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can be litigated at all, and always ac. by demagogues, for some time—as vulceptable to those who have not from the tures sailing against the wind smell carfirst determined to have “ the whole.” rion at a great distance that there would Nothing, we are persuaded, could throw prove to be a vast amount of political half so much doubt, in the minds of capital inherent in that question, under other nations, upon both the justice of some form. The only thing wanted was our claims and our honesty, as this re a way to make it available for which fusal to arbitrate; and as to the probable the Democracy are not usually at a loss. result of that procedure, we make no Accordingly, as early as the session of question that ihe boundary awarded 1842, they had begun in Congress to agiwould have been that which all circum- tate for that purpose. In the Baltimore stances point out as the most reasonable Convention they made haste to seize and the only one—that which we have upon it as their property. They sumourselves four times offered the 49th marily declared that “our" claim—that is, parallel, deflected to the south at De the people's—that is, the Democracy’s-to Fuca's Straits, so as to pass through the the entire region of Oregon was unques, middle of those splendid waters, leaving tionable. They might almost as well the most ample harbors on both sides. have declared that it was not questioned.
But there is another and a higher rea What sudden wisdom had fallen on that son than anything of profit, or loss, or body, or on any portion of that bodycommon honor, personal to this coun- the elite of “ the masses"—that they gave try, why we could have wished that utterance to loud and positive assertions proposition had been accepted. “A mix on such a question? There were uned commission of jurists and civilians, doubtedly some men in the country who with an umpire”—from different coun had paid sufficient attention to th subject tries—to settle such difficulties as have to discern very clearly its various relaalways heretofore engaged nations in tions, historical and international, though war! What a precedent! What an exceedingly complicated and demanding epoch might thus have been created ! much abstruse research. But were there What an example would it have been to in all probability four such men in that all time of the wisdom which might gov- select mixture? We make no hesitation ern the world! For our own part, we in doubting whether there were two whom could have been willing to have yielded either taste or circumstances had led to up even the harbors of De Fuca's straits-- the laborious study necessary to a mastery we had almost said the whole of Oregon. of the question. But what if there were And this proposition came from a British ten—the number which would have statesman, and was rejected by an Amer- saved Sodom ? How large a part was ican!
that of the heterogeneous populace which “ Historia decus est,” (says Lord Ba at Baltimore, in May, 1844, resolved that con, in his treatise De aug. scien., “our right to the whole of Oregon is cerning the advancement of knowledge,”) clear and unquestionable? Can ten men " et quasi anima, ut cum eventis cause be responsible for the opinions of five copulantur :- It is the ornament, and as hundred ? Five hundred, at second hand, it were the soul of history, that with re for the opinions of the people? Or can sults causes are connected.” We will the majority vote themselves into know endeavor, on this hint, to inquire out the ledge--as the New York city authorities, reason of a movement for which no rea at the public expense, furnish themselves son has been given.
with refreshments? Or is the Democracy When the new Administration entered right by intuition ? Questions more sig. upon office, many of the old questions nificant than the answers to them would were at rest or had mainly lost their be satisfactory. However, with characavailability for party effect. They dared teristic unanimity, that politic body, not, just then, contemplate any material considering themselves the “ body politic” change in the Tariff, by a false avowal, voted the whole matter a plain case, and of which in many parts of the country that the country recognized no patriotism they had been raised to power. The which did not cover Texas and Oregon. Texas controversy was to all practical Of course, what the Democracy knew, intents settled. The only question of their President must abide by, as this was public interest sufficient to create a gene- a case where it would not do for the ral excitement and give a chance to creature to be less wise than the power strengthen party lines, was the Oregon that made it. Besides, his knowledge on dispute. It had been instinctively felt the subject was, in fact, just about equal to
theirs. Accordingly, in his Inaugural Ad. Mr. Buchanan came out; thoughtless, dress for which undoubtedly he studied ambitious men, in and out of Congress, the Oregon question all over in order to talked blusteringly, and endeavored to be certain—he declared our claim not draw party lines upon the question. But only indisputable, but to be maintained intelligent men on all sides took Ameriup to the last foot. Like the Yankee-al can ground, yet denounced war; business ready found peddling by the Chutes Falls was hindered, the public mind depresand the Walla-Walla-he went “ for the sed. While the Administration were 54tho and a leetle norther.” Like his father finding it impossible to fill their sails with in the faith and spiritual director, General this wind, came the proposal for arbitraJackson, he was disposed, if withstood by tion. It was rejected" reason not imperious Britain, to “arbitrate at the can- given.” True, a reason was offered, non's mouth.” This bold stand they had but of what worth, or reality, we have thought to take, not from any native Yet the truth is evident. From boldness in themselves, nor because they the Oregon Question, -unfortunately were so sure of the right, and believed Americanized—they had gained but litin an emergency Heaven would help tle power; from the war cry, nothing them. But they supposed, from long in. but rebuke. And now—to arbitrate! ductive reasoning, that what the party It would take, as they express it, the leaders asseverated, the party would de. great interests of the Republic out of the mand ; and they were weak (shall we control of the United States:" -"out of say base) enough, to be influenced on such their control,” is our reading of the fear. a question by such a supposition. They What particular eclat would attend their were even persuaded, that the hostility to permission for others to settle a great Great Britain is so deeply fixed in the national question? what loss of repugeneral mind of the country, that the tation not ensue, that they had not been most affronting position possible would able to settle it themselves? what of the meet with most favor from the mass of power that should belong to executive the people—ihus increasing the ranks of energy ?. to diplomatic skill? The counthe Administration from the lines of their try had looked to them to finish the disopponents. But when the President puțe ; the country must be obeyed! It came to enlarge a little-a very little- was clear, that is the great interests of his knowledge on the question, he began the Republic” must not go out of the to see that there were some difficulties, hands of the Administration. both intrinsic and extrinsic, to “give But these personal considerations, him pause.". It was seen that there though undoubtedly of wonderful weight, were a few considerations in favor of were, in our opinion, by no means the English rights in that region, and that controlling reason for this rejection. they had quite forgotten the action of There was, in our belief, a new' and their predecessors in the case. More to secret policy--as suddenly conceived as their guidance, it was found that very it was firmly adopted—which had been little value was set on the territory, that for some time influencing the movements the mass of the people did not want war, of Government, and which now at once that England did not want war-in short, decided this matter. And it is to this that the national honor was not half sen- point, chiefly, that we ask the attention sitive enough, and would not tolerate the of the country. We have not space to idea of a war, consequently not a war dwell upon it, and shall content ourselves spirit, on any extreme grounds. What at present with a simple indication of its then? The grounds were, of course, to nature. be moderated. If then a war-cry could We never supposed that the Adminisbe skillfully manufactured, little danger, tration or the party wanted war, so much much popularity, might come of it. Ac as they wanted the war-spirit. They cordingly, the compromise was offered wished to gamble with the terrible of yielding nearly half of the region of chances of this excited state of things, which the whole had, without reserva to increase their power. But when, as tion, been so loudly claimed. This the we have shown, the “ signs of the times” British Minister most unwisely rejected. so signally failed them, soon after the It ought to have been accepted, for it was opening of Congress, they were forced to clearly as much as England had any right seek another resource. We have said to expect, and its rejection gave the party that the President and his Cabinet dared in power just the opportunity they were not contemplate any immediate change waiting for. The strong statement of in the tariff of 1842. Yet, notwithstand
ing his swindling professions during the ing views, but with more breadth and canvass, Mr. Polk always designed tha freedom. On this side, hasty-minded the Tariff of ’42 should be altered. Some military orators are permitted to make time in the course of his four years' usur- war-speeches in the dark; a bill of repation he hoped to do thus much evil. duced duties is constructed, but carefully Suddenly began to come the startling kept away from the public; and the train of news from England. The de party papers are left to talk blindly, now struction of crops, the prophecy of fam- of the necessity of standing for all Oreine, the resignation of the Ministry, the gon, now of the blessings of free trade. failure of the new one, the return of the England, however, fearing that such an old, the announcement of the fall of the Administration, or such a party thrusting corn-laws, of the reduction of duties, and them on, might force the question into of a general change to take place in all the inextricable difficulties, and dreading a commercial policy of the nation, followed war, in the present state of her social each other faster than successive packets elements, more than she could value and steamers could bring them. It had any commercial concessions whateveralready been significantly hinted, that besides doubting, it is probable, whether England's commercial relations were so she could really obtain from the United important, her estimation of the excel- States any important or permanent conlence of her manufactures and of the cessions of the kind-most wisely probeauty of reduced duties in foreign ports posed to submit the Oregon dispute to so high, that, if her honor were not arbitration. That proposal was, of course, touched, it would not “ be difficult to rejected. For it would not do to “take arrange the Oregon question.” These our great interests out of the control of hints were not lost on this side of the the Republic !" In other words, it would waters. And when this new and surpri. not do to throw away the only question sing combination of circumstances referred that could be made subservient to their to took place, a “monstrous clever ” de- political designs. Arbitration agreed to, sign struck the Administration. That it public' excitement would sink at once, might partially have dawned upon them and they might hope in vain to persuade before is possible, as it could not have the
people to throw down the Tariff
. been difficult for Mr. Walker to fall Thus, then, this state of things--dispretty early on so ingenious and evil an turbed, uncertain-is to be indefinitely expedient.' It was resolved to make the kept up, that the government may take Oregon dispute and rumors of war, which advantage of the anxiety and patriotism in themselves were now shorn of polit. of the country, of the public sense of ical effect, the immediate means of break- honor and dishonor, of the dread of the ing down the Tariff. For this purpose evils of war, the love of the blessings of the war panic was to be sedulously fos- peace, to aid them in forcing upon the peotered, the disposition of Government kept ple's reluctant acceptance a ruinous reducdark, and general uncertainty as to all fu- tion of duties--an evil only less than war. ture results maintained, while a bill The nation is called upon to watch their should be prepared which--bad enough action. They may succeed for a timeto create, in quiet times, universal alarm for a time only. "They shall be hurled -should, in this state of suspense, be from power as suddenly, and as much to accepted for the sake of--PEACE. their surprise, as corrupted Fortune first
That England has had any understand raised them to it. The desert in the case ing with this government on the scheme, will be infinitely greater. The merits for or has acted with reference to it, need which they were elevated to the govern. not be asserted. She was obliged to ment of a great Republic-one of the change her financial policy for home rea four chief powers of the world—were, in sons, and her military preparations are, any point of view, undoubtedly small. beyond question, necessary for many fu- But if they continue this covert, uncerțure contingencies. But everything has tain and utterly selfish policy, from happened as well as if designed for the which, as yet, they seem never to have end required. Great Britain maintains departed except to ihrow dust in the pub. a calm, prepared aspect; her statesmen lic eye, they will not be long in making talk with dignity, in Parliament, of Eng- it evident that they are not the Adminislish rights and English honor, but also of tration for a people whose true dignity, the extraordinary and reciprocal benefits interest and honor, they are not only of trade between the two countries; her unwilling to subserve but unable to apprepublic journals present the same oppos- ciate.
RECENT FRENCH NOVELISTS.
THANKS to cheap publication, and been forced upon us that our Gallic stealing-made-easy, by the refusal of neighbors have suffered foul wrong at Congress to pass an international copy. the hands of our publishers. These right law, our country has been flooded gentlemen seem to have picked up some of late with cheap translations of the of their translators out of the streets, recent French Novelists; the most con- thrust Nugent's Dictionary violently into spicuous among whom are Vicomte d'Ar- their hands, with a copy of the novel " to lincourt, Victor Hugo, Balzac, Dumas, be done into English,” with full license Paul de Kock, George Sand (alias Ma- to cut, hack and hew the wretched audame Dudevant) and Eugene Sue. There thor according to their pleasure-haste are numerous others who figure as feuille- being the chief requisition, that some other tonists in the French newspapers; a fa- "enterprising publisher” might not forevorable specimen of whose powers is to stall the publication and reap the profits, be found in the “Sketches of conspicuous The translations of Messrs. Herbert, Living Characters of France,” recently Deming, and some few others whose translated by our accomplished country- names have not reached us, constitute man, Mr. Walsh. But the only object honorable exceptions to these strictures, of the present paper is hurriedly to trace being in general well and faithfully exe. the characteristic features of the leading cuted; but the excellence of their work novelists whose names have been given serves only to render more evidently above. Many of the works of these au- wretched the abortive attempts of the thors have been made familiar to Ameri- literary pretenders who swarm about the can readers through the medium of trans- purlieus of the paradise of publishers and lations varying in fidelity and excellence penny-a-liners--modern Gotham. of execution from good to execrable;
The writers of whom we propose to though even in the most faithful of these treat, and whose names we have given much of the author's peculiar merit is above, represent four distinct classes or necessarily lost, for the attempt to “paint schools of French fiction, each numbering the odor of a violet” would not be more in its ranks hosts of disciples and admirers, futile than the hope of conveying the who in turn depreciate and condemn the idiomatic beauties of one language by the productions and artistic principles of each words of another, totally different in char- other. The Vicomte d'Arlincourt slands acter and construction. The French Jan. confessedly at the head of the historic guage especially, from its peculiar idiom school. His “Cinq Mars ” is the most and nice shades of verbal meaning, is, striking and powerful fiction of its class, above all others, the most difficult to be worthy of Sir Walter Scott, wbom he has faithfully rendered in another tongue, evidently made his model. It is founded without sacrificing the sense. Thus, upon the fortunes of the celebrated faunconsciously, we commit a great injus vorite and conspirator, whose name and tice in judging of their master-pieces history are familiar to all conversant with through the medium of translations, the incidents of that stirring epoch when which, even when they convey the mean- the fading light of chivalry still faintly ing, present it denuded of that drapery of gleamed above the horizon, and shed its well-selected words, which constitutes last noticeable rays over the person of the the indefinable but potent spell of style, hero of this novel : whose life was indeed in which the main excellence of these chivalry put into action, and whose darwriters in the original will be found to ing schemes and tragic fate invest bim consist.
with an interest which even romance If this be the case with the best transla must fail to heighten. A character such tions, how much more forcibly must these as his, in the hands of a man of true remarks apply to the bad ones, which genius like D'Arlincourt, could not fail are in the proportion of about ninety-nine to enlist the sympathies of every reader, in every hundred. After having insti- and has earned for him the proud title of tuted a careful comparison between sev. the French Walter Scott;” a compli. eral of the French novelists in the original ment as high as it is merited, for in his and in translation, the conviction has works alone, of all we have referred to,
there is nothing to be found which can heroines, to the walks of lower life; and revolt the most fastidious delicacy. All like most daring innovators, he rushed is chaste and correct. Decency and from one extreme into another. His morality are never sacrificed to dramatic characters are literally picked up out of effect; a compliment we cannot conscien- the streets-Esmeralda, the loftiest and tiously extend to any of his cotempora- purest of all his creations, being nothing ries, with whom“ producing a sensation" better than a wandering Gipsy vagrant, is the one thing sought and desired, heed- dwelling among the thieves and vagaless of any scruples of propriety or deco- bonds of Paris. His stronghold is in the rum, so that result can be attained. morbid anatomy of the passions; and Neither our space nor our object will from the depths of social and moral depermit us to enter here into a detailed gradation he summons up scenes of the account of all the writings of the French most touching pathos and overwhelming novelists. It is not our intention to give horror. a catalogue. One may easily be ob “ In his “ Notre Dame de Paris,” (in tained of Berteau in Broadway. Desiring our opinion his greatest work,) the conmerely to indicate the peculiar character- ception of the character of Claude Frollo, istics of each author, by reference to the priest, is one of the most masterly to his best productions, we will dismiss the be met with in the range of modern ficVicomte with the recommendation to the tion. The hidden workings of an imfairer portion of our readers to procure passioned heart, stung and tortured by and read his novels, in which they will ill-directed passions, long suppressed but find abundance of romantic incident, a
never thoroughly subdued, and bursting fund of historic information, and much forth at last only the more fiercely beof the honey of sentiment, untainted by cause of that long restraint, are laid bare the poison of a refined sensuality, which with a terrible fidelity and force, which conceals base sentiments under floweryfixes and fascinates our unwilling interwords. He is an honor and an ornament est. The gradual steps by which the to the French literature of the present stern and solitary priest is forced down day; and for nothing does he merit more into the abysses of crime and wretchedpraise than for his stern refusal to pur- ness, his des ate struggles to arrest his chase a more extended popularity by own descent, and his final fall, are all pandering to the morbid and vicious taste portrayed with a gloomy depth of colorfor the coarse and sensual, which unfor- ing worthy of the pencil of a Salvator tunately prevails so extensively among his Rosa; and they inculcate the warning countrymen, and which has found its fit lesson, that in the conflict between prinexponents in some of the writers of whom ciple and passion, the latter will too often we shall presently speak.
triumph where the pride of intellect is Victor Hugo, the next on our list, is the only safeguard summoned to resist its the chief of the romantic, as opposed to strong appeals. The various scenes in the classic, school; a man of acknow. which the priest is introduced with Esledged genius, but of very equivocal meralda, where his insane passion in. taste--who has written some of the best spires him with almost superhuman eloand some of the worst books of any au- quence, and the convulsive throes of his thor of the day-scorning all mediums, maddened heart wring from him bursts and transcending all bounds, on one side of wo and agony as deep as they are or the other. Bold, creative, audacious strong, haunt the memory of the reader spurning all dictation-reckless of criti- long after he has perused them like the cism--careless of common prejudices, yet recollection of some sudden and painful voluntarily submitting to the most galling dream. The first appearance of Esmefetters self-imposed--he is the slave of ralda, in the courtyard and beneath the his own peculiar theory and ideas of art; monastery, surrounded by an admiring which are so wild, odd and outré, as crowd, and glittering with youth, and only to be redeemed from ridicule by the joy, and hope, presents a striking conpower and energy displayed in their de- trast to the final aspect of the same Esvelopment. To Victor Hugo must be meralda, when totiering into the doom. accorded the honor of being the true chamber, pallid, worn, haggard—reduced parent of the “ literature of desperation,” toa skeleton-aweak victim, prematurely so much in vogue at the present time. blasted by the infernal machinations of He was the first who dared to descend her foe and lover, the wretched priest. from courts and palaces, for heroes and The scene, too, in the condemned cell,