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WILLIAM H. SEWARD.
'HE Central American Treaty was fully ratified on
the 4th of July, 1850, but took effect from its date, April 19, 1850. It recites the purpose of the parties, namely, to consolidate amicable relations, by setting forth and fixing their mutual views and intentions concerning any interoceanic canal that may be constructed by the way of the river San Juan and either one or both of the Lakes of Nicaragua or Manegua. It was a great treaty, sublime in its conception, generous in its spirit, and beneficent in its purposes.
The two rival members of the British family, after long and angry alienation, met, not within the territory of either, but on that foreign and narrow isthmus which, while it unites North and South America, divides the vigorous Atlantic States of Europe and America from the immature American States and the decayed Asiatic nations which on the opposite coasts overlook the broad Pacific, the last remaining one of the barriers which nature had erected to hinder the restoration of the unity of the human race. How were they changed since they had last met in conflict! The elder had grown richer, stronger, and more imperial than ever before. The younger had reached a higher and more palmy state than any one of years so few had ever before attained. They are no longer unequal, but each was dominant, although in a separate sphere. The one, by the presence of its mercantile marine and its armed navy, kept the nations of the East in their places; the other, by the mere influence of its opinions and its laws, was supreme among the newer nations of the West. They met on that important strait, not to contend together for dominion over it, nor yet to combine together to seize and divide an exclusive dominion there, but to make it free to each other, and equally free to all mankind. They met in the presence of the feeble and contentious republics which the influence of their own institutions had perhaps too soon organized out of the ruins of Spanish despotism in America, not to overthrow and subjugate those republics, and seize the domains which they could not hold, but to fortify them, and guarantee their possessions to them forever. It is not the present, but the future, that stamps upon human transactions their true and lasting character. Higher than the fame of Agincourt, of Saratoga, of Waterloo, or of Buena Vista, shall be the glory of that conjunction of Great Britain and America on the heights that command the repose of the world. The truce they made there was not effected without mutual self-denial, acquired under the discipline of free government. Great Britain repressed a constitutional ambition that had long convulsed the world. The United States subdued on that nature prompted, and the voice of mankind applauded and encouraged. Let not that sacred truce be broken, and these friendly Powers engage in deadly strife and discord, and violence be thus let loose, to arrest the progress of the nations.
Better for the pride of each, that the white cliffs that garrison the coast of England sink into a black and pestilential morass, and that Niagara lose forever its deep-toned voice, and ooze through a vulgar channel to the sea, than that the great and sonorous concord thus established between them be rudely broken. I counsel you, Senators and statesmen of the United States, by all the motives that are born in the love of such a land as ours, in such an age as this—I counsel the Senators and statesmen of Great Britain, by all the motives that greatness and ambition like her own will not permit to be inactive—to preserve and maintain, at all costs and hazards, and through all discontents and jealousies, this great treaty. Let this political rainbow stand, stretching from the skies downwards on either side to the horizon, a pledge that the nations shall not again be overwhelmed by any after-coming deluge of human passions.
N truth, a monument to Shakspere, cui bono?
more, with all England for a pedestal. Shakspere has no need of a pyramid; he has his work.
What do you suppose marble could do for him? What can bronze do where there is glory? Malachite and alabaster are of no avail; jasper, serpentine, basalt, red porphyry, such as that at the Invalides, granite, Paros and Carrara, are of no use, -genius is genius without them. Even if all the stones had a part in it, would they make that man an inch greater? What vault shall be more indestructible than this: "The Winter's Tale," "The Tempest," "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "The Two Gentlemen of Verona," "Julius Cæsar," "Coriolanus"? What monument more grandiose than “Lear," more wild than “The Merchant of Venice," more dazzling than “Romeo and Juliet," more amazing than "Richard III."? What moon could throw on that building a light more mysterious than “The Midsummer Night's Dream"? What capital, were it even London, could produce around it a rumour so gigantic as the tumultuous soul of “Macbeth”? What frame-work of cedar or of oak will last as long as “Othello"? What bronze will be bronze as much as “Hamlet”? No construction of lime, of rock, of iron and of cement, is worth the breath,—the deep breath of genius, which is the breathing of God through man. A head in which is an idea,-such is the summit; heaps of stone and brick would be useless efforts. What edifice equals a thought? Babel is below Isaiah; Cheops is less than Homer; the Coliseum is inferior to Juvenal; the Giralda of Seville is dwarfish by the side of Cervantes; St. Peter of Rome does not reach to the ankle of Dante. How could you manage to build a tower as high as that name: Shakspere?
Ah, add something, if you can, to a mind!
Suppose a monument. Suppose it splendid; suppose it sublime,-a triumphal arch, an obelisk, a circus with a pedestal in the centre, a cathedral. No people is more illustrious, more noble, more magnificent, and more magnanimous than the English people. Couple these two ideas, England and Shakspere, and make an edifice arise therefrom. Such a nation celebrating such a man, it will be superb. Imagine the monument, imagine the inauguration. The Peers are there, the Commons give their adherence, the bishops officiate, the princes join the procession, the queen is present. The virtuous woman in whom the English people, royalist as we know, see and venerate their actual personification,—this worthy mother, this noble widow, comes, with the deep respect which is called for, to incline material majesty before ideal majesty; the Queen of England salutes Shakspere. The homage of Victoria repairs the disdain of Elizabeth. As for Elizabeth, she is probably there also, sculptured somewhere on the surbase, with Henry VIII., her father, and James I., her successor,-pygmies beneath the poet. The cannon booms, the curtain falls, they uncover the statue, which seems to say, “At length!” and which has grown in the shade during three hundred years, three centuries; the growth of a colossus; an immensity. All the York, Cumberland, Pitt, and Peel bronzes have been made use of, in order to produce this statue; the public places have been disen