand up in your Lordships' presence without throwing
    in a few words on the justice of this unnatural war."

In the Commons, March 11, 1776, Colonel Barré, Mr. Burke, Mr. Fox, all
vied in eulogy of General Montgomery, the account of whose death before
Quebec had arrived a few days before.

The same spirit was constantly manifest. In the Commons, April 24,
1776, in the debate on the Budget, embodying taxes to carry on the
war against America, Mr. Fox laid down the constitutional rule of
opposition to an unjust war.

    "To the resolutions he should give his flat negative, and that
    not because of any particular objections to the taxes proposed
    (although there might be a sufficient ground for urging many),
    _but because he could not conscientiously agree to grant any money
    for so destructive, so ignoble a purpose as the carrying on a war
    commenced unjustly, and supported with no other view than to the
    extirpation of freedom_ and the violation of every social compact.
    BY A MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT.... He then painted the quarrel with
    America as unjust, and the pursuance of the war as blood-thirsty
    and oppressive."

Colonel Barré followed, and adopted the phrase of Mr. Fox, "giving his
flat negative to the resolutions, _as they were calculated to tax the
subject for an unjust purpose_."

The Duke of Grafton, in the Lords, October 31, 1776, repeated the
sentiments he had avowed at an earlier day.

    "He pledged himself to the House, and to the public, that, while he
    had a leg to stand on, he would come down day after day to express
    the most marked abhorrence of the measures hitherto pursued, and
    meant to be adhered to, in respect to America."

On the same night, in the Commons, Mr. Fox exclaimed:--

    "The noble Lord who moved the amendment said that we were in the
    dilemma of _conquering or abandoning America. If we are reduced to
    that, I am for abandoning America._"

In the Commons, November 6, 1776, Mr. Burke likened England to a "cruel

    "You simply tell the Colonists to lay down their arms, and then
    you will do just as you please. Could the most cruel conqueror say
    less? Had you conquered the Devil himself in Hell, could you be
    less liberal?"

Colonel Barré, in the Commons, February 10, 1777, insisted:--

    "America must be reclaimed, _not conquered or subdued_.
    Conciliation or concession are the only sure means of either
    gaining or retaining America."

The Budget came up again in the Commons, May 14, 1777, when Mr. Burke
spoke nobly:--

    "He was, and ever would be, ready to support a just war, whether
    against subjects or alien enemies; but where justice, or a color of
    justice, was wanting, he should ever be the first to oppose it."

All these declarations were crowned by Lord Chatham's motion in the
Lords, May 30, 1777, to put a stop to American hostilities, when he
spoke so wisely and bravely.

    "We have tried for unconditional submission: _try what can be
    gained by unconditional redress_.... We are the aggressors. We have
    invaded them. We have invaded them as much as the Spanish Armada
    invaded England.... In the sportsman's phrase, when you have found
    yourselves at fault, _you must try back_.... I shall no doubt
    hear it objected, 'Why should we submit or concede? Has America
    done anything, on her part, to induce us to agree to so large a
    ground of concession?' I will tell you, my Lords, why I think
    you should. _You have been the aggressors from the beginning....
    If, then, we are the aggressors, it is your Lordships' business
    to make the first overture._ I say again, this country has been
    the aggressor. You have made descents upon their coasts; you have
    burnt their towns, plundered their country, made war upon the
    inhabitants, confiscated their property, proscribed and imprisoned
    their persons. _I do therefore affirm, that, instead of exacting
    unconditional submission from the Colonies, we should grant them
    unconditional redress._ We have injured them; we have endeavored
    to enslave and oppress them. Upon this clear ground, instead of
    chastisement, they are entitled to redress."

Again Lord Chatham broke out, November 18, 1777, in words most
applicable to the present occasion.

    "I would sell my shirt off my back to assist in proper measures,
    properly and wisely conducted; _but I would not part with a single
    shilling to the present ministers_. Their plans are founded
    in destruction and disgrace. It is, my Lords, a ruinous and
    destructive war; it is full of danger; it teems with disgrace, and
    must end in ruin.... If I were an American, as I am an Englishman,
    while a foreign troop was landed in my country, I never would lay
    down my arms!--never!--never!--never!"

The Duke of Richmond, in the Lords, on the same occasion, returned to
the charge in a similar spirit.

    "Can we too soon put a stop to such a scene of carnage? My Lords, I
    know that what I am going to say is not fashionable language; but
    a time will come when every one of us must account to God for his
    actions, and how can we justify causing so many innocent lives to
    be lost?"

In the Commons, December 5, 1777, Mr. Hartley, the constant friend of
America, brought forward a motion:--

    "That it is unbecoming the wisdom and prudence of Parliament to
    proceed any farther in the support of this fruitless, expensive,
    and destructive war, more especially without any specific terms of
    accommodation declared."

The Marquis of Rockingham, in the Lords, February 16, 1778, exclaimed:--

    "He was determined to serve his country _by making peace at any

At last, in the Lords, March 23, 1778, the Duke of Richmond brought
forward a motion for the withdrawal of the forces from America.

The same question was presented again in the Commons, November 27,
1780, on a motion to thank General Clinton and others for their
military services in America, when Mr. Wilkes laid down the true rule.

    "I think it my duty to oppose this motion, because in my idea
    every part of it conveys an approbation of the American War,--a
    war unfounded in principle, and fatal in its consequences to this
    country.... _Sir, I will not thank for victories which only tend
    to protract a destructive war...._ As I reprobate the want of
    principle in the origin of the American War, I the more lament all
    the spirited exertions of valor and the wisdom of conduct which in
    a good cause I should warmly applaud. Thinking as I do, I see more
    matter of grief than of triumph, of bewailing than thanksgiving, in
    this civil contest, and the deluge of blood which has overflowed
    America.... I deeply lament that the lustre of such splendid
    victories is obscured and darkened by the want of a good cause,
    without which no war, in the eye of truth and reason, before God or
    man, can be justified."

Mr. Fox followed in similar strain.

    "He allowed the merits of the officers now in question, but he made
    a distinction between thanks and praise. He might, admire their
    valor, but he could not separate the intention from the action;
    they were united in his mind; there they formed one whole, and he
    would not attempt to divide them."

Mr. Sheridan joined in these declarations.

    "There were in that House different descriptions of men _who
    could not assent to a vote that seemed to imply a recognition or
    approbation of the American War_."

All these words are memorable from the occasion of their utterance,
from the statesmen who uttered them, and from the sentiments avowed.
The occasion was the war of Great Britain upon our fathers. The
statesmen were the greatest masters of political wisdom and eloquence
that England has given to the world. The sentiments were all in harmony
with what I have urged on the present occasion. Orators contended with
each other in the strength of their language. Lord Camden averred that
"Great Britain was the aggressor." The Duke of Grafton declared, that,
"while he had a leg to stand on," he would express his "abhorrence" of
the war. Chatham gave utterance to the same sentiment in one of his
most magnificent orations. And Wilkes, Sheridan, Fox, and Burke echoed
this strain, all insisting that the war was unjust, and must therefore
be stopped.

Thus far I have quoted testimony from Parliamentary debates on our own
Revolution; but going farther back, we find similar authority. When
Charles the First sent assistance to the French against the Huguenots
in Rochelle, the officers and men did more than murmur; and here our
authority is Hume. The commander of one of the ships "declared that he
would rather be hanged in England for disobedience than fight against
his brother Protestants in France."[202]

    [202] Hume, History of England, Chap. L.

They went back to the Downs. Having received new orders, they sailed
again for France.

    "When they arrived at Dieppe, they found that they had been
    deceived. Sir Ferdinando Gorges, who commanded one of the vessels,
    broke through and returned to England. All the officers and sailors
    of all the other ships, notwithstanding great offers made them by
    the French, immediately deserted. One gunner alone preferred duty
    towards his king to the cause of religion, and he was afterwards
    killed in charging a cannon before Rochelle."[203]

    [203] Hume, History of England, Chap. L.

The same sentiment prevailed also in the war upon Spain by Cromwell,
when several naval officers, having scruples of conscience with regard
to the justice of the war, threw up their commissions and retired. Here
again Hume is our authority.

    "No commands, they thought, of their superiors could justify a war
    which was contrary to the principles of natural equity, and which
    the civil magistrate had no right to order. Individuals, they
    maintained, in resigning to the public their natural liberty, could
    bestow on it only what they themselves were possessed of, a right
    of performing lawful actions, and could invest it with no authority
    of commanding what is contrary to the decrees of Heaven."[204]

    [204] Ibid., Chap. LXI.

Here again it is soldiers who refuse to fight in unjust war.

Such is the doctrine of morals sanctioned by English examples. Such
should be the doctrine of an American statesman. If we apply it to
the existing exigency, or try the candidates by this standard, we
find, that, as Dr. Howe is unquestionably right, so Mr. Winthrop is
too certainly wrong. Exalting our own candidate, I would not unduly
disparage another. It is for the sake of the cause in which we are
engaged, by the side of which individuals dwindle into insignificance,
that we now oppose Mr. Winthrop, bearing our testimony against Slavery
and the longer continuance of the Mexican War, demanding the retreat of
General Taylor and the instant withdrawal of the American forces. Even
if we seem to fail in this election, we shall not fail in reality. The
influence of this effort will help to awaken and organize that powerful
public opinion by which this war will at last be arrested.

Hang out, fellow-citizens, the white banner of Peace; let the
citizens of Boston rally about it; and may it be borne forward by an
enlightened, conscientious people, aroused to condemnation of this
murderous war, until Mexico, now wet with blood unjustly shed, shall
repose undisturbed beneath its folds.

                       INVALIDITY OF ENLISTMENTS



    By the Mexican War Bill (approved May 13, 1846) the President was
    authorized "to call for and accept the services of any number
    of volunteers, not exceeding fifty thousand," and provision was
    made for their organization. The Governor of Massachusetts, by
    proclamation, called for a Regiment in this Commonwealth, which
    was organized under the Act of Congress. Before it had left the
    Commonwealth, applications for discharge were made to the Supreme
    Court of Massachusetts in behalf of several persons repenting
    their too hasty enlistment. At the hearing, the proceedings by
    which the Regiment had been organized were called in question.
    Their validity was denied on the ground that the Act of Congress,
    in some of its essential provisions concerning volunteers, was
    unconstitutional,--that the enlistments were not in conformity
    with the Act,--and also that the militia laws of Massachusetts had
    been fraudulently used in forming the regiment. These points, and
    the further question, whether a minor is bound by his contract of
    enlistment under the Act, were argued by Mr. Sumner, who appeared
    as counsel for one of the petitioners. The Court sustained the
    validity of the proceedings, but discharged the minors.--See _In
    Re_ Kimball, Murray, and Stone, 9 Law Reporter, 500, where the case
    is reported.


This cause has a strong claim upon the careful consideration of the
Court. It comes with a _trinoda necessitas_, a triple cord, to bind its
judgment. It is important as respects the parties, the public, and the
principles involved.

To the _parties_, it is one of the highest questions known to the
law, being a question of _human freedom_. It is proposed to hold the
petitioner in the servitude of the army for an indefinite space of
time, namely, "for the duration of the war with Mexico." During all
this period, he will be subject to martial law, and to the Articles of
War, with the terrible penalties of desertion. He will be under the
command of officers, at whose word he must move from place to place
beyond the confines of the country, and perform unwelcome duties,
involving his own life and the lives of others.

To the _public_, it is important, as it is surely of especial
consequence, in whose hands is placed the power of life and death. The
soldier is vested with extraordinary attributes. He is at times more
than marshal or sheriff. He is also surrounded by the law with certain
immunities, one of which is exemption from imprisonment for debt.

It is important from the _principles_ involved. These are the
distinctions between the different kinds of military force under the
Constitution of the United States, the constitutionality of the Act
of Congress of May, 1846, and the legality of the enlistments under
it. The determination of these questions will establish or annul the
immense and complex Volunteer System now set in motion.

In a case of such magnitude, I shall be pardoned for dwelling carefully
upon the different questions. In the course of my argument I hope to
establish the following propositions.

_First._ That the forces contemplated by the Act of May, 1846, are a
part of the "army" of the United States, or its general military force,
and not of the "militia."

_Secondly._ That the part of the Act of Congress of 1846 providing
for the officering of the companies is unconstitutional, and the
proceedings thereunder are void.

_Thirdly._ That the present contract is illegal, inasmuch as it is not
according to the terms of the Statute, which prescribes that it shall
be for "twelve months or the war," whereas it is "for the war" only.

_Fourthly._ That it is illegal, being entered into by an improper use
of the militia laws of Massachusetts, so as to be a _fraud_ on those

_Fifthly._ That minors cannot be held by contract of enlistment under
the present Act.

I shall now consider these different propositions.

_First._ The force contemplated by the Act of May, 1846, is a part of
the _army_ of the United States, or of its general military force, and
not of the _militia_.

It is called "volunteers"; but on inquiry it will appear that it
has elements _inconsistent_ with militia, while it wants elements
_essential_ to militia.

Without stopping to consider what these elements are, it will be
proper, first, to consider the powers of Congress over the land forces.
Congress is not omnipotent, like the British Parliament. It can do only
what is permitted by the Constitution of the United States, and _in the
manner permitted_. We are, then, to search the Constitution.

Here we find two different species of land forces, and only two. These
are "armies" and "militia." There is between the two no hybrid or
heteroclite,--no _tertium quid_.

These forces are referred to and sanctioned by the following clauses,
and by no others: "The Congress shall have power _to raise and support
armies_; to provide for calling forth _the militia_ to execute the
laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions; to
provide for organizing arming, and disciplining _the militia_, and for
governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the
United States, _reserving to the States, respectively, the appointment
of the officers_, and the authority of training the militia, according
to the discipline prescribed by Congress." (Art. I. § 8.) And again:
"The President shall be commander-in-chief of the _army_ and navy of
the United States, and of _the militia of the several States, when
called into the actual service of the United States_." (Art. II. § 2.)

It has been ably argued by Mr. Lanier, in the Virginia Assembly,
that the distinction between _army_ and _militia_ is, that the first
stands on _contract_ or _voluntary enlistment_, and the second on _the
law compelling parties to serve_; that this simple test determines
the character of the service, Did the party enter _voluntarily_ or
by _operation of law_? If voluntarily, then he is in the "army"; if
compulsorily, or by operation of law, then he is in the "militia."
This distinction is palpable, and is true, I think, beyond question,
with regard to the "army" and "militia" under existing laws. I am
not prepared to say that Congress, under the clause authorizing it
"to raise and support armies," may not, following the example of
other countries, enforce a conscription, or levy, which shall act
compulsorily throughout the country, being in this respect like the
_militia_, although unlike it in other respects. Such a plan was
recommended by Mr. Monroe, when Secretary of War, October 17, 1814, who
speaks of it as follows.

    "The limited power which the United States have in organizing the
    militia may be urged as an argument against their right to raise
    _regular troops in the mode proposed_. If any argument could be
    drawn from that circumstance, I should suppose that it would be in
    favor of an opposite conclusion. The power of the United States
    over the militia has been limited, and that for raising regular
    armies granted without limitation. There was, doubtless, some
    object in this arrangement. The fair inference seems to be, that it
    was made on great consideration,--that the limitation in the first
    instance was intentional, the consequence of the unqualified grant
    of the second.

    "But it is said, that by drawing the men from the militia service
    into the regular army and putting them under regular officers you
    violate a principle of the Constitution _which provides that the
    militia shall be commanded by their own officers_. If this was the
    fact, the conclusion would follow. But it is not the fact. The men
    are not drawn from the militia, but from the population of the
    country. _When they enlist voluntarily, it is not as militia-men
    that they act, but as citizens._ If they are drafted, it must be in
    the same sense. In both instances they are enrolled in the militia
    corps; but that, as is presumed, cannot prevent the voluntary
    act in one instance or the compulsive in the other. The whole
    population of the United States, within certain ages, belong to
    these corps. If the United States could not form regular armies
    from them, they could raise none."[205]

    [205] Niles's Register, Vol. VII. p. 139: November 5, 1814.

If Mr. Monroe's views are sound, the "army" of the United States,
as well as the "militia," may be raised by draft. It may consist of
_regulars_ and _irregulars_.

But whatever may be the powers of Congress on this subject, it is
certain that there is no legislation now in force, providing for the
"army," except by means of _voluntary enlistment_. The whole army
of the United States is, at present, an army of _volunteers_; and
all persons who are _volunteers_ are of the _army_, and not of the
_militia_. To call them _volunteers_ does not take them out of the
category of the _army_, or general military force of the United States.

On the other hand, the _militia_, when in the service of the United
States _as militia_, are not _volunteers_. They come by draft or
conscription. This distinction is derived from England, to whom we
are indebted for so much of our jurisprudence, and so many principles
of constitutional law. We find from Blackstone (Vol. I. p. 412), that
the English militia consists of "the inhabitants of the county, chosen
by lot for three years." They are called "the constitutional security
which the laws have provided for the public peace and for protecting
the realm against foreign or domestic violence"; and "they are _not
compellable to march out of their counties, unless in case of invasion
or actual rebellion within the realm, nor in any case compellable to
march out of the kingdom_." They are "officered by the lord-lieutenant,
the deputy-lieutenants, and other principal landholders, under a
commission from the crown." It will be observed, from this description,
that there are four distinct elements in the English militia. 1.
It is in its nature a draft or conscription. 2. It is local in its
character. 3. It is officered by persons in the county. 4. It can be
called out only on peculiar exigencies, expressly designated. In all
these respects it is distinguishable from what is called the _army_ of

Mr. Burke somewhere says that nearly half of the early editions of
Blackstone's Commentaries found their way to America. The framers of
our Constitution were familiar with this work, and they have reproduced
all these four features of the English militia, substituting "State"
for "county," and adopting even the peculiar exigencies when they are
compellable to march "out of the State." Thus following Blackstone,
they have recognized an "_army_" and a "_militia_," without any third
or intermediate military body.

This same distinction between the militia and army was recognized by
Mr. Charles Turner, in the British Parliament, in a speech on the Bill
for embodying the Militia, November 2, 1775. "The proper men," he says,
"_to recruit and supply your troops_ are the scum and outcast of cities
and manufactories: fellows who _voluntarily submit to be slaves_ by an
apprenticeship of seven years are the proper persons to be military
ones. But to take the honest, sober, industrious fellow from the plough
is doing an essential mischief to the community, and laying a double

    [206] Hansard, Parl. Hist., Vol. XVIII. col. 846.

Let us now apply these general considerations to the present case.

The Act of May, 1846, recognizes a clear distinction between _militia_
and _volunteers_. It authorizes the President "to employ the _militia_,
naval, and military forces of the United States, and to call for and
accept the services of any number of _volunteers_, not exceeding fifty
thousand, ... to serve twelve months after they shall have arrived
at the place of rendezvous, or to the end of the war, unless sooner
discharged." The next section (§ 2) provides that "the _militia_, when
called into the service of the United States by virtue of this Act or
any other Act, may, if in the opinion of the President of the United
States the public interest requires it, be compelled to serve _for a
term not exceeding six months_ after their arrival at the place of
rendezvous." The ninth section speaks of "militia or volunteers,"
referring to the two distinct classes.

Now on the face of this Act there are at least two distinct
recognitions that "volunteers" are not of the _militia_: 1st, in
providing for the employment of _volunteers_ and also of _militia_,
treating the two as distinct; and, 2d, in providing that the service
for volunteers shall be "twelve months or the war," while that of the
militia is "six months" only.

There are other reasons. 1st, The volunteers do not come by draft, but
by contract. 2d, Then, again, the President is expressly empowered to
apportion the staff, field, and general officers among the respective
States and Territories from which the volunteers shall tender their
services, while, in the supplementary Act of June 26, major-generals
and brigadier-generals are to be appointed by the President by and with
the advice and consent of the Senate, all of which, notwithstanding
the sop to the States in the apportionment provision, is inconsistent
with the character of _militia_. 3d, Another reason why these cannot
be _militia_ is, that no such exigency has occurred as authorizes the
President to call for the militia,--as, for instance, "to execute the
laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions."

Thus far I have sought to bring the proposed body of volunteers to the
touchstone of the Constitution and laws of the United States. Let us
now see how they conform to the Constitution and laws of Massachusetts.

1. By the Constitution of Massachusetts, the Governor is
commander-in-chief of the militia; but he cannot command these

2. By our State laws (Chap. 92, March 24, 1840) volunteers in the
militia are "to do duty for five years", while volunteers under the Act
in question are for "twelve months or the war."

3. "A uniform such as the commander-in-chief shall prescribe" is
appointed for the volunteer militia, while volunteers under the Act are
subject to no such regulation.

4. The statute of 1846, chap. 218, § 10, provides that each company
shall have "one first, one second, one third, and one fourth
lieutenant." Mr. Secretary Marcy's requisition (p. 30 of Mr. Cushing's
Report[207]) allows to each company "one first lieutenant and two
second lieutenants."

    [207] Mass. House Doc. 1847, No. 7.

By provisions like these Massachusetts has marked her militia that
she may know them. She tells them how they shall be apparelled and
officered. But the body now called out is so apparelled and officered
that the Commonwealth cannot recognize it as her militia.

It seems clear, that, in the light of the Constitution and laws of the
United States, and also of the Constitution and laws of Massachusetts,
this body cannot be a part of the _militia_.

But it is suggested on the other side that the companies now raised may
be regarded as companies of militia who _volunteer as companies_ into
the army of the United States; and it is urged that the requisitions
of the Constitution are complied with, inasmuch as the officers of
the regiment are commissioned by the Governor. To this it may be
replied, that the militia of the Commonwealth have certain specific
duties detailed in the statute on the subject (Chap. 92, 1840). For
instance (§ 23), three parades in each year, and inspection on the
last Wednesday of May; (§ 24) an inspection and review in each year;
(§ 27) and particularly to aid the _posse comitatus_ in case of riot.
These all contemplate that they shall remain _at home_. Now it is not
to be questioned, that, in any of the _exigencies_ mentioned by the
Constitution, they may be ordered from home, _in the manner prescribed
by the Constitution and laws_; but it certainly cannot be allowable
for a company of militia to VOLUNTEER _as a company_ into a service
_inconsistent with the duties prescribed by the laws under which it is
established_. Adopting Mr. Monroe's distinction, the individuals can
volunteer _as citizens_, but not _as a company_.

Let us try this point by an analogy. The Commonwealth by its
legislation (Rev. Stat., chap. 18) establishes companies of engine-men,
who are to be appointed by the selectmen of towns, to protect from
fires. Is it supposed that these companies can volunteer, _as
companies_, to enter the army of the United States, and go far away
from the scene of the duties for which they were established? But
the companies of militia are hardly less local and home-abiding in
character than the companies of engine-men. It is impossible to suppose
that they can volunteer as companies into the "army" of the United

But suppose, for the sake of argument, that companies of militia, as
such, may volunteer into the service of the United States, under the
Act of May, 1846,--do they continue to be _militia_? Clearly not. They
are in no wise subject to the laws of Massachusetts. Her Governor,
who was so unfortunately prompt to put them in motion, cannot recall
them, although he is commander-in-chief of her militia. They have not
her uniform. Their officers are not her officers, but officers of the
United States. The corps has become part of the _army_ of the United
States, or of its general military force.

And this is the legal character of the present Massachusetts Regiment,
if it have any _legal character_.

  "If shape it may be called, that shape has none
  Distinguishable in member, joint, or limb,
  Or substance may be called that shadow seems."

It is part of the "army" of the United States, and not of the "militia."

_Secondly._ It being established that it is not of the _militia_, but
of the _army_, the way is prepared for the consideration of the other
questions. The first of these relates to the _constitutionality_ of
part of the Act under which the regiment is raised. Looking at Captain
Webster's return in the present case, it will be perceived that he
claims to hold the petitioner "because the said Samuel A. Stone has
been duly enrolled and enlisted as a member of Company A of the First
Regiment of Massachusetts Infantry, whereof the said Edward Webster
has been duly commissioned Captain by his Excellency the Governor
of this Commonwealth." On this return we have a question of double
aspect. 1. Has Edward Webster a right to detain the petitioner? 2. Is
the petitioner liable to be detained by anybody? It is possible that
the petitioner may be liable, although Edward Webster has no right to
detain him. In other words, he may be legally enlisted as a soldier
in the "army" of the United States, although Webster is not a legal

And, first, is Edward Webster legally commissioned as "an officer of
the United States"? This is an important question, which concerns the
validity of his acts. He should be anxious to know if he is a legal
officer, that he may not bear the sword in vain. The attributes of a
military officer are of a high order. He has power over human life and
property to an extraordinary degree. He has power at once executive
and judicial; he is sheriff and judge. In these peculiar powers he
is distinguishable from common citizens. Such powers the Government
can impart,--but only in certain ways _precisely prescribed_ by the
Constitution and laws,--only constitutionally, legally, and rightfully.
And the question recurs, Have these powers been imparted in such wise
to Edward Webster?

This is determined by the Constitution of the United States. That
instrument provides explicitly the manner of appointing "officers
of the United States." It says (Art. 2, § 2), "The President shall
nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate shall
appoint, ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls, judges of
the Supreme Court, _and all other officers of the United States_ whose
appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be
established by law; but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of
such _inferior officers_ as they think proper in the President alone,
in the courts of law, or in the in the heads of departments." In the
next clause it declares, that "the President shall have power to fill
up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, _by
granting commissions_ which shall expire at the end of their next

From these clauses it appears that all "officers of the United States"
are nominated, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate
are appointed, by the President; and it is inferred that they are
"commissioned" by the President.

Now two questions arise: whether an officer in the "army" of the
United States is an "officer of the United States" in the sense of the
Constitution, and whether he is an "inferior officer."

He is not an "inferior officer" in the sense of the Constitution; for
his appointment has never been vested "in the President alone, in the
courts of law, or in the heads of departments."

He is an "officer of the United States." In support of this is
universal custom, which has always treated him as such, the express
action of President Monroe and Congress in 1821 with regard to the
office of Adjutant-General (3 Story, Com. on Const. § 1531, note), and
sundry precedents.

I conclude, therefore, that Edward Webster, assuming to be an "officer
of the United States," but not having been "nominated by the President,
and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate appointed," nor
being "commissioned" by the President, is not constitutionally an
officer of the "army" of the United States, nor entitled to detain the
petitioner. He is commissioned by the Governor of Massachusetts, who
cannot give any power in the "army" of the United States.

The question next arises, whether any person is authorized to detain
the petitioner. Webster is not. Who is?

The petitioner has been mustered into the service of the United States,
not as an individual citizen, but _as a member of the company of which
Webster assumes to be captain_. If the company has no legal existence
as a company, all the proceedings are void. But the company becomes
such only through its officers. Until its officers are chosen, it is
an embryo, not a legal body. But its officers never have been chosen
in any constitutional way. The company is, therefore, still unborn. Or
rather, to adopt the illustration of the Roman Tribune, the "belly"
is produced, but the "head and hands" are wanting; so that it is
impossible to present a complete body.

The conclusion is, that the petitioner is not liable to be
held in the service of the United States. This stands upon the
_unconstitutionality_ of that part of the law of Congress relating to
the peculiar organization of this corps.

This same error Congress has committed before. The Act of February 24,
1807 (Statutes at Large, Vol. II. p. 419), provides for volunteers
in companies, "whose commissioned officers shall be appointed in the
manner prescribed by law in the several States and Territories to which
such companies shall respectively belong." In the Act of February 6,
1812 (Statutes at Large, Vol. II. p. 676), these words are repeated.
But at a later day it seems the mistake was discovered. By the Act
of January 27, 1815, it is provided (§ 4) "that the officers of the
said volunteers shall be commissioned by the President of the United
States"; and also (§ 8) "that the appointment of the officers of the
said volunteers, if received into the service of the United States for
the term of twelve months, or for a longer term, shall be submitted to
the Senate, for their advice and consent, at their next session after
commissions for the same shall have been issued." This bill was much
considered in Congress.[208] Notwithstanding all this, the same error
is repeated in the Act of May, 1846.

    [208] See Niles's Register, Vol. VII. pp. 313, 333, 352.

I submit, that it will be the duty of the Court to declare the Act of
May, so far as it relates to the organization of the _volunteers_,
unconstitutional, and all the proceedings under it a nullity.

_Thirdly._ But if the law should be regarded as constitutional, it is
further submitted that the proceedings under it in Massachusetts have
been _illegal_ in two respects: _first_, by the action of the National
Government; and, _secondly_, by the action of the Commonwealth.

At present we will consider the illegality on the part of the National

The Act of May provides for volunteers "to serve twelve months after
they shall have arrived at the place of rendezvous, or to the end of
the war, unless sooner discharged." But by the requisition of Mr.
Secretary Marcy they are to serve "during the war with Mexico, unless
sooner discharged," which is a different term from that in the law.

The right to enlist soldiers is determined by the laws. Its exact
extent is measured there. It is not dependent upon the judgment or
conscience of any Secretary,--as if his foot were the standard of
physical measure. The law expressly says, that the enlistment is to be
for "twelve months or the war." Now it cannot have been the intention
of Congress to obtain enlistments for the indefinite period of the
war,--for ten years, like the Trojan War, or thirty years, like that
of Wallenstein, in Germany. They wished to hold volunteers for twelve
months, or even for a shorter time, if the war should be ended sooner;
and at the time of this untoward Act it was supposed that it would be
ended sooner. The militia, in this Act, are called out for "six months"

By the Act of February 24, 1807 (Statutes at Large, Vol. II. p. 419),
the volunteers are "for the term of twelve months after they shall
have arrived at the place of rendezvous, unless sooner discharged";
and for the same term by the Act of February 6, 1812 (Vol. II. p.
676). But by the Act of February 24, 1814 (Vol. III. p. 98), the term
was "five years, or during the war." By the Act of January 27, 1815
(Vol. III. p. 193), the term was "not less than twelve months." By
the Act of January 27, 1814 (Vol. III. p. 94), the term of soldiers
in the regular army was "five years, or during the war." I mention
these precedents, to show that this question may have arisen before,
although we have no reports of it from any judicial tribunal. But
we have the express opinion of the late Mr. Justice Johnson, of the
Supreme Court of the United States, in a note to his elaborate Life of
General Greene, written not long after the Acts of Congress to which
I have referred. It was printed in 1822. He says: "The point on which
the Pennsylvania line really grounded their revolt was the same which
has been more recently much agitated between the American Government
and its army. The soldiers were enlisted for a certain number of years,
_or the war_. At the expiration of the term of years they demanded
their discharge; and after resisting this just claim, and sustaining
all the terrors and real dangers of a revolt, ... the Government was
obliged to acquiesce. _For so many years or the war_ certainly meant
for that time, if the war should so long last. Else why specify a term
of years?--as enlistments for the war would have expressed the sense of
the contracting parties." (Vol. II. p. 53, note.)

On the authority of Mr. Justice Johnson, the question seems to be
clear. But if there be any doubt, the inclination must be against the
Government. They are the powerful and intelligent party; the soldier
is powerless and ignorant. The Government are the inviting, offering,
promising party. To them applies the rule, _Verba fortius accipiuntur
contra proferentem._[209]

    [209] Bacon, Maxims of the Law, Reg. III.

But it is said on the other side, that the "twelve months" have not yet
expired; and it does not follow that the volunteers will be detained
beyond that period. But the case now is to be judged on the _contract_.
Is the contract legal or illegal, under the Act of Congress? It is
submitted that it is illegal.

_Fourthly._ I submit that the proceedings in Massachusetts under the
Act of March are _illegal_, inasmuch as they are a _fraud_ upon the
militia laws of the Commonwealth. This brings me to a part of the case
humiliating to Massachusetts.

We have already seen the purpose of these laws, contemplating the
performance of duties _at home_,--as, in preserving the peace, and
aiding the _posse comitatus_. These purposes are distinctly declared
by the Legislature. (Chap. 92, 1840.) But by the agency of State
officers these laws have been employed--I would say, prostituted--to
a purpose widely different: not to help preserve the peace at home,
but to destroy peace abroad. It appears from the communication of the
Adjutant-General, that he resorted to the device or invention of using
the militia laws of the State in order to enlist soldiers to make war
on Mexico. The following is the form of an application to be organized
as a company of the Massachusetts militia,--the applicant expressly
setting forth objects inconsistent with the duties of the militia.

                                         "CHARLESTOWN, January 4, 1847.

    "_To His Excellency, George N. Briggs, Governor and
    Commander-in-Chief of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts._

    "SIR,--The undersigned, in behalf of himself and his associates,
    whose names are duly enrolled therefor, respectfully requests that
    they may be duly organized as a company, to be annexed to the First
    Regiment of Massachusetts Infantry: _it being understood, that,
    when so organized, they desire and assent to be placed at the
    disposal of the President of the United States, to serve during the
    existing war with Mexico_. And as in duty bound will ever pray.

                          (Signed,)      "JOHN S. BARKER."

Thus the Executive of the Commonwealth placed all the apparatus and
energy of the Adjutant-General, and of the militia laws, at the
service of certain petitioners, well knowing that these persons were
not to enlist _bona fide_ in the honest militia of Massachusetts, but
with the distinct understanding that they should be placed at the
disposal of the President of the United States, to serve during the
existing war with Mexico. I do not complain that the Governor or the
Adjutant-General lent himself officially or personally to this purpose,
though I have my regrets on this score; but I do complain that _the
laws of Massachusetts_ are prostituted to this purpose.

It has been decided by the Supreme Court of the United States, in
_Prigg_ v. _Pennsylvania_, (16 Peters, 539), that State officers are
not obliged to enforce United States laws. The Nation must execute
its laws by its own officers. Under the lead of this decision, the
Legislature of Massachusetts passed a law making it penal for State
officers to arrest or detain in public buildings any person for the
reason that he is claimed as a fugitive slave (Act of 1843, Chap.
69), although the Act of Congress of 1793 contemplates the action of
State officers. By this legislation Massachusetts has clearly shown
her determination to take advantage of the principle in Prigg's case.
The Governor and the Adjutant-General, not heeding the spirit of our
Commonwealth, made themselves _recruiting officers_ of the United
States, as much as if they had enlisted sailors for the ship-of-war
Ohio, now lying in our harbor.

How much soever this may be deplored, it forms no ground for any
legal questioning of their acts. What they did, under the directions
of an Act of Congress, as _agents_ of the United States, would be
legal, provided it was not forbidden by the laws of the State. But
although they might volunteer as _agents_ of the United States in
raising troops for the Mexican War, acting under the law of Congress,
_they cannot employ the State laws for this purpose_. They cannot
be justified in _diverting_ the laws of the State to purposes not
originally contemplated by these laws, and _inconsistent with their
whole design and character_. Such was the employment of the militia
laws of Massachusetts. These laws have been made by the Executive the
instruments, the "decoy-ducks," to get together the Falstaff regiment
whose existence is now drawn in question. The whole proceeding is a
_fraud_ on those laws.

It is the duty of this Court, as conservators of the laws of the
Commonwealth, bound to see that they receive no detriment, to guard
them from such a perversion from their true and original purpose. This
can be done only by annulling the proceedings that have taken place
under them.

Such are the objections to the legal character of the Massachusetts
Regiment. If either of these should prevail, then the whole regiment
is virtually dissolved. It becomes a mere name. _Stat nominis umbra._
Or it is left a mere voluntary association, without that quickening
principle which is necessary to a military organization under the
Constitution and laws of the United States. It is like the monster
Frankenstein, the creation of audacious human hands, endowed with a
human form, but wanting a soul.

_Fifthly._ But suppose the Court should hesitate to pronounce the
nullity of these proceedings, and should recognize the legal existence
of the regiment, it then becomes important to determine whether there
are any special circumstances in the case of the petitioner which will
justify his discharge. The party that I represent is a _minor_, and
as such entitled to his discharge. The question on this point I have
reserved to the last, because I wished to consider it after the inquiry
whether the regiment was a part of the "army" or the "militia," in
order to disembarrass it of considerations that might arise from the
circumstance that the militia laws embrace minors. I assume now that
the regiment, if it have any legal existence, is a part of the "army."

The jurisprudence of all countries wisely provides a certain period of
majority, at which persons are supposed to be able to make contracts.
This by the Common Law is the age of twenty-one.

Now enlistment in the army of the United States is a _contract_. The
parties are volunteers, and the term implies contract. And the question
arises, whether this contract is governed by the Common Law, so as
to be voidable when made by a minor. Is the circumstance that the
contract is made with the Government any ground of exception? If an
infant were to contract with the Government to sell a piece of land,
he would not be bound by it any more than if the contract were with a
private person. Is the circumstance that the contract is _military_ any
ground of exception? If an infant were to contract to furnish military
supplies to Government, he could not be held more than by any private

The rule of the Common Law as to the incapacity of infants is specific.
An exception to it must be established by express legislation,--as,
in the case of capacity to make a will, to marry, or to serve in the
militia. Congress has recognized this principle by expressly declaring,
on several occasions, that persons between the ages of eighteen and
twenty-one may be enlisted. The argument from this is clear, that
without _express provision_ such enlistments would not be binding. The
Acts of January 11, 1812 (Statutes at Large, Vol. II. p. 671), and
December 10, 1814 (Ibid., Vol. III. p. 146), contain such provisions.
And we are able from contemporary history to ascertain what was
the understanding concerning them. I refer particularly to Niles's
Register, Vol. III. p. 207, and the discussion there on the first of
these Acts; also to Vol. VII. p. 308, where will be found an important
document making this legislation of Congress a special subject of

It is argued, however, that the United States have no Common Law,
and cannot, therefore, be governed by the rules of majority therein
established. Although it may be decided that the United States have no
Common Law as a source of jurisdiction, yet it cannot be questioned
that they have a Common Law so far as may be necessary in determining
the signification of words and the capacity of persons. Idiots and
femes-coverts would not be held as _volunteers_ in the army of the
United States; but their capacity is determined by the Common Law, and
not by any special legislation.

I conclude, therefore, that the contract of enlistment in this regiment
may be avoided by a minor.

It may be in the power of the Court to discharge the petitioner without
passing upon all the grave questions which I have now presented. But I
confidently submit, that, if these proceedings are unconstitutional and
illegal, as I have urged, if the regiment is a nullity, as I believe,
the truth should be declared. The regiment is soon to embark for
foreign war, when its members will be beyond the kindly protection of
this Court. It will be for the Court to determine whether it may not,
by a just judgment, vindicate the injured laws of Massachusetts, and
discharge many fellow-citizens from obligations imposed in violation of
the Constitution and laws of the land.



    Hon. Samuel Greele presided at this meeting. The other speakers,
    besides Mr. Sumner, were Rev. James Freeman Clarke, Hon. John M.
    Williams, Rev. Theodore Parker, Elizur Wright, and Dr. Walter
    Channing. There was interruption at times from lawless persons
    trying to drown the voice of the speaker. One of the papers
    remarks, that "a number of the volunteers were among the most


In the winter of 1775, five years after what was called the "massacre"
in King Street, now State Street, a few months only before the Battles
of Lexington and Bunker Hill, Boston was occupied by a British army
under General Gage,--as Mexican Monterey, a town not far from the size
of Boston in those days, is now occupied by American troops under
General Taylor. The people of Boston felt keenly all the grievance of
this garrison, holding the control of Massachusetts Bay with iron hand.
With earnest voice they called for its withdrawal, as the beginning of
reconciliation and peace. Their remonstrances found unexpected echo in
the House of Lords, when Lord Chatham, on the 20th of January, brought
forward his memorable motion for the withdrawal of the troops from
Boston. Josiah Quincy, Jr., dear to Bostonians for his own services,
and for the services of his descendants in two generations, was present
on this occasion, and has preserved an interesting and authentic
sketch of Lord Chatham's speech. From his report I take the following
important words.

    "There ought to be no delay in entering upon this matter. We ought
    to proceed to it immediately. We ought to seize the first moment
    to open the door of reconciliation. The Americans will never be in
    a temper or state to be reconciled,--they ought not to be,--till
    the troops are withdrawn. The troops are a perpetual irritation
    to these people; they are a bar to all confidence and all cordial
    reconcilement. I, therefore, my Lords, move, 'That an humble
    address be presented to His Majesty, most humbly to advise and
    beseech His Majesty, that, in order to open the way towards an
    happy settlement of the dangerous troubles in America, by beginning
    to allay ferments and soften animosities there, and above all for
    preventing in the mean time any sudden and fatal catastrophe at
    Boston, now suffering under the daily irritation of an army before
    their eyes, posted in their town, it may graciously please His
    Majesty _that immediate orders may be despatched to General Gage
    for removing His Majesty's forces from the town of Boston_, as soon
    as the rigor of the season, and other circumstances indispensable
    to the safety and accommodation of the said troops, may render the
    same practicable.'"[210]

    [210] Life of Josiah Quincy, Jr., p. 320.

It is to promote a similar measure of justice and reconciliation
that we are now assembled. Adopting the language of Chatham, we ask
the cessation of this unjust war, and the withdrawal of the American
forces from Mexico, "as soon as the rigor of the season, and other
circumstances indispensable to the safety and accommodation of the said
troops, may render the same practicable."

It is hoped that this movement will extend throughout the country,
but it is proper that it should begin here. Boston herself in former
times suffered. The war-horse was stalled in one of her most venerable
churches. Her streets echoed to the tread of hostile troops. Her
inhabitants were waked by the morning drum-beat of oppressors. On their
own narrow peninsula they have seen the smoke of an enemy's camp.
Though these things are beyond the memory of any in this multitude, yet
faithful History has entered them on her record, so that they can never
be forgotten. It is proper, then, that Boston, mindful of the past and
of her own trials, mindful of her own pleadings for the withdrawal of
the British troops, as the beginning of reconciliation, should now
come forward and ask for _others_ what she once so earnestly asked for
_herself_. It is proper that Boston should confess her obligations to
the generous eloquence of Chatham, by vindicating his arguments of
policy, humanity, and justice, in their application to the citizens
of a sister Republic. Franklin, in dispensing a charity, said to the
receiver, "When you are able, return this,--not to me, but to some one
in need, like yourself now." In the same spirit, Boston should now
repay her debt by insisting on the withdrawal of the American troops
from Mexico.

Other considerations call upon her to take the lead. Boston has always
led the generous actions of our history. Boston led the cause of the
Revolution. Here commenced that discussion, pregnant with independence,
which, at first occupying a few warm, but true spirits only, finally
absorbed all the best energies of the continent, the eloquence of
Adams, the patriotism of Jefferson, the wisdom of Washington. Boston is
the home of noble charities, the nurse of true learning, the city of
churches. By all these tokens she stands conspicuous; and other parts
of the country are not unwilling to follow her example. Athens was
called "the eye of Greece." Boston may be called "the eye of America";
and the influence which she exerts proceeds not from size,--for
there are other cities larger far,--but from moral and intellectual
character. It is only just, then, that a town foremost in the struggles
of the Revolution, foremost in all the humane and enlightened labors of
our country, should take the lead now.

The war in which the United States are engaged has been from this
platform pronounced unconstitutional. Such was the judgment of him who
has earned the title of _Defender of the Constitution_. Would that,
instead of innocuous threat to impeach its alleged author, he had
spoken in the spirit of another time, when, branding an appropriation
as unconstitutional, he boldly said he would not vote for it, if the
enemy were thundering at the gates of the Capitol!

Assuming that the war commenced in violation of the Constitution, we
have ample reason for its arrest on this account alone. Of course the
troops should be withdrawn to where they were, when, in defiance of the
Constitution, they moved upon disputed territory.

But the war is not only unconstitutional, it is unjust, and it is vile
in object and character. It had its origin in a well-known series of
measures to extend and perpetuate Slavery. It is a war which must ever
be odious in history, beyond the outrages of brutality which disgrace
other nations and times. It is a slave-driving war. In principle it is
only a little above those miserable conflicts between barbarian chiefs
of Central Africa to obtain slaves for the inhuman markets of Brazil.
Such a war must be accursed in the sight of God. Why is it not accursed
in the sight of man?

We are told that the country is engaged in the war, and therefore
it must be maintained, or, as it is sometimes expressed, vigorously
prosecuted. In other words, the violation of the Constitution and the
outrage upon justice sink out of sight, and we are urged to these same
acts again. By what necromancy do these pass from wrong to right?
In what book of morals is it written, that what is bad before it is
undertaken becomes righteous merely from the circumstance that it is
commenced? Who on earth is authorized to transmute wrong into right?
Whoso admits the unconstitutionality and injustice of the war, and yet
sanctions its prosecution, must approve the Heaven-defying sentiment,
"Our country, right or wrong." Can this be the sentiment of Boston? If
so, in vain are her children nurtured in the churches of the Pilgrims,
in vain fed from the common table of knowledge bountifully supplied by
our common schools. Who would profess allegiance to wrong? Who would
deny allegiance to right? Right is one of the attributes of God, or
rather it is part of his Divinity, immortal as himself. The mortal
cannot be higher than the immortal. Had this sentiment been received
by our English defenders in the war of the Revolution, no fiery tongue
of Chatham, Burke, Fox, or Camden would have been heard in our behalf.
Their great testimony would have failed. All would have been silenced,
while crying that the country, right or wrong, must be carried through
the war.

Here is a gross confusion of opposite duties in cases of _defence_ and
of _offence_. When a country is invaded, its soil pressed by hostile
footsteps, its churches desecrated, its inhabitants despoiled of
homes, its national life assailed, then the indignant spirit of a free
people rises to repel the aggressor. Such an occasion challenges all
the energies of _self-defence_. It has about it all that dismal glory
which can be earned in scenes of human strife. But if it be right to
persevere in _defence_, it must be wrong to persevere in _offence_. If
the Mexicans are right in defending their homes, we certainly are wrong
in invading them.

The present war is _offensive_ in essence. As such it loses all shadow
of title to support. The acts of courage and hardihood which in a just
cause might excite regard, when performed in an unrighteous cause, have
no quality that can commend them to virtuous sympathy. The victories of
aggression and injustice are a grief and shame. Blood wrongfully shed
cries from the ground drenched with the fraternal tide.

The enormous expenditures lavished upon this war, now extending to
fifty millions of dollars,--we have been told recently on the floor
of the Senate that they were near one hundred millions,--are another
reason for its cessation. The soul sickens at the contemplation of this
incalculable sum diverted from purposes of usefulness and beneficence,
from railroads, colleges, hospitals, schools, and churches, under whose
genial influences the country would blossom as a rose, and desecrated
to the wicked purposes of unjust war. In any righteous self-defence
even these expenditures would be readily incurred. The saying of an
early father of the Republic, which roused its enthusiasm to unwonted
pitch, was, "Millions for Defence, not a cent for Tribute." Another
sentiment more pertinent to our times would be, "Not a cent for

And why is this war to be maintained? According to the jargon of the
day, "to conquer a peace." But if we ask for peace in the spirit of
peace, we must begin by doing justice to Mexico. We are the aggressors.
We are now in the wrong. We must do all in our power to set ourselves
right. This surely is not by brutal effort to conquer Mexico. Our
military force is so far greater than hers, that even conquest must be
without the wretched glory which men covet, while honor is impossible
from successful adherence to original acts of wrong. "To conquer a
peace" may have a sensible signification, when a nation is acting in
_self-defence_; but it is base, unjust, and atrocious, when the war
is of _offence_. Peace in such a war, if founded on conquest, must be
the triumph of injustice, the consummation of wrong. It is unlike that
true peace won by justice or forbearance. It cannot be sanctioned by
the God of Christians. To the better divinities of heathenism it would
be offensive. It is of such a peace that the Roman historian, whose
pen is as keen as a sword's sharp point, says, "_Auferre, trucidare,
rapere, falsis nominibus_, IMPERIUM; _atque, ubi solitudinem faciunt_,
PACEM _appellant_": With lying names, they call spoliation, murder,
and rapine, _Empire_; and when they have produced the desolation of
solitude, they call it _Peace_.[211]

    [211] Tacitus, Agricola, c. 30.

The present course of our country, I have said, is opposed to those
principles which govern men in private life. Few, if any, of the
conspicuous advocates for the maintenance of this war would hesitate,
if found wrong in any private transaction, to _retreat_ at once. With
proper apology they would repair their error, while they recoiled from
the very suspicion of perseverance. Such should be the conduct of
the Nation; for it cannot be said too often, that the general rules
of morals are the same for individuals and states. "A commonwealth,"
says Milton, "ought to be but as one huge Christian personage, one
mighty growth and stature of an honest man, as big and compact in
virtue as in body. For look what the grounds and causes are of single
happiness to one man, the same ye shall find them to a whole state; by
consequence, therefore, that which is good and agreeable to the state
will appear soonest to be so by being good and agreeable to the true
welfare of every Christian, and that which can be justly proved hurtful
and offensive to every true Christian will be evinced to be alike
hurtful to the state."[212]

    [212] Of Reformation in England, Book II.: Prose Works, Vol. I. p.

I adopt the sentiments of Milton, and ask, Is not perseverance
in wrong-doing hurtful and offensive to every Christian? Is not
perseverance in wrong-doing hurtful and offensive to every Christian
commonwealth? And is it not doubly so, when the opposite party is weak
and the offender strong?

There are other considerations, arising from our fellowship with
Mexico, which plead for her. She is our neighbor and sister republic,
who caught her first impulse to independence from our example,
rejecting the ensigns of royalty to follow simpler, purer forms. She
has erred often, and suffered much, under the rule of selfish and bad
men. But she is our neighbor and sister still, entitled to the rights
of neighborhood and sisterhood. Many of her citizens are well known in
our country, where they established relations of respect and amity.
One of them, General Almonte, her recent minister at Washington, was a
favored guest in the social circles of the capital. He is personally
known to many who voted the supplies for this cruel war upon his
country. The representative from Boston refers to him in terms of
personal regard. Addressing any of these friends, how justly might this
Mexican adopt the words of Franklin, in his remarkable letter to Mr.
Strahan, of the British Parliament!

                                          "PHILADELPHIA, 5 July, 1775.

    "MR. STRAHAN,--You are a member of Parliament, and one of that
    majority which doomed my country to destruction. You have begun to
    burn our towns and murder our people. _Look upon your hands: they
    are stained with the blood of your relations!_ You and I were long
    friends: you are now my enemy, and I am yours,

                                              "B. FRANKLIN."[213]

    [213] Works, ed. Sparks, Vol. VIII. p. 155.

The struggle in Mexico against the United States, and that of our
fathers against England, have their points of resemblance. Prominent
among these is the aggressive character of the proceedings, in the
hope of crushing a weaker people. But the parallel fails as yet in
an important particular. The injustice of England roused her most
distinguished sons, in her own Parliament, to call for the cessation
of the war. It inspired the eloquence of Chatham to those strains of
undying fame. In the Senate of the United States there is a favorite
son of Massachusetts, to whom has been accorded powers unsurpassed
by those of any English orator. He has now before him the cause of
Chatham. His country is engaged in unrighteous war. Join now in asking
him to raise his eloquent voice in behalf of justice, and of peace
founded on justice; and may the spirit of Chatham descend upon him!

Let us call upon the whole country to rally in this cause. And may
a voice go forth from Faneuil Hall to-night, awakening fresh echoes
throughout the valleys of New England,--swelling as it proceeds, and
gathering new reverberations in its ample volume,--traversing the whole
land, and still receiving other voices, till it reaches our rulers at
Washington, and, in tones of thunder, demands the cessation of this
unjust war!

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes.
    The punctuation and spelling are as in the original publication
    with the exception of the following:

    line 7271 enfore is now enforce.
    line 2611 Gibeon is now Gideon.

    Page 242 was a numbered blank page.

    The oe ligature has been expanded.

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