Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

North America

Part 4 out of 7

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.8 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

contracted with Neil and Neil with the owners of horses; Neil at the
time being also military inspector of horses for the quartermaster.
He bought horses as cavalry horses for 24l. or less, and passed them
himself as artillery horses for 30l. In other cases the military
inspectors were paid by the sellers to pass horses. All this was
done under Quartermaster M'Instry, who would himself deal with none
but such as Neil. In one instance, one Elliard got a contract from
M'instry, the profit of which was 8000l. But there was a man named
Brady. Now Brady was a friend of M'Instry, who, scenting the
carrion afar off, had come from Detroit, in Michigan, to St. Louis.
M'instry himself had also come from Detroit. In this case Elliard
was simply directed by M'Instry to share his profits with Brady, and
consequently paid to Brady 4000l., although Brady gave to the
business neither capital nor labor. He simply took the 4000l. as
the quartermaster's friend. This Elliard, it seems, also gave a
carriage and horses to Mrs. Fremont. Indeed, Elliard seems to have
been a civil and generous fellow. Then there is a man named
Thompson, whose case is very amusing. Of him the committee thus
speaks: "It must be said that Thompson was not forgetful of the
obligations of gratitude, for, after he got through with the
contract, he presented the son of Major M'instry with a riding pony.
That was the only mark of respect," to use his own words, "that he
showed to the family of Major M'instry."

General Fremont himself desired that a contract should be made with
one Augustus Sacchi for a thousand Canadian horses. It turned out
that Sacchi was "nobody: a man of straw living in a garret in New
York, whom nobody knew, a man who was brought out there"--to St.
Louis--"as a good person through whom to work." "It will hardly be
believed," says the report, "that the name of this same man Sacchi
appears in the newspapers as being on the staff of General Fremont,
at Springfield, with the rank of captain."

I do not know that any good would result from my pursuing further
the details of this wonderful report. The remaining portion of it
refers solely to the command held by General Fremont in Missouri,
and adds proof upon proof of the gross robberies inflicted upon the
government of the States by the very persons set in high authority
to protect the government. We learn how all utensils for the camp,
kettles, blankets, shoes, mess pans, etc., were supplied by one
firm, without a contract, at an enormous price, and of a quality so
bad as to be almost useless, because the quartermaster was under
obligations to the partners. We learn that one partner in that firm
gave 40l. toward a service of plate for the quartermaster, and 60l.
toward a carriage for Mrs. Fremont. We learn how futile were the
efforts of any honest tradesman to supply good shoes to soldiers who
were shoeless, and the history of one special pair of shoes which
was thrust under the nose of the quartermaster is very amusing. We
learn that a certain paymaster properly refused to settle an account
for matters with which he had no concern, and that General Fremont
at once sent down soldiers to arrest him unless he made the illegal
payment. In October 1000l. was expended in ice, all which ice was
wasted. Regiments were sent hither and thither with no military
purpose, merely because certain officers, calling themselves
generals, desired to make up brigades for themselves. Indeed, every
description of fraud was perpetrated, and this was done not through
the negligence of those in high command, but by their connivance and
often with their express authority.

It will be said that the conduct of General Fremont during the days
of his command in Missouri is not a matter of much moment to us in
England; that it has been properly handled by the committee of
Representatives appointed by the American Congress to inquire into
the matter; and that after the publication of such a report by them,
it is ungenerous in a writer from another nation to speak upon the
subject. This would be so if the inquiries made by that committee
and their report had resulted in any general condemnation of the men
whose misdeeds and peculations have been exposed. This, however, is
by no means the case. Those who were heretofore opposed to General
Fremont on political principles are opposed to him still; but those
who heretofore supported him are ready to support him again. He has
not been placed beyond the pale of public favor by the record which
has been made of his public misdeeds. He is decried by the
Democrats because he is a Republican, and by the anti-abolitionists
because he is an Abolitionist; but he is not decried because he has
shown himself to be dishonest in the service of his government. He
was dismissed from his command in the West, but men on his side of
the question declare that he was so dismissed because his political
opponents had prevailed. Now, at the moment that I am writing this,
men are saying that the President must give him another command. He
is still a major-general in the army of the States, and is as
probable a candidate as any other that I could name for the next

* Since this was written, General Fremont has been restored to high
military command, and now holds rank and equal authority with
McClellan and Halleck. In fact, the charges made against him by the
committee of the House of Representatives have not been allowed to
stand in his way. He is politically popular with a large section of
the nation, and therefore it has been thought well to promote him to
high place. Whether he be fit for such place either as regards
capability or integrity, seems to be considered of no moment.

The same argument must be used with reference to the other gentlemen
named. Mr. Welles is still a cabinet minister and Secretary of the
Navy. It has been found impossible to keep Mr. Cameron in the
cabinet, but he was named as the minister of the States government
to Russia, after the publication of the Van Wyck report, when the
result of his old political friendship with Mr. Alexander Cummings
was well known to the President who appointed him and to the Senate
who sanctioned his appointment. The individual corruption of any
one man--of any ten men--is not much. It should not be insisted on
loudly by any foreigner in making up a balance-sheet of the virtues
and vices of the good and bad qualities of any nation. But the
light in which such corruption is viewed by the people whom it most
nearly concerns is very much. I am far from saying that democracy
has failed in America. Democracy there has done great things for a
numerous people, and will yet, as I think, be successful. But that
doctrine as to the necessity of smartness must be eschewed before a
verdict in favor of American democracy can be pronounced. "It
behoves a man to be smart, sir." In those words are contained the
curse under which the States government has been suffering for the
last thirty years. Let us hope that the people will find a mode of
ridding themselves of that curse. I, for one, believe that they
will do so.



From Louisville we returned to Cincinnati, in making which journey
we were taken to a place called Seymour, in Indiana, at which spot
we were to "make connection" with the train running on the
Mississippi and Ohio line from St. Louis to Cincinnati. We did make
the connection, but were called upon to remain four hours at Seymour
in consequence of some accident on the line. In the same way, when
going eastward from Cincinnati to Baltimore a few days later, I was
detained another four hours at a place called Crestline, in Ohio.
On both occasions I spent my time in realizing, as far as that might
be possible, the sort of life which men lead who settle themselves
at such localities. Both these towns--for they call themselves
towns--had been created by the railways. Indeed this has been the
case with almost every place at which a few hundred inhabitants have
been drawn together in the Western States. With the exception of
such cities as Chicago, St. Louis, and Cincinnati, settlers can
hardly be said to have chosen their own localities. These have been
chosen for them by the originators of the different lines of
railway. And there is nothing in Europe in any way like to these
Western railway settlements. In the first place, the line of the
rails runs through the main street of the town, and forms not
unfrequently the only road. At Seymour I could find no way of
getting away from the rails unless I went into the fields. At
Crestline, which is a larger place, I did find a street in which
there was no railroad, but it was deserted, and manifestly out of
favor with the inhabitants. As there were railway junctions at both
these posts, there were, of course, cross-streets, and the houses
extended themselves from the center thus made along the lines,
houses being added to houses at short intervals as new-corners
settled themselves down. The panting, and groaning, and whistling
of engines is continual; for at such places freight trains are
always kept waiting for passenger trains, and the slower freight
trains for those which are called fast. This is the life of the
town; and indeed as the whole place is dependent on the railway, so
is the railway held in favor and beloved. The noise of the engines
is not disliked, nor are its puffings and groanings held to be
unmusical. With us a locomotive steam-engine is still, as it were,
a beast of prey, against which one has to be on one's guard--in
respect to which one specially warns the children. But there, in
the Western States, it has been taken to the bosoms of them all as a
domestic animal; no one fears it, and the little children run about
almost among its wheels. It is petted and made much of on all
sides--and, as far as I know, it seldom bites or tears. I have not
heard of children being destroyed wholesale in the streets, or of
drunken men becoming frequent sacrifices. But had I been consulted
beforehand as to the natural effects of such an arrangement, I
should have said that no child could have been reared in such a
town, and that any continuance of population under such
circumstances must have been impracticable.

Such places, however, do thrive and prosper with a prosperity
especially their own, and the boys and girls increase and multiply
in spite of all dangers. With us in England it is difficult to
realize the importance which is attached to a railway in the States,
and the results which a railway creates. We have roads everywhere,
and our country had been cultivated throughout with more or less
care before our system of railways had been commenced; but in
America, especially in the North, the railways have been the
precursors of cultivation. They have been carried hither and
thither, through primeval forests and over prairies, with small hope
of other traffic than that which they themselves would make by their
own influences. The people settling on their edges have had the
very best of all roads at their service; but they have had no other
roads. The face of the country between one settlement and another
is still in many cases utterly unknown; but there is the connecting
road by which produce is carried away, and new-comers are brought
in. The town that is distant a hundred miles by the rail is so near
that its inhabitants are neighbors; but a settlement twenty miles
distant across the uncleared country is unknown, unvisited, and
probably unheard of by the women and children. Under such
circumstances the railway is everything. It is the first necessity
of life, and gives the only hope of wealth. It is the backbone of
existence from whence spring, and by which are protected, all the
vital organs and functions of the community. It is the right arm of
civilization for the people, and the discoverer of the fertility of
the land. It is all in all to those people, and to those regions.
It has supplied the wants of frontier life with all the substantial
comfort of the cities, and carried education, progress, and social
habits into the wilderness. To the eye of the stranger such places
as Seymour and Crestline are desolate and dreary. There is nothing
of beauty in them--given either by nature or by art. The railway
itself is ugly, and its numerous sidings and branches form a mass of
iron road which is bewildering, and, according to my ideas, in
itself disagreeable. The wooden houses open down upon the line, and
have no gardens to relieve them. A foreigner, when first surveying
such a spot, will certainly record within himself a verdict against
it; but in doing so he probably commits the error of judging it by a
wrong standard. He should compare it with the new settlements which
men have opened up in spots where no railway has assisted them, and
not with old towns in which wealth has long been congregated. The
traveler may see what is the place with the railway; then let him
consider how it might have thriven without the railway.

I confess that I became tired of my sojourn at both the places I
have named. At each I think that I saw every house in the place,
although my visit to Seymour was made in the night; and at both I
was lamentably at a loss for something to do. At Crestline I was
all alone, and began to feel that the hours which I knew must pass
before the missing train could come would never make away with
themselves. There were many others stationed there as I was, but to
them had been given a capability for loafing which niggardly Nature
has denied to me. An American has the power of seating himself in
the close vicinity of a hot stove and feeding in silence on his own
thoughts by the hour together. It may be that he will smoke; but
after awhile his cigar will come to an end. He sits on, however,
certainly patient, and apparently contented. It may be that he
chews, but if so, he does it with motionless jaws, and so slow a
mastication of the pabulum upon which he feeds, that his employment
in this respect only disturbs the absolute quiet of the circle when,
at certain long, distant intervals, he deposits the secretion of his
tobacco in an ornamental utensil which may probably be placed in the
farthest corner of the hall. But during all this time he is happy.
It does not fret him to sit there and think and do nothing. He is
by no means an idle man--probably one much given to commercial
enterprise. Idle men out there in the West we may say there are
none. How should any idle man live in such a country? All who were
sitting hour after hour in that circle round the stove of the
Crestline Hotel hall--sitting there hour after hour in silence, as I
could not sit--were men who earned their bread by labor. They were
farmers, mechanics, storekeepers; there was a lawyer or two, and one
clergyman. Sufficient conversation took place at first to indicate
the professions of many of them. One may conclude that there could
not be place there for an idle man. But they all of them had a
capacity for a prolonged state of doing nothing which is to me
unintelligible, and which is by me very much to be envied. They are
patient as cows which from hour to hour lie on the grass chewing
their cud. An Englishman, if he be kept waiting by a train in some
forlorn station in which he can find no employment, curses his fate
and all that has led to his present misfortune with an energy which
tells the story of his deep and thorough misery. Such, I confess,
is my state of existence under such circumstances. But a Western
American gives himself up to "loafing," and is quite happy. He
balances himself on the back legs of an arm-chair, and remains so,
without speaking, drinking or smoking for an hour at a stretch; and
while he is doing so he looks as though he had all that he desired.
I believe that he is happy, and that he has all that he wants for
such an occasion--an arm-chair in which to sit, and a stove on which
he can put his feet and by which he can make himself warm.

Such was not the phase of character which I had expected to find
among the people of the West. Of all virtues patience would have
been the last which I should have thought of attributing to them. I
should have expected to see them angry when robbed of their time,
and irritable under the stress of such grievances as railway delays;
but they are never irritable under such circumstances as I have
attempted to describe, nor, indeed, are they a people prone to
irritation under any grievances. Even in political matters they are
long-enduring, and do not form themselves into mobs for the
expression of hot opinion. We in England thought that masses of the
people would rise in anger if Mr. Lincoln's government should
consent to give up Slidell and Mason; but the people bore it without
any rising. The habeas corpus has been suspended, the liberty of
the press has been destroyed for a time, the telegraph wires have
been taken up by the government into their own hands, but
nevertheless the people have said nothing. There has been no rising
of a mob, and not even an expression of an adverse opinion. The
people require to be allowed to vote periodically, and, having
acquired that privilege, permit other matters to go by the board.
In this respect we have, I think, in some degree misunderstood their
character. They have all been taught to reverence the nature of
that form of government under which they live, but they are not
specially addicted to hot political fermentation. They have learned
to understand that democratic institutions have given them liberty,
and on that subject they entertain a strong conviction which is
universal. But they have not habitually interested themselves
deeply in the doings of their legislators or of their government.
On the subject of slavery there have been and are different
opinions, held with great tenacity and maintained occasionally with
violence; but on other subjects of daily policy the American people
have not, I think, been eager politicians. Leading men in public
life have been much less trammeled by popular will than among us.
Indeed with us the most conspicuous of our statesmen and legislators
do not lead, but are led. In the States the noted politicians of
the day have been the leaders, and not unfrequently the coercers of
opinion. Seeing this, I claim for England a broader freedom in
political matters than the States have as yet achieved. In speaking
of the American form of government, I will endeavor to explain more
clearly the ideas which I have come to hold on this matter.

I survived my delay at Seymour, after which I passed again through
Cincinnati, and then survived my subsequent delay at Crestline. As
to Cincinnati, I must put on record the result of a country walk
which I took there, or rather on which I was taken by my friend. He
professed to know the beauties of the neighborhood and to be well
acquainted with all that was attractive in its vicinity. Cincinnati
is built on the Ohio, and is closely surrounded by picturesque hills
which overhang the suburbs of the city. Over these I was taken,
plowing my way through a depth of mud which cannot be understood by
any ordinary Englishman. But the depth of mud was not the only
impediment nor the worst which we encountered. As we began to
ascend from the level of the outskirts of the town we were greeted
by a rising flavor in the air, which soon grew into a strong odor,
and at last developed itself into a stench that surpassed in
offensiveness anything that my nose had ever hitherto suffered.
When we were at the worst we hardly knew whether to descend or to
proceed. It had so increased in virulence that at one time I felt
sure that it arose from some matter buried in the ground beneath my
feet. But my friend, who declared himself to be quite at home in
Cincinnati matters, and to understand the details of the great
Cincinnati trade, declared against this opinion of mine. Hogs, he
said, were at the bottom of it. It was the odor of hogs going up to
the Ohio heavens--of hogs in a state of transit from hoggish nature
to clothes-brushes, saddles, sausages, and lard. He spoke with an
authority that constrained belief; but I can never forgive him in
that he took me over those hills, knowing all that he professed to
know. Let the visitors to Cincinnati keep themselves within the
city, and not wander forth among the mountains. It is well that the
odor of hogs should ascend to heaven and not hang heavy over the
streets; but it is not well to intercept that odor in its ascent.
My friend became ill with fever, and had to betake himself to the
care of nursing friends; so that I parted company with him at
Cincinnati. I did not tell him that his illness was deserved as
well as natural, but such was my feeling on the matter. I myself
happily escaped the evil consequences which his imprudence might
have entailed on me.

I again passed through Pittsburg, and over the Alleghany Mountains
by Altoona, and down to Baltimore--back into civilization,
secession, conversation, and gastronomy. I never had secessionist
sympathies and never expressed them. I always believed in the North
as a people--discrediting, however, to the utmost the existing
Northern government, or, as I should more properly say, the existing
Northern cabinet; but nevertheless, with such feelings and such
belief I found myself very happy at Baltimore. Putting aside
Boston--which must, I think, be generally preferred by Englishmen to
any other city in the States--I should choose Baltimore as my
residence if I were called upon to live in America. I am not led to
this, if I know myself, solely by the canvas-back ducks; and as to
the terrapins, I throw them to the winds. The madeira, which is
still kept there with a reverence which I should call superstitious
were it not that its free circulation among outside worshipers
prohibits the just use of such a word, may have something to do with
it, as may also the beauty of the women--to some small extent.
Trifles do bear upon our happiness in a manner that we do not
ourselves understand and of which we are unconscious. But there was
an English look about the streets and houses which I think had as
much to do with it as either the wine, the women, or the ducks, and
it seemed to me as though the manners of the people of Maryland were
more English than those of other Americans. I do not say that they
were on this account better. My English hat is, I am well aware,
less graceful, and I believe less comfortable, than a Turkish fez
and turban; nevertheless I prefer my English hat. New York I regard
as the most thoroughly American of all American cities. It is by no
means the one in which I should find myself the happiest; but I do
not on that account condemn it.

I have said that in returning to Baltimore I found myself among
secessionists. In so saying I intend to speak of a certain set
whose influence depends perhaps more on their wealth, position, and
education than on their numbers. I do not think that the population
of the city was then in favor of secession, even if it had ever been
so. I believe that the mob of Baltimore is probably the roughest
mob in the States--is more akin to a Paris mob, and I may perhaps
also say to a Manchester mob, than that of any other American city.
There are more roughs in Baltimore than elsewhere, and the roughs
there are rougher. In those early days of secession, when the
troops were being first hurried down from New England for the
protection of Washington, this mob was vehemently opposed to its
progress. Men had been taught to think that the rights of the State
of Maryland were being invaded by the passage of the soldiers, and
they also were undoubtedly imbued with a strong prepossession for
the Southern cause. The two ideas had then gone together. But the
mob of Baltimore had ceased to be secessionists within twelve months
of their first exploit. In April, 1861, they had refused to allow
Massachusetts soldiers to pass through the town on their way to
Washington; and in February, 1862, they were nailing Union flags on
the door-posts of those who refused to display such banners as signs
of triumph at the Northern victories!

That Maryland can ever go with the South, even in the event of the
South succeeding in secession, no Marylander can believe. It is not
pretended that there is any struggle now going on with such an
object. No such result has been expected, certainly since the
possession of Washington was secured to the North by the army of the
Potomac. By few, I believe, was such a result expected even when
Washington was insecure. And yet the feeling for secession among a
certain class in Baltimore is as strong now as ever it was. And it
is equally strong in certain districts of the State--in those
districts which are most akin to Virginia in their habits, modes of
thought, and ties of friendship. These men, and these women also,
pray for the South if they be pious, give their money to the South
if they be generous, work for the South if they be industrious,
fight for the South if they be young, and talk for the South
morning, noon, and night, in spite of General Dix and his columbiads
on Federal Hill. It is in vain to say that such men and women have
no strong feeling on the matter, and that they are praying, working,
fighting, and talking under dictation. Their hearts are in it. And
judging from them, even though there were no other evidence from
which to judge, I have no doubt that a similar feeling is strong
through all the seceding States. On this subject the North, I
think, deceives itself in supposing that the Southern rebellion has
been carried on without any strong feeling on the part of the
Southern people. Whether the mob of Charleston be like the mob of
Baltimore I cannot tell; but I have no doubt as to the gentry of
Charleston and the gentry of Baltimore being in accord on the

In what way, then, when the question has been settled by the force
of arms, will these classes find themselves obliged to act? In
Virginia and Maryland they comprise, as a rule, the highest and best
educated of the people. As to parts of Kentucky the same thing may
be said, and probably as to the whole of Tennessee. It must be
remembered that this is not as though certain aristocratic families
in a few English counties should find themselves divided off from
the politics and national aspirations of their country-men, as was
the case long since with reference to the Roman Catholic adherents
of the Stuarts, and as has been the case since then in a lesser
degree with the firmest of the old Tories who had allowed themselves
to be deceived by Sir Robert Peel. In each of these cases the
minority of dissentients was so small that the nation suffered
nothing, though individuals were all but robbed of their
nationality. but as regards America it must be remembered that each
State has in itself a governing power, and is in fact a separate
people. Each has its own legislature, and must have its own line of

The secessionists of Maryland and of Virginia may consent to live in
obscurity; but if this be so, who is to rule in those States? From
whence are to come the senators and the members of Congress; the
governors and attorney-generals? From whence is to come the
national spirit of the two States, and the salt that shall preserve
their political life? I have never believed that these States would
succeed in secession. I have always felt that they would be held
within the Union, whatever might be their own wishes. But I think
that they will be so held in a manner and after a fashion that will
render any political vitality almost impossible till a new
generation shall have sprung up. In the mean time life goes on
pleasantly enough in Baltimore, and ladies meet together, knitting
stockings and sewing shirts for the Southern soldiers, while the
gentlemen talk Southern politics and drink the health of the
(Southern) president in ambiguous terms, as our Cavaliers used to
drink the health of the king.

During my second visit to Baltimore I went over to Washington for a
day or two, and found the capital still under the empire of King
Mud. How the elite of a nation--for the inhabitants of Washington
consider themselves to be the elite--can consent to live in such a
state of thraldom, a foreigner cannot understand. Were I to say
that it was intended to be typical of the condition of the
government, I might be considered cynical; but undoubtedly the
sloughs of despond which were deepest in their despondency were to
be found in localities which gave an appearance of truth to such a
surmise. The Secretary of State's office, in which Mr. Seward was
still reigning, though with diminished glory, was divided from the
headquarters of the commander-in-chief, which are immediately
opposite to it, by an opaque river which admitted of no transit.
These buildings stand at the corner of President Square, and it had
been long understood that any close intercourse between them had not
been considered desirable by the occupants of the military side of
the causeway. But the Secretary of State's office was altogether
unapproachable without a long circuit and begrimed legs. The
Secretary of War's department was, if possible, in a worse
condition. This is situated on the other side of the President's
house, and the mud lay, if possible, thicker in this quarter than it
did round Mr. Seward's chambers. The passage over Pennsylvania
Avenue, immediately in front of the War Office, was a thing not to
be attempted in those days. Mr. Cameron, it is true, had gone, and
Mr. Stanton was installed; but the labor of cleansing the interior
of that establishment had hitherto allowed no time for a glance at
the exterior dirt, and Mr. Stanton should, perhaps, be held as
excused. That the Navy Office should be buried in mud, and quite
debarred from approach, was to be expected. The space immediately
in front of Mr. Lincoln's own residence was still kept fairly clean,
and I am happy to be able to give testimony to this effect. Long
may it remain so. I could not, however, but think that an energetic
and careful President would have seen to the removal of the dirt
from his own immediate neighborhood. It was something that his own
shoes should remain unpolluted; but the foul mud always clinging to
the boots and leggings of those by whom he was daily surrounded
must, I should think, have been offensive to him. The entrance to
the Treasury was difficult to achieve by those who had not learned
by practice the ways of the place; but I must confess that a
tolerably clear passage was maintained on that side which led
immediately down to the halls of Congress. Up at the Capitol the
mud was again triumphant in the front of the building; this however
was not of great importance, as the legislative chambers of the
States are always reached by the back doors. I, on this occasion,
attempted to leave the building by the grand entrance, but I soon
became entangled among rivers of mud and mazes of shifting sand.
With difficulty I recovered my steps, and finding my way back to the
building was forced to content myself by an exit among the crowd of
Senators and Representatives who were thronging down the back

Of dirt of all kinds it behoves Washington and those concerned in
Washington to make themselves free. It is the Augean stables
through which some American Hercules must turn a purifying river
before the American people can justly boast either of their capital
or of their government. As to the material mud, enough has been
said. The presence of the army perhaps caused it, and the excessive
quantity of rain which had fallen may also be taken as a fair plea.
But what excuse shall we find for that other dirt? It also had been
caused by the presence of the army, and by that long-continued down-
pouring of contracts which had fallen like Danae's golden shower
into the laps of those who understood how to avail themselves of
such heavenly waters. The leaders of the rebellion are hated in the
North. The names of Jefferson Davis, of Cobb, Toombs, and Floyd are
mentioned with execration by the very children. This has sprung
from a true and noble feeling; from a patriotic love of national
greatness and a hatred of those who, for small party purposes, have
been willing to lessen the name of the United States. I have
reverenced the feeling even when I have not shared it. But, in
addition to this, the names of those also should be execrated who
have robbed their country when pretending to serve it; who have
taken its wages in the days of its great struggle, and at the same
time have filched from its coffers; who have undertaken the task of
steering the ship through the storm in order that their hands might
be deep in the meal-tub and the bread-basket, and that they might
stuff their own sacks with the ship's provisions. These are the men
who must be loathed by the nation--whose fate must be held up as a
warning to others before good can come! Northern men and women talk
of hanging Davis and his accomplices. I myself trust that there
will be no hanging when the war is over. I believe there will be
none, for the Americans are not a blood-thirsty people. But if
punishment of any kind be meted out, the men of the North should
understand that they have worse offenders among them than Davis and

At the period of which I am now speaking, there had come a change
over the spirit of Mr. Lincoln's cabinet. Mr. Seward was still his
Secretary of State, but he was, as far as outside observers could
judge, no longer his Prime Minister. In the early days of the war,
and up to the departure of Mr. Cameron from out of the cabinet, Mr.
Seward had been the Minister of the nation. In his dispatches he
talks ever of We or of I. In every word of his official writings,
of which a large volume has been published, he shows plainly that he
intends to be considered as the man of the day--as the hero who is
to bring the States through their difficulties. Mr. Lincoln may be
king, but Mr. Seward is mayor of the palace, and carries the king in
his pocket. From the depth of his own wisdom he undertakes to teach
his ministers in all parts of the world, not only their duties, but
their proper aspiration. He is equally kind to foreign statesmen,
and sends to them messages as though from an altitude which no
European politician had ever reached. At home he has affected the
Prime Minister in everything, dropping the We and using the I in a
manner that has hardly made up by its audacity for its deficiency in
discretion. It is of course known everywhere that he had run Mr.
Lincoln very hard for the position of Republican candidate for the
Presidency. Mr. Lincoln beat him, and Mr. Seward is well aware that
in the states a man has never a second chance for the presidential
chair. Hence has arisen his ambition to make for himself a new
place in the annals of American politics. Hitherto there has been
no Prime Minister known in the government of the United States. Mr.
Seward has attempted a revolution in that matter, and has essayed to
fill the situation. For awhile it almost seemed that he was
successful. He interfered with the army, and his interferences were
endured. He took upon himself the business of the police, and
arrested men at his own will and pleasure. The habeas corpus was in
his hand, and his name was current through the States as a covering
authority for every outrage on the old laws. Sufficient craft, or
perhaps cleverness, he possessed to organize a position which should
give him a power greater than the power of the President; but he had
not the genius which would enable him to hold it. He made foolish
prophecies about the war, and talked of the triumphs which he would
win. He wrote state-papers on matters which he did not understand,
and gave himself the airs of diplomatic learning while he showed
himself to be sadly ignorant of the very rudiments of diplomacy. He
tried to joke as Lord Palmerston jokes, and nobody liked his joking.
He was greedy after the little appanages of power, taking from
others who loved them as well as he did privileges with which he
might have dispensed. And then, lastly, he was successful in
nothing. He had given himself out as the commander of the
commander-in-chief; but then under his command nothing got itself
done. For a month or two some men had really believed in Mr.
Seward. The policemen of the country had come to have an absolute
trust in him, and the underlings of the public offices were
beginning to think that he might be a great man. But then, as is
ever the case with such men, there came suddenly a downfall. Mr.
Cameron went from the cabinet, and everybody knew that Mr. Seward
would be no longer commander of the commander-in-chief. His prime
ministership was gone from him, and he sank down into the
comparatively humble position of Minister for Foreign Affairs. His
lettres de cachet no longer ran. His passport system was repealed.
His prisoners were released. And though it is too much to say that
writs of habeas corpus were no longer suspended, the effect and very
meaning of the suspension were at once altered. When I first left
Washington, Mr. Seward was the only minister of the cabinet whose
name was ever mentioned with reference to any great political
measure. When I returned to Washington, Mr. Stanton was Mr.
Lincoln's leading minister, and, as Secretary of War, had
practically the management of the army and of the internal police.

I have spoken here of Mr. Seward by name, and in my preceding
paragraphs I have alluded with some asperity to the dishonesty of
certain men who had obtained political power under Mr. Lincoln, and
used it for their own dishonest purposes. I trust that I may not be
understood as bringing any such charges against Mr. Seward. That
such dishonesty has been frightfully prevalent all men know who knew
anything of Washington during the year 1861. In a former chapter I
have alluded to this more at length, stating circumstances, and in
some cases giving the names of the persons charged with offenses.
Whenever I have done so, I have based my statements on the Van Wyck
report, and the evidence therein given. This is the published
report of a committee appointed by the house of Representatives; and
as it has been before the world for some months without refutation,
I think that I have a right to presume it to be true.* On no less
authority than this would I consider myself justified in bringing
any such charge. Of Mr. Seward's incompetency I have heard very
much among American politicians; much also of his ambition. With
worse offenses than these I have not heard him charged.

* I ought perhaps to state that General Fremont has published an
answer to the charges preferred against him. That answer refers
chiefly to matters of military capacity or incapacity, as to which I
have expressed no opinion. General Fremont does allude to the
accusations made against him regarding the building of the forts;
but in doing so he seem to me rather to admit than to deny the acts
as stated by the committee.

At the period of which I am writing, February, 1862, the long list
of military successes which attended the Northern army through the
late winter and early spring had commenced. Fort henry, on the
Tennessee River, had first been taken, and after that, Fort
Donelson, on the Cumberland River, also in the State, Tennessee.
Price had been driven out of Missouri into Arkansas by General
Curtis, acting under General Halleck's orders. The chief body of
the Confederate army in the West had abandoned the fortified
position which they had long held at Bowling Green, in the
southwestern district of Kentucky. Roanoke Island, on the coast of
North Carolina, had been taken by General Burnside's expedition, and
a belief had begun to manifest itself in Washington that the army of
the Potomac was really about to advance. It is impossible to
explain in what way the renewed confidence of the Northern party
showed itself, or how one learned that the hopes of the
secessionists were waxing dim; but it was so; and even a stranger
became aware of the general feeling as clearly as though it were a
defined and established fact. In the early part of the winter, when
I reached Washington, the feeling ran all the other way. Northern
men did not say that they were despondent; they did not with spoken
words express diffidence as to their success; but their looks
betrayed diffidence, and the moderation of their self-assurance
almost amounted to despondency. In the capital the parties were
very much divided. The old inhabitants were either secessionists or
influenced by "secession proclivities," as the word went; but the
men of the government and of the two Houses of Congress were, with a
few exceptions, of course Northern. It should be understood that
these parties were at variance with each other on almost every point
as to which men can disagree. In our civil war it may be presumed
that all Englishmen were at any rate anxious for England. They
desired and fought for different modes of government; but each party
was equally English in its ambition. In the States there is the
hatred of a different nationality added to the rancor of different
politics. The Southerners desire to be a people of themselves--to
divide themselves by every possible mark of division from New
England; to be as little akin to New York as they are to London, or,
if possible, less so. Their habits, they say, are different; their
education, their beliefs, their propensities, their very virtues and
vices are not the education, or the beliefs, or the propensities, or
the virtues and vices of the North. The bond that ties them to the
North is to them a Mezentian marriage, and they hate their Northern
spouses with a Mezentian hatred. They would be anything sooner than
citizens of the United States. They see to what Mexico has come,
and the republics of Central America; but the prospect of even that
degradation is less bitter to them than a share in the glory of the
stars and stripes. Better, with them, to reign in hell than serve
in heaven! It is not only in politics that they will be beaten, if
they be beaten, as one party with us may be beaten by another; but
they will be beaten as we should be beaten if France annexed us, and
directed that we should live under French rule. Let an Englishman
digest and realize that idea, and he will comprehend the feelings of
a Southern gentleman as he contemplates the probability that his
State will be brought back into the Union. And the Northern feeling
is as strong. The Northern man has founded his national ambition on
the territorial greatness of his nation. He has panted for new
lands, and for still extended boundaries. The Western World has
opened her arms to him, and has seemed to welcome him as her only
lord. British America has tempted him toward the north, and Mexico
has been as a prey to him on the south. He has made maps of his
empire, including all the continent, and has preached the Monroe
doctrine as though it had been decreed by the gods. He has told the
world of his increasing millions, and has never yet known his store
to diminish. He has pawed in the valley, and rejoiced in his
strength. He has said among the trumpets, ha! ha! He has boasted
aloud in his pride, and called on all men to look at his glory. And
now shall he be divided and shorn? Shall he be hemmed in from his
ocean, and shut off from his rivers? Shall he have a hook run into
his nostrils, and a thorn driven into his jaw? Shall men say that
his day is over, when he has hardly yet tasted the full cup of his
success? Has his young life been a dream, and not a truth? Shall
he never reach that giant manhood which the growth of his boyish
years has promised him? If the South goes from him, he will be
divided, shorn, and hemmed in. The hook will have pierced his nose,
and the thorn will fester in his jaw. Men will taunt him with his
former boastings, and he will awake to find himself but a mortal
among mortals.

Such is the light in which the struggle is regarded by the two
parties, and such the hopes and feelings which have been engendered.
It may therefore be surmised with what amount of neighborly love
secessionists and Northern neighbors regarded each other in such
towns as Baltimore and Washington. Of course there was hatred of
the deepest dye; of course there were muttered curses, or curses
which sometimes were not simply muttered. Of course there was
wretchedness, heart-burnings, and fearful divisions in families.
That, perhaps, was the worst of all. The daughter's husband would
be in the Northern ranks, while the son was fighting in the South;
or two sons would hold equal rank in the two armies, sometimes
sending to each other frightful threats of personal vengeance. Old
friends would meet each other in the street, passing without
speaking; or, worse still, would utter words of insult for which
payment is to be demanded when a Southern gentleman may again be
allowed to quarrel in his own defense.

And yet society went on. Women still smiled, and men were happy to
whom such smiles were given. Cakes and ale were going, and ginger
was still hot in the mouth. When many were together no words of
unhappiness were heard. It was at those small meetings of two or
three that women would weep instead of smiling, and that men would
run their hands through their hair and sit in silence, thinking of
their ruined hopes and divided children.

I have spoken of Southern hopes and Northern fears, and have
endeavored to explain the feelings of each party. For myself I
think that the Southerners have been wrong in their hopes, and that
those of the North have been wrong in their fears. It is not better
to rule in hell than serve in heaven. Of course a Southern
gentleman will not admit the premises which are here by me taken for
granted. The hell to which I allude is, the sad position of a low
and debased nation. Such, I think, will be the fate of the Gulf
States, if they succeed in obtaining secession--of a low and debased
nation, or, worse still, of many low and debased nations. They will
have lost their cotton monopoly by the competition created during
the period of the war, and will have no material of greatness on
which either to found themselves or to flourish. That they had much
to bear when linked with the North, much to endure on account of
that slavery from which it was all but impossible that they should
disentangle themselves, may probably be true. But so have all
political parties among all free nations much to bear from political
opponents, and yet other free nations do not go to pieces. Had it
been possible that the slaveowners and slave properties should have
been scattered in parts through all the States and not congregated
in the South, the slave party would have maintained itself as other
parties do; but in such case, as a matter of course, it would not
have thought of secession. It has been the close vicinity of
slaveowners to each other, the fact that their lands have been
coterminous, that theirs was especially a cotton district, which has
tempted them to secession. They have been tempted to secession, and
will, as I think, still achieve it in those Gulf States, much to
their misfortune.

And the fears of the North are, I think, equally wrong. That they
will be deceived as to that Monroe doctrine is no doubt more than
probable. That ambition for an entire continent under one rule will
not, I should say, be gratified. But not on that account need the
nation be less great, or its civilization less extensive. That hook
in its nose and that thorn in its jaw will, after all, be but a hook
of the imagination and an ideal thorn. Do not all great men suffer
such ere their greatness be established and acknowledged? There is
scope enough for all that manhood can do between the Atlantic and
the Pacific, even though those hot, swampy cotton fields be taken
away; even though the snows of the British provinces be denied to
them. And as for those rivers and that sea-board, the Americans of
the North will have lost much of their old energy and usual force of
will if any Southern confederacy be allowed to deny their right of
way or to stop their commercial enterprises. I believe that the
South will be badly off without the North; but I feel certain that
the North will never miss the South when once the wounds to her
pride have been closed.

From Washington I journeyed back to Boston through the cities which
I had visited in coming thither, and stayed again on my route, for a
few days, at Baltimore, at Philadelphia, and at New York. At each
town there were those whom I now regarded almost as old friends, and
as the time of my departure drew near I felt a sorrow that I was not
to be allowed to stay longer. As the general result of my sojourn
in the country, I must declare that I was always happy and
comfortable in the Eastern cities, and generally unhappy and
uncomfortable in the West. I had previously been inclined to think
that I should like the roughness of the West, and that in the East I
should encounter an arrogance which would have kept me always on the
verge of hot water; but in both these surmises I found myself to
have been wrong. And I think that most English travelers would come
to the same conclusion. The Western people do not mean to be harsh
or uncivil, but they do not make themselves pleasant. In all the
Eastern cities--I speak of the Eastern cities north of Washington--a
society may be found which must be esteemed as agreeable by
Englishmen who like clever, genial men, and who love clever, pretty

I was forced to pass twice again over the road between New York and
Boston, as the packet by which I intended to leave America was fixed
to sail from the former port. I had promised myself, and had
promised others, that I would spend in Boston the last week of my
sojourn in the States, and this was a promise which I was by no
means inclined to break. If there be a gratification in this world
which has no alloy, it is that of going to an assured welcome. The
belief that arms and hearts are open to receive one--and the arms
and hearts of women, too, as far as they allow themselves to open
them--is the salt of the earth, the sole remedy against sea-
sickness, the only cure for the tedium of railways, the one
preservative amid all the miseries and fatigue of travail. These
matters are private, and should hardly be told of in a book; but in
writing of the States, I should not do justice to my own convictions
of the country if I did not say how pleasantly social intercourse
there will ripen into friendship, and how full of love that
friendship may become. I became enamored of Boston at last. Beacon
Street was very pleasant to me, and the view over Boston Common was
dear to my eyes. Even the State House, with its great yellow-
painted dome, became sightly, and the sunset over the western waters
that encompass the city beats all other sunsets that I have seen.

During my last week there the world of Boston was moving itself on
sleighs. There was not a wheel to be seen in the town. The
omnibuses and public carriages had been dismounted from their axles
and put themselves upon snow-runners, and the private world had
taken out its winter carriages, and wrapped itself up in buffalo
robes. Men now spoke of the coming thaw as of a misfortune which
must come, but which a kind Providence might perhaps postpone--as we
all, in short, speak of death. In the morning the snow would have
been hardened by the night's frost, and men would look happy and
contented. By an hour after noon the streets would be all wet and
the ground would be slushy, and men would look gloomy and speak of
speedy dissolution. There were those who would always prophesy that
the next day would see the snow converted into one dull, dingy
river. Such I regarded as seers of tribulation, and endeavored with
all my mind to disbelieve their interpretations of the signs. That
sleighing was excellent fun. For myself I must own that I hardly
saw the best of it at Boston, for the coming of the end was already
at hand when I arrived there, and the fresh beauty of the hard snow
was gone. Moreover, when I essayed to show my prowess with a pair
of horses on the established course for such equipage, the beasts
ran away, knowing that I was not practiced in the use of snow
chariots, and brought me to grief and shame. There was a lady with
me in the sleigh, whom, for awhile, I felt that I was doomed to
consign to a snowy grave--whom I would willingly have overturned
into a drift of snow, so as to avoid worse consequences, had I only
known how to do so. But Providence, even though without curbs and
assisted only by simple snaffles, did at last prevail, and I brought
the sleigh horses, and lady alive back to Boston, whether with or
without permanent injury I have never yet ascertained.

At last the day of tribulation came, and the snow was picked up and
carted out of Boston. Gangs of men, standing shoulder to shoulder,
were at work along the chief streets, picking, shoveling, and
disposing of the dirty blocks. Even then the snow seemed to be
nearly a foot thick; but it was dirty, rough, half melted in some
places, though hard as stone in others. The labor and cost of
cleansing the city in this way must be very great. The people were
at it as I left, and I felt that the day of tribulation had in truth

Farewell to thee, thou Western Athens! When I have forgotten thee,
my right hand shall have forgotten its cunning, and my heart
forgotten its pulses. Let us look at the list of names with which
Boston has honored itself in our days, and then ask what other town
of the same size has done more. Prescott, Bancroft, Motley,
Longfellow, Lowell, Emerson, Dana, Agassiz, Holmes, Hawthorne! Who
is there among us in England who has not been the better for these
men? Who does not owe to some of them a debt of gratitude? In
whose ears is not their names familiar? It is a bright galaxy, and
far extended, for so small a city. What city has done better than
this? All these men, save one, are now alive and in the full
possession of their powers. What other town of the same size has
done as well in the same short space of time? It may be that this
is the Augustan era of Boston--its Elizabethan time. If so, I am
thankful that my steps have wandered thither at such a period.

While I was at Boston I had the sad privilege of attending the
funeral of President Felton, the head of Harvard College. A few
months before I had seen him a strong man, apparently in perfect
health and in the pride of life. When I reached Boston I heard of
his death. He also was an accomplished scholar, and as a Grecian
has left few behind him who were his equals. At his installation as
president, four ex-presidents of Harvard College assisted. Whether
they were all present at his funeral I do not know, but I do know
that they were all still living. These are Mr. Quincy, who is now
over ninety; Mr. Sparks; Mr. Everett, the well-known orator; and Mr.
Walker. They all reside in Boston or its neighborhood, and will
probably all assist at the installation of another president.



It is, I presume, universally known that the citizens of the Western
American colonies of Great Britain which revolted, declared
themselves to be free from British dominion by an act which they
called the Declaration of Independence. This was done on the 4th of
July, 1776, and was signed by delegates from the thirteen colonies,
or States as they then called themselves. These delegates in this
document declare themselves to be the representatives of the United
States of America in general Congress assembled. The opening and
close of this declaration have in them much that is grand and
striking; the greater part of it, however, is given up to
enumerating, in paragraph after paragraph, the sins committed by
George III. against the colonies. Poor George III.! There is no
one now to say a good word for him; but of all those who have spoken
ill of him, this declaration is the loudest in its censure.

In the following year, on the 15th of November, 1777, were drawn up
the Articles of Confederation between the States, by which it was
then intended that a sufficient bond and compact should be made for
their future joint existence and preservation. A reference to this
document will show how slight was the then intended bond of union
between the States. The second article declares that each State
retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence. The third
article avows that "the said States hereby severally enter into a
firm league of friendship with each other for their common defense,
the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general
welfare, binding themselves to assist each other against all force
offered to, or attacks made upon, them, or any of them, on account
of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretext whatever."
And the third article, "the better to secure and perpetuate mutual
friendship," declares that the free citizens of one State shall be
free citizens of another. From this it is, I think, manifest that
no idea of one united nation had at that time been received and
adopted by the citizens of the States. The articles then go on to
define the way in which Congress shall assemble and what shall be
its powers. This Congress was to exercise the authority of a
national government rather than perform the work of a national
parliament. It was intended to be executive rather than
legislative. It was to consist of delegates, the very number of
which within certain limits was to be left to the option of the
individual States, and to this Congress was to be confided certain
duties and privileges, which could not be performed or exercised
separately by the governments of the individual States. One special
article, the eleventh, enjoins that "Canada, acceding to the
Confederation, and joining in the measures of the United States,
shall be admitted into and entitled to all the advantages of this
Union; but no other colony shall be admitted into the same unless
such admission be agreed to by nine States." I mention this to show
how strong was the expectation at that time that Canada also would
revolt from England. Up to this day few Americans can understand
why Canada has declined to join her lot to them.

But the compact between the different States made by the Articles of
Confederation, and the mode of national procedure therein enjoined,
were found to be inefficient for the wants of a people who to be
great must be united in fact as well as in name. The theory of the
most democratic among the Americans of that day was in favor of
self-government carried to an extreme. Self-government was the
Utopia which they had determined to realize, and they were unwilling
to diminish the reality of the self-government of the individual
States by any centralization of power in one head, or in one
parliament, or in one set of ministers for the nation. For ten
years, from 1777 to 1787, the attempt was made; but then it was
found that a stronger bond of nationality was indispensable, if any
national greatness was to be regarded as desirable. Indeed, all
manner of failure had attended the mode of national action ordained
by the Articles of Confederation. I am not attempting to write a
history of the United States, and will not therefore trouble my
readers with historic details, which are not of value unless put
forward with historic weight. The fact of the failure is however
admitted, and the present written Constitution of the United States,
which is the splendid result of that failure, was "Done in
Convention by the unanimous consent of the States present."* Twelve
States were present--Rhode Island apparently having had no
representative on the occasion--on the 17th of September, 1787, and
in the twelfth year of the Independence of the United States.

* It must not, however, be supposed that by this "doing in
convention," the Constitution became an accepted fact. It simply
amounted to the adoption of a proposal of the Constitution. The
Constitution itself was formally adopted by the people in
conventions held in their separate State capitals. It was agreed to
by the people in 1788, and came into operation in 1789.

I call the result splendid, seeing that under this Constitution so
written a nation has existed for three-quarters of a century, and
has grown in numbers, power, and wealth till it has made itself the
political equal of the other greatest nations of the earth. And it
cannot be said that it has so grown in spite of the Constitution, or
by ignoring the Constitution. Hitherto the laws there laid down for
the national guidance have been found adequate for the great purpose
assigned to them, and have done all that which the framers of them
hoped that they might effect. We all know what has been the fate of
the constitutions which were written throughout the French
Revolution for the use of France. We all, here in England, have the
same ludicrous conception of Utopian theories of government framed
by philosophical individuals who imagine that they have learned from
books a perfect system of managing nations. To produce such
theories is especially the part of a Frenchman; to disbelieve in
them is especially the part of an Englishman. But in the States a
system of government has been produced, under a written
constitution, in which no Englishman can disbelieve, and which every
Frenchman must envy. It has done its work. The people have been
free, well educated, and politically great. Those among us who are
most inclined at the present moment to declare that the institutions
of the United States have failed, can at any rate only declare that
they have failed in their finality; that they have shown themselves
to be insufficient to carry on the nation in its advancing strides
through all times. They cannot deny that an amount of success and
prosperity, much greater than the nation even expected for itself,
has been achieved under this Constitution and in connection with it.
If it be so, they cannot disbelieve in it. Let those who now say
that it is insufficient, consider what their prophecies regarding it
would have been had they been called on to express their opinions
concerning it when it was proposed in 1787. If the future as it has
since come forth had then been foretold for it, would not such a
prophecy have been a prophecy of success? That Constitution is now
at the period of its hardest trial, and at this moment one may
hardly dare to speak of it with triumph; but looking at the nation
even in its present position, I think I am justified in saying that
its Constitution is one in which no Englishman can disbelieve. When
I also say that it is one which every Frenchman must envy, perhaps I
am improperly presuming that Frenchmen could not look at it with
Englishmen's eyes.

When the Constitution came to be written, a man had arisen in the
States who was peculiarly suited for the work in hand: he was one of
those men to whom the world owes much, and of whom the world in
general knows but little. This was Alexander Hamilton, who alone on
the part of the great State of New York signed the Constitution of
the United States. The other States sent two, three, four, or more
delegates; New York sent Hamilton alone; but in sending him New York
sent more to the Constitution than all the other States together. I
should be hardly saying too much for Hamilton if I were to declare
that all those parts of the Constitution emanated from him in which
permanent political strength has abided. And yet his name has not
been spread abroad widely in men's mouths. Of Jefferson, Franklin,
and Madison we have all heard; our children speak of them, and they
are household words in the nursery of history. Of Hamilton,
however, it may, I believe, be said that he was greater than any of

Without going with minuteness into the early contests of democracy
in the United States, I think I may say that there soon arose two
parties, each probably equally anxious in the cause of freedom, one
of which was conspicuous for its French predilections and the other
for its English aptitudes. It was the period of the French
Revolution--the time when the French Revolution had in it as yet
something of promise and had not utterly disgraced itself. To many
in America the French theory of democracy not unnaturally endeared
itself and foremost among these was Thomas Jefferson. He was the
father of those politicians in the States who have since taken the
name of Democrats, and in accordance with whose theory it has come
to pass that everything has been referred to the universal suffrage
of the people. James Madison, who succeeded Jefferson as President,
was a pupil in this school, as indeed have been most of the
Presidents of the United States. At the head of the other party,
from which through various denominations have sprung those who now
call themselves Republicans, was Alexander Hamilton. I believe I
may say that all the political sympathies of George Washington were
with the same school. Washington, however, was rather a man of
feeling and of action than of theoretical policy or speculative
opinion. When the Constitution was written Jefferson was in France,
having been sent thither as minister from the United States, and he
therefore was debarred from concerning himself personally in the
matter. His views, however, were represented by Madison; and it is
now generally understood that the Constitution as it stands is the
joint work of Madison and Hamilton.* The democratic bias, of which
it necessarily contains much, and without which it could not have
obtained the consent of the people, was furnished by Madison; but
the conservative elements, of which it possesses much more than
superficial observers of the American form of government are wont to
believe, came from Hamilton.

* It should, perhaps, be explained that the views of Madison were
originally not opposed to those of Hamilton. Madison, however,
gradually adopted the policy of Jefferson--his policy rather than
his philosophy.

The very preamble of the Constitution at once declares that the
people of the different States do hereby join themselves together
with the view of forming themselves into one nation. "We, the
people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union,
establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the
common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the
blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and
establish this Constitution for the United States of America." Here
a great step was made toward centralization, toward one national
government, and the binding together of the States into one nation.
But from that time down to the present the contest has been going
on, sometimes openly and sometimes only within the minds of men,
between the still alleged sovereignty of the individual States and
the acknowledged sovereignty of the central Congress and central
government. The disciples of Jefferson, even though they have not
known themselves to be his disciples, have been carrying on that
fight for State rights which has ended in secession; and the
disciples of Hamilton, certainly not knowing themselves to be his
disciples, have been making that stand for central government, and
for the one acknowledged republic, which is now at work in opposing
secession, and which, even though secession should to some extent be
accomplished, will, we may hope, nevertheless, and not the less on
account of such secession, conquer and put down the spirit of

The political contest of parties which is being waged now, and which
has been waged throughout the history of the United States, has been
pursued on one side in support of that idea of an undivided
nationality of which I have spoken--of a nationality in which the
interests of a part should be esteemed as the interests of the
whole; and on the other side it has been pursued in opposition to
that idea. I will not here go into the interminable question of
slavery--though it is on that question that the Southern or
democratic States have most loudly declared their own sovereign
rights and their aversion to national interference. Were I to do so
I should fail in my present object of explaining the nature of the
Constitution of the United States. But I protest against any
argument which shall be used to show that the Constitution has
failed because it has allowed slavery to produce the present
division among the States. I myself think that the Southern or Gulf
States will go. I will not pretend to draw the exact line or to say
how many of them are doomed; but I believe that South Carolina, with
Georgia and perhaps five or six others, will be extruded from the
Union. But their very extrusion will be a political success, and
will in fact amount to a virtual acknowledgment in the body of the
Union of the truth of that system for which the conservative
Republican party has contended. If the North obtain the power of
settling that question of boundary, the abandonment of those
Southern States will be a success, even though the privilege of
retaining them be the very point for which the North is now in arms.

The first clause of the Constitution declares that all the
legislative powers granted by the Constitution shall be vested in a
Congress, which shall consist of a Senate and of a House of
Representatives. The House of Representatives is to be rechosen
every two years, and shall be elected by the people, such persons in
each State having votes for the national Congress as have votes for
the legislature of their own States. If, therefore, South Carolina
should choose--as she has chosen--to declare that the electors of
her own legislature shall possess a property qualification, the
electors of members of Congress from South Carolina must also have
that qualification. In Massachusetts universal suffrage now
prevails, although it is not long since a low property qualification
prevailed even in Massachusetts. It therefore follows that members
of the House of Representatives in Congress need by no means be all
chosen on the same principle. As a fact, universal suffrage* and
vote by ballot, that is by open voting papers, prevail in the
States, but they do not so prevail by virtue of any enactment of the
Constitution. The laws of the States, however, require that the
voter shall have been a resident in the State for some period, and
generally either deny the right of voting to negroes, or so hamper
that privilege that practically it amounts to the same thing.

* Perhaps the better word would have been manhood suffrage; and even
that word should be taken with certain restrictions. Aliens,
minors, convicts, and men who pay no taxes cannot vote. In some
States none can vote unless they can read and write. In some there
is a property qualification. In all there are special restrictions
against negroes. There is in none an absolutely universal suffrage.
But I keep the name as it best expresses to us in England the system
of franchise which has practically come to prevail in the United

The Senate of the United States is composed of two Senators from
each State. These Senators are chosen for six years, and are
elected in a manner which shows the conservative tendency of the
Constitution with more signification than perhaps any other rule
which it contains. This branch of Congress, which, as I shall
presently endeavor to show, is by far the more influential of the
two, is not in any way elected by the people. "The Senate of the
United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State,
CHOSEN BY THE LEGISLATURE THEREOF, for six years, and each senator
shall have one voice." The Senate sent to Congress is therefore
elected by the State legislatures. Each State legislature has two
Houses and the Senators sent from that State to Congress are either
chosen by vote of the two Houses voting together--which is, I
believe, the mode adopted in most States, or are voted for in the
two Houses separately--in which cases, when different candidates
have been nominated, the two Houses confer by committees and settle
the matter between them. The conservative purpose of the
Constitution is here sufficiently evident. The intention has been
to take the election of the Senators away from the people, and to
confide it to that body in each State which may be regarded as
containing its best trusted citizens. It removes the Senators far
away from the democratic element, and renders them liable to the
necessity of no popular canvass. Nor am I aware that the
Constitution has failed in keeping the ground which it intended to
hold in this matter. On some points its selected rocks and chosen
standing ground have slipped from beneath its feet, owing to the
weakness of words in defining and making solid the intended
prohibitions against democracy. The wording of the Constitution has
been regarded by the people as sacred; but the people has considered
itself justified in opposing the spirit as long as it revered the
letter of the Constitution. And this was natural. For the letter
of the Constitution can be read by all men; but its spirit can be
understood comparatively but by few. As regards the election of the
Senators, I believe that it has been fairly made by the legislatures
of the different States. I have not heard it alleged that members
of the State legislatures have been frequently constrained by the
outside popular voice to send this or that man as Senator to
Washington. It was clearly not the intention of those who wrote the
Constitution that they should be so constrained. But the Senators
themselves in Washington have submitted to restraint. On subjects
in which the people are directly interested, they submit to
instructions from the legislatures which have sent them as to the
side on which they shall vote, and justify themselves in voting
against their convictions by the fact that they have received such
instructions. Such a practice, even with the members of a House
which has been directly returned by popular election, is, I think,
false to the intention of the system. It has clearly been intended
that confidence should be put in the chosen candidate for the term
of his duty, and that the electors are to be bound in the expression
of their opinion by his sagacity and patriotism for that term. A
member of a representative House so chosen, who votes at the bidding
of his constituency in opposition to his convictions, is manifestly
false to his charge, and may be presumed to be thus false in
deference to his own personal interests, and with a view to his own
future standing with his constituents. Pledges before election may
be fair, because a pledge given is after all but the answer to a
question asked. A voter may reasonably desire to know a candidate's
opinion on any matter of political interest before he votes for or
against him. The representative when returned should be free from
the necessity of further pledges. But if this be true with a House
elected by popular suffrage, how much more than true must it be with
a chamber collected together as the Senate of the United States is
collected! Nevertheless, it is the fact that many Senators,
especially those who have been sent to the House as Democrats, do
allow the State legislatures to dictate to them their votes, and
that they do hold themselves absolved from the personal
responsibility of their votes by such dictation. This is one place
in which the rock which was thought to have been firm has slipped
away, and the sands of democracy have made their way through. But
with reference to this it is always in the power of the Senate to
recover its own ground, and re-establish its own dignity; to the
people in this matter the words of the Constitution give no
authority, and all that is necessary for the recovery of the old
practice is a more conservative tendency throughout the country
generally. That there is such a conservative tendency, no one can
doubt; the fear is whether it may not work too quickly and go too

In speaking of these instructions given to Senators at Washington, I
should explain that such instructions are not given by all States,
nor are they obeyed by all Senators. Occasionally they are made in
the form of requests, the word "instruct" being purposely laid
aside. Requests of the same kind are also made to Representatives,
who, as they are not returned by the State legislatures, are not
considered to be subject to such instructions. The form used is as
follows: "we instruct our Senators and request our representatives,"
etc. etc.

The Senators are elected for six years, but the same Senate does not
sit entire throughout that term. The whole chamber is divided into
three equal portions or classes, and a portion goes out at the end
of every second year; so that a third of the Senate comes in afresh
with every new House of Representatives. The Vice-President of the
United States, who is elected with the President, and who is not a
Senator by election from any State, is the ex-officio President of
the Senate. Should the President of the United States vacate his
seat by death or otherwise, the Vice-President becomes President of
the United States; and in such case the Senate elects its own
President pro tempore.

In speaking of the Senate, I must point out a matter to which the
Constitution does not allude, but which is of the gravest moment in
the political fabric of the nation. Each State sends two Senators
to Congress. These two are sent altogether independently of the
population which they represent, or of the number of members which
the same State supplies to the Lower House. When the Constitution
was framed, Delaware was to send one member to the House of
Representatives, and Pennsylvania eight; nevertheless, each of these
States sent two Senators. It would seem strange that a young
people, commencing business as a nation on a basis intended to be
democratic, should consent to a system so directly at variance with
the theory of popular representation. It reminds one of the old
days when Yorkshire returned two members, and Rutlandshire two also.
And the discrepancy has greatly increased as young States have been
added to the Union, while the old States have increased in
population. New York, with a population of about 4,000,000, and
with thirty-three members in the House of Representatives, sends two
Senators to Congress. The new State of Oregon, with a population of
50,000 or 60,000, and with one member in the House of
Representatives, sends also two Senators to Congress. But though it
would seem that in such a distribution of legislative power the
young nation was determined to preserve some of the old fantastic
traditions of the mother country which it had just repudiated, the
fact, I believe, is that this system, apparently so opposed to all
democratic tendencies, was produced and specially insisted upon by
democracy itself. Where would be the State sovereignty and
individual existence of Rhode Island and Delaware, unless they could
maintain, in at least one House of Congress, their State equality
with that of all other States in the Union? In those early days,
when the Constitution was being framed, there was nothing to force
the small States into a union with those whose populations
preponderated. Each State was sovereign in its municipal system,
having preserved the boundaries of the old colony, together with the
liberties and laws given to it under its old colonial charter. A
union might be and no doubt was desirable; but it was to be a union
of sovereign States, each retaining equal privileges in that union,
and not a fusion of the different populations into one homogeneous
whole. No State was willing to abandon its own individuality, and
least of all were the small States willing to do so. It was,
therefore, ordained that the House of Representatives should
represent the people, and that the Senate should represent the

From that day to the present time the arrangement of which I am
speaking has enabled the Democratic or Southern party to contend at
a great advantage with the Republicans of the North. When the
Constitution was founded, the seven Northern States--I call those
Northern which are now free-soil States, and those Southern in which
the institution of slavery now prevails--were held to be entitled by
their population to send thirty-five members to the House of
Representatives, and they sent fourteen members to the Senate. The
six Southern States were entitled to thirty members in the Lower
House, and to twelve Senators. Thus the proportion was about equal
for the North and South. But now--or rather in 1860, when secession
commenced--the Northern States, owing to the increase of population
in the North, sent one hundred and fifty Representatives to
Congress, having nineteen States, and thirty-eight Senators; whereas
the South, with fifteen States and thirty Senators, was entitled by
its population to only ninety Representatives, although by a special
rule in its favor, which I will presently explain, it was in fact
allowed a greater number of Representatives, in proportion to its
population, than the North. Had an equal balance been preserved,
the South, with its ninety Representatives in the Lower House, would
have but twenty-three Senators, instead of thirty, in the Upper.*
But these numbers indicate to us the recovery of political influence
in the North, rather than the pride of the power of the South; for
the South, in its palmy days, had much more in its favor than I have
above described as its position in 1860. Kansas had then just
become a free-soil State, after a terrible struggle, and shortly
previous to that Oregon and Minnesota, also free States, had been
added to the Union. Up to that date the slave States sent thirty
Senators to Congress, and the free States only thirty-two. In
addition to this, when Texas was annexed and converted into a State,
a clause was inserted into the act giving authority for the future
subdivision of that State into four different States as its
population should increase, thereby enabling the South to add
Senators to its own party from time to time, as the Northern States
might increase in number.

* It is worthy of note that the new Northern and Western States have
been brought into the Union by natural increase and the spread of
population. But this has not been so with the new Southern States.
Louisiana and Florida were purchased, and Texas was--annexed.

And here I must explain, in order that the nature of the contest may
be understood, that the Senators from the South maintained
themselves ever in a compact body, voting together, true to each
other, disciplined as a party, understanding the necessity of
yielding in small things in order that their general line of policy
might be maintained. But there was no such system, no such
observance of political tactics among the Senators of the North.
Indeed, they appear to have had no general line of politics, having
been divided among themselves on various matters. Many had strong
Southern tendencies, and many more were willing to obtain official
power by the help of Southern votes. There was no bond of union
among them, as slavery was among the Senators from the South. And
thus, from these causes, the power of the Senate and the power of
the government fell into the hands of the Southern party.

I am aware that in going into these matters here I am departing
somewhat from the subject of which this chapter is intended to
treat; but I do not know that I could explain in any shorter way the
manner in which those rules of the Constitution have worked by which
the composition of the Senate is fixed. That State basis, as
opposed to a basis of population in the Upper House of Congress, has
been the one great political weapon, both of offense and defense, in
the hands of the Democratic party. And yet I am not prepared to
deny that great wisdom was shown in the framing of the constitution
of the Senate. It was the object of none of the politicians then at
work to create a code of rules for the entire governance of a single
nation such as is England or France. Nor, had any American
politician of the time so desired, would he have had reasonable hope
of success. A federal union of separate sovereign States was the
necessity, as it was also the desire, of all those who were
concerned in the American policy of the day; and I think it way be
understood and maintained that no such federal union would have been
just, or could have been accepted by the smaller States, which did
not in some direct way recognize their equality with the larger
States. It is moreover to be observed, that in this, as in all
matters, the claims of the minority were treated with indulgence.
No ordinance of the Constitution is made in a niggardly spirit. It
would seem as though they who met together to do the work had been
actuated by no desire for selfish preponderance or individual
influence. No ambition to bind close by words which shall be
exacting as well as exact is apparent. A very broad power of
interpretation is left to those who were to be the future
interpreters of the written document.

It is declared that "representation and direct taxes shall be
apportioned among the several States which may be included within
this Union, according to their respective numbers," thereby meaning
that representation and taxation in the several States shall be
adjusted according to the population. This clause ordains that
throughout all the States a certain amount of population shall
return a member to the Lower House of Congress--say one member to
100,000 persons, as is I believe about the present proportion--and
that direct taxation shall be levied according to the number of
representatives. If New York return thirty-three members and Kansas
one, on New York shall be levied, for the purposes of the United
States revenue, thirty-three times as much direct taxation as on
Kansas. This matter of direct taxation was not then, nor has it
been since, matter of much moment. No direct taxation has hitherto
been levied in the United States for national purposes. But the
time has now come when this proviso will be a terrible stumbling-
block in the way.

But before we go into that matter of taxation, I must explain how
the South was again favored with reference to its representation.
As a matter of course no slaves, or even negroes--no men of color--
were to vote in the Southern States. Therefore, one would say, that
in counting up the people with reference to the number of the
representatives, the colored population should be ignored
altogether. But it was claimed on behalf of the South that their
property in slaves should be represented, and in compliance with
this claim, although no slave can vote or in any way demand the
services of a representative, the colored people are reckoned among
the population. When the numbers of the free persons are counted,
to this number is added "three-fifths of all other persons." Five
slaves are thus supposed to represent three white persons. From the
wording, one would be led to suppose that there was some other
category into which a man might be put besides that of free or
slave! But it may be observed, that on this subject of slavery the
framers of the Constitution were tender-mouthed. They never speak
of slavery or of a slave. It is necessary that the subject should
be mentioned, and therefore we hear first of persons other than
free, and then of persons bound to labor!

Such were the rules laid down for the formation of Congress, and the
letter of those rules has, I think, been strictly observed. I have
not thought it necessary to give all the clauses, but I believe I
have stated those which are essential to a general understanding of
the basis upon which Congress is founded.

The Constitution ordains that members of both the Houses shall be
paid for their time, but it does not decree the amount. "The
Senators and Representatives shall receive a compensation for their
services, to be ascertained by law, and paid out of the treasury of
the United States." In the remarks which I have made as to the
present Congress I have spoken of the amount now allowed. The
understanding, I believe, is that the pay shall be enough for the
modest support of a man who is supposed to have raised himself above
the heads of the crowd. Much may be said in favor of this payment
of legislators, but very much may also be said against it. There
was a time when our members of the House of Commons were entitled to
payment for their services, and when, at any rate, some of them took
the money. It may be that with a new nation such an arrangement was
absolutely necessary. Men whom the people could trust, and who
would have been able to give up their time without payment, would
not have probably been found in a new community. The choice of
Senators and of Representatives would have been so limited that the
legislative power would have fallen into the hands of a few rich
men. Indeed, it may be said that such payment was absolutely
necessary in the early days of the life of the Union. But no one, I
think, will deny that the tone of both Houses would be raised by the
gratuitous service of the legislators. It is well known that
politicians find their way into the Senate and into the chamber of
Representatives solely with a view to the loaves and fishes. The
very word "politician" is foul and unsavory throughout the States,
and means rather a political blackleg than a political patriot. It
is useless to blink this matter in speaking of the politics and
policy of the United States. The corruption of the venal
politicians of the nation stinks aloud in the nostrils of all men.
It behoves the country to look to this. It is time now that she
should do so. The people of the nation are educated and clever.
The women are bright and beautiful. Her charity is profuse; her
philanthropy is eager and true; her national ambition is noble and
honest--honest in the cause of civilization. But she has soiled
herself with political corruption, and has disgraced the cause of
republican government by the dirt of those whom she has placed in
her high places. Let her look to it now. She is nobly ambitious of
reputation throughout the earth; she desires to be called good as
well as great; to be regarded not only as powerful, but also as
beneficent. She is creating an army; she is forging cannon, and
preparing to build impregnable ships of war. But all these will
fail to satisfy her pride, unless she can cleanse herself from that
corruption by which her political democracy has debased itself. A
politician should be a man worthy of all honor, in that he loves his
country; and not one worthy of all contempt, in that he robs his

I must not be understood as saying that every Senator and
Representative who takes his pay is wrong in taking it. Indeed, I
have already expressed an opinion that such payments were at first
necessary, and I by no means now say that the necessity has as yet
disappeared. In the minds of thorough democrats it will be
considered much that the poorest man of the people should be enabled
to go into the legislature, if such poorest man be worthy of that
honor. I am not a thorough democrat, and consider that more would
be gained by obtaining in the legislature that education, demeanor,
and freedom from political temptation which easy circumstances
produce. I am not, however, on this account inclined to quarrel
with the democrats--not on that account if they can so manage their
affairs that their poor and popular politicians shall be fairly
honest men. But I am a thorough republican, regarding our own
English form of government as the most purely republican that I
know, and as such I have a close and warm sympathy with those
Transatlantic anti-monarchical republicans who are endeavoring to
prove to the world that they have at length founded a political
Utopia. I for one do not grudge them all the good they can do, all
the honor they can win. But I grieve over the evil name which now
taints them, and which has accompanied that wider spread of
democracy which the last twenty years has produced. This longing
for universal suffrage in all things--in voting for the President,
in voting for judges, in voting for the Representatives, in
dictating to Senators--has come up since the days of President
Jackson, and with it has come corruption and unclean hands.
Democracy must look to it, or the world at large will declare her to
have failed.

One would say that at any rate the Senate might be filled with
unpaid servants of the public. Each State might surely find two men
who could afford to attend to the public weal of their country
without claiming a compensation for their time. In England we find
no difficulty in being so served. Those cities among us in which
the democratic element most strongly abounds, can procure
representatives to their minds, even though the honor of filling the
position is not only not remunerative, but is very costly. I cannot
but think that the Senate of the United States would stand higher in
the public estimation of its own country if it were an unpaid body
of men.

It is enjoined that no person holding any office under the United
States shall be a member of either House during his continuance in
office. At first sight such a rule as this appears to be good in
its nature; but a comparison of the practice of the United States
government with that of our own makes me think that this embargo on
members of the legislative bodies is a mistake. It prohibits the
President's ministers from a seat in either house, and thereby
relieves them from the weight of that responsibility to which our
ministers are subjected. It is quite true that the United States
ministers cannot be responsible as are our ministers, seeing that
the President himself is responsible, and that the Queen is not so.
Indeed, according to the theory of the American Constitution, the
President has no ministers. The Constitution speaks only of the
principal officers of the executive departments. "He" (the
President) "may require the opinion in writing of the principal
officer in each of the executive departments." But in practice he
has his cabinet, and the irresponsibility of that cabinet would
practically cease if the members of it were subjected to the
questionings of the two Houses. With us the rule which prohibits
servants of the State from going into Parliament is, like many of
our constitutional rules, hard to be defined, and yet perfectly
understood. It may perhaps be said, with the nearest approach to a
correct definition, that permanent servants of the State may not go
into Parliament, and that those may do so whose services are
political, depending for the duration of their term on the duration
of the existing ministry. But even this would not be exact, seeing
that the Master of the Rolls and the officers of the army and navy
can sit in Parliament. The absence of the President's ministers
from Congress certainly occasions much confusion, or rather
prohibits a more thorough political understanding between the
executive and the legislature than now exists. In speaking of the
government of the United States in the next chapter, I shall be
constrained to allude again to this subject.*

* It will be alleged by Americans that the introduction into
Congress of the President's ministers would alter all the existing
relations of the President and of Congress, and would at once
produce that parliamentary form of government which England
possesses, and which the States have chosen to avoid. Such a change
would elevate Congress and depress the President. No doubt this is
true. Such elevation, however, and such depression seemed to me to
be the two things needed.

The duties of the House of Representatives are solely legislative.
Those of the Senate are legislative and executive, as with us those
of the Upper House are legislative and judicial. The House of
Representatives is always open to the public. The Senate is so open
when it is engaged on legislative work; but it is closed to the
public when engaged in executive session. No treaties can be made
by the President, and no appointments to high offices confirmed,
without the consent of the Senate; and this consent must be given--
as regards the confirmation of treaties--by two-thirds of the
members present. This law gives to the Senate the power of debating
with closed doors upon the nature of all treaties, and upon the
conduct of the government as evinced in the nomination of the
officers of State. It also gives to the Senate a considerable
control over the foreign relations of the government. I believe
that this power is often used, and that by it the influence of the
Senate is raised much above that of the Lower House. This influence
is increased again by the advantage of that superior statecraft and
political knowledge which the six years of the Senator gives him
over the two years of the Representative. The tried Representative,
moreover, very frequently blossoms into a Senator but a Senator does
not frequently fade into a Representative. Such occasionally is the
case, and it is not even unconstitutional for an ex-President to
reappear in either House. Mr. Benton, after thirty years' service
in the Senate, sat in the House of Representatives. Mr. Crittenden,
who was returned as Senator by Kentucky, I think seven times, now
sits in the Lower House; and John Quincy Adams appeared as a
Representative from Massachusetts after he had filled the
presidential chair.

And, moreover, the Senate of the United States is not debarred from
an interference with money bills, as the House of Lords is debarred
with us. "All bills for raising revenue," says the seventh section
of the first article of the Constitution, "shall originate with the
House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with
amendments as on other bills." By this the Senate is enabled to
have an authority in the money matters of the nation almost equal to
that held by the Lower House--an authority quite sufficient to
preserve to it the full influence of its other powers. With us the
House of Commons is altogether in the ascendant, because it holds
and jealously keeps to itself the exclusive command of the public

Congress can levy custom duties in the United States, and always has
done so; hitherto the national revenue has been exclusively raised
from custom duties. It cannot levy duties on exports. It can levy
excise duties, and is now doing so; hitherto it has not done so. It
can levy direct taxes, such as an income tax and a property tax; it
hitherto has not done so, but now must do so. It must do so, I
think I am justified in saying; but its power of doing this is so
hampered by constitutional enactment, that it would seem that the
Constitution as regards this heading must be altered before any
scheme can be arranged by which a moderately just income tax can be
levied and collected. This difficulty I have already mentioned, but
perhaps it will be well that I should endeavor to make the subject
more plain. It is specially declared: "That all duties, imposts,
and excises shall be uniform throughout the united States." And
again: "That no capitation or other direct tax shall be laid, unless
in proportion to the census or enumeration hereinbefore directed to
be taken." And again, in the words before quoted: "Representatives
and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which
shall be included in this Union, according to their respective
numbers." By these repeated rules it has been intended to decree
that the separate States shall bear direct taxation according to
their population and the consequent number of their Representatives;
and this intention has been made so clear that no direct taxation
can be levied in opposition to it without an evident breach of the
Constitution. To explain the way in which this will work, I will
name the two States of Rhode Island and Iowa as opposed to each
other, and the two States of Massachusetts and Indiana as opposed to
each other. Rhode Island and Massachusetts are wealthy Atlantic
States, containing, as regards enterprise and commercial success,
the cream of the population of the United States. Comparing them in
the ratio of population, I believe that they are richer than any
other States. They return between them thirteen Representatives,
Rhode Island sending two and Massachusetts eleven. Iowa and Indiana
also send thirteen Representatives, Iowa sending two, and being thus
equal to Rhode Island; Indiana sending eleven, and being thus equal
to Massachusetts. Iowa and Indiana are Western States; and though I
am not prepared to say that they are the poorest States of the
Union, I can assert that they are exactly opposite in their
circumstances to Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The two Atlantic
States of New England are old established, rich, and commercial.
The two Western States I have named are full of new immigrants, are
comparatively poor, and are agricultural. Nevertheless any direct
taxation levied on those in the East and on those in the West must
be equal in its weight. Iowa must pay as much as Rhode Island;
Indiana must pay as much as Massachusetts. But Rhode Island and
Massachusetts could pay, without the sacrifice of any comfort to its
people, without any sensible suffering, an amount of direct taxation
which would crush the States of Iowa and Indiana--which indeed no
tax gatherer could collect out of those States. Rhode Island and
Massachusetts could with their ready money buy Iowa and Indiana; and
yet the income tax to be collected from the poor States is to be the
same in amount as that collected from the rich States. Within each
individual State the total amount of income tax or of other direct
taxation to be levied from that State may be apportioned as the
State may think fit; but an income tax of two per cent. on Rhode
Island would probably produce more than an income tax of ten per
cent. in Iowa; whereas Rhode Island could pay an income tax of ten
per cent. easier than could Iowa one of two per cent.

It would in fact appear that the Constitution as at present framed
is fatal to all direct taxation. Any law for the collection of
direct taxation levied under the Constitution would produce
internecine quarrel between the Western States and those which
border on the Atlantic. The Western States would not submit to the
taxation. The difficulty which one here feels is that which always
attends an attempt at finality in political arrangements. One would
be inclined to say at once that the law should be altered, and that
as the money required is for the purposes of the Union and for State
purposes, such a change should be made as would enable Congress to
levy an income tax on the general income of the nation. But
Congress cannot go beyond the Constitution.

It is true that the Constitution is not final, and that it contains
an express article ordaining the manner in which it may be amended.
And perhaps I may as well explain here the manner in which this can
be done, although by doing so I am departing from the order in which
the Constitution is written. It is not final, and amendments have
been made to it. But the making of such amendments is an operation
so ponderous and troublesome that the difficulty attached to any
such change envelops the Constitution with many of the troubles of
finality. With us there is nothing beyond an act of Parliament. An
act of Parliament with us cannot be unconstitutional. But no such
power has been confided to Congress, or to Congress and the
President together. No amendment of the Constitution can be made
without the sanction of the State legislatures. Congress may
propose any amendments, as to the expediency of which two-thirds of
both Houses shall be agreed; but before such amendments can be
accepted they must be ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths
of the States, or by conventions in three-fourths of the States, "as
the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by
Congress." Or Congress, instead of proposing the amendments, may,
on an application from the legislatures of two-thirds of the
different States, call a convention for the proposing of them. In
which latter case the ratification by the different States must be
made after the same fashion as that required in the former case. I
do not know that I have succeeded in making clearly intelligible the
circumstances under which the Constitution can be amended; but I
think I may have succeeded in explaining that those circumstances
are difficult and tedious. In a matter of taxation why should
States agree to an alteration proposed with the very object of
increasing their proportion of the national burden? But unless such
States will agree--unless Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New York
will consent to put their own necks into the yoke--direct taxation
cannot be levied on them in a manner available for national
purposes. I do believe that Rhode Island and Massachusetts at
present possess a patriotism sufficient for such an act. But the
mode of doing the work will create disagreement, or at any rate,
tedious delay and difficulty. How shall the Constitution be
constitutionally amended while one-third of the States are in

In the eighth section of its first article the Constitution gives a
list of the duties which Congress shall perform--of things, in
short, which it shall do or shall have power to do: To raise taxes;
to regulate commerce and the naturalization of citizens; to coin
money, and protect it when coined; to establish postal
communication; to make laws for defense of patents and copyrights;
to constitute national courts of law inferior to the Supreme Court;
to punish piracies; to declare war; to raise, pay for, and govern
armies, navies, and militia; and to exercise exclusive legislation
in a certain district which shall contain the seat of government of
the United States, and which is therefore to be regarded as
belonging to the nation at large, and not to any particular State.
This district is now called the District of Columbia. It is
situated on the Potomac, and contains the City of Washington.

Then the ninth section of the same article declares what Congress
shall not do. Certain immigration shall not be prohibited; THE
except under certain circumstances; no ex post facto law shall be
passed; no direct tax shall be laid unless in proportion to the
census; no tax shall be laid on exports; no money shall be drawn
from the treasury but by legal appropriation; no title of nobility
shall be granted.

The above are lists or catalogues of the powers which Congress has,
and of the powers which Congress has not--of what Congress may do,
and of what Congress may not do; and having given them thus
seriatim, I may here perhaps be best enabled to say a few words as
to the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in
the United States. It is generally known that this privilege has
been suspended during the existence of the present rebellion very
many times; that this has been done by the Executive, and not by
Congress; and that it is maintained by the Executive and by those
who defend the conduct of the now acting Executive of the United
States that the power of suspending the writ has been given by the
Constitution to the President and not to Congress. I confess that I
cannot understand how any man familiar either with the wording or
with the spirit of the Constitution should hold such an argument.
To me it appears manifest that the Executive, in suspending the
privilege of the writ without the authority of Congress, has
committed a breach of the Constitution. Were the case one referring
to our British Constitution, a plain man, knowing little of
parliamentary usage and nothing of law lore, would probably feel
some hesitation in expressing any decided opinion on such a subject,
seeing that our constitution is unwritten. But the intention has
been that every citizen of the United States should know and
understand the rules under which he is to live, and that he that
runs may read.

As this matter has been argued by Mr. Horace Binney, a lawyer of
Philadelphia--much trusted, of very great and of deserved eminence
throughout the States--in a pamphlet in which he defends the
suspension of the privilege of the writ by the President, I will
take the position of the question as summed up by him in his last
page, and compare it with that clause in the Constitution by which
the suspension of the privilege under certain circumstances is
decreed; and to enable me to do this I will, in the first place,
quote the words of the clause in question:--

"The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended
unless when, in case of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may
require it." It is the second clause of that section which states
what Congress shall not do.

Mr. Binney argues as follows: "The conclusion of the whole matter is
this--that the Constitution itself is the law of the privilege and
of the exception to it; that the exception is expressed in the
Constitution, and that the Constitution gives effect to the act of
suspension when the conditions occur; that the conditions consist of
two matters of fact--one a naked matter of fact; and the other a
matter-of-fact conclusion from facts: that is to say, rebellion and
the public danger, or the requirement of public safety." By these
words Mr. Binney intends to imply that the Constitution itself gave
the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, and itself prescribes
the taking away of that privilege under certain circumstances. But
this is not so. The Constitution does not prescribe the suspension
of the privilege of the writ under any circumstances. It says that
it shall not be suspended except under certain circumstances. Mr.
Binney's argument, if I understand it, then goes on as follows: As
the Constitution prescribes the circumstances under which the
privilege of the writ shall be suspended--the one circumstance being
the naked matter of fact rebellion, and the other circumstance the
public safety supposed to have been endangered by such rebellion,
which Mr. Binney calls a matter-of-fact conclusion from facts--the
Constitution must be presumed itself to suspend the privilege of the
writ. Whether the President or Congress be the agent of the
Constitution in this suspension, is not matter of moment. Either
can only be an agent; and as Congress cannot act executively,
whereas the President must ultimately be charged with the executive
administration of the order for that suspension, which has in fact
been issued by the Constitution itself, therefore the power of
exercising the suspension of the writ may properly be presumed to be
in the hands of the President and not to be in the hands of

If I follow Mr. Binney's argument, it amounts to so much. But it
seems to me that Mr. Binney is wrong in his premises and wrong in
his conclusion. The article of the Constitution in question does
not define the conditions under which the privilege of the writ
shall be suspended. It simply states that this privilege shall
never be suspended except under certain conditions. It shall not be
suspended unless when the public safety may require such suspension
on account of rebellion or invasion. Rebellion or invasion is not
necessarily to produce such suspension. There is, indeed, no naked
matter of fact to guide either President or Congress in the matter;
and therefore I say that Mr. Binney is wrong in his premises.
Rebellion or invasion might occur twenty times over, and might even
endanger the public safety, without justifying the suspension of the
privilege of the writ under the Constitution. I say also that Mr.
Binney is wrong in his conclusion. The public safety must require
the suspension before the suspension can be justified; and such
requirement must be a matter for judgment and for the exercise of
discretion. Whether or no there shall be any suspension is a matter
for deliberation--not one simply for executive action, as though it
were already ordered. There is no matter-of-fact conclusion from
facts. Should invasion or rebellion occur, and should the public
safety, in consequence of such rebellion or invasion, require the
suspension of the privilege of the writ, then, and only then, may
the privilege be suspended. But to whom is the power, or rather the
duty, of exercising this discretion delegated? Mr. Binney says that
"there is no express delegation of the power in the Constitution?"
I maintain that Mr. Binney is again wrong, and that the Constitution
does expressly delegate the power, not to the President, but to
Congress. This is done so clearly, to my mind, that I cannot
understand the misunderstanding which has existed in the States upon
the subject. The first article of the Constitution treats "of the
legislature." The second article treats "of the executive?" The
third treats "of the judiciary." After that there are certain
"miscellaneous articles" so called. The eighth section of the first
article gives, as I have said before, a list of things which the
legislature or Congress shall do. The ninth section gives a list of
things which the legislature or Congress shall not do. The second
item in this list is the prohibition of any suspension of the
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, except under certain
circumstances. This prohibition is therefore expressly placed upon
Congress, and this prohibition contains the only authority under
which the privilege can be constitutionally suspended. Then comes
the article on the executive, which defines the powers that the
President shall exercise. In that article there is no word
referring to the suspension of the privilege of the writ. He that
runs may read.

I say, therefore, that Mr. Lincoln's government has committed a
breach of the Constitution in taking upon itself to suspend the
privilege; a breach against the letter of the Constitution. It has
assumed a power which the Constitution has not given it--which,
indeed, the Constitution, by placing it in the hands of another
body, has manifestly declined to put into the hands of the
Executive; and it has also committed a breach against the spirit of
the Constitution. The chief purport of the Constitution is to guard
the liberties of the people, and to confide to a deliberative body
the consideration of all circumstances by which those liberties may
be affected. The President shall command the army; but Congress
shall raise and support the army. Congress shall declare war.
Congress shall coin money. Congress, by one of its bodies, shall
sanction treaties. Congress shall establish such law courts as are
not established by the Constitution. Under no circumstances is the
President to decree what shall be done. But he is to do those
things which the Constitution has decreed or which Congress shall
decree. It is monstrous to suppose that power over the privilege of
the writ of habeas corpus would, among such a people, and under such
a Constitution, be given without limit to the chief officer, the
only condition being that there should be some rebellion. Such
rebellion might be in Utah Territory; or some trouble in the
uttermost bounds of Texas would suffice. Any invasion, such as an
inroad by the savages of Old Mexico upon New Mexico, would justify
an arbitrary President in robbing all the people of all the States
of their liberties! A squabble on the borders of Canada would put
such a power into the hands of the President for four years; or the
presence of an English frigate in the St. Juan channel might be held
to do so. I say that such a theory is monstrous.

And the effect of this breach of the Constitution at the present day
has been very disastrous. It has taught those who have not been
close observers of the American struggle to believe that, after all,
the Americans are indifferent as to their liberties. Such pranks
have been played before high heaven by men utterly unfitted for the
use of great power, as have scared all the nations. Mr. Lincoln,
the President by whom this unconstitutional act has been done,
apparently delegated his assumed authority to his minister, Mr.
Seward. Mr. Seward has reveled in the privilege of unrestrained
arrests, and has locked men up with reason and without. He has
instituted passports and surveillance; and placed himself at the
head of an omnipresent police system with all the gusto of a Fouche,
though luckily without a Fouche's craft or cunning. The time will
probably come when Mr. Seward must pay for this--not with his life
or liberty, but with his reputation and political name. But in the
mean time his lettres de cachet have run everywhere through the
States. The pranks which he played were absurd, and the arrests
which he made were grievous. After awhile, when it became manifest
that Mr. Seward had not found a way to success, when it was seen
that he had inaugurated no great mode of putting down rebellion, he
apparently lost his power in the cabinet. The arrests ceased, the
passports were discontinued, and the prison doors were gradually
opened. Mr. Seward was deposed, not from the cabinet, but from the
premiership of the cabinet. The suspension of the privilege of the
writ of habeas corpus was not countermanded, but the operation of
the suspension was allowed to become less and less onerous; and now,
in April, 1862, within a year of the commencement of the suspension,
it has, I think, nearly died out. The object in hand now is rather
that of getting rid of political prisoners than of taking others.

This assumption by the government of an unconstitutional power has,
as I have said, taught many lookers on to think that the Americans
are indifferent to their liberties. I myself do not believe that
such a conclusion would be just. During the present crisis the
strong feeling of the people--that feeling which for the moment has
been dominant--has been one in favor of the government as against
rebellion. There has been a passionate resolution to support the
nationality of the nation. Men have felt that they must make
individual sacrifices, and that such sacrifices must include a
temporary suspension of some of their constitutional rights. But I
think that this temporary suspension is already regarded with
jealous eyes; with an increasing jealousy which will have created a
reaction against such policy as that which Mr. Seward has attemped,
long before the close of Mr. Lincoln's Presidency. I know that it
is wrong in a writer to commit himself to prophecies, but I find it
impossible to write upon this subject without doing so. As I must
express a surmise on this subject, I venture to prophesy that the
Americans of the States will soon show that they are not indifferent
to the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. On
that matter of the illegality of the suspension by the President, I
feel in my own mind that there is no doubt.

The second article of the Constitution treats of the executive, and
is very short. It places the whole executive power in the hands of
the President, and explains with more detail the mode in which the
President shall be chosen than the manner after which the duties
shall be performed. The first section states that the executive
shall be vested in a President, who shall hold his office for four
years. With him shall be chosen a Vice-President. I may here
explain that the Vice-President, as such, has no power either
political or administrative. He is, ex-officio, the Speaker of the
Senate; and should the President die, or be by other cause rendered
unable to act as President, the Vice-President becomes President
either for the remainder of the presidential term or for the period
of the President's temporary absence. Twice, since the Constitution
was written, the President has died and the Vice-President has taken
his place. No President has vacated his position, even for a
period, through any cause other than death.

Then come the rules under which the President and Vice-President
shall be elected--with reference to which there has been an
amendment of the Constitution subsequent to the fourth Presidential
election. This was found to be necessary by the circumstances of
the contest between John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Aaron Burr.
It was then found that the complications in the method of election
created by the original clause were all but unendurable, and the
Constitution was amended.

I will not describe in detail the present mode of election, as the
doing so would be tedious and unnecessary. Two facts I wish,
however, to make specially noticeable and clear. The first is, that
the President of the United States is now chosen by universal
suffrage; and the second is, that the Constitution expressly
intended that the President should not be chosen by universal
suffrage, but by a body of men who should enjoy the confidence and
fairly represent the will of the people. The framers of the
Constitution intended so to write the words that the people
themselves should have no more immediate concern in the nomination
of the President than in that of the Senate. They intended to
provide that the election should be made in a manner which may be
described as thoroughly conservative. Those words, however, have
been inefficient for their purpose. They have not been violated.
But the spirit has been violated, while the words have been held
sacred; and the presidential elections are now conducted on the
widest principles of universal suffrage. They are essentially

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest