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councils, did not intend to allow his influence to rule it, and the result of the contest between the friends of Mr. Winter Davis and Mr. Blair 1 soon decided this question beyond a doubt. Mr. Seward's policy had been to go outside of the party in selecting members of the Cabinet from southern States, and to choose men whose influence would have strengthened the administration. The fact that Mr. Blair, a strict Republican, was preferred over any other man to represent Maryland and Virginia in the Cabinet, was decisive of the policy of the


ť Government, and the death-blow to the policy of Mr. Seward.

When once this question was settled it was of little consequence what became of the proposed measures of conciliation, which were worth nothing, except as one weak link in the chain by which the border States were to be held to the Union. Still the battle went on no less fiercely in Congress, and the radical wing of the Republicans, not yet conscious that this question was a mere subordinate, lost on other ground than that on which they resisted it, went so far as to threaten to stop the business of the House, defeat the appropriation bills and throw the burden of an immediate new Congress on the administration. Happily no such folly was committed, and the measure so hardly disputed was passed by bare majorities. The New Mexico proposition was defeated by southern Union votes and no one was sorry to see it so ended. It had been proposed and adopted merely as a means of crushing the Crittenden measures and putting an end to the demand for protection to slavery in the Territories. As such it had answered its purpose, and no one regretted that southern men should take the responsibility of defeating it. On the very morning of the 4th of March, the Senate passed the Amendment to the Constitution by exactly the necessary vote; and even then it was said in Washington that some careful manipulation, as well as the direct influence of the new President, was needed before this measure, so utterly innocent and unobjectionable, could be passed.

It will be a problem that those who are fond of such riddles may pore over, what would have been the end of the matter if Mr. Seward had then carried his point, and the conciliatory policy had become the policy of the Government. No man, probably, except the actors themselves in these scenes, knows

1 Montgomery Blair.

what the course of events really was, yet from what is public it is fair to suppose that Mr. Seward contemplated a very cautious and forbearing course. It is known that he wished to open the Cabinet to the southern Unionists irrespective of party. Hence it is reasonable to suppose that he would have strengthened their hands by every means in his power. Mr. Jefferson Davis, whose whole course was directed towards drawing the border States into the secession movement, and who, to effect this, had restrained his followers from all

aggression, had caused the old Constitution to be re-enacted with but few changes, and the old tariff to be adopted in spite of all complaints; Mr. Davis was to be checkmated at all hazards. The Virginia Congressional elections which were to come in May, would have been the decisive point. In order to enable the Unionists to carry these and force a reaction, Mr. Seward would no doubt have caused Forts Sumter and Pickens to be abandoned as useless to him except for what they would bring. He would have set every engine to work to redeem the border States and place them in the hands of reliable men, and no doubt he would have employed the same policy upon the unionisty of Georgia and Alabama. Yet towards foreign nations we must suppose that his tone would have been the more dignified, as it was gentle and forbearing at home. No infringement of our laws, whether in relation to duties or otherwise, would have been permitted, and if attempted, would have been instantly resented. And if at last all this caution and delicacy were rewarded by the hoped-for revolution in the border States and the gradual disintegration of the seceders, it is not improbable that, exchanging finally his caution for boldness, Mr. Seward would with a single blow have shattered their whole fabric in the dust.

Such is probably the policy which the friends of Mr. Seward hoped to see adopted. Whether it would have answered their hopes, it is of little use to inquire. Like all such attempts at wisdom and moderation in times of heated passions and threatening war, it was swallowed up and crushed under the weight of brute force, that final tribunal to which human nature is subjected or subjects herself without appeal. Yet it is right to make the effort even if overruled. Through all the chaos of anxiety and contest which marked Mr. Seward's reign of two months, it was evident that he at

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least felt the highest confidence in the course he pursued. He declared himself bent on weathering the storm without the loss of a single life. Under all the dangers and trials, the cares and the triumphs of his dictatorship, he maintained always the same self-control and calmness, never parading his importance and never losing his self-command. " You look worn, Mr. Seward,” said a friend to him one day towards the end of the winter. “ Yes,” he replied with his slow, rough and careless manner; “the short session is generally the hardest work.” “God damn you, Seward, you've betrayed your principles and the party; we've followed your lead long enough,” growled a Senator at him one day, in answer to some interposed advice on business in the Senate Chamber. The insult was gross enough and pointed enough to hurt perhaps, but caused no retort. In his natural calmness of disposition and his self-taught quiet, he was as immovable outwardly under praise as under blame. Only once was it known that he ever felt what was said of him, and then it was not without reason, when he opened the envelope and read the sonnet which the poet Whittier sent to him from Amesbury.

In this short and superficial sketch of the course of events at the Capitol during the last winter, it is not intended to attempt the accuracy of history, nor would it be possible to detail even the bare record of what took place in those three months without writing a volume at least. Yet merely from this sketch one result plainly appears. It is said very generally among our people that our theory of Government is a failure. We know that it has been the subject of long controversy and stands now as an experiment. As with all other governments, so with this, it was to be expected that time would bring its trials, and until they came, and the fact of their having been endured and surmounted was patent to the world, this experiment, founded by men in whose work theory had been too largely mixed with experience to permit even themselves to feel absolute confidence in it, could never be called a complete success. In the event of such a trial the mere individuals, whom accident made the instruments for upholding or overthrowing the Government, are lost in the interest which attaches to the great argument by which a question of such fearful magnitude is to be decided.

For nearly half a century it has been growing clearer and

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clearer every day whence this trial was to come. By an
unfortunate necessity which has grown with its growth, the
country contained in itself, at its foundation, the seeds of its
future troubles. By the Constitution a great political, social
and geographical or sectional power within the Government
was created; in its nature a monopoly; in its theory contrary
to and subversive of the whole spirit of Republican institu-
tions. A monarchy, such as that of England, may contain,
though not without danger, such monopolies and social dis-
tinctions, though its permanence must always depend on a
nice and intricate adjustment of their powers, but such is not
the case with a Republic. Its existence depends upon the
absence of such distinctions, and all monopolies or corporations
that exercise a direct political influence as such, are contrary
to the spirit of the Government and hurtful to its integrity.
They must be kept down or they will pervert the whole body

The grand corporation known under the name of the slave-
power, peculiarly offensive as it was, not only to the spirit of
our Government but to that of our religion and whole civiliza-
tion, did very shortly pervert the whole body politic, and as
an inevitable result of its very existence, the nation divided
into parties, one of which favored its continuing to control
the Government; the other striving to rescue the power from
its hands. - While maintaining the Constitution and its grants,
good or bad as they might be thought, their effort was to
reduce the evil results of such grants to their lowest possible
standard and to raise the good results to their highest. After
a long and bitter contest the slave power was for the first
time defeated, and deprived, not of its legitimate power,
not of its privileges as originally granted in the Constitution,
but of its control of the Government; and suddenly in the fury
of its unbridled license, it raised its hand to destroy that
Government. The great secession winter of 1860-61 was
therefore the first crucial test of our political system.

Has the system stood that test? The answer will be as various as men's educations and turn of mind. And yet where else, in any country over the broad surface of the globe, has there ever existed the Government capable of sustaining so long and so tremendous a pressure as this! What genius has ever yet described, or what nation has ever drawn from the

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cumulative wisdom of centuries, a system more strong, more elastic, more tenacious, more full of life and instinct with selfconsciousness than ours? Where in all history is there to be found an instance of a power such as slavery has shown itself, peaceably ejected from the Government and forced to become rebels or submit? In other countries it would have needed a violent and bloody struggle to drive it from its throne. Where else is or has there ever been that Government which could for five months remain inactive, while so vast a rebellion was developing itself under its very eyes, without breaking down into anarchy under the weight of its very inactivity? There does not exist and never has existed the Government which could maintain itself and the public peace; which could with wise and cautious patience bear and forbear, wait and endure, and stretch its elastic membranes beyond the limits of all credibility as ours has done during the last year. Nor, if strength is wanted, has ever any Government developed more than our own, when, at one stamp of his foot, the President called the whole nation to arms, and the bristling lines of bayonets poured down from every township in the North, to sustain the integrity of the Union.

Mr. SANBORN read the following communication on the present state of information concerning Michel Guillaume St. Jean de Crèvecæuronce commonly called “ Hector St. John":

Some years ago, after reading the French biography of the above-named rather mystifying personage, and the six volumes in French of his American essays, letters and notes, I undertook to give some connected and authenticated account of him and his works in English. This was printed in the Proceedings of this Society for 1906,1 and, in a briefer form, in the Pennsylvania Magazine of Ilistory and Biography.2

Prof. W. P. Trent of Columbia University, who had given his name as voucher for a new edition of the faulty and mystifying English edition of the “ Letters of an American Farmer,” on being assured of its defects, and of the real facts about its author, at once interested himself to have the whole

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