صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

nominated General Grant that not one, save Washington alone, has deserved more of his country than Mr. Lincoln.

One of the good results of the Impeachment trial was to have brought Mr. Chase thus prominently before the public, by proving him superior to partisanship. But has any thing proved that General Grant is not a partisan? Nay, have not many things proved rather conclusively that he is ? · His course towards the President in relation to the War Department was certainly not straightforward ; even according to his own account he acted the part of a partisan. Does any one believe that if he could have presided at the impeachment trial, he would have been as impartial as Mr. Chase ?

As to the politics of one or the other, we are not, we repeat, in the least influenced by them. We like a Republican quite as much as a Democrat, and a Democrat as much as a Republican. If self-interest would induce us to favour one more than the other, the Republicans would certainly have the best claim upon us. Most assuredly we have more friends amongst them_than amongst the Democrats. We have denounced the Radicals for their vindictive policy towards the South, and for their still more vindictive persecution of the President, although we have in general found them, also, much better friends than the Democrats. Even when we wanted a ticket of admission to the High Court of Impeachment, we called on no Democrat for it; but on a Republican and Radical ; nor could any one have responded to us more politely than Senator Morgan, who very gracefully and kindly presented us a ticket which he had addressed to a personal friend, while, to our own knowledge, he had to refuse many Radicals for the same privilege.

Indeed, were we influenced by partisan feeling-did we prefer a Democrat as such to a Republican, we should think that, after all, Grant is at heart more of a Democrat than Chase. But we do not care whether he is or not; we are convinced that our Chief-Justice is a better statesman than the commander of our armies; we are satisfied that the former is better qualified in every respect to be President of the United States than the latter; and, accordingly, we prefer him. But we would not prefer Pendleton ; still less would we prefer Seymour; we would give General Grant our vote in preference to either; because he has served his country, whereas we believe that neither of the gentlemen just mentioned has

served anybody but himself, and, perhaps, "the party.” Who can pretend that it is so with Mr. Chase? We think that it may well be doubted, whether he has not served his country as Secretary of the Treasury and Chief Justice quité as much as General Grant, although the good he has done may not be so obvious.

It is a remarkable fact that some of the very people who justly laud our Chief-Justice for his impartial and manly conduct during the impeachment trial, call on the President to remove all his cabinet officers. There is nothing the Chief-Justice is more highly praised for than for his effort to shield from conviction one whom he believed did not deserve to be convicted. Certainly, nothing can be more meritorious, nothing more honourable to human nature than to protect the victim of persecution ; especially when that persecution is the result of obvious conspiracy. But, with the sole exception of Mr. Seward, whose testimony in regard to the difficulty between the President and General Grant was not at all straightforward, all the cabinet officers remained faithful to their superior. When the President was impeached, the almost universal opinion among all parties and classes was that he would be convicted ; not, indeed, because he was guilty but because those who sought his downfall were all-powerful. None doubted at the time that, had the cabinet officers consulted their own interest, they would leave the President to his fate. Nor can we believe that they entertained a different opinion on the subject themselves; but, with the exception already noticed, all stood manfully by the President.

The Secretaries of the Treasury and of the Navy distinguished themselves particularly by their manly and honourable fidelity. They took, what all believed at the time to be, the part of the weak against the strong; the part of the apparently doomed victim against his all-powerful enemies. Neither threats nor promises could induce them to swerve in the slightest degree from the course pointed out to them by truth, justice, and honour. They were willing to give their testimony before the High Court and the world in favour of the President, because they believed him innocent. Precisely because their fidelity was known to the Managers, because it was well understood that they would speak out boldly and honestly, they were not allowed to testify. Now, the President is called upon to remove those who thus continued faithful to him to the last! Were he capable of such base ingratitude, might it not well be said that, after all, he deserved to be impeached?

But would not the nation also show its ingratitude did it sanction, much less recommend, any such course! While every enlightened nation that is friendly to the United States bestows the highest praise on our Secretary of the Treasury, for the able and statesman-like manner in which he has managed our financial system, are we ourselves to reward him only with reproaches! It would become us much better, as an intelligent and patriotic people, to bear in mind that precisely because he is an honest as well as an able man, because he is a faithful and fearless public servant, he has been persistently abused by certain parties-by parties who would have been the loudest in his praise had he only been less scrupulous in his care of the public money,

It is not strange that those who clamour for the removal of the ablest and most upright Secretary of the Treasury we have ever had, or are likely to have during the present generation, should also call for the removal of the Secretary of the Navy, for no better reason than that his hair is gray.

It is not strange even that they sneer at him for being old, as if age were a disgrace; whereas the most illustrious statesmen, of ancient and modern times, have never served their country better than when they were much older and much less vigorous than Secretary Welles. Surely, one who was able to serve during the war, and under whose auspices our navy elicited the admiration of all Europe, and gained a prestige which it never had before, cannot be too old now to serve a few years longer in time of peace. Were he even superannuated, it would become us badly to treat him in this manner; but not one of our public functionaries, of any age, works harder, or is at his post earlier or later, than the same well-tried, uncompromising, indefatigable Secretary of the Navy.

We do not believe that the President would be guilty of the baseness to which he is thus prompted. The real state of the case is, that neither Mr. McCulloch nor Mr. Welles has any disposition to remain in office any longer. We should not be surprised to learn before the present number of our journal shall have been issued, that both had retired, not in compliance with the wish of the President, but against his will. Neither would withdraw from the Chief Magistrate of the Republic as long as he was in any danger; but now that justice has triumphed in his

case, they are quite willing to give others an opportunity of serving their country better than they, if they can do it; or if the majority of the nation think they can. If they do not withdraw in this manner, we are convinced that it is because they have been dissuaded from it by men who are capable of appreciating their services. It is true, that there may be no need for the navy for some time to come, but we have already paid far too dearly for the lesson that it is not when war has actually broken out we should prepare our fleets for active service.

Be this as it may, at no period of our history has it been more important that our finances should be skilfully managed than it is at present; and who has the necessary abilities, experience, and integrity to manage them in such a manner as to enable us to return to specie payments without creating a revulsion, or injuring the national credit, and, consequently, the national honour, if Mr. McCulloch retires? We really do not know one, save Mr. Chase, whose position precludes him from returning to the Treasury. Mr. Fessenden is, indeed, honest and upright, and is by no means an indifferent political economist, but we confess we have not much faith in his financial theories.

There are, however, two cabinet officers whose retirement, or removal, would be no serious loss to the nation -namely, the Secretary of State, and the PostmasterGeneral. Mr. Seward has never proved himself a statesman. The best that could be said of him in his palmiest days was, that he was a wily and not very reliable politician. During the war he was constantly blundering; he never was able to comprehend the position in which the country was placed. Had he been a man of a different calibre—had he possessed even ordinary political foresight or sagacity, and known how to avail himself of it, the Southern Confederacy would never have been recognised by any of the great nations of Europe as a belli. gerent power. He really encouraged France and England to do what they did by his quibbles and prevarications. The manner in which he wavered from day to day-flatly contradicting in one long letter, what he positively asserted, or maintained as an eternal principle,” in anothermade most of the nations of Europe think that the fate of the Republic was sealed. Indeed, we narrowly escaped being involved by him in a war with France and England.

It is true, however, that Mr. Seward evinced considerable capacity, but not in statesmanship, or even in politics; he proved himself an excellent, though rather tyrannical, police officer. Even Fouché was not more prompt, or more cunning in making arrests. By his accomplishments in this department he rendered some of our forts nearly as celebrated as the French Bastile; but as there is nothing of this kind to be done now, at least in the North, Mr. Seward's services can be dispensed with for the remainder of President Johnson's term. Then with the leisure for thought thus afforded him for seven or eight months he might be able to alter his views to such an extent that he could be a thorough Radical or Democrat, as the case might be, by the fourth of March, and consequently be able to serve his country, without injuring his conscience, under the new_régime.

We do not know whether Mr. Randall possesses equal facility in altering his principles to suit the times ; we rather think not, however: what he seems to surpass all other postmasters in is, putting letters and periodicals

We do not think he does so intentionally ; doubtless he cannot help it; but certainly the nation can better spare him than so many letters; and if the only loss we suffer from the Impeachment trial be that of the services of Messrs. Seward and Randall for a few months, it will be admitted that it has not proved a very serious affair after all.

IX-NOTICES AND CRITICISMS.

BELLES LETTRES.

Woman's Wrong8 : A Counter-Irritant. By Gail Hamilton. 16mo,

Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 1868.

pp. 212.

We have often been told that Gail Hamilton is a very clever writer, but this is the first of her productions which we have found time to read ; we trust it is not a fair specimen. We are very willing to believe that her stories are very good, at least for children and for adults who have no thoughts of their own; but we cannot help thinking that she is a very indifferent moralist, and that her philosophy is rather crude. It is very evident, however, that she thinks differently herself; and doubtless there are many honest people who accept her own estimate of her genius, and regard her as a shining light. Be this as it may, we should have found no fault with her performances had she not assumed the

« السابقةمتابعة »