صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

to subjugate. During the long struggle for our freedom, our glory, I may say our existence, Wellesley fought and won fifteen pitched battles, all of the highest class, — concluding with one of those crowning victories which give a color and aspect to history. During this period that can be said of him which can be said of no other captain,

that he captured three thousand cannon from the enemy, and never lost a single gun. The greatness of his exploits was only equaled by the difficulties he overcame. He had to encounter at the saine time a feeble government, a factious opposition, and a distrustful people, scandalous allies, and the most powerful enemy in the world. He gained victories with starving troops, and carried on sieges without tools; and, as if to complete the fatality which in this sense always awaited him, when he had succeeded in creating an army worthy of Roman legions, and of himself, this invincible host was broken up on the eve of the greatest conjuncture of his life, and he entered the field of Waterloo with raw levies, and discomfited allies.

But the star of Wellesley never paled. He has been called fortunate, for fortune is a divinity that ever favors those who are alike sagacious and intrepid, inventive and patient. It was his character that created his career. This alike achieved his exploits and guarded him from vicissitudes. It was his sublime self-control that regulated his lofty fate. It has been the fashion of late years to disparage the military character. Forty years of peace have hardly qualified us to be aware how considerable and how complex are the qualities which are necessary for the formation of a great general. It is not enough to say that he must be an engineer, a geographer, learned in human nature, adroit in managing mankind; that he must be able to perform the highest duties of a minister of state, and sink to the humblest offices of a commissary and a clerk; but he has to display all this knowledge, and he must do all these things at the same time, and under extraordinary circumstances. At the same moment he must think of the eve and the morrow, of his flanks and of his reserves; he must carry with him ammunition, provisions, hospitals; he must calculate at the same time the state of the weather and the moral qualities of man; and all these elements, which are perpetually changing, he must combine amid overwhelming cold or overpowering heat; sometimes amid famine, often amid the thunder of artillery. Behind all this, too, is the ever-present image of his country, and the dreadful alternative whether that country is to receive him with cypress

or laurel. But all these conflicting ideas must be driven from the mind of the military leader, for he must think and not only think - he must think with the rapidity of lightning, for on a moment, more or less, depends the fate of the finest combination, and on a moment, more or less, depends glory or shame. Doubtless, all this may be done in an ordinary manner, by an ordinary man; as we see every day of our lives ordinary men making successful ministers of state, successful speakers, successful authors. But to do all this with genius is sublime. Doubtless, to think deeply and clearly in the recess of a cabinet is a fine intellectual demonstration, but to think with equal depth and equal clearness amid bullets is the most complete exercise of the human faculties. Although the military career of the Duke of Wellington fills so large a space in history, it was only a comparatively small section of his prolonged and illustrious life. Only eight years elapsed from Vimiera to Waterloo, and from the date of his first commission to the last cannon-shot on the field of battle scarcely twenty years can be counted. After all his triumphs he was destined for another career, and if not in the prime, certainly in the perfection of manhood, he commenced a civil career scarcely less eminent than those military achievements which will live forever in history. Thrice was he the ambassador of his sovereign to those great historic congresses that settled the affairs of Europe; twice was he Secretary of State; twice was he Commander-in-Chief; and once he was Prime Minister of England. His labors for his country lasted to the end; and he died the active chieftain of that famous army to which he has left the tradition of his glory.

The Duke of Wellington left to his countrymen a great legacy, greater even than his glory. He left them the contemplation of his character. I will not say his conduct revived the sense of duty in England. I would not say that of our country. But that his conduct inspired public life with a purer and more masculine tone I cannot doubt. His career rebukes restless vanity, and reprimands the irregular ebullitions of a morbid egotism. I doubt not that, among all orders of Englishmen, from those with the highest responsibilities of our society to those who perform the humblest duties, I dare say there is not a man who in his toil and his perplexity has not sometimes thought of the duke and found in his example support and solace.

Though he lived so much in the hearts and minds of his country

men, though he occupied such eminent posts and fulfilled such august duties, it was not till he died that we felt what a space he filled in the feelings and thoughts of the people of England. Never was the influence of real greatness more completely asserted than on his decease. In an age whose boast of intellectual equality flatters all our self-complacencies, the world suddenly acknowledged that it had lost the greatest of men; in an age of utility the most industrious and common-sense people in the world could find no vent for their woe and no representative for their sorrow but the solemnity of a pageant; and we we who have met here for such different purposes to investigate the sources of the wealth of nations, to enter into statistical research, and to encounter each other in fiscal controversy we present to the world the most sublime and touching spectacle that human circumstances can well produce, the spectacle of a Senate mourning a Hero!

[ocr errors]

THERE have been some, and those, too, among the wisest and the wittiest of the northern and western races, who, touched by a presumptuous jealousy of the long predominance of that Oriental intellect to which they owed their civilization, would have persuaded themselves and the world that the traditions of Sinai and Calvary were fables. Half a century ago Europe made a violent and apparently successful effort to disembarrass itself of its Asian faith. The most powerful and the most civilized of its kingdoms,* about to conquer the rest, shut up its churches, desecrated its altars, massacred and persecuted their sacred servants, and announced that the Hebrew creeds which Simon Peter brought from Palestine, and which his successors revealed to Clovis, were a mockery and a fiction. What has been the result? In every city, town, village, and hamlet of that great kingdom, the divine image of the most illustrious of Hebrews has been again raised amid the homage of kneeling millions; while, in the heart of its bright and witty capital, the nation has erected the most gorgeous of modern temples,† and consecrated its marble and golden walls to the name, and memory, and celestial efficacy of a Hebrew woman.

* FRANCE. When the celebrated French Revolution was at its height, the rulers and their followers, for the time being, repudiated the Christian religion, and set up Paganism in its stead. The Communists, while they held possession of Paris, during the recent Franco-German War, did much the same thing, but it was shorter lived.

The Church of the Madeleine in Paris.



MATTHEW FONTAINE MAURY, an eminent astronomer and hydrographer, was born in Spottsylvania County, Virginia, in 1806, and entered the United States Navy in 1825. He devoted himself assiduously to the duties of his profession, and in 1835 published a Treatise on Navigation, which was adopted as a text-book in the Navy. An accident having rendered him incapable of performing sea-service, he devoted himself to scientific and literary work, writing extensively on such subjects as the Gulf Stream, National Defenses, Overland Communication with the Pacific, etc. To his foresight and influence are due the expeditions for exploring the Amazon and the Rio de la Plata. Under his direction the National Observatory speedily assumed an equal rank with the best similar institutions in the world. Lieutenant Maury's labors in the department of Hydrography give him a title to lasting and honorable fame. His wind and current charts and the accompanying book of Sailing Directions must be regarded as the most important work of the century in its bearing on navigation. In 1854 Mr. Maury visited Europe and excited attention by his inquiry into the ocean current, local winds, etc. In illustration of these subjects he published his celebrated Physical Geography of the Sea, with charts and diagrams, which has been translated into several languages. Both of our extracts are from this work.


THERE is a river in the ocean. In the severest droughts it never fails, and in the mightiest floods it never overflows. Its banks and its bottom are of cold water, while its current is of warm. The Gulf of Mexico is its fountain, and its mouth is in the Arctic Seas. It is the Gulf Stream. There is in the world no other such majestic flow of waters. Its current is more rapid than the Mississippi or the Amazon, and its volume more than a thousand times greater. The currents of the ocean are among the most important of its movements. They carry on a constant interchange between the waters of the poles and those of the equator, and thus diminish the extremes of heat and cold in every zone.

The sea has its climates as well as the land. They both change with the latitude; but one varies with the elevation above, the other with the depression below, the sea level. The climates in each are regulated by circulation: but the regulators are, on the one hand, winds; on the other, currents.

The inhabitants of the ocean are as much the creatures of climate as are those of the dry land; for the same Almighty hand which decked the lily and cares for the sparrow fashioned also the pearl and feeds the great whale, and adapted each to the physical conditions by which his providence has surrounded it. Whether of the land or the

sea, the inhabitants are all his creatures, subjects of his laws, and agents in his economy. The sea, therefore, we may safely infer, has its offices and duties to perform; so, may we infer, have its currents; and so, too, its inhabitants: consequently, he who undertakes to study its phenomena must cease to regard it as a waste of waters. He must look upon it as a part of that exquisite machinery by which the harmonies of nature are preserved, and then he will begin to perceive the developments of order and the evidences of design.

From the Arctic Seas a cold current flows along the coasts of America, to replace the warm water sent through the Gulf Stream to moderate the cold of Western and Northern Europe. Perhaps the best indication as to these cold currents may be derived from the fishes of the sea. The whales first pointed out the existence of the Gulf Stream by avoiding its warm waters. Along the coasts of the United States all those delicate animals and marine productions which delight in warmer waters are wanting; thus indicating, by their absence, the cold current from the north now known to exist there. In the genial warmth of the sea about the Bermudas on one hand, and Africa on the other, we find in great abundance those delicate shell-fish and coral formations which are altogether wanting in the same latitudes along the shores of South Carolina.


No part of the world affords a more difficult or dangerous navigation than the approaches of the northern coasts of the United States in winter. Before the warmth of the Gulf Stream was known, a voyat this season from Europe to New England, New York, and even to the capes of the Delaware or Chesapeake, was many times more trying, difficult, and dangerous than it now is. In making this part of the coast vessels are frequently met by snow-storms and gales which mock the seaman's strength and set at naught his skill. In a little while his bark becomes a mass of ice; with her crew frosted and helpless, she remains obedient only to her helm, and is kept away for the Gulf Stream. After a few hours' run she reaches its edge, and almost at the next bound passes from the midst of winter into a sea at summer heat. Now the ice disappears from her apparel, and the sailor bathes his stiffened limbs in tepid waters. Feeling himself invigorated and refreshed with the genial warmth about him, he realizes out there at sea the fable of Antæus and his mother Earth. He rises up and attempts to make his port again, and is again, perhaps, as rudely met and beat back from the northwest; but each time that he is driven off

« السابقةمتابعة »