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An Oration, delivered before the Municipal confidence in democratic principles, by
Authorities of the City of Boston, July 4, faith in the people, and by the spirit of 1859. By GEORGE SUMNER, etc., etc. mutual forbearance and charity," the oraBoston. 1859. pp. 125.
tor turns to that Europe to which our fa
thers looked for succor, now “echoing to The opposition in the Common Coun- the clang of arms, and hostile legions arcil to the order (usual on such occasions rayed for combat.” in Boston) to print the oration of Mr. A tribute to Italy, for the gifts, poured Sumner, and the series of assaults it has out from her treasures of art, science, medencountered from the administration press, ical skill, and political knowledge, of literhave given it a considerable, though sec- ature and philosophy, to all the uses and ondary, importance. Intrinsically a per- adornments of human life, introduces a formance of great merit, those on whom reference to the Italian Republics of the the weight of his arguments and learning Middle Ages, which are shown to have fell disclosed their sense of its power by been based on these great principles :the anger of their debate and their efforts That all authority over the people emato repel it.
nates from the people,- should return to Its value, as containing a fresh and in them at stated intervals, - and that its structive contribution to the knowledge of holders should be accountable to the peoour Revolutionary history, derived from ple for its use. “To those Republics," original sources of inquiry, explored by it is added, “we also owe the practical Mr. Sumner in person, would alone have demonstration of the great truth, that no rescued from neglect any ordinary Fourth- state can long prosper or exist where inof-July oration.
telligent labor is not held in honor, and The services and aids of Spain, mate- that labor cannot be honorable where it is rial and moral, pecuniary and diplomatic, to the American Revolutionary cause, Mr. Sumner's defence of democratic rethe introduction, through the fortunes of publican ideas,- of the fitness of the EuCaptain John Lee of Marblehead, of the ropean peoples for self-government, -his American question into the policy and pol. repulse of those unbelieving theorists who ities of Spain,- the effect of the arrival of would consign the French and the Italians our National Declaration of the 4th of July, to the eternal doom of oppression, - are 1776, on the fate of that gallant New Eng- manly, powerful, and unanswerable. His land cruiser, then detained as a pirate, for hearty love of genuine democratic prinhis heroic exploits under our infant and ciples, as taught by the old republican unknown flag,- the incidents of vast and school of statesmen and philosophers, and varied labor and accomplishment in our his zealous pride of country, which al. behalf, connected with the name and ad- ways made him one of the most intensely ministration of the eminent Spanish min- American, in thought, word, and deed, ister and statesman, Florida Blanca,- the of all the Americans who have ever soweaving and spreading out of that network journed in the Old World, shine forth of influences and circumstances, in the from every page of the Oration. And in toils of which France and Spain entangled the honest ardor of his defence of the natGreat Britain, until she found herself con- ural and political rights of man, as they fronted by much of the physical and all were taught by Turgot, by Montesquieu, the moral power of the Continent, and by Jefferson, not content with declamafrom which all extrication was made hope- tion or rhetoric, he plouglis deep into the less, until the American Colonies should reasoning by which they were demonbe free, - the origin of “the armed neu strated or defended, and ranges wide over trality," and the shock it gave to the naval the fields of learning by which they were power of England, in the very crisis of the illustrated. Careful for nothing but for hopes of American liberty,- are presented the truth itself, he refutes the errors of a in a narrative, clear, condensed, and orig. French writer who had charged practical inal.
ingratitude on the part of America toFrom the aspect of peace and freedom wards de Beaumarchais, the agent of the in which our country so happily reposes, first benefactions of France to these Cologoing on prospering and increasing, "by nies, and arraigns and exposes the histor.
ical mistakes of Lord Brougham and of President Fillmore, unfavorable to Re. publican France and to Continental liber ty.
The crimes of Austria are shown to have been made possible by the moral support Austria has received from the government of England. The fruits of the reverses suffered by Hungary, and by other nationalities struggling for independence and popular liberty, are exhibited in the sacrifices since endured by England in the war in the Crimea, and in the embarrassments of the present hour.
Among our own duties and responsibilities to the great and world-wide cause of liberty, - discussed thus far in its relations to Europe,- Mr. Sumner proceeds to present the grand duty we owe, not less to ourselves than to Europe, of giving to the struggling nations an example of government true to the memories of our National Anniversary, and to the fundamental ideas of civil freedom “implied in an independent, but rigidly responsible judiciary, and a complete separation of the legislative and judicial functions."
From Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Marshall, and Story,- to say nothing of English and French jurists, – Mr. Sumner brings authority to define and illustrate the true place of the judicial office in the political system of a free government. And here, fidelity to those principles of liberty he had explained and defended, fidelity to the “good old cause" itself, at home and in the grand forum of the nations, demanded and received the frank avowal, that "a recent scene in the Supreme Court of the United States has shown that Jefferson was no false prophet, and has furnished at the same time a serious warning to all who prefer a government based upon law to either despotism or anarchy."
The clear and sharp, merciless and logical veracity with which he discriminates between the solemn judgment of a tribu nal and a stump speech from the bench, the startling narration of decisions and statutes, practice and precedent, condens. ed into a few of the closing pages of the Oration, with which the discussion read by Chief Justice Taney in the famous case of Dred Scott is confronted and exposed, are among the greater merits of this elaborate and able discourse. It must have
required of one not in the arena of political strife, who for a large part of his manhood has occupied himself abroad in the studies of an intelligent scholar and a patriotic American, somewhat of self-denial, to throw away the certainty of almost universal cheers for his performance, by incurring the displeasure of some of his audience and many of his countrymen.
It was not, however, in the interest of any opinion of African slavery that the case of Scott was here referred to. It was in the interest of republican liberty everywhere, endangered by all departures in the model republic of the world from fundamental principles of good government, and all the more perilled in proportion to the station, quality, and character of the active offender.
And Mr. Sumner was right. The truth of history, the law of this land, and of all lands where there is any law which marks a boundary between legal right and despotic usurpation, unite to denounce, and will forever condemn, the judicial magistrate whose great name is tarnished and whose "great office” is degraded by this political pronunciamento, uttered from the loftiest judicial place in America.
S tripped of verbiage and technicalities, the case is within the humblest comprehension. The chief justice and a majority of his associates held that Dred Scott, who sued his master for his freedom in the Federal court, had been already legally declared to be the slave of that same master by the highest court of the State of Missouri, in which State Scott resided at the time. They held that this decision of the Missouri court was binding on all other tribunals; and that the Federal court had no authority to reverse it, even if wrong.
The merits of the cause then before the court were thus conclusively disposed of, whether the decision be regarded as bearing on the main issue between the parties, or on the plea in abatement filed by the defendant, avowing that Scott was not a citizen of Missouri,- an averment, if true, fatal to his standing in the Federal court.since its jurisdiction of the cause depended on the citizenship of the litigants. In a word, if he was a slave, he was no citizen. If he was the slave of Sanford, his doom was fixed, his dream of rights dissolved. If the decision of the Missouri court was
finally binding, the functions of the Feder- is the illustration of that subject which al tribunal were at an end.
has been called “the greatest of our social What, then, was the pertinency of going evils," and which, in its present aspect, is on to argue the effect of the Ordinance of certainly one of the saddest that the states1787 over Scott while a resident in Illi man or the moralist is called upon to connois, or of the Missouri Compromise on template, and yet one the duration of which him during his residence in Wisconsin, or seems to be inevitably coexistent with ev. the effect of his color, race, or ancestral ery form of civilized society yet known to disabilities upon a cause controlled finally the world. The author has sought his end and beyond appeal by the authority of a by means of a fictitious autobiography. decision already made and recorded? This was of course. No unusual faculty
Mr. Buchanan made hot haste to use in the selection of methods was necesthis pronunciamento of his chief justice, is- sary to the choice; for only in the autosued only a few hours after his inaugura- biographical form could the inner life of a tion as President, and withheld until after courtesan be so revealed as to present a the election of 1856 had taken place. He truthful and living picture of her soul's proclaimed – on its authority as a judicial experience. A fine novel of this kind exposition of a point of constitutional law - would be a great book, and one productive the existence of slavery in the Territory of of much good ; not, indeed, directly to the Kansas. And he endeavored to make it wretched class that would furnish studies efficient and powerful by practical appli- for it, but to society at large, and so indirectcation in the administration of the govern- ly to the class in question, by providing a ment of the Territory, and by interpolating subject of this kind which could be studied these bastard dogmas, dropped from the and talked about. Dumas fils' “ Dame aux Federal bench, into the creed of the polit- Camelias” is a great melodramatic story ; ical party of which he was the official but it is so exceptional in its incidents and chief.
episodical in its character, that its heroine These dicta of Mr. Chief Justice Taney is quite worthless as a specimen for exammade Dred Scott neither more nor less a ination and analysis; and it is, beside, so slave, neither more nor less a citizen, than very French as to be almost valueless in he had been without their utterance. But this regard, for that reason alone. What they aided the purpose of subjugating it would be well to have written is the Kansas, of opening all American terri- story of an abandoned woman, told simply tory to slavery, of Africanizing the con- and without any reserve, except that of tinent, by reopening the slave-trade, of decency, and purely from a woman's point breaking down barriers which State legis- of view. But, except by a woman, and at lation has interposed against the introduc- the cost of the experience to be recounted, tion of slaves, and of putting the propa this is manifestly possible only to genius. gandists of slavery in full possession of The author of “Out of the Depths" has every power.
not attained the desideratum ; but has yet We gladly record our sense of the skill, approached so near it, that we fear the learning, and intrepidity with which Mr. right man, or, possibly, woman, may be Sumner fulfilled his task of presenting, de- deterred from the attempt to do better. If fining, and defending, within the brief lim- so, there is a good subject - good for the its of a single oration, the cause of Liberty, making of a grand psychological, physio- Liberty - American, European, univer- logical, and dramatic study - lost. sal.
The subject of this professed autobiography, Mary Smith, is the daughter of a
gardener on a large English estate. Her Out of the Depths. The Story of a Wom family is much noticed and favored by the
an's Life. London: Macmillan & Co. ladies of the mansion, and she, who is 8vo. pp. 381.
handsome and intellectual, soon acquires
tastes and an education above her posiThe author of this book is like an awk- tion; and as she is vain and selfish and ward angler, who fails to take a trout him- of a voluptuous temperament, the conseself, and spoils the water for the more skil- quence seems inevitable. Her first fault, ful man who may follow him. Its object however, is committed with her betrothed
husband, a young gentleman destined for the Church, by whose sudden death, at a time when his life was more than ever essential to her happiness, she is left an outcast, a creature to be spurned from the door of those upon whose tender care Nature and themselves had given her unextinguishable claims. She finds shelter and kind treatment with two girls who belong, though not ostensibly, to the class into which she is about to fall, and soon she appears as the mistress of a foolish young nobleman, for whom she has not the least affection. At last he wearies ot' and parts with her, and she finds a second companion and protector in an eminent barrister, who takes pleasure in cultivating her literary tastes. Her unfaithfulness to him results in a separation, and she passes into the hands of a third keeper, who abandons her on occasion of his approaching marriage. Infuriated at his desertion, she intrudes upon him at a social party at his private chambers, and behaves so outrageously that she is handed over to the police, and her name appears in public as that of an infamous and disorderly woman. From this point she rapidly descends to the lowest rank of her unfortunate class. On her way, a strong hand is put out to save her. It is that of a gigantic young clergyman, who allows her to think that she has de coyed him to her room, but who really goes there to endeavor to turn her from her course of life. She scorns his exhortations, and attempts to brow beat him; but she finds him ready for a row upon the spot. He offers to fight her crowd of bullies singlehanded, and when she locks the door upon him, twists the lock off, hasp and all, with a turn of his wrist. Al though they part,- he none the worse, she none the better, for the interview,-it is not without fruits ; for he leaves her his address, and when, after being reduced to the lowest depths of degradation and brought to the last endurable pinch of suffering, she determines, at the death-bed of a repentant companion, to reform at any cost, and does set her face upward, and is beaten back and trodden under foot by the righteously uncharitable of her own sex, she thinks of her big clergyman, seeks him out, and by his instrumentality is taken into the country, and made the mistress of a school in his parish. Here the friends of her youth find her, forgive her, and
cherish her; and she receives a proposal of marriage from an estimable and wealthy farmer, who persists in his suit, even after she has told him of her former life, and after the small-pox, caught on a ministration of mercy, has harrowed all the beauty from her face. But rapid consumption supervenes, and relieves the author from the embarrassing position into which he had brought himself.
This is all the story that Mary Smith has to tell; and it will be seen, that, so far as the incidents are concerned, it is commonplace enough. It is not distinguished by one novel incident, or one fresh character, except, perhaps, the muscular divine. Even in the grouping and narration of its old incidents it exhibits no dramatic power, and little skill of characterization in the portraiture of its personages. And not only does a matter-of-fact air pervade the narrative, but the tale is told with such reticence of fact as well as of feeling, that it reveals but little of the real life of a London courtesan, and leaves the reader almost as ignorant as he was when he took up the book of what it is that makes the horror of such existence; all of which might have been imparted without any violation of the decorum proper to such a book, and which, therefore, should not have been withheld. The book, too, is much too goody-goody. There is too much preaching throughout it, and in certain parts a suddenness in the kneeling down to pray that is quite startling. This stupid sort of goodness helps much to defeat the purpose of the work. Even the strong minister, although his is not the old-fashioned way, seems to have more beef on his bones than brains in his head, or he would not answer to a desperate exclamation of Mary Smith,—“Don't say that. God only knows what is best for us all ; even you, and all like you, may begin to live for the good of society, without being its bane." This is very true, -as true as Justice Shallow's original observation, that “we must all die.” But the idea of attempting to impress a degraded woman of the town by telling her that she, and all like her, might be brought to live for the good of society!
But in spite of these faults, the book has one great merit, which is not too common; it seems to be the truthful story of a real life. This impression is partly the result of a peculiarity of style which is Plowden, was unfaithful to him, it was not for love of fine clothes or fine society. It is not long since our whole country was shocked by the dire results of a similar abandonment to vanity and wantonness, about which the usual amount of commonplace and cant was uttered. It is time that the very truth was told about this matter, in sad earnestness and singleness of purpose. We hoped to find the whole truth in “Out of the Depths" ; but, finding only a part of it, we can greet it only with a partial welcome.
Reply to the “Statement of the Trustees” of
the Dudley Observatory. By BENJAMIN APTHORP GOULD, JR. Albany : Printed by Charles Van Benthuysen. 1859. 8vo. pp. 366.
very difficult to express otherwise than by saying that the use of language seems to indicate that the writer is of the condi. tion of life in which Mary Smith professes to have been born, and has acquired a knowledge of language and literature in the manner in which she relates that she acquired hers. There is no vulgarity, but a certain air of constrained propriety, and an absence of any elegance, or grace, or indications of a slow and unconsciously acquired acquaintance with the phrase ology of cultivated society. If this be really assumed, the author has exhibited a delicate refinement in the art of writing not surpassed in any work of imagination known to us. Another ground for the seeming actuality of the story, to those who have any knowledge of the class to which its heroine belongs, is the cause to which she attributes her fall. This was not seduction; for she confesses, what hardly one in a thousand of her sisters in shame will fail to confess, if they speak the truth, that she was not seduced ; ---and neither was it poverty ; for her father was well-todo, and she the petted attendant, almost the friend, of a young lady of wealth and station ; — but it was her vanity and her unrestrained passion. She is represented, in the first place, as regarding a good match, a rich husband, as the great object of life ; and to such a woman chastity is not a sentiment, but a dictate of prudence; just as to a man whose great purpose is the getting of money, honesty is but the best policy. After she has met the man who brings her fate with him, (it might as well have been any other of his class,) she writes,—“The one great pleasing and wretched hope of my mind was that I should see him again; for it is so pleasant to believe that any man in a higher station should take an interest in me." And again she speaks of “exultation at the prospect which opened before me of being raised out of the station in life from which I sprang by birth"; and again, of her “desire of being a lady.” This vanity it is, this desire to dress and live like the women above them, and have intercourse with the men above them, which leads the greater number of our fallen women to their ruin, or, rather, sends them to it with their eyes open; and for the rest, when Mary Smith, living in her own fine house, the petted mistress of the wealthy Mr.
The question between Dr. Gould and the Trustees of the Albany Observatory was not one of merely private or passing interest. It concerned not only all men of science, but all men of honor. It concerned all who like pluck, and who, in a quarrel, instinctively take sides with one against many. It was of interest to men of science, because the question was between show and reality, between newspaper notoriety and the quiet advancement of real and enduring knowledge. It concerned men of honor, because it was of some consequence to know whether public senti. ment in America would justify, nay, tol. erate even, the printing of confidential let. ters, and not only the printing, but the garbling of them to suit the ends of personal spite. It concerned lovers of fairplay, because it was to be settled whether it is right to accuse a man of peculation whom you wish to convict of disagreeable manners.
D r. Gould's pamphlet is a thorough vindication of himself. It is so not only as to graver charges, but incidentally, by its perfect quietness of tone, it answers the accusation of bad temper. The hitting is none the less severe that it is done with scientific precision, and the astronomer shows his ability to make his antagonists “see stars” in a less comfortable way than' through a telescope. There is a grim humor, too, as well as dignity, in the cool way in which Dr. Gould recapitulates all the charges made against him,-especially