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Title: Charles Sumner; his complete works; Volume 2 (of 20)
       With an introduction by Hon. George Frisbie Hoar

Author: Charles Sumner

Editor: George Frisbie Hoar

Release Date: April 24, 2014 [EBook #45473]

Language: English

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Copyright, 1900,



Statesman Edition.

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Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.


White Slavery in the Barbary States. A Lecture before the Boston Mercantile Library Association, February 17, 18471
Rival Systems of Prison Discipline. Speech before the Boston Prison Discipline Society, at Tremont Temple, June 18, 1847104
The Late Joseph Lewis Stackpole, Esq. Article in the Boston Daily Advertiser, July 23, 1847151
Fame and Glory. Oration before the Literary Societies of Amherst College, at their Anniversary, August 11, 1847153
Necessity of Political Action against the Slave Power and the Extension of Slavery. Speech in the Whig State Convention of Massachusetts, at Springfield, September 29, 1847207
The Late Henry Wheaton. Article in the Boston Daily Advertiser, March 16, 1848215
Union among Men of All Parties against the Slave Power and the Extension of Slavery. Speech before a Mass Convention at Worcester, June 28, 1848226
The Law of Human Progress. Oration before the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Union College, Schenectady, July 25, 1848241
The Party of Freedom. Speech on taking the Chair as Presiding Officer of a Public Meeting to ratify the Nominations of the Buffalo Convention, at Faneuil Hall, August 22, 1848291
Parties, and Importance of a Free-Soil Organization. Letter addressed to a Committee of the Free-Soil Party in Boston, October 20, 1848299
Appeal for the Free-Soil Party. Address of the State Committee to the People of Massachusetts, November 9, 1843316
A Last Rally for Freedom. Letter to the Chairman of the Free-Soil Meeting at Faneuil Hall, November 9, 1848320
War System of the Commonwealth of Nations. Address before the American Peace Society, at its Anniversary Meeting in the Park Street Church, Boston, May 28, 1849323


A Lecture before the Boston Mercantile Library Association, February 17, 1847.

Mutato nomine, de te

Fabula narratur.—Hor. Sat. I. i. 69, 70.

And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shall escape the judgment of God?—Rom. ii. 3.

There are individuals in the United States who hold more of their fellow-creatures in slavery than either of the Barbary Powers.—Humphreys, Valedictory Discourse before the Cincinnati of Connecticut, p. 34.

This was another attempt to expose Slavery before a promiscuous audience at a time when the subject was too delicate to be treated directly. Mr. Sumner commenced in the course at Boston, and afterwards gave the substance of his Lecture before many of the Lyceums of Massachusetts. Professedly historical in character, and carefully avoiding any discussion of slavery in our country, it escaped "censure," although jealous defenders of compromise were disturbed. Others were pleased to find their sentiments against slavery represented in the lecture-room.

It was easy to see, that, under the guise of condemning the slavery of whites, he condemned the slavery of blacks. While showing how the first came to prevail, he naturally exposed the origin of all slavery; nor does he for a moment lose sight of slavery among us, which is constantly present under an alias. The outrage is exhibited not only in its original wrong and oppression, but in the constant efforts against it by all civilized nations, sometimes by ransom, sometimes by war, ending at last in bloody overthrow. Conspiracies and escapes are described. At that time there was intense interest in fugitive slaves, which was gratified by the stories here introduced, showing how human sympathies attend all seeking freedom. Elsewhere, as well as here, the North Star had been a guide. It was common to doubt the hardships of slavery in our country; but there were persons who doubted the hardships of slavery in the Barbary States. Nothing more common among compromisers than to say that our slaves did not desire freedom, and that they were better off than free negroes; but there were persons, professing to know the condition of the Barbary States, who insisted that there were white slaves who left with regret, and that they were better off than free Christians there. Thus at each point is this historical lecture an argument against Slavery, and an answer to its defenders.



History is sometimes called a gallery, where are exhibited scenes, events, and characters of the Past. It may also be called the world's great charnel-house, where are gathered coffins, dead men's bones, and all the uncleanness of years that have fled. Thus is it both an example and a warning to mankind. Walking among its pictures, radiant with the inspiration of virtue and of freedom, we thrill with new impulse to beneficent exertion. Groping amidst unsightly shapes without an epitaph, we may at least derive fresh aversion to all their living representatives.

In this mighty gallery, amidst angelic light, are the benefactors of mankind,—poets who have sung the praise of virtue, historians who have recorded its achievements, and the good of all time, who, by word or deed, have striven for the welfare of others. Here are those scenes where the godlike in man is made manifest in trial and danger. Here also are those grand pictures exhibiting the establishment of free institutions: the signing of Magna Charta, with its priceless privileges, by a reluctant monarch; and the signing of the Declaration of Independence, announcing the inalienable rights of man, by the fathers of our Republic.

On the other hand, in ignominious confusion, far [4]down in this dark, dreary charnel-house, is tumbled all that now remains of the tyrants, the persecutors, the selfish men, under whom mankind have groaned. Here also, in festering, loathsome decay, are monstrous institutions or customs, which the earth, weary of their infamy and wrong, has refused to sustain,—the Helotism of Sparta, the Serfdom of Christian Europe, the Ordeal by Battle, and Algerine Slavery.

From this charnel-house let me draw forth one of these. It may not be without profit to dwell on the origin, history, and character of a custom, which, after being for a long time a by-word and a hissing among the nations, is at last driven from the world. The easy, instinctive, positive reprobation which it will receive from all must necessarily direct our judgment of other institutions, yet tolerated in defiance of justice and humanity. I propose to consider the subject of White Slavery in Algiers, or, perhaps it may be more appropriately called, White Slavery in the Barbary States. As Algiers was its chief seat, it seems to have acquired a current name from that place. Nevertheless I shall proceed to speak of White Slavery, or the Slavery of Christians, throughout the Barbary States.

This subject may fail in interest, but not in novelty. I am not aware of any previous attempt to combine its scattered materials.


The territory now known as the Barbary States is memorable in history. Classical inscriptions, broken arches, and ancient tombs—the memorials of various ages—still bear interesting witness to the revolutions [5]it has undergone.[1] Early Greek legend made it the home of terror and of happiness. Here was the retreat of the Gorgon, with snaky tresses, turning all she looked upon into stone; and here also the Garden of the Hesperides, with apples of gold. It was the scene of adventure and mythology. Here Hercules wrestled with Antæus, and Atlas sustained, with weary shoulders, the overarching sky. At an early day Phœnician fugitives transported the spirit of commerce to its coasts; and Carthage, which these wanderers planted, became mistress of the seas, explorer of distant regions, rival and victim of Rome. Here for a while the energy and subtlety of Jugurtha baffled the Roman power, till at last the whole region, from Egypt to the Pillars of Hercules, underwent the process of "annexation" to the cormorant republic of ancient times. A thriving population and fertile soil rendered it an immense granary. It was filled with ancient cities, one of which was the refuge and the grave of Cato, fleeing from the usurpations of Cæsar. At a later day Christianity was here preached by saintly bishops. The torrent of the Vandals, first wasting Italy, passed this way; and the arms of Belisarius here obtained their most signal triumphs. The Saracens, with the Koran and the sword, declared ministers of conversion, next broke from Arabia, as messengers of a new religion, and, pouring along these shores, diffused the faith and doctrines of Mohammed. Their empire was not confined even by these expansive limits, but, under Musa, entered Spain, and afterwards at Roncesvalles, in "dolorous rout," overthrew the embattled chivalry of the Christian world under[6] Charlemagne.

The Saracenic power did not long retain its unity or importance; and as we discern this territory in the dawn of modern history, when the countries of Europe are appearing in their new nationalities, we recognize five different communities or states, Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, and Barca, the last of little moment and often included in Tripoli, the whole constituting what was then, and is still, called the Barbary States. This name has sometimes been referred to the Berbers, or Berebbers, constituting part of the inhabitants; but I delight to follow the classic authority of Gibbon, who thinks that the term, first applied by Greek pride to all strangers, and finally reserved for those only who were savage or hostile, justly settled, as a local denomination, along the northern coast of Africa.[2] The Barbary States, then, bear their past character in their name.

They occupy an important space on the earth's surface: on the north washed by the Mediterranean Sea, furnishing such opportunities for prompt intercourse with Southern Europe that Cato was able to exhibit in the Roman Senate figs freshly plucked in the gardens of Carthage; bounded on the east by Egypt, on the west by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the south by the vast, mysterious, sandy, flinty waste of Sahara, separating them from Soudan or Negroland. In advantage of position they surpass every other part of Africa,—unless we except Egypt,—communicating easily with the Christian nations, and thus, as it were, touching the very hem and border of civilization.


Climate adds attractions to this region, which is removed from the cold of the north and the burning heat of the tropics, while it is enriched with oranges, citrons, olives, figs, pomegranates, and luxuriant flowers. Its position and character invite a singular and suggestive comparison. It is placed between the twenty-fifth and thirty-seventh degrees of north latitude, occupying nearly the same parallels with the Slave States of our Union. It extends over nearly the same number of degrees of longitude with our Slave States, which seem now, alas! to stretch from the Atlantic Ocean to the Rio Grande. It is supposed to embrace about 700,000 square miles, which cannot be far from the space comprehended by what may be called the Barbary States of America.[3] Nor does the comparison end here. Algiers, for a long time the most obnoxious place in the Barbary States of Africa, the chief seat of Christian slavery, and once branded by an indignant chronicler as "the wall of the barbarian world," is situated near the parallel of 36° 30' north latitude, being the line of what is termed the Missouri Compromise, marking the "wall" of Christian slavery in our country, west of the Mississippi.

Other less important points of likeness occur. They are each washed, to the same extent, by ocean and sea,—with this difference, that the two are thus exposed on directly opposite coasts: the African Barbary being water-bounded on the north and west, and our American Barbary on the south and east. But there are no two spaces on the globe, of equal extent, (and geographical testimony will verify what I am stating,) which present so many distinctive features of resem[8]blance, whether we consider the parallels of latitude on which they lie, the nature of their boundaries, their productions, their climate, or the "peculiar domestic institution" which has sought shelter in both.

I introduce these comparisons that I may bring home to your minds, as nearly as possible, the precise position and character of the territory which was the seat of the evil I am about to describe. It might be worthy of inquiry, why Christian slavery, banished at last from Europe, banished also from that part of this hemisphere which corresponds in latitude to Europe, should have intrenched itself in both hemispheres between the same parallels of latitude, so that Virginia, Carolina, Mississippi, and Texas should be the American complement to Morocco, Algiers, Tripoli, and Tunis. Perhaps common peculiarities of climate, breeding lassitude, indolence, and selfishness, may account for that insensibility to the claims of justice and humanity which have characterized both regions.


The revolting custom of White Slavery in the Barbary States was for many years the shame of modern civilization. The nations of Europe made constant efforts, continued through successive centuries, to procure its abolition, and also to rescue their subjects from its fearful doom. These may be traced in diversified pages of history, and in authentic memoirs. Literature affords illustrations which must not be neglected. At one period, the French, the Italians, and the Spaniards borrowed the plots of their stories from this source.[4]


The adventures of Robinson Crusoe make our childhood familiar with one of its forms. Among his early trials was his piratical capture by a rover from Sallee, a port of Morocco on the Atlantic Ocean, and reduction to slavery. "At this surprising change of my circumstances," says Crusoe, "from a merchant to a miserable slave, I was perfectly overwhelmed; and now I looked back upon my father's prophetic discourse to me, that I should be miserable and have none to relieve me, which I thought was now so effectually brought to pass that it could not be worse." And Cervantes, in the story of Don Quixote, over which so many generations have shaken with laughter, turns aside from its genial current to give the narrative of a Spanish captive who had escaped from Algiers. The author is supposed to have drawn from his own experience; for during five years and a half he endured the horrors of Algerine slavery, from which he was finally liberated by a ransom of less than seven hundred dollars.[5] This inconsiderable sum of money—scarcely the price of an ordinary African slave in our own Southern States—gave to freedom, to his country, and to mankind the author of Don Quixote.

In Cervantes freedom gained a champion whose efforts entitle him to grateful mention on this threshold of our inquiry. Taught in the school of slavery, he knew how to commiserate the slave. The unhappy condition of his fellow-Christians in chains was ever uppermost in his mind. He lost no opportunity of inciting attempts for their emancipation, and for the [10]overthrow of the "peculiar institution"—pardon the recurring phrase!—under which they groaned. He became in Spain what, in our day and country, is sometimes called an "anti-slavery agitator,"—not by public meetings and addresses, but, according to the genius of the age, mainly through the theatre. Not from the platform, but from the stage, did this liberated slave speak to the world. In a play entitled El Trato de Argel, or Life in Algiers—which, though not composed according to rules of art, found much favor, probably from its subject—he pictured, shortly after his return to Spain, the manifold humiliations, pains, and torments of slavery. This was followed by two other plays in the same spirit,—La Gran Sultana Doña Cathalina de Oviedo, and Los Baños de Argel, or, The Galleys of Algiers. The last act of the latter closes with the statement, calculated to enlist the sympathies of an audience, that "this play is not drawn from the imagination, but was born far from the regions of fiction, in the very heart of truth." More could not be said of a tale of Slavery in our day. Not content with this appeal through the theatre, Cervantes, with constant zeal, takes up the same theme in the tale of "The Captive" which he introduces into Don Quixote, and also in that of El Amante Liberal, and in some parts of La Española Inglesa. All these may be regarded not merely as literary labors, but as charitable efforts in behalf of human freedom.

This same cause enlisted a contemporary genius, prolific beyond precedent, called by Cervantes "that great prodigy of Nature," Lope de Vega, who freely borrowed from it in a play entitled Los Cautivos de Argel. At a later day, Calderon, sometimes exalted as the Shakespeare of the Spanish stage, in one of his [11]most remarkable dramas, El Principe Constante, cast a poet's glance at Christian slavery in Morocco. To these works, belonging to what may be called the literature of Anti-Slavery, and shedding upon our subject a grateful light, must be added a curious and learned volume on the Topography and History of Algiers (Topographia e Historia de Argel), by Haedo, a Spanish father of the Catholic Church, published in 1612, and containing also two copious Dialogues,—one on Captivity (de la Captividad), and the other on the Martyrs of Algiers (de los Martyres de Argel). These Dialogues, besides embodying authentic sketches of suffering in Algiers, form a mine of classical and patristic learning on the origin and character of slavery, with arguments and protestations against its iniquity, which may be explored with profit even in our day. In view of this gigantic evil, particularly in Algiers, and in the hope of arousing his countrymen to the generous work of emancipation, the good father exclaims, in words which must thrill the soul so long as a single fetter binds a single slave: "Where is charity? Where is the love of God? Where is the zeal for his glory? Where is desire for his service? Where is human pity, and the compassion of man for man? Certainly, to redeem a captive, to liberate him from wretched slavery, is the highest work of charity, of all that can be done in this world."[6] The reports of the good fathers who visited this land of bondage for the redemption of captives testify likewise. One of these thus speaks from the depths of the heart: "The charity of Jesus Christ obliges us; and I question not but that whosoever had seen those miseries I have been a witness to, and the deplorable [12]condition I left our captives in, would have no less ardent a desire to relieve them."[7]

Not long after the bitter experience of Cervantes, another person, of another country and language, and of a higher character, St. Vincent de Paul, one of the saintly glories of France, encountered the same cruel lot. Happily for the world, he escaped from slavery, to commence at home that long career of charity—nobler than any fame of literature—signalized by various Christian efforts against duels, for peace, for the poor, and in every field of humanity, by which he is enrolled among the great names of Christendom. Princes and orators have lavished panegyrics upon this fugitive slave; and the Catholic Church, in homage to his extraordinary virtues, has numbered him with the saints. Nor is he the only illustrious Frenchman who has felt the yoke of slavery. Arago, astronomer and philosopher,—devoted republican also,—while on the coast of the Mediterranean, engaged in those scientific labors which made the beginning of his fame, came within the clutch of Algerine slave-dealers. What science and the world gained by his liberation I need not say.


Thus Science, Literature, Freedom, Philanthropy, the Catholic Church, each and all, owe a debt to the liberated Barbary slave. Let them, on this occasion, as beneficent heralds, commend the story of his wrongs, his struggles, and his triumphs!



These preliminary remarks prepare the way for the subject to which I invite attention. Here I am naturally led to touch upon the origin of slavery, and the principles which lie at its foundation, before proceeding to exhibit the efforts for its abolition, and their final success in the Barbary States.

The word Slave, suggesting now so much of human abasement, has an origin which speaks of human grandeur. Its parent term, Slava, signifying glory, in the Slavonian dialect, where it first appears, was proudly assumed as the national designation of races in the northeastern part of the European continent, who, in the vicissitudes of war, were afterwards degraded from the condition of conquerors to that of servitude. The Slavonian bondman, retaining his national name, was known as Slave; and this term, passing from a race to a class, was afterwards applied, in the languages of modern Europe, to all in his unhappy lot, without distinction of country or color.[8] It would be difficult to mention any word which has played such opposite parts in history,—beneath the garb of servitude concealing its early robe of pride. And yet, startling as it seems, this word may be received in its primitive character, by those among us who consider slavery essential to democratic institutions, and therefore part of the true glory of the country. Lexicography, going beyond [14]this historical illustration, announces that "most probably the original meaning was independent, free,"[9] thus making the slave distinctively the freeman. In the revolutions of society, and among the compensations of Providence for long-continued degradation, the slave might yet regain this original ascendency, if, in an era of justice, the highest condition were not where all are equal in rights.


Slavery was universally recognized by the nations of antiquity. It is said by Pliny, in bold phrase, that the Lacedæmonians "invented slavery."[10] If this were so, the glory of Lycurgus and Leonidas would not compensate for such a blot. It is true that they recognized it, and gave it a shape of peculiar hardship. But slavery is older than Sparta. It existed in the tents of Abraham; for the three hundred and eighteen servants born to him were slaves. We behold it in the story of Joseph, who was sold by his brothers to the Midianites for twenty pieces of silver.[11] We find it in the poetry of Homer, who stamps it with a reprobation which even the Christian Cowper has hardly surpassed, when he says,—

"Jove fixed it certain that whatever day
Makes man a slave takes half his worth away."[12]

In later days it prevailed extensively in Greece, whose haughty people[15] deemed themselves justified in enslaving all who were strangers to their manners and institutions. "It is right for Greeks to rule barbarians," was the sentiment of Euripides, one of the first of her poets, echoed by Aristotle, the greatest of her intellects.[13] And even Plato, in his imaginary Republic, the Utopia of his beautiful genius, sanctions slavery. But notwithstanding these high names, we learn from Aristotle himself that there were persons in his day—pestilent Abolitionists of ancient Athens—who did not hesitate to maintain that liberty was the great law of Nature, and to deny any difference between master and slave,—declaring at the same time that slavery was founded upon violence, and not upon right, and that the authority of the master was unnatural and unjust.[14] "God sent forth all persons free; Nature has made no man a slave,"[15] was the protest of one of these agitating Athenians against this great wrong. I am not in any way authorized to speak for any Anti-Slavery Society, even if this were the proper occasion; but I presume that this ancient Greek morality embodies substantially the [16]principles maintained at their public meetings,—so far, at least, as they relate to slavery.

It is true, most true, that slavery stands on force and not on right. It is a hideous result of war, or of that barbarism in which savage war plays its conspicuous part. To the victor belonged the lives of his captives, and, by consequence, he might bind them in perpetual servitude. This principle, which has been the foundation of slavery in all ages, is adapted only to the rudest conditions of society, and is wholly inconsistent with a period of refinement, humanity, and justice. It is sad to confess that it was recognized by Greece; but the civilization of this famed land, though brilliant to the external view as the immortal sculptures of the Parthenon, was, like that stately temple, dark and cheerless within.

Slavery extended, with new rigors, under the military dominion of Rome. The spirit of freedom which animated the Republic was of that selfish and intolerant character which accumulated privileges upon the Roman citizen, while it heeded little the rights of others. But, unlike the Greeks, the Romans admitted in theory that all men are originally free by the Law of Nature; and they ascribed the power of masters over slaves, not to any alleged diversities in the races of men, but to the will of society.[16] The constant triumphs of their arms were signalized by reducing to servitude large bodies of subjugated people. Paulus Æmilius returned from Macedonia with an uncounted train of slaves, composed of persons in every sphere of life; and the camp of Lucullus in Pontus witnessed the sale of slaves for four drachmæ, or seventy-five cents, a head.


Terence and Phædrus, Roman slaves, teach us that genius is not always quenched even by degrading bondage; while the writings of Cato the Censor, one of the most virtuous slave-masters in history, show the hardening influence of a system which treats human beings as cattle. "Let the husbandman," says Cato, "sell his old oxen, his sickly cattle, his sickly sheep, his wool, his hides, his old wagon, his old implements, his old slave, and his diseased slave; and if there is anything else not wanted, let him sell it. He should be seller, rather than buyer."[17]

The cruelty and inhumanity which flourished in the Republic professing freedom enjoyed a natural home under Emperors who were the high-priests of despotism. Wealth increased, and with it the multitude of slaves. Some masters are said to have owned as many as ten thousand, while extravagant prices were often paid for them, according to fancy or caprice. Martial mentions handsome boys sold for as much as two hundred thousand sesterces each, or more than eight thousand dollars.[18] On the assassination of Pedanius Secundus by one of his slaves, no less than four hundred were put to death,—an orator in the Senate arguing that these hecatombs were in accordance with ancient custom.[19]

It is easy to believe that slavery, which prevailed so largely in Greece and Rome, must have existed in Africa. Here, indeed, it found a peculiar home. If we trace the progress of this unfortunate continent from those distant days of fable when Jupiter did not

"disdain to grace
The feasts of Æthiopia's blameless race,"[20]


the merchandise in slaves will be found to have contributed to the abolition of two hateful customs, once universal in Africa,—the eating of captives, and their sacrifice to idols. Thus, in the march of civilization, even the barbarism of slavery is an important stage of Human Progress. It is a point in the ascending scale from cannibalism.


In the early periods of modern Europe slavery was a general custom, which yielded only gradually to the humane influences of Christianity. It prevailed in all the countries of which we have any records. Fair-haired Saxon slaves from distant England arrested the attention of Pope Gregory in the markets of Rome, and were by him hailed as Angels. A law of so virtuous a king as Alfred ranks slaves with horses and oxen; and the Chronicles of William of Malmesbury show that in our mother country there was once a cruel slave-trade in whites. As we listen to this story, we shall be grateful again to that civilization which renders such outrage more and more impossible. "Directly opposite to the Irish coast," he says, "there is a seaport called Bristol, the inhabitants of which frequently sent into Ireland to sell those people whom they had bought up throughout England. They exposed to sale girls in a state of pregnancy, with whom they made a sort of mock marriage. There you might see with grief, fastened together by ropes, whole rows of wretched beings of both sexes, of elegant forms, and in the very bloom of youth,—a sight sufficient to excite pity even in barbarians,—daily offered [19]for sale to the first purchaser. Accursed deed! infamous disgrace! that men, acting in a manner which brute instinct alone would have forbidden, should sell into slavery their relations, nay, even their own offspring!"[21] From still another chronicler we learn, that, in 1172, when Ireland was afflicted with public calamities, there was a great assembly of the principal men, chiefly of the clergy, who concluded, as well they might, that these evils were sent upon their country for the reason that they had formerly purchased English boys as slaves, contrary to the right of Christian liberty,—the poor English, to supply their wants, being "accustomed to sell even their own children, not to bring them up": wherefore, it is said, the English slaves were allowed to depart in freedom.[22] Earlier in Irish history a boy was stolen from Scotland, who, after six years of bondage, succeeded in reaching his home, when, entering the Church, he returned to Ireland, preached Christianity, and, as St. Patrick, became the patron saint of that beautiful land.[23]

On the Continent of Europe, as late as the thirteenth century, the custom prevailed of treating all captives in war as slaves. Here poetry, as well as history, bears its testimony. Old Michael Drayton, in his story of the Battle of Agincourt, says of the French:—

"For knots of cord to every town they send,
The captived English that they caught to bind;
For to perpetual slavery they intend
Those that alive they on the field should find."[24]


And Othello, in recounting his perils, exposes this custom, when he speaks

"Of being taken by the insolent foe
And sold to slavery; of my redemption thence."

It was also held lawful to enslave an infidel, or person who did not receive the Christian faith. The early Common Law of England doomed heretics to the stake; the Catholic Inquisition did the same; and the laws of Oléron, the maritime code of the Middle Ages, treated them "as dogs," to be attacked and despoiled by all true believers. Philip le Bel of France, grandson of St. Louis, in 1296 presented his brother Charles, Count of Valois, with a Jew, and paid three hundred livres for another Jew,—as if Jews were at the time chattels, to be given away or bought.[25] The statutes of Florence, boastful of freedom, as late as 1415 allowed republican citizens to hold slaves not of the Catholic Christian faith,—Qui non sunt Catholicæ fidei et Christianæ.[26] Besides captive Moors, there were African slaves in Spain, before Christopher Columbus; and at Venice Marco Polo for some time held a slave he had brought from the Orient in the age of Dante. The comedies of Molière, L'Étourdi and Le Sicilien, depicting Italian usages not remote from his day, show that at Messina even Christian women continued to be sold as slaves.

This rapid sketch, which brings us down to the period when Algiers became a terror to the Christian nations, renders it no longer astonishing that the barbarous States of Barbary—a part of Africa, the great womb of slavery, professing Mahometanism, which not only [21]recognizes slavery, but expressly ordains "chains and collars" to infidels[27]—should maintain the traffic in slaves, particularly in Christians, denying the faith of the Prophet. In the duty of constant war upon unbelievers, and in the assertion of right to the service or ransom of their captives, they followed the lessons of Christians themselves.

It is not difficult, then, to account for the origin of this cruel custom. Its history forms our next topic.



The Barbary States, after the decline of the Arabian power, were enveloped in darkness, rendered more palpable by increasing light among the Christian nations. At the twilight of European civilization they appear to be little more than scattered bands of robbers and pirates, "land-rats and water-rats" of Shylock, leading the lives of Ishmaelites. Algiers is described by an early writer as "a den of sturdy thieves formed into a body, by which, after a tumultuary sort, they govern,"[28]—and by still another writer, contemporary with the monstrosity which he exposes, as the "theatre of all crueltie and sanctuarie of iniquitie, holding captive, in miserable servitude, one hundred and twentie thousand Christians, almost all subjects of the king of Spaine."[29] Their habit of enslaving prisoners captured in war and piracy arousing at last the sacred animosities of Christen[22]dom, Ferdinand the Catholic, after the conquest of Granada, and while the boundless discoveries of Columbus, giving to Castile and Leon a new world, still occupied his mind, found time to direct an expedition into Africa, under the military command of that great ecclesiastic, Cardinal Ximenes. It is recorded that this valiant soldier of the Church, on effecting the conquest of Oran, in 1509, had the inexpressible satisfaction of liberating three hundred Christian slaves.[30]

To stay the progress of the Spanish arms the government of Algiers invoked assistance from abroad. Two brothers, Horuc and Hayradin, sons of a potter in the island of Lesbos, had become famous as corsairs. In an age when the sword of the adventurer often carved a higher fortune than could be earned by lawful exertion, they were dreaded for abilities, hardihood, and power. To them Algiers turned for aid. The corsairs left the sea to sway the land,—or rather, with amphibious robbery, took possession of Algiers and Tunis, while they continued to prey upon the sea. The name of Barbarossa, by which they are known to Christians, is terrible in modern history.[31]


With pirate ships they infested the seas, and spread their ravages along the coasts of Spain and Italy, until Charles the Fifth was aroused to undertake their overthrow. The various strength of his broad dominions was rallied in this new crusade. "If the enthusiasm," [23]says Sismondi, "which had armed the Christians in the old Crusades was nearly extinct, a new sentiment, more rational and legitimate, united the vows of Europe with the efforts of Charles against the infidels. The object was no longer to reconquer the tomb of Christ, but to defend the civilization, the liberty, the lives of Christians."[32] A stanch body of infantry from Germany, veterans of Spain and Italy, the flower of the Spanish nobility, knights of Malta, with a fleet of near five hundred vessels, contributed by Italy, Portugal, and even distant Holland, commanded by Andrew Doria, the great sea-officer of the age,—the whole under the immediate eye of the Emperor himself, with the countenance and benediction of the Pope, and composing one of the most complete armaments which the world had hitherto seen,—were directed upon Tunis. Barbarossa opposed them bravely, but with unequal forces. While slowly yielding to attack from without, his defeat was hastened by unexpected uprising within. Confined in the citadel were many Christian slaves, who, asserting the rights of freedom, obtained a bloody emancipation, and turned its artillery against their former masters. The place yielded to the Emperor, whose soldiers soon surrendered to the inhuman excesses of war. The blood of thirty thousand innocent inhabitants reddened his victory. Amidst these scenes of horror there was but one spectacle that afforded any satisfaction to the imperial conqueror. It was that of ten thousand Christian slaves rejoicing in emancipation, who met him as he entered the town, and, falling on their knees, thanked him as their deliverer.[33]

In the treaty of peace which ensued, it was expressly stipulated on the[24] part of Tunis, that all Christian slaves, of whatever nation, should be set at liberty without ransom, and that no subject of the Emperor should for the future be detained in slavery.[34]

The apparent generosity of this undertaking, the magnificence with which it was conducted, and the success with which it was crowned drew to the Emperor the homage of his age beyond any other event of his reign. Twenty thousand slaves freed by treaty or by arms diffused through Europe the praise of his name. It is probable that in this expedition the Emperor was governed by motives little higher than vulgar ambition and fame; but the results by which it was emblazoned, in the emancipation of so many fellow-Christians from cruel chains, place him, with Cardinal Ximenes, among the earliest Abolitionists of modern times.

This was in 1535. Only a few short years before, in 1517, he conceded to a Flemish courtier the exclusive privilege of importing into the West Indies four thousand blacks from Africa. It is said that Charles lived long enough to repent what he had thus inconsiderately done.[35] Certain it is, no single concession of king or emperor recorded in history has produced such disastrous far-reaching consequences. The Fleming sold his monopoly to a company of Genoese merchants, who organized a systematic traffic in slaves between Africa and America. Thus, while levying a mighty force to check the piracies of Barbarossa, and to procure the abolition of Christian slavery in Tunis, the [25]Emperor, with criminal inconsistency, laid the corner-stone of a new slavery, in comparison with which the enormity he warred against was trivial and fugitive.

Elated by the conquest of Tunis, filled also with the ambition of subduing all the Barbary States, and of extirpating Christian slavery, the Emperor in 1541 directed an expedition of singular grandeur against Algiers. The Pope tardily joined his influence to the martial array. But Nature proved stronger than Pope and Emperor. Within sight of Algiers a sudden storm shattered his proud fleet, and he was driven back to Spain, discomfited, with none of those trophies of emancipation with which his former expedition was crowned.[36]

The power of the Barbary States was now at its height. Their corsairs became the scourge of Christendom, while their much dreaded system of slavery assumed a front of new terror. Their ravages were not confined to the Mediterranean. They entered the ocean, and penetrated even to the Straits of Dover and St. George's Channel. From the chalky cliffs of England, and from the remote western coasts of Ireland, unsuspecting inhabitants were swept into cruel captivity.[37] The English government was aroused against [26]these atrocities. In 1620, a fleet of eighteen ships, under the command of Sir Robert Mansel, Vice-Admiral, was despatched to punish Algiers. It returned without being able, in the language of the times, to "destroy those hellish pirates," though it obtained the liberation of "some forty poore captives, which they pretended was all they had in the towne." Purchas records, that the English fleet was indebted for information to "a Christian captive, which did swimme from the towne to the ships."[38] Not in this respect only does this expedition recall that of Charles the Fifth, which received important assistance from rebel slaves; we observe also a similar inconsistency in the government which directed it. It was in the year 1620,—dear to all the descendants of the Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock as an epoch of freedom,—while an English fleet was seeking the emancipation of Englishmen held in bondage by Algiers, that African slaves were first introduced into the English colonies of North America,[39] thus beginning that dreadful system whose long catalogue of humiliation and woes is not yet complete.

The expedition against Algiers was followed, in 1637, by another against Sallee, in Morocco. Terrified by its approach, the Moors desperately transferred a thousand captives, British subjects, to Tunis and Algiers. "Some [27]Christians that were slaves ashore, who stole away out of the town and came swimming aboard," together with intestine feud, aided the fleet, and the cause of emancipation speedily triumphed.[40] Two hundred and ninety Britons were released, and a promise was extorted from the enemy to redeem the wretched captives sold away to Tunis and Algiers. Shortly afterwards an ambassador from the King of Morocco visited England, and on his way through the streets of London to his audience at court was attended by "four Barbary horses led along in rich caparisons, and richer saddles, with bridles set with stones; also some hawks; many of the captives whom he brought over going along afoot clad in white."[41] Every emancipated slave was a grateful witness to English prowess.

The importance attached to this achievement is inferred from the singular joy with which it was hailed in England. Though on a limited scale, it was nothing less than a war of liberation. Poet, ecclesiastic, and statesman now joined in congratulation. It inspired the Muse of Waller to a poem called "The Taking of Sallee," where the submission of the slaveholder is thus described:—

"Hither he sends the chief among his peers,
Who in his bark proportioned presents bears
To the renowned for piety and force,
Poor captives manumised, and matchless horse."

It gladdened Laud, and lighted with exultation the dark mind of Strafford. "For Sallee, the town is taken," said the Archbishop in a letter to the Earl, then in Ireland, "and all the captives at Sallee and Morocco delivered,—as many, our merchants say, as, according to the price [28]of the market, come to ten thousand pounds at least."[42] Strafford saw in the popularity of this triumph fresh opportunity to commend the tyrannical designs of Charles the First. "This action of Sallee," he wrote in reply to the Archbishop, "I assure you, is full of honor, will bring great content to the subject, and should, methinks, help much towards the ready, cheerful payment of the shipping moneys."[43] Thus was this act of emancipation linked with one of the most memorable events of English history.

The coasts of England were now protected; but her subjects at sea continued the prey of Algerine corsairs, who, according to the historian Carte, now "carried their English captives to France, drove them in chains overland to Marseille, to ship them thence with greater safety for slaves to Algiers."[44] The increasing troubles which distracted the reign of Charles the First, and finally brought his head to the block, could not divert attention from the sorrows of Englishmen, victims to Mahometan slave-drivers. At the height of the struggle between King and Parliament, an earnest voice was raised in behalf of these fellow-Christians in bonds. Edmund Waller, who was orator as well as poet, speaking in Parliament in 1641, said, "By the many petitions which we receive from the wives of those miserable captives at Algiers (being between four or five thousand of our countrymen) it does too evidently appear that to make us slaves at home is not the way to keep us from being made slaves abroad."[45]


Publications pleading their cause are yet extant, bearing date 1637, 1640, 1642, and 1647.[46] The overthrow of an oppression so justly odious formed a worthy object for the imperial energies of Cromwell; and in 1655, when, amidst the amazement of Europe, the English sovereignty settled upon his Atlantean shoulders, he directed into the Mediterranean a navy of thirty ships, under the command of Admiral Blake. This was the most powerful English force which had sailed into that sea since the Crusades.[47] Its success was complete. "General Blak," said one of the foreign agents of Government, "has ratifyed the articles of peace at Argier, and included therein Scotch, Irish, Jarnsey and Garnsey-men, and all others the Protector's subjects. He has lykewys redeemed from thence al such as wer captives ther. Several Duch captives swam aboard the fleet, and so escape theyr captivity."[48] Tunis, as well as Algiers, was humbled; all British captives were set at liberty; and the Protector, in his remarkable speech at the opening of Parliament, announced [30]peace with the "profane" nations in that region.[49] To my mind no single circumstance gives higher impression of that vigilance with which the Protector guarded his subjects than this effort, to which may be applied the "smooth" line of Waller,—

"telling dreadful news
To all that piracy and rapine use."[50]

His vigorous sway was succeeded by the voluptuous tyranny of Charles the Second, inaugurated by an unsuccessful expedition against Algiers under Lord Sandwich. This was soon followed by another, with more favorable result, under Admiral Lawson.[51] Then came a treaty, bearing date May 3, 1662, by which the piratical government stipulated, "that all subjects of the king of Great Britain, now slaves in Algiers, or any of the territories thereof, shall be set at liberty, and released, upon paying the price they were first sold for in the market; and for the time to come no subjects of His Majesty shall be bought or sold, or made slaves of, in Algiers or its territories."[52] This seems to have been short-lived. Other expeditions ensued, and other treaties in 1664, 1672, 1682, and 1686,—showing, by their constant iteration, the little impression produced upon these barbarians.[53] Insensible to justice and freedom, how could they be faithful to stipulations in restraint of robbery and slaveholding?

Legislation turned aside in behalf of these captives. The famous statute of the forty-third year of Queen Elizabeth for charitable uses designates among proper [31]objects the "relief or redemption of prisoners or captives," meaning especially, according to recent judicial decision, those suffering in the Barbary States. A bequest by Lady Mico, in 1670, "to redeem poor slaves in what manner the executors should think convenient," came under review as late as 1835, when slavery in the Barbary States was already dead, and the British Act of Emancipation had commenced its operation in the West Indies; but the court sanctioned the application of the fund to the education of the Africans whose freedom was then beginning.[54] Thus was a charity originally inspired by sympathy for white slaves applied to the benefit of black.

During a long succession of years, complaints of English captives continued. In 1748 an indignant soul found expression in these words:—

"O, how can Britain's sons regardless hear
The prayers, sighs, groans (immortal infamy!)
Of fellow-Britons, with oppression sunk,
In bitterness of soul demanding aid,
Calling on Britain, their dear native land,
The land of liberty?"[55]

But during all this time the slavery of blacks, transported to the colonies under British colors, continued also!

Meanwhile France plied Algiers with embassies and bombardments. In 1635 three hundred and forty-seven Frenchmen were captives there. M. de Samson was dispatched on an unsuccessful mission for their liberation. They were offered to him "for the price they were sold for in the market"; but this he refused to pay.[56]


Two years later, M. de Manti, who was called "that noble captain, and glory of the French nation," was sent "with fifteen of his king's ships, and a commission to enfranchise the French slaves." He also returned, leaving his countrymen still in captivity.[57] Treaties followed, hastily concluded, and abruptly broken, till at last Louis the Fourteenth, in the pride of power, did for France what Cromwell had done for England. Algiers, twice bombarded[58] in 1683, sent deputies to sue for peace, and to surrender all her Christian slaves. Tunis and Tripoli made the same submission. Voltaire, with his accustomed point, says that by this transaction the French became respected on the coast of Africa, where they had before been known only as slaves.[59]

An unhappy incident is mentioned by the historian, which attests how little the French at that time, even while engaged in securing the redemption of their own countrymen, cared for the cause of general freedom. An officer of the triumphant fleet, receiving the Christian slaves surrendered to him, observed among them many English, who, with national vainglory, maintained that they were set at liberty out of regard to the king of Eng[33]land. At once the Frenchman summoned the Algerines, and, returning the foolish captives into their hands, said: "These people pretend that they have been delivered in the name of their monarch. Mine does not take the liberty to offer them his protection. I return them to you. It is for you to show what you owe to the king of England."[60] The Englishmen were hurried again to prolonged slavery. The power of Charles the Second was impotent in their behalf, as was the sense of justice and humanity in the French officer or the Algerine slave-masters.

I cannot pause to develop the course of other efforts by France; nor can I dwell upon the determined conduct of Holland, one of whose greatest naval commanders, Admiral de Ruyter, in 1661, enforced at Algiers the emancipation of several hundred Christian slaves.[61] The inconsistency which we have before remarked appears also in these two powers. Both, while using their best endeavors for the freedom of their white people, were cruelly engaged selling blacks into distant American slavery,—as if every word of reprobation fastened upon the piratical, slave-driving Algerines did not return in eternal judgment against themselves.


Thus far I have followed the history of military expeditions. War has been our melancholy burden. But peaceful measures were employed to procure the redemption of slaves, and money sometimes accomplished what was vainly attempted by the sword. In furtherance of [34]this object, missions were often sent which could not be disregarded. These sometimes had a formal diplomatic organization; sometimes they consisted of fathers of the Church, who held it a sacred office to open the prison-doors and let the captives go free.[62] It was through the intervention of superiors of the Order of the Holy Trinity, dispatched to Algiers by Philip the Second of Spain, that Cervantes obtained his ransom; in 1580.[63] Expeditions of commerce often served to promote similar designs of charity; and England, forgetting or distrusting all her sleeping thunder, sometimes condescended to barter articles of merchandise for the liberty of her subjects.[64]

Private effort often secured the liberation of slaves. Friends at home naturally exerted themselves, and many families were straitened by generous contributions for [35]this purpose. The widowed mother of Cervantes sacrificed the entire pittance that remained to her, including the dowry of her daughters, to aid the emancipation of her son. An Englishman, of whose doleful captivity there is a record in the memoirs of his son, obtained his redemption through the earnest efforts of his wife at home. "She resolved," says the story, "to use all the means that lay in her power for his freedom, though she left nothing for herself and children to subsist upon. She was forced to put to sale, as she did, some plate, gold rings, and bracelets, and some part of her household goods, to make up his ransom, which came to about one hundred and fifty pounds sterling."[65] In 1642 four French brothers were ransomed at the price of six thousand dollars. At this same period the sum exacted for the poorest Spaniard was "a thousand shillings," while the Genoese, "if under twenty-two years of age, were freed for a hundred pounds sterling."[66] These charitable efforts were aided by the co-operation of benevolent persons. George Fox interceded for several Quakers, slaves in Algiers, writing "a book to the Grand Sultan and the king at Algiers, wherein he laid before them their indecent behavior and unreasonable dealings, showing them from their Alcoran that this displeased God, and that Mahomet had given them other directions." Here was the customary plainness of the Quaker. Some time elapsed before an opportunity was found to redeem them; "but in the mean while they so faithfully served their masters, that they were suffered to go loose through the town, without being chained or fettered."[67]


As early as the thirteenth century, under the sanction of Pope Innocent the Third, an important association was organized to promote emancipation. This was known as the Society of the Fathers of Redemption.[68] During many successive generations its blessed labors were continued, amidst the praise and sympathy of generous men. History, undertaking to recount its origin, and filled with a grateful sense of its extraordinary merits, attributed it to the inspiration of an angel in the sky, clothed in resplendent light, holding a Christian captive in the right hand and a Moor in the left. The pious Spaniard who narrates the marvel earnestly declares that this institution of beneficence was the work, not of men, but of the great God alone; and he dwells, with more than the warmth of history, on the glory filling the lives of its associates, surpassing far that of a Roman triumph; for they share the name as well as the labors of the Redeemer of the world, to whose spirit they are heirs, and to whose works they are successors. "Lucullus," he says, "affirmed that it were better to liberate a single Roman from the hands of the enemy than to gain all their wealth; but how much greater the gain, more excellent the glory, and more than human is it to redeem a captive! For whosoever redeems him liberates him not alone from one death, but from death in a thousand ways, and those ever present, and also from a thousand afflictions, a thousand miseries, a thousand torments and fearful travails, more cruel than death itself."[69] The genius of Cervantes has left a record of his gratitude to this Antislavery Society,[70]—herald of others whose mission is not yet finished. Throughout [37]Spain annual contributions for it continued to be taken during many years. Nor in Spain only did it awaken sympathy. In Italy and France also it labored successfully; and as late as 1748, inspired by a similar catholic spirit, if not by its example, a proposition appeared in England to "form a society to carry on the truly charitable design" of emancipating sixty-four English slaves in Morocco.[71]


War and ransom were not the only agents. Even if history were silent, it is impossible to suppose that slaves of African Barbary endured their lot without struggles for freedom.

"Since the first moment they put on my chains,
I've thought of nothing but the weight of 'em,
And how to throw 'em off."[72]

These are words of the slave in a play; but they express the natural inborn sentiments of all with intelligence to appreciate the precious boon of freedom. "Thanks be to God for so great mercies!" says the Captive in Don Quixote; "for in my opinion there is no happiness on earth equal to that of recovering lost liberty."[73] And plain Thomas Phelps,—once a slave at Mequinez in Morocco, whence, in 1685, he fortunately escaped,—narrating his adventures and sufferings, breaks forth in similar strain. "Since my escape," he says, "from captivity, and worse than Egyptian bondage, I have, methinks, enjoyed a hap[38]piness with which my former life was never acquainted; now that, after a storm and terrible tempest, I have, by miracle, put into a safe and quiet harbor, after a most miserable slavery to the most unreasonable and barbarous of men, now that I enjoy the immunities and freedom of my native country and the privileges of a subject of England, although my circumstances otherwise are but indifferent, yet I find I am affected with extraordinary emotions and singular transports of joy; now I know what liberty is, and can put a value and make a just estimate of that happiness which before I never well understood.... Health can be but slightly esteemed by him who never was acquainted with pain or sickness; and liberty and freedom are the happiness only valuable by a reflection on captivity and slavery."[74] Thus from every quarter gathers the cloud of witnesses.

The history of Algiers abounds in well-authenticated examples of conspiracy against Government by Christian slaves: so strong was the passion for escape. In 1531 and 1559 two separate schemes were matured, promising for a while entire success. The slaves were numerous; keys to open the prisons had been forged, and arms supplied; but the treachery of one of their number betrayed the plot to the Dey, who sternly doomed the conspirators to the bastinado and the stake. Cervantes, during his captivity, nothing daunted by disappointed efforts, and the terrible vengeance which attended them, conceived the plan of a general slave insurrection, with the overthrow of the Algerine power, and the surrender of the city to the Spanish crown. This was in accord [39]with that sentiment to which he gives such famous utterance in his writings, that "for liberty we ought to risk life itself, slavery being the greatest evil that can fall to the lot of man."[75] As late as 1763 there was a similar insurrection or conspiracy. "Last month," says a journal of high authority, "the Christian slaves at Algiers, to the number of four thousand, rose and killed their guards, and massacred all who came in their way; but after some hours' carnage, during which the streets ran with blood, peace was restored."[76] How truly is bloodshed the natural incident of slavery!


The struggles for freedom could not always assume the shape of conspiracy. They were often efforts to escape, sometimes in numbers and sometimes singly. The captivity of Cervantes was filled with such, where, though constantly balked, he persevered with courage and skill. On one occasion he attempted to escape by land to Oran, a Spanish settlement on the coast, but, being deserted by his guide, was compelled to return.[77] Another endeavor was promoted by Christian merchants at Algiers, through whose agency a vessel was actually purchased for this purpose. And still another was favored by a number of his own countrymen, hovering on the coast in a vessel from Majorca, who did not think it [40]wrong to aid in the liberation of slaves. And this was supposed to be aided by a Spanish ecclesiastic, Father Olivar, who, being at Algiers for the ransom of slaves, could not resist the temptation to lend generous assistance to the struggles of fellow-Christians in bonds. He paid the bitter penalty which similar service to freedom has found elsewhere and in another age. He was seized by the Dey, and thrown into chains; for the Algerine government held it a high offence to further in any way the escape of a slave.[78]

Endeavors for freedom are animating; nor can any honest nature hear of them without a throb of sympathy. Dwelling on the painful narrative of unequal contest between tyrannical power and the crushed captive, we resolutely enter the lists on the side of freedom; and beholding the contest waged by a few individuals, or, perhaps, by one alone, our sympathy is given to his weakness as well as to his cause. To him we send the unfaltering succor of good wishes. For him we invoke vigor of arm to defend and fleetness of foot to escape. Human enactments are vain to restrain the warm tides of the heart. We pause with rapture on those historic scenes where freedom has been attempted or preserved through the magnanimous self-sacrifice of friendship or Christian aid. With palpitating bosom we follow Mary of Scotland in her midnight flight from the custody of her stern jailers; we accompany Grotius in his escape from prison, so adroitly promoted by his wife; we join Lavalette in his flight, aided also by his wife; and we offer our admiration and gratitude to Huger and Bollmann, who, unawed by the arbitrary ordinances [41]of Austria, strove heroically, though vainly, to rescue Lafayette from the dungeons of Olmütz. The laws of Algiers, which sanctioned a cruel slavery, dooming to condign punishment all endeavors for freedom, and especially all countenance of such endeavors, can no longer prevent our sympathy with Cervantes, not less gallant than renowned, who strove so constantly and earnestly to escape his chains,—nor our homage to those Christians also who did not fear to aid him, and to the good ecclesiastic who suffered in his cause.[79]

The efforts to escape from slavery in the Barbary States, so far as they can be traced, are full of interest. Each, also, has its lesson for us at the present hour. The following is in the exact words of an early writer. "One John Fox, an expert mariner, and a good, approved, and sufficient gunner, was (in the raigne of Queene Elizabeth) taken by the Turkes, and kept eighteene yeeres in most miserable bondage and slavery; at the end of which time he espied his opportunity (and God assisting him withall), that hee slew his keeper, and fled to the sea's side, where he found a gally with one hundred and fifty captive Christians, which hee speedily waying their anchor, set saile, and fell to worke like men, and safely arrived in Spaone, by which meanes he freed himselfe and a number of poore soules from long and intolerable servitude; after which the said John Fox came into England, and the Queene (being rightly informed of his brave exploit) did graciously entertaine him for her servant, and allowed him a yeerely pension."[80]


There is also in the same early source a quaint description of what occurred to a ship from Bristol, captured by an Algerine corsair in 1621. The Englishmen were all taken out except four youths, over whom the Turks, as these barbarians are often called by early writers, put thirteen of their own men, to conduct the ship as prize to Algiers; and one of the pirates, "a strong, able, sterne, and resolute fellow," was appointed captain. "These foure poore youths," so the story proceeds, "being thus fallen into the hands of mercilesse infidels, began to studie and complot all the meanes they could for the obtayning of their freedomes. First, they considered the lamentable and miserable estates that they were like to be in,—as, to be debard for ever from seeing their friends and countrey, to be chained, beaten, made slaves, and to eate the bread of affliction in the gallies, all the remainder of their unfortunate lives, to have their heads shaven, to feed on course dyet, to have hard boords for beds, and, which was worst of all, never to be partakers of the heavenly word and sacraments. Thus being quite hopelesse, haplesse, and, for any thing they knew, for ever helplesse, they sayled five dayes and nights under the command of the pirats, when, on the fifth night, God, in his great mercy, shewed them a meanes for their wished for escape." A sudden wind arose, when, the captain coming to help take in the mainsail, two of the English youths "suddenly tooke him by the breech and threw him over-boord; but by fortune hee fell into the bunt of the sayle, where, quickly catching hold of a rope, he (being a very strong man) had almost gotten into the ship againe, which John Cooke perceiving leaped speedily to the pumpe and tooke off the pumpe brake or handle [43]and cast it to William Ling, bidding him knocke him downe, which he was not long in doing, but, lifting up the woodden weapon, he gave him such a palt on the pate as made his braines forsake the possession of his head, with which his body fell into the sea." The corsair slave-dealers were overpowered. The four English youths drove them "from place to place in the ship, and having coursed them from the poope to the forecastle, they there valiantly killed two of them, and gave another a dangerous wound or two, who, to escape the further fury of their swords, leap'd suddenly over-boord to goe seeke his captaine." The other nine Turks ran between-decks, where they were securely fastened. The English now directed their course to St. Lucas, in Spain, and "in short time (by Gods ayde) happily and safely arrived at the said port, where they sold the nine Turkes for gally-slaves for a good summe of money, and, as I thinke, a great deale more then they were worth." "He that shall attribute such things as these to the arme of flesh and bloud," says the ancient historian, grateful for this triumph of freedom, "is forgetfull, ingratefull, and in a manner atheisticall."[81]

From the same authority I draw another narrative of singular success the following year. A company of Englishmen, being captured and carried into Algiers, were sold as slaves. These are the words of one of their number: "The souldiers hurried us like dogs into the market, where as men sell hacknies in England we were tossed up and downe to see who would give most for us; and although we had heavy hearts and looked with sad countenances, yet many came to behold us, sometimes taking us by the hand, sometime turning us round about, sometimes feeling our brawnes [44]and naked armes, and so beholding our prices written in our breasts, they bargained for us accordingly, and at last we were all sold." Shortly afterward several were put on board an Algerine corsair. One of them, John Rawlins, who resembled Cervantes in the hardihood of his exertions for freedom,—as, like him, he had lost the use of a hand,—arranged an uprising on board. "'Oh hellish slaverie,'" he said, "'to be thus subject to dogs! Oh, God strengthen my heart and hand, and something shall be done to ease us of these mischiefes, and deliver us from these cruell Mahumetan dogs.' The other slaves, pittying his distraction (as they thought), bad him speake softly, lest they should all fare the worse for his distemperature. 'The worse,' (quoth Rawlins,) 'what can be worse? I will either attempt my deliverance at one time or another, or perish in the enterprise.'" Seizing an auspicious moment, nine English slaves, besides John Rawlins, with other English, French, and Hollanders, "in all foure and twenty and a boy," succeeded, after a bloody contest, in overpowering five-and-forty Turks. "When all was done," the story proceeds, "and the ship cleared of the dead bodies, John Rawlins assembled his men together, and with one consent gave the praise unto God, using the accustomed service on ship-boord, and, for want of bookes, lifted up their voyces to God, as he put into their hearts or renewed their memories; then did they sing a psalme, and, last of all, embraced one another for playing the men in such a deliverance, whereby our feare was turned into joy, and trembling hearts exhillirated, that we had escaped such inevitable dangers, and especially the slavery and terror of bondage worse then death it selfe. The same night we washed our ship, put every thing in as good order as we could, repaired the [45]broken quarter, set up the biticle, and bore up the helme for England, where by Gods grace and good guiding we arrived at Plimmoth the thirteenth of February."[82]

In 1685, Thomas Phelps and Edmund Baxter, Englishmen, accomplished their escape from captivity at Mequinez. The latter had made a previous unsuccessful attempt, which drew upon him the bastinado, disabling him from work for a twelvemonth; "but, notwithstanding, such was his love for Christian liberty," that he freely declared to his companion "that he would adventure with any fair opportunity." Here the story is like one of our own day. By devious paths, journeying in the darkness of night, and by day sheltering themselves in bushes or in the branches of fig-trees, they at length reached the sea. "With imminent risk of discovery, they succeeded in finding a boat not far from Sallee. This they took without consulting the proprietor, and rowed to a distant ship, which, to their great joy, proved to be an English man-of-war. Making known the exposed situation of the Moorish ships at Mamora, they formed part of a night expedition in boats which boarded and burnt them. "One Moor," says the account, "we found aboard, who was presently cut in pieces; another was shot in the head, endeavoring to escape upon the cable. We were not long in taking in our shavings and tar-barrels, and so set her on fire in several places, she being very apt to receive what we designed; for there were several barrels of tar upon the deck, and she was newly tarred, as if on purpose. Whilst we were setting her on fire, we heard a noise of some people in the hold; we opened the skuttles, and thereby saved the lives of four Christians, three Dutch-men and one French, who told us the ship on fire was admiral,[46] and belonged to Aly-Hackum, and the other, which we soon after served with the same sauce, had the name of Plummage Cortibe, which was the very ship which in October last took me captive." The Englishman, once a captive, who tells this story, says it is "most especially to move pity for the afflictions of Joseph, to excite compassionate regard to those poor countrymen now languishing in misery and irons, to endeavor their releasement."[83]

Even the non-resistance of Quakers, animated by zeal for freedom, contrived to baffle these slave-dealers. A ship in the charge of these Christians became the prey of Algerines; and the curious story is told, with details unnecessary here, of the manner in which the vessel was subsequently recaptured by the crew without loss of life. To complete this triumph, the slave-pirates were safely landed on their own shores, and allowed to go their way in peace, acknowledging with astonishment and gratitude this new application of the Christian injunction to do good to them that hate you. On the return, Charles the Second, being at Greenwich, and learning that "there was a Quaker ketch coming up the river, that had been taken by the Turks, and redeemed themselves without fighting," came to it in his barge, and there hearing "how they had let the Turks go free," said to the master, with the spirit of a slave-dealer, "You have done like a fool, for you might have had good gain for them." And to the mate he said, "You should have brought the Turks to me." "I thought it better for them to be in their own country," was the Quaker's reply.[84]

These are English stories. But there is testimony also from France.[47] A Catholic father furnishes a chapter entitled, "Of some Slaves that made their Escape"; and he begins by narrating the difficulties: how the slaves, before they start, secure the assistance of certain Moors, called Metadores, "who promise to conduct them among Christians for a sum agreed on"; how they journey all night, sheltering themselves during the day in woods, caves, or other retired places, always in dread, and anxiously awaiting the return of darkness to cover their movements; how the flight is long and wearisome, environed by perpetual hardship and peril; how, if alone, there is danger of death on the mountains, through hunger and thirst, or from lions and tigers; and how, if retaken, there is the fearful prospect of being burned or cruelly bastinadoed, with a constant weight of irons while at their daily toil. "But their torments and dangers," says the father, "are less dreadful than the thoughts of living all their days in that miserable slavery."[85]

Then comes the narrative of two Frenchmen who with incredible effort journeyed one hundred and fifty leagues, being on the road eighteen nights "without eating anything considerable," and were at last so near their liberty as to see a town belonging to the king of Portugal, making them forget their fatigues, when they were unhappily retaken, hurried back to their master, loaded with irons, and condemned to double labor. As they were studying a second escape, they were relieved by death, that constant friend of the slave. This narrative is followed by that of two other Frenchmen, who commenced their escape on the 2d of October, 1693, [48]"having no other guide than the North Star to direct their course." And here ensues that succession of trials which is the lot of the fugitive slave, all of which is told at length. There was peril in leaving the city and passing the outer guards; but when this was done, then came the desert, with its rocks and precipices, where they met "some tigers and many lions," making it hideous with their roaring; but worse than tiger or lion was the fiery thirst that pursued them; and worse than all was man, for it was from him that they feared most. They, too, found themselves in sight of the liberty they had sought with such pain, when, like their predecessors, they were retaken and hurried back. Asked why they had fled, they answered, "For the sake of liberty, and we are guilty of no other crime." Burdened with heavy chains, they were again put to work, with the threat of being burned alive, if they attempted the like again. But notwithstanding all this terrible experience and the menace of death by the flames, they made another attempt, "preferring," says the Catholic father, "all perils and hardships before the insupportable burden of their captivity." Again they failed, and were carried back to fearful torment, when at last they were ransomed by the mission in the name of the French monarch.[86]

In the current of time other instances occurred. A letter from Algiers, dated August 6, 1772, and preserved in the British Annual Register, furnishes the following story. "A most remarkable escape," it says, "of some Christian prisoners has lately been effected here, which will undoubtedly cause those that have not had that good fortune to be treated with the utmost rigor. On the morning of the 27th of July, the Dey [49]was informed that all the Christian slaves had escaped over-night in a galley. This news soon raised him, and, upon inquiry, it was found to have been a preconcerted plan. About ten at night, seventy-four slaves, who had found means to escape from their masters, met in a large square near the gate which opens to the harbor, and, being well armed, they soon forced the guard to submit, and, to prevent their raising the city, confined them all in the powder-magazine. They then proceeded to the lower part of the harbor, where they embarked on board a large rowing polacre, that was left there for the purpose, and, the tide ebbing out, they fell gently down with it, and passed both the forts. As soon as this was known, three large galleys were ordered out after them, but to no purpose. They returned in three days, with the news of seeing the polacre sail into Barcelona, where the galleys durst not go to attack her."[87]

The same historic authority records another triumph of freedom. "Forty-six captives," it says, at the date of September 3, 1776, "who were employed to draw stones from a quarry some leagues' distance from Algiers, at a place named Genova, resolved, if possible, to recover their liberty, and yesterday took advantage of the idleness and inattention of forty men who were to guard them, and who had laid down their arms, and were rambling about the shore. The captives attacked them with pick-axes and other tools, and made themselves masters of their arms; and having killed thirty-three of the forty, and eleven of the thirteen sailors who were in the boat which carried the stones, they obliged the rest to jump into the sea. Being then masters of the boat, and armed with twelve muskets, [50]two pistols, and powder, &c., they set sail, and had the good fortune to arrive here [at Palma, the capital of Majorca] this morning, where they are performing quarantine. Sixteen of them are Spaniards, seventeen French, eight Portuguese, three Italians, one a German, and one a Sardinian."[88] Here, as in other cases, I copy the precise language of the authority, without adding a word. These simple stories show how captives have escaped and the world has sympathized.


Thus far I have followed the efforts of European nations, and the struggles of European victims of White Slavery. I pass now to America, and to our own country. In the name of fellow-countryman there is a charm of peculiar power. The story of his sorrows will come nearer to our hearts, and, perhaps, to the experience of individuals or families among us, than the story of distant Spaniards, Frenchmen, or Englishmen. Nor are materials wanting.

In earliest days, while the Colonies yet contended with savage Indians, families were compelled to mourn the hapless fate of brothers, fathers, and husbands doomed to slavery in distant African Barbary. Five years after the landing at Plymouth, a returning ship, already "shot deep into the English Channel," was "taken by a Turks man-of-war and carried into Sallee, where the master and men were made slaves," while a consort ship with Miles Standish aboard narrowly escaped this fate.[89] In 1640, "one Austin, a man of good estate," returning discon[51]tented to England from Quinipiack, now New Haven, on his way "was taken by the Turks, and Austin and his wife and family were carried to Algiers, and sold there for slaves."[90] Under date of 1671, in the diary of Rev. John Eliot, first minister of Roxbury and devoted apostle to the Indians, prefixed to the records of the church in that town, and still preserved in manuscript, these few words tell a story of sorrow: "We heard the sad and heavy tidings concerning the captivity of Captain Foster and his son at Sallee." From further entries it appears that they were redeemed after a bondage of three years. The same record shows other victims for whom the sympathies of the church and neighborhood were enlisted. Here is one: "20 10 1674. This Sabbath we had a public collection for Edward Howard, of Boston, to redeem him out of his sad Turkish captivity, in which collection was gathered 12l. 18s. 9d. which by God's favor made up the just sum desired." Not long after, at a date left uncertain, it appears that William Bowen "was taken by the Turks"; a contribution was made for his redemption, "and the people went to the public box, young and old, but, before the money could answer the end for which the congregation intended it," tidings came of the death of the unhappy captive, and the contribution was afterwards "improved to build a tomb for the town to inter their ministers."[91] Money collected for emancipation built the tomb of the Roxbury ministers.

Instances now thicken. A ship, sailing from Charlestown, in 1678, was taken by a corsair, and carried into Algiers, whence its passengers and crew never returned. They probably died in slavery. Among these was Dan[52]iel Mason, a graduate of Harvard University, and the earliest of that name on the Catalogue; also, James Ellson, the mate. The latter, in a testamentary letter to his wife, dated at Algiers, June 30, 1679, desires her to redeem out of captivity two of his companions.[92] At the same period, William Harris, a person of consequence in the Colony, an associate of Roger Williams in the first planting of Providence, and now in the sixty-eighth year of his age, sailing from Boston for England on public business, was also taken by a corsair and carried into Algiers. On the 23d February, 1679, this veteran,—older than the slaveholder Cato, when he learned Greek,—together with all the crew, was sold into slavery. The fate of his companions is unknown; but Mr. Harris, after bearing his doom more than a year, was redeemed at the cost of twelve hundred dollars, called by him "the price of a good farm." The feelings of the Colony, touched by these disasters, are concisely expressed in a private letter dated at Boston, November 10, 1680, where it is said: "The Turks have so taken our New England ships, richly loaden, homeward bound, that it is very dangerous to goe. Many of our neighbors are now in captivity in Argeer. The Lord find out some way for their redemption!"[93] This prayer may be repeated still.

In 1693 the subject found its way before the Governor and Council of Massachusetts, on a petition from the relations of two inhabitants "some time since taken by a Sallee man-of-war, and now under Turkish captivity and slavery," for permission "to ask and receive the charity and public contribution of well-disposed persons for re[53]deeming them out of their miserable suffering and slavery." The petition was granted on the condition, "The money so collected to be employed for the end aforesaid, unless the said persons happen to die before, make their escape, or be in any other way redeemed; then the money so gathered to be improved for the redemption of some others of this Province, that are or may be in like circumstances, as the Governor and Council shall direct."[94] Thus was the government of Massachusetts moved at that early day to emancipation.

Entering the next century, we meet a curious notice of a captive Bostonian. Under date of Tuesday, January 11, 1714, Chief-Justice Samuel Sewall, after describing in his journal a dinner with Mr. Gee, and mentioning the guests, among whom were Increase and Cotton Mather, adds: "It seems it was in remembrance of his landing this day at Boston, after his Algerine captivity. Had a good treat. Dr. Cotton Mather, in returning thanks, very well comprised many weighty things very pertinently."[95] Among the many weighty things very pertinently comprised by this eminent divine, it is hoped, was condemnation of slavery. Surely, he could not then have shrunk from giving utterance to that faith which preaches deliverance to the captive.

Leaving the imperfect records of colonial days, I descend at once to that period, almost in the light of our own times, when our National Government, justly careful of the liberty of its white citizens, was aroused to put forth all its power. The war of the Revolution closed with the acknowledgment of independence. The na[54]tional flag, then freshly unfurled, and hardly known to the world, had little power to protect persons or property against outrages from the Barbary States. Within three years no less than ten American vessels became their prey. At one time an apprehension prevailed that Dr. Franklin was captured. "We are waiting," said one of his French correspondents, "with the greatest impatience to hear from you. The newspapers have given us anxiety on your account, for some of them insist that you have been taken by the Algerines, while others pretend that you are at Morocco, enduring your slavery with all the patience of a philosopher."[96] The property of our merchants was sacrificed. Insurance at Lloyd's in London could be had only at advanced rates, while it was difficult to obtain freight for American bottoms.[97] The Mediterranean trade was closed against our enterprise. To a people filled with the spirit of commerce, and bursting with new life, this in itself was disheartening; but the sufferings of unhappy fellow-citizens, captives in a distant land, awoke a feeling of a higher strain.

As from time to time these tidings reached America, a voice of horror and indignation swelled through the land. The slave-corsairs of African Barbary were branded sometimes as "infernal crews," sometimes as "human harpies."[98] This sentiment acquired new force, when, at two different periods, by the fortunate escape of captives, what seemed to be an authentic picture of their condition was presented to the world. The story [55]of these fugitives shows the hardships of their lot, and was at the bottom of the appeal soon made to the country with such effect.

The earliest of these escapes was in 1788, by a person originally captured in a vessel from Boston. It appears, that, on being carried into Algiers, he, with the rest of the ship's company, was exposed at public auction, whence he was sent to the country-house of his purchaser. Here for eighteen months he was chained to the wheelbarrow, and allowed only one pound of bread a day, during all which wretched period he had no opportunity of learning the fate of his companions. From the country he was removed to Algiers, where, in a numerous company of white slaves, he encountered three shipmates and twenty-six other Americans. After remaining for some time crowded together in the slave-prison, they were all distributed among the different galleys of the Dey. Our fugitive and eighteen other white slaves were put on board a xebec, carrying eight six-pounders and sixty men, which, while cruising on the coast of Malta, encountered an armed vessel of Genoa, and, after much bloodshed, was taken, sword in hand. Eleven of the unfortunate slaves, compelled to this unwelcome service in the cause of a tyrannical master, were killed before the triumph of the Genoese could deliver them from chains. Our countryman and the few remaining alive were at once set at liberty, and, it is said, "treated with that humanity which distinguishes the Christian from the barbarian."[99] Such is the testimony.

This escape was followed the next year by others, achieved under circumstances widely different. A ship [56]from Philadelphia was captured near the Western Islands and taken into Algiers. The crew of twenty-two were doomed to bondage. The larger part were sent into the country and chained to work with mules. Others were put on board a galley and chained to the oars. The latter, tempted by facilities of position near the sea, made attempts to escape, which, for a time, proved fruitless. At last, love of freedom triumphing over suggestions of humanity, they rose upon their overseers, killing some and confining others, then, seizing a small galley of their masters, set sail for Gibraltar, where in a few hours they landed as freemen.[100] Thus, by killing their keepers and carrying off property not their own, did these fugitive white slaves achieve their liberty.


Such stories could not be recounted in vain. Glimpses opened into the dread regions of Slavery gave a harrowing reality to all that conjecture or imagination pictured. It was, indeed, true, that our own white brethren, heirs to freedom newly purchased by precious blood, partakers in the sovereignty of citizenship, belonging to the fellowship of the Christian Church, were degraded to do the will of an arbitrary taskmaster, sold as beasts of the field, galled by manacle and driven by lash! It was true that they were held at market prices, and that their only chance of freedom was in the earnest, energetic, united efforts of their countrymen. It is not easy to comprehend the exact condition to which they were reduced. There is no reason to believe that it dif[57]fered materially from that of other captives in Algiers. Masters of vessels were lodged together, and indulged with a table by themselves, though a small iron ring was attached to one of their legs, to denote that they were slaves. Seamen were taught and obliged to work at the trade of carpenter, blacksmith, or stone-mason, from six in the morning till four in the afternoon, without intermission, except for half an hour at dinner.[101] Doubtless there is exaggeration in the accounts transmitted to us. It is, however, sufficient to know that they were slaves; nor is there any other human condition which, when barely mentioned, even without one word of description, so strongly awakens the sympathies of every just and enlightened lover of his race.

To secure their freedom, informal agencies were promptly established under the direction of our minister at Paris; and the Society of Redemption—whose beneficent exertions, commencing so early in modern history, were still continued—offered their aid. Our agents were blandly entertained by that great slave-dealer, the Dey of Algiers, who informed them that he was familiar with the exploits of Washington, and, never expecting to see him, expressed a hope, that, through Congress, he might receive a full-length portrait of this hero of freedom, to be displayed in his palace at Algiers. The Dey clung to his American slaves, holding them at prices considered exorbitant, being, in 1786, $6,000 for the master of a vessel, $4,000 for a mate, $4,000 for a passenger, and $1,400 for a seaman; while the agents were authorized to offer only $200 for each.[102] In 1790 the tariff seems to have fallen. Meanwhile [58]one obtained his freedom through private means, others escaped, and others still were liberated by the great liberator, Death. The following list, if not interesting from the names of the captives, will at least be curious as evidence of prices at that time in the slave-market.

Crew of the Ship Dolphin, of Philadelphia, captured July 30, 1785.

Richard O'Brien, master, price demanded 2,000
Andrew Montgomery, mate 1,500
Jacob Tessanier, French passenger 2,000
William Patterson,seaman(keeps a tavern) 1,500
Philip Sloan,  " 725
Peleg Loring,  " 725
John Robertson,  " 725
James Hall,  " 725

Crew of the Schooner Maria, of Boston, captured July 25, 1785.

Isaac Stevens, master (of Concord, Mass.)2,000
Alexander Forsythe, mate1,500
James Cathcart, seaman (keeps a tavern)900
George Smith," (in the Dey's house)725
John Gregory,"725
James Hermit,"725
Duty on the above sum, ten per cent1,647½
Sundry gratifications to officers of the Dey's household240⅓
 Sequins 18,362⅚
This sum being equal to $34,792.[103]


In 1793 no less than one hundred and fifteen of our fellow-citizens were groaning in Algerine slavery. Their condition excited the fraternal feeling of the whole people, while it occupied the anxious attention of Congress and the prayers of the clergy. A petition from these unhappy persons, dated at Algiers, December 29, 1793, was addressed to Congress. "Your petitioners," it says, "are at present captives in this city of bondage, employed daily in the most laborious work, without any respect to persons. They pray that you will take their unfortunate situation into consideration, and adopt such measures as will restore the American captives to their country, their friends, families, and connections; and your most humble petitioners will ever pray and be thankful."[104] The action of Congress was sluggish, compared with the patriot desires throbbing through the country.

Appeals of a different character were now addressed to the country at large, and these were efficiently aided by Colonel Humphreys, the friend and companion of Washington, who was at the time our minister in Portugal. Taking advantage of the common passion for lotteries, and particularly of the custom, not then condemned, of employing them to obtain money for literary or benevolent purposes, he proposed a grand lottery, sanctioned by the United States, or particular lotteries sanctioned by individual States, to obtain the freedom of our countrymen. He then asks, "Is there within the limits of these United States an individual who will not cheerfully contribute, in proportion to his means, to carry it into effect? By the peculiar blessings of freedom which you enjoy, by the disinterested sacrifices you [60]made for its attainment, by the patriotic blood of those martyrs of liberty who died to secure your independence, and by all the tender ties of nature, let me conjure you once more to snatch your unfortunate countrymen from fetters, dungeons, and death."

This appeal was followed by a petition from American captives in Algiers, addressed to ministers of every denomination throughout the United States, praying help. Beginning with an allusion to the day of national thanksgiving appointed by President Washington, it asks the clergy to set apart the Sunday preceding that day for sermons, to be delivered simultaneously throughout the country, pleading for their brethren in bonds.

"Reverend and Respected,—

"On Thursday, the 19th of February, 1795, you are enjoined by the President of the United States of America to appear in the various temples of that God who heareth the groaning of the prisoner, and in mercy remembereth those who are appointed to die.

"Nor are ye to assemble alone; for on this, the high day of continental thanksgiving, all the religious societies and denominations throughout the Union, and all persons whomsoever within the limits of the confederated States, are to enter the courts of Jehovah, with their several pastors, and gratefully to render unfeigned thanks to the Ruler of Nations for the manifold and signal mercies which distinguish your lot as a people: in a more particular manner, commemorating your exemption from foreign war; being greatly thankful for the preservation of peace at home and abroad; and fervently beseeching the kind Author of all these blessings graciously to prolong them to you, and finally to render the United States of America more and more an asylum for the unfortunate of every clime under heaven.


"Reverend and Respected,—

"Most fervent are our daily prayers, breathed in the sincerity of woes unspeakable, most ardent are the embittered aspirations of our afflicted spirits, that thus it may be in deed and in truth. Although we are prisoners in a foreign land, although we are far, very far, from our native homes, although our harps are hung upon the weeping-willows of Slavery, nevertheless America is still preferred above our chiefest joy, and the last wish of our departing souls shall be her peace, her prosperity, her liberty forever. On this day, the day of festivity and gladness, remember us, your unfortunate brethren, late members of the family of freedom, now doomed to perpetual confinement. Pray, earnestly pray, that our grievous calamities may have a gracious end. Supplicate the Father of Mercies for the most wretched of his offspring. Beseech the God of all Consolation to comfort us by the hope of final restoration. Implore the Jesus whom you worship to open the house of the prison. Entreat the Christ whom you adore to let the miserable captives go free.

"Reverend and Respected,—

"It is not your prayers alone, although of much avail, which we beg on the bending knee of sufferance, galled by the corroding fetters of slavery. We conjure you by the bowels of the mercies of the Almighty, we ask you in the name of your Father in Heaven, to have compassion on our miseries, to wipe away the crystallized tears of despondence, to hush the heartfelt sigh of distress, and, by every possible exertion of godlike charity, to restore us to our wives, to our children, to our friends, to our God and to yours.

"Is it possible that a stimulus can be wanting? Forbid it, the example of a dying, bleeding, crucified Saviour! Forbid it, the precepts of a risen, ascended, glorified Immanuel! Do unto us in fetters, in bonds, in dungeons, in danger of the pestilence, as ye yourselves would wish to be done unto. Lift up your voices like a trumpet; cry aloud in the cause of humanity, benevolence, philosophy: eloquence can never[62] be directed to a nobler purpose; religion never employed in a more glorious cause; charity never meditate a more exalted flight. Oh that a live coal from the burning altar of celestial beneficence might warm the hearts of the sacred order, and impassion the feelings of the attentive hearer!

"Gentlemen of the Clergy in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia,—

"Your most zealous exertions, your unremitting assiduities, are pathetically invoked. Those States in which you minister unto the Church of God gave us birth. We are as aliens from the commonwealth of America. We are strangers to the temples of our God. The strong arm of infidelity hath bound us with two chains; the iron one of slavery and the sword of death are entering our very souls. Arise, ye ministers of the Most High, Christians of every denomination, awake unto charity! Let a brief, setting forth our hapless situation, be published throughout the continent. Be it read in every house of worship on Sunday, the 8th of February. Command a preparatory discourse to be delivered on Sunday, the 15th of February, in all churches whithersoever this petition or the brief may come; and on Thursday, the 19th of February, complete the godlike work. It is a day which assembles a continent to thanksgiving; it is a day which calls an empire to praise. God grant, that this may be the day which emancipates the forlorn captive, and may the best blessings of those who are ready to perish be your abiding portion forever! Thus prays a small remnant who are still alive; thus pray your fellow-citizens, chained to the galleys of the impostor Mahomet.

"Signed for and in behalf of his fellow-sufferers by

"Richard O'Brien,

"In the tenth year of his captivity."[105]


The cause which inspired this appeal will indispose the candid reader to any criticism of its exuberant language. Like the drama of Cervantes setting forth the horrors of the galleys of Algiers, it was "not drawn from the imagination, but was born far from the regions of fiction, in the very heart of truth."[106] Its earnest appeals were calculated to touch the soul, and to make the very name of slavery and slave-dealer detestable.


I should do injustice to truth, if I did not suspend for one moment the narrative of this Anti-Slavery movement, to exhibit the pointed parallel then recognized between slavery in Algiers and slavery in our own country. It belongs to this history. Conscience could not plead for the emancipation of white fellow-citizens, without confessing in the heart, perhaps to the world, that every consideration, every argument, every appeal for the white man, told with equal force for the wretched colored brother in bonds. Thus the interest awakened for the slave in Algiers embraced also the slave at home. Sometimes they were said to be alike in condition; sometimes, indeed, it was openly declared that the horrors of our American slavery surpassed that of Algiers.

John Wesley, the oracle of Methodism, who had become familiar with slavery in our Southern States, addressing those engaged in the negro slave-trade, declared as early as 1774: "You have carried the survivors into the vilest slavery, never to end but with life,—such [64]slavery as is not found among the Turks at Algiers."[107] Another writer in 1794, when sympathy with the American captives was at its height, presses the parallel in pungent terms. "For this practice of buying and selling slaves," he says, "we are not entitled to charge the Algerines with any exclusive degree of barbarity. The Christians of Europe and America carry on this commerce one hundred times more extensively than the Algerines. It has received a recent sanction from the immaculate Divan of Britain. Nobody seems even to be surprised by a diabolical kind of advertisements which for some months past have frequently adorned the newspapers of Philadelphia. The French fugitives from the West Indies have brought with them a crowd of slaves. These most injured people sometimes run off, and their master advertises a reward for apprehending them. At the same time we are commonly informed that his sacred name is marked in capitals on their breasts,—or, in plainer terms, it is stamped on that part of the body with a red-hot iron. Before, therefore, we reprobate the ferocity of the Algerines, we should inquire whether it is not possible to find in some other region of this globe a systematic brutality still more disgraceful."[108]

Not long after the address to the clergy by the captives in Algiers, a voice came from New Hampshire, in a tract entitled "Tyrannical Libertymen, a Discourse upon Negro Slavery in the United States, composed at —— in New Hampshire on the late Federal Thanksgiving Day,"[109] which does not hesitate to brand American [65]slavery in terms of glowing reprobation. "There was a contribution upon this day," it says, "for the purpose of redeeming those Americans who are in slavery at Algiers,—an object worthy of a generous people. Their redemption, we hope, is not far distant. But should any person contribute money for this purpose which he had cudgelled out of a negro slave, he would deserve less applause than an actor in the comedy of Las Casas.... When will Americans show that they are what they affect to be thought,—friends to the cause of humanity at large, reverers of the rights of their fellow-creatures? Hitherto we have been oppressors, nay, murderers!—for many a negro has died by the whip of his master, and many have lived when death would have been preferable. Surely the curse of God and the reproach of man is against us. Worse than the seven plagues of Egypt will befall us. If Algiers shall be punished seven fold, truly America seventy and seven fold." These words might not impertinently be uttered in our present debates.

To this excitement we are indebted for the story of "The Algerine Captive," which, though now forgotten, was among the earliest literary productions of our country, reprinted in London at a time when few American books were known abroad. Published anonymously, it is recognized as from the pen of Royall Tyler, afterwards Chief Justice of Vermont. In the form of a narrative of personal adventures, extending through two volumes, a slave of Algiers depicts the horrors of his condition. In this regard it is not unlike the recent story of "Archy Moore," displaying the horrors of American slavery. The narrator, while engaged as surgeon on board a ship in the African slave-trade, [66]has an opportunity which he does not neglect. After describing the reception of the poor negroes, he says: "I cannot reflect on this transaction yet, without shuddering. I have deplored my conduct with tears of anguish; and I pray a merciful God, the Common Parent of the great family of the universe, who hath made of one flesh and one blood all nations of the earth, that the miseries, the insults, and cruel woundings I afterwards received, when a slave myself, may expiate for the inhumanity I was necessitated to exercise towards these my brethren of the human race."[110] He further records his meditations and resolves, while yet a captive of the Algerines. "Grant me," he says, from the depths of his own misfortune, "once more to taste the freedom of my native country, and every moment of my life shall be dedicated to preaching against this detestable commerce. I will fly to our fellow-citizens in the Southern States; I will, on my knees, conjure them, in the name of humanity, to abolish a traffic which causes it to bleed in every pore. If they are deaf to the pleadings of Nature, I will conjure them, for the sake of consistency, to cease to deprive their fellow-creatures of freedom, which their writers, their orators, representatives, senators, and even their constitutions of government, have declared to be the unalienable birthright of man."[111] This is sound and significant.

Not merely in the productions of literature and in fugitive essays was such comparison presented; it was set forth on an important occasion in the history of our country, by one of her most illustrious citizens. The opportunity occurred in a complaint against England for carrying away from New York certain negroes, in [67]alleged violation of the treaty of 1783. In an elaborate paper, John Jay, at that time Secretary for Foreign Affairs under the Confederation, says: "Whether men can be so degraded, as, under any circumstances, to be with propriety denominated goods and chattels, and under that idea capable of becoming booty, is a question on which opinions are unfortunately various, even in countries professing Christianity and respect for the rights of mankind." He then proceeds in words worthy of special remembrance at this time: "If a war should take place between France and Algiers, and in the course of it France should invite the American slaves there to run away from their masters, and actually receive and protect them in their camp, what would Congress, and indeed the world, think and say of France, if, on making peace with Algiers, she should give up those American slaves to their former Algerine masters? Is there any other difference between the two cases than this, namely, that the American slaves at Algiers are WHITE people, whereas the African slaves at New York were BLACK people?" Introducing these sentiments, the Secretary remarks: "He is aware he is about to say unpopular things; but higher motives than personal considerations press him to proceed."[112] Words worthy of John Jay!

The same comparison was also instituted by the Abolition Society of Pennsylvania, in an address to the Convention which framed the National Constitution. "The sufferings of our American brethren groaning in captivity at Algiers," it says, "Providence seems to have ordained to awaken us to a sentiment of the injustice and cruelty of which we are guilty towards [68]the wretched Africans."[113] Shortly afterwards it was again brought forward by Dr. Franklin, in an ingenious apologue, with all his peculiar humor, simplicity, logic, and humanity. As President of the same Abolition Society which had already addressed the Convention, he signed a memorial to the earliest Congress under the Constitution, praying it "to countenance the restoration of liberty to those unhappy men who alone in this land of freedom are degraded into perpetual bondage," and to "step to the very verge of the power vested in them for discouraging every species of traffic in the persons of our fellow-men."[114] In the congressional debates on the presentation of this memorial,—memorable not only for its intrinsic importance as a guide to the country, but as the final public act of a chief among the founders of our national institutions,—several attempts were made to justify slavery and the slave-trade. The last and almost dying energies of Franklin were excited. In a remarkable document, written only twenty-four days before his death, and published in the journals of the time, he gave a parody of a speech actually delivered in Congress,—transferring the scene to Algiers, and putting the congressional eloquence in the mouth of a corsair slave-dealer, inveighing before the Divan against a petition from the Purists or Abolitionists of Algiers. All the arguments adduced in favor of negro slavery are applied by the Algerine orator with equal force to justify the plunder and enslavement of whites.[115] With this protest against a great wrong, Franklin died.

Most certainly we are aided in appreciation of Amer[69]ican slavery, when we know that it was likened, by characters like Wesley, Jay, and Franklin, to the abomination of slavery in Algiers. But whatever may have been the influence of this parallel on the condition of the black slaves, it did not check the rising sentiments of the people against White Slavery.


The country was aroused. A general contribution was proposed. The cause of our brethren was pleaded in churches, and not forgotten at the festive board. At all public celebrations, the toasts "Happiness for all" and "Universal Liberty," were proposed, not more in sympathy with Frenchmen struggling for human rights than with our own wretched white fellow-countrymen in bonds. On one occasion[116] they were distinctly remembered in the following toast: "Our brethren in slavery at Algiers. May the measures adopted for their redemption be successful, and may they live to rejoice with their friends in the blessings of liberty!" Generous words, apt for all in bonds!

Meanwhile the efforts of the National Government continued. President Washington, in his speech to Congress, delivered in person to both houses in the Representatives' Chamber, December 8, 1795, said: "With peculiar satisfaction I add, that information has been received from an agent deputed on our part to Algiers, importing that the terms of the treaty with the Dey and Regency of that country had been adjusted in such a manner as to authorize the expectation of a speedy [70]peace, and the restoration of our unfortunate fellow-citizens from a grievous captivity."[117] This was effected on the 5th of September, 1795. It was a treaty full of humiliation for the "chivalry" of our country. Besides securing a large sum of money to the Algerine government in consideration of present peace and the liberation of captives, it stipulated an annual tribute of "twelve thousand Algerine sequins in maritime stores."[118] But feelings of pride disappeared in heartfelt satisfaction. A thrill of joy went through the land, when it was announced that a vessel had left Algiers, having on board all the American captives, now happily at liberty. Their emancipation was purchased at the cost of more than seven hundred thousand dollars. The largess of money, and even the indignity of tribute, were forgotten in gratulations on their new-found happiness. The President, in his speech to Congress, delivered in person, December 7, 1796, presented their "actual liberation" as a special subject of joy to "every feeling heart."[119] Thus did the National Government construct a bridge of gold for Freedom.

This act of national generosity was followed by peace with Tripoli, purchased, November 4, 1796, for the sum of fifty-six thousand dollars,—"$48,000 in cash, $8,000 in presents,"[120]—under the guaranty of the Dey of Algiers, who was declared to be "the mutual friend of the parties." By an article in this treaty, negotiated by Joel Barlow,—out of tenderness, perhaps to Mahometanism, and to save our citizens from that slavery [71]which was regarded as the just doom of "Christian dogs,"—it was expressly declared that "the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion."[121] By a treaty with Tunis, purchased after some delay, but at a smaller price than that with Tripoli, all danger to our citizens seemed to be averted. Here it was ignominiously provided, that fugitive slaves, taking refuge on board American merchant vessels, and even vessels of war, should be restored to their owners.[122]

As early as 1787 a more liberal treaty was entered into with Morocco, which was confirmed in 1795,[123] at the price of twenty thousand dollars; while, by a treaty with Spain, in 1799, this slave-trading empire expressly declared its "desire that the name of Slavery might be effaced from the memory of man."[124]

But these governments were barbarous, faithless, regardless of humanity and justice. Promises with them were evanescent. As in the days of Charles the Second, treaties were made merely to be broken. They were observed only so long as money was derived under their stipulations. Soon again our growing commerce was fatally vexed by the Barbary corsairs; even the ships of our navy were subjected to peculiar indignities. In 1801 the Bey of Tripoli formally declared war against the United States, and in token thereof "our [72]flag-staff [before the consulate] was chopped down six feet from the ground, and left reclining on the terrace."[125] American citizens once more became the prize of man-stealers. Colonel Humphreys, now at home in retirement, came out in an address to the public, calling again for united action, saying: "Americans of the United States, your fellow-citizens are in fetters! Can there be but one feeling? Where are the gallant remnants of the race who fought for freedom? Where the glorious heirs of their patriotism? Will there never be a truce between political parties? Or must it forever be the fate of Free States, that the soft voice of union should be drowned in the hoarse clamor of discord? No! Let every friend of blessed humanity and sacred freedom entertain a better hope and confidence."[126] Colonel Humphreys was not a statesman only; he was known as poet also. And in this character he made another appeal. In a poem on "The Future Glory of the United States," he breaks forth into indignant condemnation of slavery, which deserves commemoration, and, whatever may be the merits of its verse, should not be omitted here.

"Teach me curst slavery's cruel woes to paint,
Beneath whose weight our captured freemen faint!
.    .    .    .    .    .
Where am I? Heavens! what mean these dolorous cries?
And what these horrid scenes that round me rise?
Heard ye the groans, those messengers of pain?
Heard ye the clanking of the captive's chain?
Heard ye your freeborn sons their fate deplore,
Pale in their chains and laboring at the oar?
Saw ye the dungeon, in whose blackest cell,
That house of woe, your friends, your children, dwell?
Or saw ye those who dread the torturing hour,
Crushed by the rigors of a tyrant's power?
Saw ye the shrinking slave, the uplifted lash,
The frowning butcher, and the reddening gash?
Saw ye the fresh blood, where it bubbling broke
From purple scars, beneath the grinding stroke?
Saw ye the naked limbs writhed to and fro,
In wild contortions of convulsing woe?
Felt ye the blood, with pangs alternate rolled,
Thrill through your veins and freeze with deathlike cold,
Or fire, as down the tear of pity stole,
Your manly breasts, and harrow up the soul?"[127]

The people and Government responded. And here commenced those early deeds by which our navy became known in Europe. Through a reverse of shipwreck rather than war, the frigate Philadelphia fell into the hands of the Tripolitans. A daring act of Decatur burned it under the guns of the enemy. Other feats of hardihood ensued. A romantic expedition by General Eaton, from Alexandria, in Egypt, across the Desert of Libya, captured Derne. Three several times Tripoli was attacked, and, at last, on the 4th of June, 1805, entered into a treaty by which the freedom of three hundred American slaves was secured, on the payment of sixty thousand dollars; and it was provided, that, in the event of future war between the two countries, prisoners should not be reduced to slavery, but should be exchanged rank for rank, and if there were any deficiency on either side, it should be made up at the rate of five hundred Spanish dollars for each captain, three hundred dollars for each mate and supercargo, and one hundred dollars for each seaman.[128] Thus did our country, after successes not without what is called the glory of arms, again purchase with money the emancipation of white citizens.

The power of Tripoli was inconsiderable. That of Algiers was more[74] formidable. It is not a little curious that the largest ship of this slave-trading state was the Crescent, of thirty-four guns, built in New Hampshire;[129] though it is hardly to the credit of our sister State that the Algerine power derived such important support from her. The lawlessness of the corsair broke forth again in the seizure of the brig Edwin, of Salem, and the enslavement of her crew. The energies of the country were at this time enlisted in war with Great Britain; but even amidst the anxieties of this important contest was heard the voice of these captives, awakening a corresponding sentiment throughout the land, until the Government was prompted to their release. Through Mr. Noah, recently appointed consul at Tunis, it offered to purchase their freedom at three thousand dollars a head.[130] The answer of the Dey, repeated on several occasions, was, that "not for two millions of dollars would he sell his American slaves."[131] The timely treaty of Ghent, establishing peace with Great Britain, left us at liberty to deal with this enslaver of our countrymen. At once a naval force was despatched to the Mediterranean, under approved officers, Commodores Bainbridge and Decatur. The rapidity of their movements and their striking success had the desired effect. In December, 1816, a treaty was extorted from the Dey of Algiers, by which, after abandoning all claim to tribute in any form, he delivered his American captives, ten in number, without ransom, and stipulated that hereafter no Americans should be made slaves or forced to hard [75]labor, and, still further, that "any Christians whatsoever, captives in Algiers," making their escape, and taking refuge on board an American ship of war, should be safe from all requisition or reclamation.[132]

Decatur walked his deck with impatient earnestness, awaiting the promised signature of the treaty. "Is the treaty signed?" he cried to the captain of the port and the Swedish consul, as they reached the Guerrière with a white flag of truce. "It is," replied the Swede; and the treaty was placed in the hands of the brave commander. "Are the prisoners in the boat?" "They are." "Every one of them?" "Every one, Sir." The captive Americans now came forward to greet and bless their deliverer.[133] Here, on a smaller scale, was the same scene which had given such satisfaction to the Emperor Charles the Fifth at Tunis. Surely this moment, when he looked upon emancipated fellow-countrymen and thought how much he had contributed to overthrow the relentless system of bondage under which they had groaned, must have been one of the sweetest in the life of our hardy son of the sea. But should I not say, even here, that there is now a citizen of Massachusetts, who, without army or navy, by a simple act of self-renunciation, has given freedom to a larger number of Christian American slaves than was liberated by the sword of Decatur? Of course I refer to Mr. Palfrey.

Not by money, but by arms, was emancipation this time secured. The country was grateful for the result,—though the poor freedmen, engulfed in unknown wastes of ocean, on their glad passage home, were never able [76]to mingle joys with their fellow-citizens. They were on board the Épervier, of which no trace ever appeared. Nor did the people feel the melancholy mockery of the National Government, which, having weakly declared that it was "not in any sense founded on the Christian religion," now expressly confined the protecting power of its flag to fugitive "Christians, captives in Algiers," leaving slaves of another faith, escaping even from Algiers, to be snatched as between the horns of the altar and returned to continued horrors.


The success of American arms was followed by a more signal triumph of Great Britain, acting generously in behalf of all the Christian powers. Her expedition was debated, perhaps prompted, in the Congress of Vienna, where, after the overthrow of Napoleon, the brilliant representatives of European nations, with the monarchs of Austria, Prussia, and Russia in attendance, considered how to adjust the disordered balance of empire, and to remedy evils through joint action. Among many high concerns was the project of a crusade against the Barbary States, to accomplish the complete abolition of Christian slavery. For this purpose, it was proposed to form "a holy league," which was earnestly enforced by a memoir from Sir Sidney Smith,[134] the same who foiled Napoleon at Acre, and at this time president of an association called the "Knights Liberators of the [77]White Slaves in Africa,"—in our day it would be called an Abolition Society,—thus adding to the doubtful laurels of war the true glory of striving for the freedom of his fellow-man.

Though not adopted by the Congress, this project awakened a generous echo. Various advocates appeared in its support; and what the Congress failed to undertake was now especially urged upon Great Britain by the agents of Spain and Portugal, who insisted, that, because this nation had abolished the trade in blacks, it was her duty to extinguish the slavery of whites.[135]

A scandalous impediment seemed to interfere, showing itself in a common belief that the obstructions from the Barbary States were advantageous to British commerce by thwarting and strangling that of other countries, and that therefore Great Britain, ever anxious for commercial supremacy, would do nothing for their overthrow,—the love of trade prevailing over the love of man.[136] This imputation of sordid selfishness, willing to coin money out of the lives and liberties of fellow-Christians, was soon answered.

At the beginning of the year 1816, Lord Exmouth, already distinguished in the British navy as Sir Edward Pellew, was despatched with a squadron to Algiers. By general orders bearing date March 21, 1816, he announced the object of his expedition as follows.

"He has been instructed and directed by his Royal Highness, the Prince Regent, to proceed with the fleet to Algiers,


and there make certain arrangements for diminishing, at least, the piratical excursions of the Barbary States, by which thousands of our fellow-creatures, innocently following their commercial pursuits, have been dragged into the most wretched and revolting state of slavery.

"The commander-in-chief is confident that this outrageous system of piracy and slavery rouses in common the same spirit of indignation which he himself feels; and should the government of Algiers refuse the reasonable demands he bears from the Prince Regent, he doubts not but the flag will be honorably and zealously supported by every officer and man under his command, in his endeavors to procure the acceptation of them by force; and if force must be resorted to, we have the consolation of knowing that we fight in the sacred cause of humanity, and cannot fail of success."[137]

The moderate object of his mission was readily obtained. "Arrangements for diminishing the piratical excursions of the Barbary States" were established. Ionian slaves, claimed as British subjects, were released, and peace was secured for Naples and Sardinia,—the former paying for subjects liberated five hundred dollars a head, and the latter three hundred dollars. This was at Algiers. Lord Exmouth proceeded next to Tunis and Tripoli, where, acting beyond his instructions, he obtained from both these piratical governments the promise to abolish Christian slavery within their respective dominions. In one of his letters on this event he says, that, in pressing these concessions, he "acted solely on his own responsibility and without orders,—the causes and reasoning on which, upon general principles, may be defensible, but, as applying to our own country, may not be borne out, the old mercantile [79]interest being against it."[138] It is curious to recall a similar distrust excited in another age by a similar achievement. Admiral Blake, after his attack upon Tunis, appealed to the government of Cromwell, in words applicable to the recent occasion, saying: "And now, seeing it hath pleased God soe signally to justify us herein, I hope His Highness will not be offended at it, nor any who regard duely the honor of our nation, although I expect to heare of many complaints and clamors of interested men."[139] Thus, more than once, in these efforts to abolish White Slavery, did Commerce, daughter of Freedom, fall under suspicion of disloyalty to her parent.

Lord Exmouth did injustice to the moral sense of England. His conduct was sustained and applauded, not only in the House of Commons, but by the country at large. He was sent back to Algiers—which had failed to make any general renunciation of White Slavery—to extort this stipulation by force. British historians regard this expedition with peculiar pride. In all the annals of their triumphant navy there is none where the barbarism of war seems so much to "smooth its wrinkled front." With a fleet complete at all points, the good Admiral set sail July 25, 1816, on what was deemed a holy war. With five line-of-battle ships, five frigates, four bomb-vessels, and five gun-brigs, besides a Dutch fleet of five frigates and a corvette, under Admiral Van Capellen,—who, on learning the object of the expedition, solicited and obtained leave to coöperate, he anchored before the formidable fortifications of Algiers. It would not be agreeable or instructive to dwell on the scene of deso[80]lation and blood which ensued. Before night the fleet fired, besides shells and rockets, one hundred and eighteen tons of powder, and fifty thousand shot, weighing more than five hundred tons. The citadel and massive batteries of Algiers were shattered and crumbled to ruins. Storehouses, ships, and gunboats were in flames, while the blazing lightnings of battle were answered by the lightnings of heaven in a storm of signal fury. The power of the Great Slave-dealer was humbled.

The terms of submission were announced to his fleet in an order of the Admiral, dated, Queen Charlotte, Algiers Bay, August 30, 1816, which may be read with truer pleasure than any other in military or naval history.

"The commander-in-chief is happy to inform the fleet of the final termination of their strenuous exertions, by the signature of peace, confirmed under a salute of twenty-one guns, on the following conditions, dictated by his Royal Highness, the Prince Regent of England.

"I. The abolition of Christian slavery forever.

"II. The delivery to my flag of all slaves in the dominions of the Dey, to whatever nation they may belong, at noon to-morrow.

"III. To deliver also to my flag all money received by him for the redemption of slaves since the commencement of this year, at noon also to-morrow."[140]

On the next day upwards of twelve hundred slaves were emancipated, making, with those liberated in his earlier expedition, more than three thousand, whom, by address or force, Lord Exmouth delivered from bondage.[141]

Thus ended White Slavery in the Barbary States. Already it had died out[81] in Morocco. Quietly it had been renounced by Tripoli and Tunis. Its last retreat was Algiers, whence it was driven amidst the thunder of the British cannon.

Signal honors awaited the Admiral. He was elevated to a new rank in the peerage, and on his coat-of-arms was emblazoned a figure never before known in heraldry,—a Christian slave holding aloft the cross and dropping his broken fetters.[142] From the officers of the squadron he received a costly service of plate, with an inscription, in testimony of "the memorable victory gained at Algiers, where the great cause of Christian freedom was bravely fought and nobly accomplished."[143] Higher far than honor were the rich personal satisfactions he derived from the beneficent cause in which he was enlisted. In a despatch to the Government, describing the battle, he says, in words which may be felt by others, warring for the overthrow of slavery: "In all the vicissitudes of a long life of public service, no circumstance has ever produced on my mind such impressions of gratitude and joy as the event of yesterday. To have been one of the humble instruments in the hands of Divine Providence for bringing to reason a ferocious government, and destroying forever the insufferable and horrid system of Christian slavery, can never cease to be a source of delight and heartfelt comfort to every individual happy enough to be employed in it."[144]

The reverses of Algiers did not end here. Christian slavery was abolished; but in 1830 the insolence of [82]this barbarian government awoke the vengeance of France to take military possession of the whole country. Algiers capitulated, the Dey abdicated, and this considerable power became a French colony.

Thus I have endeavored to present what I could glean in various fields on the history of White Slavery in the Barbary States,—often employing the words of others, as they seemed best calculated to convey the scene, incident, or sentiment which I wished to preserve. So doing, I have occupied much time; but I may find my apology in the words of an English chronicler. "Algier," he says, "were altogether unworthy so long discourse, were not the unworthinesse most worthy our consideration: I meane the cruell abuse of the Christian name, which let us, for inciting our zeale and exciting our charitie and thankfulnes, more deeply weigh, to releeve those there in miseries (as we may) with our paynes, prayers, purses, and all the best mediations."[145] To exhibit the crime of slavery is in itself sufficient motive for any exertion.



By natural transition I am now brought to inquire into the true character of the evil whose history has been traced. Here I shall be brief.

Slavery in the Barbary States is denounced as an unquestionable outrage upon humanity and justice. In this judgment nobody hesitates. Our liveliest sympa[83]thies attend these white brethren,—torn from homes, the ties of family and friendship rudely severed, parent separated from child and husband from wife, exposed at public sale like cattle, and dependent, like cattle, upon the uncertain will of an arbitrary taskmaster. We read of a "gentleman" compelled to be valet of the barbarian emperor of Morocco;[146] and Calderon, the pride of the Spanish stage, has depicted the miserable fate of a Portuguese prince, degraded by the infidel Moor to carry water in a garden. But the lowly in condition had their unrecorded sorrows, whose sum-total swells to a fearful amount. Who can tell how many hearts have been wrung by the pangs of separation, how many crushed by the comfortless despair of interminable bondage? "Speaking as a Christian," says the good Catholic father who has chronicled much of this misery, "if on the earth there can be any condition which in its character and evils may represent in any manner the dolorous Passion of the Son of God (which exceeded all evils and torments, because by it the Lord suffered every kind of evil and affliction), it is, beyond question and doubt, none other than slavery and captivity in Algiers and Barbary, whose infinite evils, terrible torments, miseries without number, afflictions without mitigation, it is impossible to comprehend in a brief span of time."[147] When we consider the author's character as a father of the Catholic Church, it will be felt that language can no further go. The details of the picture may be seen in the report of another Catholic [84]father at a later day, who furnishes a chapter on the condition of Christian slaves in Morocco. Their torments are depicted: constrained to work at all hours, without days of rest, without proper food; sometimes the diversion of their master, "who makes their labor his rest and their sufferings his pleasure"; subject at all times to his capricious will, and the victims of horrid cruelty. One is described who was cast naked to the dogs, but, amidst the torments he endured, exhorted his fellow-captives to have patience, "telling them that Jesus Christ had suffered much more for them and for him";—saying this, he gathered up his bowels, which he drew from the mouths of the dogs, till, his strength failing him, he expired, and they devoured him. "I should never have done," says the father, "did I go about to relate here all that the merchants and captives told us of cruelties, they are so excessive."[148]

In nothing are impiety and blasphemy more apparent than in the auctions of human beings, where men are sold to the highest bidder. Through the personal experience of a young English merchant, Abraham Brown, afterwards a settler in Massachusetts, we learn how these were conducted. In 1655, before the liberating power of Cromwell was acknowledged, he was captured, together with a whole crew, and carried into Sallee. His own words, in his memoirs still preserved, will best tell his story.

"On landing," he says, "an exceeding great company of most dismal spectators were led to behold us in our captivated condition. There was liberty for all sorts to come and look on us, that whosoever had a mind to buy any of us, on the day appointed for our [85]sale together in the market, might see, as I may say, what they would like to have for their money; whereby we had too many comfortless visitors, both from the town and country, one saying he would buy this man, and the other that man. To comfort us, we were told by the Christian slaves already there, if we met with such and such patrons, our usage would not be so bad as we supposed; though, indeed, our men found the usage of the best bad enough. Fresh victuals and bread were supplied, I suppose to feed us up for the market, that we might be in some good plight against the day we were to be sold.

"And now I come to speak of our being sold into this doleful slavery. It was doleful in respect to the time and manner. As to the time, it was on our Sabbath day, in the morning, about the time the people of God were about to enjoy the liberty of God's house: this was the time our bondage was confirmed. Again, it was sad in respect to the manner of our selling. Being all of us brought into the market-place, we were led about, two or three at a time, in the midst of a great concourse of people, both from the town and country, who had a full sight of us, and if that did not satisfy, they would come and feel of your hand and look into your mouth to see whether you are sound in health, or to see by the hardness of your hand whether you have been a laborer or not. The manner of buying is this: he that bids the greatest price hath you,—they bidding one upon another, until the highest has you for a slave, whoever he is, or wherever he dwells.

"As concerning myself, being brought to the market in the weakest condition of any of our men, I was led forth among the cruel multitude to be sold. As yet being un[86]discovered what I was, I was like to have been sold at a very low rate, not above fifteen pounds sterling, whereas our ordinary seamen were sold for thirty pounds and thirty-five pounds sterling, and two boys were sold for forty pounds apiece; and being in this sad posture led up and down at least one hour and an half, during which time a Dutchman, that was our carpenter, discovered me to some Jews, they increased from fifteen to seventy-five pounds, which was the price my patron gave for me, being three hundred ducats; and had I not been so weakened, and in these rags (indeed, I made myself more so than I was, for sometimes, as they led me, I pretended I could not go, and did often sit down),—I say, had not these things been, in all likelihood I had been sold for as much again in the market, and thus I had been dearer, and the difficulty greater to be redeemed. During the time of my being led up and down the market, I was possessed with the greatest fears, not knowing who my patron might be. I feared it might be one from the country, who would carry me where I could not return, or it might be one in and about Sallee, of which we had sad accounts, and many other distracting thoughts I had. And though I was like to have been sold unto the most cruel man in Sallee, there being but one piece-of-eight between him and my patron, yet the Lord was pleased to cause him to buy me, of whom I may speak, to the glory of God, as the kindest man in the place."[149]


This is the story of a respectable person, little distinguished in the world. But the slave-dealer applied his inexorable system without distinction of persons.


The experience of St. Vincent de Paul did not differ from that of Abraham Brown. That illustrious character, admired, beloved, and worshipped by large circles of mankind, has also left a record of his sale as a slave.

"Their proceedings at our sale," he says, "were as follows. After we had been stripped, they gave to each one of us a pair of drawers, a linen coat, with a cap, and paraded us through the city of Tunis, whither they had come expressly to sell us. Having made us take five or six turns through the city, with the chain at our necks, they conducted us back to the boat, that the merchants might come and see who could eat well and who not, and to show that our wounds were not mortal. This done, they took us to the public square, where the merchants came to visit us, precisely as is done at the purchase of a horse or an ox, making us open our mouths to see our teeth, feeling our sides, probing our wounds, and making us walk about, trot, and run, then lift burdens, and then wrestle, in order to see the strength of each, and a thousand other sorts of brutalities."[150]

In this simple narrative what occasion for humiliation and encouragement! Well may we be humbled, that a nature so divine was subject to this cruel lot! Well may we be encouraged, as we contemplate the heights of usefulness and renown which this slave at last reached!



Here we may refer again to Cervantes, whose pen was dipped in his own dark experience. His "Life in Algiers" exhibits the horrors of the slave-market as it might be exhibited now. The public crier exposes for sale a father and mother with two children. They are to be sold separately, or, according to the language of our day, "in lots to suit purchasers." The father is resigned, confiding in God; the mother sobs; while the children, ignorant of the inhumanity of men, show an instinctive trust in the constant and wakeful protection of their parents,—now, alas! impotent to shield them from dire calamity. A merchant, inclining to purchase one of the children, and wishing to ascertain his bodily condition, makes him open his mouth. The child, ignorant of the destiny which awaits him, imagines that the purchaser is about to extract a tooth, and, assuring him that it does not ache, begs him to desist. The merchant, in other respects estimable enough, pays one hundred and thirty dollars for the youngest child, and the sale is completed. Thus a human being—one of those "little ones" who inspired the Saviour to say, "Of such is the kingdom of heaven"—is profanely treated as an article of merchandise, and torn from a mother's arms and a father's support. The hardening influence of custom has steeled the merchant into criminal insensibility to this violation of humanity and justice, this laceration of sacred ties, this degradation of God's image. The unconscious heartlessness of the slave-dealer and the anguish of his victims are depicted in the dialogue which ensues after the sale.[89]


Come hither, child, 't is time to go to rest.


Signor, I will not leave my mother here,
To go with any one.


Alas! my child, thou art no longer mine,
But his who bought thee.


What! then, have you, mother,
Forsaken me?


O Heavens! how cruel are ye!


Come, hasten, boy.


Will you go with me, brother?


I cannot, Juan; 't is not in my power;
May Heaven protect you, Juan!


Oh, my child,
My joy and my delight, God won't forget thee!


O father! mother! whither will they bear me
Away from you?


Permit me, worthy Signor,
To speak a moment in my infant's ear?
Grant me this small contentment; very soon
I shall know nought but grief.


What you would say
Say now; to-night is the last time.


Is the first time my heart e'er felt such grief.


Pray keep me with you, mother, for I know not
Whither he'd carry me.


Alas! poor child,
Fortune forsook thee even at thy birth.


The heavens are overcast, the elements
Are turbid, and the very sea and winds
Are all combined against me. Thou, my child,
Know'st not the dark misfortunes into which
Thou art so early plunged, but happily
Lackest the power to comprehend thy fate.

What I would crave of thee, my life, since I
Must never more be blessed with seeing thee,
Is that thou never, never wilt forget
To say, as thou wert wont, thy Ave Mary;
For that bright queen of goodness, grace, and virtue
Can loosen all thy bonds and give thee freedom.


Behold the wicked Christian, how she counsels
Her innocent child! You wish, then, that your child
Should, like yourself, continue still in error.


O mother, mother, may I not remain?
And must these Moors, then, carry me away?


With thee, my child, they rob me of my treasures.


Oh, I am much afraid!


'Tis I, my child,
Who ought to fear at seeing thee depart.
Thou wilt forget thy God, me, and thyself.
What else can I expect from thee, abandoned
At such a tender age amongst a people
Full of deceit and all iniquity?


Silence, you villanous woman! if you would not
Have your head pay for what your tongue has done.


From such a scene we gladly turn away, while, in the sincerity of our hearts, we give our sympathies to the unhappy sufferers. Fain would we avert their fate; fain would we destroy the system of bondage that has made them wretched and their masters cruel. And yet we must not judge with harshness the Algerine slave-owner, who, reared in a religion of slavery, learned to regard Christians "guilty of a skin not colored like his own" as lawful prey, and found sanctions for his conduct in the injunctions of the Koran, the custom of his country, and the instinctive dictates of an imagined self-interest. It is, then, the "peculiar institution" which we are aroused to execrate, rather than the Algerine slave-masters glorying in its influence, nor perceiving their foul disfigurement.


There is reason to believe that the sufferings of white slaves were not often greater than is the natural incident of slavery. An important authority presents this point in an interesting light. It is that of General Eaton, for some time consul of the United States at Tunis, and conqueror of Derne. In a letter to his wife, dated at Tunis, April 6, 1799, and written amidst opportunities of observation such as few have possessed, he briefly describes the condition of this unhappy class, illustrating it by a comparison less flattering to our country than to Barbary. "Many of the Christian slaves," he says, "have died of grief, and the others linger out a life less tolerable than death. Alas! remorse seizes my whole soul, when I reflect that this is, indeed, but a copy of the very barbarity which my eyes [92]have seen in my own native country. And yet we boast of liberty and national justice. How frequently, in the Southern States of my own country, have I seen weeping mothers leading the guiltless infants to the sales with as deep anguish as if they led them to the slaughter, and yet felt my bosom tranquil in the view of these aggressions upon defenceless humanity! But when I see the same enormities practised upon beings whose complexion and blood claim kindred with my own, I curse the perpetrators, and weep over the wretched victims of their rapacity. Indeed, truth and justice demand from me the confession, that the Christian slaves among the barbarians of Africa are treated with more humanity than the African slaves among the professing Christians of civilized America. And yet here sensibility bleeds at every pore for the wretches whom fate has doomed to slavery."[152] These words are explicit, although more terrible for us than for the Barbary States.


Such testimony would seem to furnish a decisive standard by which to determine the character of White Slavery. But there are other considerations and authorities. One of these is the influence of religion on these barbarians. Travellers remark the kind treatment bestowed by Mahometans upon slaves.[153] The lash rarely, if ever, lacerates the back of the female; the knife or [93]branding-iron is not employed upon any human being to mark him as property of his fellow-man. Nor is the slave doomed, as in other countries, where the Christian religion is professed, to unconditional and perpetual service, without prospect of redemption. Hope, the last friend of misfortune, may brighten his captivity. He is not so walled up by inhuman institutions as to be inaccessible to freedom. "And unto such of your slaves," says the Koran, in words worthy of adoption in the legislation of Christian countries, "as desire a written instrument allowing them to redeem themselves on paying a certain sum, write one, if ye know good in them, and give them of the riches of God which he hath given you."[154] Thus from the Koran, which ordains slavery, come lessons of benignity to the slave; and one of the most touching stories in Mahometanism is of the generosity of Ali, the companion of the Prophet, who, after fasting for three days, gave his whole provision to a captive not more famished than himself.[155]

Such precepts and examples had their influence in Algiers. It is evident, from the history of the country, that the prejudice of race did not so far prevail as to stamp upon slaves and their descendants any indelible mark of exclusion from power and influence. It often happened that they attained to great posts in the state. The seat of the Deys was filled more than once by humble captives who had tugged for years at the oar.[156]


Nor do we feel, from the narratives of captives and of travellers,[94] that the condition of the white slave was rigorous beyond the ordinary lot of slavery. "The Captive's Story" in Don Quixote fails to impress the reader with any peculiar horror of the life from which he escaped. It is often said that the sufferings of Cervantes were among the most severe which even Algiers could inflict.[157] But they did not repress the gayety of his temper; and we learn that in the building where he was confined there was a chapel or oratory in which mass was celebrated, the sacrament administered, and sermons regularly preached by captive priests. Nor was this all. The pleasures of the theatre were enjoyed by these slaves; and the farces of Lope de Rueda, a favorite Spanish dramatist of the time, served, in actual representation, to cheer this house of bondage.[158]

The experience of the devoted Portuguese ecclesiastic, Father Thomas, illustrates this lot. A slave in Morocco, he was able to minister to his fellow-slaves, and to compose a work on the Passion of Jesus Christ, much admired for its unction, and translated into various tongues. Liberated at last through the intervention of the Portuguese government, he chose to remain behind, notwithstanding the solicitations of relatives at home, [95]that he might continue to instruct and console the unhappy men, his late companions in bonds.[159]

Even the story of St. Vincent de Paul, so brutally sold in the public square, is not without gleam of light. He was bought by a fisherman, who was soon constrained to get rid of him, "having nothing so contrary except the sea." He then passed into the hands of an old man, whom he pleasantly describes as a chemical doctor, a sovereign extractor of quintessences, very humane and kind, who had labored for the space of fifty years in search of the philosopher's stone. "He loved me very much," says the fugitive slave, "and pleased himself by discoursing to me of alchemy, and then of his religion, to which he made every effort to draw me, promising me abundant riches and all his learning." On the death of this master he passed to a nephew, by whom he was sold to still another person, a renegade from Nice, who took him to the mountains, where the country was extremely hot and desert. The Turkish wife of the latter, becoming interested in him, and curious to know his manner of living at home, came to see him every day at his work in the fields, and listened with delight to the slave, away from his country and the churches of his religion, as he sang the psalm of the children of Israel in a foreign land: "By the rivers of Babylon there we sat down; yea, we wept when we remembered Zion."[160] Here is a touch of romance, which is all the more interesting when we consider the great life in which it occurs.

The kindness of these slave-masters often appears. [96]The English merchant, Abraham Brown, whose sale at Sallee has been already described, confesses, that, after he was carried home, his wounds were tenderly washed and dressed by his master's wife, and, "indeed, the whole family gave him comfortable words." He was furnished with a mat to lie on, "and some three or four days after provided with a shirt, such a one as it was, a pair of shoes, and an old doublet." His servile toils troubled him less than "being commanded by a negro man, who had been a long time in his patron's house a freeman, at whose beck and command he was obliged to be obedient for the doing of the least about the house or mill"; and he concludes his lament on this degradation as follows: "Thus I, who had commanded many men in several parts of the world, must now be commanded by a negro, who, with his two country-women in the house, scorned to drink out of the water-pot I drank of, whereby I was despised of the despised people of the world."[161] Here the free negro played the part so often played by the white overseer in our own country.

At a later day we are instructed by another authentic picture. Captain Braithwaite, who accompanied the British Legation to Morocco in 1727, on a generous mission of liberation, after describing their comfortable condition, adds: "I am sure we saw several captives who lived much better in Barbary than ever they did in their own country.... Whatever money in charity was ever sent them by their friends in Europe was their own, unless they defrauded one another, which has happened much oftener than by the Moors. In short, the captives have a much greater property than [97]the Moors in what they get, several of them being rich, and many have carried considerable sums out of the country, to the truth of which we are all witnesses. Several captives keep their mules, and some their servants; and yet this is called insupportable slavery among Turks and Moors. But we found this, as well as many other things in this country, strangely misrepresented."[162] Listening to such words, I seem to hear the apologies for slavery among ourselves.

Candor compels the admission that these authorities—which, with those who do not place freedom above all price, seem to take the sting from slavery—are not without support from other sources. Colonel Keatinge, who, as member of a diplomatic mission from England, visited Morocco in 1785, says of this evil there, that "it is very slightly inflicted," and "as to any labor undergone, it does not deserve the name";[163] while Mr. Lempriere, who was in the same country not long afterwards, adds: "To the disgrace of Europe, the Moors treat their slaves with humanity."[164] In Tripoli, we are told, by a person for ten years resident, that the same gentleness prevailed. "It is a great alleviation to our feelings on their account," says the writer, speaking of the slaves, "to see them easy and well-dressed; and so far from wearing chains, as captives do in most other places, they are here perfectly at liberty."[165] We have already seen the testimony of General Eaton with regard to slavery in Tunis; while Mr. Noah, one of his successors in the consulate of the United States at that place, says: [98]"In Tunis, from my observation, the slaves are not severely treated; and many of them have made money."[166] And Mr. Shaler, speaking of the chief seat of Christian slavery, says: "In short, there were slaves who left Algiers with regret."[167] How singularly present apologies for our slavery echo these voices from the Barbary States!

A French writer of more recent date asserts, with some vehemence, and with the authority of an eye-witness, that the white slaves at Algiers were not exposed to the miseries which they represented. I do not know that he vindicates their slavery, but, like Captain Braithwaite, he evidently regards many of them as better off than they would be at home. According to him, they were well clad and well fed, much better than free Christians there,—precisely as it is said that our slaves are much better off than free negroes. The youngest and most comely were taken as pages by the Dey. Others were employed in the barracks; others in the galleys: but even here there was a chapel, as in the time of Cervantes, for the free exercise of the Christian religion. Those who happened to be artisans, as carpenters, locksmiths, and calkers, were let to the owners of vessels; others were employed on the public works; while others still were allowed the privilege of keeping a shop, where their profits were sometimes so large as to enable them at the end of a year to purchase their ransom. But these were often known to become indifferent to freedom, preferring Algiers to their own country. Slaves of private persons were sometimes employed in the family of their master, where their treatment necessarily depended much upon his character. If he was [99]gentle and humane, their lot was fortunate; they were regarded as children of the house. If he was harsh and selfish, then the iron of slavery did indeed enter their souls. Many were bought to be sold again for profit into distant parts of the country, where they were doomed to exhausting labor; in which event their condition was most grievous. But special care was bestowed upon those who became ill,—not so much, it is said, from humanity as through fear of losing them.[168] This whole story seems to be told of us, rather than of others.


Whatever deductions may be made from familiar stories of White Slavery,—allowing that it was mitigated by the genial influence of Mahometanism,—that the captives were well clad and well fed, much better than free Christians there,—that they were permitted opportunities of Christian worship,—that they were often treated with lenity and affectionate care,—that they were sometimes advanced to posts of responsibility and honor,—and that they were known, in contentment or stolidity, to become indifferent to freedom,—still the institution or custom is hardly less hateful. Slavery, in all its forms, even under mildest influences, is a wrong and a curse. No accidental gentleness of the master can make it otherwise. Against it reason, experience, the heart of man, all cry out. "Disguise thyself as thou wilt, still, Slavery, still thou art a bitter [100]draught; and though thousands in all ages have been made to drink of thee, thou art no less bitter on that account."[169] Algerine Slavery was a violation of the Law of Nature and of God. It was a usurpation of rights not granted to man.

"O execrable son, so to aspire
Above his brethren, to himself assuming
Authority usurped, from God not given!
He gave us only over beast, fish, fowl
Dominion absolute; that right we hold
By his donation; but man over men
He made not lord, such title to himself
Reserving, human left from human free."[170]

Such a God-defying relation could not fail to accumulate disaster upon all in any way parties to it; for injustice and wrong are fatal alike to doer and sufferer. Notoriously in Algiers it exerted a most pernicious influence on master as well as slave. The slave was crushed and degraded, his intelligence abased, even his love of freedom extinguished. The master, accustomed from childhood to revolting inequalities of condition, was exalted into a mood of unconscious arrogance and self-confidence inconsistent with the virtues of a pure and upright character. Unlimited power is apt to stretch towards license; and the wives and daughters of white slaves were often pressed to be the concubines of Algerine masters.[171]


It is well, then, that it has passed away. The Barbary States seem less barbarous, when we no longer discern this cruel oppression.


The story of slavery in the Barbary States is not yet all told. While they received white slaves from sea, captured by corsairs, they also, time immemorial, imported black slaves out of the South. Over the vast, illimitable sea of sand, absorbing their southern border, traversed by camels, those "ships of the desert," were brought these unfortunate beings, as merchandise, with gold-dust and ivory, doomed often to insufferable torment, while cruel thirst parched the lips, and tears vainly moistened the eyes. They also were ravished from home, and, like their white brethren from the North, compelled to taste of slavery.

In numbers they far exceeded their white peers. But for long years no pen or voice pleaded their cause; nor did the Christian nations, professing a religion which teaches universal humanity without respect of persons, and sends the precious sympathies of neighborhood to all who suffer, even at the farthest pole, ever interfere in their behalf. The navy of Great Britain, by the throat of its artillery, argued the freedom of all fellow-Christians, without distinction of nation, but heeded not the slavery of others, brethren in bonds, Mahometans or idolaters, children of the same Father in heaven. Lord Exmouth did but half his work. Confining the stipulation to the abolition of Christian slavery, this Abolitionist made a discrimination, which, whether founded on religion or color, was self[102]ish and unchristian. Here, again, we notice the same inconsistency which appeared in Charles the Fifth, and has constantly recurred throughout the history of this outrage. Forgetful of the Brotherhood of Man, Christian powers deem the slavery of blacks just and proper, while the slavery of whites is branded unjust and sinful.

As the British fleet proudly sailed from the harbor of Algiers, bearing its emancipated white slaves, and the express stipulation that Christian slavery was abolished there forever, it left behind in bondage large numbers of blacks, distributed throughout the Barbary States. Neglected thus by exclusive and unchristian Christendom, it is pleasant to know that their lot is not always unhappy. In Morocco negroes are still detained as slaves; but the prejudice of color seems not to prevail. They have been called "the grand cavaliers of this part of Barbary."[172] They often become the chief magistrates and rulers of cities.[173] They have constituted the body-guard of emperors, and, on one occasion at least, exercised the prerogative of Prætorian Cohort, in dethroning their master.[174] If negro slavery still exists here, it has little of the degradation it entails elsewhere. Into Algiers France has carried the benign principle of law, which assures freedom to all beneath its influence. And now we are cheered by the glad tidings, that the Bey of Tunis, "for the glory of God, and to distinguish man from the brute creation," has decreed the total abolition of human slavery throughout his dominions.


Turn, then, with hope and confidence to the Barbary States! Virtues and charities do not come singly. There is among them a common bond, stronger than that of science or knowledge. Let one find admission, and a goodly troop will follow. Nor is it unreasonable to anticipate other improvements in states which have renounced a long-cherished system of White Slavery, while they have done much to abolish or mitigate the slavery of others not white, and to overcome the inhuman prejudice of color. The Christian nations of Europe first declared, and practically enforced within their own European dominions, the vital truth of freedom, that man cannot hold property in his brother-man. Algiers and Tunis, like Saul of Tarsus, are turned from the path of persecution, and now receive the same faith. Algiers and Tunis help to plead the cause of Freedom. Such a cause is in sacred fellowship with all those principles which promote the Progress of Man. And who can tell that this despised portion of the globe is not destined to yet another restoration? It was here in Northern Africa that civilization was first nursed, that commerce early spread her white wings, that Christianity was taught by the honeyed lips of Augustine. All these are returning to their ancient home. Civilization, commerce, and Christianity once more shed benignant influence upon the land to which they have long been strangers. New health and vigor animate its exertions. Like its own giant Antæus, whose tomb is placed by tradition among the hillsides of Algiers, it has been often felled to earth, but now rises, with renewed strength, to gain yet nobler victories.


Speech before the Boston Prison Discipline Society, at the Tremont Temple, June 18, 1847.


At the anniversary of the Boston Prison Discipline Society, in Park Street Church, May 27, 1845, Mr. Sumner was present, in company with his friend, Dr. S.G. Howe. Listening to the Annual Report, they were painfully impressed by its tone, and especially by the injustice done to excellent persons in Philadelphia, sustaining what was known as the Pennsylvania System. Without being an advocate of this system, or committing himself to it in any way, Mr. Sumner thought that it ought to be fairly considered, and that there should be no harsh imputations upon its supporters. With the encouragement of Dr. Howe, he came forward, and, in a few unpremeditated remarks, sought to point out the error of the Report, and concluded with a motion for a select committee to review and modify it, with power to visit Philadelphia in the name of the Society, and ascertain on the spot the true character of the system so strongly condemned. The motion prevailed, and the President, who was the Rev. Dr. Wayland, appointed Dr. S.G. Howe, Mr. Sumner, Hon. S.A. Eliot, Hon. Horace Mann, Dr. Walter Channing, Rev. Louis Dwight, Hon. George T. Bigelow, and Hon. J.W. Edmonds of New York, as the committee. This was the beginning of a prolonged controversy, little anticipated when Mr. Sumner first came forward, where feeling was displayed beyond what seemed natural to such a question.

The day after this meeting, Mr. Sumner received a friendly letter from the President of the Society, thanking him for the remarks he had made, and encouraging him to persevere. This letter will be found in the speech preserved in this volume.

The Committee visited Philadelphia, where they were received with honor and kindness by the gentlemen interested in Prison Discipline, and examined the Penitentiary with every opportunity that could be desired. An elaborate Report was prepared by Dr. Howe. How this failed to be adopted as the Report of the Committee, and to be embodied in the Annual Report of the Society, is narrated in the speech below. It was afterwards published as a pamphlet, entitled "An Essay on Separate [105]and Congregate Systems of Prison Discipline, being a Report made to the Boston Prison Discipline Society," and is, beyond question, a most important contribution to the science of Prison Discipline. The proper treatment of criminals is here considered with singular power and sympathetic humanity.

Disappointed in the effort to obtain a candid hearing through a Report, the subject was presented again at the anniversary of the Society, May 26, 1846. Mr. Sumner made a speech of some length, published in the newspapers, concluding with a motion for the appointment of a committee to examine and review the former printed Report of the Society, also the course of the Society, and to consider if its action could in any way be varied or amended, so that its usefulness might be extended. Mr. Sumner, George S. Hillard, Esq., Bradford Sumner, Esq., Dr. Walter Channing, Rev. Louis Dwight, and President Wayland were appointed the committee, it being understood that they would not report before the next annual meeting.

Meanwhile the controversy widened in its sphere, embracing newspapers, and extending to Europe, where it excited uncommon interest. The "Law Reporter," an important law journal, edited by Peleg W. Chandler, Esq., thus referred to the late meeting, and to Mr. Sumner's speech on the occasion.

"Mr. Sumner proceeded, in a strain of great eloquence and power, to condemn the course which the Society had pursued in past years, illustrating his points by facts which are by no means creditable to the Society, averring, among other things, that the statements contained in the Annual Reports had been pronounced false by public reports in this country and in Europe, and that a letter from the Hon. William Jay, an honorary Vice-President of the Society, and also a letter from Dr. Bell, a corresponding member, in favor of the Separate System, had both never been read to the Society, nor published."[175]

At the same time the Law Reporter translated and published a German article by Dr. Varrentrapp, of Frankfort-on-the-Main, which appeared originally in the Jahrbücher der Gefängnisskunde und Besserungs-anstalten (Annals of Prisons and Houses of Correction), where the Reports of our Society were canvassed with great severity.[176]

Mr. Sumner's speech was reprinted at Liverpool in a pamphlet. Letters from England, France, and Germany attested the concern in those countries. Among the eminent persons who watched the discussion was M. de Tocqueville, whose letter on the subject will be found at the end of the speech below. At home it called forth an able pamphlet by Hon. Francis C. Gray, entitled "Prison Discipline in America," which took ground against the Pennsylvania System.


At the succeeding anniversary, May 25, 1847, Mr. Sumner, for himself and two of his associates on the Committee, (Dr. Wayland and Mr. Hillard,) presented a Report, which was printed in the newspapers. Its character will be interred from the Resolutions with which it concluded.

"Resolved, That the object of our Society is to promote the improvement of public prisons.

"Resolved, That our Society is not, and ought not to be considered, the pledged advocate of the Auburn System of Prison Discipline, or of any other system now in existence,—and that its Reports should set forth, with strict impartiality, the merits and demerits of any and all systems.

"Resolved, That we recognize the Directors of the Eastern Penitentiary of Pennsylvania as sincere, conscientious, and philanthropic fellow-laborers in the great cause of Prison Discipline.

"Resolved, That, if any expressions of disrespect have appeared in our Reports, or been uttered at any of our public meetings, which have justly given pain to our brethren, our Society sincerely regrets them.

"Resolved, That our Society should strive, by increased action on the part of its officers and of its individual members, to extend its usefulness.

"Resolved, That the Board of Managers be requested to organize a new system of action for the Society, which shall enlist the coöperation of its individual members."

The adoption of these Resolutions being opposed, the meeting was adjourned for their consideration till the evening of May 28th, when Mr. Sumner supported them in a speech of some length, which will be found in the newspapers. Other meetings followed, by adjournment, on the evenings of June 2d, 4th, 9th, 11th, 16th, 18th, and 23d. These were all at the Tremont Temple, and were attended by large and most intelligent audiences, evincing at times a good deal of feeling. They were presided over by Hon. Theodore Lyman, a Vice-President of the Society. The Resolutions were supported by Dr. Howe, Mr. Hillard, Rev. Francis Parkman, and Henry H. Fuller, Esq. They were opposed by Hon. S.A. Eliot (the Treasurer of the Society), Rev. Louis Dwight (the Secretary), Hon. Francis C. Gray, Bradford Sumner, Esq., Rev. George Allen, Dr. Walter Channing, and J. Thomas Stevenson, Esq. On the evening of June 18th, Mr. Sumner took the floor and reviewed the whole debate. Other speeches by him are omitted. This is given at length, as opening the main points of controversy, and especially the principles involved.

Mr. President,—As Chairman of the Committee whose Report and Resolutions are now under consideration, it becomes my duty to review and to close this debate. The reapers have been many, and [107]the sickles keen; but the field is ample, and the harvest abundant; so that, even at this late period, I may hope to be no superfluous gleaner.

Before entering upon our labor, let us refresh ourselves by the contemplation of the unquestioned good accruing from these protracted meetings. All will feel how well it is for our Society that its attention is at last turned in upon itself, and that it is led to that self-examination enjoined upon every good man, with a view to future usefulness. All, too, will feel, whatever may be the immediate vote on the question before us, that this discussion has excited an unwonted interest in behalf of those who are in prison, and that under its influences a sacred sympathy has vibrated from heart to heart. Thus much for the unquestioned good.

Mr. President, I approach this discussion with regret, feeling that I must say some things which I would gladly leave unsaid. I shall not, however, decline the duty which is cast upon me. In its performance I hope to be pardoned, if I speak frankly and freely; I trust it will be gently and kindly. I will borrow from the honorable Treasurer, with his permission, something of his frankness, without his temper. As I propose to adduce facts, I shall be grateful to any gentleman who will correct me where I seem to be wrong. For such a purpose I will cheerfully yield the floor, even to the Treasurer, though his sense of justice did not suffer him, while on the floor, to give me an opportunity of correcting a misstatement he made of what I said on a former occasion.

Let me begin by a reference—which I would rather avoid—to myself and my personal relations to this inquiry. I was brought up at the feet of our Society. [108]My earliest recollection of anything like the cause to which it is devoted does not extend beyond the period of its origin. My early partialities were in favor of its course, and of the system of Prison Discipline it has advocated. I had read its Reports, and circulated them at home and abroad, and felt grateful to their author. Other studies, and some acquaintance with the elaborate labors by which the science of Prison Discipline has been advanced in Europe, led me first to doubt the action of our Society, and finally to the conviction that it was not candid and just, particularly in the treatment of the Pennsylvania System. With this impression, I attended the anniversary of 1845, where I listened to what seemed a discreditable Report from the Board of Managers, in which this system was treated ignorantly, ungenerously, and unjustly, while the officer of our Society whose duty it was to read the Report, in words which fell from him while reading it, seemed to impeach the veracity of the Inspectors of the Penitentiary at Philadelphia. In concurrence with a friend on my right [Dr. Howe], I was emboldened to ask a reference of the Report to a select committee, with power to review and modify it, and to visit Philadelphia, in order to ascertain on the spot the true character of the system of Prison Discipline there practised, and to incorporate a report of their proceedings in the next Annual Report of the Society. What I said was of the moment. I spoke in behalf of the absent, and, in a certain sense, as the representative of the unrepresented, believing that gross injustice was done to them and to their system. My aim was to recall the Society to that candor and justice which self-respect, to say nothing of its Christian professions, seemed to require.


Here let me indulge in a reminiscence. It is the custom to open our meetings with prayer. By the records of our Society it appears that at its earliest anniversary, as long ago as 1826, this service was performed by an eminent clergyman, the deserved favorite of his own denomination, and much respected by all others. This public profession of interest in the cause was followed by other manifestations of it. He became a manager of our Society. Subsequently, yielding to the call of the University at Providence, he left Boston and became President of that important seat of learning. His labors were not restricted to academic duties. By his pen, and the wide influence of his remarkable character, he was felt in various fields of labor throughout the country. His interest in Prison Discipline was constant, and in 1843 he was chosen President of our Society. Placing him at its head, we justly honored one of our earliest and most distinguished friends. He was in the chair on the anniversary to which I have referred. His sense of the injustice to the gentlemen of Philadelphia was great. As the most authentic expression of his opinions on that occasion, influencing, as they have, the subsequent proceedings of those who seek a change in the course of our Society, I read a letter from him, written on the evening of that anniversary.

"Providence, May 27, 1845.

"My dear Sumner,—I cannot resist the impulse to thank you again for your remarks this morning. I had resolved, before you rose, to return home and immediately resign office in the Society; for I could not allow my influence, though ever so small, to be used for the purpose of (as it seemed to me) vilifying the intentions of good and honorable men. I cannot perceive how we can, with any show of pro[110]priety, use language, in respect to absent gentlemen, which, in the ordinary intercourse of society, would be just cause of irreconcilable variance. I agree with you entirely as to the object of the Society. It is to improve the discipline of prisons, and it should hail, as fellow-laborers, all who are honestly engaged in the same cause. The cause requires the trial of various experiments, and our business is to collect, in good faith, and with catholic liberality, the results of all, that so, by the comparison of results, the best end may be attained. I thank you over and over again for coming forward so nobly in defence of the absent, and for placing the object of the Society on its true basis, instead of allowing it to be a mere antagonist to the gentlemen at Philadelphia. In all this, of course, I mean no unkindness to any one. I only feel that by looking at an object steadily and earnestly in only one light we are all liable to lose sight of its wider relations.

"I am, so far as I see, in favor of the Auburn System; but I want to know something of all of the systems, and am, I trust, anxious to learn the facts. I wrote an article in the North American Review, some time since, on the subject. I am inclined to the same view still. But this is no reason why I should disparage the labor of others.

"You seem interested in this matter, and I feel rejoiced at it. I cannot but hope that good will come of it. Let me suggest a few things, by way of indication, that may possibly be improved.

"1. Is it wise to have our Annual Reports so far extempore? What we sanction should be ipsissima verba. Our character as men is involved in what we hear and order to be published.

"2. It seems to me that our expenditure should be used with great attention to results. The statistics which we have are important, but I doubt whether they always bear so closely on our object as they might. Why would it not be [111]desirable to investigate the great subject of Pauperism, and that of Criminal Law, which, together, do almost the whole work of filling our prisons?

"3. Do the Executive Committee really take these subjects in hand, and give direction to the labors of the Society? They have a very responsible situation, and cannot discharge it by simply auditing bills. Can they not be induced to labor earnestly in this matter?

"4. It seems that John Augustus, a poor man, has done much. We praise him. This is well. Can we not take means for following his example?

"These things have occurred to me, and I know that you will pardon me for suggesting them. I believe that there is here a field for doing great good. When I think of the good which Miss Dix, alone and unaided, has done, I cannot but believe that we might do more. To the gentlemen of your profession we specially look for aid in this matter. Can you labor in any philanthropic object with better prospect of success? Excuse my freedom. I have no right to set you or any one else at work. I am ashamed to be president of a society for which I do so little, and will gladly remove myself out of the way, and have earnestly desired to do so. I, however, hold myself ready to do anything that may be in my power to advance the cause in which we are engaged.

"I am, my dear Sir, yours very truly,

"F. Wayland.

C. Sumner, Esq."

The committee appointed under the Resolution examined the Report of the Managers, and visited Philadelphia. A Report prepared by their chairman, Dr. Howe, was made a Minority Report by the votes of the Treasurer and Secretary, officers of the Society, and both of them, as appears from the records, involved in the authorship of the original Report which gave occasion to the inquiry, and therefore, it would seem, in the light [112]of propriety, if not of parliamentary rules, hardly competent to sit on the committee. It was next proposed that the Report, although by a minority, should, in pursuance of the instruction in the original Resolution, "be incorporated in the next Annual Report." This, it appears from the records, was submitted to the Board of Managers, May 7, 1846, where it was opposed by the Treasurer. On May 21st it was referred to a meeting of the whole Society, convened at the dwelling-house of the Secretary: for our association dilates at times to dimensions ample as this large audience, and then again shrinks, if need be, to the narrow space occupied by its Secretary. At this meeting, on motion of the Treasurer, still another impediment was thrown in the way of printing the Report, in pursuance of the original Resolution. At the business meeting of the Society, May 25th, on the day preceding the anniversary, I made still another ineffectual attempt to have this Report appear among the transactions of the Society. This was followed by a Resolution, on motion of Mr. Nathaniel Willis, a near connection of the Secretary, as follows:—

"Voted, That it is not expedient to discuss the subject at the anniversary meeting."

It was at the anniversary meeting, however, that I was determined to discuss the subject, being assured, that, in the presence of a wakeful public, the will of one or two individuals could not control the course of the Society. Accordingly I took the floor and proceeded to speak, when I was strangely encountered by the Secretary, who ejaculated: "Mr. President, the annual meeting was interrupted in this manner last year; there are gentlemen present who are invited by the Committee of Arrangements to address us." On this remarkable frag[113]ment of a speech I made no comment at the time. I shall make none now; but I cannot forbear quoting the words of the able editor of the Law Reporter with regard to it. "It would seem," he says, "that the addresses at the public meetings of this Society are all cut and dried beforehand, made to order,—a fact that might as well have been kept back, under the circumstances, for the credit of all concerned."[177] Notwithstanding this interference, I proceeded to expose the prejudiced and partisan course of the Society, and its consequent loss of credit, concluding with a motion for a committee to consider its past conduct, and the best means of extending its usefulness. The motion, though opposed at the time, was adopted. It is the Report of that committee which is now before you.

This Report, when offered to the Society, was first opposed on grounds of form. It is now opposed on other grounds, hardly more pertinent, though not of form only. Thus at every step have honest efforts to elevate the character of the Society, and to extend its usefulness, been encountered by opposition. Under the auspices of the Treasurer and Secretary, the Society shrinks from examination and inquiry. Like the sensitive leaf, it closes at the touch. Nay, more: it repels all endeavor to wake it to new life. It seems to have adopted, as its guardian motto, that remarkable epitaph which for more than two centuries has preserved from examination and intrusion the sacred remains of the greatest master of our tongue:—

"Good friend, for Jesus' sake, forbear
To dig the dust enclosed here!
Blest be the man that spares these stones,
And curst be he that moves my bones!"


The Boston Prison Discipline Society is not William Shakespeare; nor is it yet dead. But the maledictions of the epitaph have fallen upon those of us undertaking to "move its bones."

The Treasurer has impeached our motives. Sir, I impeach no man's motives; but I do submit, that, if the motives of any person are drawn in question, it cannot be those of gentlemen originating this inquiry, but rather of those few whose pride of opinion is intertwined with the whole course of the Society. Again, it is said that we are "intruders." That was the word. Is your predecessor, Sir, the Rev. Dr. Wayland, who is one of the authors of the report, an intruder? Are the gentlemen sustaining the Report in this debate intruders? Are we not all members of this Society, and as such bound to exertion, according to our abilities, in carrying forward its objects? Who shall call us intruders? Sir, I apply this term to no man, and to no set of men; but I cannot forbear saying, that, if its injurious suggestion be applicable to anybody, it cannot be to those honestly striving to elevate the character of the Society, and to extend its usefulness, but rather to those who meet these efforts with constant opposition, and declare, as has been done in this debate, that "it is the policy of the Society to act by one man only." It is also insinuated that one of the gentlemen supporting the Report, a valued friend of mine, has shown undue confidence in his own opinions: I do not remember the word employed. Sir, his modest character and services, which have been gratefully recognized in both hemispheres, and his intimate acquaintance with the subject, entitle him to speak with firmness. I do not charge the gentleman who dealt this insinuation with vanity [115]or self-esteem, though it did seem to me that it came with ill grace from one who in the course of a short speech contrived to announce himself as Treasurer of the Boston Prison Discipline Society, next as Treasurer of Harvard College, and, not content with this, told us that he had once been a member of the City Government, and a Senator of the Commonwealth! I will not follow these personalities further. I allude to them with regret. They are a part of the poisoned ingredients—"eye of newt and toe of frog"—which the Treasurer has dropped into the caldron of this debate.

I now pass to the question. The Report and the accompanying Resolutions present three principal points: first, the duty and pledge on our part of candor and impartiality between the different systems of Prison Discipline; secondly, the duty of offering some expression of regret to our brethren in Philadelphia on account of the past; thirdly, the duty of our officers to make increased exertions, particularly by enlisting the coöperation of individual members.

To these several propositions we have had various replies, occupying no inconsiderable time. We have listened to the humane sentiments of my friend on the left [Dr. Walter Channing], to the inappropriate twice-told statistics of my other friend [Mr. F.C. Gray], to the labored argument of my professional brother [Mr. Bradford Sumner], to the two addresses of the reverend gentleman from Worcester [Rev. George Allen]. Let me say, that I have many sympathies with this gentleman. With admiration and delight I have recently read a production of his, entitled "Resistance to Slavery Every Man's Duty." Here his own powers an[116]swered to the grandeur of his cause. If he has failed in the present debate, it cannot be from lack of ability or from shortness of time. Lastly, we have been made partakers of that singular utterance from our Treasurer, which abounded so largely in the excellence that Byron found in Mitford, the historian of Greece, and which he said should characterize all good historians,—"wrath and partiality."

It is my purpose to consider and sustain the positions of the Report and Resolutions, and, in the course of my remarks, to repel the objections raised against them. In doing this, I shall confine myself to the topics which occupied the attention of the Committee. This will lead me to put aside one suggestion, of an irrelevant character, introduced into this debate by a friend not of the Committee: I refer to the charge of Sectarianism. This did not enter into the deliberations of the Committee, and formed no part of the Report. If there be in the past course of the Society any ground for this charge,—and on this I express no opinion,—it will doubtless find a corrective in what has been said here. As I do not ask your acceptance of the Report and Resolutions on this ground, so I appeal to your candor in their behalf irrespectively of any considerations arising from the introduction of this topic.


The first point for consideration is the duty and pledge on our part of candor and impartiality between the different systems of Prison Discipline. Here I might, perhaps, content myself with a bare enumeration of these systems, and ask the Society if they are so [117]fully convinced with regard to the comparative merits of each as to embrace one, and to reject, absolutely, all the others. For instance, I mention four different systems. First, that of Pennsylvania, so much discussed, the principal feature of which is separation of prisoners from each other both by day and night, with labor in cells. Secondly, that of Auburn, where the prisoners are in separate cells by night, but labor in common workshops, in enforced silence, by day. Thirdly, a system compounded of these two, according to which certain prisoners are treated as at Auburn, and certain others as in Pennsylvania,—sometimes called the Mixed System, and sometimes that of Lausanne, from the circumstance that here, in Switzerland,—interesting to us as the place where Gibbon wrote his great history,—there is a prison of this character. Fourthly, there is still another system,—or, perhaps, absence of system,—which is followed at Munich, and is called after Obermaier, the benevolent head of the prison in that place, who has rejected the separate cell of Pennsylvania by day, and also the corporal punishment and enforced silence of Auburn. Our own prison at Charlestown, also marked by absence of system, seems to me not unlike that of Obermaier. A similar benevolence emanates from the head of each of these institutions.

In each and all of these systems there is, doubtless, much that we should hesitate to condemn, and which it becomes us, as honest inquirers, to examine carefully and seek to comprehend. Calling upon our Society for a pledge of candor and impartiality, it will not be disguised that there are special reasons from its past course. Properly to appreciate this course, and to understand the unfortunate position of ungenerous antagonism to [118]the Pennsylvania System which we now occupy, it will be necessary to consider the origin and true character of that system. This will lead to some minuteness of historical detail.

Turning our eyes to the condition of prisons during the last century, we perceive that scarcely a single ray of humanity had then penetrated their dreary confines. Idleness, debauchery, blasphemy, brutality, squalor, disease, wretchedness, mingled in them as in a hateful sty. All the unfortunate children of crime, the hardened felon, whose soul was blotted by continual guilt, and the youthful victim, who had just yielded to temptation, but whose countenance still mantled with the blush of virtue, and whose soul had not lost all its original brightness, were crowded together, without separation or classification, in one promiscuous, fermenting mass of wickedness, with scanty food and raiment, with few or no means of cleanliness, a miserable prey to the contagion of disease, and the worse contagion of vice and sin. The abject social degradation of the ancient Britons, in the picture drawn by Julius Cæsar, excites our wonder to a less degree than the well-authenticated condition of the poor prisoners in the polished annals of George the Third.

Of all the circumstances which conspired to produce this wretchedness, it cannot be doubted that the promiscuous commingling of the prisoners in one animal herd was the most to be deplored. This evil arrested general attention. In France it enkindled the burning eloquence of Mirabeau, as in England it inspired the heavenly charity of Howard. It was felt not only in Europe, but here in our own country. Nay, it still [119]continues, the scandal of this age and place, in the present jail of Boston!

In the effort to escape from this evil, persons with best intentions, but by a not unnatural error, rushed to the opposite extreme. It was proposed to separate prisoners from each other by a system of absolute solitude, without labor, books, or solace of any kind. This was actually done in Maine, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Without referring particularly to other States, I ask you to follow the course of things in Pennsylvania. In 1818 a law was passed authorizing the building of a penitentiary at Pittsburg "on the principle of solitary confinement of the convicts," and "provided always that the principle of the solitary confinement of the prisoners be preserved and maintained." In 1821 another law was passed authorizing the same at Philadelphia. Both of these prisons were conceived in a system of solitude without labor.

As such, they were justly obnoxious to criticism and censure. Thanks to the good men who interfered to arrest this design! Thanks to our Secretary, whose early energies were rightly directed to this end! The soul shrinks with horror from the cell of constant and unoccupied solitude, as repugnant to unceasing yearnings in the nature of man. The "leads" of Venice, the cruel cages of state prisoners, inspire us with indignation against that heartless republic. The terrors of the Bastile, whether revealed in the pictured page of Victor Hugo, or in the grave descriptions of dungeons where toads and rats made their home, contain nothing to fill us with such dread as the unbroken solitude which was the lot of many of its victims. Lafayette—whose own experience at Olmütz should not be for[120]gotten—has furnished his testimony of its melancholy influence, as apparent in the condition of those who suddenly came forth, on the morning which dawned upon the destruction of that gloomy prison. Almost in our own time their sufferings have been revived in the Austrian dungeons of Spielberg; and Silvio Pellico has left to the literature of mankind the record of horrors filling the perpetual solitude of his cell, which he vainly strove to relieve by crying out to the iron bars of his window, to the hills in the distance, and to the birds which sported with freedom in the air.

A system of absolute solitude excludes every rational idea of health, improvement, or reformation. It is an engine of cruelty and tyranny kindred to the iron boot, the thumb-screw, the iron glove, and other terrible instruments of a vengeance-loving government. It hardens, abases, or overthrows the intellect and character. Such a punishment is justly rejected in a Christian age, learning to temper justice with mercy, and to regard the reformation of the offender among its essential aims.

Under the pressure of these arguments, in those States where this system had been adopted the subject was reconsidered. The discussion was affected materially by the opinions of two remarkable men,—William Roscoe, and Lafayette. The former is cherished as the elegant historian of Lorenzo de' Medici and Leo X.; though, perhaps, he should be more justly dear for those labors which crowned the close of his life, in the fields of humanity. Lafayette—on his visit, in 1825, to the country which had been the scene of his youthful devotion—was induced, by a letter from Roscoe, to interest himself in Prison Discipline. He did not surrender himself merely to the blandishments of that unparal[121]leled triumph,—a more than royal progress, forming one of the most touching incidents in history,—when in advanced years he received the gratitude of the giant republic whose feeble infancy he had helped to cradle and protect. From his correspondence it appears that he strove, by conversation in Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and particularly in Pennsylvania, to influence public opinion on the subject of Prisons, and most especially against the system of solitary confinement, which he justly likened to the Bastile. His own opinions, and those of Roscoe, were widely circulated, and were quoted in official documents. Their precise influence it is impossible to calculate. The system so abhorrent to our feelings, after brief experiment, was discarded in those States where it had been in operation; and in New York, that of Auburn, consisting of solitude by night with labor in common by day, was confirmed, to the great joy of Roscoe, who feared that it might yield to that of absolute solitude, which had been tried there in 1822.

In Pennsylvania this important change took place previously to the occupation of the new penitentiary at Philadelphia. By a law bearing date April 23, 1829, it was expressly provided, that, after July 1, 1829, convicts should, "instead of the penitentiary punishments heretofore prescribed, be sentenced to suffer punishment by SEPARATE or solitary confinement at LABOR." It is further provided, that the warden "shall visit every cell and apartment, and see every prisoner under his care, at least once in every day,"—that the overseers shall "inspect the condition of each prisoner at least three times in every day,"—that "the physician shall visit every prisoner in the prison twice in every week"; and further [122]provision is made for "visitors," among whom are "the acting committee of the Philadelphia Society for the Alleviation of the Miseries of Public Prisons." Here is the first legislative declaration of what has since been called, at home and abroad, the Pennsylvania System. As administered there and elsewhere, it is found to have, in greater or less degree, the following elements: 1. Separation of the prisoners from each other; 2. Labor in the cell; 3. Exercise in the open air; 4. Visits; 5. Books; 6. Moral and religious instruction. Its fundamental doctrine, and only essential element, is separation of prisoners from each other, on which may be ingrafted solace of any kind needful to health of body or mind. In 1840, M. de Tocqueville, in his masterly report to the French Chamber of Deputies, recommending the adoption of this system throughout France, accorded to it these characteristics.


In the history of this system, its origin is often referred to different places. It is sometimes said to have been first recognized at Rome by Clement XI., as long ago as 1703, in the foundation of a House of Refuge; and again it is said to have appeared some time during the last century in a prison of Holland,—also in one at Gloucester, in England; while it seems to be described with tolerable clearness in the preamble to the fifth section of an Act of Parliament drawn by Howard, in conjunction with Sir William Blackstone, as early as 1779. Whatever may be the claims of these different places, it is now admitted that this system was first reduced to permanent practice, on an extended scale, in Pennsylvania. Indeed, this State is hardly more known in Europe for shameful neglect to pay the interest of her public debt than for her admired system of Prison Discipline.

Now, waiving for the present, as entirely irrelevant, the question whether this system can be practically administered so as to be consistent with health, all must admit that it is not the constant, unoccupied, cheerless solitude of the Bastile. Its main object is not solitude, but separation of prisoners from each other, and bringing them under good influences only.

In considering the Pennsylvania or Separate System, as now explained, several questions properly arise.

1. Shall it be applied before trial? Here the answer is prompt. It is the right of every person whom the law presumes innocent, as is the case with all before trial, to be kept free from the touch or contamination of those who may be felons. I well remember the indignation of the late William Ellery Channing at an incident which occurred in our streets, where a stranger who had fallen under suspicion, but who proved to be innocent, was marched from the jail handcuffed, in company with a hardened offender. He held it the duty of the State to prevent such outrage. The principle of justice and humanity which led him to his conclusion in this case requires the absolute separation of all prisoners before trial.

2. A more perplexing problem arises with regard to convicts for short terms. Here, it would seem, the principle of absolute separation ought to prevail.

3. It is a question of greater doubt how to treat juvenile offenders. When we observe the admirable success of the House of Reformation at South Boston, and of the Penal Colony at Mettray, in France, both conducted on the social principle, we may well hesitate; though, on the other hand, the marked success of the institution of La Roquette, at Paris, under peculiar dif[124]ficulties, shows that the principle of absolute separation may be applied even to this class of offenders. Here certainly is a question worthy of consideration.

4. Shall the Separate System be applied in any case to women? The authority of Mrs. Fry, in England, who at first disapproved the system, but at the close of her valuable life approved it, even for her own sex, also that of Mademoiselle Josephine Mallet, in France, who has declared herself warmly for this system, entitle this question to careful attention.

5. And, lastly, shall the Separate System be applied to convicts for long terms? This is, indeed, the crucial question, involving statistics of health and insanity, and many other considerations, on which much light is shed by the experience of Europe, as well as our own country, and also by writings of eminent characters devoted to this subject. Here we may well hesitate, and open our minds to influences from all quarters.

The way is now prepared to consider whether our Society, in unfolding what may be called the science of Prison Discipline, has treated the Pennsylvania System, involving the several questions already stated, with candor and justice. The question is not whether this system is preferable in all cases to every other, or whether there is any other preferable to this, but simply, Has our Society been candid and just? An examination of its course furnishes an easy answer.

It appears that our Society has failed to make any discrimination with regard to the different classes of cases which I have set forth, indulging in one constant, sullen, undistinguishing, uncompromising opposition to the system in all cases,—so much so as to give occasion [125]for an eminent foreign writer to say that it had sworn against it "war to the knife." Early in its existence it gave its adhesion to the Auburn Prison, saying, "Here, then, is exhibited what Europe and America have been long waiting to see,—a prison which may be made a model for imitation." This adhesion was confirmed by the declaration of an officer of our Society, at a public anniversary in 1837, that the System of Auburn was "our system," and still more by a resolution of similar effect offered in 1838 by the Treasurer, who now opposes, not unnaturally, the efforts to release the Society from the bands he helped to tie.

I do not found complaint merely on the character of advocacy which our Reports have assumed, though it were well worthy of inquiry whether this is not improper in an association like ours. I go further. I wish to state distinctly, that, in the zeal of devotion to Auburn, and in the frenzy of hostility to Pennsylvania, we have been betrayed into a course which no candid mind can hesitate to regret. I will not dwell on language that fell from our Secretary at the anniversary of 1845, which was in part the occasion of the letter from President Wayland already read; nor am I able to review all our Reports. One will be enough. I confine myself to the Eighteenth Report, which appeared in 1843.

This Report has already been the subject of much remark here and elsewhere. A French writer of authority, M. Moreau-Christophe, Inspector-General of Prisons in France, has characterized it as "a perversion of truth";[178] while an English author has spoken of it in stronger terms. "With the nature of framing recurring documents connected with public institutions we are not un[126]acquainted," says Mr. Adshead, "and we believe a more flagrant instance of trickery has never come within the range of our experience."[179] I am unwilling to adopt this language; but I cannot forbear terming the Report uncandid and unjust. This I shall show; and I am especially moved to do so, since the Treasurer has undertaken to vindicate it, and to vouch for the accuracy of its quotations. I shall consider it under six different heads.

First. It adduces against the Pennsylvania System the failure of experiments in Maine, New York, New Jersey, and Virginia, on the principle of absolute solitude without labor, which, of course, were entirely inapplicable in the discussion of a system recognizing labor and many other solaces as essential parts of the system. Was this candid? Was it just?

Secondly. Here is a more pungent instance, though not more objectionable. The Report adduces the authority of Mr. George Combe against "the Pennsylvania System." The article or chapter on this point is entitled, in capitals, "Dr. [Mr.] Combe's Opinion of the Pennsylvania System." Under this head are extracts from his book of travels in America, where this eminent phrenological observer considers the character of this system. But will the Society believe that one at least of these extracts is garbled, so as not to express his true and full opinion of the system? The Eighteenth Report quotes from Combe as follows:—

"The Auburn system of social labor is better, in my opinion, than that of Pennsylvania, in so far as it allows of a little more stimulus to the social faculties, and does not weaken the nervous system to so great an extent."[180]


The sentence in Combe is as follows:—

"The Auburn system of social labor is better, in my opinion, than that of Pennsylvania, in so far as it allows of a little more stimulus to the social faculties, and does not weaken the nervous system to so great an extent; but it has no superiority in regard to providing efficient means for invigorating and training the moral and intellectual faculties."[181]

Thus does our Report, while pretending to give Combe's "Opinion of the Pennsylvania System," stop at a semicolon, and omit the latter branch of a sentence, where the opinion is favorable to the system. And yet the Treasurer vouches for the accuracy of this quotation. "I think I can read English," he says, "and I think the extract from Combe properly made."

Mr. Eliot here rose and said, "I did not mean to vouch for the verbal accuracy of the quotation, but that it gave the substance of Mr. Combe's opinion, which was against the Pennsylvania System."

Mr. Sumner. The Treasurer, then, relies upon Mr. Combe's authority as adverse to the Pennsylvania System. I hold in my hand a letter from that gentleman, dated Edinburgh, March 24, 1847, addressed to the author of the Minority Report to this Society [Dr. Howe], since published as an essay, and which has been characterized in this debate as an uncompromising plea for that system. In this letter Mr. Combe says:—

"I have read every word of your Prison Essay with attention, and do not perceive any difference of principle between your views and mine. Your Essay is a special pleading in favor of the Pennsylvania System; but I do not object to it [128]on this account. Such a pleading was called for in the circumstances mentioned in your preface; it was the thing needed to make an impression; and while it states strongly and eloquently the advantages of the Separate System, it does not conceal, although it does not dwell upon, its defects."

And yet Mr. Combe is pressed by our Report, and now by our Treasurer, in opposition to this system; and the work is aided by publishing a truncated sentence, and entitling it his opinion.

Thirdly. We have already observed the timely opposition of William Roscoe to the system of solitude without labor, which promised to prevail extensively in the United States. From his publication on this subject, in 1827, our Eighteenth Report, in 1843, draws forth a passage, and entitles it, in capitals, "Mr. Roscoe's Opinion of the Pennsylvania System." I will give the whole article or chapter. It is as follows.

"Mr. Roscoe's Opinion of the Pennsylvania System.

"Mr. Roscoe, of Liverpool, said, before the new Penitentiary was built,—

"'At Philadelphia, as has before been observed, it is intended to adopt the plan of "solitary confinement in all cases," "the duration of the punishment to be fixed," and "the whole term of the sentence to be exacted," except in cases where it shall be made to appear, to the satisfaction of the governor, that the party convicted was innocent of the charge.

"'By the establishment of a general system of solitary confinement, a greater number of individuals, imprisoned for minor offences, will probably be put to death, by the superinduction of diseases inseparable from such a mode of treatment, than will be executed through the whole State, for the perpetration of the most atrocious crimes; with this remark[129]able difference, that the law has provided for the heinous offender a brief, and perhaps an unconscious fate, whilst the solitary victim passes through every variety of misery, and terminates his days by an accumulation of sufferings which human nature can no longer bear.'"[182]

With regard to this several things are to be observed. 1. It sets forth, as Mr. Roscoe's opinion of the Pennsylvania System, what, in fact, was not his opinion of that system, but of another system, that of solitude without labor, and was written two years before the Pennsylvania System came into existence,—misapplying his opinion, and therefore misrepresenting it. 2. It withholds or suppresses the date of the extract, and the source whence it is drawn. In point of fact, it was written before the new penitentiary was built; but it is nevertheless entitled "Mr. Roscoe's Opinion of the Pennsylvania System," so that the reader unfamiliar with the subject would suppose it in reality his opinion of that system. 3. It omits an important passage after the word "charge," without any asterisks or other mark denoting omission,—which, if printed, would have shown conclusively that Roscoe's remarks did not apply to the existing Pennsylvania System, but to a system of absolute solitude, without solace of any kind. Is it not proper, then, to say that this passage is garbled? And yet the Treasurer's voucher for the accuracy of the quotations extends to this also.


Fourthly. The opinions of Lafayette receive similar treatment to those of Roscoe; though this case is still stronger against that most discreditable Eighteenth Report. The article or chapter in which this is done is as follows.

"Gen. Lafayette's Opinion of the Pennsylvania System.

"'As to Philadelphia,' says the General, in a letter to Mr. Roscoe, 'I had already, on my visit of the last year, expressed my regret that the great expenses of the new Penitentiary building had been chiefly calculated on the plan of solitary confinement. This matter has lately become an object of discussion; a copy of your letter, and my own observations, have been requested; and as both opinions are actuated by equally honest and good feelings, as solitary confinement has never been considered but with a view to reformation, I believe our ideas will have their weight with men who have been discouraged by late failures of success in the reformation plan. It seems to me, two of the inconveniences most complained of might be obviated, in making use of the solitary cells to separate the prisoners at night, and multiplying the rooms of common labor, so as to reduce the number of each room to what it was when the population was less dense,—an arrangement which would enable the managers to keep distinctions among the men to be reclaimed, according to the state of their morals, and their behavior.' 'In these sentiments,' says Mr. Roscoe, 'I have the pleasure most fully to concur; and I hold it to be impossible to give a more clear, correct, and impartial decision on the subject.'

"'The people of Pennsylvania think,' said Lafayette, 'that the system of solitary confinement is a new idea, a new discovery. Not so;—it is only the revival of the system of the Bastile. The State of Pennsylvania, which has given to the world an example of humanity, and whose code of philanthropy has been quoted and canvassed by all Europe, is now about to proclaim to the world the inefficacy of the system, and to revive and restore the cruel code of the most barbarous and unenlightened age. I hope my friends of Pennsylvania will consider the effect this system had on the [131]poor prisoners of the Bastile. I repaired to the scene,' said he, 'on the second day of the demolition, and found that all the prisoners had been deranged by their solitary confinement, except one. He had been a prisoner twenty-five years, and was led forth during the height of the tumultuous riot of the people, whilst engaged in tearing down the building. He looked around with amazement, for he had seen nobody for that space of time, and before night he was so much affected, that he became a confirmed maniac, from which situation he has never [never was] recovered.'"[183]

With regard to this, also, several things are to be observed. 1. It invokes the authority of Lafayette against the Pennsylvania System, and quotes as his opinion of that system words used with regard to solitude without labor, as in the Bastile. In fact, Lafayette never condemned what in 1843 was known as the Pennsylvania System, nor ever expressed any opinion impugning it in any degree. His family are at this moment among its warmest advocates in France. 2. It withholds or suppresses the date of the extract, and the source whence it is drawn, and does not in any way disclose to the uninformed reader that it was actually written before the origin of the Pennsylvania System. 3. The extract purports to be from a letter of Lafayette to Roscoe; whereas this is true only of the first paragraph. The second is from an anonymous letter from Paris, in the "National Intelligencer" of November 17, 1826, where the writer relates a conversation with Lafayette concerning the prison then building in Philadelphia, in which it was proposed to introduce solitude without labor. 4. After the words "unenlightened age," in the very heart of this extract, an important passage is omitted,—with[132]out asterisks or other mark denoting omission,—which, if inserted, would have shown conclusively that Lafayette's opinion was directed to a system of solitude, "without the least employment, and without the use of books." May it not be said justly, that the opinions of Lafayette are misrepresented and garbled?

Fifthly. Here I can only glance at a matter to which I alluded on a former occasion. Our Eighteenth Report sets forth at length disparaging pictures by Mr. Dickens of the Pennsylvania System, while it makes no mention of opinions by Captain Hamilton (the accomplished author of "Cyril Thornton"), Miss Martineau, Dr. Reed, Dr. Matheson, Dr. F.A. Cox, Dr. Hoby, Captain Marryat, Mr. Buckingham, and Mr. Abdy, all of whom have expressed themselves with more or less distinctness in favor of that system. Nor does it make any allusion to authoritative opinions by different commissioners from foreign governments: as Crawford, from England, in 1834; Demetz and Blouet, from France, in 1837; Pringle, from England, in 1838; Julius, from Prussia, in 1836; and Neilson and Mondelet, from the Canadian government, in 1836,—all of whom reported emphatically in favor of the Pennsylvania System. Surely it was not candid and just to neglect all that these travellers and commissioners had reported, while bringing forward the imaginings of Mr. Dickens, and unearthing dateless letters of Roscoe and Lafayette, to employ them in a cause for which they were never written.

Sixthly. Our Eighteenth Report is open to another objection, either of gross ignorance or most uncandid withholding of information. It employs these words, which appear remarkable when we consider the actual facts: "What will be done in other countries is evidently [133]suspended, in a great degree, on the results of more experience in regard to the effects of the system." Nothing more is said of what had been done in other countries, and the reader is left to infer that nothing had been done. This was in May, 1843. Now what, at that time, had been done in other countries?

In England the inspectors of public prisons had made two or more able and extensive reports in favor of the Separate System, where the principles on which it is founded are developed with fulness and clearness. Parliament had passed a law authorizing the creation of a model prison on this system at Pentonville. This had been built, and also other prisons on the same system in different parts of the kingdom.

Mr. Dwight. Will the gentleman please to state the difference between the prisons at Philadelphia and Pentonville?

Mr. Sumner. With great pleasure, so far as any exists. The two are founded on the same principle of separation, though that of Pentonville is probably administered with less austerity than that of Philadelphia. They may differ in degree, but not in kind.

I return to a review of what had been done in 1843, when I was interrupted.

In France the subject had undergone most thorough discussion, in journals, in pamphlets, among professional men, and in official documents. The Government and the highest authorities in state and in medicine had declared in favor of the Separate System. Their conclusions were founded on ample inquiries by commissions visiting America, England, Scotland, Holland, Bel[134]gium, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Prussia, Spain, and even Turkey. In 1836, Count Gasparin, Minister of the Interior, wrote a circular informing the prefects of the departments that the Government had decided to adopt exclusively the Separate System in the maisons d'arrêt, or what may be called the county jails. In 1839 the grave question of the influence of this system on health, bodily and mental, was submitted to the highest living authority, the Academy of Medicine, who referred it to a committee consisting of MM. Pariset, Moré, Villermé, Louis, and Esquirol. Their report, drawn up by the last named distinguished authority, expressly declared that "separate imprisonment by day and night, with labor, and conversation with the overseers and inspectors, does not abridge the life of the prisoners, nor compromise their reason." This report afterwards received the sanction of the learned body to which it was addressed. In 1840, M. Rémusat, Minister of the Interior, submitted the project of a law for the building of prisons on the principle of separation. This was sustained by a masterly report from M. de Tocqueville, dated June 25, 1840. It was followed in 1841 by another circular from the Home Department, communicating an atlas of plans to the departments as their guide in building prisons. I hold one of them in my hand now.

Mr. Dwight, looking at the atlas, said, "The cells here are on a circumference, whereas in Philadelphia they are on radii."

Mr. Sumner. In some of the plans the cells are on a circumference, and in some on radii. Does this make any difference in the system?


I will proceed. In 1843, 17th April, Count Duchatel, in behalf of the Government, introduced a bill providing for the extension of the principle of separation to all the maisons de force throughout France. It was calculated that this could not be carried into execution at an expense less than one hundred and seven millions of francs, or nearly twenty millions of dollars. At the same time it appeared that the extensive prison La Roquette, in Paris, had been for several years in most successful operation. Still further, in 1843, it was stated by M. de Tocqueville, that, since 1838, thirty prisons, containing two thousand seven hundred and forty cells on the Separate System, had been built, or were in an advanced state of building, in the departments of France. Yet nothing of all this is in our Report.

In Poland, it appears that a prison on the Separate System was commenced as long ago as 1831, and has been in successful operation since 1835, while in 1843 appropriations were made to build three more. Nothing of this appears in our Report.

In Denmark, after an elaborate report from a committee, a royal ordinance declared, in 1841, that "all houses of detention to be built for the accused shall be on the Separate System, and that all new constructions or reconstructions which the old prisons shall require shall be on this system, to prepare for its general adoption." Again, another ordinance followed, June 25, 1842, on the report of a commission that had visited England, directing the building of certain prisons on this system. Our Report contains nothing of this.

Look at Norway. In 1838 a commission from this region was sent to visit the principal prisons in England, Ireland, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Germany, and [136]Denmark. Its report was made in 1841. "Its unanimous and absolute advice was, to demand the introduction into the prisons of Norway of the Pennsylvania System." Here again our Report is silent.

In Sweden, the States General declared, in 1841, that the Separate System was the most rational, and voted 1,300,000 florins for the construction of new prisons on this system. Already before this time, the present King of Sweden, then Crown Prince, had secured a new honor for his throne by writing a book on prisons, where he compared the Auburn and Pennsylvania Systems, and gave his preference to the latter. Of this our Report says not a word.

Here, as I refer to this royal author, let me pause to offer him my tribute of gratitude. His work, originally written in Swedish, has been already twice translated into German, twice into French, once into Norwegian, and once into English. It deserves to be translated into every language of the globe. Such words from a throne find no parallel in history. All the productions from the eighteen royal authors of England, and the five of Scotland, mentioned in Walpole's Catalogue, could not confer the same true honor as these few pages. Not the "prettie versse" of Henry the Sixth; not the volume of Henry the Eighth, which has secured to his royal successors the unchangeable title of "Defender of the Faith"; not the "Counterblast to Tobacco," and other writings, teeming with pun, pedantry, vanity, Scripture, and prerogative, of James the First; not the ballads, songs, rondeaus, and poems of the four Jameses of Scotland. A work on "Punishments and Prisons" by a king, written in a spirit of simplicity and gentleness, with sympathy for the poor, the hum[137]ble, the sinful, teaches us to appreciate forms of grandeur higher than any in the ordinary pursuits of royal ambition. Oscar is the son of Bernadotte, a marshal of the French Empire, and elected king of Sweden; but—pardon me while I speak what my heart feels—the author of this little book of humanity and wisdom inspires a warmer glow of admiration than the commander of the centre in the victory of Austerlitz, or of the timely succors that hurried the close of the giant struggle at Leipzig. He sits on a throne illustrated by two of the greatest sovereigns in modern Europe; but his is a truer glory than that of Gustavus Vasa in the mines of Dalecarlia, or of Gustavus Adolphus on the field of Lutzen.

In Holland, the penal code established in 1840, as the basis of prison discipline, separation by night and labor in common by day. "But they were not slow to recognize the insufficiency of this," says one of the eminent authorities. Wherefore the States General ordered the system of separate imprisonment, as practised at Philadelphia, with the modifications which excluded solitude, separating the prisoners from each other, and securing communication with good people. In the States General there was only one voice against this system. Again is our Report silent.

And lastly, at Geneva, in Switzerland, a plan of a prison on the Separate System was adopted in 1842. I have here the atlas containing a full representation of this prison in all its parts. But of this, too, our Report says nothing.

In view of all these things, is it not humiliating that our Society should have put forth the statement it did with regard to "other countries"? Most certainly, if [138]the authors of the Eighteenth Report were ignorant of the extensive adoption in Europe of the Pennsylvania System, their ignorance was reprehensible, and not to be vindicated by the apology of the Secretary, that he could not read French. If uncandidly they withheld or suppressed this information, as I cannot suppose, they are equally reprehensible.

Such is the Eighteenth Report of our Society! And yet this document, seamed and botched with error and uncandid statement, injuriously affecting the Pennsylvania System, was sent by our Society, as I have been credibly informed, to every member of the Legislature of that State. Surely we need not wonder that the humane and upright gentlemen connected with the administration of prisons there felt that we had done them wrong.


I now come to the second proposition in the Report and Resolutions under consideration; and here I shall be brief. It is proposed that we shall recognize the directors of the Eastern Penitentiary of Pennsylvania as sincere fellow-laborers in the cause of Prison Discipline, and shall declare, that, if expressions have appeared in our Reports, or been uttered at any of our public meetings, which have justly given pain to our brethren, our Society sincerely regrets them. Is not this a proper and most Christian resolution? What candid or generous mind can hesitate with regard to it, particularly after becoming acquainted with the course of our Society towards those gentlemen and the system they have administered? But here again we encounter [139]the Treasurer, the Achilles of this debate, according to the description of that martial character by Horace,—

"Impiger, iracundus, inexorabilis, acer."

The Treasurer, with passionate emphasis, objects to any expressions of confidence in the gentlemen of Philadelphia. He is not personally acquainted with all of them. He is conscientious on the point. He will not commit our tender Society by any such extravagant declaration. To be sure, he made no opposition, when our association passed a formal vote in its own favor, declaring nothing less than that it was "entitled to the thanks of every friend of humanity for its successful efforts in the cause of Prison Discipline."[184] It was all right for us to praise ourselves; but the Treasurer cannot praise the gentlemen of Philadelphia. He never objected to any of the hard words we have employed with regard to them and their system. It is those soft words, turning away wrath, which disturb his propriety.

Then, again, he dislikes what he calls an hypothetical apology. He is startled by the if. He cannot say, "If have uttered words which have justly given pain to my brother, I sincerely regret it." There is too much for him in that if. It is no better than but yet in Shakespeare, which was

"as a gaoler to bring forth
Some monstrous malefactor."


True to its vocation, this little word brings before the Treasurer a monstrous proposition, which he cannot receive. No,—he will have nothing to do with it. But his sudden sensitiveness with regard to the course of the Society should not prevent us from performing a simple duty.


The third and last proposition involved in the Report and Resolutions is, that our Society, by its officers and individual members, ought to strive for increased usefulness; and it is particularly urged upon the Managers to enlist the coöperation of individual members. This, too, is opposed violently, as if it were not the duty of all to seek new opportunities of doing good. The Treasurer, of course, is ardent. He does not ask the coöperation of others. It is the policy of the Society, he says, to act by one mind only.

Look at our grandiose organization. We have a President with forty Vice-Presidents,—or, borrowing an illustration from Turkey, "a pacha with forty tails." Then we have a large body of foreign correspondents, whose names we print in capitals,—"fancy men," as they have been called, because they are for show, I suppose, like our Vice-Presidents. Then there are scores of Directors, and a Board of Managers. Now I know full well, that, of these, very few interest themselves so much in our Society as to attend its sessions. At the meeting last year for the choice of officers there were ten present. We ten chose the whole array of Vice-Presidents and all. And then, too, the Secretary politely furnished us printed tickets bearing their names and his own. Certainly, Sir, something should be done to mend this matter. We must cease to have so many officers, or they must participate actively in the duties of the Society.

Look now at our annual income. Notwithstanding the special pleading of the Treasurer, I must insist that this is upwards of $3,000, derived partly from interest [141]on our capital stock of $7,000, and the remainder from subscriptions obtained through the solicitations of the Secretary.

Mr. Dwight. But this is not a permanent income. It is derived from the charity of Boston.

Mr. Sumner. And is not the charity of Boston permanent? I have stated facts precisely as they are. Now it becomes a society so richly endowed to do much for the cause to which it professes devotion. It should make itself felt widely, not only in our own State, but wherever Prison Discipline claims attention.

But what does it accomplish? On looking at its journal for the last three years, it appears that the chief business of the Managers, who have met some three or four times in the year only, has been to vote a salary of seventeen hundred dollars to the Secretary, with fuel and rent for his office sometimes, and also to vote him a vacation of four months in the country during our pleasant summers. This, certainly, so far as the Managers are concerned, is not doing much for Prison Discipline. But the Managers are responsible for the Annual Reports of the Society. I think it may be safely said, that, for several years, our Society has done little besides publishing these Reports. Its annual income and the labors of its official galaxy are all absorbed in these. I would not disparage these documents; but, professing, as I do, some familiarity with the kind of labor required in their preparation, I cannot forbear repeating what I have said before, that, if we take our last Report for an example, one month would be a large allowance of time for its production by any one competent man. But the [142]Treasurer says our Society has devised a plan for a new jail in Boston, which of itself is no inconsiderable labor,—and the Treasurer praises this plan. My own judgment with regard to it is of very little consequence; but I have here a letter from Dr. Julius, of Prussia, one of the highest living authorities on the subject,—to whom the plan has been shown,—who expresses an opinion different from that of the Treasurer.

Certainly, Sir, our Society must do more. It becomes us to imitate sister associations in Philadelphia and New York, whose incomes are less than ours, and whose array of organization is not so imposing, but who, by committees and sub-committees, and committees of ladies too, make their beneficence practically felt by those who are in prison, while by their influence they widely affect public opinion. It becomes us also to imitate the Board of Education in our own Commonwealth, which not only publishes an Annual Report, but by its Secretary makes annual visits to every part of the State, and by lectures and speeches, by the glowing pen and the living voice, arouses the indifferent and confirms the wavering. I trust soon to hear of lectures on Prison Discipline, and of local societies under our auspices in every county of the State.

Ours is a large and powerful organization, abounding in resources of all kinds, plenteously supplied by never-failing streams of charity. We must administer it in the spirit of charity, that we may promote the greatest good of those who are its objects. The contributions of which we are almoners should not run to waste. All must join in effort to give them the widest influence. All must help place our Society in cordial fellowship with other laborers in the same pursuits. [143]Let me ask you, Mr. President, to unite with your honored predecessor [Rev. Dr. Wayland] in promoting these worthy objects. Commence your new duties by guiding us in a path where we may find that universal confidence now somewhat forfeited, and where the blessings of those in prison, who have felt our kindness, may be ours.

I believe I might leave the Report and Resolutions here, feeling that they stand on impregnable ground. But there are two objections, each brought by different speakers, which I have reserved to the close: one founded on the private character of the Secretary of our Society; the other, on the alleged superiority of the Congregate System over the Separate System.


In interposing the private character of the Secretary, a new issue is presented, entirely immaterial to the question on the adoption of the Resolutions. This is discerned merely by repeating the grounds of these. First, our Society ought to be candid and just; secondly, it should offer a hand of fellowship to our brethren in Philadelphia; thirdly, it should be more useful. These propositions are not answered, when we declare, in eloquent phrase, that the private character of the Secretary is good. I, too, give my homage to his private character. I have never failed to render my tribute to his early merit in founding and organizing this Society; nor in this discussion, painful as it has been, and calling for severe criticism of matters with which he is intimately connected, have I made any impeachment of the motives by which his course is controlled. It is my earnest desire, that the Society, under his auspices, may be more widely felt, and develop new capacities for useful.

The other remaining objection is, that the Congregate System is superior to the Separate System, and that the acceptance of the Report and Resolutions will be giving adhesion to the latter. This conclusion is not correct. Your Committee ask for candor and justice; they do not ask for adhesion to any system. On the contrary, they expressly disclaim such desire. But it may well be asked—and I allude to this point not because I regard it as material to the issue—whether experience does conclusively establish the superiority of the Congregate System. My learned friend [Mr. Gray] who first introduced this topic founds his conclusion mainly on a comparison of the prisons at Philadelphia and Charlestown, where the statistics are said to show a much larger proportion of mortality and insanity in the former than in the latter. Admitting that the statistics adduced are accurate (and I do not propose to question them), it is very hasty in my friend to adopt his conclusion with regard to the comparative merits of the two systems. In the first place, the limited experience of these prisons, or any small number of prisons, may be affected by circumstances irrespective of the two systems,—as, for instance, their administration, which may be more or less defective. And permit me to say, that the argument of my friend seems rather to show a defect in the administration of the system at Philadelphia than in the system itself. The system has but one essential idea, the absolute separation of prisoners from each other. But it is said that this cannot be practically carried out, consistently with health of body and mind. It may be so. But here the highest authorities have affirmed the opposite. The College of Medicine in France, and the Scientific Congress at Padua in 1843, and [145]of Lucca in 1844, pronounce it practicable. But my friend urges, that each prisoner should be indulged with at least two hours of society daily, and that this is impracticable. I doubt if so much is requisite. But if this and much more be needed, to secure for our prisons those influences most conducive to the reformation of offenders, will it not be found? There are Christian clergymen who find time to bless with their presence, with prayers and texts, the gaudy celebrations of military companies; there are young men who partake of these pomps. Cannot as many be found who will visit those in prison?

In the next place, the conclusion is fallacious, as it is founded on a comparison of prisons in different places, under the influence of different circumstances of climate and situation; whereas, to render the comparison exact, it should be between prisons in the same place, and under the same circumstances. This I am enabled to make. There are now at Geneva two prisons, one on the Auburn System, built in 1825, and the other on the Pennsylvania System, built in 1843. M. Ferrière, the chaplain of both these prisons,—and therefore, it must be supposed, equally conversant with both,—presented to the Penitentiary Congress at Frankfort a comparison between these two, which he states to be in the same locality, with a unity of conditions in all respects, except what touches the system itself. He gives the preference in every particular to the Pennsylvania prison, and expressly declares that there are always persons in the Auburn prison who are insane, while, down to the present time, there have been none in the other prison.

Lastly, the conclusion of my friend is fallacious, inasmuch as it is founded on a too narrow induction, closing [146]his eyes to the experience of Europe. There is the prison of Warsaw, on the Separate System, which has been in operation since 1835. During the twelve years since its occupation there have been only two cases of mental alienation, one of which declared itself on the morning after the arrest, and the other was caused by too hasty treatment of the plica. In France, as we learn from an address before the Penitentiary Congress, there are nineteen prisons on the Separate System, which have been occupied since 1843. "The experience," it is said, "is not of long duration, but it is sufficient to assure the spirits of the most fearful. The most harmonious unanimity prevails in the observations of the physicians. All recognize that maladies are less frequent, and shorter in duration. It is the same with mental alienation, in the period of one to four years to which the observations relate. No cause of insanity is attributed by the physicians to the Separate System, as it is practised in France, with frequent visits, labor, and an hour at least of exercise in the open air." In England there are at this moment thirty prisons on the Separate System, with thirty-five hundred cells, which are so successful in their influences that upwards of three thousand additional cells are to be constructed. On the Continent there are many directors of Auburn prisons who have become dissatisfied with their operation, and openly pronounce in favor of the Pennsylvania System. I might dwell on the experience of Europe till the chimes of midnight sounded in our ears; but I forbear. I cannot dismiss this topic, however, without alluding to one suggestion, which came in such a questionable shape that I am at a loss how to treat it.


The sentiment of patriotism is invoked, and we are gravely told that the reference to European authority and experience which has occurred in this debate is not consistent with a proper regard to our own country. It is natural, Sir, for us to love our country, and to take pride in its institutions. Whatever is done among us finds special favor, if it be associated in any way with our country. But this sentiment must not become a prejudice. It must not become a malign influence to interrupt the course of truth, or interfere with questions to which it is alien. The subject now before us belongs to science and philanthropy, and I have yet to learn that the prejudices of patriotism have any just foothold in these sacred demesnes. Let us welcome knowledge, wherever it may be found. Hail holy light! from whatever sun or star it may pour upon the eyes, from whatever country or clime it may penetrate the understanding or the heart!


Again let me say that our Report and Resolutions stand on impregnable grounds. And now, Mr. President, as I conclude, let me render to you just thanks for the impartiality and amenity with which you have presided over these debates, and may these high qualities be reflected in the future course of our Society. Let us all unite in efforts for increased usefulness, in harmony with one another, and with kindred associations of our own country and of other lands. And if, from the collisions of this discussion there have been any sparks of unkindly feeling, may they all be quenched in the vote which is now to be taken.


The result of these debates called forth the following letter from M. de Tocqueville, of France, addressed to Mr. Sumner.


My dear Sir,—I have read in the Daily Advertiser of June 1st the account of a meeting of the Boston Prison Discipline Society, in which you proposed a resolution, the effect of which was to declare that this Society ought not to be considered "the pledged advocate" of the Auburn System, or of any other system, and that it should judge all systems without taking sides in advance, and without prejudice. I have since learned, by the same paper, that the Society refused to adopt the resolution. This vote has surprised and pained me. I take a very lively interest in the reform of prisons, and I have always cherished a respectful attachment for the Society, which has, of its own accord, done me the honor to make me one of its members, and which enjoys so just a reputation in the philanthropic world. It is under the influence of these two sentiments that I feel an impulse to write to you.

The vote of which I have spoken will cause, I do not fear to say, a painful surprise to almost all those in Europe who are devoted to the Prison question. They will interpret it as a solemn determination taken by the Society to make itself the champion of the Auburn System, and the systematic adversary of the Separate System. Instead of a judge, it will seem to become a party.

I need not inform you, that, at the present day, in Europe, discussion and experience have, on the contrary, led almost all persons of intelligence to adopt the Separate System, and to reject the Auburn System. Most of the governments of [149]the Old World have declared themselves more or less in this way, not hastily, but after serious inquiry and long debates. I will speak only of the two great free nations of Europe,—those which I know the best, and which are the most worthy of being regarded as an authority, wherever questions are decided only after discussion before the country, and obedience is rendered to public opinion alone,—France and England. Among these two nations, I can assure you, the Auburn System is almost universally rejected. The greater part of those who had previously inclined towards this system have completely abandoned it, when they came to discuss it, or to see it in operation, and have adopted, wholly or in part, the system of Separate Imprisonment. The two governments have followed the same tendencies. You know that the French government brought forward, a few years since, a law, of which separate imprisonment formed the basis. This law after a discussion of five weeks, the longest and most thorough which has ever taken place in our parliament on any question, was voted by an immense majority. If this same law has not yet been discussed in the Chamber of Peers, the reason is to be found in circumstances entirely foreign to the Penitentiary Question. The Chamber of Peers will take it into consideration at the opening of the approaching session; and among the most considerable men in this Chamber, the greater part have already pronounced openly in favor of its principle. As to the press, almost all the journals sustain the system of Separate Imprisonment. The journal which had most skilfully and earnestly combated the system has recently declared itself convinced of its excellence. This change has been produced, in part, by the experience had for many years in a large number of our prisons. Indeed, it may be doubted, whether, when the law shall be reported to the Chamber of Peers, there will be found a single person to combat its principle.

In this state of facts and opinions, the vote which a so[150]ciety so enlightened and celebrated as that of Boston has just passed will not be comprehended among us; and I cannot, I confess to you, prevent myself from fearing that it will be injurious to the high consideration which the Society enjoys on this side of the ocean, or that, at least, it will weaken its authority. I should strongly regret this, not only from my interest in an association to which I have the honor to belong, but also from my interest in humanity, whose cause it can so powerfully serve.

Be pleased to receive, Sir, the assurance of my very distinguished consideration.


Member of the Institute and of the Chamber of Deputies

Tocqueville, August 6, 1847.

Charles Sumner, Esq., Boston.



Article in the Boston Daily Advertiser, July 23, 1847.

The sudden death of Mr. Stackpole has filled a large circle of friends with poignant grief. His hale and vigorous health, of which a fresh and manly countenance and a joyous nature were pleasing tokens, seemed to give assurance that he would long be spared to them, while the many accomplishments by which his life was adorned, and the kindly qualities which grappled him to their hearts, created attachments now too rudely severed. He had stood aloof from public affairs, and from those concerns of business by which men become prominent before the world. The time thus withdrawn from customary pursuits was given to family and friends, and to the cultivation of those elegant tastes which add so much to the grace of society.

He was a graduate of Harvard University in the class of 1824, and afterwards studied law. His studies were careful and thorough. His attainments were increased by travel in Europe. As a member of the Examining Committee on Modern Languages at the University, he made his excellent knowledge, particularly of French, useful to the community. Had his professional studies been continued, there is reason to believe, that, in some departments, he would have contributed in no humble measure to the true fame of his country. An article [152]in the "American Jurist,"[185] entitled "Customs and Origin of Customary Law," written by Mr. Stackpole while still very young, drew the attention of learned men in Europe, as much, perhaps, as was ever done by any paper of mere jurisprudence from our country. It was the subject of comment by the late Professor Park, at King's College, in one of his public lectures, who read extracts from it to his classes, and it was republished in one of the English law journals. This was at a time when American productions found little favor from the mother country. Story and Kent had not then compelled recognition of American law within the precincts of Westminster Hall. This article will be read with interest by students of jurisprudence and history, while it must always possess peculiar attraction, as the early offering of ingenuous youth to a stern profession ardently espoused. Perhaps nothing ever appeared in our country, from one equally young, evincing a finer juridical spirit.


Mr. Stackpole has been removed from strongest family ties, from a large cluster of friends, from enjoyments richly spread by competency and taste, and from opportunities of usefulness which were before him in ample fields, while his sun of life was still high and glowing in the heavens. He has passed away as a shadow. Let us clasp and hold fast the memory of his virtues.


An Oration before the Literary Societies of Amherst College at their Anniversary, August 11, 1847.

But if there be in Glory aught of good,
It may by means far different be attained,
Without ambition, war, or violence,—
By deeds of peace, by wisdom eminent,
By patience, temperance.

Milton, Paradise Regained.


Da veniam scriptis, quorum non gloria nobis
Causa, sed utilitas officiumque fuit.

Ovid, Epist. ex Ponto, III. ix., 55, 56.

Singulari in eo negotio usus opera Flacci Pomponii, consularis viri, nati ad omnia quæ recte facienda sunt, simplicique virtute, merentis semper quam captantis gloriam.—Velleius Paterculus, Hist., Lib. II. Cap. 129.

Non privatim solum, sed publice furimus. Homicidia compescimus, et singulas cædes; quid bella, et occisarum gentium gloriosum scelus?—Seneca, Epist. XCV. § 30.

Tanto major famæ sitis est quam
Virtutis! Quis enim virtutem amplectitur ipsam,
Præmia si tollas?

Juvenal, Sat. X. 140-142.

Wealth and children are the ornament of this present life; but good works, which are permanent, are better, in the sight of thy Lord, with respect to the reward, and better with respect to hope.—Koran, tr. Sale, Ch. 18.

For ages mingled with his parent dust,
Fame still records Nushirovan the Just.

From the Persian, by Sir William Jones: Life, p. 98.

Then Peredur returned to his mother and her company, and he said to her, "Mother, those were not angels, but honorable knights." Then his mother swooned away.—The Mabinogion, tr. Lady Charlotte Guest, Vol. I. p. 300.

One day he met a poor woman weeping bitterly; and when he inquired the cause, she told him that her only brother, her sole stay and support in the world, had been carried into captivity by the Moors. Dominick could not ransom her brother; he had given away all his money, and even sold his books, to relieve the poor; but he offered all he could,—he offered up himself to be exchanged as a slave in place of her brother. The woman, astonished at such a proposal, fell upon her knees before him. She refused his offer, but she spread the fame of the young priest far and wide.—Jameson, Legends of the Monastic Orders: St. Dominick.

Lord! what honor falls to a knight that he kills many men! The hangman killeth more with a better title. It were better to be butchers of beasts than butchers of our brethren, for this were more unnatural.—Wycliffe, Of the Seven Deadly Sins.


Gueres ou peu il s'est aydé des gens d'espée en ses ambassades, si-non que de ses gens de plume, ayant opinion que l'espée ne sceut tant bien entendre ses affaires, ny les conduire et démesler, comme la plume.—Brantôme, Vies des Hommes Illustres et Grands Capitaines François, Discours XLV.

He lives in fame that died in virtue's cause.

Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus, Act I. Sc. 2.

Honors thrive,
When rather from our acts we them derive
Than our foregoers.

All's Well that Ends Well, Act II. Sc. 3.

The purest treasure mortal times afford
Is spotless reputation: that away,
Men are but gilded loam or painted clay.

Richard II., Act I. Sc. 1.

'Tis death to me to be at enmity:
I hate it, and desire all good men's love.

Richard III., Act II. Sc. 1.

Never any state
Could rise or stand without this thirst of glory,
Of noble works, as well the mould as story.
For else what governor would spend his days
In envious travel for the public good?
Who would in books search after dead men's ways?

F. Greville, Lord Brooke, Fame and Honor.

Boccaline has this passage of soldiers. They came to Apollo to have their profession made the eighth liberal science, which he granted. As soon as it was noised up and down, it came to the butchers, and they desired their profession might be made the ninth. "For," say they, "the soldiers have this honor for the killing of men: now we kill as well as they; but we kill beasts for the preserving of men, and why should not we have honor likewise done to us?" Apollo could not answer their reasons, so he reversed his sentence, and made the soldier's trade a mystery, as the butcher's is.—Selden, Table Talk: War.

The soldiers say they fight for honor, when the truth is they have their honor in their pocket.—Ibid.

Certainly, as some men have sinned in the principles of Humanity, and must answer for not being men, so others offend, if they be not more.... For great constitutions, and such as are constellated unto knowledge, do nothing, till they outdo all; they come short of themselves, if they go not beyond others.... A man should be something that all men are not, and individual in somewhat beside his proper name.

Sir Thomas Browne, Vulgar Errors: Of Credulity and Supinity.


Fame, if not double-faced, is double-mouthed,
And with contrary blast proclaims most deeds;
On both his wings, one black, the other white,
Bears greatest names in his wild aëry flight.

Milton, Samson Agonistes, 971-974.

The extremes of glory and of shame,
Like East and West, become the same;
No Indian prince has to his palace
More followers than a thief to the gallows.

Butler, Hudibras, Part II. Canto I. 271-274.

Who fears not to do ill, yet fears the name,
And free from Conscience, is a slave to Fame.

Denham, Cooper's Hill, 129, 130.

The secret pleasure of a generous act
Is the great mind's great bribe.

Dryden, Don Sebastian, Act V. Sc. 1.

On pend un pauvre malheureux pour avoir volé une pistole sur le grand chemin, dans son besoin extrême; et on traite de héros un homme qui fait la conquête, c'est-à-dire qui subjugue injustement les pays d'un état voisin.... Prendre un champ à un particulier est un grand péché; prendre un grand pays à une nation est une action innocente et glorieuse.—Fénelon, Examen de Conscience sur les Devoirs de la Royauté, Direction XXV.

Content thyself to be obscurely good;
When vice prevails, and impious men bear sway,
The post of honor is a private station.

Addison, Cato, Act IV. Sc. 4.

Nor Fame I slight, nor for her favors call;
She comes unlooked for, if she comes at all.

Pope, Temple of Fame, 513, 514.

To glory some advance a lying claim,
Thieves of renown and pilferers of fame.

Young, Sat. III. 87, 88.

Ah! who can tell how hard it is to climb
The steep where Fame's proud temple shines afar?

Beattie, Minstrel, I. 1.

I would wish for immortality on earth for no other reason than for the power of relieving the distressed.—Maria Theresa: Coxe's History of the House of Austria, Vol. II. Ch. 44.


Adieu, mon cher et illustre maître; nous avons fait un beau rêve, mais il a été trop court. Je vais me remettre à la géométrie et à la philosophie. Il est bien froid de ne plus travailler que pour la gloriole, quand on s'est flatté pendant quelque temps de travailler pour le bien public.—Condorcet, à Voltaire, 1776: Œuvres, Tom. I. p. 115.

Un temps peut arriver, où les princes, lassés de l'ambition qui les agite, et de ce retour habituel des mêmes inquiétudes et des mêmes projets, tourneront davantage leurs regards vers les grandes idées d'Humanité; et si les hommes du temps présent ne doivent pas être spectateurs de ces heureuses révolutions, il leur est permis du moins de s'unir par leurs vœux à la perfection des vertus sociales, et aux progrès de la bienfaisance publique.—Necker, De l'Administration des Finances de la France, Part. I. Ch. 13.

Les nations ne doivent porter que le deuil de leurs bienfaiteurs. Les représentans des nations ne doivent recommander à leur hommage que les héros de l'humanité.—Mirabeau, Éloge Funèbre de Franklin.

I have had occasion to know many thousand persons in the course of my travels on this subject [of the Slave-Trade], and I can truly say that the part which these took on this great question was always a true criterion of their moral character.—Clarkson, History of the Abolition of the African Slave-Trade, Vol. II. p. 460.

Not thus the schoolmaster in his peaceful vocation.... His is a progress not to be compared with anything like a march; but it leads to a far more brilliant triumph, and to laurels more imperishable than the destroyer of his species, the scourge of the world, ever won. Such men—men deserving the glorious title of Teachers of Mankind—I have found laboring conscientiously, though perhaps obscurely, in their blessed vocation.... Their calling is high and holy; their fame is the property of nations; their renown will fill the earth in after ages, in proportion as it sounds not far off in their own times.—Lord Brougham, Speech at Liverpool, July 20, 1835.

Lieutenant-Colonel Wheeler, in his despatch (Camp Cudjah, August 24, 1840) to Captain Douglas, describing the storming of an Afghanistan fort, says: "I directed Lieutenant Paterson to concentrate as heavy a volley as he could close to the gate: this had the desired effect, shook the gate, and enabled the Grenadiers of the Forty-Eighth, under that officer, to force it, and carry the fort in beautiful style, bayoneting all within it!"—Haydon, Lectures on Painting and Design, Vol. II. p. 262.



The literary festival which we are assembled to commemorate is called Commencement. To an interesting portion of my hearers it is the commencement of a new life. The ingenuous student, having completed his term of years—a classical Olympiad—amidst the restraints of the academy, in the daily pursuits of the lecture-room, observant of forms, obsequious to the college curfew, at length renounces these restraints, heeds no longer the summoning bell, throws off the youthful gown, and now, under the auspices of Alma Mater, assumes the robe of manhood. At such a change, the mind and heart open to impressions which may send an influence through remaining life. A seasonable word to-day may, peradventure, like the acorn dropped into propitious soil, shoot upward its invigorating growth, till its stately trunk, its multitudinous branches, and sheltering foliage become an ornament and protection of unspeakable beauty.

Feeling more than I can express the responsibility of the position in which I am now placed by your partial kindness, I trust that what I shall say may be not unworthy of careful meditation, and that it may ripen in this generous soil with no unwelcome growth. I address the literary societies of Amherst College, and [160]my subject will naturally bear some relation to the occasion and to the assembly. But though addressing literary societies, I feel that I should inadequately perform my duty at this time, if I spoke on any topic of mere literature, without moralizing the theme; nor could I satisfy myself,—I think I should not satisfy you,—if I strove to excite merely a love of knowledge, of study, of books, or even of those classics which, like the ancient Roman roads, the Appian and Flaminian Ways, once trod by returning proconsuls and tributary kings, still continue the thoroughfares of nations. These things I may well leave to the lessons of your able instructors and to the influences of this place; nor, indeed, can I expect to touch upon any topic which, under the mingled teachings of the pulpit and the chair, has not been already impressed upon your minds with more force than I can command. Still, I may not vainly indulge the hope, by singling one special theme, to present it with distinctness and unity, so that it will be connected hereafter, in some humble measure, with the grave and the pleasant memories of this occasion.

To you now standing on the threshold of life, anxious for its honors,—more anxious, I hope, for its duties,—nothing can be more important or interesting than the inquiry, what should be your aims, and what your motives of conduct. The youthful bosom throbbing with historic examples is stirred by the praises lavished upon those who have gone before, and pants for fresh fields. The laurels of Miltiades would not suffer Themistocles to sleep. Perhaps a kindred sleeplessness consumes the early thoughts of our day, and, in those visions which it is said young men shall see, Fame and Glory too often absorb the sight. Turning the attention in this direction, [161]we may, perhaps, ascertain the true nature of these potent attractions, and to what extent they can be justly regarded.

My subject is Fame and Glory. As I undertake this discussion, I feel that I enter upon a theme which has become a commonplace of declamation, while it has filled the aspirations of many of the noblest natures that have lived. The great Roman orator, whose essay De Gloria, surviving the wreck of antiquity, was lost in the darkness of the Middle Ages, cannot claim exclusive possession of the topic he had fondly made his own; nor is there enough in the chapter De Cupiditate Gloriæ, by the Roman historiographer,[186] to supersede inquiry, especially in a Christian age, when a speaker may hope to combine lights and illustrations which had not dawned upon the Heathen.

Three questions present themselves: First, What, in the more popular acceptation, are Fame and Glory? Secondly, To what extent, if any, are they proper motives of conduct or objects of regard? and, Thirdly, What are True Fame and Glory, and who are the men most worthy of honor? Already, in stating these questions, scenes and characters memorable in history rise before us, while from a distance we discern the dazzling heights of human ambition.


What, in the more popular acceptation, are Fame and Glory? In considering this question we must look beyond the verses of poets, the eulogies of orators, and [162]the discordant voices whether of history or philosophy. We must endeavor to observe these nimble-footed phantoms from a nearer point of view, to follow their movements, to note their principle of life, and to direct upon them the light of truth. Thus we may hope to arrive at a clear perception of their character, and perhaps do something by which to disenchant their pernicious power and break their unhappy sorcery.

Fame was portrayed by the poets of antiquity as a monster, with innumerable eyes to see, innumerable ears to hear, and innumerable tongues to declare what she had seen and heard:—

"Monstrum horrendum, ingens, cui quot sunt corpore plumæ,
Tot vigiles oculi subter (mirabile dictu),
Tot linguæ, totidem ora sonant, tot subrigit aures."[187]

In this character her office was different from that commonly attached to Glory. She was the grand author and circulator of reports, news, tidings, good or bad, true or false. Glory seems to have escaped the unpleasing personification of her sister, Fame. These two names were often used in the same sense; but the former more exclusively designated that splendor of renown which was so great an object of heathen ambition. For the present purpose they may be regarded as synonymous, denoting, with different degrees of force, the reputation awarded on earth for human conduct.

Glory, in common acceptance, is a form or expression of public opinion. It is the judgment uttered by fellow-mortals upon our lives or acts. It is the product of their voices. It is the echo of their characters and minds. Its value and significance are, therefore, measured by the weight justly attached to this opinion. If [163]those from whom it proceeds are enlightened, benevolent, and just, it may be the mark of honor. If, on the other hand, they are ignorant, heartless, or unjust, it must be an uncertain index, varying always in accordance with the elevation, mediocrity, or degradation of the intellectual and moral nature.

This explanation enables us to appreciate different foundations of Fame. In early and barbarous periods homage is rendered exclusively to achievements of physical strength, chiefly in slaying wild beasts or human beings termed "enemies." The feats of Hercules, filling the fable and mythology of early Greece, were triumphs of brute force. Conqueror of the Nemean lion and the many-headed hydra, strangler of the giant Antæus, illustrious scavenger of the Augean stables, grand abater of contemporary nuisances, he was hailed as hero and commemorated as god. At a later time honor was still continued to mere muscular strength of arm. The most polite and eminent chief at the siege of Troy is distinguished by Homer for the ease with which he hurled a stone such as could not be lifted even by two strong men of his day:—

"A ponderous stone bold Hector heaved to throw,
Pointed above, and rough and gross below;
Not two strong men the enormous weight could raise,
Such men as live in these degenerate days;
Yet this, as easy as a swain could bear
The snowy fleece, he tossed and shook in air."[188]

This was Glory in an age which had not learned to regard the moral and intellectual nature, or that which distinguishes man from the beast, as the only source of conduct worthy of just renown.

As we enter the polished periods of antiquity, ambi[164]tion gleams in new forms, while we still discern the barbarism that slowly yields to advancing light. The Olympic games echoed to the Isthmian in shouts of praise. All Greece joined in competition for prizes awarded to successful charioteers and athletes; and victory was hailed as a great Glory. Poets did not disdain to sing these achievements; and the odes of Pindar—the Theban eagle, whose pride of place is still undisturbed in the Grecian firmament—are squandered in commemoration of these petty or vulgar contests. In Sparta honor was the monopoly of the soldier returning with his shield, or on it. The arts of peace yielded servile precedence to the toils of war, in which were absorbed life and education. Athens, instinct with the martial spirit, did not fail to cherish the owl with the spear that belonged to her patron goddess; poetry, eloquence, philosophy, history, art, held divided empire with arms; so that this city is wreathed with a Glory other and higher than that of Sparta. And yet this brilliant renown, admired through a long succession of ages, must fade and grow dull by the side of triumphs grander and holier than any achieved by force or intellect alone.

Rome slowly learned to recognize labors not employed in war. In her stately and imperatorial tongue, virtue, that word of highest import, was too often restricted to martial courage. Her much-prized crowns of honor were all awarded to the successful soldier. The title to a triumph, that highest object of ambition, was determined by the number of enemies destroyed, and at least five thousand must have been slain in battle without any considerable detriment to the Roman power. Her most illustrious characters cherished this barbarous [165]spirit. Cato the Censor, that model Roman, hearing that the Athenian ambassadors had captivated the youth of Rome by the charms of philosophy, abruptly dismissed them, and, with the spirit of a Mohawk Indian, declared his reprehension of such corrupting influence on a people whose only profession was war. Even Cicero, in his work of beautiful, but checkered morals, where heathenism blends with truth almost Christian, commends to youth the Glory of war, while he congratulates his son Marcus on the great praise he had obtained from Pompey and the whole army, "by riding, hurling the javelin, and enduring every kind of military labor."[189]

The Roman, taught the Glory of war, was also told, as a last resort, to balk the evils of the world by taking his own life,—falling on his sword, like Brutus, or opening his veins, like Seneca. Suicide was honorable, glorious. A grave historian has recorded the melancholy end of Cato at Utica, whose philosophical suicide is so familiar to English readers from Addison's tragedy: first, the calm perusal of Plato's Dialogue on the Immortality of the Soul; then the plunging of the dagger into his body; the alarm of friends; the timely presence of aid, by which the wound was closed; and when the determined patriot was again left alone, a further ferocious persistence in his purpose till life was extinct: yet this recital is crowned by the annunciation, that Cato, "even by his death, gained great Glory."[190]

Other stages show other elements of renown. The Huns bestowed Glory upon the successful robber; the Scandinavians, upon the triumphant pirate; while in [166]Wales petty larceny and grossness of conduct were the foundations of Fame. In the Welsh tale of "The Mabinogion," where are stories of King Arthur, so famous in song and legend, Peredur, whose dead father had owned "the earldom of the North," is sent by his mother to visit where lived "the best and the boldest and the most bountiful of men." As the son is about to leave, the mother instructs him how to secure an honorable name. "Now hear," says the ambitious mother to her child. "If by chance thou comest by a church, there chant thy paternoster. When thou seest victuals and drink to satisfy thy appetite, help thyself thereto. If thou shouldest hear a cry of distress, go and know the cause, but in particular if it is the voice of a female. Should any precious jewel attract thy eyes, take it; and bestow on others also. Thus shalt thou acquire Fame."[191] The processes of Fame thus rudely displayed were refined by chivalry; but the vivid page of Froissart shows, that, while courtesy became a fresh and grateful element, petty personal encounters with spear and sword were the honorable feats by which applause was won and a name extended after death. And we learn from old Michael Drayton, the poet who has pictured the Battle of Agincourt, something of the inhuman renown there obtained:—

"Who would have Fame full dearly here it bought,
For it was sold by measure and by weight;
And at one rate the price still certain stood,—
An ounce of honor cost a pound of blood."[192]

From the early literature of Spain, where Chivalry [167]found a favorite haunt, it appears that brutality, assassination, and murder were glorious, while adventure in robbery and promptitude in vengeance were favorite acts of heroism. "The Life of the Valiant Cespedes," a Spanish knight of renown, by Lope de Vega, reveals exploits which were little better than performances of a brawny porter and a bully. Passions of a rude nature were gratified at will. Sanguinary revenge and inhuman harshness were his honorable pursuits. A furious blow of his clenched fist, in the very palace of the Emperor at Augsburg, knocked out the teeth of a heretic,—an achievement hailed with honor and congratulation by the Duke of Alva, and by his master, Charles the Fifth. Thus did a Spanish gentleman acquire Fame in the sixteenth century![193]

Such, in other places and times, have been objects of praise. Such is the Glory achieved. Men have extolled what, according to their knowledge or ignorance, they could best appreciate. Nor does this rule fail in our day. The ends of pursuit vary in different parts of the globe and among different persons; and Fame is still awarded to conduct which reason condemns as barbarous. The North American savage commemorates the chief who hangs at the door of his wigwam a heavy string of scalps, the spoils of war. The New-Zealander honors the champion who slays and then eats his enemy. The cannibal of the Feejee Islands, only recently explored by an expedition from our shores, is praised for his adroitness in lying,—for the dozen men he has killed with his own hand,—for triumphant capture, in battle, of a piece of tapa-cloth attached to a staff, not unlike one of our flags; and when dead, his [168]club is placed in his hand, and extended across the breast, to indicate in the next world that the deceased was a chief and a warrior.[194] This is barbarous Glory! But among nations professing Christianity, in our day, there is a powerful public opinion exulting in conduct from which we turn with disgust, as we discern it among the savages of our forest, or the cannibals of the Pacific. The triumphs of animal strength and of brutal violence are hailed as famous. With perverse insensibility to the relative value of human acts, the chances and incidents of war are exalted above the pursuits of peace. Victors from fields moistened with a brother's blood are greeted with grateful salutations, justly due to those only who have triumphantly fulfilled the grand commandments on which hang all the law and the prophets.

Such is controlling public opinion in our age and country. A people that regards success rather than those objects for which alone success is worthy of desire,—that has not yet discerned the beauty of humble and disinterested labor in the great causes by which mankind is advanced,—that has not yet admired the golden link of harmony by which all efforts of usefulness are bound together,—that has not yet recognized the peculiar Christian sentiment of Human Brotherhood, without difference of country, color, or race,—that does not feel, in the concerns of state, as of private life, the enkindling supremacy of those principles of Justice and Benevolence which send their heavenly radiance into the home of poverty, the darkness of ignorance, and the solitude of the prison, which exhibit the degradation [169]of the slave and the wickedness of war, while they exalt scholarship, invigorate eloquence, extend science and all human knowledge,—such a people, not unnaturally, applauds conduct less in harmony with truth, virtue, goodness, than with its own imperfect spirit. And this is what is called Reputation, Fame, Glory,—fickle as a breeze, unsubstantial as a shadow. Well does the master poet of Italy say,—

"Nought is this mundane Glory but a breath
Of wind, that comes now this way and now that,
And changes name because it changes side."[195]


In determining that Glory is but a form or expression of public opinion, valuable only according to those from whom it proceeds, the way is prepared for the second question,—To what extent, if any, is it a proper motive of conduct or object of regard?

If we were ready to follow implicitly those simple precepts of Christianity which ordain exalted duties as the rule of life, this inquiry might be answered shortly. It is well to pursue it in other aspects.

Glory occupied the philosophers of antiquity, who disputed much on its value. Chrysippus and Diogenes held it in unbounded contempt, declaring that it was not worth extending a finger for.[196] Epicurus, under the natural guidance of principles enjoining repose and indifference to public affairs, inculcated a similar contempt. His views were expressed sententiously in the precept of his school, Conceal thy life; and he did not hesitate to warn against regulating conduct by the opinion of oth[170]ers or the reputation of the world. Montaigne has pleasantly remarked, that even this philosopher, when death was at hand, relaxed from the insensibility he had enjoined,—dwelling upon the memory of his teachings, and by his will ordering his heirs to provide, in every recurring January, a festival to honor the day of his birth.[197]

On the other hand, Carneades maintained that Glory is to be sought for its own sake,—an opinion which has not failed to find much sympathy and many followers.[198] Aristotle regarded it as the greatest and most invaluable of external goods, and warned against two extremes, both, in his opinion, equally vicious,—excess in seeking and in avoiding.[199] But it is to the Roman orator that we are to look for the most vivid defence of this, the master passion of his youth, manhood, and age.

The influence exerted by Cicero over the opinions of mankind renders this feature of his character important. Of a less solid understanding than Demosthenes and Aristotle,—the former of whom, in his most masterly oration, vindicated for himself a crown, the badge of Glory, while the latter, as we have already seen, was not insensible to its attractions,—he is more conspicuous than either for the earnestness and constancy with which he displays its influence, the frankness with which he recognizes it as a supreme motive and reward, and the seductive eloquence with which he commends it as an object of vehement and perpetual ambition. On his return from those studies in Athens by which his [171]skill as an orator was so much enhanced, he consulted the Oracle at Delphi, not to learn how best his great powers and accomplishments might be devoted to the good of mankind, but by what means he might soonest arrive at the height of Glory. The answer of the Oracle, though imperfect and heathen, was in a higher mood than the inquiry. It was, "By making his own genius, and not the opinion of others, the guide of life." Arrived in Rome, he was fired by the fame of Hortensius at the bar, and commenced his forensic career in emulous rivalry of that illustrious lawyer. In all the manifold labors of subsequent life, as orator, statesman, general, rhetorician, poet, historian, critic, and philosopher, the aspiration for renown was the Labarum by which he was guided and inspired. It was to him the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.

In Cicero this sentiment was ennobled, so far as possible with a desire so selfish, by the eminent standard which he established for the Glory so much coveted. In one of his orations he characterizes it as "the illustrious and extended Fame of many and great deserts, either towards friends, or towards country, or towards the whole race of men."[200] And again, in the calmness of those philosophical speculations by which his name is exalted, not less than by the eloquence which crushed Catiline, won the clemency of Cæsar, and blasted the character of Antony, he declares that "Glory is the united praise of the good, the incorrupt voice of the true judges of eminent virtue, responding to virtue as an echo, and, being for the most part an attendant on good deeds, ought not to be disdained by good men."[201] This is the picture of True Glory; nor were there any occa[172]sion of criticism, if he had striven to do the good works to which Fame responds as an echo, without regard to his own advancement.

However elevated his conception of Glory, he sought it for its own sake. He wooed it with the ardor of a lover, and embraced it as the bride of his bosom. In that unsurpassed effort for his early teacher, the poet Archias, where the union of literary and professional studies is vindicated with a beauty equal to the cause, he makes public profession of his constant desire for Fame. In quoting his words on that occasion, I present a vindication of this sentiment which has exerted immeasurable influence over the educated world, and is, beyond question, the most eloquent and engaging that ever fell from mortal lips. "Nor is this," says he, "to be dissembled which cannot be concealed, but it is to be openly avowed: we are all influenced by the love of praise, and the best are chiefly moved by Glory. The philosophers themselves inscribe their names even in those little books which they write on contempt of Glory; in the very productions in which they express disdain of Praise and Fame they wish to gain Praise and Fame for themselves.... And now, O judges, I will declare myself to you, and confess to you my love of Glory, too strong, perhaps, but nevertheless honorable.... For virtue desires no other reward of its toils and dangers than Praise and Glory: this being withdrawn, what is there in our poor brief career of life that can induce us to undertake such great labors? Surely, if the soul did not look forward to posterity, if all its thoughts were confined within the bounds by which the span of life is circumscribed, it would neither waste its strength in labors so arduous, nor vex itself [173]with so many cares and watchings, nor would it fight so often for life itself. But now there is in every good man a certain virtue, stirring the soul night and day with the incentive of Glory, and admonishing us that the remembrance of our name must not be suffered to pass away with our life, but should be made to endure through all futurity."[202] This certainly is frank. And in another oration Cicero sharply declares that no man exerts himself with praise and virtue in the perils of the republic who is not moved thereto by the hope of Glory and a regard to posterity.[203]

Thus distinctly recognizing human applause as an all-sufficient motive of conduct, and professing his own dependence upon it, we cannot be surprised at his sedulous efforts to fortify his Fame, nor even at the iterations of self-praise with which his productions abound. In that interesting collection of letters, so much of which is happily spared to us, disclosing the aims and aspirations of his life, there is melancholy evidence of the pernicious sway of this passion, even in his noble bosom. With an immodest freedom, which he vindicates to himself by the remarkable expression, that an epistle does not blush, he invites his friend Lucceius to undertake the history of that portion of his life rendered memorable by the overthrow of the Catilinarian conspiracy, his exile, and return to his country; and, not content with dwelling on the variety and startling nature of the incidents, with the scope they would naturally afford to the accomplished historian, whose Glory, he subtly suggests, may in this way be connected forever with his own, as is that of Apelles with the Glory of Alexander, he proceeds so far as to press his [174]friend, if he does not think the facts worth the pains of adorning, yet to allow so much to friendship, to affection, and to that favor which he had so persuasively condemned in his prefaces, as not to confine himself scrupulously to the strict laws of history or the requirements of truth.[204] Thus, in the madness of his passion for Glory, would he suborn that sacred verity which is higher than friendship, affection, or any earthly favor!

A character like Cicero, compact of so many virtues, resplendent with a genius so lofty, standing on one of the most commanding pinnacles of classical antiquity, still admired by the wide world, hardly less than by the living multitudes that once chafed about the rostrum like a raging sea and were stilled by the music of his voice,—such a character cannot fail to exert a too magical charm over the young, especially where its lessons harmonize with the weakness rather than with the sternness of our nature,—with the instinctive promptings of selfishness, rather than with that disinterestedness which places duty, without hope of reward, without fear or favor, above all human consideration. It is most true that he has kindled in many bosoms something of his own inextinguishable ardors; and the American youth—child of a continent beyond the Atlantis of his imagination, and lifted by institutions he had never seen, even in his vision of a Republic—feels a glow of selfish ambition, as, in tasks of the school, he daily cons the writings of this great master.


His influence is easily discerned in the sentiments of those whose scholarly nurture has brought them within the fascination of his genius. I refer, by way of example, to Sir William Jones, a character of much purity, and of constant sympathy with freedom and humanity, not less than with various labors of learning and literature. In one of his early letters he said that he wished "absolutely to make Cicero his model";[205] while in another he shows himself a true disciple, by loyalty to the same motive of conduct which animated the Roman. "Do not imagine," says Jones, "that I despise the usual enjoyments of youth. No one can take more delight in singing and dancing than I do, nor in the moderate use of wine, nor in the exquisite beauty of the ladies, of whom London affords an enchanting variety; but I prefer Glory, my supreme delight, to all other gratifications, and I will pursue it through fire and water, by day and by night."[206] Here is frankness kindred to that of his Roman exemplar.

It will be proper to pause, in this review of opinion, and endeavor, by careful analysis, to comprehend the just office of this sentiment, which is elevated to be the guide of conduct and aim of life.

Unquestionably, as we are constituted, Glory does exert an imperious control. Its influence is widely and variously felt, though seeming to diminish with advancing years, with the growth of the moral and intellectual nature, with the development of the Christian character, and in proportion as the great realities of existence here and hereafter engross the soul. The child is sensitive to it in earliest dalliance on a parent's [176]knee. Here is an element of that unamiable selfishness which pervades his crude nature, rendering him jealous and envious of caress and praise bestowed upon another. His little bosom palpitates with unrestrained ardors, which in children of a larger growth animate conquerors, and those whom the world calls "great." As he mingles with playmates, the same passion enters into his sports, and attends the exercises of the school. He is covetous of evanescent applause among his peers. He struggles for this fragile Glory,—a bubble blown by the breath of boys.

In maturer years a similar solicitude continues, modified by period and circumstance. The youth putting away childish things rarely forgets the sentiment of emulation; while not insensible to the desire of excellence, he is animated by the desire of excelling. I do not mention this for any austere criticism, but as a psychological fact. And when preparation gives place to action, then this same sentiment, which absorbed the child and animated the youth, reappears in the confirmed ambition of manhood. Now, under loftier name, and with mien of majesty, it beckons to competition with the masters of human thought and conduct, filling his bosom with a pleasing frenzy. He is aroused by

"the spur that the clear spirit doth raise
(That last infirmity of noble mind)
To scorn delights and live laborious days."[207]

He burns to impress his name upon the age, and to challenge the gratitude of posterity. For this he enters the lists with voice, pen, or, it may be, the sword. Like Themistocles, he is sleepless from the laurels of those who have gone before; like Alexander, he [177]sighs for some new world to conquer; like Cæsar, he pours fruitless tears, because, at the age of the dying Alexander, he has done nothing memorable; like Cicero, he dwells upon the applause of men, and draws from it fresh inspiration to labor; and even if he writes against Glory, it is, according to Pascal, for the Glory of writing well. This is the Love of Glory, a sentiment which lurks in every stage and sphere of life,—with the young, the middle-aged, and the old,—with the lowly, the moderate, and the great,—under as many aliases as a culprit,—but, in all its different forms and guises, having one simple animating essence, the passion for the approbation of our fellow-men.[208] By a touch of exquisite nature, Dante reveals the suffering spirits, in the penal gloom and terror of another world, clothed in the weakness of mortal passion, and, unconscious of the true glories of Paradise, still tormented by the desire to be spoken of on earth.[209] And Pascal echoes Dante, when, with that point which is so much his own, he says that "we lose life itself with joy, provided men speak of the loss."[210]

This desire lies deep in the human heart. It is a sentiment implanted at birth. It is kindred to other sentiments and appetites, whose office is to provide for our protection. It is like the love of wealth or the love of power, desires which all feel in a certain degree to be [178]part of their being. Recognizing it, then, as an endowment from the hand of God, we may hesitate to condemn its influence at all times and under all circumstances. Implanted for some good, it is our duty to comprehend its true function. This is not difficult.

The Love of Glory, then, is a motive of human conduct. But the same Heavenly Father who endowed us with the love of approbation has placed in us other sentiments of a higher order, more kindred to his own divine nature. These are Justice and Benevolence, both of which, however imperfectly developed or ill directed, are elements of every human soul. The desire of Justice, filling us with the love of Duty, is the sentiment which fits us to receive and comprehend the sublime injunction of doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. In the predominance of this sentiment, enlightened by intelligence, injustice becomes impossible. The desire of Benevolence goes further. It leads all who are under its influence to those acts of kindness, disinterestedness, humanity, love to neighbor, which constitute the crown of the Christian character. Such sentiments are celestial, godlike, in their office.

In determining proper motives of conduct, it is easy to perceive that the higher are more commendable than the lower, and that even an act of Justice and Benevolence loses something of its charm when known to be inspired by the selfish desire of human applause. It was the gay poet of antiquity who said that concealed virtue differed little from sepulchred sluggishness:—

"Paulum sepultæ distat inertiæ
Celata virtus."[211]

But this is a heathen sentiment, alien to reason and to [179]truth. It is hoped that men will be honest, but from a higher motive than because honesty is the best policy. It is hoped that they will be humane, but for nobler cause than the Fame of humanity.

The love of approbation may properly animate the young, whose minds have not yet ascended to the appreciation of that virtue which is its own exceeding great reward.[212] It may justly strengthen those of maturer age who are not moved by the simple appeals of duty, unless the smiles of mankind attend them. It were churlish not to offer homage to those acts by which happiness is promoted, even though inspired by a sentiment of personal ambition, or by considerations of policy. But such motives must always detract from the perfect beauty even of good works. The Man of Ross, who was said to

"Do good by stealth, and blush to find it Fame,"

was a character of real life, and the example of his virtue may still be prized, like the diamond, for its surpassing rarity. It cannot be disguised, however, that much is gained where the desire of praise acts in conjunction with the higher sentiments. If ambition be our lure, it will be well for mankind, if it unite with Justice and Benevolence.

It may be demanded if we should be indifferent to the approbation of men. Certainly not. It is a proper source of gratification, and is one of the just rewards on earth. It may be enjoyed when virtuously won, though it were better, if not proposed as the object of desire. The great English magistrate, Lord Mansfield, while confessing a wish for popularity, added, in words which [180]cannot be too often quoted, "But it is that popularity which follows, not that which is run after; it is that popularity which, sooner or later, never fails to do justice to the pursuit of noble ends by noble means."[213] And the historian of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, who was no stranger to the Love of Glory, has given expression to the satisfaction which he derived from the approbation of those whose opinions were valuable. "If I listened to the music of praise," says Gibbon, in his Autobiography, "I was more seriously satisfied with the approbation of my judges. The candor of Dr. Robertson embraced his disciple. A letter from Mr. Hume overpaid the labor of ten years."[214] It would be difficult to declare the self-gratulation of the successful author in language more sententious or expressive.

While recognising praise as an incidental reward, though not a commendable motive, we cannot disregard the evil which ensues when the desire for it predominates over the character, and fills the soul, as is too often the case, with a blind emulation chiefly solicitous for personal success. The world, which should be a happy scene of constant exertion and harmonious coöperation, becomes a field of rivalry, competition, and hostile struggle. It is true that God has not given to all the same excellences of mind and heart; but he naturally requires more of the strong than of the many less blessed. The little we can do will not be cast vainly into his treasury; nor need the weak and humble be filled with any idle emulation of others. Let each act earnestly, according to the measure of his powers,—rejoicing al[181]ways in the prosperity of his neighbor; and though we may seem to accomplish little, yet we shall do much, if we be true to the convictions of the soul, and give the example of unselfish devotion to duty. This of itself is success; and this is within the ambition of all. Life is no Ulyssean bow, to be bent only by a single strong arm. There is none so weak as not to use it.

In the growth of the individual the intellect advances before the moral powers; for it is necessary to know what is right before we can practise it; and this same order of progress is observed in the Human Family. Moral excellence is the bright, consummate flower of all progress. It is often the peculiar product of age. And it is then, among other triumphs of virtue, that Duty assumes her commanding place, while personal ambition is abased. Burke, in that marvellous passage of elegiac beauty where he mourns his only son, says, "Indeed, my Lord, I greatly deceive myself, if, in this hard season, I would give a peck of refuse wheat for all that is called Fame and Honor in the world."[215] And Channing, with a sentiment most unlike the ancient Roman orator, declares that he sees "nothing worth living for but the divine virtue which endures and surrenders all things for truth, duty, and mankind."[216]

Such an insensibility to worldly objects, and such an elevation of spirit, may not be expected at once from all men,—certainly not without something of the trials of Burke or the soul of Channing. But it is within the power of all to strive after that virtue which it may be difficult to reach; and just in proportion as duty becomes the guide and aim of life shall we learn to close [182]the soul against the allurements of praise and the asperities of censure, while we find satisfactions and compensations such as man cannot give or take away. The world, with ignorant or intolerant judgment, may condemn; the countenance of companion may be averted; the heart of friend may grow cold; but the consciousness of duty done will be sweeter than the applause of the world, than the countenance of companion, or the heart of friend.


From this survey of Glory, according to common acceptance, and of its influence as a motive of conduct, I advance to the third and concluding head,—What are True Fame and Glory, and who are the men most worthy of honor? The answer is already implied, if not expressed, in much of the discussion through which we have passed; but it may not be without advantage to dwell upon it more at length.

From the vicious and barbarous elements entering into past conceptions of Glory, it is evident that there must be a surer and higher standard. A degraded public opinion naturally fails to appreciate excellence not in harmony with its own prejudices, while it lavishes regard upon conduct we would gladly forget. Genius, too, in all ages, (such is the melancholy story of Humanity,) has stooped to be sycophant, apologist, or friend of characters never to be mentioned without disgust. Historian, poet, and philosopher, false to every sacred office, have pandered to the praise of those who should have been gibbeted to the condemnation of mankind. Lucan, the youthful poet of Freedom, offers in his "Phar[183]salia" the incense of adulation to the monster Nero; Quintilian, the instructor, pauses in his grave "Institutes of Oratory" to speak of the tyrant Domitian as most holy; Paterculus, the historian, extols Tiberius and Sejanus; Seneca, the philosopher, condescends, in his treatise on Consolation, to flatter the imbecile Claudius; while, not to multiply instances in modern times, Corneille, the grandest poet of France, prefaced one of his tragedies with a tribute to the crafty tyrant Mazarin; and our own English Dryden lent his glowing verse to welcome and commemorate a heartless, unprincipled monarch and a servile court.

Others, while refraining from eulogy, unconsciously surrender to sentiments and influences, the public opinion, of the age in which they Live,—investing barbarous characters and scenes, the struggles of selfishness and ambition, and even the movements of conquering robbers, with colors too apt to fascinate or mislead. Not content with that candor which should guide our judgment alike of the living and the dead, they yield sympathy even to injustice and wrong, when commended by genius or elevated by success, and especially if coupled with the egotism of a vicious patriotism. Not feeling practically the vital truth of Human Brotherhood, and the correlative duties it involves, they are insensible to the true character and the shame of transactions by which it is degraded or assailed, and in their estimate depart from that standard of Absolute Right which must be the only measure of true and permanent Fame.

Whatever may be temporary applause, or the expression of public opinion, it may be asserted without fear of contradiction, that no true and permanent Fame can be founded except in labors which promote the happiness of mankind. If these are by Christian means,[184] with disinterested motives, and with the single view of doing good, they become that rare and precious virtue whose fit image is the spotless lily of the field, brighter than Solomon in all his Glory. Earth has nothing of such surpassing loveliness. Heaven may claim the lustre as its own. Such labors are the natural fruit of obedience to the great commandments. Reason, too, in harmony with these laws, shows that the true dignity of Humanity is in the moral and intellectual nature, and that the labors of Justice and Benevolence, directed by intelligence and abasing that part which is in common with beasts, are the highest forms of human conduct.

In determining the praise of actions, four elements may be regarded: first, the difficulties overcome; secondly, the means employed; thirdly, the motives; and, fourthly, the extent of good accomplished. If the difficulties are petty, or the means employed low, vulgar, barbarous, there can be little worthy of highest regard, although the motives are pure and the results beneficent. If the motives are selfish, if a desire of power or wealth or Fame intrude into the actions, they lose that other title to regard springing from beauty and elevation of purpose, even if the conduct be mistaken or weak, and the results pernicious. Horne Tooke claimed for himself no mean epitaph, when he asked for himself after death the praise of good intentions. Still further,—if little or no good arises, and the actions fail to be ennobled by high and generous motives, while the means employed are barbarous and unchristian, and the difficulties overcome are trivial, then surely there is [185]little occasion for applause, although worldly success or the bloody eagle of victorious battle attend them.

Here we encounter the question, What measure of praise shall be accorded to war, or to the profession of arms? Thus far, great generals and conquerors have attracted the largest share of admiration. They swell the page of history. For them is inspiring music, the minute-gun, the flag at half-mast, the trophy, the monument. Fame is a plant whose most luxuriant shoots have grown on fields of blood. Are these vigorous and perennial, or are they destined to perish and fall to earth beneath the rays of the still ascending sun?

There are not a few who will join with Milton in his admirable judgment of martial renown:—

"They err who count it glorious to subdue
By conquest far and wide, to overrun
Large countries, and in field great battles win,
Great cities by assault. What do these worthies
But rob and spoil, burn, slaughter, and enslave
Peaceable nations, neighboring or remote,
Made captive, yet deserving freedom more
Than those, their conquerors, who leave behind
Nothing but ruin, wheresoe'er they rove,
And all the flourishing works of peace destroy?"[217]

This interesting testimony finds echo in another of England's remarkable characters, Edmund Waller,—himself poet, orator, statesman, man of the world,—who has left on record his judgment of True Glory, in a valedictory poem, written at the age of eighty, when the passions of this world no longer obscured the clear perception of duty. At an earlier period of life he had sung of war. Mark the change in this swan-like note, which might disenchant even the eloquence of Cicero, covetous of Fame:—


"Earth praises conquerors for shedding blood;
Heaven, those that love their foes and do 'em good.
It is terrestrial honor to be crowned
For strewing men, like rushes, on the ground:
True Glory 'tis to rise above them all,
Without the advantage taken by their fall.
He that in fight diminishes mankind
Does no addition to his stature find;
But he that does a noble nature show,
Obliging others, still does higher grow:
For virtue practised such an habit gives
That among men he like an angel lives;
Humbly he doth, and without envy, dwell,
Loved and admired by those he does excel.
.    .    .    .    .    .
Wrestling with Death, these lines I did indite;
No other theme could give my soul delight.
O that my youth had thus employed my pen,
Or that I now could write as well as then!"[218]

Well does the poet give the palm to moral excellence! But it is from the lips of a successful soldier, cradled in war, the very pink of warlike heroism, that we are taught to appreciate the Fame of literature, which, though less elevated than that from disinterested beneficence, is truer and more permanent than any bloody Glory. I allude to Wolfe, conqueror of Quebec, who has attracted a larger share of romantic interest than any other of the gallant generals in English history. We behold him, yet young in years, at the head of an adventurous expedition, destined to prostrate the French empire in Canada,—guiding and encouraging the firmness of his troops in unaccustomed difficulties,—awakening their personal attachment by his kindly suavity, and their ardor by his own example,—climbing the precipitous steeps which conduct to the heights of the strongest fortress on the American continent,—there, under its walls, joining in deadly conflict,—wounded,[187]—stretched upon the field,—faint from loss of blood,—with sight already dimmed,—his life ebbing rapidly,—cheered at last by the sudden cry, that the enemy is fleeing in all directions,—and then his dying breath mingling with the shouts of victory. An eminent artist has portrayed this scene of death in a much admired picture. History and Poetry have dwelt upon it with peculiar fondness. Such is the Glory of arms! Happily there is preserved to us a tradition of this day which affords the gleam of a truer Glory. As the commander, in his boat, floated down the current of the St. Lawrence, under cover of night, in the enforced silence of a military expedition, to effect a landing at an opportune promontory, he was heard repeating to himself, in subdued voice, that poem of exquisite charm,—then only recently given to mankind, now familiar as a household word wherever the mother tongue of Gray is spoken,—the "Elegy in a Country Churchyard." Strange and unaccustomed prelude to the discord of battle! As the ambitious warrior finished the recitation, he said to his companions, in low, but earnest tone, that he "would rather be the author of that poem than take Quebec."[219] He was right. The Glory of that victory is already dying out, like a candle in the socket. The True Glory of the poem still shines with star-bright, immortal beauty.

Passing from these testimonies, I would observe for a moment the nature of Military Glory. Its most conspicuous element is courage, placed by ancient philosophers among the four cardinal virtues: Aristotle seems to advance it foremost. But plainly, of itself, it is neither virtue nor vice. It is a quality in man possessed in common with a large number of animals. It [188]becomes virtue, when exercised in obedience to the higher sentiments, with Justice and Benevolence as its objects. It is of humbler character, if these objects are promoted by Force, or by the beast in man. It is unquestionably vice, when, divorced from Justice and Benevolence, it lends itself to the passion for wealth, power, or Glory.

It is easy to determine that courage, though of the lion or tiger, when employed in an unrighteous cause, cannot be the foundation of true and permanent Fame. Mardonius and his Persian hosts in Greece, Cæsar and his Roman legions in Britain, Cortés and his conquering companions in Mexico, Pizarro and his band of robbers in Peru, the Scandinavian Vikings in their adventurous expeditions of piracy, are all condemned without hesitation. Nor can applause attend hireling Swiss, or Italian chieftains of the Middle Ages, or bought Hessians of the British armies, who sold their spears and bayonets to the highest bidder. And it is difficult to see how those, in our own day, following the trade of arms, careless of the cause in which it is employed, can hope for better sympathy. An early English poet, of mingled gayety and truth, Sir John Suckling, himself a professor of war, makes the soldier confess the recklessness of his life:—

"I am a man of war and might,
And know thus much, that I can fight,
Whether I am i' th' wrong or right,

In such a spirit no True Glory can be achieved. And is not this plainly the spirit of the soldier, regarded as a "machine" only, and acting in unquestioning obedience to orders? No command of Government, or any human [189]power, can sanctify wrong; nor can rules of military subordination, or prejudices of an unchristian patriotism, dignify conduct in violation of heaven-born sentiments. The inspiring inscription at Thermopylæ said, "O stranger, tell the Lacedæmonians that we lie here in obedience to their commands";[221] but the three hundred Lacedæmonians who there laid down their lives were stemming, in those narrow straits, the mighty tide of Xerxes, as it rolled in upon Greece.

To all defenders of freedom or country the heart goes forth with cordial, spontaneous sympathy. May God defend the right! Their cause, whether in victory or defeat, is invested with the interest which from the time of Abel has attached to all who suffer from the violence of a brother-man. But their unhappy strife belongs to the DISHONORABLE BARBARISM of the age,—like the cannibalism of an earlier period, or the slavery of our own day.

Not questioning the right of self-defence, or undertaking to consider the sanctions of the Institution of War as an established Arbiter of Justice between nations, or its necessity in our age, all may join in regarding it as an unchristian institution, and a melancholy necessity, offensive in the sight of God, and hostile to the best interests of men. A field of battle is a scene of execution according to the laws of war,—without trial or judgment, but with a thousand Jack Ketches in the odious work.[222] And yet the acts of hardihood and skill here displayed are entitled "brilliant"; the move[190]ments of the executioners in gay apparel are praised as "brilliant"; the destruction of life is "brilliant"; the results of the auto da fé are "brilliant"; the day of this mournful tragedy is enrolled as "brilliant"; and Christians are summoned to commemorate with honor a scene which should rather pass from the recollection of men.

The example even of martial Rome may here teach us one great lesson. Recognizing the fellowship of a common country, conflicts between citizens were condemned as fratricidal. Civil war was branded as guilt and crime. The array of opposing forces, drawn from the bosom of the same community, knit together by the same political ties, was pronounced impious, even where they appeared under such cherished names as Pompey and Cæsar:—

"Impia concurrunt Pompeii et Cæsaris arma."[223]

As the natural consequence, victories in these fraternal feuds were held to be not only unworthy of praise, but never to be mentioned without blame. Even if countenanced by justice or dire necessity, they were none the less mournful. No success over brethren of the same country could be the foundation of honor. And so firmly was this principle embodied in the very customs and institutions of Rome, that no thanksgiving or religious ceremony was allowed by the Senate in commemoration of such success; nor was the triumph permitted to the conquering chief whose hands were red with the blood of fellow-citizens. Cæsar forbore even to send a herald of his unhappy victories, and looked upon them with shame.[224]


As we recognize the commanding truth, that God "hath made of one blood all nations of men," and that all his children are brethren, the distinctions of country disappear, ALL WAR BECOMES FRATRICIDAL, and victory is achieved only by shedding a brother's blood. The soul shrinks from contemplation of the scene, and, while refusing to judge the act, confesses its unaffected sadness.

"The pomp is darkened, and the day o'ercast."

It was natural that ancient Heathen, strangers to the sentiment of Human Brotherhood, should limit their regard to the narrow circle of country,—as if there were magical lines within which strife and bloodshed are shame and crime, while beyond this pale they are great Glory. Preparing for battle, the Spartans sacrificed to the Muses, anxious for the countenance of these divinities, to the end that their deeds might be fitly described, and deeming it a heavenly favor that witnesses should behold them. Not so the Christian. He would rather pray that the recording angel would blot with tears all recollection of the fraternal strife in which he was sorrowfully engaged.


This conclusion, however repugnant to the sentiment of Heathenism or the practice of Christian nations, stands on the Brotherhood of Man. Because this truth is imperfectly recognized, the Heathen distinction between civil war and foreign war is yet maintained. To the Christian, every fellow-man, whether remote or near, whether of our own country or of another, is "neighbor" and "brother"; nor can any battle, whether between villages or towns or states or countries, be deemed other than shame,—like the civil wars of Rome, which the poet aptly said could bear no triumphs:—

"Bella geri placuit nullos habitura triumphos."[225]

The same mortification and regret with which we regard the hateful contest between brothers of one household, kinsmen of one ancestry, citizens of one country, must attend every scene of strife; for are we not all, in a just and Christian sense, brethren of one household, kinsmen of one ancestry, citizens of one country,—the world? The inference is irresistible, that no success in arms against fellow-men, no triumph over brothers, flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone, no destruction of the life which God has given to his children, no assault upon his sacred image in the upright form and countenance of man, no effusion of human blood, under whatever apology of necessity vindicated, can be the foundation of Christian Fame.

Adverse to the prejudices of mankind as such conclusion may be, it must find sympathy in the refined soul and the inner heart of man, while it is in harmony with those utterances, in all ages, testifying to the virtue whose true parent is Peace. The loving admiration, so spontaneously offered to the Christian graces which adorned the Scipios, hesitates at those scenes of blood which gave to them the unwelcome eminence of "the two thunderbolts of war." The homage freely accorded to forbearance, generosity, or forgiveness, when seen in the spectral glare of battle, is a tacit rebuke to the hostile passions whose triumphant rage constitutes the Glory of arms. The wail of widows and orphans, and the sorrows of innumerable mourners refusing to be comforted, often check the gratulations of success. Stern warriors, too, in the paroxysm of victory, by unwilling tears vindicate humanity and condemn their [193]own triumphs. More than one, in the dread extremities of life, has looked back with regret upon his career of battle, or perhaps, like Luxembourg of France, confessed that he would rather remember a cup of cold water given to a fellow-creature in poverty and distress than all his victories, with their blood, desolation, and death. Thus speaks the heart of man. No true Fame can flow from the fountain of tears.

The achievements of war and the characters of conquerors have been exposed by satire, under whose sharp touch we see their unsubstantial renown.

"Heroes are much the same, the point's agreed,
From Macedonia's madman to the Swede."

Nobody has done this more plainly than Rabelais, who, in an age when Peace was only a distant vision, gave expression to those sentiments, often vague and undefined, which have their origin in the depths of the human soul. In the Life of Pantagruel, that strange satire, compounded of indecency, humor, effrontery, and learning, one of the characters, after being very merry in hell, talking familiarly with Lucifer, and penetrating to the Elysian Fields, recognizes some of the world's great men, but changed after a very extraordinary manner. Alexander the Great is mending and patching old breeches and stockings, and thus obtains a very poor living. Achilles is a maker of hay-bundles; Hannibal, a kettle-maker, and seller of egg-shells. All the knights of the Round Table are poor day-laborers, employed to row over the rivers Cocytus, Phlegethon, Styx, Acheron, and Lethe, when, according to Rabelais, "my lords the devils have a mind to recreate themselves upon the water, as on like occasion one hires the boatmen at Lyons, the gondoliers of Venice, or [194]oars of London,—but with this difference, that these poor knights have for their fare only a bob or flirt on the nose, and in the evening a morsel of coarse, mouldy bread."[226] Such is the wretched contrast between the judgment of earth and that other judgment, which cannot be arrested when earth has passed away.

Whatever the voice of poets, moralists, satirists, and even of soldiers, it is certain that the Glory of arms still exercises no mean influence over the human mind. The "red planet Mars" is still in the ascendant. The Art of War, which a French divine has happily termed "the baleful art of teaching men to exterminate one another,"[227] is yet held, even among Christians, an honorable pursuit; and the animal courage which it stimulates and develops is prized as transcendent virtue. It will be for another age and a higher civilization to appreciate the more exalted character of Beneficence as an Art,—the art of extending happiness and all good influences, by word or deed, to the largest number of mankind,—while, in blessed contrast with the misery, degradation, and wickedness of war, shines resplendent the True Grandeur of Peace. All then will be willing to join with the early poet in saying,—

"Though louder Fame attend the martial rage,
'Tis greater Glory to reform the age."[228]

Then shall the soul thrill with a nobler heroism than that of battle, while peaceful Industry, with untold multitudes of cheerful and beneficent laborers, takes the [195]place of War and its works,—while Literature, full of comfort and sympathy for the heart of man, rejoices in happiest empire,—while Science, with extensive sceptre, advances the bounds of knowledge and power, adding unimaginable strength to the hands of men, opening immeasurable resources in the earth, and revealing new secrets and harmonies in the skies,—while Art, elevated and refined, lavishes fresh images of beauty and grace,—while Charity, in streams of milk and honey, diffuses itself through all the habitations of the world.

Does any one ask for signs of this coming era? The increasing knowledge and beneficence of our own day, the broad-spread sympathy with human suffering, the widening thoughts of men, the longings of the heart for a higher condition on earth, the unfulfilled promises of Christian Progress, are the auspicious auguries of this Happy Future. Not to the Great Navigator alone, but to all now toiling for the new and glorious future, may be addressed the inspiring verses of the German poet:—

"Steer, bold mariner, on! albeit witlings deride thee,
And the steersman drop idly his hand at the helm;
Ever, ever to westward! there must the coast be discovered,
If it but lie distinct, luminous lie in thy mind.
Trust to the God that leads thee, and follow the sea that is silent;
Did it not yet exist, now would it rise from the flood.
Nature with Genius stands united in league everlasting;
What is promised by one surely the other performs."[229]

As early voyagers over untried realms of waste, we have already observed the signs of land. The green twig and fresh red berry have floated by our bark; the odors of the shore fan our faces; nay, we descry the [196]distant gleam of light, and hear from the more earnest watchers, as Columbus heard, after midnight, from the mast-head of the Pinta, the joyful cry of Land! Land! and, lo! a New World breaks upon our morning gaze.

A new order of heroes and of great men will then be recognized, while the history of the Past will be reviewed, to re-judge the Fame awarded or withheld. There are many, having high place in the world's praise, from whom a righteous Future will avert the countenance, so that they will know at last the neglect which has thus far been the lot of better men; but there are others, little regarded during life, sleeping in humble or unknown earth, who shall become the favorites of True Glory. At Athens there was an altar dedicated to the Unknown God. The time is at hand, when the company of good men whose lives are without record or monument will find at length an altar of praise.

Then will be cherished, not those who, from accident of birth, or by selfish struggle, have succeeded in winning the attention of mankind,—not those who have commanded armies in barbarous war,—not those who have exercised power or swayed empire,—not those who have made the world tributary to their luxury and wealth,—not those who have cultivated knowledge, regardless of their fellow-men. Not present Fame, nor war, nor power, nor wealth, nor knowledge, alone, can secure an entrance to this true and noble Valhalla. Here will be gathered those only who have toiled, each in his vocation, for the welfare of the race. Mankind will remember those only who have remembered mankind. Here, with the apostles, the prophets, and the martyrs, shall be joined the glorious company of the [197]world's benefactors,—the goodly fellowship of truth and duty,—the noble army of statesmen, orators, poets, preachers, scholars, men in all walks of life, who have striven for the happiness of others. If the soldier finds a place in this sacred temple, it will be not because, but notwithstanding, he was a soldier.

"God alone is great!" Such was the admired and triumphant exclamation with which Massillon opened his funeral discourse on the deceased monarch of France, called in his own age Louis the Great. It is in the attributes of God that we find the elements of true greatness. Man is great by the godlike qualities of Justice, Benevolence, Knowledge, and Power. And as Justice and Benevolence are higher than Knowledge and Power, so are the just and benevolent higher than those who are intelligent and powerful only. Should all these qualities auspiciously concur in one person on earth, then might we look to behold a mortal, supremely endowed, reflecting the image of his Maker. But even Knowledge and Power, without those higher attributes, cannot constitute true greatness. It is by his Goodness that God is most truly known; so also is the Great Man. When Moses said unto the Lord, "Show me thy Glory," the Lord answered, "I will make all my Goodness pass before thee."[230]

It will be easy to distinguish between those merely memorable in the world's annals and those truly great. Reviewing the historic names to which flattery or a false appreciation of character has awarded this title, [198]we find its painful inaptitude. Alexander, drunk with victory and with wine, whose remains, after early death at the age of thirty-two, were borne through conquered Asia on a funeral car glittering with massive gold and wonderful in magnificence, was not truly great. Cæsar, ravager of distant lands, and trampler upon the liberties of his own country, with an unsurpassed combination of intelligence and power, was not truly great. Louis the Fourteenth of France, magnificent spendthrift monarch, prodigal of treasure and of blood, always panting for renown, was not truly great. Peter of Russia, organizer of material prosperity in his vast empire, murderer of his own son, despotic, inexorable, unnatural, savage, was not truly great. Frederic of Prussia, heartless and consummate general, skilled in the barbarous art of war, who played the game of robbery with human lives for dice, was not truly great. There is little of true grandeur in any such career. None of the Beatitudes showered upon them a blessed influence. They were not poor in spirit, or meek, or merciful, or pure in heart. They were not peacemakers. They did not hunger and thirst after Justice. They did not suffer persecution for Justice's sake.

It is men like these, that the good Abbé St. Pierre, in works deserving well of mankind, has termed Illustrious, in contradistinction to Great. Their influence was extensive, their power mighty, their names famous; but they were barbarous, selfish, and inhuman in aim, with little of love to God and less to man.

There is another and a higher company that thought little of praise or power, whose lives shine before men with those good works which glorify their authors. There is Milton, poor and blind, but "bating not a jot [199]of heart or hope,"—in an age of ignorance the friend of education, in an age of servility and vice the pure and uncontaminated friend of freedom, tuning his harp to those magnificent melodies which angels might stoop to hear, and confessing his supreme duties to Humanity in words of simplicity and power. "I am long since persuaded," was his declaration, "that, to say or do aught worth memory and imitation, no purpose or respect should sooner move us than simply the love of God and of mankind."[231] There is Vincent de Paul, of France, once a captive in Algiers. Obtaining freedom by happy escape, this fugitive slave devoted himself with divine success to works of Christian benevolence,—the establishment of hospitals, visiting those in prison, the spread of amity and peace. Unknown, he repairs to the galleys at Marseilles, and, touched by the story of a poor convict, takes the heavy chains upon himself, that this fellow-man may leave to visit his wife and children; and then, moved by the sorrows of France bleeding with war, hurries to her powerful minister, the Cardinal Richelieu, and on his knees entreats,—"Give us peace! have pity upon us! give peace to France!"[232] There is Howard, the benefactor of those on whom the world has placed its brand,—whose charity, like that of the Frenchman, inspired by the single desire of doing good, illumined the gloom of the dungeon as with angelic presence. "A person of more ability," he says, in sweet simplicity, "with my knowledge of facts, would have written better; but the object of my ambition was not the Fame of an author. Hearing the cry of the miserable, I devoted my time to their relief."[233] And, lastly, there [200]is Clarkson, who, while yet a pupil of the University, commenced those life-long labors against slavery and the slave-trade which embalm his memory. Writing an essay on the subject as a college exercise, his soul warmed with the task, and, at a period when even the horrors of "the middle passage" did not excite condemnation, he entered the lists, the stripling champion of the Right. He has left a record of the moment when this supreme duty flashed upon him. He was horseback, on his way from Cambridge to London. "Coming in sight of Wade's Mill, in Hertfordshire," he says, "I sat down disconsolate on the turf by the roadside, and held my horse. Here a thought came into my mind, that, if the contents of the Essay were true, it was time some person should see these calamities to their end."[234] Pure and noble impulse to a beautiful career!

Such are exemplars of True Glory. Without rank, office, or the sword, they accomplished immortal good. While on earth, they labored for their fellow-men; and now, sleeping in death, by example and works they continue the same sacred office. To all, in every sphere or condition, they teach the universal lesson of magnanimous duty. From the heights of their virtue, they call upon us to cast out the lust of power, of office, of wealth, of praise, of a fleeting popular favor, which "a breath can make, as a breath has made,"—to subdue the constant, ever-present suggestions of self, in disregard of neighbors, near or remote, whose welfare should never be forgotten,—to check the madness of party, which so often, for the sake of success, renounces [201]the very objects of success,—and, finally, to introduce into our lives those sentiments of Conscience and Charity which animated them to such labors. Nor should these be holiday virtues, marshalled on great occasions only. They must become part of us, and of our existence,—present on every occasion, small or great,—in those daily amenities which add so much to the charm of life, as also in those grander duties which require an ennobling self-sacrifice. The former are as flowers, whose odor is pleasant, though fleeting; the latter are like the costly spikenard poured from the box of alabaster upon the head of the Lord.

To the supremacy of these principles let us all consecrate our best purposes and strength. So doing, we must reverse the very poles of worship in the past. Thus far men have bowed down before stocks, stones, insects, crocodiles, golden calves,—graven images, of ivory, ebony, or marble, often of cunning workmanship, wrought with Phidian skill, but all false gods. Their worship in the future must be the true God, our Father, as he is in heaven, and in the beneficent labors of his children on earth. Then farewell to the Siren song of a worldly ambition! Farewell to the vain desire of mere literary success or oratorical display! Farewell to the distempered longing for office! Farewell to the dismal, blood-red phantom of martial renown! Fame and Glory may continue, as in times past, the reflection of public opinion,—but of an opinion sure and steadfast, without change or fickleness, illumined by those two eternal suns of Christian truth, love to God and love to man.

All things will bear witness to the change, while the busy forms of wrong and outrage disappear like evil [202]spirits at the dawn. Then shall the happiness of the poor and lowly have uncounted friends. The cause of those in prison shall find fresh voices, the education of the ignorant kindly supporters, the majesty of Peace other vindicators, the sufferings of the slave new and gushing floods of sympathy. Then, at last, shall the Brotherhood of Man stand confessed, filling the souls of all with more generous life, prompting to deeds of beneficence, conquering the Heathen prejudices of country, color, and race, guiding the judgment of the historian, animating the verse of the poet and the eloquence of the orator, ennobling human thought and conduct, and inspiring those good works by which alone we attain the summits of True Glory. Good Works! Such even now is the Heavenly Ladder on which angels are ascending and descending, while weary Humanity, on pillows of stone, slumbers heavily at its feet.



Civil War a Crime.—The terms describing civil war, employed by Roman writers, implicate both sides in its guilt and dishonor. Such phrases as the following occur in the "Pharsalia" of Lucan: "civile nefas" (Lib. IV. 172); "civilis Erinnys" (IV. 187); "crimen civile" (VII. 398). Eutropius says: "Hinc jam bellum civile successit, exsecrandum et lacrimabile." (Brev. Hist. Rom., Lib. VI. c. 19.) Of the war between Sulla and Marius Florus says: "Hoc deerat unum populi Romani malis, jam ut ipse intra se parricidale bellum domi stringeret, et in urbe media ac foro, quasi harena, cives cum civibus suis gladiatorio more concurrerent. Æquiore animo utcumque ferrem, si plebeii duces, aut si nobiles, mali saltem, ducatum sceleri præbuissent; cum vero, pro facinus! qui viri! qui imperatores! decora et ornamenta sæculi sui, Marius et Sulla, pessimo facinori suam etiam dignitatem præbuerunt." (Epit. Rerum Rom., Lib. III. c. 21.) The condemnation of the historian is aroused, not because of the wickedness of a contest among fellow-men, but among fellow-citizens, and because illustrious personages joined in it. But he is impartial in condemning both sides. Marius and Sulla alike are treated as criminals. The same judgment seems to be expressed with regard to Cæsar and Pompey. "Cæsaris furor atque Pompeii urbem, Italiam, gentes, nationes, totum denique qua patebat imperium, quodam quasi diluvio et inflammatione corripuit; adeo ut non recte tantum civile dicatur, ac ne sociale quidem, sed nec externum, sed potius commune quoddam ex omnibus, et plus quam bellum." (Ibid., Lib. IV. c. 2.) His description of what was called the Social War contains a principle which must condemn equally all strife among cognate nations or states: "Sociale bellum vocetur licet, ut extenuemus invidiam; si verum tamen volumus, illud civile bellum fuit. Quippe cum populus Romanus Etruscos, Latinos. Sabinosque miscuerit, et unum ex omnibus sanguinem ducat, corpus fecit ex membris, et ex omnibus unus est. Nec minore flagitio socii intra Italiam, quam intra urbem cives rebellabant." (Ibid., Lib. III. c. 18.)

No triumph, thanksgiving, or holiday for a conqueror in Civil War.—Valerius Maximus, in his chapter on Triumphs, shows how the victories of civil war were regarded in Rome. "Although," he says, "any one should perform illustrious and highly useful acts to the Republic in civil war, he was not on this account hailed as Imperator; nor were any thanksgivings decreed; nor did he enjoy a triumph or oration: because, howsoever necessary these victories might be, they were always regarded as mournful, inasmuch as they were obtained, not by foreign, but by domestic [204]blood. Therefore Nasica and Opimius sorrowfully slew, the one the faction of Tiberius Gracchus, and the other that of Caius Gracchus. Quintus Catulus, after overthrowing his colleague, Marcus Lepidus, with all his seditious forces, returned to the city, showing only a moderated joy. Even Caius Antonius, the conqueror of Catiline, made his soldiers wipe their swords before taking them back to the camp. Lucius Cinna and Caius Marius, after eagerly draining the blood of citizens, did not proceed immediately to the temples and altars of the gods. So, too, Lucius Sulla, who waged many civil wars, and whose successes were most cruel and insolent, at his triumph, on the establishment of his power, carried in his procession the representations of many Greek and Asiatic cities, but of no town occupied by Roman citizens. It were grievous and wearisome to dwell longer on the wounds of the Republic. The Senate never gave the laurel to any one, nor did any one ever desire that it should be given to himself, while a part of the state was in tears." These last words deserve to be repeated in the original text: "Lauream nec Senatus cuiquam dedit, nec quisquam sibi dari desideravit, civitatis parte lacrimante." (Valerius Maximus, Lib. II. c. 8, § 7.) Florus, at the close of his chapter on the War with Sertorius, says, that the victorious leaders wished this to be regarded as a foreign rather than a civil war, in order that they might triumph: "Victores duces externum id magis quam civile bellum videri voluerunt, ut triumpharent." (Epit. Rerum Rom., Lib. III. c. 22.) Cæsar did not triumph over Pompey, although at a later day he shocked his fellow-citizens by a triumph over the sons of that leader. "All the world," says Plutarch, in his Life of Cæsar, "condemned his triumphing in the calamities of his country, and rejoicing in things which nothing could excuse, either before the gods or men, but extreme necessity. And it was the more obvious to condemn it, because, before this, he had never sent any messenger or letter to acquaint the public with any victory he had gained in the civil wars, but was rather ashamed of such advantages." (Lives, tr. Langhorne, Vol. IV. p. 387.)

A similar judgment of contests and battles between citizens appears in other writers. Appian, speaking of Caius Gracchus, says, that "all averted their countenances from him, as a man polluted with the blood of a citizen." (De Bellis Civilibus, Lib. I. c. 25.) The same author, in describing the triumphs of Cæsar on his return from Africa, says, that "he took care that there should be no triumphal inscription of his victories over Romans, his fellow-citizens, as both unbecoming himself, and shameful and of evil omen to the Roman people." (Ibid., Lib. II. c. 101.) We may follow this sentiment in the History of Dion Cassius. After describing the victory over Catiline, he says, "The victors themselves greatly bewailed the loss to the Commonwealth of such and so many men, citizens and allies, although justly slain." (Hist. Rom., Lib. [205]XXXVII. c. 40.) Thus the justice of the war did not make it a source of glory. Dion says, that Pompey, after his success over Cæsar at Dyrrachium, "did not speak of it boastfully, nor did he wreathe his fasces with laurel, feeling a repugnance to doing anything of this sort on account of a victory over citizens." (Ibid., Lib. XLI. c. 52.) The manner in which he refers to Cæsar's conduct, also, after the battle of Pharsalia, is in harmony with that of the other classical writers. "Cæsar," he says, "sent no announcement of it to the people, being unwilling to appear to rejoice publicly over such a victory; wherefore he did not celebrate any triumph on account of it." (Ibid., Lib. XLII. c. 18.) But he pursued a different course with regard to his victory over the foreigner Pharnaces, which he announced in that famous epigrammatic epistle, "Veni, vidi, vici." Dion says, "Cæsar was prouder of this than of any other of his victories, although it was not very splendid." (Ibid., Lib. XLII. c. 48.) The same historian alludes to his triumph over the sons of Pompey, "having conquered no foreign enemy, but destroyed so large a number of citizens." (Ibid., Lib. XLIII. c. 42.) Crowns and public thanksgivings were decreed to Octavius Cæsar, after his victories over Antony; "but," says Dion, "they did not expressly name Antony, and the other Romans conquered with him, either at first or then, as though it were right to celebrate festivities over them." (Ibid., Lib. LI. c. 19.)

"The Tatler," in considering the Roman triumph, notices that "it was not allowed in a civil war, lest one part should be in tears, while the other was making acclamations." (No. LXIII.) And Hudibras, in a most suggestive passage, uses language applicable to all civil war:—

"What towns, what garrisons, might you
With hazard of this blood subdue,
Which now ye're bent to throw away
In vain untriumphable fray!"

Part I. Canto II. 499-502.

International War criminal, and as little worthy of honor as Civil War.—Erasmus dealt a blow at the distinction, still preserved among Christians, between civil war and foreign war. "Plato civile bellum esse putat, quod Græci gerunt adversus Græcos. At Christianus Christiano propius junctus est quam civis civi, quam frater fratri." (Erasmi Epist., Lib. XXII. Ep. 16.) The same idea is found in the Byzantine Gregoras: "Indecorum esse Christianis tanta cum acerbitate inter se armis certare, cum rationes sint conveniendi ad pacem et communes vires in impios vertendi." (Gregoras, Lib. X., De Alexandro Bulgaro, quoted by Grotius, De Jure Belli ac Pacis, Lib. II. cap. 23, §8, No. 3, note.) Even here it is rather the Brotherhood of Christians than the Brotherhood of Man that is recognized. Assuming the latter, international war be[206]comes criminal, and as little worthy of honor as civil war. It is a war among brothers.

Who can think of that contest between the two brothers Eteocles and Polynices without abhorrence? Who would think of awarding glory to Abel, if, in self-defence, he had succeeded in slaying his hostile brother, Cain? There is a play of Beaumont and Fletcher where two brothers are represented as drawing swords upon each other. When finally separated, they are addressed in words applicable to the contests of nations:—

"Clashing of swords
So near my house! Brother opposed to brother!
. . . . . . . Hold! hold!
Charles! Eustace!
. . . . . But these unnatural jars,
Arising between brothers, should you prosper,
Would shame your victory"

The Elder Brother, Act V. Sc. 1.

The unreasonableness of any True Glory in such a contest is felt by all at the present day, though there have been monsters or barbarians who gloried even in a kinsman's blood. Massinger, in his play of "The Unnatural Combat," has portrayed such a character. A father and son fight with each other. The father is victorious. His exultation in the death of his son is not unlike that which often attends the victories of Christian nations:—

"Were a new life hid in each mangled limb,
I would search and find it; and howe'er to some
I may seem cruel thus to tyrannize
Upon this senseless flesh, I glory in it,
. . . . . my falling glories
Being made up again, and cemented
With a son's blood."

The Unnatural Combat, Act II. Sc. 1.

The father, whose hands are wet with a son's blood, is thus addressed:—

"The conqueror that survives
Must reap the harvest of his bloody labor.
Sound all loud instruments of joy and triumph."


The soul revolts from such a triumph; but how does this differ from the triumphs of war? The enlightened morality of our age will yet confess that it is equally wrong to commemorate by thanksgiving or holiday any bloody success, even in a just contest, over our brother man.



Speech in the Whig State Convention of Massachusetts, at Springfield, September 29, 1847.

Mr. Sumner persevered in opposition to the Mexican War, as unjust in character, and waged for the sake of Slavery. At a Whig meeting in Boston, assembled in Washingtonian Hall, September 15, for the choice of delegates to the Annual State Convention, he introduced the following Resolutions.

"Resolved, That a war of aggression, conquest, and robbery is a national crime of unquestionable atrocity, which good citizens should strive by unceasing exertion to prevent and arrest.

"Resolved, That such a war becomes doubly hateful, when the lust of conquest is inflamed and stimulated by the passion to extend Slavery and to strengthen the Slave Power.

"Resolved, That the present war with Mexico is unconstitutional in origin, unjust in character, and detestable in object, and that a regard for the Constitution, which is outraged, for the Union, which is endangered, for the lives of innocent men vainly sacrificed, for the principles of justice wantonly violated, and for the true honor of the country tarnished, should animate us to oppose with uncompromising earnestness the further waste of national treasure for purposes of aggression, and to call for the withdrawal of our troops within the acknowledged limits of the United States.

"Resolved, That we are unchangeably opposed to the annexation of any territory to this Union, either directly by conquest, or indirectly as payment for expenses of the war; but if additional territory be forced upon us, or be acquired by purchase, or in any other way, then we will demand that there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude therein, otherwise than for the punishment of crime."

Mr. Sumner, Hon. C.F. Adams, and J.S. Eldridge, Esq., spoke in favor of the Resolutions; Hon. James T. Austin and William Harden, Esq., against them. They were finally laid on the table. The Whigs of Boston would not commit themselves to these principles. Mr. Sum[208]ner's name was placed at the head of the large delegation appointed by the meeting.

The Convention assembled at Springfield, September 29, 1847, and organized with the following officers: Hon. George Ashmun, of Springfield, President; John C. Gray, of Boston, Thomas Emerson, of South Reading, James H. Duncan, of Haverhill, J.T. Buckingham, of Cambridge, Samuel Wood, of Grafton, James White, of Northfield, Theodore Hinsdale, of Litchfield, William Porter, of Lee, Truman Clark, of Walpole, John A. Shaw, of Bridgewater, and Samuel Osborn, of Edgartown. Vice-Presidents; John P. Putnam, of Boston, Linus B. Comins, of Roxbury, Charles R. Train, of Framingham, and S.H. Davis, of Westfield, Secretaries.

Mr. Webster was present, and addressed the Convention, mainly on the Mexican War. Among the Resolutions adopted by the Convention was one recommending him as a candidate for President of the United States. While the Resolutions were pending, the following was moved as an amendment by Hon. John G. Palfrey.

"Resolved, That the Whigs of Massachusetts will support no men for the offices of President and Vice-President but such as are known by their acts or declared opinions to be opposed to the extension of Slavery."

This Resolution was the result of a conference among the more earnest Anti-Slavery members, with whom Mr. Sumner acted, in the hope of making opposition to the extension of Slavery a political test at the next Presidential election. It was sustained in speeches by Mr. Palfrey, Hon. C. F. Adams, Mr. Sumner, Hon. William Dwight, and Hon. Charles Allen, and was opposed by Hon. Robert C. Winthrop and Hon. John C. Gray. On the question being taken, the Resolution was declared lost.

Mr. Sumner spoke as follows.

Mr. President,—It is late, and I am sorry to trespass on unwilling attention. The importance of the cause is my apology. The question is, How shall we express our opposition to the extension of Slavery? Here it is satisfactory to know that there can be no embarrassment from constitutional scruples. It is not proposed to interfere with Slavery in any constitutional stronghold, or to touch any so-called compromise of the Constitution. Adopting the principle, so often declared [209]by our Southern friends, that Slavery is a local institution, drawing its vitality from the municipal laws of the States in which it exists, we solemnly assert that the power of the Nation, of Congress, of the North as well as the South, shall not be employed for its extension, and that this curse shall not be planted in any territory hereafter acquired.

Is it not strange, Mr. President, that we, in this nineteenth century of the Christian era, in a country whose heroic charter declares that "all men are created equal," under a Constitution one of whose express objects is to "secure the blessings of liberty,"—is it not passing strange that we should be occupied now in considering how best to prevent the opening of new markets for human flesh? Slavery, already expelled from distant despotic states, seeks shelter here by the altars of Freedom. Alone in the company of nations our country assumes the championship of this hateful institution. Far away in the East, at "the gateways of the day," by the sacred waters of the Ganges, in effeminate India, Slavery is condemned; in Constantinople, queenly seat of the most powerful Mahometan empire, where barbarism still mingles with civilization, the Ottoman Sultan brands it with the stigma of disapprobation; the Barbary States of Africa are changed to Abolitionists; from the untutored ruler of Morocco comes the declaration of his desire, stamped in the formal terms of a treaty, that the very name of Slavery may perish from the minds of men; and only recently from the Bey of Tunis has proceeded that noble act by which, "for the glory of God, and to distinguish man from the brute creation,"—I quote his own words,—he decreed its total abolition throughout his dominions. Let [210]Christian America be taught by these despised Mahometans. God forbid that our Republic—"heir of all the ages, in the foremost files of time"—should adopt anew the barbarism and cruelty they have renounced or condemned!

The early conduct of our fathers, at the formation of the Constitution, should be our guide now. On the original suggestion of Jefferson, subsequently sustained and modified by others, a clause was introduced into the fundamental law of the Northwest Territory by which Slavery has been forever excluded from that extensive region. This act of wisdom and justice is a source of prosperity and pride to the millions living beneath its influence. And shall we be less true to Freedom than the authors of that instrument? Their spirits encourage us in devotion to this cause. With promptings from their example may properly mingle the testimony given by that evangelist of Liberty, Lafayette, who, though born on a foreign soil, is already, by earnest labors, by blood shed in our cause, by the friendship of Washington, by the gratitude of every American heart, enrolled among our patriots and fathers. His opinions of Slavery are now newly revealed to the world. From the pen of the philanthropist Clarkson we learn that his amiable nature was specially aroused even at its mention. "He was a real gentleman," says Clarkson, "and of soft and gentle manners. I have seen him put out of temper, but never at any time except when Slavery was the subject." The thought of it in the land he had helped to redeem troubled him so that he exclaimed to Clarkson: "I would never have drawn my sword in the cause of America, if I could have conceived that thereby I was founding a land of Slavery." Shall [211]we, whom his sword helped to free, now found a new land of Slavery?

A proposal is made that the Missouri Compromise shall be applied to any territory acquired from Mexico,—in other words, that all south of the parallel of 36° 30' shall be devoted to Slavery. Are you aware, Sir, that this line, so unhappily notorious in our history, is almost precisely the parallel of Algiers, once the chief seat of White Slavery? It is the proper parallel to mark a boundary so disgraceful. Let it be called the Algerine line. At the present time there can be no compromises. Compromise with Slavery is treason to Freedom and to Humanity. It is treason to the Constitution also. With every new extension of Slavery, fresh strength is imparted to that political influence, monstrous offspring of Slavery, known as the Slave Power. This influence, beyond any other under our government, has deranged our institutions. To it the greater evils which have afflicted the country, the different perils to the Constitution, may all be traced. The Missouri Compromise, the annexation of Texas, the war with Mexico, are only specimens of trouble from the Slave Power. It is an ancient fable that the eruptions of Etna were produced by the restless movements of the giant Enceladus imprisoned beneath.[235] As the giant turned on his side, or stretched his limbs, or struggled, the conscious mountain belched forth flames, red-hot cinders, and fiery lava, carrying destruction and dismay to those who dwelt upon its fertile slopes. The Slave Power is the Imprisoned Giant of our Constitution. It is there confined [212]and bound. But its constant and strenuous struggles have caused, and ever will cause, eruptions of evil, in comparison with which flames, red-hot cinders, and fiery lava are trivial and transitory. The face of Nature may be blasted, the land may be struck with sterility, villages may be swept by floods of flame, and whole families entombed alive in its burning sepulchre; but all these evils are small, compared with the deep, abiding, unutterable curse from an act of national wrong.

Let us, then, pledge ourselves, in solemn form, by united exertion, to restrain this destructive influence, at least within its original constitutional bounds. Let us at all hazards prevent the extension of Slavery and the increase of the Slave Power. Our opposition must keep right on, and not look back:—

"Like to the Pontic sea,
Whose icy current and compulsive course
Ne'er feels retiring ebb, but keeps due on
To the Propontic and the Hellespont."

In this contest, we may borrow from the ancient Greek, who, when his hands were cut off, fought with his stumps, and even with his teeth. We may borrow from our party in its defence of the Tariff. We may borrow from the slaveholders themselves, who are united and uncompromising in their unholy cause. Let us struggle for Freedom as they struggle for Slavery. Let us rally under our white pavilion, with its trophies of Justice, Freedom, and Humanity, as enthusiastically as they troop together beneath their black flag pictured over with whips, chains, and manacles.

This brings me directly to the point, How shall we make our opposition felt? How shall it become vital and palpable? On the present occasion we can only [213]declare our course. But this should be in language sternly expressive of our determination. It will not be enough merely to put forth opinions in well-couched phrase, and add yet other resolutions to the hollow words which have passed into the limbo of things lost on earth. We must give to our opinions that edge and force which they can have only from the declared determination to abide by them at all times. We must carry them to the ballot-box, and bring our candidates to their standard. The recent constitution of Louisiana, to discourage duelling, disqualifies all engaged in a duel from holding any civil office. The Whigs of Massachusetts, so far as in them lies, must pronounce a similar sentence of disqualification upon all not known to be against the extension of Slavery.

It is distinctly proclaimed by the Slave Power, that no person can receive its support who is known to be against the extension of Slavery. The issue here offered we must join. This is due to our character for sincerity. It will show that we are in earnest, and, so doing, we help to check that tyrannical spirit which has thus far intimidated the politicians—I will not say the people—of the Free States. To those now too ready for the part of Grand Compromiser, on a question which admits of no compromise, it will be a warning that they can expect no support for high office from us. Our motto must be, "Principles, and those only who will maintain them."

I urge this course, at the present moment, from deep conviction of its importance. And be assured, Sir, whatever the final determination of this Convention, there are many here to-day who will never yield support to any candidate, for Presidency or Vice-Presidency, [214]who is not known to be against the extension of Slavery, even though he have freshly received the sacramental unction of a "regular nomination." We cannot say, with detestable morality, "Our party, right or wrong." The time has gone by when gentlemen can expect to introduce among us the discipline of the camp. Loyalty to principle is higher than loyalty to party. The first is a heavenly sentiment, from God: the other is a device of this world. Far above any flickering light or battle-lantern of party is the everlasting sun of Truth, in whose beams are the duties of men.


Article in the Boston Daily Advertiser, March 16, 1848.

The death of a person like Mr. Wheaton naturally arrests[215] attention,—even at this period of funereal gloom, when the Angel of Death has overshadowed the whole country with his wings. He was long and widely known in official relations, devoted for many years to the service of his country, studious always of literature and jurisprudence, illustrious as a diplomatist and expounder of the Law of Nations,—with a private character so pure as to make us forget, in its contemplation, the public virtues by which his life was elevated.

He died after a brief illness, accompanied by a disease of the brain, on Saturday evening, March 11, 1848, at Dorchester. On that day the remains of John Quincy Adams, who, as President of the United States, first advanced Mr. Wheaton to a diplomatic place in the service of his country,—after a long procession, through mourning towns and cities, from the Capitol, which had been the scene of his triumphant death,—were brought to their final resting-place in the adjoining town of Quincy. The faithful friend and servant thus early followed his venerable chief to the fellowship of another world.

The principal circumstances in Mr. Wheaton's life may be briefly told. He was born at Providence, on the [216]27th of November, 1785, and was a graduate of Brown University, in 1802. After admission to the bar, he visited Europe, particularly the Continent, where his mind thus early became imbued with those tastes which occupied so much of his later years. Some time after his return, finding little inducement to continue the practice of the law in Providence, he removed to New York. This was in 1812. Here he became the editor of an important journal, "The National Advocate,"—a paper afterwards merged in "The Courier and Inquirer." His experience in this character closed May 15, 1815. As a journalist, he is reputed to have been uniformly discreet, decorous, and able, at a time when the fearful trials of war, in which the country was engaged, added to the responsibilities of his position.

His labors as editor did not estrange him from the law. About this period he became for a short time one of the justices of the Marine Court, a tribunal now shorn of its early dignity. In 1815 he appeared as author of a treatise on jurisprudence. This was a "Digest of the Law of Maritime Captures and Prizes." In the judicial inquiries incident to the administration of the Laws of War—still maintained by the Christian world—such a treatise was naturally of much practical utility. It may also claim the palm of being among the earliest juridical productions of our country. Nor, indeed, has it been without the disinterested praise of foreign nations. Mr. Reddie, of Edinburgh, in his recent work on Maritime International Law, says, "Although it cannot be strictly called a valuable accession to the legal literature of Britain, it gives us much pleasure to record our opinion, that, in point of learning and methodical arrangement, [217]it is very superior to any treatise on this department of the law which had previously appeared in the English language."[236] No American contribution to jurisprudence so early as 1815 has received such marked commendation abroad. Kent and Story had not then produced those works which have secured to them their present freehold of European fame.

In 1816 he became Reporter to the Supreme Court of the United States, which office he held till 1827. His Reports are in twelve volumes, and embody what may be called the golden judgments of our National Judicature, from the lips of Marshall, Livingston, Washington, Thompson, and Story.

Mr. Wheaton's time was not absorbed by these official duties. He entered much into the practice of his profession. His name appears as counsel in important causes at Washington. He was editor of divers English law books, republished in this country, with valuable notes. On several literary occasions he pronounced discourses of signal merit. One of these, in 1820, before the Historical Society of New York, touches upon his favorite theme, with which his name is now so firmly connected, the Law of Nations; another, in 1824, at the opening of the New York Athenæum, takes a rapid survey of American literature. In 1826 he published his Life of that great lawyer, William Pinkney. It is also understood that during all this period he was a frequent contributor to the "North American Review."

Nor did these accumulated labors, literary and juridical, keep him from other services. He was a member of the Legislature of New York, and in 1821 held a seat in the Convention which remodelled the Consti[218]tution of that State. In 1825 he was placed on the commission for revising the statutes of New York. This was the first effort of any State professing the Common Law to reduce its disconnected and diffusive legislation to the unity of a code. Thus is his name associated with one of the most important landmarks in American law.

All these duties and callings he relinquished in the summer of 1827, when he entered upon the diplomatic service, which opened before him a new career of usefulness. It was then that he became Chargé d'Affaires at Copenhagen, where he continued till 1835, when he was transferred by President Jackson to Berlin, as Minister Resident. In 1837 he was raised by President Van Buren to the rank of Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary at the same court. On July 22, 1846, he had his audience of farewell from the King of Prussia, being recalled by President Polk. This long term of service was passed abroad with the intermission of a brief period in 1834, when he revisited his country on leave of absence.

During this protracted career in foreign countries, charged with responsible negotiations, he was not lost in the toils of office, or in the allurements of court life. He was always a student. At Copenhagen he prepared his "History of the Northmen, or Danes and Normans, from the Earliest Times to the Conquest of England by William of Normandy." This was published in 1831, both in England and in America. In 1844 it was much enlarged, and translated into French. At the time of his death he was occupied in preparing another edition. In 1838 he contributed to the Edinburgh Cabinet Library a portion of the volumes entitled "Scandinavia." [219]By these works he earned an honorable place among our historical writers. His History of the Northmen preceded, in time, the productions of Bancroft and Prescott, which have since achieved so much renown.

From literature he passed again to jurisprudence, where he has won his surest triumphs. His "Elements of International Law" appeared in London and the United States in 1836, and again in 1846, much enlarged. This was followed by a "History of the Law of Nations in Europe and America, from the Earliest Times to the Treaty of Washington," which first appeared in French, at Leipsic, in 1841, under the title of Histoire des Progrès du Droit des Gens en Europe depuis la Paix de Westphalie jusqu'au Congrès de Vienne, avec un Précis Historique du Droit des Gens Européen avant la Paix de Westphalie. This was originally written for a prize offered by the French Institute. The question proposed was, Quels sont les progrès qu'a fait le droit des gens en Europe depuis la Paix de Westphalie? It was bold and honorable in Mr. Wheaton to venture in a foreign tongue the discussion of so great a subject. The Greek of Cicero excited the admiration of the rhetoricians at Rhodes and Athens, and the French of Gibbon was in harmony with his own swelling English style; but Mr. Wheaton, whether in French or English, is commended by matter rather than manner. On this account he was at disadvantage before the polished French tribunal. His effort received what was called mention honorable; but the prize was awarded to a young Frenchman, whose production has never seen the light. An impartial public opinion has awarded our countryman another prize more than academic. The same work in English, much enlarged, is now an authority.

Besides these classical treatises, Mr. Wheaton published an able and[220] thorough Inquiry into the Validity of the Eight of Visitation and Search, particularly as recently claimed by Great Britain. Here he upheld the views of the American government. The acknowledged weight of his opinion in the science of law gave to his conclusions commanding influence.

On his recent return to this country, he was welcomed with many manifestations of regard, both public and private. Wherever he appeared, he was a favored guest. At the last Commencement of Brown University, he delivered the Address before the Phi Beta Kappa Society. His subject was Germany. The various departments of thought and conduct, which have been successfully occupied by the "many-sided" mind of that country, were sketched with singular ability. His voice was feeble, and, as he spoke, large numbers of the audience drew near the pulpit, filling the adjacent aisles, and standing in respectful attention, that they might follow his learned discourse.

Such were the important and diversified labors of his valuable life. Without any adventitious aids of fortune, or special favor, he achieved eminent place in the civilized world. By virtue of his office he lived as an equal among nobles and princes, while his rare endowments opened to him at will the fraternities of learning and science. And yet his qualities were not those of the courtier. Nor did any heaven-descended eloquence lend fire to his conversation or style. Both were simple, grave, reserved, like his manners, attractive rather from clearness and matter than from brilliancy or point.

His career abroad as Diplomatist was one of the [221]longest in our history,—longer even than that of John Quincy Adams. It was not his fortune to affix his name to any treaty, like that of 1783, which acknowledged our Independence, or that of Ghent in 1814, which restored peace to England and the United States. But his extended term of service was filled by a succession of wise and faithful labors, which rendered incalculable good to his own country, while they impressed his character upon the public mind of Europe. His negotiation with Denmark was important. More important still was his careful management of our national interests in connection with the German Zollverein. Besides these conspicuous acts, with which all are familiar, there is his long and constant correspondence with the Department of State at Washington, which is known to comparatively few, although of exceeding merit.

It was his habit, contrary to the usage of many American ministers, by regular authentic communications, to keep the Government at home informed with regard to the position of foreign nations, as observed by him. All the matters which prominently occupied the Continental nations during his residence abroad, particularly those two disputes known as the Belgian question and the Egyptian question, which seemed for a while to fill the firmament of Europe with "portents dire," were discussed in these despatches with instructive fulness. These may be found in the archives of his legation, and in the Department of State at Washington, "enrolled in the Capitol," where they will be studied by the future historian.

His familiarity with the Law of Nations, from his position as a diplomatist, was enhanced by mature and [222]thorough study. For this he was prepared by training at the bar, the influence of which may be discerned in some of his writings. He was master alike of its learning and its dialectics. It happened in Berlin that he was called to defend the rights of ambassadors against an injurious usage established or recognized by the Prussian government. All who have read his paper on this occasion will attest the force and sharpness of his unanswered argument. Strange that this task should have devolved upon an American minister! Strange that the privileges of ambassadors should have found their defender in a Cis-Atlantic citizen! His defence excited the attention of the diplomatic body in Europe. Copies were transmitted to the different courts, where, as I have understood, it was discussed, and generally, if not universally, sanctioned.

Justly eminent as a practical diplomatist, his works derived new value from the position of their author, while even his official rank was aided by his works. His was a solitary example in our age, perhaps the only instance since Grotius, of an eminent minister who was also an expounder of the Law of Nations. His works, therefore, are received with peculiar respect. Already they have become authorities. Such they are regarded by the two British writers who have since appeared in this field, Mr. Manning and Mr. Reddie. The former, in his excellent Commentaries, refers to Mr. Wheaton's work on the Elements of International Law as "certainly the best elementary book on the topic that exists";[237] while Mr. Reddie announces that "this work, although not by a British author, was certainly, at the date of its publication, the most able and scientific [223]treatise on International Law which had appeared in the English language."[238] It is admitted that the method is superior to that of Martens, Chitty, Schmalz, or Klüber.

It cannot be disguised that his two works in this department are remarkable for careful statement and arrangement, rather than for that elegance, or glow, or freedom of discussion, by which the reader is carried captive. His Elements afford the best view yet presented of the Law of Nations, as practically illustrated in the adjudged cases of England and the United States, and in recent diplomacy. But we miss in them the fulness and variety of illustration which characterize some of the earlier writers, and especially that genial sentiment which interests us so constantly in Vattel. The History, which first appeared in French, is not less important than the Elements. Here the field is more clearly his own. This work supplies a place never before filled in the literature of the English language, if in that of any language. To all students of jurisprudence, nay, more, to all students of history, who ascend above wars and battles to the principles which are at once parent and offspring of events, this account of the Progress of the Law of Nations is an important guide.

Had Mr. Wheaton's life been longer spared, he would have found it his province, in the discharge of his recently assumed office as Lecturer on the Civil [Roman] and International Law at Harvard University, to survey again the same wide field. What further harvests he might then have gathered it is impossible now to estimate. He never entered upon these labors. The reaper was removed before he began to use the sickle.


Such was his life,—passed not without well-deserved honor at home and abroad. In those two great departments of labor, History and the Law of Nations, he is among our American pioneers. Through him the literature and jurisprudence of our country have been commended in foreign lands:—

"Fluminaque in fontes cursu reditura supino."[239]

Others may have done better in the high art of History; but no American historian has, like him, achieved European eminence as a writer on the Law of Nations; nor has any other American writer on the last great theme been recognized abroad as historian. He was a member of the French Institute; and I cannot forget, that, at the time of his admission, the question, so honorable to his double fame, was entertained by the late Baron Degérando, the jurist and philanthropist, whether he should be received into the section of History or of Jurisprudence. He was finally attached to the latter. Prescott and Bancroft belong to the former.

It is as an expounder of Public International Law that his name will be most widely cherished. In the progress of Christian civilization, many of the rules now sustained by learned subtilty or unquestioning submission, shaping the public concerns of nations, will pass away. The Institution of War, with its complex code, now sanctioned and legalized by nations, as a proper mode of adjusting their disputes, will yield to some less questionable arbitrament. But a profound interest must always attach to the writings of those great masters who have labored to explain, to advance, and to refine that system, which, though incomplete, has helped to keep the great Christian Commonwealth in the bonds [225]of Peace. Among these Mr. Wheaton's place is conspicuous. His name is already inscribed on the same tablet with those of Grotius, Pufendorf, and Vattel.

It were wrong to close this imperfect tribute without a renewed testimony to the purity of his life. From youth to age his career was marked by integrity, temperance, frugality, modesty, industry. His quiet, unostentatious manners were fit companions of his virtues. His countenance, which is admirably preserved in the portrait by Healy, had the expression of thoughtfulness and repose. Nor station nor fame made him proud. He stood with serene simplicity in the presence of kings. In the social circle, when he spoke, all drew near to listen,—sure that what he said would be wise, tolerant, and kind.


Speech before a Mass Convention at Worcester, June 28, 1848.

The effort to establish a political test in the Whig party in[226] opposition to the extension of Slavery failed; but the Antislavery sentiment was constantly active. Those who coöperated in the movement were denounced as disturbers, and finally obtained an epithet, applied often in sarcasm, which may be considered their highest praise. They were called Conscience Whigs, in contradistinction to Cotton Whigs. The contest was continued in the newspapers, and also in the Legislature of Massachusetts. The course of the two great political parties compelled a final break.

General Cass, who had abandoned the Wilmot Proviso, which he once maintained, was nominated by the Democrats as their candidate for the Presidency. General Taylor, who was a considerable slaveholder, was nominated by the Whigs, without any platform. It seemed impossible for persons earnest against Slavery to sustain either. Already, in New York, a considerable portion of the Democratic party, known as "Barn-burners," had refused to support General Cass, and nominated Martin Van Buren, adopting at the same time resolutions asserting the power of Congress to prohibit Slavery in the Territories, and calling for the exercise of this power.

At the nomination of General Taylor, Hon. Charles Allen and Hon. Henry Wilson, of Massachusetts, delegates to the National Convention, both refused to support the candidate. This was the signal for movement. A call was issued for a convention to found a new party. It was signed by Mr. Sumner and those with whom he was in the habit of acting. This was the beginning of the separate Free-Soil organization in Massachusetts, which afterwards grew into the Republican party. The call, which was extensively signed, concluded by inviting "fellow-citizens throughout the Commonwealth, who are opposed to the nomination of Cass and Taylor, to meet in convention at Worcester, on Wednes[227]day, the 28th day of June current, to take such steps as the occasion shall demand in support of the Principles to which they are pledged, and to coöperate with the other Free States in a convention for this purpose." It will be observed that the people were summoned to support principles and also to coöperate with the Free States generally in this behalf. The response was prompt and enthusiastic. As many as five thousand persons appeared at Worcester, quickened by hostility to Slavery. The City Hall was not large enough, and the excited multitude adjourned to the Common, where they were called to order by Alexander DeWitt, of Oxford. Samuel F. Lyman, of Northampton, was chosen Chairman pro tem., and W.S. Robinson, of Lowell, Secretary pro tem. A committee, of which Hon. E.L. Keyes, of Dedham, was chairman, reported the following list of officers: Hon. Samuel Hoar, of Concord, President; David Heard, of Wayland, Alanson Hamilton, of North Brookfield, Joseph L. Richardson, of Medway, Dr. S.G. Howe, of Boston, John Wells, of Chicopee, Joseph Stevens, of Warwick, and R.P. Waters, of Salem, Vice-Presidents; William S. Robinson, of Lowell, William A. Wallace, of Worcester, Allen Shepard, of Ashland, William A. Arnold, of Northampton, Secretaries. On motion of Hon. S.C. Phillips, of Salem, a committee was appointed to draft an address and resolutions, consisting of Mr. Phillips, Erastus Hopkins, of Northampton, D.W. Alvord, of Greenfield, M.M. Fisher, of Medway, A.C. Spooner, of Boston, A. Bangs, of Springfield, and E. Rockwood Hoar, of Concord.

The Convention was first addressed by Samuel Hoar, on taking the chair,—then by Charles Allen, Henry Wilson, Abraham Payne, of Rhode Island, Charles Hart, of Rhode Island, J.C. Woodman, of Maine, Amasa Walker, Lott Poole, Joshua Leavitt, Lewis D. Campbell, of Ohio, Joshua R. Giddings, of Ohio, J.C. Lovejoy, Charles Francis Adams, Charles Sumner, Edward L. Keyes, and E. Rockwood Hoar. The speeches were earnest and determined, and they were received in a corresponding spirit. No great movement ever showed at the beginning more character and power. It began true and strong.

All the speakers united in renouncing old party ties. None did this better than C.F. Adams, who concluded his remarks by saying: "Forgetting the things that are behind, I propose that we press forward to the high calling of our new occupation; and, fellow-citizens, whatever may be the fate of you or me, all I can now add is to repeat the words of one with whom I take pride in remembering that I have been connected: 'Sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish,' to go with the liberties of my country is my fixed determination." To these words Mr. Sumner alluded at the beginning of his speech.


Mr. President and Fellow-Citizens:—

At the close of a day crowded with exciting interest and full of best auguries, I feel that I can add little to what you have already heard. What can I say that shall enforce the great cause so successfully commended by my friend from Ohio [Mr. Giddings], and, lastly, by my friend [Mr. Adams] who has just spoken, with the voice of the American Revolution on his lips? One thing, at least, I can do: I can join them in renunciation of party relations, so plainly inconsistent with the support of Freedom. They have been Whigs; and I, too, have been a Whig, though "not an ultra Whig." I was a Whig because I thought this party represented the moral sentiments of the country,—that it was the party of Humanity. It has ceased to sustain this character. It represents no longer the moral sentiments of the country. It is not the party of Humanity. A party which renounces its sentiments must expect to be renounced. In the coming contest I wish it understood that I belong to the party of Freedom,—to that party which plants itself on the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.

The transactions in which we are now engaged recall an incident of French history. It was late in the night, at Versailles, that a courtier of Louis the Sixteenth, penetrating the bed-chamber of his master, and arousing him from slumber, communicated the intelligence, big with destiny, that the people of Paris, smarting under wrong and falsehood, had risen in their might, and, after a severe conflict with hireling troops, destroyed the Bastile. The unhappy monarch, turning upon his couch, said, [229]"It is an insurrection." "No, Sire," answered the honest courtier, "it is a revolution." And such is our movement to-day. It is a Revolution,—not beginning with the destruction of a Bastile, but destined to end only with the overthrow of a tyranny differing little in hardship and audacity from that which sustained the Bastile of France,—I mean the Slave Power of our country. Do not start at this similitude. I intend no unkindness to slaveholders, many of whom are doubtless humane and honest. Such also was Louis the Sixteenth; and yet he sustained the Bastile, with the untold horrors of its dungeons, where human beings were thrust into companionship with toads and rats.


By the Slave Power I understand that combination of persons, or, perhaps, of politicians, whose animating principle is the perpetuation and extension of Slavery, with the advancement of Slaveholders. That such a combination exists is apparent from our history. It shows itself in the mildest, and perhaps the least offensive form, in the undue proportion of offices held by Slaveholders under the National Constitution. It is still worse apparent in a succession of acts by which the National Government has been prostituted to Slavery. Mindful of the Missouri Compromise, with its sanction of Slavery,—mindful of the annexation of Texas, with its fraud and iniquity,—mindful also of the war against Mexico, in itself a great crime, where wives and sisters have been compelled to mourn sons, husbands, and brothers untimely slain,—as these things, dark, dismal, atrocious, rise before us, may we not brand their unquestionable source as a tyranny hateful as that which sustained the Bastile? The Slave Power is the criminal.

This combination is unknown to the Constitution; nay, it exists in defiance of that instrument, and of the recorded opinions uttered constantly by its founders. The Constitution was the crowning labor of the men who gave us the Declaration of Independence. It was established to perpetuate, in organic law, those rights which the Declaration had promulgated, and which the sword of Washington had secured. "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Such are the emphatic words which our country took upon its lips, as it first claimed its place among the nations of the earth. These were its baptismal vows. And the preamble of the Constitution renews them, when it declares its objects, among other things, to "establish justice, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity." Mark: not to establish injustice, not to promote the welfare of a class, or of a few slaveholders, but the general welfare; not to foster the curse of slavery, but to secure the blessings of liberty. And the declared opinions of the fathers were all in harmony with these two charters. "I can only say," said Washington, "that there is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of slavery; but there is only one proper and effectual mode by which it can be accomplished, and that is by legislative authority; and this, as far as my suffrage will go, shall never be wanting."[240] Patrick Henry, while confessing [231]that he was the master of slaves, said: "I will not, I cannot justify it. However culpable my conduct, I will so far pay my devoir to Virtue as to own the excellence and rectitude of her precepts, and lament my want of conformity to them. I believe a time will come, when an opportunity will be offered to abolish this lamentable evil."[241] And Franklin, as President of the earliest Abolition Society of the country, signed a petition to the first Congress, in which he declared himself "bound to use all justifiable endeavors to loosen the bands of slavery, and promote a general enjoyment of the blessings of freedom."[242] Thus the soldier, the orator, and the philosopher of the Revolution, all unite in homage to Freedom. Washington, wise in council and in battle, Patrick Henry, with tongue of flame, Franklin, with heaven-descended sagacity and humanity, all bear testimony to the times in which they lived, and the institutions they helped to establish.

It is plain that our Constitution was formed by lovers of Human Freedom,—that it was animated by their divine spirit,—that Slavery was regarded by them with aversion, so that, if covertly alluded to, it was not named in the instrument,—and that they all looked forward to an early day when this evil and shame would be obliterated from the land. Surely, then, it is right to say that the combination which seeks to perpetuate and extend Slavery is unknown to the Constitution,—that it exists in defiance of that instrument, and also of the recorded opinions uttered constantly by its founders.

Time would fail me to dwell on the perpetual influ[232]ence, growing with time, which the Slave Power has exerted from the foundation of the government. In the earlier periods of our history it was moderate and reserved. The spirit of the founders still prevailed. But with the advance of years, and as these early champions passed from the scene, it became more audacious, aggressive, and tyrannical, till at last it obtained the control of the government, and caused it to be administered, not in the spirit of Freedom, but in the spirit of Slavery. Yes! the government of the United States is now (let it be said with shame), not, as at the beginning, a government merely permitting, while it regretted Slavery, but a government openly favoring and vindicating it, visiting also with its displeasure all who oppose it.

During late years the Slave Power has introduced a new test for office, which would have excluded Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin. It applies an arrogant and unrelenting ostracism to all who express themselves against Slavery. And now, in the madness of tyranny, it proposes to extend this curse over new soil not yet darkened by its presence. It seeks to make the flag of our country the carrier of Slavery into distant lands,—to scale the mountain fastnesses of Oregon, and descend with its prey upon the shores of the Pacific,—to cross the Rio Grande, and there, in broad territories, recently wrested from Mexico by robber hands, to plant a shameful institution which that republic has expressly abolished.

In the prosecution of its purposes, the Slave Power has obtained the control of both the great political parties. Their recent nominations were made to serve its interests, to secure its supremacy, and especially to promote the extension of Slavery. Whigs and Democrats,—I [233]use the old names still,—professing to represent conflicting sentiments, concur in being representatives of the Slave Power. General Cass, after openly registering his adhesion to it, was recognized as the candidate of the Democrats. General Taylor, who owns slaves on a large scale, though observing a studious silence on Slavery, as on all other things, is not only a representative of the Slave Power, but an important constituent part of the Power itself.

I will not dwell upon the manner in which General Taylor was forced upon the late Whig party. This has been amply done by others. But you will pardon me, if I allude to the aid his nomination derived from a quarter of the country where it should have encountered inexorable opposition,—I refer to New England, and especially to Massachusetts. I speak only what is now too notorious, when I say that it was the secret influence which went forth from among ourselves that contributed powerfully to this consummation. Yes! it was brought about by an unhallowed union—conspiracy let it be called—between two remote sections: between the politicians of the Southwest and the politicians of the Northeast,—between the cotton-planters and flesh-mongers of Louisiana and Mississippi and the cotton-spinners and traffickers of New England,—between the lords of the lash and the lords of the loom.

And now the question occurs, What is the true line of duty with regard to these two candidates? Mr. Van Buren—and I honor him for his trumpet call to the North—sounded the true note, when he said he could not vote for either. Though nominated by opposite parties, they represent substantially the same interest. The election of either would be a triumph of the Slave [234]Power, entailing upon the country the sin of extending Slavery. How, then, shall they be encountered? To my mind the way is plain. The lovers of Freedom, from both parties, and irrespective of all party associations, must unite, and by a new combination, congenial to the Constitution, oppose both candidates. This will be the FREEDOM POWER, whose single object will be to resist the SLAVE POWER. We will put them face to face, and let them grapple. Who can doubt the result?


I hear the old political saw, that "we must take the least of two evils." My friend from Ohio [Mr. Giddings] has already riddled this excuse, so that I might well leave it untouched; but I cannot forbear a brief observation. It is admitted, then, that Cass and Taylor both are evils. For myself, if two evils are presented to me, I will take neither. There are occasions of political difference, I admit, when it may become expedient to vote for a candidate who does not completely represent our sentiments. There are matters legitimately within the range of expediency and compromise. The Tariff and the Currency are of this character. If a candidate differs from me on these more or less, I may yet vote for him. But the question before the country is of another character. This will not admit of compromise. It is not within the domain of expediency. To be wrong on this is to be wholly wrong. It is not merely expedient for us to defend Freedom, when assailed, but our duty so to do, unreservedly, and careless of consequences. Who in this assembly would help to fasten a fetter upon Oregon or Mexico? Who that would not oppose every effort to do this thing? Nobody. Who is there, then, that can vote for either Taylor or Cass?

But it is said that we shall throw away our votes, and that our opposition will fail. Fail, Sir! No honest, earnest effort in a good cause can fail. It may not be crowned with the applause of men; it may not seem to touch the goal of immediate worldly success, which is the end and aim of so much in life. But it is not lost. It helps to strengthen the weak with new virtue,—to arm the irresolute with proper energy,—to animate all with devotion to duty, which in the end conquers all. Fail! Did the martyrs fail, when with precious blood they sowed the seed of the Church? Did the discomfited champions of Freedom fail, who have left those names in history that can never die? Did the three hundred Spartans fail, when, in the narrow pass, they did not fear to brave the innumerable Persian hosts, whose very arrows darkened the sun? Overborne by numbers, crushed to earth, they left an example greater far than any victory. And this is the least we can do. Our example will be the main-spring of triumph hereafter. It will not be the first time in history that the hosts of Slavery have outnumbered the champions of Freedom. But where is it written that Slavery finally prevailed?

Assurances here to-day show that we need not postpone success. It seems already at hand. The heart of Ohio beats responsive to the heart of Massachusetts, and all the Free States are animated with the vigorous breath of Freedom. Let us not waste time in vain speculations between two candidates. Both are bad. Both represent a principle we cannot sanction.

Whatever may be said to the contrary by politicians, Freedom is the only question now before the American people. The Bank is not alone an "obsolete idea." [236]All the ideas put forward in the controversies of party are now practically obsolete. Peace has come to remove the question of the Mexican War. We are no longer obliged to consider if an unnecessary and unconstitutional war shall be maintained by supplies. There is no question with regard to the Sub-Treasury. This is now firmly established. Then comes the cause of Internal Improvements. This is not unimportant, but happily it is removed from the domain of party. The Chicago Convention for the express consideration of this subject was composed of various political opinions, and I understand that its recommendations are now sustained by opposite parties.

Of the past issues, that of the Tariff excites the most interest. This, it will be remembered, did not find a place in the early history of the country. Only in recent times has it occupied the attention of politicians, and been the occasion of vehement popular appeals. Regret is often expressed that it is the subject of party strife. It will be in the recollection of most persons that Mr. Webster made a vigorous effort to remove it from the list of party questions. What he was unable to do directly has been accomplished indirectly by the Mexican War. The debt of millions now entailed upon the country renders it necessary to impose a tariff which will satisfy the demands of all. Of course the debt must be paid; nor should we lose time in paying it, nor postpone it to the next generation. The people are not ready to meet it by direct taxation,—though, for one, I should be well pleased to see such a corrective applied to war. It can be paid only through the agency of a tariff, which, for this purpose, if for no other, must be supported by all parties. The Tariff, then, like the [237]others, is no longer a political issue. If not obsolete, it is at least in abeyance.

These questions being out of the way, what remains for those who, in casting their votes, regard principles rather than men? It is clear that the only question of present practical interest arises from the usurpations of the Slave Power and the efforts to extend Slavery. This is the vital question at this time. It is the question of questions. It was lately said in the Convention of the New York Democracy at Utica (and I am glad to quote that most respectable body of men), that the movement in which we are now engaged is the most important since the American Revolution. Something more may be said. It is a continuance of the American Revolution. It is an effort to carry into effect the principles of the Declaration of Independence, and to revive in the administration of our government the spirit of Washington, Franklin, and Jefferson,—to bring back the Constitution to the principles and practice of its early founders,—to the end that it shall promote Freedom, and not Slavery, and shall be administered in harmony with the spirit of Freedom, and not with the spirit of Slavery.

In the last will and testament of Washington are emphatic words, which may be adopted as the motto for the present contest. After providing for the emancipation of his slaves, to take place on the death of his wife, he says, "And I do hereby expressly forbid the sale or transportation out of the said Commonwealth of any slave I may die possessed of, under any pretence whatsoever."[243] So, at least, should the people of the United States expressly forbid the sale or transportation of any [238]slave beyond their ancient borders, under any pretence whatsoever.

Returning to our forefathers for their principles, let us borrow also something of their courage and union. Let us summon to our sides the majestic forms of those civil heroes whose firmness in council was equalled only by the firmness of Washington in war. Let us again awake to the eloquence of the elder Adams, animating his associates in Congress to independence; let us listen anew to the sententious wisdom of Franklin; let us be enkindled, as were the men of other days, by the fervid devotion to Freedom which flamed from the heart of Jefferson.

Instructed even by our enemies, let us be taught by the Slave Power itself. The few slaveholders are always united. Hence their strength. Like sticks in a fagot, they cannot be broken. Thus far the friends of Freedom have been divided. Union, then, must be our watchword,—union among men of all parties. By such union we consolidate an opposition which must prevail.

Let me call upon you, then, men of all parties, Whigs and Democrats, or howsoever named, to come forward and join in a common cause. Let us all leave the old organizations, and come together. In the crisis before us, it becomes us to forget past differences, and those names which have been the signal of strife. Only remembering our duties, when the fire-bell rings at midnight, we ask not if it be Whigs or Democrats who join us to extinguish the flames; nor do we make any such inquiry in selecting our leader then. To the strongest arm and the most generous soul we defer at once. To him we commit the direction of the engine. His hand grasps [239]the pipe to pour the water upon the raging conflagration. So must we do now. Our leader must be the man who is the ablest and surest representative of the principles to which we are pledged.

Let Massachusetts, nurse of the men and principles that made our earliest revolution, vow herself anew to her early faith. Let her once more elevate the torch which she first held aloft, or, if need be, pluck fresh coals from the living altars of France, proclaiming, "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,"—Liberty to the captive, Equality between master and slave, Fraternity with all men,—the whole comprehended in that sublime revelation of Christianity, the Brotherhood of Man.

In the contemplation of these great interests, the intrigues of party, the machinations of politicians, the combinations of office-seekers, all seem to pass from sight. Politics and morals, no longer divorced from each other, become one and inseparable in the holy wedlock of Christian sentiment. Such a union elevates politics, while it gives a new sphere to morals. Political discussions have a grandeur which they never before assumed. Released from topics which concern only the selfish squabble for gain, and are often independent of morals, they come home to the heart and conscience. A novel force passes into the contests of party, breathing into them the breath of a new life,—of Hope, Progress, Justice, Humanity.

From this demonstration to-day, and the acclaim wafted to us from the Free States, it is easy to see that the great cause of Liberty, to which we now dedicate ourselves, will sweep the heart-strings of the people. It will smite all the chords with a might to draw forth emotions such as no political struggle ever awakened [240]before. It will move the young, the middle-aged, and the old. It will find a voice in the social circle, and mingle with the flame of the domestic hearth. It will touch the souls of mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters, until the sympathies of all swell in one irresistible chorus of indignation against the deep damnation of lending new sanction to the enslavement of our brother man.


Come forward, then, men of all parties! let us range together. Come forth, all who thus far have kept aloof from parties! here is occasion for action. Men of Peace, come forth! All who in any way feel the wrong of Slavery, take your stand! Join us, lovers of Truth, of Justice, of Humanity! And let me call especially upon the young. You are the natural guardians of Freedom. In your firm resolves and generous souls she will find her surest protection. The young man who is not willing to serve in her cause, to suffer, if need be, in her behalf, gives little promise of those qualities which secure an honorable age.


An Oration before the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Union College, Schenectady, July 25, 1848.

Secta fuit servare modum, finemque tenere,
Naturamque sequi, patriæque impendere vitam,
Nec sibi, sed toti genitum se credere mundo.

Lucan, Pharsalia, Lib. II. 381-383.

Plus les lumières se répandent, plus les écarts de la moyenne vont en diminuant; plus, par conséquent, nous tendons à nous rapprocher de ce qui est beau et de ce qui est bien. La perfectibilité de l'espèce humaine résulte comme une conséquence nécessaire de toutes nos recherches.—Quetelet, Sur l'Homme, Tom. II. p. 326.


But at my back I always hear
Time's wingèd chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.

Marvell, To his Coy Mistress.



From opposite parts of the country, from various schools of sentiment, we have come together, at this happy anniversary, to interchange salutations, to mingle in friendly communion, and to catch such words of cheer as the occasion shall convey. Here are the young, with freshest laurel of Alma Mater, with joy brightening and hope elevating the countenance, still unconscious of the toils which enter into the duties of the world. Here are they, too, of middle life, on whose weary foreheads the sun now pours his meridian ray, resting for a moment in these pleasant retreats to renew their strength. Here, also, are the fathers, crowned with length of days, and rich with ripened wisdom, withdrawn from active struggle, and dwelling much in meditation upon the Past. The Future, the Present, and the Past, all find their representatives in our Fraternity.

I speak of our Fraternity; for, though a stranger among you, yet, as a member of this society in a sister University, and as a student of letters in moments snatched from other pursuits, I may claim kindred here. Let me speak, then, as to my own brethren. Invited by your partial kindness, it is my privilege to unfold some subject, which, while claiming your attention during this [244]brief hour, may not improperly mingle with the memories of this anniversary. I would, if I could, utter truth which, while approved by the old, should sink deep into the souls of the young, filling them with strength for all good works. Mindful, then, of the occasion, deeply conscious of its requirements, solicitous of the harmony which becomes our literary festivals, I cannot banish from my thoughts a topic which is intimately connected with the movements of the present age,—nay, which explains and controls these movements, whether in the march of science, the triumphs of charity, the widespread convulsions of Europe, or the generous uprising of our own country in behalf of Freedom.

Wherever we turn is Progress,—in science, in literature, in knowledge of the earth, in knowledge of the skies, in intercourse among men, in the spread of liberty, in works of beneficence, in the recognition of Human Brotherhood. Thrones, where Authority seemed to sit secure, with the sanction of centuries, are shaken, and new-made constitutions come to restrain the aberrations of unlimited power. Men everywhere, breaking away from the Past, are pressing on to the things that are before.

Recall for one moment what has taken place during a brief span of time, hardly exceeding a year. I do not dwell on that mighty revolution in France, with whose throes the earth still shakes, and whose issues are yet unrevealed; I do not pause to contemplate the character of that Pontifical Reformer who has done so much to breathe into Europe the breath of a new life; I can only point to Sicily and Naples, rising against a besotted tyranny,—to Venice and Lombardy, claiming long-lost rights,—to all Italy, filled with the thought of Unity,—[245]to Hungary, flaming with republican fires,—to Austria, roused at last against a patriarchal despotism,—to Prussia, taking her place among constitutional states,—to Germany, in its many principalities, throbbing with the strong pulse of Freedom. These things are present to your minds.

Other events, of a different character, are not less signs of the age. Discovery has achieved one of its most brilliant, as also one of its most benign results. The genius of Leverrier, traversing the spaces of the heavens, has disclosed a new planet. By the application of ether, the dreaded pain of the surgical knife, and even the pangs of Nature, are soothed or removed, while Death is disarmed of something of its terrors.

These latter times have witnessed two spectacles of another nature and less regarded, which are of singular significance,—harbingers, I would call them, of those glad days of promise which we almost seem to touch. I would not exaggerate, and yet I must speak of them as they impress my own mind. To me they are of a higher order than any discovery in science, or any success in the acquisition of knowledge, or any political prosperity, inasmuch as they are the tokens of that moral elevation, and of that Human Brotherhood, without distinction of condition, nation, or race, which it is the supreme office of all science, all knowledge, and all politics to serve. I refer to the sailing of the Jamestown from Boston with succor to the starving poor of Ireland, and to the meeting of the Penitentiary Congress at Frankfort. All confess the beauty of that act, where prophecy seems fulfilled, by which a Ship of War was consecrated to a purpose of charity. Hardly less beautiful is the contemplation of that assembly at Frank[246]fort (perhaps it is new to some whom I have the honor of addressing), where were delegates from most of the Christian nations,—from military France, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, the States of Germany, England, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Poland, distant Russia, and frozen Norway,—convened for no purpose of war or diplomacy,—not to agitate selfish coalitions, not to adjust or disturb the seeming balance of Europe, not to exalt or abase the vaulting ambition of potentate or state, but calmly and in fraternal council to consider what could be done for those who are in prison, to hear the recital of efforts in their behalf among all the nations, and to encourage each other in this work. Such a Congress forms a truer epoch of Christian Progress—does it not?—than the Congress of Vienna, with the bespangled presence of great autocrats distributing the spoils of war, as the sailing of the Jamestown is a higher Christian triumph than any mere victory of blood.

Profoundly penetrated by these things, you will confess the Progress of Man. The earnest soul, enlightened by history, strengthened by philosophy, nursed to childish slumber by the simple prayer, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," confident in the final, though slow, fulfilment of the daily fulfilling promises of the Future, looks forward to the continuance of this Progress during unknown and infinite ages, as a law of our being.

It is of this that I shall speak to-day. My subject is The Law of Human Progress. In selecting this theme, I would not minister to the pride or gratulation of the Present, nor would I furnish motives for indifference or repose. Rather would I teach how small is the [247]Present and all it contains, compared with the Future, and how duties increase with the grandeur upon which we enter, while we derive new encouragement from knowledge of the law which is our support and guide.

The subject is vast as it is interesting and important. It might well occupy a volume, rather than a brief discourse. In unfolding it, I shall speak first of the history of this law, as seen in its origin, gradual development, and recognition,—and next of its character, conditions, and limitations, with the duties it enjoins and the encouragements it affords.


And, first, of its history. The recognition of this law has been reserved for comparatively recent times. Like other general laws governing the courses of Nature, it was unknown to Antiquity. The ignorance and prejudice which then prevailed with regard to the earth, the heavenly bodies, and their relations to the universe, found fit companionship with the wild speculations concerning the Human Family. The ignorant live only in the Present, whether of time or place. What they see and observe bounds their knowledge. Thus to the early Greek the heavens were upborne by the mountains, and the sun traversed daily in fiery chariot from east to west. So things seemed to him. But the true Destiny of the Human Family was as little comprehended.

Man, in his origin and history, was surrounded with fable; nor was there any correct idea of the principles determining the succession of events. Revolutions of states were referred sometimes to chance, sometimes to certain innate elements of decay. Plutarch did not [248]hesitate to ascribe the triumphs of Rome, not to the operation of immutable law, but to the fortune of the Republic. And Polybius, whom Gibbon extols for wisdom and philosophical spirit, said that Carthage, being so much older than Rome, felt her decay so much the sooner; and the survivor, he announced, carried in her bosom the seeds of mortality. The image of youth, manhood, and age was applied to nations. Like mortals on earth, they were supposed to have a period of life, and a length of thread spun by the Fates, strong at first, but thinner and weaker with advancing time, till at last it was cut, and another nation, with newly twisted thread, commenced its career.

In likening the life of a nation to the life of an individual man, there was error, commended by seeming truth, not yet entirely banished. It prevails still with many, who have not received the Law of Human Progress, teaching that all revolutions and changes are but links in the chain of development, or, it may be, turns in the grand spiral, by which the unknown infinite Future is connected with the Past. Nations have decayed, but never with the imbecility of age.

The ancients saw that there were changes, but did not detect the principles governing them, while a favorite fable and popular superstition conspired to turn attention back upon the Past, rather than forward to the Future. In the dawn of Greece, Hesiod, standing near the Father of Poetry, sang the descending mutations through which Mankind had seemed to travel. First came the Golden Age, so he fabled, when men lived secure and happy in pleasant association, without discord, without care, without toil, without weariness, while good of all kinds abounded, like the plentiful fruits which the [249]earth spontaneously supplied. This was followed by the Silver Age, with a race inferior in form and disposition. Next was the Brazen Age, still descending in the scale, when men became vehement and robust, strong in body and stern in soul, building brazen houses, wielding brazen weapons, prompt to war, but not yet entirely wicked. Last, and unhappily his own, according to the poet, was the Iron Age, when straightway all evil raged forth; neither by day nor yet by night, did men rest from labor and sorrow; discord took the place of concord; the pious, the just, and the good were without favor; the man of force and the evil-doer were cherished; modesty and justice yielded to insolence and wrong. War now prevailed, and men lived in wretchedness.[244]

Such, according to the Greek poet, was the succession of changes through which mankind had passed. This fable found a response. It was repeated by philosophy and history. Plato adorned and illustrated it. Strabo and Diodorus imparted to it their grave sanction. It was carried to Rome, with the other spoils of Greece. It was reproduced by Ovid, in flowing verses that have become a commonplace of literature. It was recognized by the tender muse of Virgil, the sportive fancy of Horace, and the stern genius of Juvenal. Songs and fables have ever exerted a powerful control over human opinion; nor is it possible to estimate the influence of this story in shaping unconsciously the thoughts of mankind. It is easy to understand that the youth of Antiquity,—let me say, too, the youth of later ages,—nay, of our own day, in our own schools and colleges,—nurtured by this literature, should learn to neglect the Future, and rather regard the Past. The words of [250]Horace have afforded a polished expression to this prejudice of education:—

"Damnosa quid non imminuit dies?
Ætas parentum, pejor avis, tulit
Nos nequiores, mox daturos
Progeniem vitiosiorem."[245]

Barren as is classical literature in any just recognition of the continuity of events, any true appreciation of the movement of history, or any well-defined confidence in the Future, it were wrong to say that it never found a voice which seemed, in harmony with the Prophets and the Evangelists, to proclaim the advent of a better age. Virgil, in his Eclogue to Pollio,—the exact meaning of which is still a riddle,—breaks forth in words of vague aspiration, which have been sometimes supposed to herald the coming of the Saviour. The blessings of Peace are here foreshadowed, while the Golden Age seems to be not only behind, but also before. Thus, notwithstanding the prejudice of superstition and the constraint of ignorance, has the human heart, in longings for a better condition on earth, gone forward as the pioneer of Humanity.

To the superstition of Heathenism succeeded that of the Christian Church. The popular doctrine of an immediate millennium, inculcated by a succession of early fathers, took the place of ancient fable; and a Golden Age was placed in advance to animate the hope and perseverance of the faithful. It was believed that the anxieties and strifes filling the lives of men were all to be lost in a blissful Sabbath of a thousand years, when Christ with the triumphant band of saints would return to reign upon earth until the last and general [251]resurrection. Vain and irrational as was the early form of this anticipation, it was not without advantage. It filled the souls of all who received it with aspirations for the Future, while it rudely prefigured that promised period—then, alas! how distant!—when the whole world will glow in the illumination of Christian truth. Among the means by which the Law of Human Progress has found acceptance, it is only just to mention this prophetic vision of the ancient Church.

All the legitimate influences of Christianity were in the same direction. Christianity is the religion of Progress. Here is a distinctive feature, which we vainly seek in any Heathen faith professed upon earth. Confucius, in his sublime morals, taught us not to do unto others what we would have them not do unto us; but the Chinese philosopher did not declare the ultimate triumph of this law. It was reserved for the Sermon on the Mount to reveal the vital truth, that all the highest commands of religion and duty, drawing in their train celestial peace, and marking the final goal of all Progress among men, shall one day be obeyed. "For verily I say unto you," says the Saviour, "till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Law, till all be fulfilled."

There is nothing of good so vast or beautiful, nothing so distant or seemingly inaccessible, as to fall beyond the reach of these promises. Though imperfectly understood, or recognized, in the night of ignorance and prejudice, they were heralds of the dawn. In the advance of Modern Europe, they led the way, whispering, Onward forever! Long before Philosophy deduced the Law of Human Progress from the history of man, the Gospel silently planted it in the human heart. There it [252]rested, influencing powerfully, though gently, the march of events.

Slowly did it pass from the formularies of devotion into the convictions of reason and the treasury of science. Strange blindness! They, who, repeating the Lord's Prayer, daily called for the coming of his kingdom on earth, who professed implicit faith in the final fulfilment of the Law, still continued in Heathen ignorance of the significance and spirit of the Prayer they daily uttered and of the Law they daily recognized. They did not perceive that the kingdom of the Lord was to come, and the Law to be fulfilled by a continuity of daily labor. As modern civilization gradually unfolded itself amidst the multiplying generations of men, they witnessed the successive manifestations of power,—but perceived no Law. They looked upon the imposing procession of events, but did not discern the rule which guided the mighty series. Ascending from triumph to triumph, they saw dominion extended by the discoveries of intrepid navigators,—saw learning strengthened by the studies of accomplished scholars,—saw universities opening their portals to ingenuous youth in all corners of the land, from Aberdeen and Copenhagen to Toledo and Ferrara,—saw Art put forth new graces in the painting of Raffaelle, new grandeur in the painting, the sculpture, and the architecture of Michel Angelo,—caught the strains of poets, no longer cramped by ancient idioms, but flowing sweetly in the language learned at a mother's knee,—received the manifold revelations of science in geometry, mathematics, astronomy,—beheld the barbarism of the barbarous Art of War changed and refined, though barbarous still, by the invention of gunpowder,—witnessed knowledge of all kinds springing [253]to unwonted power through the marvellous agency of the printing-press,—admired the character of the Good Man of Peace, as described in that work of unexampled circulation, translated into all modern languages, the "Imitation of Christ," by Thomas à Kempis,—listened to the apostolic preaching of Wyckliffe in England, Huss in Bohemia, Savonarola in Florence, Luther at Worms; and yet all these things, the harmonious expression of progressive energies belonging to Man, token of an untiring advance, earnest of a mightier Future, seemed to teach no certain lesson.

The key to this advance had not been found. It was not seen that the constant desire for improvement implanted in man, with the constant effort consequent thereon in a life susceptible of indefinite Progress, caused, naturally, under the laws of a beneficent God, an indefinite advance,—that the evil passions of individuals, or of masses, while retarding, could not permanently restrain this divine impulse,—and that each generation, by irresistible necessity, added to the accumulations of the Past, and in this way prepared a higher Future. To all ignorant of this tendency, history, instead of a connected chain, with cause and effect in natural order, is nothing but a disconnected, irregular series of incidents, like separate and confused circles having no common bond. It is a dark chaos, embroiled by "chance, high arbitress," or swayed by some accidental man, fortunate in position or power. Even Macchiavelli, the consummate historian and politician of his age,—Bodin, the able speculator upon Government,—Bossuet, the eloquent teacher of religion and history,—Grotius, the illustrious founder of the Laws of Nations,—whose large intelligence should have grasped the true philoso[254]phy of events,—all failed to recognize in them any prevailing law or governing principle.

It was reserved for a professor at Naples, Giambattista Vico, in the early part of the last century, to review the history of the Past, analyze its movements, and finally disclose the existence of a primitive rule or law by which these movements were effected. His work, entitled "The Principles of a New Science concerning the Common Nature of Nations,"[246] first published in 1725, constitutes an epoch in historical studies. Recent Italian admirers vindicate for its author a place among great discoverers, by the side of Descartes, Galileo, Bacon, and Newton.[247] Without undertaking to question, or to adopt, this lofty homage to a name little known, it will not be doubted, that, as author of an elaborate work devoted expressly to the philosophy of history, at a period when history was supposed to be without philosophy, he deserves honorable mention.

Vico taught regard not merely for the individual and the nation, but the race, and showed, that, whatever the fortunes of individuals, Humanity advances,—that no blind or capricious chance controls the course of human affairs, but that whatever is done proceeds directly, under God, from the forces and faculties of men, and thus can have no true cause except in the nature of things,—excluding, of course, the idea of chance. He recognized three principles at the foundation of civilization: first, the existence of Divine Providence; secondly, the necessity of moderating the passions; and, thirdly, the [255]immortality of the soul: three primal truths, answering to three historical facts of universal acceptance,—religion, marriage, and sepulture. Three stages marked the history of mankind: first, the divine, or theocratic; next, the heroic; and, lastly, the human. These appeared in Antiquity, and were reproduced, as he fancied, in modern times. Ingenuity and novelty are stamped upon this exposition, which is elevated by the exclusion of chance and the recognition of God.

While recognizing Humanity as governed by law, and with a common dependence, the Neapolitan professor failed to perceive that this same law and this common dependence promise to conduct it through unknown and infinite stages. Believing monarchy a perfect government, he did not see beyond the time of kings. Like others before him, and even in our own day, he was perplexed by the treacherous image of youth, manhood, and age, which he applied to nations, as to the individual man. No discovery is complete, and that of Vico, while most ingenious and fruitful, failed to grasp the whole law of the Future.

Meanwhile a gigantic genius in Germany,—whose vision, no less comprehensive than penetrating, embraced the whole circumference of knowledge and reached into the undiscovered Future, to whom the complexities of mathematics, the subtilties of philology, the mazes of philosophy, the courses of history, the rules of jurisprudence, and the heights of theology were all equally familiar,—Leibnitz, that more than imperial conqueror in the realms of universal knowledge,—the greatest, perhaps, of Human Intelligences,—enunciated the Law of Progress in all the sciences and all the concerns of life. The Present, born of the Past, he said, is [256]pregnant with the Future. It is by a sure series that we advance, using and enjoying all our gifts for health of body and improvement of mind. Everything, from the simplest substance up to man, progresses towards God, the Infinite Being, Source of all other beings; and in bold words, which may require explanation, he says, "Man seems able to arrive at perfection": Videtur homo ad perfectionem venire posse.[248]

Leibnitz saw the Law of Progress by intuition, and became its herald. But there is no reason to believe that he appreciated its transcendent importance as a rule of conduct, and submitted his great powers to its influence. He saw more than Vico, but he did not discern the practical guide he had discovered. And yet, recognizing this law, the gates of the Future were open to him, and he saw Man in distant perspective, arrived at heights of happiness which he cannot now conceive. The vision of Universal Peace was to him no longer a vision, but the practical idea of humane statesmen, while he bent his incomparable genius to the discovery of a new agent of intercourse among men,—the aspiration of other philosophers since his day,—a Universal Language, where the confusion of tongues will be forgotten, and the union of hearts be consummated in the union of speech.

Close upon Leibnitz came Lessing, whose genius, less universal, but more exquisite, made him the regenerator of German literature. His soul was touched by sympathy for all mankind, and he saw its sure advance. Almost by his side was Herder, gifted among a gifted [257]people, who in his "Philosophy of History" portrays Humanity in its incessant progress from small beginnings of ignorance and barbarism, when wrong and war and slavery prevail, to the recognition of reason and justice as the rule of life. "There is nothing enthusiastical," he says in that work, which is a classic of German prose, "in the hope, that, wherever men dwell, at some future period will dwell men rational, just, and happy,—happy, not through the means of their own reason alone, but of the common reason of their whole fraternal race."[249] In these last words the Law of Progress is announced, with all its promises.

In France we trace this law through a succession of master minds,—first of whom in time, as in authority, is Descartes, the chief of French philosophy. His life was crowded with triumphs of intellect, and after death his spirit seemed for a time to rule all departments of study. Like the universal soul of the Stoics, it was everywhere. Though not formally enunciating the Law of Progress, his "Discourse on Method," first published in 1637, acknowledged its influence in natural science. "The experience which I have in physics," he says, "teaches me that it is possible to arrive at a knowledge of many things which will be very useful to life, and that we may yet discover methods by which man, comprehending the force and the action of fire, water, air, stars, skies, and all the other bodies which environ us, as distinctly as we comprehend the different trades of our artisans, shall be able to employ them in the same fashion for all the uses to which they are appropriate, and thus shall render himself master and possessor of Na[258]ture." In these new triumphs of knowledge, he says, "men may learn to enjoy the fruits of the earth without trouble; their health will be preserved, and they will be able to exempt themselves from an infinitude of ills, as well of body as of mind, and even, perhaps, from the weakness of old age." As I repeat these words, uttered long before the steam-engine, the railroad, the electric telegraph, and the use of ether, I seem to hear a prophecy, the prophecy of Science, which each day helps to fulfil. "Without intending any slight," he continues, "I am sure that even those engaged in these matters will confess that all that they know is almost nothing in comparison with what remains to be known."[250] There is grandeur in the assurance with which the great philosopher announces the Future.

From Descartes I come to Pascal, never to be mentioned without a tribute to the early genius which, though removed from life at the age of thirty-nine, left an ineffaceable trace upon the religion, science, and literature of his time. The Law of Progress received from him its earliest and most distinct statement as a rule of philosophy applicable to all the sciences depending upon experience and reason. This is to be found in that posthumous work of eloquent piety and sentiment, Les Pensées, first published by his companions of Port Royal, in 1669, some time after his death; and it is not a little curious, as an illustration of the prejudices this truth has encountered, that the chapter where it is set forth, entitled Of Authority in Matters of Philosophy, was in this early edition suppressed. Not until the next century was the testimony of Pascal disclosed to the world. "By a special prerogative of the human [259]race," says he, "not only each man advances day by day in the sciences, but all men together make continual progress therein, as the universe grows old; because the same thing happens in the succession of men which takes place in the different ages of an individual. So that the whole succession of men in the course of so many ages may be regarded as one man who lives always and who learns continually. From this we see with what injustice we respect Antiquity in its philosophers; for, since old age is the period most distant from infancy, who does not see that the old age of this universal man must not be sought in the times nearest his birth, but in those which are the most remote? They whom we call the Ancients were indeed new in all things, and properly formed the infancy of mankind; and since to their knowledge we have joined the experience of the ages which have followed, it is in ourselves that is to be found that Antiquity which we revere in the others."[251] We cannot admire too much this splendid inspiration, where the expression is in harmony with the thought. When it was said that mankind may be regarded "as one man who lives always and who learns continually," there was indeed a new discovery, as great as if a new continent or a new planet had been disclosed.

The age enlightened by the genius of Pascal was ready to discuss the question then at hand, on the comparative merits of Ancients and Moderns, involving an inquiry into the principles of Progress, particularly in art and literature. The close of the seventeenth century witnessed this memorable debate, which extended [260]from France to England. French critics, under the lead of Boileau, espoused the cause of the Ancients. Against them was Charles Perrault, conspicuous at the time among academicians, and still remembered as author of those Fairy Tales, including "Cinderella" and "Bluebeard," which have given him a fame not inferior to that of his brother, Claude Perrault, with whom he is sometimes confounded, to whom France is indebted for that perpetual triumph in architecture, the unsurpassed front of the Louvre. In an elaborate work, published in 1688-92, entitled "Parallel between the Ancients and Moderns in regard to the Arts and Sciences,"[252] where the debate is in the form of dialogue, he vindicates the Moderns in comparison with the Ancients, and insists, that, notwithstanding the perfection at which the latter arrived, the Moderns have an advantage from prolonged experience and its necessary accumulations. Like Pascal, whose remarkable words were still unpublished, he, too, sees the life of Humanity as the life of an individual man eternal, and, though recognizing epochs of retrogression in history, asserts the continuous progress of the race, not only in the sciences, but also in morals and the arts, not forgetting the art of the kitchen.

This sentiment found similar utterance in a lively contemporary, Fontenelle, an honored academician, whose life extended to a length of days unequalled in the history of literature, having accomplished one hundred years, after devoting that century of existence to the exclusive pursuit of letters. "A good mind cultivated," says this exceptional veteran, "is, so to [261]speak, composed of all the minds of the preceding ages: it is but one and the same mind that has been cultivated during all this period. So that this man, who has lived from the beginning of the world to the present time, has had his infancy, when he was occupied only with the more pressing wants of life,—his youth, when he has succeeded pretty well in matters of imagination, such as poesy and eloquence, and when he has even begun to reason, but with less solidity than fire. He has now reached the age of manhood, when he reasons with more force and more intelligence than ever; but he would be yet further advanced, if the passion for war had not for a long time possessed him, and given him a contempt for the sciences, to which he has at last returned.... This man will have no old age; he will be ever equally capable of the things to which his youth was fitted, and ever more and more so of those which belong to the age of manhood: that is to say,—to quit the allegory,—men will never degenerate, but the sound views of the entire succession of good minds will always be added to one another."[253]—Titian, like Fontenelle, was remarkable for unusual length of days; but the consummate artist, among his immortal pictures, has left hardly one more worthy of immortality than this brilliant statement, where the discovery of Pascal is affirmed and presented with singular clearness and precision.

Thus, in France, was the Law of Progress confessed in the sciences by Descartes and Pascal,—in literature, in arts, and even in morals, by Perrault and Fontenelle. This was before the expiration of the seventeenth cen[262]tury. It remained that it should be announced, not only as a special law applicable to certain departments, but as a general Law of Humanity, universal in application, guiding men in all their labors, and erecting before them a goal of aspiration and of certain triumph. This was done by another, who was not philosopher only, nor statesman only, nor philanthropist only, but in whom this triumvirate of characters blended with rare success,—Turgot, the well-loved minister of Louis the Sixteenth. It was said of him by Voltaire, that "he was born wise and just"; and this tribute has especial point, when it is considered that his acceptance of this law was first announced in an essay[254] written in 1750, at the age of twenty-three, while he was yet at the Sorbonne. Let it be mentioned in his praise, that, as he grew in years, in power, and in fame, he did not depart from the happy intuitions of early life, or forget the visions which, as a young man, he had seen. Perceiving clearly the advance already made, he drew from it the assurance of yet further advance. In reason, knowledge, and virtue he did not hesitate to place his own age before preceding ages. "The corrupt of to-day," he was accustomed to say, "would have been Capuchins a hundred years ago." He declared the capacity for indefinite improvement a distinctive quality of the human race, belonging to the race in general, and to each individual in particular. He did not doubt that the progress of the physical sciences, of education, of method in the sciences, or the discovery of new methods, would enlarge the powers of man, rendering him capable of preserving a larger number of ideas in [263]the memory, and of multiplying their relations. Nor did he doubt that the moral sense was equally capable of improvement,—that man would become constantly better in proportion as he was enlightened,—that the advance of society would necessarily keep pace with the advance of morals,—that politics, founded, like other sciences, upon observation and reason, would advance also,—that all useful truths must be finally known and adopted, while ancient errors are by degrees annihilated, or give place to new truths,—and that this Progress, increasing always from age to age, has no term, or none at least which can be assigned in the present state of human intelligence.

The early testimony of Turgot was repeated at a later day in his precious fragment on Universal History, which, when compared with the Introductory Discourse of Bossuet on the same theme, shows how superior in the philosophy of history was the layman to the bishop. All ages, says Turgot, are enchained by a succession of causes and effects uniting the present with what has preceded, and all accumulated knowledge is a common treasure, transmitted from generation to generation, as an inheritance, augmented by the discoveries of each age. In this spirit he inaugurates Universal History, giving to it a just elevation, as the exhibition of Human Progress in all its epochs, with all its hindrances, and crowned by all its triumphs.[255]

Such testimony, commended by the earnestness of conviction, was not without influence on the great movement which culminated in the earlier revolution of [264]France, or rather it was part of that movement. It found welcome in many bosoms, and helped stir the vast mass. Among those especially penetrated by it was the friend and biographer of Turgot, who was not behind his master in this loyalty: I refer to Condorcet. This unfortunate nobleman, conspicuous for learning and genius, particularly in mathematics, and for honest devotion to the principles of the Revolution, when at last proscribed, and compelled to flee for life,—pursued by the very dogs he had helped to arouse, but was impotent to restrain,—sought shelter with a friend, where, in concealment, he passed the last eight months before his mournful death. His first thought was, to send forth a vindication of himself, addressed to his fellow-citizens; but soon renouncing this design, he devoted what remained to him of life—during that most hateful passage of human history, the Reign of Terror—to the preparation of a work in which he brought his various powers to the development of the Law of Human Progress. It is entitled "Sketch of an Historical Table of the Progress of the Human Mind,"[256] and reviews human society in its different stages, unfolding the order of its changes and the influences transmitted from age to age, pointing out the different steps in the march towards truth and happiness. From observation of man as he has been, and as he is to-day, the author passes naturally to those new triumphs which are his certain destiny, so long as he continues to possess the faculties with which he is endowed, and to be governed by the same universal laws.

Thus wrote Condorcet, while the hand of Death yet waited. He died; but the return to reason in France [265]was signalized by unaccustomed homage to the victim. The Committee of Public Instruction reported, that the sketch was "a classical work offered to republican schools by an unfortunate philosopher, that everywhere in it the improvement of society was recognized as the object most deserving the activity of the human intelligence, and that pupils studying here the history of the sciences and the arts would learn to cherish liberty and to detest and vanquish all tyrannies"; and thereupon the National Convention ordered three thousand copies to be distributed at the expense of the nation.[257] And here properly closes this branch of our subject.

The high lineage and authority of this law I have traced, not by the enthusiasts of Humanity, not by Fénelon or Saint-Pierre, not by Diderot or Rousseau, but by a succession of masters who are our acknowledged guides in science, philosophy, and history. In Italy the torch was held aloft by Vico; in Germany, by Leibnitz, Lessing, and Herder; in France it passed through the hands of Descartes, Pascal, Perrault, Fontenelle, Turgot, and Condorcet:—

"Et quasi cursores, vitaï lampada tradunt,"[258]

till at last, at the close of the eighteenth century, its flame was seen from afar. To England we seem little indebted; and yet, when I think of Lord Bacon, I am disposed to say that we are much indebted. This law inspired his great work on the "Advancement of Learning," and is expressed in its very title. It entered into his aspiration to deliver man from present weakness by [266]extending his power over Nature. It is foreshadowed in his great declaration, antedating Pascal, that Antiquity was the youth of the world,—"Antiquitas sæculi, juventus mundi."[259] For a time Bacon had no successors in England. At a later day this law was cordially embraced by Dr. Price,[260] the friend and correspondent of Turgot. Dr. Johnson, who surely did not accept it, shows an unconscious sympathy with it, when he says of life in pastoral countries, that it "knows nothing of progression or advancement."[261] Unhappy people, thus without visible Future on earth!

To the eighteenth century belongs the honor—signal honor I venture to call it—of first distinctly acknowledging and enunciating that Law of Human Progress, which, though preached in Judea eighteen hundred years ago, failed to be received by men,—nay, still fails to be received by men. Writers in our own age, of much ability and unexampled hardihood, while adopting this fundamental law, proceed to arraign existing institutions of society. My present purpose does not require me to consider these, whether for censure or praise,—abounding as they do in evil, abounding as they do in good. It is my single aim to trace the gradual development and final establishment of that great law which teaches that "there is a good time coming,"—a Future even on earth, to arouse the hopes, the aspirations, and the energies of Man.



The way is now prepared to consider the character, conditions, and limitations of this law, the duties it enjoins, and the encouragements it affords.

Let me state the law as I understand it. Man, as an individual, is capable of indefinite improvement. Societies and nations, which are but aggregations of men, and, finally, the Human Family, or collective Humanity, are capable of indefinite improvement. And this is the destiny of man, of societies, of nations, and of the Human Family.

Restricting the proposition to the capacity for indefinite improvement, I believe I commend it to the candor and intelligence of all who have meditated upon this subject. And this brings me to the remarkable words of Leibnitz. He boldly says, as we have already seen, that man seems able to arrive at perfection. Turgot and Condorcet also speak of his "perfectibility,"—a term adopted by recent French writers. If by this is meant simply that man is capable of indefinite improvement, then it will not be questioned. But whatever the heights of virtue and intelligence to which he may attain in future ages, who can doubt that to his grander vision new summits will ever present themselves, provoking him to still grander aspirations? God only is perfect. Knowledge and goodness, his attributes, are infinite; nor can man hope, in any lapse of time, to comprehend this immensity. In the infinitude of the universe, he will seem, like Newton, with all his acquisitions, only to have gathered a few pebbles by the seaside. In a similar strain Leibnitz elsewhere says that the place which God assigns to man in space and [268]time necessarily limits the perfections he is able to acquire. As in Geometry the asymptote constantly approaches its curve, so that the distance between them is constantly diminishing, and yet, though prolonged indefinitely, they never meet, so, according to him, are infinite souls the asymptotes of God.

There are revolutions in history seeming on a superficial view inconsistent with this law. From early childhood attention is directed to Greece and Rome; and we are sometimes taught that these two powers reached heights which subsequent nations cannot hope to equal, much less surpass. I would not disparage the triumphs of the ancient mind. The eloquence, the poetry, the philosophy, the art, of Athens still survive, and bear no mean sway upon earth. Rome, too, yet lives in her jurisprudence, which, next after Christianity, has exerted a paramount influence over the laws of modern communities.

But exalted as these productions may be, it is impossible not to perceive that something of their present importance is derived from the early period when they appeared, something from the unquestioning and high-flown admiration of them transmitted through successive generations until it became a habit, and something also from the disposition, still prevalent, to elevate Antiquity at the expense of subsequent ages. Without undertaking to decide if the genius of Antiquity, as displayed by individuals, can justly claim supremacy, it would be easy to show that the ancient plane of civilization never reached our common level. The people were ignorant, vicious, and poor, or degraded to abject slavery,—itself the sum of all injustice and all vice. Even [269]the most illustrious characters, whose names still shine from that distant night, were little more than splendid barbarians. Architecture, sculpture, painting, and vases of exquisite perfection attest an appreciation of beauty in form; but our masters in these things were strangers to the useful arts, as to the comforts and virtues of home. Abounding in what to us are luxuries, they had not what to us are necessaries.

Without knowledge there can be no sure Progress. Vice and barbarism are the inseparable companions of ignorance. Nor is it too much to say, that, except in rare instances, the highest virtue is attained only through intelligence. This is natural; for to do right, we must first understand what is right. But the people of Greece and Rome, even in the brilliant days of Pericles and Augustus, could not arrive at this knowledge. The sublime teachings of Plato and Socrates—calculated in many respects to promote the best interests of the race—were limited in influence to a small company of listeners, or to the few who could obtain a copy of the costly manuscripts in which they were preserved. Thus the knowledge and virtue acquired by individuals were not diffused in their own age or secured to posterity.

Now, at last, through an agency all unknown to Antiquity, knowledge of every kind has become general and permanent. It can no longer be confined to a select circle. It cannot be crushed by tyranny, or lost by neglect. It is immortal as the soul from which it proceeds. This alone renders all relapse into barbarism impossible, while it affords an unquestionable distinction between ancient and modern times. The Press, watchful with more than the hundred eyes [270]of Argus, strong with more than the hundred arms of Briareus, not only guards all the conquests of civilization, but leads the way to future triumphs. Through its untiring energies, the meditation of the closet, or the utterance of the human voice, which else would die away within the precincts of a narrow room, is prolonged to the most distant nations and times, with winged words circling the globe. We admire the genius of Demosthenes, Sophocles, Plato, and Phidias; but the printing-press is a higher gift to man than the eloquence, the drama, the philosophy, and the art of Greece.

There is yet another country which presents a problem for the student of Progress. In vivid phrase Sir James Mackintosh pictures the "ancient and immovable civilization of China."[262] But in these words he spoke rather from impressions than from actual knowledge. By the side of the impulsive movement of modern Europe, the people of this ancient empire may appear stationary; but it can hardly be doubted that they have advanced, though according to a scale unlike our own. It is difficult to assign satisfactory reasons for the seeming inertness of their national life. Perhaps I shall not err, if I refer it to peculiar constitutional characteristics,—to inherent difficulties of their language as an instrument of knowledge,—to national vanity on an exaggerated scale, making them look down upon others,—to an insulation excluding all others,—and also to the habit of unhesitating deference to Antiquity, and of "backward-looking thoughts," cultivated by the Chinese from the distant days of Confucius. They do not know the Law of Human Progress.


In receiving this law, two conditions of Humanity are recognized: first, its unity or solidarity; and, secondly, its indefinite duration upon earth. And now of these in their order.

1. It is true, doubtless, that there are various races of men; but there is but one great Human Family, in which Caucasian, Ethiopian, Chinese, and Indian are all brothers, children of one Father, and heirs to one happiness. Though variously endowed, they are all tending in the same direction; nor can the light obtained by one be withheld from any. The ether discovery in Boston will soothe pain hereafter in Africa and in Asia, in Abyssinia and in China. So are we all knit together, that words of wisdom and truth, which first sway the hearts of the American people, may help to elevate benighted tribes of the most distant regions. The vexed question of modern science, whether these races proceeded originally from one stock, does not interfere with the sublime revelation of Christianity, the Brotherhood of Man. In the light of science and of religion, Humanity is an organism, complex, but still one,—throbbing with one life, animated by one soul, every part sympathizing with every other part, and the whole advancing in one indefinite career of Progress.

2. And what is the measure of this career? It is common to speak of the long life already passed by man on earth; but how brief and trivial is this, compared with the countless ages before him! According to received chronology, six thousand years have not yet elapsed since his creation. But the science of Geology, that unimpeached interpreter of the Past, now demonstrates (and here the geology of New York furnishes im[272]portant evidence), that, anterior to the commencement of human history, this globe had endured for ages upon ages, baffling human calculation and imagination. Without losing ourselves in the stupendous speculations with regard to different geological epochs, before the earth assumed its present figure, and when it was occupied only by races of animals now extinct, it may not be without interest to glance at the age of the epoch in which we live. This, happily, we are able to do.

From the flow of rivers we have a gigantic measure of geological time. It is supposed that the Falls of Niagara were once at Queenstown, and that they have gradually worn their way back in the living rock, for a distance of seven miles, to the place where they now pour their thunders. An ingenious English geologist, a high authority in his science, Sir Charles Lyell, assuming that this retreat might have been at the rate of one foot a year, shows that the cataract must have poured over that rock for a period of at least 36,960 years. And the same authority teaches us that the alluvion at the mouth of the Mississippi, the delta formed by the deposits of that mighty river (here let it be remarked that alluvions and sand-banks are the most recent geological formations on the surface of the earth, being nearest to our own age), could not have been accumulated within a shorter period than 100,500 years.[263] Even this term, so vast to our small imagination, is only one of a series composing the present epoch; and the epoch itself is but a unit in a still grander series. These measurements, adopted [273]in this branch of knowledge, can be little more than vague approximations; but they teach, from the lips of Science, as perhaps nothing else can, the infinite ages through which this globe has already travelled, and the infinite ages which seem to be its future destiny.

Thus we stand now between two infinities,—the infinity of the Past, and the infinity of the Future; and the infinity of the Future is equal to the infinity of the Past. In comparison with these untold spaces before and after, what, indeed, are the six thousand years of human history? In the contemplation of Man, what littleness! what grandeur! how diminutive in the creation! how brief his recorded history! and yet how vast in hopes! how majestic and transcendent in the Future!

If there be any analogy between his life on earth and that of the frailest plant or shell-fish, as now seen in the light of science, he must still be in his earliest and most helpless infancy. In vain speak of Antiquity in his history; for all his present records are as a day, an hour, a moment, in the unimaginable immensity of duration which seems to await the globe and its inhabitants. In the sight of our distant descendants, successive eras of the brief span which we call History will melt into one; and as to present vision stars far asunder seem near together, so Nimrod and Sesostris, Alexander and Cæsar, Tamerlane and Napoleon, will seem to be contemporaries. Nor is it any exaggeration to suppose that in the unborn ages, illumined by a truth now, alas! too dimly perceived, the class of warriors and conquerors, of which these are signal types, will become extinct,—like the gigantic land reptiles and monster [274]crocodileans belonging to a departed period of zoölogical history.

Admitting the Unity of Mankind, and an Indefinite Future on earth, it becomes easy to anticipate triumphs which else were impossible. Few will question that Man, as an individual, is capable of indefinite improvement, so long as he lives. This capacity is inborn. None so poor as not to possess it. Even the idiot, so abject in condition, is found at last to be within the sphere of education. Circumstances alone are required to call this capacity into action; and in proportion as knowledge, virtue, and religion prevail in a community will that sacred atmosphere be diffused under whose genial influence the most forlorn may grow into forms of unimagined strength and beauty. This capacity for indefinite improvement, which belongs to the individual, must belong also to society; for society does not die, and through the improvement of its individuals has the assurance of its own advance. It is immortal on earth, and will gather constantly new and richer fruits from the teeming generations, as they stretch through unknown time. To Chinese vision the period of the present may seem barren, but it is sure to yield its contribution to the indefinite accumulations which are the token of an indefinite Progress.

Tables speak sometimes as words cannot. From statistics of life, as recorded by Science, we learn the capacity for progress in the Human Family; the testimony is authentic, as it is interesting. A little more than two centuries have passed since Descartes predicted that improvement in human health which these figures exhibit. Could this seer of Science revisit the [275]scene of his comprehensive labors and divine aspirations, he might well be astonished to learn how, in the lapse of so short a period in the life of Humanity, his glowing anticipations have been fulfilled. From the following tables[264] we learn that even the conqueror Death has been slowly driven back, and his inevitable triumph postponed.

Table showing the Diminution of Mortality in different Countries.

Deaths in England,  in 1690, 1 in 33,  in 1848, 1 in 47.
  "    France,  in 1776, 1 in 25-1/2,  in 1848, 1 in 42.
  "    Germany,  in 1788, 1 in 32,  in 1848, 1 in 40.
  "    Sweden,  in 1760, 1 in 34,  in 1848, 1 in 41.
  "    Roman States,  in 1767, 1 in 21-1/2,  in 1829, 1 in 28.

Diminution of Mortality in Cities.

Deaths in London,  in 1690, 1 in 24,  in 1844, 1 in 44.
   "   Paris  in 1650, 1 in 25,  in 1829, 1 in 32.
   "   Berlin,  in 1755, 1 in 28,  in 1827, 1 in 34.
   "   Vienna,  in 1750, 1 in 20,  in 1829, 1 in 25.
   "   Rome,  in 1770, 1 in 21,  in 1828, 1 in 31.
   "   Geneva,  in 1560, 1 in 18,  in 1821, 1 in 40.

Glancing at the cradle of nations and races risen to grandeur, and observing the wretchedness by which they were originally surrounded, we learn that no lot is removed from the influence of this law. The Feejee Islander, the Bushman, the Hottentot, the Congo negro, is not too low for its care. No term of imagined "finality" can arrest it. The polished Briton, whose civilization we now admire, traces his long-descended lineage from one of those painted barbarians whose degradation still lives in the pages of Julius Cæsar. Slowly, and by [276]degrees, he has reached the height where he now stands; but this is no "finality." The improvement of the Past is the earnest of yet further improvement in the long ages of the Future. And who can doubt, that, in the lapse of time, as the Christian Law is gradually fulfilled, the elevation of the Briton will be shared by all his fellow-men?

The tokens of improvement may appear at a special period, in a limited circle only, among the people, favored of God, enjoying peculiar benefits of commerce and Christianity; but the happy influence cannot be narrowed to any time, place, or people. Every victory over evil redounds to the benefit of all. Every discovery, every humane thought, every truth, when declared, is a conquest of which the whole Human Family are partakers, extending by so much their dominion, while it lessens by so much the sphere of future struggle and trial. Thus, while Nature is always the same, the power of Man is ever increasing. Each day gives him some new advantage. The mountains have not diminished in size; but Man has overcome the barriers they interpose. The winds and waves are not less capricious now than when they first beat upon the ancient Silurian rocks; but the steamboat,

"Against the wind, against the tide,
Now steadies on with upright keel."

The distance between two points on the surface of the globe is the same to-day as when the continents were upheaved from their ocean-bed; but the art of man triumphs over such separation, and distant people commune together. Much remains to be done; but the Creator did not speak in vain, when he blessed his [277]earliest children, and bade them "multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it."

There will be triumphs nobler than any over inanimate Nature. Man himself will be subdued,—subdued to abhorrence of vice, injustice, violence,—subdued to the sweet charities of life,—subdued to all the requirements of duty,—subdued, according to the Law of Human Progress, to the recognition of that Gospel Law of Human Brotherhood, by the side of which the first is only as the scaffolding upon the sacred temple. To labor for this end was man sent forth into the world,—not in the listlessness of idle perfections, but endowed with infinite capacities, inspired by infinite desires, and commanded to strive perpetually after excellence, amidst the encouragements of hope, the promises of final success, and the inexpressible delights from its pursuit. Thus does the Law of Human Progress

"assert eternal Providence,
And justify the ways of God to men,"

by showing Evil no longer a gloomy mystery, binding the world in everlasting thrall, but an accident, under benign Power destined to be surely subdued, as the Human Family press on to the promised goal of happiness.

While recognizing Humanity as progressive, it is important to consider a condition or limitation which may justly temper the ardors of the reformer. Nothing is accomplished except by time and exertion. Nature abhors violence and suddenness. Nature does everything slowly and by degrees. It takes time for the seed to grow into "the bright consummate flower." It is many years before the slender shoot grows into the tree. It [278]is slowly that we pass from infancy and imbecility to manhood and strength. Arrived at this stage, we are still subject to the same condition of Nature. A new temperature or a sudden stroke of light may shock us. Our frames are not made for extremes; so that death may come, according to the poet's conceit, "in aromatic pain."

Gradual change is a necessary condition of the Law of Progress. It is only, according to the poetical phrase of Tacitus, per intervalla ac spiramenta temporum, "by intervals and breathings of time," that we can hope to make a sure advance. Men grow and are trained in knowledge and virtue; but they cannot be compelled into this path. This consideration teaches candor and charity towards all who do not yet see the truth as we do. It admonishes us also, while keeping the eye steadfast on the good we seek, to moderate our expectations, and be content when the day of triumph is postponed, for it cannot be always.

This essential condition of the Law of Progress serves to reconcile movement with stability, and to preserve order even in change; as in Nature all projectile forces are checked and regulated by the law of inertia, and the centrifugal motion of the planets is restrained by the attraction of gravitation. In this principle of moderation, honestly pursued, from proper motives, and promising the "well-ripened fruits of wise delay," we find a just Conservatism, which, though not always satisfying our judgment, can never fail to secure our respect.

But there is another Conservatism,—and its treatment belongs to this occasion,—of a different character, which performs no good office, and cannot secure respect. [279]Child of indifference, of ignorance, of prejudice, of selfishness, it seeks to maintain things precisely as they are, deprecates every change, and, disregarding the transitory condition of all that is human, blindly prays for the perpetuity of existing institutions. Such an influence is productive of disorder rather than order, and is destructive rather than justly conservative. Contrary to the Law of Progress, it plants itself upon ancient ways, and vainly exalts all that was done by our ancestors, as beyond addition and above amendment. It is well illustrated in the early verses,—

"Some ther be that do defye
All that is newe, and ever do crye,
The old is better, awaye with the newe,
Because it is false and the old is true";

and again, in the conversation between two eminent English ecclesiastics. "Brother of Winchester," said Cranmer to Lord Chancellor Gardyner, "you like not anything new, unless you be yourself the author thereof." "Your Grace wrongeth me," replied the inveterate Conservative. "I have never been author yet of any one new thing; for which I thank my God."[265] Such a Conservatism is the bigotry of science, of literature, of jurisprudence, of religion, of politics. An example will exhibit its character.

When Sir Samuel Romilly proposed to abolish the punishment of death for stealing a pocket-handkerchief, the Commons of England consulted certain officials of the law, who assured the House that such an innovation would endanger the whole criminal law of the realm. And when afterwards this illustrious reformer and model lawyer (for, of all men in the his[280]tory of the English law, Romilly is most truly the model lawyer) proposed to abolish the obscene punishment for high treason, requiring the offender to be drawn and quartered, and his bowels to be thrown into his face, while his body yet palpitates with life, the Attorney-General of the day, in opposing this humane amendment, asked, "Are the safeguards, the ancient landmarks, the bulwarks of the Constitution, to be thus hastily removed?" Which gave occasion for the appropriate exclamation in reply, "What! to throw the bowels of an offender into his face, one of the safeguards of the British Constitution! I ought to confess that until this night I was wholly ignorant of this bulwark!"[266] An irrational enormity, with a fit parallel only in our own country, where Slavery is called a "divine institution," and important to the stability of our Constitution!

"Esto perpetua!" was the dying conservative ejaculation of Paul Sarpi, the Venetian friar, over the constitution of his atrocious republic; and this same phrase is invoked by Sir William Blackstone for the British Constitution, enfolding so many inequalities and so many abuses. It were well—and here all must agree—to exclaim of Truth, of Justice, of Peace, of Freedom, May it be perpetual! But is it not irrational to make this claim for any institutions of human device, and therefore finite? How can they provide for the Infinite Future? The Finite cannot measure the Infinite. Nothing from Man's hands—nor laws, nor constitutions—can be perpetual. It is God alone who builds for eternity. His laws are everlasting.

Out of this pernicious prejudice have proceeded that [281]persecution and neglect which are the too frequent lot of the world's pioneers. Among the ancient Greeks, the wisdom which first assigned the natural cause of thunder and storm was condemned by conservative savages as impiety to the gods. In the eighth century, an ignorant conservative Pope persecuted a priest who declared that the world was round. At a later day, to the everlasting scandal of mankind, the book of Copernicus, unfolding the true system of the universe, was branded by a conservative Papal bull as heretical and false, and Galileo, after announcing the annual and diurnal motions of the earth, was sentenced to the dungeons of the conservative Inquisition. This was in Italy; but in England—and here we come nearer home—Harvey was accustomed to say, that, after the publication of his book on the circulation of the blood,—one of the epochs of modern discovery,—"he fell mightily in his practice, and it was believed by the vulgar that he was crack-brained, and all the physicians were against his opinion."[267] According to him, nobody older than forty, at the time of his discovery, received it as true. The age of forty was the dividing line of life,—a Mason and Dixon's line,—determining the capacity to receive that discovery. This little story may admonish all who have passed that conservative line to be careful how they are inhospitable to any new truth.

This same undue tenacity to existing things and repugnance to what is new threw impediments in the way of successive improvements by which travel and intercourse among men are promoted. Surely stage-coaches, when first introduced into England, must have been wel[282]come, though novel, as contributing to the comfort of men. But this was not the case universally. An early writer calls for their suppression, breaking forth against them in this wise. "These coaches," he says, "are one of the greatest mischiefs that hath happened of late years to the kingdom,—mischievous to the public, destructive to trade, and prejudicial to lands. First, by destroying the breed of good horses, the strength of the nation, and making men careless of attaining to good horsemanship, a thing so useful and commendable in a gentleman: for, hereby they become weary and listless, when they ride a few miles, and unwilling to get on horseback, not able to endure frost, snow, or rain, or to lodge in the fields; and what reason, save only their using themselves so tenderly, and their riding in these stage-coaches, can be given for this their inability? Secondly, by hindering the breed of watermen, who are the nursery for seamen, and they the bulwark of the kingdom: for, if these coaches were down, watermen, as formerly, would have work, and be encouraged to take apprentices, whereby their number would every year greatly increase. Thirdly, by lessening of his Majesty's revenues: for now four or five travel in a coach together, without any servants, and it is they that occasion the consumption of beer and ale on the roads; and all inn-keepers do declare that they sell not half the drink nor pay the king half the excise they did before these coaches set up."[268] Such was the conservative bill of indictment against stage-coaches. The history of canals, of steamboats, and, lastly, of railways, shows similar prejudices. Even Mr. Jefferson (and I cannot mention him as an immoderate conservative), [283]when told that the State of New York had explored the route of a canal from the Hudson to Lake Erie, and found it practicable,—that same canal which now, like a thread of silver, winds its way through your imperial State,—replied, that "it was a very fine project, and might be executed a century hence." This is only a little better than the observation of the Greenwich pensioners, who, on first seeing the steamboat upon the waters of the Thames, as they looked out from their palatial home, said, "We do not like the steamboat, it is so contrary to Nature." In our own country, Fitch brought forward the idea of a steamboat amidst ill-disguised sneers; and at a later day, Fulton, while building his first experiment at New York, was viewed with indifference or contempt, as a visionary; and when, at last, he accomplished the long distance to Albany, distrust of the Future still prevailed, and it was doubted if the voyage could be accomplished again, or, if successful again, it was still doubted if the invention could be of permanent value. Thus did this evil spirit perplex noble aims! And in England, as late as 1825, railways were pronounced "altogether delusions and impositions," and the conservative "Quarterly Review," alluding to the opinion of certain engineers that the railway engine could go eighteen or twenty miles an hour, says: "These gross exaggerations may delude for a time, but must end in the mortification of those concerned.... We should as soon expect the people of Woolwich to suffer themselves to be fired off upon one of Congreve's ricochet rockets, as trust themselves to the mercy of such a machine, going at such a rate."[269]

It is related that the Arve, a river of Switzerland, swollen by floods,[284] sometimes drives the waters of the Rhone back into the Lake of Geneva; and the force is sometimes so great as to make the mill-wheels revolve in a contrary direction. There are too many in the world who by their efforts would cause the stream to flow back upon the fountain, and even make the mill-wheels revolve in a contrary direction.

Unhappily, this same bigotry,—conservatism, if you will,—which has blindly opposed improvement in physical comforts, sets its face more passionately still against those movements whose direct object is the elevation of the race. In all times and places it has persecuted the prophets and stoned the gifted messengers of truth. Of its professors Milton pictures the boldest type in Satan, who, knowing well the sins and offences of mortals, would keep them ever in their present condition, holding them fast in degradation, binding them in perpetual slavery, nor indulging in any aspiration, except of long dominion over a captive race, whose sorrows and hopes cannot touch his impenetrable soul. From a sketch by another hand we learn something of his activity. With honest plainness, [285]characteristic of himself and his age, the early English prelate, Latimer, says, in one of his sermons, "The Devil is the most diligentest bishop and preacher in all England."[270] It may be said with equal truth,—and none can question it,—that he is the busiest and most offensive Conservative.

Time forbids my dwelling longer on the ample illustrations of this influence: nor need I. One world-renowned example shall suffice. The early efforts in England for the overthrow of the slave-trade were encountered by an enmity black as the bad passions of the crime itself. In Liverpool the excited slave-traders threatened to throw Clarkson into the dock. But gradually the heart of the nation was touched, until at last the people of England demanded the abolition of this Heaven-defying traffic.

Thus ever has Truth moved on,—though opposed and reviled, still mighty and triumphant. Rejected by the rich and powerful, by the favorites of fortune and of place, she finds shelter with those who often have no shelter for themselves. It is such as these that most freely welcome moral truth, with its new commandments. Not the dwellers in the glare of the world, but the humble and lowly, most clearly perceive this truth,—as watchers placed in the depths of a well observe the stars which are obscured to those who live in the effulgence of noon. Free from egotism and prejudice, whether of self-interest or of class, without cares and temptations, whether of wealth or power, dwelling in the mediocrity or obscurity of common life, they discern the new signal, and surrender unreservedly to its guidance. The Saviour knew this. He did not call upon [286]Priest or Levite or Pharisee to follow him, but upon the humble fishermen by the Sea of Galilee.

Let us, then, be of good cheer. From the great Law of Progress we derive at once our duties and our encouragements. Humanity has ever advanced, urged by instincts and necessities implanted by God,—thwarted sometimes by obstacles, causing it for a time, a moment only in the immensity of ages, to deviate from its true line, or seem to retreat, but still ever onward. At last we know the law of this movement; we fasten our eyes upon that star, unobserved in the earlier ages, which lights the way to the Future, opening into vistas of infinite variety and extension. Amidst the disappointments which attend individual exertions, amidst the universal agitations which now surround us, let us recognize this law, let us follow this star, confident that whatever is just, whatever is humane, whatever is good, whatever is true, according to an immutable ordinance of Providence, in the sure light of the Future, must prevail. With this faith, we place our hands, as those of little children, in the great hand of God. He will guide and sustain us—through pains and perils it may be—in the path of Progress.

In such a faith there are motives to beneficent activity which will endure to the last syllable of life. Let the young embrace this law; it shall be to them an ever-living spring. Let the old cherish this law; it shall be to them a staff for support. It will give to all, young and old, a new appreciation of their existence, a new sentiment of their force, a new revelation of their destiny. It will be as another covenant, witnessed by the bow in the heavens, not only that no honest, earnest effort for the welfare of man can be in vain, but that it [287]shall send a quickening influence through uncounted ages, and contribute to the coming of that Future of Intelligence, Freedom, Peace we would now secure for ourselves, but cannot. Though not ourselves partakers of these brighter days, ours may be the pleasure at least of foreseeing them, of enjoying them in happy vision, or the satisfaction, sweeter still, of hastening by some moments the too distant epoch.

A life filled with this thought will have comforts and consolations else unknown. In the flush of youthful ambition, or in the self-confidence of success, we may be indifferent to the calls of Humanity; but history, reason, and religion all speak in vain, if any selfish works, not helping the Progress of Man, although favored by worldly smile, can secure that happiness and content so much coveted as the crown of life. Look at the last days of Talleyrand, and learn the wretchedness of an old age enlightened by no memory of generous toil, by no cheerful hope for our fellow-men. When the weakness of years rendered him no longer able to grasp power or hold the threads of intrigue, he surrendered himself to discouragement and despair. By the light of a lamp trimmed in solitude he traced these lines, the most melancholy ever written by an old man,—think of them, politician!—"Eighty-three years of life are now passed! filled with what anxieties! what agitations! what enmities! what troublous complexities! And all this with no other result than a great weariness, physical and moral, and a profound sentiment of discouragement with regard to the Future and of disgust for the Past."[271] Poor old man! Poor indeed! In loneliness, in failing age, with death [288]waiting at his palace-gate, what to him were the pomps he had enjoyed? what were titles? what were offices? what the lavish wealth in which he lived? More precious far at that moment the consolation that he had labored for his fellow-men, and the joyous confidence that all his cares had helped the Progress of his race!

Be it, then, our duty and our encouragement to live and to labor, ever mindful of the Future. But let us not forget the Past. All ages have lived and labored for us. From one has come art; from another jurisprudence; from another the compass; from another the printing-press; from all have descended priceless lessons of truth and virtue. The most distant are not without a present influence on our daily lives. The mighty stream of Progress, though fed by many tributary waters and hidden springs, derives something of its force from the earlier currents which leap and sparkle in distant mountain recesses, over precipices, among rapids, and beneath the shade of the primeval forest.

Nor should we be too impatient to witness the fulfilment of our aspirations. The daily increasing rapidity of discovery and improvement, and the daily multiplying efforts of beneficence, outstripping the imaginations of the most sanguine, furnish assurance that the advance of man will be with a constantly accelerating speed. The extending intercourse among the nations of the earth, and all the children of the Human Family, gives new promise of the complete diffusion of Truth, penetrating the most distant places, chasing away the darkness of night, and exposing the hideous forms of Slavery, War, and Wrong, which must be hated in proportion [289]as they are seen. And yet, while confident of the Future, and surrounded by heralds of certain triumph, it becomes us to moderate our anticipations, nor imitate those children of the Crusades, who, in their long journey from Western Europe,

"to seek
In Golgotha him dead who lives in Heaven,"

hailed each city and castle which they approached as the Jerusalem that was to be the end of their wanderings. Though the goal is distant, and ever advancing, the march is none the less certain. As well attempt to make the sun stand still in his course, or restrain the sweet influences of the Pleiades, as arrest the incessant, irresistible movement which is the appointed destiny of man.

Cultivate, then, a just moderation. Learn to reconcile order with change, stability with progress. This is a wise conservatism; this is a wise reform. Rightly understanding these terms, who would not be a conservative, who would not be a reformer?—a conservative of all that is good, a reformer of all that is evil,—a conservative of knowledge, a reformer of ignorance,—a conservative of truths and principles whose seat is the bosom of God, a reformer of laws and institutions which are but the wicked or imperfect work of man,—a conservative of that divine order which is found only in movement, a reformer of those earthly wrongs and abuses which spring from a violation of the great Law of Human Progress? Blending these two in one, may we not seek to be, at the same time, Reforming Conservatives and Conservative Reformers?

And, finally, let a confidence in the Progress of our race be, under God, a constant faith. Let the sentiment [290]of loyalty, earth-born, which once lavished itself on King or Emperor, give place to that other sentiment, heaven-born, of devotion to Humanity. Let loyalty to one man be exchanged for Love to Man. And be it our privilege to extend these sacred influences throughout the land. So may we open to our country new fields of peaceful victory, which shall not want the sympathies and gratulations of the good citizen or the praises of the just historian.


Go forth, then, my country, "conquering and to conquer!"—not by brutal violence, not by force of arms, not, oh! not on dishonest fields of blood,—but in the majesty of Peace, Justice, Freedom, by the irresistible might of Christian Institutions!


Speech on taking the Chair as Presiding Officer of a Public Meeting to ratify the Nominations of the Buffalo Convention, at Faneuil Hall, August 22, 1848.

A Convention of the Free States was held at Buffalo, August 9, 1848, where Martin Van Buren was nominated as President of the United States, and Charles Francis Adams as Vice-President. Resolutions, known as the Buffalo Platform, were adopted, declaring opposition to Slavery wherever we are responsible for it. Among those who took part in the Convention were S.P. Chase, of Ohio, and Preston King, of New York. The proceedings were marked by great unanimity and enthusiasm.

A mass meeting was held at Faneuil Hall on the evening of August 22, 1848, to receive the report of the delegates at Buffalo. The meeting was organized by the choice of the following officers:—Charles Sumner, President;—Dr. John Ware, Franklin Haven, Levi Boles, William Washburn, S.D. Bates, Sumner Crosby, Benjamin Rogers, Henry Lee, Jr., Joseph Willard, Samuel Neal, Dr. Walter Channing, Allen C. Spooner, William B. Spooner, Rev. J.W. Olmstead, Dr. S.G. Howe, Lemuel Capen, Simeon Palmer, Dr. H.I. Bowditch, S.P. Adams, Thomas Bulfinch, Charles G. Davis, Bradford Sumner, David H. Williams, and James M. Whiton, Boston; John C. Dodge, Cambridge; Samuel S. Curtis, Samuel Downer, Jr., William Richardson, Dorchester; William S. Damrell, John Shorey, Dedham; William C. Brown, Chelsea; T.P. Chandler, Brookline; Charles Shute, Hingham; F.A. Kingsbury, Weymouth; Theodore Otis, Charles Ellis, George W. Bond, Elijah Lewis, Roxbury; John B. Alley, Lynn; Thomas S. Harlow, Medford; Charles Foster, Somerville; William H. Keith, Jas. G. Fuller, Charlestown; George Newcomb, Quincy; Vice-Presidents;—Marcus Morton, Jr., John S. Eldridge, Charles W. Slack, David Thaxter, Francis Standish, J. Otis Williams, Dr. W.J. Whitney, Charles A. Phelps, Boston; Charles Ingersoll, Cambridge; Secretaries.

This catalogue may have an interest for persons curious to know who at that time enlisted in the movement.


On taking the chair, Mr. Sumner made the speech below, and then introduced Richard H. Dana, Jr., Esq., of Boston, a delegate to the Buffalo Convention, who reported what had been done there. He was followed by John A. Andrew, Esq., who moved a series of resolutions affirming the principles declared at Buffalo and ratifying the nominations. The reading of these was continually interrupted by applause. Mr. Sumner then introduced David Dudley Field, Esq., of New York, who insisted at length upon the prohibition of slavery in the Territories. Then came Rev. Joshua Leavitt, representing the Liberty Party, now dissolved in the Free-Soil Party. The meeting was singularly auspicious.

Fellow-Citizens, Friends of Freedom:—

Grateful for this cordial welcome, I must consider it offered, not to myself, but to the cause, whose humble representative I am. It is the cause, the good old cause of Freedom, so familiar to early echoes of this hall, which justly awakens your regards, irrespective of men. We are nothing; the cause is everything.

And why, in this nineteenth century, are we assembled here in Faneuil Hall, to vow ourselves to Freedom? Because Freedom is now in danger. The principles of our fathers, of Washington, Franklin, and Jefferson, nay, the self-evident truths of the Declaration of Independence, are assailed. Our Constitution, which was the work of Freedom-loving men, which was watched by Freedom's champions, which, like the Ark of the Covenant, was upborne by the early patriarchs of our Israel, is now prostituted to the uses of Slavery. A body of men, whose principle of union was unknown to the authors of the Constitution, have seized the government, and caused it to be administered, not in the spirit of Freedom, but in the spirit of Slavery. This combination is known as the Slave Power.

The usurpation has obtained sway in both the great [293]political factions. I say factions; for what are factions, but combinations whose sole cement is selfish desire for place and power, in disregard of principles? Whatever may be said of individuals belonging to these opposing combinations, it would be difficult to say whether Whigs or Democrats, in their recent conduct as national parties, had most succumbed to this malign influence. The late Conventions held at Baltimore and Philadelphia were controlled by it. At Baltimore the delegation of the most important State in the Union, known to be in favor of the Wilmot Proviso, was refused admission to the Convention. At Philadelphia the Wilmot Proviso itself was stifled, amidst cries of "Kick it out!" General Cass was nominated at Baltimore, pledged against its whole principle. At Philadelphia, General Taylor, without any pledge on this all-important question, was forced upon the Convention by the Slave Power; nor were principles of any kind declared by this body of professing Whigs. These two candidates, apparently representing opposite parties, both concur in being representatives of Slavery. They are but leaders of the two contending factions into which the Slave Power is divided. And this was fully proved by the action of the Conventions at Baltimore and Philadelphia.

In marked contrast was the recent Convention at Buffalo, where were represented the good men of all the parties,—Whigs, Democrats, and Liberty men,—forgetting alike all former differences, and uniting in common opposition to the Slave Power. There, by their delegates, was the formidable and unsubdued Democracy of New York; there also was the devoted, inflexible Liberty party of the country; there, too, were the true-hearted Whigs and Democrats of all the Free [294]States, who in this great cause of Freedom are, among the faithless, faithful found; there likewise were welcome delegates from the Slave States, from Maryland and Virginia, anxious to join in this new and holy alliance. In uncounted multitude, mighty in numbers, mightier still in the harmony and unity of their proceedings, this Convention consummated the object for which it was called. It has presented to the country a platform of principles, and candidates who are the exponents of these principles. The representatives of the parties there assembled, Whigs, Democrats, and Liberty men, all united. In the strength and completeness of this union I am reminded of the Mississippi, Father of Rivers, where the commingling waters of the Missouri and Ohio are lost in a broad, united, irresistible current, descending in one channel to the sea.

The principles which caused this union are already widely received, and will be proclaimed by this vast assembly. Look at them. They are frankly and explicitly expressed. They were solemnly and deliberately considered by a large committee, and enthusiastically adopted in the Convention. They propose not only to guard the Territories against Slavery, but to relieve the National Government from all responsibility therefor everywhere within the sphere of its constitutional powers. On the subject of Slavery they adopt substantially the prayer of Franklin, who by formal petition called upon the first Congress under the Constitution to "step to the very verge of the power vested in them for discouraging every species of traffic in the persons of our fellow-men."[272] They propose to bring back the government to the truths of the Declaration of Indepen[295]dence and to the principles of the fathers, so that it shall be administered no longer in the spirit of Slavery, but in the spirit of Freedom.

Other important subjects received attention: cheap postage for the people; retrenchment of the national patronage; the abolition of unnecessary offices; the election of civil officers by the people in all practicable cases; improvement of rivers and harbors; free grant to actual settlers of the public lands; and, lastly, payment of the national debt by means of a tariff. But these matters are all treated as subordinate to the primal principle of opposition to Slavery and the Slave Power. No longer will banks and tariffs occupy the foremost place, and, sounding always with the chink of dollars and cents, give their tone to the policy of the country. Henceforward Protection to Man will be the true American System.

The candidates selected as exponents of these principles have claims upon your support, in forgetfulness of all former differences of opinion. They were brought forward, not because of the Past, but the Present; I may add, they were sustained by many persons in the Convention notwithstanding the Past: Martin Van Buren, the New York Democrat, and Charles Francis Adams, the Massachusetts Whig. But these designations can no longer denote different principles. Those to whom they are applied, whether Democrat or Whig, concur in making opposition to Slavery and the Slave Power the paramount principle of political action. The designations may now be interchanged: Mr. Adams may be hailed as a New York Democrat, and Mr. Van Buren as a Massachusetts Whig.

Many here, once connected with the Whig party, like [296]myself, have voted on former occasions against Mr. Van Buren, and regard some portions of his career with anything but satisfaction. Mr. Adams is a younger man; but there are some, doubtless, once connected with the Democratic party, who have voted against him. These differences, and the prejudices they have engendered, are all forgotten, absorbed, and lost in entire sympathy with their present position. Time changes, and we change with it. He has lived to little purpose, whose mind and character continue, through the lapse of years, untouched by these mutations. It is not for the Van Buren of 1838 that we are to vote, but for the Van Buren of to-day,—the veteran statesman, sagacious, determined, experienced, who, at an age when most men are rejoicing to put off their armor, girds himself anew, and enters the lists as champion of Freedom. Putting trust in the sincerity and earnestness of his devotion to the cause, and in his ability to maintain it, I call upon you, as you love Freedom, and value the fair fame of your country, now dishonored, to render him your earnest and enthusiastic support.

Of Mr. Adams I need say nothing in this place, where his honorable and efficient public service and his private life are so familiar. Standing, as I now do, beneath the images of his father and grandfather, it will be sufficient, if I say that he is heir not only to their name, but to the virtues, the abilities, and the indomitable spirit that rendered that name so illustrious.

Such are our principles, and such our candidates. We present them fearlessly. Upon the people depends whether their certain triumph shall be immediate or postponed: for triumph they must. The old and ill-compacted party organizations are broken, and from [297]their ruins is now formed a new party, The Party of Freedom. There were good men who longed for this, and died without the sight. John Quincy Adams longed for it. William Ellery Channing longed for it. Their spirits hover over us, and urge us to persevere. Let us be true to the moral grandeur of our cause. Have faith in Truth, and in God, who giveth the victory.

Fellow-citizens, seeing the spirit which animates your faces, I am tempted to exclaim, that the work is already done to-night,—that the victory is achieved. But I would not lull you to the repose which springs from too great confidence. Rather would I arouse you to renewed and incessant exertion. A great cause is staked upon your constancy: for, except you, where among us would Freedom find defenders?

The sentiment of opposition to the Slave Power, to the extension of Slavery, and to its longer continuance, wherever under the Constitution the National Government is responsible for it, though recognized by individuals, and adopted by a small and faithful party, is now for the first time the leading principle of a broad, resolute, and national organization. It is, indeed, as Mr. Webster lately said, no new idea; it is old as the Declaration of Independence. But it is an idea now for the first time proclaimed by a great political party: for, if the old parties had been true to it, there would have been no occasion for our organization. It is said, our idea is sectional. How is this? Because the slaveholders live at the South? As well might we say that the tariff is sectional, because the manufacturers live at the North.

It is said that we have but one idea. This I deny. But admitting that it is so, are we not, with our one [298]idea, better than a party with no ideas at all? And what is our one idea? It is the idea which combined our fathers on the heights of Bunker Hill,—which carried Washington through a seven years' war,—which inspired Lafayette,—which with coals of fire touched the lips of Adams, Otis, and Patrick Henry. Ours is an idea at least noble and elevating; it is an idea which draws in its train virtue, goodness, and all the charities of life, all that makes earth a home of improvement and happiness.

"Her track, where'er the goddess roves,
Glory pursue, and generous Shame,
The unconquerable Mind, and Freedom's holy flame."


We found now a new party. Its corner-stone is Freedom. Its broad, all-sustaining arches are Truth, Justice, and Humanity. Like the ancient Roman Capitol, at once Temple and Citadel, it shall be the fit shrine for the genius of American institutions.


Letter addressed to a Committee of the Free-Soil Party in Boston, October 26, 1848.

In the political campaign which followed the nominations at Buffalo Mr. Sumner took an active part, addressing large audiences at all the principal places in Massachusetts, beginning at Plymouth. On these occasions he discussed at length the failure of the two old parties, and the political character of their candidates, especially in contrast with those of the Free-Soil party, vindicating the necessity of political action against the Slave Power and the extension of Slavery. Contemporary newspapers show the impression produced, and, in the absence of any authentic report, are quoted here. Of his address at Springfield one of his hearers says in a newspaper:—

"It was a speech which, for beauty, eloquence, and convincing argument, I never heard equalled. With the utmost candor, with a power of argument not to be answered, with an array of facts which cannot be met, he examined the position occupied by Cass and Taylor. Refraining from all abuse, on the contrary dealing out praise where praise is due, he yet showed most conclusively that on the great question, the only question of importance now in issue, neither of these candidates could be trusted. He then spoke in a most beautiful manner of our candidate, Martin Van Buren, and his position. Extenuating nothing in his former action or opinion, he spoke of him as he now is, the true exponent of the glorious principles of the Buffalo Platform, which he called the Second Declaration of Independence. Mr. Sumner spoke for three hours, and to the close the hall was crowded. The bitterest opponents speak in the highest terms of the speech and the meeting."

Another hearer at Amherst, writing in another newspaper, is equally enthusiastic

"For three hours the multitude was swayed to and fro by his resistless eloquence. No description can do justice to the address. Its framework [300]was logic and high moral principle, ornamented with refined and classical allusions and glowing images. Through the whole he was interrupted by long and hearty cheers. Toward the close he expressed a fear that he was detaining his audience too long (the clock was then striking midnight) but he was answered by cries from all parts of the house, 'Oh, no! go on! go on! talk all night!'"

This introduction may explain what ensued. Mr. Sumner was nominated for Congress, and, under the circumstances, did not feel authorized to decline. Earnestly urging others to active support of the cause, he could not refuse the post assigned to himself. His letter accepting the nomination, after giving reasons for the step, proceeds to consider at some length the philosophy of parties and the necessity for the new organization in which he was enlisted. The nomination was communicated to him in a letter, which is given below, with his answer. The result will appear in the sequel.

"Boston, October 23, 1848.

"Charles Sumner, Esq.

"Dear Sir,—At a meeting of the Ward, County, and District Convention of the Free-Soil Party of Suffolk, held on Thursday last, it being proposed to go into a nomination of candidate for Representative to Congress, and nominations being called for, your name, and yours only, was placed upon the list.

"A member of the Convention, who represented himself as authorized by you for that purpose, urged, in the strongest terms, your disinclination to be a candidate, growing out of an early formed and long cherished resolution never to hold any political office; but, notwithstanding all that could be urged, the Convention nominated you, by acclamation, the Free-Soil candidate for Congress from District Number One, and appointed us a committee to inform you of the fact.

"It seems to us, as it did to the Convention, that a political crisis has come which calls upon every man to forego his personal wishes, without regard to resolutions formed under circumstances totally different; and considering the extreme importance of a permanent Free-Soil organization, firm, enthusiastic, and united, we trust we shall have the great pleasure of conveying to the Convention your acceptance of their nomination.

"S.G. Howe,

"Otis Turner,

"Matthew Bolles,

"Charles A. Phelps,

"Richard Hildreth."


Boston, October 26, 1848.

Gentlemen,—I have received your communication of October 23d, informing me that I have been nominated by the Ward, County, and District Convention of the Free-Soil Party of Suffolk as their candidate for Congress, and requesting my acceptance of that nomination.

You state, that a member of the Convention, who represented himself as authorized by me for that purpose, urged in the strongest terms my disinclination to be a candidate, growing out of an early formed and long cherished resolution never to hold political office; but notwithstanding all that could be urged, I was nominated by acclamation.

The member of the Convention who spoke for me, at my special request, did not go beyond the truth. I have never held political office of any kind, nor have I ever been a candidate for any such office. It has been my desire and determination to labor in such fields of usefulness as are open to every private citizen, without the honor, emolument, or constraint of office. I would show by example (might I so aspire!) that something may be done for the welfare of our race, without the support of public station or the accident of popular favor. In this course I hoped to persevere.

I was aware of the readiness with which the world attributes to candidates motives inconsistent with singleness and uprightness; I knew the viperous malignity of a party press, ready to shoot its venom upon those who oppose its course; for a succession of years I saw friends, of whose purity I was assured, a prey to the vampire ferocity of political partisans. Observing these things, I found in them fresh reason for my original [302]determination to keep aloof from office, and from being a candidate for office.

The active part which I have taken in our recent movement, resulting in the formation of a separate organization, has exposed me to something of that animosity usually reserved for candidates. Desirous to avoid any position suggesting desire for office, I have felt an additional motive for adherence to my original purpose. I wished to occupy such a place in our contest, as, while it left me free to labor, should put me above suspicion.

You now bid me renounce the cherished idea of my life, early formed, and strengthened by daily experience, especially by circumstances at the present moment. In support of this request, you suggest that a political crisis has come which calls upon every man to forego his personal wishes.

Upon serious deliberation, anxious to perform my duty, I feel myself unable to resist this appeal. In my view a crisis has arrived which requires the best efforts of every citizen; nor should he hesitate with regard to his peculiar post. Happy to serve in the cause, he should shrink from no labor and no exposure. When the fire-bell rings at midnight, when the ship which bears us drives furious upon a lee shore, there is no time to select the manner in which we will work. Not without dereliction of duty can we be indifferent to the call then addressed to us, nor can we fail to assume the responsibility or service, unwelcome though it be, which is cast upon us.

This is the case now. The principles of Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin, the security of our Constitution, the true fame of our country, the interests of [303]labor, the cause of Freedom, Humanity, Right, Morals, Religion, God, all these are now at stake. Holier cause has never appeared in history. To it I offer not vows only, but my best efforts, wherever they can be effectual.

Accepting, as I now do, the nomination as Free-Soil candidate for Congress from our District, I might properly close this communication; but a topic in the letter with which you have honored me leads me further. While urging my consent, you allege "the extreme importance of a permanent Free-Soil organization, firm, enthusiastic, and united." Even at the hazard of wearying your attention, I would give you my own views.

I agree with the Convention in the importance of the new organization; nor do I think there are many candid persons, recognizing morals as the soul of all true politics, who will hesitate in this conclusion.


The evils of party organization have often been deprecated. Some there are, who, in visions of possible good, think these evils may be entirely removed. They suppose that men may be left to vote, as they act in other concerns, without the constraint of those giant combinations by whose struggle the whole land is up-torn. Some go so far as to oppose all associated action, as interfering with proper freedom and individuality of conduct. On the other hand, there are many who regard the phalanx and antagonism of party as a necessary agency in the administration of free governments. It is supposed that there must be two sides, whose constant watchfulness will prevent abuse and misrule. This idea was pointedly expressed by an eminent British statesman, when he gave as a toast, "A strong Administration and a strong Opposition."

Without yielding to any of these extreme views with regard to the mischiefs or the benefits of party, all should agree that the only true and legitimate object of such an association is to uphold, advance, and develop certain principles, regarded by the members of the party as important to the well-being of the state. So far forth as the members honestly concur in these principles they may properly unite in action. But when they cease to join in their support, or when new principles are called into activity, then the common bond is dissolved, and a new association must be formed.

This law, which is recognized by all intelligent minds, was developed by Mr. Webster at Faneuil Hall in 1825. "New parties," he said, "may arise, growing out of new events or new questions; but as to those old parties which have sprung from controversies now no longer pending, or from feelings which time and other causes have now changed or greatly allayed, I do not believe that they can long remain. Efforts, indeed, made to that end, with zeal and perseverance, may delay their extinction, but, I think, cannot prevent it. There is nothing to keep alive these distinctions in the interests and objects which now engage society. New questions and new objects arise, having no connection with the subjects of past controversies, and present interest overcomes or absorbs the recollection of former controversies. All that are united on these existing questions and present interests are not likely to weaken their efforts to promote them by angry reflections on past differences. If there were nothing in things to divide about, I think the people not likely to maintain systematic controversies about men. They have no interest in so doing. Associations formed to support principles [305]may be called parties; but if they have no bond of union but adherence to particular men, they become factions."[273]

In obedience to this law, political parties in France and England, the only countries besides our own where experience is of service to us on this occasion, have undergone mutations with time. From the reign of Charles the Tenth to the Republic of February, the former country witnessed a succession of parties, representing the different principles struggling for mastery. It was rare that there were two parties only. In England the lines were more distinctly drawn, and the early division into two great parties was more strictly maintained. But here also it is found impossible to stand always upon the ancient ways. Much of the old distinction between Whig and Tory has already become traditional; the members of these two great antagonist combinations have recently united in measures demanded by the law of Human Progress. The monopoly of the Corn Laws, first assailed by Radicals, and then condemned by aristocratic Whigs, was finally overthrown by the leader of the Tories, who marshalled in this cause various forces never before associated.

In our own country parties have undergone changes. It would be difficult to find in the modern Democratic party, rejecting the Wilmot Proviso, that early party which recognized as its chief Jefferson, the original author of the Proviso. It would be equally difficult to find in the modern Whig party, which ignobly trampled upon the Wilmot Proviso, that other early party which aided in the election of Washington, the emancipator of his slaves, and the advocate of Emancipation.


The party lately known as Whig is recent in origin. It cannot plead prescription in its favor. Twenty years have not yet elapsed since its birth. It is still in its minority, without any promise that it can reach the age of freedom.

From this survey we are admonished not to hesitate in support of the new organization, from any vain idea of necessary permanence in the two old parties. Encouragement also may be drawn from the insufficiency of these parties as representatives of existing public sentiment.

It is a humiliating reflection, forced upon us by the history of parties, that the professions of principle are often a mere cover to selfish efforts for place and power. Politics become a game, and principles are the counters which are used. The apparent contests of principle are made subservient to the contests of interest, and the latter is pursued to the neglect of the former. As this subservience becomes manifest, and as it clearly appears that fidelity to principle is merged in selfish ambition, surrendering all things to the pursuit of barren "availability," party loses title to the countenance of honest men. It is a faction, a cabal. It is an engine of mere political brokerage, by which preferment is procured. If I used a stronger word, I should only borrow the language of the great poet patriot, in describing his own Italy, defiled by noxious factions, whose prostitution of sacred principles filled the whole land with noisome odor.

Without undertaking to apply this language in all its force to either of the parties convened at Baltimore or Philadelphia, it will be sufficient to say that they do not now embody, if they ever did, those principles [307]which are accepted by large numbers of good men as vital and paramount. The question, then, arises, Shall these principles continue without any national organ? Shall they find no voice? Shall they be stifled? Clearly not.

Such precisely is our condition. The important sentiment of hostility to the Slave Power, to the extension of Slavery, and to its longer continuance under the Constitution wherever the National Government is responsible for it, though recognized by individuals, and by a small, but respectable, political organization, was never till now put forth as the paramount principle of a large and national party. It is true, indeed, that here is no new idea. It is as old as the Revolution,—as old as Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin; but it is an idea neglected by both the great parties which have recently swayed the country. Were it recognized by either, there would be no occasion for the new party whose existence has so auspiciously begun.

No person is so hardy as to assert that the present Democratic party embodies this idea. But there are partisans, who, in disregard of well-known facts, claim it as the property of the late Whig party, even in its present metamorphosis into the Taylor faction. It is sometimes proclaimed as their "thunder." How is this?

It is well known that the Whigs of Massachusetts, in local conventions, and also in formal legislative proceedings, have avowed hostility to the Slave Power, to the extension of Slavery, and to its longer continuance under the Constitution, wherever the National Government is responsible for it; but the National Whig party, or what Mr. Webster has called "the united Whig [308]party of the United States," has never recognized any such principles. Search its history, and you will find that it has been false to them.

As a party, it has never sustained any measure for the abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia. On the contrary, it has discountenanced all proceedings in this direction. General Harrison, the only President it has succeeded in electing, covertly took ground against it in his Inaugural Message, and Mr. Clay, the acknowledged representative of the party, expressed himself to the same effect, with a warmth which better became a better cause. Nor did either of these Whig statesmen admit, what Mr. Van Buren more than once distinctly declared, that Congress possessed the constitutional power to abolish Slavery in the District. That part of our principles, then, which touches this topic, has formed no portion of the National Whig doctrines.

The claim to proprietorship in the principle of opposition to the extension of Slavery is equally vain. Florida and Arkansas have both been admitted as States with slaveholding Constitutions, and the National Whig party made no opposition.

The annexation of Texas, when first presented, was opposed by many Whigs of the Slave States, but on grounds irrespective of Slavery. It was finally consummated through the agency of John Tyler, President by the act of the Whig party, and of John C. Calhoun, Secretary of State by the unanimous vote of the Whig and Democratic members of the Senate, through joint resolutions, moved in the House by Mr. Milton Brown, a Slaveholding Whig from Tennessee, and in the Senate by Mr. Foster, a Slaveholding Whig from the same State. Thus even against the annexation of Texas the [309]Whig party did not present a constant and uniform front.

The question of the extension of Slavery was distinctly presented, on the application of Texas for admission into our Union, with a Constitution which not only established Slavery, but took from the Legislature all power to abolish it. The spirit of New England was aroused. Remonstrances went up to Congress on the single ground of opposition to the extension of Slavery. John Quincy Adams undertook to present them. But, notwithstanding his earnest efforts, the measure was hurried through the House by the vote of every slaveholder present, Whig and Democrat. It went to the Senate, where it was ushered under the sanction in part of Mr. Berrien, a slaveholding Whig from Georgia, and finally triumphed in that body, notwithstanding the opposition of Mr. Webster, by the vote of every slaveholder present, Whig and Democrat. Let it be mentioned to their credit, that Mr. Thomas Clayton, of the Senate, and Mr. John W. Houston, of the House, from Delaware, and Mr. John G. Chapman, of the House, from Maryland, united with the friends of Freedom; but I understand that they are not slaveholders. The associations of the day on which this deed was done added to its character as a mockery of Human Rights. It was on the 22d of December, 1845, the anniversary of the landing at Plymouth Rock.

At a later day this great question again entered Congress, overshadowing all others. In 1846, Mr. Wilmot, a Democrat, of Pennsylvania, in order to secure the Territories for Freedom, moved his Proviso, borrowed from the Ordinance of 1787. The motion was sustained by Northern Whigs, but opposed by slaveholders without [310]distinction of party. Exertions were made to rally the Free States on this ground; but the National Whig party, anxious to avoid the issue, strove, through the agency of Mr. Berrien and Mr. Webster, to substitute the question of No more Territory,—thus avoiding the issue upon the paramount principle, now vaunted as theirs, of opposition to the extension of Slavery.

At the Whig Convention in Philadelphia two different efforts were made to obtain the recognition of this principle; but it was laid upon the table, or stifled amidst unseemly noises and cries of "Kick it out!"

This same Convention nominated for the Presidency General Taylor, who is justly supposed, by his position, to be against the Wilmot Proviso, and who has been advocated recently by Mr. Berrien, a leading slaveholding Whig, remarkable for hostility to the Proviso, on the ground, thus candidly expressed, that "the Southern man who is farthest from us is nearer to us than any Northern man can be,—that General Taylor is identified with us in feeling and interest, was born and educated in a slaveholding State, is himself a slaveholder,—that his slave property constitutes the means of support to himself and family,—that he cannot desert us, without sacrificing his interest, his principles, the habits and feelings of his life,—and that with him, therefore, our institutions are safe." In sustaining such a candidate, while professing to be a Free-Soil party, the Whigs imitate those barbarians who elevate in their temple a Pagan idol, while professing to serve, in Gospel light, the only true God.

There are leading supporters of General Taylor, not slaveholders, but acknowledged Whigs, who frankly disclaim the Wilmot Proviso. Mr. Clayton, of Delaware, [311]is reported as declaring to the Senate, July 5, 1848,—"No man has a right to say that the Wilmot Proviso is a Whig principle, or that its opposite is a Whig principle. We repudiate the question altogether, as a political question. Neither the one side nor the other of the question forms any part of our platform." And my friend Mr. Choate, the accomplished orator, is reported as saying, in one of his recent speeches: "On all the great questions of the day BUT JUST SLAVERY, we mean to remain the same party of Whigs, one and indivisible, from Maine to Louisiana; upon this question alone we always differ from the Whigs of the South, and on that one we propose simply to vote them down."

I conclude, then, that the principle of opposition to the extension of Slavery, like that of opposition to its longer continuance under the Constitution, wherever the National Government is responsible for it, is not recognized by the national political combination which supports General Taylor. None will say that this combination will oppose the Slave Power, of which their candidate is a component part.

It is to uphold and advance these principles, thus neglected by others, that we have come together, leaving the parties to which we have been respectively attached. Now, in the course of human events, it has become our duty to dissolve the political bands which have hitherto bound us to the old organizations, and to assume a separate existence. Our Declaration of Independence was put forth at Buffalo. Let us, in the spirit of the fathers, pledge ourselves to sustain it with lives, fortunes, and sacred honor. Our cause is holier than theirs, inasmuch as it is nobler to struggle for the freedom of others than for our own. Full of reverence for the fathers, I here [312]repeat what in this contest cannot be too often declared. The love of Right, which is the animating principle of our movement, is higher than the love of Freedom. But both Right and Freedom inspire our cause.

Taking our place as a new party, we fulfil the desires of many good men, living and dead, who have longed to see the thraldom of the old organizations broken. Such was the earnest hope of John Quincy Adams, expressed more than once. "God grant that it may come!" was his devout wish.

Another person, not a politician, whose opinions exercise a wide influence over the present generation, the late William Ellery Channing, has left on record a similar aspiration. In a letter dated January 11, 1840, recently published in his biography, he says: "The Whig interest seems to be too strong to be put down at once. This party has the wealth, and in so rich a State [Massachusetts] has great advantages for perpetuating its power. No party, however, which thinks only of securing wealth can last long. There must be some higher principle."[274] And in another letter, dated March 1, 1842, the same patriot and philanthropist says: "The political state of the country is exceedingly perplexed. The Whig party has little unity, and is threatened with dissolution.... Would the Democrats break up too, and could we start afresh, the Government would probably be less of an evil than it is."[275]

Another eminent person, honored wherever the pulpit and philosophy of our country are known, Rev. Francis Wayland, of the Baptist denomination, has recently put forth sentiments in a similar strain. "But," says he, [313]"it may be said that a course of conduct like this would destroy all political organizations, and render nugatory the designations in which we have for so very long prided ourselves. If this be all the mischief that is done, the Republic, I think, may very patiently endure it.... If a disciple of Christ has learned to value his political party more highly than he does truth and justice and mercy, it is surely time that his connection with it were broken off. Let him learn to surrender party for moral principle.... Let all good men do this, and they will form a party by themselves, a party acting in the fear of God, and sustained by the arm of Omnipotence....

"Let virtuous men, then, unite on the ground of universal moral principle, and the tyranny of party will be crushed. Were the virtuous men of this country to carry their moral sentiments into practice, and act alone rather than participate in the doing of wrong, all parties would, from necessity, submit to their authority, and the acts of the nation would become a true exponent of the moral character of our people."[276]

I would add, that I am glad to adduce this high testimony from the pulpit. The Gospel is never more truly or sublimely preached than when the politician is told that he, too, is bound by its laws, and communities, whether villages, towns, states, or nations, are summoned, like individuals, to obey its sacred behests.

In such a spirit our organization has been established. It is sometimes said, that it does not recognize certain measures of public policy, deemed by certain persons of special importance. If this be so, it does what is better, and what other organizations fail to do: it acknowledges those high principles which, like the [314]great central light, vivify all, and without which all is dark and sterile.

Surely the people will not be diverted from these truths by holding up the Sub-Treasury and the Tariff. The American people are intelligent and humane; they are not bulls, to be turned aside by shaking in their eyes a bit of red cloth, or whales, to be stopped by a tub. In listening to the recent pertinacious and exclusive advocacy which these questions have received, in disregard of Freedom, I am reminded of the scene, so vividly portrayed by Mr. Wirt, where the humor and eloquence of Patrick Henry exhibited an effort of selfishness in the midst of the Revolution. The American army was in great distress, exposed almost naked to the rigor of a winter sky, and marking the frozen ground over which it marched with the blood of unshod feet. "Where was the man," said Patrick Henry, "who would not have thrown open his fields, his barns, his cellars, the doors of his house, the portals of his breast, to receive the meanest soldier in that little band of famished patriots? Where is the man? There he stands; but whether the heart of an American beats in his bosom you are to judge." It was to John Hook that he pointed, who had brought a vexatious suit for two steers taken for the use of the troops. "What notes of discord do I hear?" said the orator. "They are the notes of John Hook, hoarsely bawling through the American camp, Beef! Beef! Beef!"[277]

As a separate party, following the example of other parties, and recognizing the necessity of such a course, we nominate candidates for the Presidency, Vice-Presidency, and for all State offices. We cannot support [315]Taylor or Cass, nor can we support the supporters of Taylor or Cass. We cannot sustain men who contribute votes to place the power and patronage of the highest offices in hands which may exercise them against Freedom. I know there are some who will do this, wishing well to Freedom; but her friends should be of sterner stuff. Nor is it easy to put confidence in the moral firmness of men who, while this great cause is pending, can sustain any party or individual not unequivocally pledged to its support.

From this statement you will perceive, Gentlemen, that I am convinced, with you, of "the extreme importance of a permanent Free-Soil organization, firm, enthusiastic, and united." In this conviction I find an additional motive, now that this organization is commencing its most difficult struggle, to accept the nomination which you have tendered. Let us labor together. Confident in the justice of our cause, we will dedicate to it our best powers, careless of opposing factions or the misrepresentations of a mendacious press,—sustaining it with enthusiasm, and yet with candor, with firmness, and yet with moderation. The great law of Human Progress, the all-prevailing might of truth and of God, are on our side.

I have the honor to be, Gentlemen,

Your faithful friend and servant,

Charles Sumner.

S.G. Howe, Otis Turner, Matthew Bolles, Charles A. Phelps, Richard Hildreth, Esquires.



Address of the State Committee to the People of Massachusetts, November 9, 1848.

The Presidential election took place on Tuesday, November 7, 1848. It was soon apparent that General Taylor was chosen President. The large vote of the Free-Soil Party of Massachusetts gave encouragement for the future. The election of State officers, including Governor and Lieutenant-Governor, and also Members of Congress, was to take place a week after. Mr. Sumner, who had become Chairman of the Free-Soil State Committee, at once prepared an Address to the people of the Commonwealth, rallying them to the polls, which was adopted by the State Committee.


The Free-Soil State Committee offer their congratulations to the people of Massachusetts on the result of the recent election in our Commonwealth.

Nearly FORTY THOUSAND Freemen have, by their votes, borne testimony against the two old political organizations, and for the new party of FREEDOM. They have branded Taylorism and Cassism as unworthy of support. In doing this they have encountered prejudices and difficulties of a peculiar kind, in addition to the constant, indefatigable, and well-sustained exertions of both the old organizations.

Whatever may be the result in other parts of the country, Massachusetts, by a majority of votes, has rejected [317]both Taylor and Cass.[278] She has declared her want of confidence in their principles, and her unwillingness to recognize either as the representative and impersonation of American institutions.

Still further, she has declared, by the vote of nearly FORTY THOUSAND Freemen, that Slavery shall not be extended,—that Slavery shall not be allowed to continue under the National Government, wherever that Government is responsible for it,—and that the Slave Power shall no longer control the policy of our country.

To support these paramount principles, without equivocation or compromise, at all times and in every way, she has now given her first earnest and determined pledge. Freemen of Massachusetts! it remains with you to redeem this pledge by further exertions.

An election of State officers and of Members of Congress will take place on Monday, November 13th. The principles which we have upheld in the Presidential election, as paramount to all others, let us continue to uphold and advance through the new organization now happily established. Following the example of the other parties, and recognizing the necessity of such a course, we can sustain those only who sustain this organization. We are a separate party, and, as such, have separate candidates.

Remember, then, to vote for no man who is not willing to unite with us in declaring opposition to Slavery and the Slave Power to be above all other questions, and who cannot be relied upon to sustain those men only who join in this alliance of principle.

Vote for Stephen C. Phillips, of Salem, our candi[318]date for Governor, and for John Mills, of Springfield, our candidate for Lieutenant-Governor,—men familiar with all the concerns of the Commonwealth, of well-tried prudence, of best capacity, and of inflexible devotion to FREEDOM.

Vote, also, for the Congressional Candidates nominated by the Free-Soil District Conventions.

Vote, likewise, for the Senatorial Candidates nominated by the Free-Soil County Conventions.

And, in your respective towns, vote for such Representatives only as may be relied upon to sustain, in the Legislature of the Commonwealth, the principles which we have at heart, and the new organization dedicated to their support. The final success of our candidates for Governor and Lieutenant-Governor may depend upon the firmness of these men.

Freemen of Massachusetts! Three months only have elapsed to-day since the Convention at Buffalo. In this brief period we have taken our place as one of the great parties of the country. With one bound we have leaped to our present position. In Massachusetts we are not the third party. Let our efforts in the next election show us to be FIRST.

First in principles we already are,—first in devotion to those truths which give dignity and security to our common country: let us be FIRST also in numbers and power.

Stand firm, Freemen of Massachusetts! Your fidelity now will be the cement of our new organization, and a token of that mutual confidence which shall assure speedy success. Ours is the cause of truth, of morals, of religion, of God. Let us be united in its support! "A stout heart, a clear conscience, and never despair." These [319]were the last words addressed in writing by John Quincy Adams to a person deeply interested in our movement. Let us each consider them addressed directly to himself.


Joshua Leavitt,Amasa Walker,
John A. Andrew,Charles White,
Marcus Morton, Jr.,Allen Bangs,
Edward L. Keyes,Wm. H. Stoddard,
Daniel W. Alvord,H.G. Newcomb,
Anson Burlingame,Lyman C. Thayer,
Sidney Homer,Calvin Martin,
James M. Whiton,George W. Sterling,
John B. Alley,William Jackson,
Benjamin F. Newhall,William J. Reynolds,
Josiah G. Abbott,Samuel Downer, Jr.,
Shubael P. Adams,Caleb Swan,
John G. Whittier,Andrew L. Russell,
E. Rockwood Hoar,Lewis Lapham,
John A. Shaw,John A. Kasson,
George Minot,Edward W. Gardner.
Alexander DeWitt,

Boston, November 9, 1848.



Letter to the Chairman of the Free-Soil Meeting at Faneuil Hall, November 9, 1848.

Besides speaking at all the principal centres in the State, Mr. Sumner made what was called a "campaign speech" at Faneuil Hall on the evening of October 31st, occupying the whole evening. John A. Andrew, Esq., was in the chair. Of this meeting, and of Mr. Sumner's speech, the Boston Republican used strong language. "Mr. Sumner's reception was most gratifying. The cheering was long continued and unanimous, and burst forth at intervals during the speech, which was of surpassing ability and eloquence. During the peroration the audience attained the highest pitch of enthusiasm; deafening and tumultuous shouts resounded, cheer upon cheer, until it seemed as if they would never stop."

Though this speech was never reported, Mr. Sumner was not inclined to speak again in Faneuil Hall before the election, when he found himself advertised for another meeting on the evening of November 9th. The notice was in these words, which were duly capitalized: "Rally to Faneuil Hall! Adams and Sumner, Richard H. Dana, Jr.! Once more to the rescue!" Mr. Adams and Mr. Dana spoke, but Mr. Sumner appeared by letter.

In the absence of the last, Mr. Adams alluded to him as a candidate in language which belongs to this record.

"And what shall I say of Charles Sumner? (Cheers.) From a feeling of delicacy he is not here to-night, and it gives me an opportunity to say that which I should not say to his face. Charles Sumner is a man of large heart,—not of that class of politicians who calculate availability, and the numbers of the opposition, but a man who takes an enlarged view of a noble system of action, and places his shoulder to the wheel to move it forward. He is now doing more to impress on the country a new and powerful moral sentiment in connection with the movement than any man or any ten men in the country. If Boston is what Boston was, she would be doing herself honor and the country benefit by electing him."

The letter of Mr. Sumner, when read to the audience, was received with applause.


Boston, November 9, 1848.

My dear sir,—It was without my knowledge—doubtless through some misapprehension of the Committee—that my name was announced among those to speak in Faneuil Hall to-night.

As a candidate, I feel disposed during the present week to follow what I believe has been the usage in our District, and to avoid meeting my fellow-citizens in public assemblies. I am happy that there are others whose eloquent voices will rally them in the good cause.

Here in Massachusetts our new party, while yet in its cradle, shows a giant's strength. Its enemies look on with amazement, while its friends rejoice. Let us continue to do as we have already done.

True to the principles which have led her by a majority of her votes to reject both Taylor and Cass, Massachusetts cannot uphold their supporters. Her opposition to the old and vicious organizations can be made effectual only by opposing all who sustained these obnoxious candidates. Nor can any candid person object to this course. We are a separate party, and as such have separate candidates. A member of the Taylor faction might complain as well of the Cass party as of the Free-Soil party, for not sustaining his candidate.

Our party is composed of persons from all the other parties,—drawn together by no consideration of mere expediency or personal advantage, but united by a common bond of principle to promote that great cause of Freedom with whose triumph is indissolubly connected the highest welfare of our country. Such a cause is worthy of all our energies. It appeals to good men in [322]the name of virtue and religion. It appeals to the young by the best instincts of their nature. It appeals to those who call themselves Whigs by all the professions of their party here in times past. It appeals to those who call themselves Democrats by all those principles which give life, dignity, and truth to the Democratic character.

With such a cause, at the present moment, we cannot hesitate. In the words of Patrick Henry, which, on the eve of our earlier Revolution, sent a thrill through the Continent, "we must fight, I repeat it, Sir, we must fight,"—not with fire and sword, not with weapons of flesh, but with earnest words, with devout aspirations, with sincere and determined souls. Thus shall we conquer that opposing power, which, through the agency of both the old political parties, now seeks to trample down the rising struggle for Freedom.

Faithfully yours,


To The Chairman of the Free-Soil Meeting, Faneuil Hall.

The nomination of Mr. Sumner to Congress in Boston was like a forlorn hope. The vote stood 7,726 for Mr. Winthrop, 1,460 for Mr. Hallett, and 2,336 for Mr. Sumner. At the Presidential election, the week before, the vote was 8,427 for General Taylor, 2,997 for General Cass, and 1,909 for Mr. Van Buren.



Address before the American Peace Society, at its Anniversary Meeting in the Park Street Church, Boston, May 28, 1849.

That it may please Thee to give to all nations unity, peace, and concord.—The Litany.

What angel shall descend to reconcile
The Christian states, and end their guilty toil?



Quæ harmonia a musicis dicitur in cantu, ea est in civitate concordia.—Cicero, De Republica, Lib. II. Cap. 42.

Una dies Fabios ad bellum miserat omnes,
Ad bellum missos perdidit una dies.

Ovid, Fasti, Lib. II. 235, 236.

Cum hac persuasione vivendum est: Non sum uni angulo natus; patria mea totus hic mundus est.—Seneca, Epistola XXVIII.

Illi enim exorsi sunt non ab observandis telis aut armis aut tubis; id enim invisum illis est propter Deum quem in conscientia sua gestant.—Marcus Aurelius, Epistola ad Senatum: S. Justini Apologia I. pro Christianis, Cap. 71.

War is one of the greatest plagues that can afflict humanity: it destroys religion, it destroys states, it destroys families. Any scourge, in fact, is preferable to it. Famine and pestilence become as nothing in comparison with it.... Cannons and fire-arms are cruel and damnable machines. I believe them to have been the direct suggestion of the Devil.... If Adam had seen in a vision the horrible instruments his children were to invent, he would have died of grief.—Martin Luther, Table-Talk, tr. Hazlitt, pp. 331-332.

Mulei Abdelummi, assaulted by his brother and wounded in the church, 1577, would not stirre till sala, or prayer, was done.—Purchas, Pilgrims, Part II. Book IX. Chap. 12, § 6, p. 1564.

A duel may still be granted in some cases by the law of England, and only there. That the Church allowed it anciently appears by this: In their public liturgies there were prayers appointed for the duellists to say; the judge used to bid them go to such a church and pray, etc. But whether is this lawful? If you grant any war lawful, I make no doubt but to convince it.—Selden, Table-Talk: Duel.

I look upon the way of Treaties as a retiring from fighting like beasts to arguing like men, whose strength should be more in their understandings than in their limbs.—Eikon Basilike, XVIII.

Se peut-il rien de plus plaisant qu'un homme ait droit de me tuer parce qu'il demeure au delà de l'eau, et que son prince a querelle avec le mien, quoique je n'en aie aucune avec lui?—Pascal, Pensées, Part. I. Art. VI. 9.

Pourquoi me tuez-vous? Eh quoi! ne demeurez-vous pas de l'autre côte de l'eau? Mon ami, si vous demeuriez de ce côté, je serais un assassin; cela serait injuste de vous tuer de la sorte: mais puisque vous demeurez de l'autre côté, je suis un brave, et cela est juste.—Ibid., Part. I. Art. IX. 3.

De tout temps les hommes, pour quelque morceau de terre de plus ou de moins, sont convenus entre eux de se dépouiller, se brûler, se tuer, s'égorger les uns les autres; et pour le faire plus ingénieusement et avec plus de sûreté, [326]ils ont inventé de belles règles qu'on appelle l'art militaire: ils ont attaché à la pratique de ces règles la gloire, ou la plus solide réputation; et ils ont depuis enchéri de siècle en siècle sur la manière de se détruire réciproquement.—La Bruyère, Du Souverain ou de la République.

La calamita esser innamorata del ferro.—Vico, Scienza Nuova, Lib. I., Degli Elementi, XXXII.

Unlistening, barbarous Force, to whom the sword
Is reason, honor, law.

Thomson, Liberty, Part IV. 45, 46.

Enfin, tandis que les deux rois faisaient chanter des Te Deum, chacun dans son camp, il prit le parti d'aller raisonner ailleurs des effets et des causes. Il passa par-dessus des tas de morts et de mourants, et gagna d'abord un village voisin; il était en cendres: c'était un village Abare, que les Bulgares avaient brûlé, selon les lois du droit public.—Voltaire, Candide ou l'Optimiste, Chap. III.

The rage and violence of public war, what is it but a suspension of justice among the warring parties?—Hume, Essays: Inquiry concerning the Principles of Morals, Section III., Of Justice, Part I.

A single robber or a few associates are branded with their genuine name; but the exploits of a numerous band assume the character of lawful and honorable war.—Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chap. 50.

The glory of a warrior prince can only be written in letters of blood, and he can only be immortalized by the remembrance of the devastation of provinces and the desolation of nations. A warrior king depends for his reputation on the vulgar crowd, and must address himself to prejudice and ignorance to obtain the applause of a day, which the pen of the philosopher, the page of the historian, often annul, even before death comes to enshroud the mortal faculties in the nothingness from which they came. Consult, Sire, the laws of the King of Kings, and acknowledge that the God of the Universe is a God of Peace.—Right Hon. Hugh Elliot, British Minister in Sweden, to Gustavus III., November 10, 1788: Memoir, by the Countess of Minto, p. 324.

C'est un usage reçu en Europe, qu'un gentilhomme vende, à une querelle étrangère, le sang qui appartient à sa patrie; qu'il s'engage à assassiner, en bataille rangée, qui il plaira au prince qui le soudoie; et ce métier est regardé comme honorable.—Condorcet, Note 109 aux Pensées de Pascal.

C'était un affreux spectacle que cette déroute. Les blessés, qui ne pouvaient se traîner, se couchaient sur le chemin; on les foulait aux pieds; les femmes poussaient des cris, les enfans pleuraient, les officiers frappaient les fuyards. Au milieu de tout ce désordre, ma mère avait passé sans que je la reconnusse. Un enfant avait voulu l'arrêter et la tuer, parce qu'elle fuyait.—Madame de la Rochejaquelein, Mémoires, Chap. XVII. p 301.

Let the soldier be abroad, if he will; he can do nothing in this age. There is another personage, a personage less imposing in the eyes of some, perhaps insignificant. The schoolmaster is abroad, and I trust to him, armed [327]with his primer, against the soldier in full military array.—Brougham, Speech in the House of Commons, January 29, 1828.

Was it possible for me to avoid the reflections which crowded into my mind, ... when I reflected that this peaceful and guiltless and useful triumph over the elements and over Nature herself had cost a million only of money, whilst fifteen hundred millions had been squandered on cruelty and crime, in naturalizing barbarism over the world, shrouding the nations in darkness, making bloodshed tinge the earth of every country under the sun,—in one horrid and comprehensive word, squandered on War, the greatest curse of the human race, and the greatest crime, because it involves every other crime within its execrable name?... I look backwards with shame, with regret unspeakable, with indignation to which I should in vain attempt to give utterance, ... when I think, that, if one hundred, and but one hundred, of those fifteen hundred minions, had been employed in promoting the arts of peace and the progress of civilization and of wealth and prosperity amongst us, instead of that other employment which is too hateful to think of, and almost nowadays too disgusting to speak of (and I hope to live to see the day when such things will be incredible, when, looking back, we shall find it impossible to believe they ever happened), instead of being burdened with eight hundred millions of debt, borrowed after spending seven hundred millions, borrowed when we had no more to spend, we should have seen the whole country covered with such works as now unite Manchester and Liverpool, and should have enjoyed peace uninterrupted during the last forty years, with all the blessings which an industrious and a virtuous people deserve, and which peace profusely sheds upon their lot.—Ibid., Speech at Liverpool, July 20, 1835.

Who can read these, and such passages as these [from Plato], without wishing that some who call themselves Christians, some Christian Principalities and Powers, had taken a lesson from the Heathen sage, and, if their nature forbade them to abstain from massacres and injustice, at least had not committed the scandalous impiety, as he calls it, of singing in places of Christian worship, and for the accomplishment of their enormous crimes, Te Deums, which in Plato's Republic would have been punished as blasphemy? Who, indeed, can refrain from lamenting another pernicious kind of sacrilege, an anthropomorphism, yet more frequent,—that of making Christian temples resound with prayers for victory over our enemies, and thanksgiving for their defeat? Assuredly such a ritual as this is not taken from the New Testament.—Ibid., Discourse of Natural Theology, Note VIII.

War is on its last legs; and a universal peace is as sure as is the prevalence of civilization over barbarism, of liberal governments over feudal forms. The question for us is only, How soon?Emerson, War: Æsthetic Papers, ed. E.P. Peabody, p. 42.

A day will come when the only battle-field will be the market open to commerce and the mind opening to new ideas. A day will come when bullets and bomb-shells will be replaced by votes, by the universal suffrage of nations, by the venerable arbitration of a great Sovereign Senate, which [328]will be to Europe what the Parliament is to England, what the Diet is to Germany, what the Legislative Assembly is to France. A day will come when a cannon will be exhibited in public museums, just as an instrument of torture is now, and people will be astonished how such a thing could have been. A day will come when those two immense groups, the United States of America and the United States of Europe, shall be seen placed in presence of each other, extending the hand of fellowship across the ocean.—Victor Hugo, Inaugural Address at the Peace Congress of Paris, August 22, 1849.

Clearly, beyond question, whatsoever be our theories about human nature and its capabilities and outcomes, the less war and cutting of throats we have among us, it will be better for us all. One rejoices much to see that immeasurable tendencies of this time are already pointing towards the results you aim at,—that, to all appearance, as men no longer wear swords in the streets, so neither by-and-by will nations.—Carlyle, Letter to the Peace Congress at London, July, 1851.

The longer I live, the more I am convinced of the necessity of a powerful association to plead the cause of Universal Peace and International Arbitration; and I feel confident that the time is not far distant when war will be as impossible among civilized nations as duelling is among civilized men.—Sir David Brewster, Letter to the Peace Conference at Edinburgh, October, 1853.

Aujourd'hui encore on bénit les drapeaux qui conduisent les hommes à de mutuels égorgements. En donnant à un Dieu de paix le nom de Dieu des Armées, on fait de l'Être infini en bonté le complice de ceux qui s'abreuvent des larmes de leurs semblables. Aujourd'hui encore on chante d'impies Te Deum pour le remercier de ces victoires obtenues au prix d'épouvantables massacres, victoires qu'il faudrait ou expier comme des crimes lorsqu'elles out été remportées dans des guerres offensives ou déplorer comme la plus triste des nécessités quand elles ont été obtenues dans des guerres défensives.—Larroque, De la Guerre et des Armées Permanentes, Part. III. § 4.

La monarchie, sous les formes mêmes les plus tempérées, tiendra toujours à avoir à sa dévotion des armées permanentes. Or avec les armées en permanence l'abolition de la guerre est impossible. Par conséquent la grande fédération des peuples, au moins de tous les peuples Européens, dans le but d'arriver à l'abolition de la guerre par l'institution d'un droit international et d'un tribunal supérieur chargé de le faire observer, ne sera réalisable que le jour où ces peuples seront organisés sous la forme républicaine. Quand luira ce jour?—Ibid., Avant-propos, p. 6.

Sir J. Lubbock quotes the case of a tribe in Baffin's Bay who "could not be made to understand what was meant by war, nor had they any warlike weapons." No wonder, poor people! They had been driven into regions where no stronger race could desire to follow them.—Duke of Argyll, Primeval Man, p. 177.



Mr. President and Gentlemen,—We are assembled in what may be called the Holy Week of our community,—not occupied by pomps of a complex ceremonial, swelling in tides of music, beneath time-honored arches, but set apart, with the unadorned simplicity of early custom, to anniversary meetings of those charitable and religious associations from whose good works our country derives such true honor. Each association is distinct. Gathered within the folds of each are its own members, devoted to its chosen objects: and yet all are harmonious together; for all are inspired by one sentiment,—the welfare of the united Human Family. Each has its own separate orbit, a pathway of light; while all together constitute a system which moves in a still grander orbit.

Among all these associations, none is so truly comprehensive as ours. The prisoner in his cell, the slave in his chains, the sailor on ocean wanderings, the Pagan on far off continent or island, and the ignorant here at home, will all be commended by eloquent voices. I need not say that you should listen to these voices, and answer to their appeal. But, while mindful of these interests, justly claiming your care, it is my present and [330]most grateful duty to commend that other cause, the great cause of Peace, which in its wider embrace enfolds prisoner, slave, sailor, the ignorant, all mankind,—which to each of these charities is the source of strength and light, I may say of life itself, as the sun in the heavens.

Peace is the grand Christian charity, fountain and parent of all other charities. Let Peace be removed, and all other charities sicken and die. Let Peace exert her gladsome sway, and all other charities quicken into life. Peace is the distinctive promise and possession of Christianity,—so much so, that, where Peace is not, Christianity cannot be. It is also the promise of Heaven, being the beautiful consummation of that rest and felicity which the saints above are said to enjoy. There is nothing elevated which is not exalted by Peace. There is nothing valuable which does not gain from Peace. Of Wisdom herself it is said, that all her ways are pleasantness, and all her paths are Peace. And these golden words are refined by the saying of the Christian Father, that the perfection of joy is Peace. Naturally Peace is the longing and aspiration of the noblest souls, whether for themselves or for country. In the bitterness of exile, away from the Florence immortalized by his divine poem, and pacing the cloisters of a convent, where a sympathetic monk inquired, "What do you seek?" Dante answered, in accents distilled from the heart, "Peace!"[279] In the memorable English struggles, while King and Parliament were rending the land, a gallant supporter of monarchy, the chivalrous Falkland, touched by the intolerable woes of [331]War, cried, in words which consecrate his memory more than any feat of arms, "Peace! peace!"[280] Not in aspiration only, but in benediction, is this word uttered. As the Apostle went forth on his errand, as the son forsook his father's roof, the choicest blessing was, "Peace be with you!" When the Saviour was born, angels from heaven, amidst choiring melodies, let fall that supreme benediction, never before vouchsafed to the children of the Human Family, "Peace on earth, and good-will towards men!"

To maintain this charity, to promote these aspirations, to welcome these benedictions, is the object of our Society. To fill men in private with all those sentiments which make for Peace, to lead men in public to the recognition of those paramount principles which are the safeguard of Peace, above all, to teach the True Grandeur of Peace, and to unfold the folly and wickedness of the Institution of War and of the War System, now recognized and established by the Commonwealth of Nations as the mode of determining international controversies,—such is the object of our Society.

There are persons who allow themselves sometimes to speak of associations like ours, if not with disapprobation, at least with levity and distrust. A writer so humane and genial as Robert Southey left on record a gibe at the "Society for the Abolition of War," saying that it had "not obtained sufficient notice even to be in disrepute."[281] It is not uncommon to hear our aims characterized as visionary, impracticable, Utopian. Sometimes it is hastily said that they are contrary to [332]the nature of man, that they require for success a complete reconstruction of human character, and that they necessarily assume in man qualities, capacities, and virtues which do not belong to his nature. This mistaken idea was once strongly expressed in the taunt, that "an Anti-War Society is as little practicable as an Anti-Thunder-and-Lightning Society."[282]

Never a moment when this beautiful cause was not the occasion of jest, varying with the character of the objector. More than a century ago there was something of this kind, which arrested the attention of no less a person than Leibnitz, and afterwards of Fontenelle. It was where an elegant Dutch trifler, as described by Leibnitz, following the custom of his country, placed as a sign over his door the motto, To Perpetual Peace, with the picture of a cemetery,—meaning to suggest that only with the dead could this desire of good men be fulfilled. Not with the living, so the elegant Dutch trifler proclaimed over his door. A different person, also of Holland, who was both diplomatist and historian, the scholarly Aitzema, caught the jest, and illustrated it by a Latin couplet:—

"Qui pacem quæris libertatemque, viator,
Aut nusquam aut isto sub tumulo invenies";—

which, being translated, means, "Traveller, who seekest Peace and Liberty, either nowhere or under that mound thou wilt find them."[283] Do not fail to observe that Liberty is here doomed to the same grave as Peace. Alas, that there should be such despair! At length Liberty is rising. May not Peace rise also?


Doubtless objections, to say nothing of jests, striking at the heart of our cause, exert a certain influence over the public mind. They often proceed from persons of sincerity and goodness, who would rejoice to see the truth as we see it. But, plausible as they appear to those who have not properly meditated this subject, I cannot but regard them—I believe that all who candidly listen to me must hereafter regard them—as prejudices, without foundation in sense or reason, which must yield to a plain and careful examination of the precise objects proposed.


Let me not content myself, in response to these critics, with the easy answer, that, if our aims are visionary, impracticable, Utopian, then the unfulfilled promises of the Scriptures are vain,—then the Lord's Prayer, in which we ask that God's kingdom may come on earth, is a mockery,—then Christianity is no better than the statutes of Utopia. Let me not content myself with reminding you that all the great reforms by which mankind have been advanced encountered similar objections,—that the abolition of the punishment of death for theft, so long delayed, was first suggested in the "Utopia" of Sir Thomas More,—that the efforts to abolish the slave-trade were opposed, almost in our day, as visionary,—in short, that all endeavors for human improvement, for knowledge, for freedom, for virtue, all the great causes which dignify human history, and save it from being a mere protracted War Bulletin, a common sewer, a Cloaca Maxima, flooded with perpetual uncleanness, have been pronounced Utopian,—while, in spite of distrust, prejudice, and enmity, all these causes gradually found acceptance, as they gradually came to be understood, and the aspirations of one age became the acquisitions of the next.

Satisfactory to some as this answer might be, I cannot content myself with leaving our cause in this way. I shall meet all assaults, and show, by careful exposition, that our objects are in no respect visionary,—that the cause of Peace does not depend upon any reconstruction of the human character, or upon holding in check the general laws of man's being,—but that it deals with man as he is, according to the experience of history,—and, above all, that our immediate and particular aim, the abolition of the Institution of War, and of the whole War System, as established Arbiter of Right in the Commonwealth of Nations, is as practicable as it would be beneficent.

I begin by putting aside questions, often pushed forward, which an accurate analysis shows to be independent of the true issue. Their introduction has perplexed the discussion, by transferring to the great cause of International Peace doubts which do not belong to it.

One of these is the declared right, inherent in each individual, to take the life of an assailant in order to save his own life,—compendiously called the Right of Self-Defence, usually recognized by philosophers and publicists as founded in Nature and the instincts of men. The exercise of this right is carefully restricted to cases where life itself is in actual jeopardy. No defence of property, no vindication of what is called personal honor, justifies this extreme resort. Nor does this right imply the right of attack; for, instead of attacking one another, on account of injuries past or impending, men need only resort to the proper tribunals of justice. There are, however, many most respectable persons, [335]particularly of the denomination of Friends, some of whom I may now have the honor of addressing, who believe that the exercise of this right, even thus limited, is in direct contravention of Christian precepts. Their views find faithful utterance in the writings of Jonathan Dymond, of which at least this may be said, that they strengthen and elevate, even if they do not always satisfy, the understanding. "We shall be asked," says Dymond, "'Suppose a ruffian breaks into your house, and rushes into your room with his arm lifted to murder you; do you not believe that Christianity allows you to kill him?' This is the last refuge of the cause. Our answer to it is explicit,—We do not believe it."[284] While thus candidly and openly avowing an extreme sentiment of non-resistance, this excellent person is careful to remind the reader that the case of the ruffian does not practically illustrate the true character of War, unless it appears that war is undertaken simply for the preservation of life, when no other alternative remains to a people than to kill or be killed. According to this view, the robber on land who places his pistol at the breast of the traveller, the pirate who threatens life on the high seas, and the riotous disturber of the public peace who puts life in jeopardy at home, cannot be opposed by the sacrifice of life. Of course all who subscribe to this renunciation of self-defence must join in efforts to abolish the Arbitrament of War. Our appeal is to the larger number who make no such application of Christian precepts, who recognize the right of self-defence as belonging to each individual, and who believe in the necessity at times of [336]exercising this right, whether against a robber, a pirate, or a mob.

Another question, closely connected with that of self-defence, is the asserted Right of Revolt or Revolution. Shall a people endure political oppression, or the denial of freedom, without resistance? The answer to this question will necessarily affect the rights of three million fellow-citizens held in slavery among us. If such a right unqualifiedly exists,—and sympathy with our fathers, and with the struggles for freedom now agitating Europe, must make us hesitate to question its existence,—then these three millions of fellow-men, into whose souls we thrust the iron of the deadliest bondage the world has yet witnessed, must be justified in resisting to death the power that holds them. A popular writer on ethics, Dr. Paley, has said: "It may be as much a duty at one time to resist Government as it is at another to obey it,—to wit, whenever more advantage will in our opinion accrue to the community from resistance than mischief. The lawfulness of resistance, or the lawfulness of a revolt, does not depend alone upon the grievance which is sustained or feared, but also upon the probable expense and event of the contest."[285] This view distinctly recognizes the right of resistance, but limits it by the chance of success, founding it on no higher ground than expediency. A right thus vaguely defined and bounded must be invoked with reluctance and distrust. The lover of Peace, while admitting, that, unhappily, in the present state of the world, an exigency for its exercise may arise, must confess the inherent barbarism of such an agency, and admire, even [337]if he cannot entirely adopt, the sentiment of Daniel O'Connell: "Remember that no political change is worth a single crime, or, above all, a single drop of human blood."

These questions I put aside, not as unimportant, not as unworthy of careful consideration, but as unessential to the cause which I now present. If I am asked—as advocates of Peace are often asked—whether a robber, a pirate, a mob, may be resisted by the sacrifice of life, I answer, that they may be so resisted,—mournfully, necessarily. If I am asked to sympathize with the efforts for freedom now finding vent in rebellion and revolution, I cannot hesitate to say, that, wherever Freedom struggles, wherever Right is, there my sympathies must be. And I believe I speak not only for myself, but for our Society, when I add, that, while it is our constant aim to diffuse those sentiments which promote good-will in all the relations of life, which exhibit the beauty of Peace everywhere, in national affairs as well as international, and while especially recognizing that central truth, the Brotherhood of Man, in whose noonday light all violence among men is dismal and abhorred as among brothers, it is nevertheless no part of our purpose to impeach the right to take life in self-defence or when the public necessity requires, nor to question the justifiableness of resistance to outrage and oppression. On these points there are diversities of opinion among the friends of Peace, which this Society, confining itself to efforts for the overthrow of War, is not constrained to determine.

Waiving, then, these matters, with their perplexities and difficulties, which do not in any respect belong to [338]the cause, I come now to the precise object we hope to accomplish,—The Abolition of the Institution of War, and of the whole War System, as an established Arbiter of Justice in the Commonwealth of Nations. In the accurate statement of our aims you will at once perceive the strength of our position. Much is always gained by a clear understanding of the question in issue; and the cause of Peace unquestionably suffers often because it is misrepresented or not fully comprehended. In the hope of removing this difficulty, I shall first unfold the true character of War and the War System, involving the question of Preparations for War, and the question of a Militia. The way will then be open, in the second branch of this Address, for a consideration of the means by which this system can be overthrown. Here I shall exhibit the examples of nations, and the efforts of individuals, constituting the Peace Movement, with the auguries of its triumph, briefly touching, at the close, on our duties to this great cause, and the vanity of Military Glory. In all that I say I cannot forget that I am addressing a Christian association, for a Christian charity, in a Christian church.


And, first, of War and the War System in the Commonwealth of Nations. By the Commonwealth of Nations I understand the Fraternity of Christian Nations recognizing a Common Law in their relations with each other, usually called the Law of Nations. This law, being established by the consent of nations, is not necessarily the law of all nations, but only of such as recognize it. The Europeans and the Orientals often [339]differ with regard to its provisions; nor would it be proper to say, that, at this time, the Ottomans, or the Mahometans in general, or the Chinese, have become parties to it.[286] The prevailing elements of this law are the Law of Nature, the truths of Christianity, the usages of nations, the opinions of publicists, and the written texts or enactments found in diplomatic acts or treaties. In origin and growth it is not unlike the various systems of municipal jurisprudence, all of which are referred to kindred sources.

It is often said, in excuse for the allowance of War, that nations are independent, and acknowledge no common superior. True, indeed, they are politically independent, and acknowledge no common political sovereign, with power to enforce the law. But they do acknowledge a common superior, of unquestioned influence and authority, whose rules they are bound to obey. This common superior, acknowledged by all, is none other than the Law of Nations, with the Law of Nature as a controlling element. It were superfluous to dwell at length upon opinions of publicists and jurists declaring this supremacy. "The Law of Nature," says Vattel, a classic in this department, "is not less obligatory with respect to states, or to men united in political society, than to individuals."[287] An eminent English authority, Lord Stowell, so famous as Sir William Scott, says, "The Conventional Law of Mankind, which is evidenced in their practice, allows some and prohibits other modes of destruction."[288] A recent German jurist says, "A nation associating itself with the general so[340]ciety of nations thereby recognizes a law common to all nations, by which its international relations are to be regulated."[289] Lastly, a popular English moralist, whom I have already quoted, and to whom I refer because his name is so familiar, Dr. Paley, says, that the principal part of what is called the Law of Nations derives its obligatory character "simply from the fact of its being established, and the general duty of conforming to established rules upon questions and between parties where nothing but positive regulations can prevent disputes, and where disputes are followed by such destructive consequences."[290]

The Law of Nations is, then, the Supreme Law of the Commonwealth of Nations, governing their relations with each other, determining their reciprocal rights, and sanctioning all remedies for the violation of these rights. To the Commonwealth of Nations this law is what the Constitution and Municipal Law of Massachusetts are to the associate towns and counties composing the State, or what, by apter illustration, the National Constitution of our Union is to the thirty several States which now recognize it as the supreme law.

But the Law of Nations,—and here is a point of infinite importance to the clear understanding of the subject,—while anticipating and providing for controversies between nations, recognizes and establishes War as final Arbiter. It distinctly says to nations, "If you cannot agree together, then stake your cause upon Trial by Battle." The mode of trial thus recognized and established has its own procedure, with rules and regulations, [341]under the name of Laws of War, constituting a branch of International Law. "The Laws of War," says Dr. Paley, "are part of the Law of Nations, and founded, as to their authority, upon the same principle with the rest of that code, namely, upon the fact of their being established, no matter when or by whom."[291] Nobody doubts that the Laws of War are established by nations.

It is not uncommon to speak of the practice of War, or the custom of War,—a term adopted by that devoted friend of Peace, the late Noah Worcester. Its apologists and expounders have called it "a judicial trial,"—"one of the highest trials of right,"—"a process of justice,"—"an appeal for justice,"—"a mode of obtaining rights,"—"a prosecution of rights by force,"—"a mode of condign punishment." I prefer to characterize it as an Institution, established by the Commonwealth of Nations as Arbiter of Justice. As Slavery is an Institution, growing out of local custom, sanctioned, defined, and established by Municipal Law, so War is an Institution, growing out of general custom, sanctioned, defined, and established by the Law of Nations.

Only when we contemplate War in this light can we fully perceive its combined folly and wickedness. Let me bring this home to your minds. Boston and Cambridge are adjoining towns, separated by the River Charles. In the event of controversy between these different jurisdictions, the Municipal Law establishes a judicial tribunal, and not War, as arbiter. Ascending higher, in the event of controversy between two different counties, as between Essex and Middlesex, the same Municipal Law establishes a judicial tribunal, [342]and not War, as arbiter. Ascending yet higher, in the event of controversy between two different States of our Union, the Constitution establishes a judicial tribunal, the Supreme Court of the United States, and not War, as arbiter. But now mark: at the next stage there is a change of arbiter. In the event of controversy between two different States of the Commonwealth of Nations, the supreme law establishes, not a judicial tribunal, but War, as arbiter. War is the institution established for the determination of justice between nations.

Provisions of the Municipal Law of Massachusetts, and of the National Constitution, are not vain words. To all familiar with our courts it is well known that suits between towns, and likewise between counties, are often entertained and satisfactorily adjudicated. The records of the Supreme Court of the United States show also that States of the Union habitually refer important controversies to this tribunal. Before this high court is now pending an action of the State of Missouri against the State of Iowa, founded on a question of boundary, where the former claims a section of territory—larger than many German principalities—extending along the whole northern border of Missouri, with several miles of breadth, and comprising more than two thousand square miles. Within a short period this same tribunal has decided a similar question between our own State of Massachusetts and our neighbor, Rhode Island,—the latter pertinaciously claiming a section of territory, about three miles broad, on a portion of our southern frontier.

Suppose that in these different cases between towns, counties, states, War had been established by the su[343]preme law as arbiter; imagine the disastrous consequences; picture the imperfect justice which must have been the end and fruit of such a contest; and while rejoicing that in these cases we are happily relieved from an alternative so wretched and deplorable, reflect that on a larger theatre, where grander interests are staked, in the relations between nations, under the solemn sanction of the Law of Nations, War is established as Arbiter of Justice. Reflect also that a complex and subtile code, known as Laws of War, is established to regulate the resort to this arbiter.

Recognizing the irrational and unchristian character of War as established arbiter between towns, counties, and states, we learn to condemn it as established arbiter between nations. If wrong in one case, it must be wrong in the other. But there is another parallel supplied by history, from which we may form a yet clearer idea: I refer to the system of Private Wars, or, more properly, Petty Wars, which darkened even the Dark Ages. This must not be confounded with the Trial by Battle, although the two were alike in recognizing the sword as Arbiter of Justice. The right to wage war (le droit de guerroyer) was accorded by the early Municipal Law of European States, particularly of the Continent, to all independent chiefs, however petty, but not to vassals; precisely as the right to wage war is now accorded by International Law to all independent states and principalities, however petty, but not to subjects. It was mentioned often among the "liberties" to which independent chiefs were entitled; as it is still recognized by International Law among the "liberties" of independent nations. In proportion as any sovereignty was [344]absorbed in some larger lordship, this offensive right or "liberty" gradually disappeared. In France it prevailed extensively, till at last King John, by an ordinance dated 1361, expressly forbade Petty Wars throughout his kingdom, saying, in excellent words, "We by these presents ordain that all challenges and wars, and all acts of violence against all persons, in all parts whatsoever of our kingdom, shall henceforth cease; and all assemblies, musters, and raids of men-at-arms or archers; and also all pillages, seizures of goods and persons illegally, vengeances and counter-vengeances, surprisals and ambuscades.... All which things we will to be kept and observed everywhere without infringement, on pain of incurring our indignation, and of being reputed and held disobedient and rebellious towards us and the crown, and at our mercy in body and goods."[292] It was reserved for that indefatigable king, Louis the Eleventh, while Dauphin, as late as 1451, to make another effort in the same direction, by expressly abrogating one of the "liberties" of Dauphiné, being none other than the right of war, immemorially secured to the inhabitants of this province.[293] From these royal ordinances the Commonwealth of Nations might borrow appropriate words, in abrogating forever the Public Wars, or, more properly, the Grand Wars, with their vengeances and counter-vengeances, which are yet sanctioned by International Law among the "liberties" of Christian nations.

At a later day, in Germany, effective measures were taken against the same prevailing evil. Contests there [345]were not confined to feudal lords. Associations of tradesmen, and even of domestics, sent defiance to each other, and even to whole cities, on pretences trivial as those sometimes the occasion of the Grand Wars between nations. There are still extant Declarations of War by a Lord of Frauenstein against the free city of Frankfort, because a young lady of the city refused to dance with the uncle of the belligerent,—by the baker and other domestics of the Margrave of Baden against Esslingen, Reutlingen, and other imperial cities,—by the baker of the Count Palatine Louis against the cities of Augsburg, Ulm, and Rottweil,—by the shoeblacks of the University of Leipsic against the provost and other members,—and, in 1477, by the cook of Eppenstein, with his scullions, dairy-maids, and dish-washers, against Otho, Count of Solms. Finally, in 1495, at the Diet of Worms, so memorable in German annals, the Emperor Maximilian sanctioned an ordinance which proclaimed a permanent Peace throughout Germany, abolished the right or "liberty" of Private War, and instituted a Supreme Tribunal, under the ancient name of Imperial Chamber, to which recourse might be had, even by nobles, princes, and states, for the determination of disputes without appeal to the sword.[294]

Trial by Battle, or "judicial combat," furnishes the most vivid picture of the Arbitrament of War, beyond even what is found in the system of Petty Wars. It was at one period, particularly in France, the universal umpire between private individuals. All causes, criminal and civil, with all the questions incident thereto, were referred to this senseless trial. Not bodily in[346]firmity or old age could exempt a litigant from the hazard of the Battle, even to determine differences of the most trivial import. At last substitutes were allowed, and, as in War, bravoes or champions were hired for wages to enter the lists. The proceedings were conducted gravely according to prescribed forms, which were digested into a system of peculiar subtilty and minuteness,—as War in our day is according to an established code, the Laws of War. Thus do violence, lawlessness, and absurdity shelter themselves beneath the Rule of Law! Religion also lent her sanctions. With presence and prayer the priest cheered the insensate combatant, and appealed for aid to Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.

The Church, to its honor, early perceived the wickedness of this system. By voices of pious bishops, by ordinances of solemn councils, by anathemas of popes, it condemned whosoever should slay another in a battle so impious and inimical to Christian peace, as "a most wicked homicide and bloody robber"[295]; while it treated the unhappy victim as a volunteer, guilty of his own death, and handed his remains to unhonored burial without psalm or prayer. With sacerdotal supplication it vainly sought the withdrawal of all countenance from this great evil, and the support of the civil power in ecclesiastical censures. To these just efforts let praise and gratitude be offered! But, alas! authentic incidents, and the forms still on record in ancient missals, attest the unhappy sanction which Trial by [347]Battle succeeded in obtaining even from the Church,—as in our day the English Liturgy, and the conduct of the Christian clergy in all countries, attest the unhappy sanction which the Institution of War yet enjoys. Admonitions of the Church and labors of good men slowly prevailed. Proofs by witnesses and by titles were gradually adopted, though opposed by the selfishness of camp-followers, subaltern officers, and even of lords, greedy for the fees or wages of combat. In England Trial by Battle was attacked by Henry the Second, striving to substitute Trial by Jury. In France it was expressly forbidden by that illustrious monarch, St. Louis, in an immortal ordinance. At last, this system, so wasteful of life, so barbarous in character, so vain and inefficient as Arbiter of Justice, yielded to judicial tribunals.

The Trial by Battle is not Roman in origin. It may be traced to the forests of Germany, where the rule prevailed of referring to the sword what at Rome was referred to the prætor; so that a judicial tribunal, when urged upon these barbarians, was regarded as an innovation.[296] The very words of surprise at the German custom are yet applicable to the Arbitrament of War.

The absurdity of Trial by Battle may be learned from the instances where it was invoked. Though originally permitted to determine questions of personal character, it was extended so as to embrace criminal cases, and even questions of property. In 961 the title to a church was submitted to this ordeal.[297] Some time later a grave point of law was submitted. The question was, "Whether the sons of a son ought to be reckoned [348]among the children of the family, and succeed equally with their uncles, if their father happened to die while their grandfather was alive." The general opinion at first was for reference of the question to the adjudication of arbiters; but we are informed by a contemporary ecclesiastic, who reports the case, that the Emperor, Otho the First, "taking better counsel, and unwilling that nobles and elders of the people should be treated dishonorably, ordered the matter to be decided by champions with the sword." The champion of the grandchildren prevailed, and they were enabled to share with their uncles in the inheritance.[298] Human folly did not end here. A question of theology was surrendered to the same arbitrament, being nothing less than whether the Musarabic Liturgy, used in the churches of Spain, or the Liturgy approved at Rome, contained the form of worship most acceptable to the Deity. The Spaniards contended zealously for the liturgy of their ancestors. The Pope urged the liturgy having his own infallible sanction. The controversy was submitted to Trial by Battle. Two knights in complete armor entered the lists. The champion of the Musarabic Liturgy was victorious. But there was an appeal to the ordeal of fire. A copy of each liturgy was cast into the flames. The Musarabic Liturgy remained unhurt, while the other vanished into ashes. And yet this judgment, first by battle and then by fire, was eluded or overthrown, showing how, as with War, the final conclusion is uncertain, and testifying against any appeal, except to human reason.[299]

An early king of the Lombards, in a formal decree, condemned the Trial[349] by Battle as "impious"[300]; Montesquieu, at a later time, branded it as "monstrous"[301]; and Sir William Blackstone characterized it as "clearly an unchristian, as well as most uncertain, method of trial."[302] In the light of our day all unite in this condemnation. No man hesitates. No man undertakes its apology; nor does any man count as "glory" the feats of arms which it prompted and displayed. But the laws of morals are general, and not special. They apply to communities and to nations, as well as to individuals; nor is it possible, by any cunning of logic, or any device of human wit, to distinguish between that domestic institution, the Trial by Battle, established by Municipal Law as arbiter between individuals, and that international institution, the grander Trial by Battle, established by the Christian Commonwealth as arbiter between nations. If the judicial combat was impious, monstrous, and unchristian, then is War impious, monstrous, and unchristian.

It has been pointedly said in England, that the whole object of king, lords, and commons, and of the complex British Constitution, is "to[350] get twelve men into a jury-box"; and Mr. Hume repeats the idea, when he declares that the administration of justice is the grand aim of government. If this be true of individual nations in municipal affairs, it is equally true of the Commonwealth of Nations. The whole complex system of the Law of Nations, overarching all the Christian nations, has but one distinct object,—the administration of justice between nations. Would that with tongue or pen I could adequately expose the enormity of this system, involving, as it does, the precepts of religion, the dictates of common sense, the suggestions of economy, and the most precious sympathies of humanity! Would that now I could impart to all who hear me something of my own conviction!

I need not dwell on the waste and cruelty thus authorized. Travelling the page of history, these stare us wildly in the face at every turn. We see the desolation and death keeping step with the bloody track; we look upon sacked towns, ravaged territories, violated homes; we behold all the sweet charities of life changed to wormwood and gall. The soul is penetrated by the sharp moan of mothers, sisters, and daughters, of fathers, brothers, and sons, who, in the bitterness of bereavement, refuse to be comforted. The eye rests at last upon one of those fair fields, where Nature, in her abundance, spreads her cloth of gold, spacious and apt for the entertainment of mighty multitudes,—or, perhaps, from curious subtilty of position, like the carpet in Arabian tale, contracting for the accommodation of a few only, or dilating for an innumerable host. Here, under a bright sun, such as shone at Austerlitz or Buena Vista, amidst the peaceful harmonies of Nature, on the Sabbath of Peace, are bands of brothers, children of a common[351] Father, heirs to a common happiness, struggling together in deadly fight,—with madness of fallen spirits, murderously seeking the lives of brothers who never injured them or their kindred. The havoc rages; the ground is soaked with commingling blood; the air is rent by commingling cries; horse and rider are stretched together on the earth. More revolting than mangled victims, gashed limbs, lifeless trunks, spattering brains, are the lawless passions which sweep, tempest-like, through the fiendish tumult.

"'Nearer comes the storm and nearer, rolling fast and frightful on.
Speak, Ximena, speak, and tell us, who has lost and who has won?'
'Alas! alas! I know not, sister; friend and foe together fall;
O'er the dying rush the living; pray, my sister, for them all!'"

Horror-struck, we ask, wherefore this hateful contest? The melancholy, but truthful, answer comes, that this is the established method of determining justice between nations!

The scene changes. Far away on some distant pathway of the ocean, two ships approach each other, with white canvas broadly spread to receive the flying gale. They are proudly built. All of human art has been lavished in their graceful proportions and compacted sides, while in dimensions they look like floating happy islands of the sea. A numerous crew, with costly appliances of comfort, hives in their secure shelter. Surely these two travellers must meet in joy and friendship; the flag at mast-head will give the signal of fellowship; the delighted sailors will cluster in rigging and on yard-arms to look each other in the face, while exhilarating voices mingle in accents of gladness uncontrollable. Alas! alas! it is not so. Not as brothers, not as friends, not as wayfarers of the common ocean, do they come to[352]gether, but as enemies. The closing vessels now bristle fiercely with death-dealing implements. On their spacious decks, aloft on all their masts, flashes the deadly musketry. From their sides spout cataracts of flame, amidst the pealing thunders of a fatal artillery. They who had escaped "the dreadful touch of merchant-marring rocks," who on their long and solitary way had sped unharmed by wind or wave, whom the hurricane had spared, in whose favor storms and seas had intermitted their immitigable war, now at last fall by the hand of each other. From both ships the same spectacle of horror greets us. On decks reddened with blood, the murders of the Sicilian Vespers and of St. Bartholomew, with the fires of Smithfield, break forth anew, and concentrate their rage. Each is a swimming Golgotha. At length these vessels—such pageants of the sea, such marvels of art, once so stately, but now rudely shattered by cannon-ball, with shivered masts and ragged sails—exist only as unmanageable wrecks, weltering on the uncertain wave, whose transient lull of peace is their sole safety. In amazement at this strange, unnatural contest, away from country and home, where there is no country or home to defend, we ask again, Wherefore this dismal scene? Again the melancholy, but truthful, answer promptly comes, that this is the established method of determining justice between nations.

Yes! the barbarous, brutal relations which once prevailed between individuals, which prevailed still longer between communities composing nations, are not yet banished from the great Christian Commonwealth. Religion, reason, humanity, first penetrate the individual, next larger bodies, and, widening in influence, slowly leaven nations. Thus, while condemning the bloody [353]contests of individuals, also of towns, counties, principalities, provinces, and denying to all these the right of waging war, or of appeal to Trial by Battle, we continue to uphold an atrocious System of folly and crime, which is to nations what the System of Petty Wars was to towns, counties, principalities, provinces, also what the Duel was to individuals: for War is the Duel of Nations.[303] As from Pluto's throne flowed those terrible rivers, Styx, Acheron, Cocytus, and Phlegethon, with lamenting waters and currents of flame, so from this established System flow the direful tides of War. "Give them Hell," was the language written on a slate by an American officer, speechless from approaching death. "Ours is a damnable profession," was the confession of a veteran British general. "War is the trade of barbarians," exclaimed Napoleon, in a moment of truthful remorse, prompted by his bloodiest field. Alas! these words are not too strong. The business of War cannot be other than the trade of barbarians, cannot be other than a damnable profession; and War itself is certainly Hell on earth. But forget not, bear always in mind, and let the idea sink deep into your souls, animating you to constant endeavor, that this trade of barbarians, this damnable profession, is part of the War System, sanctioned by International Law,—and that War itself is Hell, recognized, legalized, established, organized, by [354]the Commonwealth of Nations, for the determination of international questions!

"Put together," says Voltaire, "all the vices of all ages and places, and they will not come up to the mischiefs of one campaign."[304] This strong speech is supported by the story of ancient mythology, that Juno confided the infant Mars to Priapus. Another of nearer truth might be made. Put together all the ills and calamities from the visitations of God, whether in convulsions of Nature, or in pestilence and famine, and they will not equal the ills and calamities inflicted by man upon his brother-man, through the visitation of War,—while, alas! the sufferings of War are too often without the alleviation of those gentle virtues which ever attend the involuntary misfortunes of the race. Where the horse of Attila had been a blade of grass would not grow; but in the footprints of pestilence, famine, and earthquake the kindly charities spring into life.

The last hundred years have witnessed three peculiar visitations of God: first, the earthquake at Lisbon; next, the Asiatic cholera, as it moved slow and ghastly, with scythe of death, from the Delta of the Ganges over Bengal, Persia, Arabia, Syria, Russia, till Europe and America shuddered before the spectral reaper; and, lastly, the recent famine in Ireland, consuming with remorseless rage the population of that ill-starred land. It is impossible to estimate precisely the deadly work of cholera or famine, nor can we picture the miseries which they entailed; but the single brief event of the earthquake may be portrayed in authentic colors.

Lisbon, whose ancient origin is referred by fable to [355]the wanderings of Ulysses, was one of the fairest cities of Europe. From the summit of seven hills it looked down upon the sea, and the bay bordered with cheerful villages,—upon the broad Tagus, expanding into a harbor ample for all the navies of Europe,—and upon a country of rare beauty, smiling with the olive and the orange, amidst grateful shadows of the cypress and the elm. A climate offering flowers in winter enhanced the peculiar advantages of position; and a numerous population thronged its narrow and irregular streets. Its forty churches, its palaces, its public edifices, its warehouses, its convents, its fortresses, its citadel, had become a boast. Not by War, not by the hand of man, were these solid structures levelled, and all these delights changed to desolation.


Lisbon, on the morning of November 1, 1755, was taken and sacked by an earthquake. The spacious warehouses were destroyed; the lordly palaces, the massive convents, the impregnable fortresses, with the lofty citadel, were toppled to the ground; and as the affrighted people sought shelter in the churches, they were crushed beneath the falling masses. Twenty thousand persons perished. Fire and robbery mingled with earthquake, and the beautiful city seemed to be obliterated. The nations of Europe were touched by this terrible catastrophe, and succor from all sides was soon offered. Within three months, English vessels appeared in the Tagus, loaded with generous contributions,—twenty thousand pounds in gold, a similar sum in silver, six thousand barrels of salted meat, four thousand barrels of butter, one thousand bags of biscuit, twelve hundred barrels of rice, ten thousand quintals of corn, besides hats, stockings, and shoes.

Such was the desolation, and such the charity, sown by the earthquake at Lisbon,—an event which, after the lapse of nearly a century, still stands without a parallel. But War shakes from its terrible folds all this desolation, without its attendant charity. Nay, more; the Commonwealth of Nations voluntarily agrees, each with the others, under the grave sanctions of International Law, to invoke this desolation, in the settlement of controversies among its members, while it expressly declares that all nations, not already parties to the controversy, must abstain from any succor to the unhappy victim. High tribunals are established expressly to uphold this arbitrament, and, with unrelenting severity, to enforce its ancillary injunctions, to the end that no aid, no charity, shall come to revive the sufferer or alleviate the calamity. Vera Cruz has been bombarded and wasted by American arms. Its citadel, churches, houses, were shattered, and peaceful families at the fireside torn in mutilated fragments by the murderous bursting shell; but the English, the universal charities, which helped to restore Lisbon, were not offered to the ruined Mexican city. They could not have been offered, without offending against the Laws of War!

It is because men see War, in the darkness of prejudice, only as an agency of attack or defence, or as a desperate sally of wickedness, that they fail to recognize it as a form of judgment, sanctioned and legalized by Public Authority. Regarding it in its true character, as an establishment of the Commonwealth of Nations, and one of the "liberties" accorded to independent nations, it is no longer the expression merely [357]of lawless or hasty passion, no longer the necessary incident of imperfect human nature, no longer an unavoidable, uncontrollable volcanic eruption of rage, of vengeances and counter-vengeances, knowing no bound; but it becomes a gigantic and monstrous Institution for the adjudication of international rights,—as if an earthquake, or other visitation of God, with its uncounted woes, and without its attendant charities, were legally invoked as Arbiter of Justice.

Surely all must unite in condemning the Arbitrament of War. The simplest may read and comprehend its enormity. Can we yet hesitate? But if War be thus odious, if it be the Duel of Nations, if it be the old surviving Trial by Battle, then must its unquestionable barbarism affect all its incidents, all its machinery, all its enginery, together with all who sanction it, and all who have any part or lot in it,—in fine, the whole vast System. It is impossible, by any discrimination, to separate the component parts. We must regard it as a whole, in its entirety. But half our work is done, if we confine ourselves to a condemnation of the Institution merely. There are all its instruments and agencies, all its adjuncts and accessaries, all its furniture and equipage, all its armaments and operations, the whole apparatus of forts, navies, armies, military display, military chaplains, and military sermons,—all together constituting, in connection with the Institution of War, what may be called the War System. This System we would abolish, believing that religion, humanity, and policy require the establishment of some peaceful means for the administration of international justice, and also the general disarming of the Christian nations, to the end that the prodigious expenditures now ab[358]sorbed by the War System may be applied to purposes of usefulness and beneficence, and that the business of the soldier may cease forever.

While earnestly professing this object, I desire again to exclude all question of self-defence, and to affirm the duty of upholding government, and maintaining the supremacy of the law, whether on land or sea. Admitting the necessity of Force for such purpose, Christianity revolts at Force as the substitute for a judicial tribunal. The example of the Great Teacher, the practice of the early disciples, the injunctions of self-denial, love, non-resistance to evil,—sometimes supposed to forbid Force in any exigency, even of self-defence,—all these must apply with unquestionable certainty to the established System of War. Here, at least, there can be no doubt. If the sword, in the hand of an assaulted individual, may become the instrument of sincere self-defence, if, under the sanction of a judicial tribunal, it may become the instrument of Justice also, surely it can never be the Arbiter of Justice. Here is a distinction vital to the cause of Peace, and never to be forgotten in presenting its claims. The cautious sword of the magistrate is unlike—oh, how unlike!—the ruthless sword of War.

The component parts of the War System may all be resolved into Preparations for War,—as court-house, jail, judges, sheriffs, constables, and posse comitatus are preparations for the administration of municipal justice. If justice were not to be administered, these would not exist. If War were not sanctioned by the Commonwealth of Nations, as the means of determining international controversies, then forts, navies, armies, military [359]display, military chaplains, and military sermons would not exist. They would be useless and irrational, except for the rare occasions of a police,—as similar preparations would now be in Boston, for defence against our learned neighbor, Cambridge,—or in the County of Essex, for defence against its populous neighbor, the County of Middlesex,—or in the State of Massachusetts, for defence against its conterminous States, Rhode Island and New York. Only recently have men learned to question these preparations; for it is only recently that they have opened their eyes to the true character of the system, in which they are a part. It will yet be seen, that, sustaining these, we sustain the system. Still further, it will yet be seen, that, sustaining these, we wastefully offend against economy, and violate also the most precious sentiments of Human Brotherhood,—taking counsel of distrust, instead of love, and provoking to rivalry and enmity, instead of association and peace.

Time does not allow me to discuss the nature of these preparations; and I am the more willing to abridge what I am tempted to say, because, on another occasion, I have treated this part of the subject. But I cannot forbear to expose their inconsistency with the spirit of Christianity. From a general comprehension of the War System, we perceive the unchristian character of the preparations it encourages and requires, nay, which are the synonyms of the system, or at least its representatives. I might exhibit this character by an examination of the Laws of War, drawn from no celestial fount, but from a dark profound of Heathenism. This is unnecessary. The Constitution of our own country furnishes an illustration remarkable as a touch-[360]stone of the whole system. No town, county, or state has the "liberty" to "declare War." The exercise of any proper self-defence, arising from actual necessity, requires no such "liberty." Congress is expressly authorized to "declare War,"—that is, to invoke the Arbitrament of Arms. And the Constitution proceeds to state, that all "giving aid and comfort" to the enemy shall be deemed traitors. Mark now what is said by a higher authority. "Love your enemies"; "If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink." Under the War System, obedience to these positive injunctions may expose a person to the penalty of the highest crime known to the law. Can this be a Christian system? But so long as War exists as an Institution this terrible inconsistency must appear.

The character of these preparations is distinctly, though unconsciously, attested by the names of vessels in the British Navy. From the latest official list I select an illustrative catalogue. Most are steamships of recent construction. Therefore they represent the spirit of the British Navy in our day,—nay, of those War Preparations in which they play so conspicuous a part. Here are the champions: Acheron, Adder, Alecto, Avenger, Basilisk, Bloodhound, Bulldog, Crocodile, Erebus, Firebrand, Fury, Gladiator, Goliah, Gorgon, Harpy, Hecate, Hound, Jackal, Mastiff, Pluto, Rattlesnake, Revenge, Salamander, Savage, Scorpion, Scourge, Serpent, Spider, Spiteful, Spitfire, Styx, Sulphur, Tartar, Tartarus, Teazer, Terrible, Terror, Vengeance, Viper, Vixen, Virago, Volcano, Vulture, Warspite, Wildfire, Wolf, Wolverine!

Such is the Christian array of Victoria, Defender of the Faith! It may remind us of the companions of [361]King John, at another period of English history,—"Falkes the Merciless," "Mauleon the Bloody," "Walter Buck, the Assassin,"[305]—or of that Pagan swarm, the savage warriors of our own continent, with the names of Black-Hawk, Man-Killer, and Wild-Boar. Well might they seem to be

"all the grisly legions that troop
Under the sooty flag of Acheron!"

As a people is known by its laws, as a man is known by the company he keeps, as a tree is known by its fruits, so is the War System fully and unequivocally known by the Laws of War, by its diabolical ministers, typical of its preparations, and by all the accursed fruits of War. Controlled by such a code, employing such representatives, sustained by such agencies, animated by such Furies, and producing such fruits of tears and bitterness, it must be open to question. Tell me not that it is sanctioned by any religion except of Mars; do not enroll the Saviour and his disciples in its Satanic squadron; do not invoke the Gospel of Peace, in profane vindication of an Institution, which, by its own too palpable confession, exists in defiance of the most cherished Christian sentiments; do not dishonor the Divine Spirit of gentleness, forbearance, love, by supposing that it can ever enter into this System, except to change its whole nature and name, to cast out the devils which possess it, and fill its gigantic energies with the inspiration of Beneficence.

I need say little of military chaplains or military sermons. Like the steamships of the Navy, they come under the head of Preparations. They are part of the War System. They belong to the same school with priests of former times, who held the picture of the [362]Prince of Peace before the barbarous champion of the Duel, saying, "Sir Knight, behold here the remembrance of our Lord and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, who willingly gave his most precious body to death in order to save us. Now ask of him mercy, and pray that on this day he may be willing to aid you, if you have right, for he is the sovereign judge."[306] They belong to the same school with English prelates, who, in the name of the Prince of Peace, consecrate banners to flaunt in remote war, saying, "Be thou in the midst of our hosts, as thou wast in the plains of India and in the field of Waterloo; and may these banners, which we bless and consecrate this day, lead them ever on to glorious victory." No judgment of such appeals can be more severe than that of Plato, who called men "most impious," who by prayer and sacrifice thought to propitiate the Gods towards slaughter and outrages upon justice,—thus, says the heathen philosopher, making those pure beings the accomplices of their crimes by sharing with them the spoil, as the wolves leave something to the dogs, that these may allow them to ravage the sheepfold.[307] Consenting to degrade the "blessedness" of the Gospel to the "impiety" of the War System, our clergy follow long established custom, without considering the true character of the system whose ministers they become. Their apology will be, that "they know not what they do."

Again I repeat, so long as the War System prevails under the sanction of International Law, these painful incongruities will be apparent. They belong to a system so essentially irrational, that all the admitted virtues of many of its agents cannot save it from judgment.


Here the question occurs, Is the Militia obnoxious to the same condemnation? So far as the militia constitutes part of the War System, it is impossible to distinguish it from the rest of the system. It is a portion of the extensive apparatus provided for the determination of international disputes. From this character it borrows the unwholesome attractions of War, while disporting itself, like the North American Indian, in finery and parade. Of the latter feature I shall speak only incidentally. If War be a Christian institution, those who act as its agents should shroud themselves in colors congenial with their dreadful trade. With sorrow and solemnity, not with gladness and pomp, they should proceed to their melancholy office. The Jew Shylock exposes the mockery of street-shows in Venice with a sarcasm not without echo here:—

"When you hear the drum,
And the vile squeaking of the wry-necked fife,
Clamber not you up to the casements then,
Nor thrust your head into the public street,
To gaze on Christian fools with varnished faces;
But stop my house's ears,—I mean my casements:
Let not the sound of shallow foppery enter
My sober house."

Not as part of the War System, but only as an agent for preserving domestic peace, and for sustaining the law, is the militia entitled to support. And here arises the important practical question,—interesting to opponents of the War System as to lovers of order,—whether the same good object may not be accomplished by an agent less expensive, less cumbersome, and less tardy, forming no part of the War System, and therefore in no respect liable to the doubts encountered by the militia. Supporters of the militia do not dis[364]guise its growing unpopularity. The eminent Military Commissioners of Massachusetts, to whom in 1847 was referred the duty of arranging a system for its organization and discipline, confess that there is "either a defect of power in the State government to an efficient and salutary militia organization, or the absence of a public sentiment in its favor, and a consequent unwillingness to submit to the requirements of service which alone can sustain it"; and they add, that they "have been met, in the performance of their task, with information, from all quarters, of its general neglect, and of the certain and rapid declension of the militia in numbers and efficiency."[308] And the Adjutant-General of Massachusetts, after alluding to the different systems which have fallen into disuse, remarks, that "the fate of each system is indicative of public sentiment; and until public sentiment changes, no military system whatever can be sustained in the State."[309] Nor is this condition of public sentiment for the first time noticed. It was remarked by the Commissioners charged by the Legislature with this subject as long ago as 1839. In their Report they say, "It is enough to know that all attempts, hitherto, to uphold the system, in its original design of organization, discipline, and subordination, are at last brought to an unsuccessful issue."[310]

None familiar with public opinion in our country, and particularly in Massachusetts, will question the accuracy of these official statements. It is true that there is an indisposition to assume the burdens of the militia. Its offices and dignities have ceased to be an object of general regard. This, certainly, must be founded in the con[365]viction that it is no longer necessary or useful; for it is not customary with the people of Massachusetts to decline occasions of service necessary or useful to the community. The interest in military celebrations has decayed. Nor should it be concealed that there are large numbers whose honest sentiments are not of mere indifference, who regard with aversion the fanfaronade of a militia muster, who not a little question the influence upon those taking part in it or even witnessing it, and look with regret upon the expenditure of money and time.

If such be the condition of the public mind, the Government must recognize it. The soul of all effective laws is an animating public sentiment. This gives vitality to what else would be a dead letter. In vain enact what is not inspired by this spirit. No skill in the device of the system, no penalties, no bounties even, can uphold it. Happily, we are not without remedy. If State Legislatures are disposed to provide a substitute for this questionable or offensive agency, as conservator of domestic quiet, it is entirely within their competency. Let the general voice demand the substitute.

Among powers reserved to States, under the National Constitution, is that of Internal Police. Within its territorial limits, a State has municipal power to be exercised according to its own will. In the exercise of this will, it may establish a system, congenial with the sentiment of the age, to supply the place of the militia, as guardian of municipal quiet and instrument of the law. This system may consist of unpaid volunteers, or special constables, like fire companies in the country, or of hired men, enrolled for this particular purpose, and always within call, like fire companies in Boston. They need [366]not be clad in showy costume, or subjected to all the peculiarities of military drill. A system so simple, practical, efficient, unostentatious, and cheap, especially as compared with the militia, would be in harmony with existing sentiment, while it could not fail to remedy the evils sometimes feared from present neglect of the militia. Many attempts have been made to reform the militia. It remains, that a proper effort should be made to provide a substitute for it.

An eminent English jurist of the last century,—renowned as scholar also,—Sir William Jones,—in a learned and ingenious tract, entitled "An Inquiry into the Legal Mode of Suppressing Riots, with a Constitutional Plan of Future Defence," after developing the obligations of the citizen, under the Common Law, as part of the Power of the County, presents a system of organization independent of the military. It is not probable that this system would be acceptable in all its details to the people of our community, but there is one of his recommendations which seems to harmonize with existing sentiment. "Let companies," he says, "be taught, in the most private and orderly manner, for two or three hours early every morning, until they are competently skilled in the use of their arms; let them not unnecessarily march through streets or high-roads, nor make any the least military parade, but consider themselves entirely as part of the civil state."[311] Thus is the soldier kept out of sight, while the citizen becomes manifest; and this is the true idea of republican government. In the midst of arms the laws are silent. Not "arms," but "laws," should command our homage and quicken the patriotism of the land.


While divorcing the Police from the unchristian and barbarous War System, I confess the vital importance of maintaining law and order. Life and property should be guarded. Peace must be preserved in our streets. And it is the duty of Government to provide such means as are most expedient, if those established are in any respect inadequate, or uncongenial with the Spirit of the Age.

I must not close this exposition without an attempt to display the inordinate expenditure by which the War System is maintained. And here figures appear to lose their functions. They seem to pant, as they toil vainly to represent the enormous sums consumed in this unparalleled waste. Our own experience, measured by the concerns of common life, does not allow us adequately to conceive the sums. Like the periods of geological time, or the distances of the fixed stars, they baffle imagination. Look, for an instant, at the cost to us of this system. Without any allowance for the loss sustained by the withdrawal of active men from productive industry, we find, that, from the adoption of the National Constitution down to 1848, there has been paid directly from the National Treasury,—

For the Army and Fortifications,$475,936,475
For the Navy and its operations,  209,994,428

This immense amount is not all. Regarding the militia as part of the War System, we must add a moderate estimate for its cost during this period, being, according [368]to the calculations of an able and accurate economist, as much as $1,500,000,000.[313] The whole presents an inconceivable sum-total of more than two thousand millions of dollars already dedicated by our Government to the support of the War System,—nearly twelve times as much as was set apart, during the same period, to all other purposes whatsoever!

Look now at the Commonwealth of Europe. I do not intend to speak of War Debts, under whose accumulated weight these nations are now pressed to earth, being the terrible legacy of the Past. I refer directly to the existing War System, the establishment of the Present. According to recent calculations, its annual cost is not less than a thousand millions of dollars. Endeavor, for a moment, by comparison with other interests, to grapple with this sum.

It is larger than the entire profit of all the commerce and manufactures of the world.

It is larger than all the expenditure for agricultural labor, producing the food of man, upon the whole face of the globe.

It is larger, by a hundred millions, than the value of all the exports sent forth by all the nations of the earth.

It is larger, by more than five hundred millions, than the value of all the shipping belonging to the civilized world.

It is larger, by nine hundred and ninety-seven millions, than the annual combined charities of Europe and America for preaching the Gospel to the Heathen.

Yes! the Commonwealth of Christian Nations, in[369]cluding our own country, appropriates, without hesitation, as a matter of course, upwards of a thousand millions of dollars annually to the maintenance of the War System, and vaunts its three millions of dollars, laboriously collected, for diffusing the light of the Gospel in foreign lands! With untold prodigality of cost, it perpetuates the worst Heathenism of War, while, by charities insignificant in comparison, it doles to the Heathen a message of Peace. At home it breeds and fattens a cloud of eagles and vultures, trained to swoop upon the land; to all the Gentiles across the sea it dismisses a solitary dove.

Still further: every ship-of-war that floats costs more than a well-endowed college.

Every sloop-of-war that floats costs more than the largest public library in our country.

It is sometimes said, by persons yet in leading-strings of inherited prejudice, and with little appreciation of the true safety afforded by the principles of Peace, that all these comprehensive preparations are needed for protection against enemies from abroad. Wishing to present the cause without any superfluous question on what are called, apologetically, "defensive wars," let me say, in reply,—and here all can unite,—that, if these preparations are needed at any time, according to the aggressive martial interpretation of self-defence in its exigencies, there is much reason to believe it is because the unchristian spirit in which they have their birth, lowering and scowling in the very names of the ships, provokes the danger,—as the presence of a bravo might challenge the attack he was hired to resist.

Frederick of Prussia, sometimes called the Great, in [370]a singular spirit of mingled openness and effrontery, deliberately left on record, most instructively prominent among the real reasons for his war upon Maria Theresa, that he had troops always ready to act. Thus did these Preparations unhappily become, as they too often show themselves, incentives to War. Lord Brougham justly dwells on this confession as a lesson of history. Human nature, as manifest in the conduct of individuals or communities, has its lesson also. The fatal War Spirit is born of these preparations, out of which it springs full-armed. Here also is its great aliment; here are the seeds of the very evil it is sometimes vainly supposed to avert. Let it never be forgotten, let it be treasured as a solemn warning, that, by the confession of Frederick himself, it was the possession of troops always ready to act that helped to inspire that succession of bloody wars, which, first pouncing upon Silesia, mingled at last with the strifes of England and France, even in distant colonies across the Atlantic, ranging the savages of the forest under hostile European banners.[314]

But I deny that these preparations are needed for just self-defence. It is difficult, if not impossible, to suppose any such occasion in the Fraternity of Christian Nations, if War ceases to be an established Arbitrament, [371]or if any state is so truly great as to decline its umpirage. There is no such occasion among the towns, counties, or states of our extended country; nor is there any such occasion among the counties of Great Britain, or among the provinces of France; but the same good-will, the same fellowship, and the same ties of commerce, which unite towns, counties, states, and provinces, are fast drawing the whole Commonwealth of Nations into similar communion. France and England, so long regarded as natural enemies, are now better known to each other than only a short time ago were different provinces of the former kingdom. And there is now a closer intimacy in business and social intercourse between Great Britain and our own country than there was at the beginning of the century between Massachusetts and Virginia.

Admitting that an enemy might approach our shores for piracy or plunder or conquest, who can doubt that the surest protection would be found, not in the waste of long-accumulating preparation, not in idle fortresses along the coast, built at a cost far surpassing all our lighthouses and all our colleges, but in the intelligence, union, and pacific repose of good men, with the unbounded resources derived from uninterrupted devotion to productive industry? I think it may be assumed as beyond question, according to the testimony of political economy, that the people who spend most sparingly in Preparations for War, all other things being equal, must possess the most enduring means of actual self-defence at home, on their own soil, before their own hearths, if any such melancholy alternative should occur. Consider the prodigious sums, exceeding in all two thousand [372]millions of dollars, squandered by the United States, since the adoption of the National Constitution, for the sake of the War System. Had such means been devoted to railroads and canals, schools and colleges, the country would possess, at the present moment, an accumulated material power grander far than any it now boasts. There is another power, of more unfailing temper, which would not be wanting. Overflowing with intelligence, with charity, with civilization, with all that constitutes a generous state, ours would be peaceful triumphs, transcending all yet achieved, and surrounding the land with an invincible self-defensive might, while the unfading brightness of a new era made the glory of War impossible. Well does the poet say with persuasive truth,—

"What constitutes a State?
Not high-raised battlement or labored mound,
Thick wall or moated gate;
Not cities proud with spires and turrets crowned;
Not bays and broad-armed ports,
Where, laughing at the storm, rich navies ride:
No: Men, high-minded Men."[315]

Such men will possess a Christian greatness, rendering them unable to do an injury; while their character, instinct with all the guardian virtues, must render their neighbors unable to do an injury to them.

The injunction, "In time of Peace prepare for War," is of Heathen origin.[316] As a rule of international conduct, it is very questionable in a Christian age, being vindicated on two grounds only: first, by assuming that the Arbitrament of War is the proper tribunal for international controversies, and therefore the War Sys[373]tem is to be maintained and strengthened, as the essential means of international justice; or, secondly, by assuming the rejected dogma of an Atheist philosopher, Hobbes, that War is the natural state of man. Whatever may be the infirmities of our passions, it is plain that the natural state of man, assuring the highest happiness, and to which he tends by an irresistible heavenly attraction, is Peace. This is true of communities and nations, as of individuals. The proper rule is, In time of Peace cultivate the arts of Peace. So doing, you will render the country truly strong and truly great; not by arousing the passions of War, not by nursing men to the business of blood, not by converting the land into a flaming arsenal, a magazine of gunpowder, or an "infernal machine," just ready to explode, but by dedicating its whole energies to productive and beneficent works.

The incongruity of this system may be illustrated by an example. Look into the life of that illustrious philosopher, John Locke, and you will find, that, in the journal of his tour through France, describing the arches of the amphitheatre at Nismes, he says, "In all those arches, to support the walls over the passage where you go round, there is a stone laid, about twenty inches or two feet square, and about six times the length of my sword, which was near about a philosophical yard long."[317] Who is not struck with the unseemly incongruity of the exhibition, as he sees the author of the "Essay concerning Human Understanding" travelling with a sword by his side? But here the philosopher only followed the barbarous custom of his time. Individuals then [374]lived in the same relations towards each other which now characterize nations. The War System had not yet entirely retreated from Municipal Law and Custom, to find its last citadel and temple in the Law and Custom of Nations. Do not forget, that, at the present moment, our own country, the great author, among the nations, of a new Essay concerning Human Understanding, not only travels with a sword by the side, like John Locke, but lives encased in complete armor, burdensome to limbs and costly to treasury.

Condemning the War System as barbarous and most wasteful, the token and relic of a society alien to Christian civilization, we except the Navy, so far as necessary in arrest of pirates, of traffickers in human flesh, and generally in preserving the police of the sea. But it is difficult for the unprejudiced mind to regard the array of fortifications and of standing armies otherwise than obnoxious to the condemnation aroused by the War System. Fortifications are instruments, and standing armies are hired champions, in the great Duel of Nations.


Here I quit this part of the subject. Sufficient has been said to expose the War System of the Commonwealth of Nations. It stands before us, a colossal image of International Justice, with the sword, but without the scales,—like a hideous Mexican idol, besmeared with human blood, and surrounded by the sickening stench of human sacrifice. But this image, which seems to span the continents, while it rears aloft its flashing form of brass and gold, hiding far in the clouds "the round and top of sovereignty," can be laid low; for its feet are clay.


I come now to the means by which the War System can be overthrown. Here I shall unfold the tendencies and examples of nations, and the sacred efforts of individuals, constituting the Peace Movement, now ready to triumph,—with practical suggestions on our duties to this cause, and a concluding glance at the barbarism of Military Glory. In this review I cannot avoid details incident to a fruitfulness of topics; but I shall try to introduce nothing not bearing directly on the subject.

Civilization now writhes in travail and torment, and asks for liberation from oppressive sway. Like the slave under a weary weight of chains, it raises its exhausted arms, and pleads for the angel Deliverer. And, lo! the beneficent angel comes,—not like the Grecian God of Day, with vengeful arrows to slay the destructive Python,—not like the Archangel Michael, with potent spear to transfix Satan,—but with words of gentleness and cheer, saying to all nations, and to all children of men, "Ye are all brothers, of one flesh, one fold, one shepherd, children of one Father, heirs to one happiness. By your own energies, through united fraternal endeavor, will the tyranny of War be overthrown, and its Juggernaut in turn be crushed to earth."

In this spirit, and with this encouragement, we must labor for that grand and final object, watchword of all ages, the Unity of the Human Family. Not in benevolence, but in selfishness, has Unity been sought in times past,—not to promote the happiness of all, but to establish the dominion of one. It was the mad lust of power which carried Alexander from conquest to conquest, till he boasted that the whole world was one [376]empire, with the Macedonian phalanx as citadel. The same passion animated Rome, till, at last, while Christ lay in a manger, this single city swayed a broader empire than that of Alexander. The Gospel, in its simple narrative, says, "And it came to pass in those days that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus that all the world should be taxed." History recalls the exile of Ovid, who, falling under the displeasure of the same emperor, was condemned to close his life in melancholy longings for Rome, far away in Pontus, on the Euxine Sea. With singular significance, these two contemporaneous incidents reveal the universality of Roman dominion, stretching from Britain to Parthia. The mighty empire crumbled, to be reconstructed for a brief moment, in part by Charlemagne, in part by Tamerlane. In our own age, Napoleon made a last effort for Unity founded on Force. And now, from his utterances at St. Helena, the expressed wisdom of his unparalleled experience, comes the remarkable confession, worthy of constant memory: "The more I study the world, the more am I convinced of the inability of brute force to create anything durable." From the sepulchre of Napoleon, now sleeping on the banks of the Seine, surrounded by the trophies of battle, nay, more, from the sepulchres of all these departed empires, may be heard the words, "They that take the sword shall perish by the sword."

Unity is the longing and tendency of Humanity: not the enforced Unity of military power; not the Unity of might triumphant over right; not the Unity of Inequality; not the Unity which occupied the soul of Dante, when, in his treatise De Monarchia, the earliest political work of modern times, he strove to show that [377]all the world belonged to a single ruler, the successor of the Roman Emperor: not these; but the voluntary Unity of nations in fraternal labor; the Unity promised, when it was said, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female, for ye are all one in Christ Jesus"; the Unity which has filled the delighted vision of good men, prophets, sages, and poets, in times past; the Unity which, in our own age, prompted Béranger, the incomparable lyric of France, in an immortal ode, to salute the Holy Alliance of the Peoples,[318] summoning them in all lands, and by whatever names they may be called, French, English, Belgian, German, Russian, to give each other the hand, that the useless thunderbolts of War may all be quenched, and Peace sow the earth with gold, with flowers, and with corn; the Unity which prompted an early American diplomatist and poet to anticipate the time when nations shall meet in Congress,—

"To give each realm its limit and its laws,
Bid the last breath of dire contention cease,
And bind all regions in the leagues of Peace;
Bid one great empire, with extensive sway,
Spread with the sun, and bound the walks of day,
One centred system, one all-ruling soul,
Live through the parts, and regulate the whole";[319]

the Unity which inspired our contemporary British poet of exquisite genius, Alfred Tennyson, to hail the certain day,—

"When the war-drum throb no longer, and the battle-flags be furled,
In the Parliament of Man, the Federation of the World."[320]


Such is Unity in the bond of Peace. The common good and mutual consent are its enduring base, Justice and Love its animating soul. These alone can give permanence to combinations of men, whether in states or confederacies. Here is the vital elixir of nations, the true philosopher's stone of divine efficacy to enrich the civilization of mankind. So far as these are neglected or forgotten, will the people, though under one apparent head, fail to be really united. So far as these are regarded, will the people, within the sphere of their influence, constitute one body, and be inspired by one spirit. And just in proportion as these find recognition from individuals and from nations will War be impossible.

Not in vision, nor in promise only, is this Unity discerned. Voluntary associations, confederacies, leagues, coalitions, and congresses of nations, though fugitive and limited in influence, all attest the unsatisfied desires of men solicitous for union, while they foreshadow the means by which it may be permanently accomplished. Of these I will enumerate a few. 1. The Amphictyonic Council, embracing at first twelve, and finally thirty-one communities, was established about the year 1100 before Christ. Each sent two deputies, and had two votes in the Council, which was empowered to restrain the violence of hostility among the associates. 2. Next comes the Achæan League, founded at a very early period, and renewed in the year 281 before Christ. Each member was independent, and yet all together constituted one inseparable body. So great was the fame of their justice and probity, that the Greek cities of Italy were glad to invite their peaceful arbitration. 3. Pass[379]ing over other confederacies of Antiquity, I mention next the Hanseatic League, begun in the twelfth century, completed in the middle of the thirteenth, and comprising at one time no less than eighty-five cities. A system of International Law was adopted in their general assemblies, and also courts of arbitration, to determine controversies among the cities. The decrees of these courts were enforced by placing the condemned city under the ban, a sentence equivalent to excommunication. 4. At a later period, other cities and nobles of Germany entered into alliance and association for mutual protection, under various names, as the League of the Rhine, and the League of Suabia. 5. To these I add the combination of Armed Neutrality in 1780, uniting, in declared support of certain principles, a large cluster of nations,—Russia, France, Spain, Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Prussia, and the United States. 6. And still further, I refer to Congresses at Westphalia, Utrecht, Aix-la-Chapelle, and Vienna, after the wasteful struggles of War, to arrange terms of Peace and to arbitrate between nations.

These examples, belonging to the Past, reveal tendencies and capacities. Other instances, having the effect of living authority, show practically how the War System may be set aside. There is, first, the Swiss Republic, or Helvetic Union, which, beginning so long ago as 1308, has preserved Peace among its members during the greater part of five centuries. Speaking of this Union, Vattel said, in the middle of the last century, "The Swiss have had the precaution, in all their alliances among themselves, and even in those they have contracted with the neighboring powers, to agree beforehand on the manner in which their disputes were to be [380]submitted to arbitrators, in case they could not adjust them in an amicable manner." And this publicist proceeds to testify that "this wise precaution has not a little contributed to maintain the Helvetic Republic in that flourishing condition which secures its liberty, and renders it respectable throughout Europe."[321] Since these words were written, there have been many changes in the Swiss Constitution; but its present Federal System, established on the downfall of Napoleon, confirmed in 1830, and now embracing twenty-five different States, provides that differences among the States shall be referred to "special arbitration." This is an instructive example. But, secondly, our own happy country furnishes one yet more so. The United States of America are a National Union of thirty different States,—each having peculiar interests,—in pursuance of a Constitution, established in 1788, which not only provides a high tribunal for the adjudication of controversies between the States, but expressly disarms the individual States, declaring that "no State shall, without the consent of Congress, keep troops or ships of war in time of peace, or engage in war, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay." A third example, not unlike that of our own country, is the Confederation of Germany, composed of thirty-eight sovereignties, who, by reciprocal stipulation in their Act of Union, on the 8th of June, 1815, deprived each sovereignty of the right of war with its confederates. The words of this stipulation, which, like those of the Constitution of the United States, might furnish a model to the Commonwealth of Nations, are as follows: "The Confederate States likewise engage under no pretext to make war upon [381]one another, nor to pursue their differences by force of arms, but to submit them to the Diet. The latter shall endeavor to mediate between the parties by means of a commission. Should this not prove successful, and a judicial decision become necessary, provision shall be made therefor through a well-organized Court of Arbitration, to which the litigants shall submit themselves without appeal."[322]

Such are authentic, well-defined examples. This is not all. It is in the order of Providence, that individuals, families, tribes, and nations should tend, by means of association, to a final Unity. A law of mutual attraction, or affinity, first exerting its influence upon smaller bodies, draws them by degrees into well-established fellowship, and then, continuing its power, fuses the larger bodies into nations; and nations themselves, stirred by this same sleepless energy, are now moving towards that grand system of combined order which will complete the general harmony:—

"Spiritus intus alit, totamque infusa per artus
Mens agitat molem, et magno se corpore miscet."[323]

History bears ample testimony to the potency of this attraction. Modern Europe, in its early periods, was filled with petty lordships, or communities constituting so many distinct units, acknowledging only a vague nationality, and maintaining, as we have already seen, the "liberty" to fight with each other. The great nations of our day have grown and matured into their present form by the gradual absorption of these political bodies.


Territories, once possessing an equivocal and turbulent independence, feel new power and happiness in peaceful association. Spain, composed of races dissimilar in origin, religion, and government, slowly ascended by progressive combinations among principalities and provinces, till at last, in the fifteenth century, by the crowning union of Castile and Aragon, the whole country, with its various sovereignties, was united under one common rule. Germany once consisted of more than three hundred different principalities, each with the right of war. These slowly coalesced, forming larger principalities; till at last the whole complex aggregation of states, embracing abbeys, bishoprics, archbishoprics, bailiwicks, counties, duchies, electorates, margraviates, and free imperial cities, was gradually resolved into the present Confederation, where each state expressly renounces the right of war with its associates. France has passed through similar changes. By a power of assimilation, in no nation so strongly marked, she has absorbed the various races and sovereignties once filling her territory with violence and conflict, and has converted them all to herself. The Roman or Iberian of Provence, the indomitable Celtic race, the German of Alsace, have all become Frenchmen,—while the various provinces, once inspired by such hostile passions, Brittany and Normandy, Franche-Comté and Burgundy, Gascony and Languedoc, Provence and Dauphiné, are now blended in one powerful, united nation. Great Britain, too, shows the influence of the same law. The many hostile principalities of England were first merged in the Heptarchy; and these seven kingdoms became one under the Saxon Egbert. Wales, forcibly attached to England under Edward the First, at last assimilated with [383]her conqueror; Ireland, after a protracted resistance, was absorbed under Edward the Third, and at a later day, after a series of bitter struggles, was united, I do not say how successfully, under the Imperial Parliament; Scotland was connected with England by the accession of James the First to the throne of the Tudors, and these two countries, which had so often encountered in battle, were joined together under Queen Anne, by an act of peaceful legislation.

Thus has the tendency to Unity predominated over independent sovereignties and states, slowly conducting the constant process of crystallization. This cannot be arrested. The next stage must be the peaceful association of the Christian nations. In this anticipation we but follow analogies of the material creation, as seen in the light of chemical or geological science. Everywhere Nature is busy with combinations, exerting an occult incalculable power, drawing elements into new relations of harmony, uniting molecule with molecule, atom with atom, and, by progressive change, in the lapse of time, producing new structural arrangements. Look still closer, and the analogy continues. At first we detect the operation of cohesion, rudely acting upon particles near together,—then subtler influences, slowly imparting regularity of form,—while heat, electricity, and potent chemical affinities conspire in the work. As yet there is only an incomplete body. Light now exerts its mysterious powers, and all assumes an organized form. So it is with mankind. First appears the rude cohesion of early ages, acting only upon individuals near together. Slowly the work proceeds. But time and space, the great obstructions, if not annihilated, are now subdued, giving free scope to the powerful [384]affinities of civilization. At last, light, thrice holy light, in whose glad beams are knowledge, justice, and beneficence, with empyrean sway will combine those separate and distracted elements into one organized system.

Thus much for examples and tendencies. In harmony with these are efforts of individuals, extending through ages, and strengthening with time, till now at last they swell into a voice that must be heard. A rapid glance will show the growth of the cause we have met to welcome. Far off in the writings of the early Fathers we learn the duty and importance of Universal Peace. Here I might accumulate texts, each an authority, while you listened to Justin Martyr, Irenæus, Tertullian, Origen, Augustine, Aquinas. How beautiful it appears in the teachings of St. Augustine! How comprehensive the rules of Aquinas, who spoke with the authority of Philosophy and the Church, when he said, in phrase worthy of constant repetition, that the perfection of joy is Peace![324] But the rude hoof of War trampled down these sparks of generous truth, destined to flame forth at a later day. In the fifteenth century, The good Man of Peace was described in that work of unexampled circulation, translated into all modern tongues, and republished more than a thousand times, "The Imitation of Christ," by Thomas-à-Kempis.[325] A little later the cause found important support from the pen of a great scholar, the gentle and learned Erasmus. At last it obtained a specious advocacy from the throne. Henry the Fourth, [385]of France, with the coöperation of his eminent minister, Sully, conceived the beautiful scheme of blending the Christian nations in one confederacy, with a high tribunal for the decision of controversies between them, and had drawn into his plan Queen Elizabeth, of England. All was arrested by the dagger of Ravaillac. This gay and gallant monarch was little penetrated by the divine sentiment of Peace; for at his death he was gathering materials for fresh War; and it is too evident that the scheme of a European Congress was prompted less by comprehensive humanity than by a selfish ambition to humble the House of Austria. Even with this drawback it did great good, by holding aloft before Christendom the exalted idea of a tribunal for the Commonwealth of Nations.

Universal Peace was not to receive thus early the countenance of Government. Meanwhile private efforts began to multiply. Grotius, in his wonderful work on "The Rights of War and Peace," while lavishing learning and genius on the Arbitrament of War, bears testimony in favor of a more rational tribunal. His virtuous nature, wishing to save mankind from the scourge of War, foreshadowed an Amphictyonic Council. "It would be useful, and in some sort necessary," he says,—in language which, if carried out practically, would sweep away the War System and all the Laws of War,—"to have Congresses of the Christian Powers, where differences might be determined by the judgment of those not interested in them, and means found to constrain parties into acceptance of peace on just conditions."[326] To the discredit of his age, these moderate words, so much in harmony with his other effort for the union [386]of Christian sects, were derided, and the eminent expounder was denounced as rash, visionary, and impracticable. The sentiment in which they had their origin found other forms of utterance. Before the close of the seventeenth century, Nicole, the friend of Pascal, belonging to the fellowship of Port-Royal, and one of the highest names in the Church of France, gave to the world a brief "Treatise on the Means of preserving Peace among Men,"[327] which Voltaire, with exaggerated praise, terms "a masterpiece, to which nothing equal has been left to us by Antiquity." Next appeared a little book, which is now a bibliographical curiosity, entitled "The New Cineas,"[328]—after the pacific adviser of Pyrrhus, the warrior king of Epirus,—where the humane author counsels sovereigns to govern in Peace, submitting their differences to an established tribunal. In Germany, at the close of the seventeenth century, as we learn from Leibnitz, who mentions the preceding authority also, a retired general, who had commanded armies, the Land-grave Ernest of Hesse Rhinfels, in a work entitled "The Discreet Catholic," suggested a plan for Perpetual Peace by means of a tribunal established by associate sovereigns.[329] England testified also by William Penn, who adopted and enforced what he called the "great design" [387]of Henry the Fourth. In a work entitled "An Essay towards the Present and Future Peace of Europe," the enlightened Quaker proposed a Diet, or Sovereign Assembly, into which the princes of Europe should enter, as men enter into society, for the love of peace and order,—that its object should be justice, and that all differences not terminated by embassies should be brought before this tribunal, whose judgment should be so far binding, that, in the event of contumacy, it should be enforced by the united powers.[330] Thus, by writings, as also by illustrious example in Pennsylvania, did Penn show himself the friend of Peace.

These were soon followed in France by the untiring labors of the good Abbé Saint-Pierre,—the most devoted among the apostles of Peace, and not to be confounded with the eloquent and eccentric Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, author of "Paul and Virginia," who, at a later day, beautifully painted the true Fraternity of Nations.[331] Of a genius less artistic and literary, the Abbé consecrated a whole life, crowned with venerable years, to the improvement of mankind. There was no humane cause he did not espouse: now it was the poor; now it was education; and now it was to exhibit the grandeur and sacredness of human nature; but he was especially filled with the idea of Universal Peace, and the importance of teaching nations, not less than individuals, the duty of doing as they would be done by. This was his passion, and it was elaborately presented in a work of three volumes, entitled "The Project of Per[388]petual Peace,"[332] where he proposes a Diet or Congress of Sovereigns, for the adjudication of international controversies without resort to War. Throughout his voluminous writings he constantly returns to this project, which was a perpetual vision, and records his regret that Newton and Descartes had not devoted their exalted genius to the study and exposition of the laws determining the welfare of men and nations, believing that they might have succeeded in organizing Peace. He dwells often on the beauty of Christian precepts in government, and the true glory of beneficence, while he exposes the vanity of military renown, and does not hesitate to question that false glory which procured for Louis the Fourteenth the undeserved title of Great, echoed by flattering courtiers and a barbarous world. The French language owes to him the word Bienfaisance; and D'Alembert said "it was right he should have invented the word who practised so largely the virtue it expresses."[333]

Though thus of benevolence all compact, Saint-Pierre was not the favorite of his age. A profligate minister, Cardinal Dubois, ecclesiastical companion of a vicious regent in the worst excesses, condemned his efforts in a phrase of satire, as "the dreams of a good man." The pen of La Bruyère wantoned in a petty portrait of per[389]sonal peculiarities.[334] Many turned the cold shoulder. The French Academy, of which he was a member, took from him his chair, and on the occasion of his death forbore the eulogy which is its customary tribute to a departed academician. But an incomparable genius in Germany,—an authority not to be questioned on any subject upon which he spoke,—the great and universal Leibnitz, bears his testimony to the "Project of Perpetual Peace," and, so doing, enrolls his own prodigious name in the catalogue of our cause. In observations on this Project, communicated to its author, under date of February 7, 1715, while declaring that it is supported by the practical authority of Henry the Fourth, that it justly interests the whole human race, and is not foreign to his own studies, as from youth he had occupied himself with law, and particularly with the Law of Nations, Leibnitz says: "I have read it with attention, and am persuaded that such a project, on the whole, is feasible, and that its execution would be one of the most useful things in the world. Although my suffrage cannot be of any weight, I have nevertheless thought that gratitude obliged me not to withhold it, and to join some remarks for the satisfaction of a meritorious author, who ought to have much reputation and firmness, to have dared and been able to oppose with success the prejudiced crowd, and the unbridled tongue of mockers."[335] Such testimony from Leibnitz must have been grateful to Saint-Pierre.

I cannot close this brief record of a philanthropist, constant in an age when War was more regarded than [390]Humanity, without offering him an unaffected homage. To this faithful man may be addressed the sublime salutation which hymned from the soul of Milton:—

"Servant of God, well done! well hast thou fought
The better fight, who single hast maintained
Against revolted multitudes the cause
Of Truth, in word mightier than they in arms,
And for the testimony of truth hast borne
.  .  . reproach, far worse to bear
Than violence: for this was all thy care,
To stand approved in sight of God, though worlds
Judged thee perverse."[336]

Waking hereafter from its martial trance, the world will rejoice to salute the greatness of his career.[337] It may well measure advance in civilization by the appreciation of his character.

Contemporary with Saint-Pierre was another Frenchman, to whom I have already referred, who flashed his genius upon the game of War. La Bruyère exhibits men, for the sake of a piece of land more or less, agreeing among themselves to despoil, burn, and kill each other, even to cutting throats, and, for the doing of this more ingeniously and safely, inventing a beautiful system, known as the Art of War, to the practice of which is attached what is called Glory. The same satirist, who lived in an age of War, likens men to animals, even to dogs barking at each other, and then again to cats; and he furnishes a picture of the latter, counted by the thousand, and marshalled on an extended plain, where, after mewing their best, they throw themselves upon each other, tooth and nail, until nine or ten thousand of [391]them are left dead on the field, infecting the air for ten leagues with an intolerable stench,—and all this for the love of Glory. But how, says the satirist, can we distinguish between those who use only tooth and nail and those others, who, first substituting lances, darts, and swords, now employ destructive balls, small and large, killing at once, while, penetrating a roof, they crash from garret to cellar, sacrificing even women and children? Wherein is the Glory?[338]

Saint-Pierre was followed by that remarkable genius, Jean Jacques Rousseau, in a small work with the modest title, "Extract from the Project of Perpetual Peace by the Abbé Saint-Pierre."[339] Without referring to those higher motives supplied by humanity, conscience, and religion, for addressing which to sovereigns Saint-Pierre incurred the ridicule of what are called practical statesmen, Rousseau appeals to common sense, and shows how much mere worldly interests would be promoted by submission to the arbitration of an impartial tribunal, rather than to the uncertain issue of arms, with no adequate compensation, even to the victor, for blood and treasure sacrificed. If this project fails, it is not, according to him, because chimerical, but because men have lost their wits, and it is a sort of madness to be wise in the midst of fools. As no scheme more grand, more beautiful, or more useful ever occupied the human mind, so, says Rousseau, no author ever deserved attention more than one proposing the means for its practical adoption; nor can any humane and virtuous man fail to regard it with enthusiasm.


The recommendations of Rousseau, reaching Germany, were encountered by a writer now remembered chiefly by this hardihood. I allude to Embser, who treats of Perpetual Peace in a work first published in 1779, under the title of "The Idolatry of our Philosophical Century,"[340] and at a later day with a new title, under the alias of the "Refutation of the Project of Perpetual Peace."[341] Objections common with the superficial or prejudiced are vehemently urged; the imputation upon Grotius is reproduced; and the project is pronounced visionary and impracticable, while War is exalted as an instrument more beneficent than Peace in advancing the civilization of mankind. At a later day Hegel gave the same testimony, thus contributing his considerable name to vindicate War.[342]

The cause of Saint-Pierre and Rousseau was not without champions in Germany. In 1763 we meet at Göttingen the work of Totze, entitled "Permanent and Universal Peace, according to the Plan of Henry the Fourth";[343] and in 1767, at Leipsic, an ample and mature treatise by Lilienfeld, under the name of "New Constitution for States."[344] Truth often appears contemporaneously to different minds having no concert with each other; and the latter work, though in remarkable harmony with Saint-Pierre and Rousseau, is said to have been composed without any knowledge of their labors. Lilienfeld exposes the causes and calamities of War, the waste of armaments in time of Peace, and the miserable chances of the battle-field, where, in defiance of all jus[393]tice, controversies are determined as by the throw of dice; and he urges submission to Arbitrators, unless, in their wisdom, nations establish a Supreme Tribunal with the combined power of the Confederacy to enforce its decrees.

It was the glory of another German, in intellectual preëminence the successor of Leibnitz, to illustrate this cause by special and repeated labors. At Königsberg, in a retired corner of Prussia, away from the great lines of travel, Immanuel Kant consecrated his days to the pursuit of truth. During a long, virtuous, and disinterested life, stretching beyond the period appointed for man,—from 1724 to 1804,—in retirement, undisturbed by shock of revolution or war, never drawn by temptation of travel more than seven German miles from the place of his birth, he assiduously studied books, men, and things. Among the fruits of his ripened powers was that system of philosophy known as the "Critique of Pure Reason," by which he was at once established as a master-mind of his country. His words became the text for writers without number, who vied with each other in expounding, illustrating, or opposing his principles. At this period, after an unprecedented triumph in philosophy, when his name had become familiar wherever his mother-tongue was spoken, and while his rare faculties were yet untouched by decay, in the Indian Summer of life, the great thinker published a work "On Perpetual Peace."[345] Interest in the author, or in the cause, was attested by prompt translations into the French, Danish, and Dutch languages. In an [394]earlier work, entitled "Idea for a General History in a Cosmopolitan View,"[346] he espoused the same cause, and at a later day, in his "Metaphysical Elements of Jurisprudence,"[347] he renewed his testimony. In the lapse of time the speculations of the philosopher have lost much of their original attraction; other systems, with other names, have taken their place. But these early and faithful labors for Perpetual Peace cannot be forgotten. Perhaps through these the fame of the applauded philosopher of Königsberg may yet be preserved.

By Perpetual Peace Kant understood a condition of nations where there could be no fear of War; and this condition, he said, was demanded by reason, which, abhorring all War, as little adapted to establish right, must regard this final development of the Law of Nations as a consummation worthy of every effort. The philosopher was right in proposing nothing less than a reform of International Law. To this, according to him, all persons, and particularly all rulers, should bend their energies. A special league or treaty should be formed, which may be truly called a Treaty of Peace, having this peculiarity, that, whereas other treaties terminate a single existing War only, this should terminate forever all War between the parties to it. A Treaty of Peace, tacitly acknowledging the right to wage War, as all treaties now do, is nothing more than a Truce, not Peace. By these treaties an individual War is ended, but not the state of War. There may not be constant hostilities; but there will be constant fear of hostilities, with [395]constant threat of aggression and attack. Soldiers and armaments, now nursed as a Peace establishment, become the fruitful parent of new wars. With real Peace, these would be abandoned. Nor should nations hesitate to bow before the law, like individuals. They must form one comprehensive federation, which, by the aggregation of other nations, would at last embrace the whole earth. And this, according to Kant, in the succession of years, by a sure progress, is the irresistible tendency of nations. To this end nations must be truly independent; nor is it possible for one nation to acquire another independent nation, whether by inheritance, exchange, purchase, or gift. A nation is not property. The philosophy of Kant, therefore, contemplated not only Universal Peace, but Universal Liberty. The first article of the great treaty would be, that every nation is free.

These important conclusions found immediate support from another German philosopher, Fichte, of remarkable acuteness and perfect devotion to truth, whose name, in his own day, awakened an echo inferior only to that of Kant. In his "Groundwork of the Law of Nature,"[348] published in 1796, he urges a Federation of Nations, with a Supreme Tribunal, as the best way of securing the triumph of justice, and of subduing the power of the unjust. To the suggestion, that by this Federation injustice might be done, he replied, that it would not be easy to find any common advantage tempting the confederate nations to do this wrong.

The subject was again treated in 1804, by a learned German, Karl Schwab, whose work, entitled "Of Una[396]voidable Injustice,"[349] deserves notice for practical clearness and directness. Nothing could be better than his idea of the Universal State, where nations will be united, as citizens in the Municipal State; nor have the promises of the Future been more carefully presented. He sees clearly, that, even when this triumph of civilization is won, justice between nations will not be always inviolate,—for, unhappily, between citizens it is not always so; but, whatever may be the exceptions, it will become the general rule. As in the Municipal State War no longer prevails, but offences, wrongs, and sallies of vengeance often proceed from individual citizens, with insubordination and anarchy sometimes,—so in the Universal State War will no longer prevail; but here also, between the different nations, who will be as citizens in the Federation, there may be wrongs and aggressions, with resistance even to the common power. In short, the Universal State will be subject to the same accidents as the Municipal State.

The cause of Permanent Peace became a thesis for Universities. At Stuttgart, in 1796, there was an oration by J.H. La Motte, entitled Utrum Pax Perpetua pangi possit, nec ne? And at Leyden, in 1808, there was a Dissertation by Gabinus de Wal, on taking his degree as Doctor of Laws, entitled Disputatio Philosophico-Juridica, de Conjunctione Populorum ad Pacem Perpetuam.[350] This learned and elaborate performance, after reviewing previous efforts in the cause, accords a [397]preëminence to Kant. Such a voice from the University is the token of a growing sentiment, and an example for the youth of our own day.

Meanwhile in England the cause was espoused by that indefatigable jurist and reformer, Jeremy Bentham, who embraced it in his comprehensive labors. In an Essay on International Law, bearing date 1786-89, and first published in 1839, by his executor, Dr. Bowring,[351] he develops a plan for Universal and Perpetual Peace in the spirit of Saint-Pierre. Such, according to him, is the extreme folly, the madness, of War, that on no supposition can it be otherwise than mischievous. All Trade, in essence, is advantageous, even to the party who profits by it the least; all War, in essence, is ruinous: and yet the great employments of Government are to treasure up occasions of War, and to put fetters upon Trade. To remedy this evil, Bentham proposes, first, "The reduction and fixation of the forces of the several nations that compose the European system"; and in enforcing this proposition, he says: "Whatsoever nation should get the start of the other in making the proposal to reduce and fix the amount of its armed force would crown itself with everlasting honor. The risk would be nothing, the gain certain. This gain would be the giving an incontrovertible demonstration of its own disposition to peace, and of the opposite disposition in the other nation, in case of its rejecting the proposal." He next proposes an International Court of Judicature, with power to report its opinion, and to circulate it in each nation, and, after a certain delay, to put a contumacious nation under the ban. He denies [398]that this system can be styled visionary in any respect: for it is proved, first, that it is the interest of the parties concerned; secondly, that the parties are already sensible of this interest; and, thirdly, that, enlightened by diplomatic experience in difficult and complicated conventions, they are prepared for the new situation. All this is sober and practical.

Coming to our own country, I find many names for commemoration. No person, in all history, has borne his testimony in phrases of greater pungency or more convincing truth than Benjamin Franklin. "In my opinion," he says, "there never was a good War or a bad Peace"; and he asks, "When will mankind be convinced that all Wars are follies, very expensive, and very mischievous, and agree to settle their differences by arbitration? Were they to do it even by the cast of a die, it would be better than by fighting and destroying each other." Then again he says: "We make daily great improvements in natural, there is one I wish to see in moral philosophy,—the discovery of a plan that would induce and oblige nations to settle their disputes without first cutting one another's throats. When will human reason be sufficiently improved to see the advantage of this?"[352] As diplomatist, Franklin strove to limit the evils of War. To him, while Minister at Paris, belongs the honor of those instructions, more glorious for the American name than any battle, where our naval cruisers, among whom was the redoubtable Paul Jones, were directed, in the interest of univer[399]sal science, to allow a free and undisturbed passage to the returning expedition of Captain Cook, the great circumnavigator, who "steered Britain's oak into a world unknown."[353] To him also belongs the honor of introducing into a treaty with Prussia a provision for the abolition of that special scandal, Private War on the Ocean.[354] In similar strain with Franklin, Jefferson says: "Will nations never devise a more rational umpire of differences than Force?... War is an instrument entirely inefficient towards redressing wrong; it multiplies, instead of indemnifying losses."[355] And he proceeds to exhibit the waste of War, and the beneficent consequences, if its expenditures could be diverted to purposes of practical utility.

To Franklin especially must thanks be rendered for authoritative words and a precious example. But there are three names, fit successors of Saint-Pierre,—I speak only of those on whose career is the seal of death,—which even more than his deserve affectionate regard. I refer to Noah Worcester, William Ellery Channing, and William Ladd. To dwell on the services of these our virtuous champions would be a grateful task. The occasion allows a passing notice only.

In Worcester we behold the single-minded country clergyman, little gifted as preacher, with narrow means,—and his example teaches what such a character may accomplish,—in humble retirement, pained by the reports of War, and at last, as the protracted drama of [400]battles was about to close at Waterloo, publishing that appeal, entitled "A Solemn Review of the Custom of War," which has been so extensively circulated at home and abroad, and has done so much to correct the inveterate prejudices which surround the cause. He was the founder, and for some time the indefatigable agent, of the earliest Peace Society in the country.

The eloquence of Channing was often, both with tongue and pen, directed against War. He was heart-struck by the awful degradation it caused, rudely blotting out in men the image of God their Father; and his words of flame have lighted in many souls those exterminating fires that can never die, until this evil is swept from the earth.


William Ladd, after completing his education at Harvard University, engaged in commercial pursuits. Early, through his own exertions, blessed with competency, he could not be idle. He was childless; and his affections embraced all the children of the human family. Like Worcester and Channing, his attention was arrested by the portentous crime of War, and he was moved to dedicate the remainder of his days to earnest, untiring effort for its abolition,—going about from place to place inculcating the lesson of Peace, with simple, cheerful manner winning the hearts of good men, and dropping in many youthful souls precious seeds to ripen in more precious fruit. He was the founder of the American Peace Society, in which was finally merged the earlier association established by Worcester. By a long series of practical labors, and especially by developing, maturing, and publishing the plan of an International Congress, has William Ladd enrolled himself among the benefactors of mankind.

Such are some of the names which hereafter, when the warrior no longer usurps the blessings promised to the peacemaker, will be inscribed on immortal tablets.

Now, at last, in the fulness of time, in our own day, by the labors of men of Peace, by the irresistible cooperating affinities of mankind, nations seem to be visibly approaching—even amidst tumult and discord—that Unity so long hoped for, prayed for. By steamboat, railroad, and telegraph, outstripping the traditional movements of government, men of all countries daily commingle, ancient prejudices fast dissolve, while ancient sympathies strengthen, and new sympathies come into being. The chief commercial cities of England send addresses of friendship to the chief commercial cities of France; and the latter delight to return the salutation. Similar cords of amity are twined between cities in England and cities in our own country. The visit to London of a band of French National Guards is reciprocated by the visit to Paris of a large company of Englishmen. Thus are achieved pacific conquests, where formerly all the force of arms could not prevail. Mr. Vattemare perambulates Europe and the United States to establish a system of literary international exchanges. By the daily agency of the press we are sharers in the trials and triumphs of brethren in all lands, and, renouncing the solitude of insulated nationalities, learn to live in the communion of associated states. By multitudinous reciprocities of commerce are developed relations of mutual dependence, stronger than treaties or alliances engrossed on parchment,—while, from a truer appreciation of the ethics of government, we arrive at the conviction, that the divine injunction, "Do unto others as [402]you would have them do unto you," was spoken to nations as well as to individuals.

From increasing knowledge of each other, and from a higher sense of duty as brethren of the Human Family, arises among mankind an increasing interest in each other; and charity, once, like patriotism, exclusively national, is beginning to clasp the world in its embrace. Every discovery of science, every aspiration of philanthropy, no matter what the country of its origin, is now poured into the common stock. Assemblies, whether of science or philanthropy, are no longer municipal merely, but welcome delegates from all the nations. Science has convened Congresses in Italy, Germany, and England. Great causes, grander even than Science,—like Temperance, Freedom, Peace,—have drawn to London large bodies of men from different countries, under the title of World Conventions, in whose very name and spirit of fraternity we discern the prevailing tendency. Such a convention, dedicated to Universal Peace, held at London in 1843, was graced by many well known for labors of humanity. At Frankfort, in 1846, was assembled a large Congress from all parts of Europe, to consider what could be done for those in prison. The succeeding year witnessed, at Brussels, a similar Congress, convened in the same charity. At last, in August, 1848, we hail, at Brussels, another Congress, inspired by the presence of a generous American, Elihu Burritt,—who has left his anvil at home to teach the nations how to change their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning-hooks,—presided over by an eminent Belgian magistrate, and composed of numerous individuals, speaking various languages, living under diverse forms of government, various in political opinions, dif[403]fering in religious convictions, but all moved by a common sentiment to seek the abolition of War, and the Disarming of the Nations.

The Peace Congress at Brussels constitutes an epoch. It is a palpable development of those international attractions and affinities which now await their final organization. The resolutions it adopted are so important that I cannot hesitate to introduce them.

"1. That, in the judgment of this Congress, an appeal to arms for the purpose of deciding disputes among nations is a custom condemned alike by religion, reason, justice, humanity, and the best interests of the people,—and that, therefore, it considers it to be the duty of the civilized world to adopt measures calculated to effect its entire abolition.

"2. That it is of the highest importance to urge on the several governments of Europe and America the necessity of introducing a clause into all International Treaties, providing for the settlement of all disputes by Arbitration, in an amicable manner, and according to the rules of justice and equity, by special Arbitrators, or a Supreme International Court, to be invested with power to decide in cases of necessity, as a last resort.

"3. That the speedy convocation of a Congress of Nations, composed of duly appointed representatives, for the purpose of framing a well-digested and authoritative International Code, is of the greatest importance, inasmuch as the organization of such a body, and the unanimous adoption of such a Code, would be an effectual means of promoting Universal Peace.

"4. That this Congress respectfully calls the attention of civilized governments to the necessity of a general and simultaneous disarmament, as a means whereby they may greatly diminish the financial burdens which press upon them, re[404]move a fertile cause of irritation and inquietude, inspire mutual confidence, and promote the interchange of good offices, which, while they advance the interests of each state in particular, contribute largely to the maintenance of general Peace, and the lasting prosperity of nations."

In France these resolutions received the adhesion of Lamartine,—in England, of Richard Cobden. They have been welcomed throughout Great Britain, by large and enthusiastic popular assemblies, hanging with delight upon the practical lessons of peace on earth and good-will to men. At the suggestion of the Congress at Brussels, and in harmony with the demands of an increasing public sentiment, another Congress is called at Paris, in the approaching month of August. The place of meeting is auspicious. There, as in the very cave of Æolus, whence have so often raged forth conflicting winds and resounding tempests, are to gather delegates from various nations, including a large number from our own country, whose glad work will be to hush and imprison these winds and tempests, and to bind them in the chains of everlasting Peace.


Not in voluntary assemblies only has our cause found welcome. Into legislative halls it has made its way. A document now before me, in the handwriting of Samuel Adams, an approved patriot of the Revolution, bears witness to his desire for action on this subject in the Congress of the United States. It is in the form of a Letter of Instructions from the Legislature of Massachusetts to the delegates in Congress of this State, and, though without date, seems to have been prepared some time between the Treaty of Peace in 1783 and the adoption of the National Constitution in 1789. It is as follows.

"Gentlemen,—Although the General Court have lately instructed you concerning various matters of very great importance to this Commonwealth, they cannot finish the business of the year until they have transmitted to you a further instruction, which they have long had in contemplation, and which, if their most ardent wish could be obtained, might in its consequences extensively promote the happiness of man.

"You are, therefore, hereby instructed and urged to move the United States in Congress assembled to take into their deep and most serious consideration, whether any measures can by them be used, through their influence with such of the nations in Europe with whom they are united by Treaties of Amity or Commerce, that National Differences may be settled and determined without the necessity of War, in which the world has too long been deluged, to the destruction of human happiness and the disgrace of human reason and government.

"If, after the most mature deliberation, it shall appear that no measures can be taken at present on this very interesting subject, it is conceived it would redound much to the honor of the United States that it was attended to by their great Representative in Congress, and be accepted as a testimony of gratitude for most signal favors granted to the said States by Him who is the almighty and most gracious Father and Friend of mankind.

"And you are further instructed to move that the foregoing Letter of Instructions be entered on the Journals of Congress, if it may be thought proper, that so it may remain for the inspection of the delegates from this Commonwealth, if necessary, in any future time."[356]

I am not able to ascertain whether this document ever became a legislative act; but unquestionably it attests, in authentic form, that a great leader in Mas[406]sachusetts, after the establishment of that Independence for which he had so assiduously labored, hoped to enlist not only the Legislature of his State, but the Congress of the United States, in efforts for the emancipation of nations from the tyranny of War. For this early effort, when the cause of Permanent Peace had never been introduced to any legislative body, Samuel Adams deserves grateful mention.

Many years later the subject reached Congress, where, in 1838, it was considered in an elaborate report by the late Mr. Legaré, in behalf of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives, prompted by memorials from the friends of Peace. While injudiciously discountenancing an Association of Nations, as not yet sanctioned by public opinion, the Committee acknowledge "that the union of all nations in a state of Peace, under the restraints and the protection of law, is the ideal perfection of civil society"; that they "concur fully in the benevolent object of the memorialists, and believe that there is a visible tendency in the spirit and institutions of the age towards the practical accomplishment of it at some future period"; that they "heartily concur with the memorialists in recommending a reference to a Third Power of all such controversies as can safely be confided to any tribunal unknown to the Constitution of our own country"; and that "such a practice will be followed by other powers, and will soon grow up into the customary law of civilized nations."[357]

The Legislature of Massachusetts, by a series of resolutions, in harmony with the early sentiments of Samuel Adams, adopted, in 1844, with exceeding unanimity, declare, that they "regard Arbitration as a practical and [407]desirable substitute for War, in the adjustment of international differences"; and still further declare their "earnest desire that the government of the United States would, at the earliest opportunity, take measures for obtaining the consent of the powers of Christendom to the establishment of a general Convention or Congress of Nations, for the purpose of settling the principles of International Law, and of organizing a High Court of Nations to adjudge all cases of difficulty which may be brought before them by the mutual consent of two or more nations."[358] During the winter of 1849 the subject was again presented to the American Congress by Mr. Tuck, who asked the unanimous consent of the House of Representatives to offer the following preamble and resolution:—

"Whereas the evils of War are acknowledged by all civilized nations, and the calamities, individual and general, which are inseparably connected with it, have attracted the attention of many humane and enlightened citizens of this and other countries; and whereas it is the disposition of the people of the United States to coöperate with others in all appropriate and judicious exertions to prevent a recurrence of national conflicts; therefore,

"Resolved, That the Committee on Foreign Affairs be directed to inquire into the expediency of authorizing a correspondence to be opened by the Secretary of State with Foreign Governments, on the subject of procuring Treaty stipulations for the reference of all future disputes to a friendly Arbitration, or for the establishment, instead thereof, of a Congress of Nations, to determine International Law and settle international disputes."[359]


Though for the present unsuccessful, this excellent effort prepares the way for another trial.

Nor does it stand alone. Almost contemporaneously, M. Bouvet, in the National Assembly of France, submitted a proposition of a similar character, as follows:—

"Seeing that War between nations is contrary to religion, humanity, and the public well-being, the French National Assembly decrees:—

"The French Republic proposes to the Governments and Representative Assemblies of the different States of Europe, America, and other civilized countries, to unite, by their representation, in a Congress which shall have for its object a proportional disarmament among the Powers, the abolition of War, and a substitution for that barbarous usage of an Arbitral jurisdiction, of which the said Congress shall immediately fulfil the functions."

In an elaborate report, the French Committee on Foreign Affairs, while declining at present to recommend this proposition, distinctly sanction its object.

At a still earlier date, some time in the summer of 1848, Arnold Ruge brought the same measure before the German Parliament at Frankfort, by moving the following amendment to the Report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs:—

"That, as Armed Peace, by its standing armies, imposes an intolerable burden upon the people of Europe, and endangers civil freedom, we therefore recognize the necessity of calling into existence a Congress of Nations, for the purpose of effecting a general disarmament of Europe."


Though this proposition failed, yet the mover is reported to have sustained it by a speech which was received with applause, both in the assembly and gallery. Among other things, he used these important words:—

"There is no necessity for feeding an army of military idlers and eaters. There is nothing to fear from our neighbor barbarians, as they are called. You must give up the idea that the French will eat us up, and that the Prussians can eat us up. Soldiers must cease to exist; then shall no more cities be bombarded. These opinions must be kept up and propagated by a Congress of Nations. I vote that the nations of Europe disarm at once."

In the British Parliament the cause has found an able representative in Mr. Cobden, whose name is an omen of success. He has addressed many large popular meetings in its behalf, and already, by speech and motion in the House of Commons, has striven for a reduction in the armaments of Great Britain. Only lately he gave notice of the following motion, which he intends to call up in that assembly at the earliest moment:—

"That an humble address be presented to her Majesty, praying that she will be graciously pleased to direct her Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to enter into communication with Foreign Powers, inviting them to concur in treaties binding the respective parties, in the event of any future misunderstanding which cannot be arranged by amicable negotiation, to refer the matter in dispute to the decision of Arbitrators."

Such is the Peace Movement.[360] With the ever-flowing current of time it has gained ever-increasing strength, and it has now become like a mighty river. At first but a slender fountain, sparkling on some lofty summit, it has swollen with every tributary rill, with the friendly rains and dews of heaven, and at last with the associate waters of various nations, until it washes the feet of [410]populous cities, rejoicing on its peaceful banks. By the voices of poets,—by the aspirations and labors of statesmen, philosophers, and good men,—by the experience of history,—by the peaceful union into nations of families, tribes, and provinces, divesting themselves of "liberty" to wage War,—by the example of leagues, alliances, confederacies, and congresses,—by the kindred movements of our age, all tending to Unity,—by an awakened public sentiment, and a growing recognition of Human Brotherhood,—by the sympathies of large popular assemblies,—by the formal action of legislative bodies,—by the promises of Christianity, are we encouraged to persevere. So doing, we act not against Nature, but with Nature, making ourselves, according to the injunction of Lord Bacon, its ministers and interpreters. From no single man, from no body of men, does this cause proceed. Not from Saint-Pierre or Leibnitz, from Rousseau or Kant, in other days,—not from Jay or Burritt, from Cobden or Lamartine, in our own. It is the irrepressible utterance of the longing with which the heart of Humanity labors; it is the universal expression of the Spirit of the Age, thirsting after Harmony; it is the heaven-born whisper of Truth, immortal and omnipotent; it is the word of God, published in commands as from the burning bush; it is the voice of Christ, declaring to all mankind that they are brothers, and saying to the turbulent nationalities of the earth, as to the raging sea, "Peace, be still!"

Gentlemen of the Peace Society,—Such is the War System of the Commonwealth of Nations; and such are the means and auguries of its overthrow. To aid and direct public sentiment so as to hasten the com[411]ing of this day is the chosen object of this Society. All who have candidly attended me in this exposition will bear witness that our attempt is in no way inconsistent with the human character,—that we do not seek to suspend or hold in check any general laws of Nature, but simply to overthrow a barbarous Institution, having the sanction of International Law, and to bring nations within that system of social order which has already secured such inestimable good to civil society, and is as applicable to nations in their relations with each other as to individuals.

Tendencies of nations, as revealed in history, teach that our aims are in harmony with prevailing laws, which God, in his benevolence, has ordained for mankind.

Examples teach also that we attempt nothing that is not directly practicable. If the several States of the Helvetic Republic, if the thirty independent States of the North American Union, if the thirty-eight independent sovereignties of the German Confederation, can, by formal stipulation, divest themselves of the right of war with each other, and consent to submit all mutual controversies to Arbitration, or to a High Court of Judicature, then can the Commonwealth of Nations do the same. Nor should they hesitate, while, in the language of William Penn, such surpassing instances show that it may be done, and Europe, by her incomparable miseries, that it ought to be done. Nay, more,—if it would be criminal in these several clusters of States to reëstablish the Institution of War as Arbiter of Justice, then is it criminal in the Commonwealth of Nations to continue it.

Changes already wrought in the Laws of War teach that the whole System may be abolished. The exist[412]ence of laws implies authority that sanctions or enacts, which, in the present case, is the Commonwealth of Nations. This authority can, of course, modify or abrogate what it originally sanctioned or enacted. In the exercise of this power, the Laws of War have been modified, from time to time, in important particulars. Prisoners taken in battle cannot now be killed; nor can they be reduced to slavery. Poison and assassination can no longer be employed against an enemy. Private property on land cannot be seized. Persons occupied on land exclusively with the arts of Peace cannot be molested. It remains that the authority by which the Laws of War have been thus modified should entirely abrogate them. Their existence is a disgrace to civilization; for it implies the common consent of nations to the Arbitrament of War, as regulated by these laws. Like the Laws of the Duel, they should yield to some arbitrament of reason. If the former, once so firmly imbedded in Municipal Law, could be abolished by individual nations, so also can the Laws of War, which are a part of International Law, be abolished by the Commonwealth of Nations. In the light of reason and religion there can be but one Law of War,—the great law which pronounces it unwise, unchristian, and unjust, and forbids it forever, as a crime.

Thus distinctly alleging the practicability of our aims, I may properly introduce an incontrovertible authority. Listen to the words of an American statesman, whose long life was spent, at home or abroad, in the service of his country, and whose undoubted familiarity with the Law of Nations was never surpassed,—John Quincy Adams. "War," he says, in one of the legacies of his venerable experience, "by the common consent and [413]mere will of civilized man, has not only been divested of its most atrocious cruelties, but for multitudes, growing multitudes of individuals, has already been and is abolished. Why should it not be abolished for all? Let it be impressed upon the heart of every one of you, impress it upon the minds of your children, that this total abolition of War upon earth is an improvement in the condition of man entirely dependent on his own will. He cannot repeal or change the laws of physical Nature. He cannot redeem himself from the ills that flesh is heir to. But the ills of War and Slavery are all of his own creation; he has but to will, and he effects the cessation of them altogether."[361]

Well does John Quincy Adams say that mankind have but to will it, and War is abolished. Will it, and War disappears like the Duel. Will it, and War skulks like the Torture. Will it, and War fades away like the fires of religious persecution. Will it, and War passes among profane follies, like the ordeal of burning ploughshares. Will it, and War hurries to join the earlier institution of Cannibalism. Will it, and War is chastised from the Commonwealth of Nations, as Slavery has been chastised from municipal jurisdictions by England and France, by Tunis and Tripoli.

To arouse this public will, which, like a giant, yet sleeps, but whose awakened voice nothing can withstand, should be our endeavor. The true character of the War System must be exposed. To be hated, it needs only to be comprehended; and it will surely be abolished as soon as this is accomplished. See, then, that it is comprehended. Exhibit its manifold atro[414]cities. Strip away all its presumptuous pretences, its specious apologies, its hideous sorceries. Above all, men must no longer deceive themselves by the shallow thought that this System is the necessary incident of imperfect human nature, and thus cast upon God the responsibility for their crimes. They must see clearly that it is a monster of their own creation, born with their consent, whose vital spark is fed by their breath, and without their breath must necessarily die. They must see distinctly, what I have so carefully presented to-night, that War, under the Law of Nations, is nothing but an Institution, and the whole War System nothing but an Establishment for the administration of international justice, for which the Commonwealth of Nations is directly responsible, and which that Commonwealth can at any time remove.

Recognizing these things, men must cease to cherish War, and will renounce all appeal to its Arbitrament. They will forego rights, rather than wage an irreligious battle. But, criminal and irrational as is War, unhappily, in the present state of human error, we cannot expect large numbers to appreciate its true character, and to hate it with that perfect hatred making them renounce its agency, unless we offer an approved and practical mode of determining international controversies, as a substitute for the imagined necessity of the barbarous ordeal. This we are able to do; and so doing, we reflect new light upon the atrocity of a system which not only tramples upon all the precepts of the Christian faith, but defies justice and discards reason.

1. The most complete and permanent substitute would be a Congress of Nations, with a High Court of Judica[415]ture. Such a system, while admitted on all sides to promise excellent results, is opposed on two grounds. First, because, as regards the smaller states, it would be a tremendous engine of oppression, subversive of their political independence. Surely, it could not be so oppressive as the War System. But the experience of the smaller States in the German Confederation and in the American Union, nay, the experience of Belgium and Holland by the side of the overtopping power of France, and the experience of Denmark and Sweden in the very night-shade of Russia, all show the futility of this objection. Secondly, because the decrees of such a court could not be carried into effect. Even if they were enforced by the combined power of the associate nations, the sword, as the executive arm of the high tribunal, would be only the melancholy instrument of Justice, not the Arbiter of Justice, and therefore not condemned by the conclusive reasons against international appeals to the sword. From the experience of history, and particularly from the experience of the thirty States of our Union, we learn that the occasion for any executive arm will be rare. The State of Rhode Island, in its recent controversy with Massachusetts, submitted with much indifference to the adverse decree of the Supreme Court; and I doubt not that Missouri and Iowa will submit with equal contentment to any determination of their present controversy by the same tribunal. The same submission would attend the decrees of any Court of Judicature established by the Commonwealth of Nations. There is a growing sense of justice, combined with a growing might of public opinion, too little known to the soldier, that would maintain the judgments of the august tribunal assem[416]bled in the face of the Nations, better than the swords of all the marshals of France, better than the bloody terrors of Austerlitz or Waterloo.

The idea of a Congress of Nations with a High Court of Judicature is as practicable as its consummation is confessedly dear to the friends of Universal Peace. Whenever this Congress is convened, as surely it will be, I know not all the names that will deserve commemoration in its earliest proceedings; but there are two, whose particular and long-continued advocacy of this Institution will connect them indissolubly with its fame,—the Abbé Saint-Pierre, of France, and William Ladd, of the United States.

2. There is still another substitute for War, which is not exposed even to the shallow objections launched against a Congress of Nations. By formal treaties between two or more nations, Arbitration may be established as the mode of determining controversies between them. In every respect this is a contrast to War. It is rational, humane, and cheap. Above all, it is consistent with the teachings of Christianity. As I mention this substitute, I should do injustice to the cause and to my own feelings, if I did not express our obligations to its efficient proposer and advocate, our fellow-citizen, and the President of this Society, the honored son of an illustrious father, whose absence to-night enables me, without offending his known modesty, to introduce this tribute: I mean William Jay.

The complete overthrow of the War System, involving the disarming of the Nations, would follow the establishment of a Congress of Nations, or any general [417]system of Arbitration. Then at last our aims would be accomplished; then at last Peace would be organized among the Nations. Then might Christians repeat the fitful boast of the generous Mohawk: "We have thrown the hatchet so high into the air, and beyond the skies, that no arm on earth can reach to bring it down." Incalculable sums, now devoted to armaments and the destructive industry of War, would be turned to the productive industry of Art and to offices of Beneficence. As in the dead and rotten carcass of the lion which roared against the strong man of Israel, after a time, were a swarm of bees and honey, so would the enormous carcass of War, dead and rotten, be filled with crowds of useful laborers and all good works, and the riddle of Samson be once more interpreted: "Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness."

Put together the products of all the mines in the world,—the glistening ore of California, the accumulated treasures of Mexico and Peru, with the diamonds of Golconda,—and the whole shining heap will be less than the means thus diverted from War to Peace. Under the influence of such a change, civilization will be quickened anew. Then will happy Labor find its reward, and the whole land be filled with its increase. There is no aspiration of Knowledge, no vision of Charity, no venture of Enterprise, no fancy of Art, which may not then be fulfilled. The great unsolved problem of Pauperism will be solved at last. There will be no paupers, when there are no soldiers. The social struggles, so fearfully disturbing European nations, will die away in the happiness of unarmed Peace, no longer incumbered by the oppressive system of War; nor can there [418]be well-founded hope that these struggles will permanently cease, so long as this system endures. The people ought not to rest, they cannot rest, while this system endures. As King Arthur, prostrate on the earth, with bloody streams pouring from his veins, could not be at ease, until his sword, the terrific Excalibar, was thrown into the flood, so the Nations, now prostrate on the earth, with bloody streams pouring from their veins, cannot be at ease, until they fling far away the wicked sword of War. King Arthur said to his attending knight, "As thou love me, spare not to throw it in"; and this is the voice of the Nations also.

Lop off the unchristian armaments of the Christian Nations, extirpate these martial cancers, that they may feed no longer upon the life-blood of the people, and society itself, now weary and sick, will become fresh and young,—not by opening its veins, as under the incantation of Medea, in the wild hope of infusing new strength, but by the amputation and complete removal of a deadly excrescence, with all its unutterable debility and exhaustion. Energies hitherto withdrawn from proper healthful action will then replenish it with unwonted life and vigor, giving new expansion to every human capacity, and new elevation to every human aim. And society at last shall rejoice, like a strong man, to run its race.

Imagination toils to picture the boundless good that will be achieved. As War with its deeds is infinitely evil and accursed, so will this triumph of Permanent Peace be infinitely beneficent and blessed. Something of its consequences were seen, in prophetic vision, even by that incarnate Spirit of War, Napoleon Bonaparte, when, from his island-prison of St. Helena, looking [419]back upon his mistaken career, he was led to confess the True Grandeur of Peace. Out of his mouth let its praise be spoken. "I had the project," he said, mournfully regretting the opportunity he had lost, "at the general peace of Amiens, of bringing each Power to an immense reduction of its standing armies. I wished a European Institute, with European prizes, to direct, associate, and bring together all the learned societies of Europe. Then, perhaps, through the universal spread of light, it might be permitted to anticipate for the great European Family the establishment of an American Congress, or an Amphictyonic Council; and what a perspective then of strength, of greatness, of happiness, of prosperity! What a sublime and magnificent spectacle!"[362]

Such is our cause. In transcendent influence, it embraces human beneficence in all its forms. It is the comprehensive charity, enfolding all the charities of all. None so vast as to be above its protection, none so lowly as not to feel its care. Religion, Knowledge, Freedom, Virtue, Happiness, in all their manifold forms, depend upon Peace. Sustained by Peace, they lean upon the Everlasting Arm. And this is not all. Law, Order, Government, derive from Peace new sanctions. Nor can they attain to that complete dominion which is our truest safeguard, until, by the overthrow of the War System, they comprehend the Commonwealth of Nations,—

"And Sovereign LAW, the WORLD'S collected will,
O'er thrones and globes elate,
Sits empress, crowning good, repressing ill."[363]


In the name of Religion profaned, of Knowledge misapplied and perverted, of Freedom crushed to earth, of Virtue dethroned, of human Happiness violated, in the name of Law, Order, and Government, I call upon you for union to establish the supremacy of Peace. There must be no hesitation. With the lips you confess the infinite evil of War. Are you in earnest? Action must follow confession. All must unite to render the recurrence of this evil impossible. Science and Humanity everywhere put forth all possible energy against cholera and pestilence. Why not equal energy against an evil more fearful than cholera or pestilence? Each man must consider the cause his own. Let him animate his neighbors. Let him seek, in every proper way, to influence the rulers of the Nations, and, above all, the rulers of this happy land.

The old, the middle-aged, and the young must combine in a common cause. The pulpit, the school, the college, and the public street must speak for it. Preach it, minister of the Prince of Peace! let it never be forgotten in conversation, sermon, or prayer; nor any longer seek, by specious theory, to reconcile the monstrous War System with the precepts of Christ! Instil it, teacher of childhood and youth! in the early thoughts of your precious charge; exhibit the wickedness of War and the beauty of Peace; let your warnings sink deep among those purifying and strengthening influences which ripen into true manhood. Scholar! write it in your books, so that all shall read it. Poet! sing it, so that all shall love it. Let the interests of commerce, whose threads of golden tissue interknit the Nations, enlist the traffickers of the earth in its behalf. And you, servant of the law! sharer of my own peculiar [421]toils, mindful that the law is silent in the midst of arms, join to preserve, uphold, and extend its sway. Remember, politician! that our cause is too universal to become the exclusive possession of any political party, or to be confined within any geographical limits. See to it, statesman and ruler! that the principles of Peace are as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Let the Abolition of War, and the Overthrow of the War System, with the Disarming of the Nations, be your guiding star. Be this your pious diplomacy! Be this your lofty Christian statesmanship!

As a measure simple and practical, obnoxious to no objection, promising incalculable good, and presenting an immediate opportunity for labor, I would invite your coöperation in the effort now making at home and abroad to establish Arbitration Treaties. If in this scheme there is a tendency to avert War,—if, through its agency, we may hope to prevent a single war,—and who can doubt that such may be its result?—we ought to adopt it. Take the initiative. Try it, and nations will never return to the barbarous system. They will begin to learn War no more. Let it be our privilege to volunteer the proposal. Thus shall we inaugurate Permanent Peace in the diplomacy of the world. Nor should we wait for other governments. In a cause so holy, no government should wait for another. Let us take the lead. Let our republic, powerful child of Freedom, go forth, the Evangelist of Peace. Let her offer to the world a Magna Charta of International Law, by which the crime of War shall be forever abolished.

While thus encouraging you in behalf of Universal Peace, the odious din of War, mingled with pathetic [422]appeals for Freedom, reaches us from struggling Italy, from convulsed Germany, from aroused and triumphant Hungary. At bidding of the Russian Autocrat, the populous North threatens to pour its multitudes upon the scene; and a portentous cloud, charged with "red lightning and impetuous rage," hangs over the whole continent of Europe, which echoes again to the tread of mustering squadrons. Alas! must this dismal work be renewed? Can Freedom be born, can nations be regenerated, only through baptism of blood? In our aspirations, I would not be blind to the teachings of History, or to the actual condition of men, so long accustomed to brute force, that, to their imperfect natures, it seems the only means by which injustice can be crushed. With sadness I confess that we cannot expect the domestic repose of nations, until tyranny is overthrown, and the principles of self-government are established; especially do I not expect imperturbable peace in Italy, so long as foreign Austria, with insolent iron heel, continues to tread any part of that beautiful land. But whatever may be the fate of the present crisis, whether it be doomed to the horrors of prolonged strife, or shall soon brighten into the radiance of enduring concord, I cannot doubt that the Nations are gravitating, with resistless might, even through fire and blood, into peaceful forms of social order, where the War System will cease to be known.

Nay, from the experience of this hour I draw the auguries of Permanent Peace. Not in any international strife, not in duel between nation and nation, not in selfish conflict of ruler with ruler, not in the unwise "game" of War, as played by king with king, do we find the origin of present commotions, "with fear [423]of change perplexing monarchs." It is to overturn the enforced rule of military power, to crush the tyranny of armies, and to supplant unjust government,—whose only stay is physical force, and not the consent of the governed,—that the people have risen in mighty madness. So doing, they wage a battle where all our sympathies must be with Freedom, while, in sorrow at the unwelcome combat, we confess that victory is only less mournful than defeat. Through all these bloody mists the eye of Faith discerns the ascending sun, struggling to shoot its life-giving beams upon the outspread earth, teeming with the grander products of a new civilization. Everywhere salute us the signs of Progress; and the Promised Land smiles at the new epoch. His heart is cold, his eye is dull, who does not perceive the change. Vainly has he read the history of the Past, vainly does he feel the irrepressible movement of the Present. Man has waded through a Red Sea of blood, and for forty centuries wandered through a wilderness of wretchedness and error, but he stands at last on Pisgah: like the adventurous Spaniard, he has wearily climbed the mountain heights, whence he may descry the vast, unbroken Pacific Sea; like the hardy Portuguese, he is sure to double this fearful Cape of Storms, destined ever afterwards to be the Cape of Good Hope. I would not seem too confident. I know not, that, in any brief period, nations, like kindred drops, will commingle into one,—that, like the banyan-trees of the East, they will interlace and interlock, until there are no longer separate trees, but one united wood,

"a pillared shade
High overarched, and echoing walks between";


but I rest assured, that, without renouncing any essential qualities of individuality or independence, they may yet, even in our own day, arrange themselves in harmony; as magnetized iron rings,—from which Plato once borrowed an image,—under the influence of potent unseen attraction, while preserving each its own peculiar form, cohere in a united chain of independent circles. From the birth of this new order will spring not only international repose, but domestic quiet also; and Peace will become the permanent rule of civilization. The stone will be rolled away from the sepulchre in which men have laid their Lord, and we shall hear the new-risen voice, saying, in words of blessed truth, "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world."

Here I might fitly close. Though admonished that I have already occupied more of your time than I could venture to claim, except for the cause, I cannot forbear to consider, for a brief moment, yet one other topic, which I have left thus far untouched, partly because it is not directly connected with the main argument, and therefore seemed inappropriate to any earlier stage, and partly because I wished to impress it with my last words. I refer to that greatest, most preposterous, and most irreligious of earthly vanities, the monstrous reflection of War,—Military Glory.

Let me not disguise the truth. Too true it is that this vanity is still cherished by mankind,—that it is still an object of ambition,—that men follow War, and count its pursuit "honorable,"—that feats of brute force are heralded "brilliant,"—and that a yet prevailing public opinion animates unreflecting mortals to "seek the bubble reputation even in the cannon's mouth." Too true it [425]is that nations persevere in offering praise and thanksgiving—such as no labors of Beneficence can achieve—to the chief whose hands are red with the blood of his fellow-men.

Whatever the usage of the world, whether during the long and dreary Past or in the yet barbarous Present, it must be clear to all who confront this question with candor, and do not turn away from the blaze of truth, that any glory from bloody strife among God's children must be fugitive, evanescent, unreal. It is the offspring of a deluded public sentiment, and will disappear, as we learn to analyze its elements and appreciate its character. Too long has mankind worshipped what St. Augustine called the splendid vices, neglecting the simple virtues,—too long cultivated the flaunting and noxious weeds, careless of the golden corn,—too long been insensible to that commanding law and sacred example which rebuke all the pretensions of military glory.

Look face to face at this "glory." Study it in the growing illumination of history. Regarding War as an established Arbitrament, for the adjudication of controversies among nations,—like the Petty Wars of an earlier period between cities, principalities, and provinces, or like the Trial by Battle between individuals,—the conclusion is irresistible, that an enlightened civilization, when the world has reached that Unity to which it tends, must condemn the partakers in its duels, and their vaunted achievements, precisely as we now condemn the partakers in those wretched contests which disfigure the commencement of modern history. The prowess of the individual is forgotten in disgust at an inglorious barbarism.

Observe this "glory" in the broad sunshine of Chris[426]tian truth. In all ages, even in Heathen lands, there has been a peculiar reverence for the relation of Brotherhood. Feuds among brothers, from that earliest "mutual-murdering" conflict beneath the walls of Thebes, have been accounted ghastly and abhorred, never to be mentioned without a shudder. This sentiment was revived in modern times, and men sought to extend the circle of its influence. Warriors, like Du Guesclin, rejoiced to hail each other as brothers. Chivalry delighted in fraternities of arms sealed by vow and solemnity. According to curious and savage custom, valiant knights were bled together, that their blood, as it spurted forth, might intermingle, and thus constitute them of one blood, which was drunk by each. So did the powerful emperor of Constantinople confirm an alliance of friendship with a neighbor king. The two monarchs drank of each other's blood; and then their attendants, following the princely example, caught their own flowing life in a wine-cup, and quaffed a mutual pledge, saying, "We are brothers, of one blood."[364]

By such profane devices men sought to establish that relation, whose beauty they perceived, though they failed to discern, that, by the ordinance of God, without any human stratagem, it justly comprehended all their fellow-men. In the midst of Judaism, which hated Gen[427]tiles, Christianity proclaimed love to all mankind, and distinctly declared that God had made of one blood all the nations of men. As if to keep this sublime truth ever present, the disciples were taught, in the simple prayer of the Saviour, to address God as Father in heaven,—not in phrase of exclusive worship, "my Father," but in those other words of peculiar Christian import, "our Father,"—with the petition, not merely to "forgive me my trespasses," but with the diviner prayer, to "forgive us our trespasses": thus, in the solitude of the closet, recognizing all alike as children of God, and embracing all alike in the petition for mercy.

Confessing the Fatherhood of God, and the consequent Brotherhood of Man, we find a divine standard of unquestionable accuracy. No brother can win "glory" from the death of a brother. Cain won no "glory," when he slew Abel; nor would Abel have won "glory," had he, in strictest self-defence, succeeded in slaying the wicked Cain. The soul recoils from praise or honor, as the meed of any such melancholy triumph. And what is true of a conflict between two brothers is equally true of a conflict between many. How can an army win "glory" by dealing death or defeat to an army of its brothers?

The ancient Romans, not knowing this comprehensive relation, and recognizing only the exclusive fellowship of a common country, accounted civil war fratricidal, whose opposing forces, even under well-loved names of the Republic, were impious; and then, by unerring logic, these masters in War constantly refused "honor," "thanksgiving," or "triumph," to the conquering chief whose sword had been employed against fellow-citizens, though traitors and rebels. As the[428] Brotherhood of Man is practically recognized, it becomes impossible to restrict the feeling within any exclusive circle of country, and to set up an unchristian distinction of honor between civil war and international war. As all men are brothers, so, by irresistible consequence, ALL WAR MUST BE FRATRICIDAL. And can "glory" come from fratricide? None can hesitate in answer, unless fatally imbued with the Heathen rage of nationality, that made the Venetians declare themselves Venetians first and Christians afterwards.

Tell me not of homage yet offered to the military chieftain. Tell me not of "glory" from War. Tell me not of "honor" or "fame" on its murderous fields. All is vanity. It is a blood-red phantom. They who strive after it, Ixion-like, embrace a cloud. Though seeming to fill the heavens, cloaking the stars, it must, like the vapors of earth, pass away. Milton likens the contests of the Heptarchy to "the wars of kites or crows flocking and fighting in the air."[365] But God, and the exalted judgment of the Future, must regard all our bloody feuds in the same likeness,—finding Napoleon and Alexander, so far as engaged in War, only monster crows and kites. Thus must it be, as mankind ascend from the thrall of brutish passion. Nobler aims, by nobler means, will fill the soul. There will be a new standard of excellence; and honor, divorced from blood, will become the inseparable attendant of good works alone. Far better, then, even in the judgment of this world, to have been a doorkeeper in the house of Peace than the proudest dweller in the tents of War.


There is a pious legend of the early Church, that the Saviour left his image miraculously impressed upon a napkin which had touched his countenance. The napkin was lost, and men attempted to supply the divine lineaments from the Heathen models of Jupiter and Apollo. But the true image of Christ is not lost. Clearer than in the venerated napkin, better than in color or marble of choicest art, it appears in each virtuous deed, in every act of self-sacrifice, in all magnanimous toil, in any recognition of Human Brotherhood. It will be supremely manifest, in unimagined loveliness and serenity, when the Commonwealth of Nations, confessing the True Grandeur of Peace, renounces the War System, and dedicates to Beneficence the comprehensive energies so fatally absorbed in its support. Then, at last, will it be seen, there can be no Peace that is not honorable, and no War that is not dishonorable.

[1] The classical student will be gratified and surprised by the remains of antiquity described by Dr. Shaw, English chaplain at Algiers in the reign of George the First, in his "Travels, or Observations relating to Several Parts of Barbary and the Levant," published in 1738.

[2] Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chap. LI. Vol. IX. p. 465.

[3] Jefferson, without recognizing the general parallel, alludes to Virginia as fast sinking to be "the Barbary of the Union."—Memoir, Correspondence, etc., ed. T.J. Randolph, Vol. IV. pp. 333, 334.

[4] Sismondi, Literature of the South of Europe, Chap. XXIX. Vol. III. p. 402.

[5] The exact amount in our money is left uncertain both by Smollett and Roscoe, in their lives of Cervantes. It appears that it was five hundred gold crowns of Spain, which, according to his Spanish biographer, Navarrete, is equal to 6,770 reals, in the currency of the present day. (Vida de Cervantes, p. 371). The real is reckoned at ten cents.

[6] Pp. 140, 141.

[7] Busnot, History of the Reign of Muley Ismael: Preface.

[8] Gibbon, Roman Empire, Chap. LV. Vol. X. p. 190.

[9] Webster, Dictionary, word Slave.

[10] "Servitium invenere Lacedæmonii." Nat. Hist., Lib. VII. c. 57.

[11] Genesis xiv. 14; Ibid. xxxvii. 28. By these and other texts of the Scriptures, slavery, and even the slave-trade, have been vindicated. See Bruce's Travels in Africa, Book II. Ch. 2. Vol. II. p. 319. After quoting these texts, the complacent traveller says he "cannot think that purchasing slaves is in itself either cruel or unnatural."

[12] Odyssey, tr. Pope, Book XVII., 392, 393.

[13] Euripid., Iphig. in Taurid., 1400; Aristot., Polit., Lib. I. c. 1.

[14] Polit., Lib. I. c. 3. In like spirit are the words of the good Las Casas, when pleading before Charles the Fifth for the Indian races of America. "The Christian religion," he said, "is equal in its operation, and is accommodated to every nation on the globe. It robs no one of his freedom, violates none of his inherent rights, on the ground that he is a slave by nature, as pretended; and it well becomes your Majesty to banish so monstrous an oppression from your kingdoms in the beginning of your reign, that the Almighty may make it long and glorious."—Prescott, Conquest of Mexico, Vol. I. p. 379.

[15] A saying attributed by the Scholiast on Aristotle's Rhetoric to Alcidamas, a disciple of Gorgias of Leontini. See Aristotle's Ethics and Politics, tr. Gillies, Vol. II. p. 26.

[16] Institut., Lib. I. Tit. 2.

[17] De Re Rustica, Cap. II.

[18] Epig. III. 62.

[19] Tacitus, Ann., XIV. 43.

[20] Iliad. tr. Pope, Book I., 556, 557.

[21] Life of St. Wulstan, Book II. Chap. 20.

[22] Chronica Hiberniæ, or the Annals of Philip Flatsbury (in the Cottonian Library, Domitianus XVIII. 10); quoted in Stephen on West India Slavery, Vol. I. p. 6.

[23] Biographie Générale (Hoefer), Art. Patrice.

[24] Battle of Agincourt, st. 144.

[25] Encyclopédie Méthodique (Jurisprudence), Art. Esclavage.

[26] Biot, De l'Abolition de l'Esclavage Ancien en Occident, p. 440,—a work crowned with a gold medal by the Institute of France, which will be read with some disappointment.

[27] Koran, Chap. LXXVI.

[28] A Discourse concerning Tangier: Harleian Miscellany, Vol. V. p. 522.

[29] Purchas's Pilgrims, Vol. II. p. 1565.

[30] Prescott, History of Ferdinand and Isabella, Vol. III. p. 308. Purchas's Pilgrims, Vol. II. p. 813.

[31] Robertson, History of Charles the Fifth, Book V. Haedo, Historia de Argel, Epitome de los Reyes de Argel.

[32] Histoire des Français, Tom. XVII. pp. 101, 102.

[33] Robertson, History of Charles the Fifth, Book V.

[34] Robertson, History of Charles the Fifth. Book V.

[35] Clarkson, History of the Abolition of the Slave-Trade, Vol. I. p. 33.

[36] Robertson's Charles the Fifth, Book VI. A lamentable and piteous Treatise, verye necessarye for euerie Christen Manne to reade, wherin is contayned, not onely the high Entreprise and Valeauntnes of Themperour Charles the v. and his Army (in his Voyage made to the Towne of Argier in Affrique, etc.) Truly and dylygently translated out of Latyn into Frenche, and out of Frenche into English, 1542: Harleian Miscellany, Vol. IV. p. 504.

[38] Purchas's Pilgrims, Vol. II. pp. 881-886. Southey, Naval History of England, Vol. V. pp. 60-63. There was a publication specially relating to this expedition, entitled "Algiers Voyage, in a Journall, or briefe Reportary of all Occurrents hapning in the Fleet of Ships sent out by the Kinge his most excellent Majestie, as well against the Pirates of Algiers as others," London, 1621, 4to.

[39] Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol. I. p. 189.

[37] Guizot, Histoire de la Révolution d'Angleterre, Liv. II. Tom. I. p. 78. Strafford's Letters and Dispatches, Vol. I. p. 68. Sir George Radcliffe, the friend and biographer of the Earl, boasts that the latter "secured the seas from piracies, so as only one ship was lost at his first coming [as Lord Lieutenant to Ireland], and no more all his time; whereas every year before, not only several ships and goods were lost by robbery at sea, but also Turkish men-of-war usually landed and took prey of men to be made slaves."—Ibid., Vol. II. p. 434.

[40] Journal of the Sallee Fleet: Osborne's Voyages, Vol. II. p. 493. See also Mrs. Macaulay's History of England, Chap. IV. Vol. II. p. 219.

[41] Strafford's Letters and Despatches, Vol. II. pp. 86, 116, 129.

[42] Strafford's Letters and Despatches, Vol. II. p. 131.

[43] Ibid., p. 138.

[44] History of England, Book XXII. Vol. IV. p. 231.

[45] Works, p. 270.

[46] Compassion towards Captives: urged and pressed in Three Sermons on Heb. xiii. 3, by Charles Fitz-Geffry, Oxford, 1637. Libertas, or Reliefe to the English Captives in Algier, by Henry Robinson, London, 1642. Letters relating to the Redemption of the Captives in Argier and Tunis, by Edmond Cason, London, 1647. A Relation of Seven Years Slavery under the Turks of Algier, suffered by an English Captive Merchant, etc., together with a Description of the Sufferings of the Miserable Captives under that Merciless Tyranny, etc., by Francis Knight, London, 1640. The last publication is preserved in the Collection of Voyages and Travels by Osborne, Vol. II. pp. 465-489.

[47] Hume says, "No English fleet, except during the Crusades, had ever before sailed in those seas." (History of England, Chap. LXI. Vol. VII. p. 529.) He forgot the expedition of Sir Robert Mansel, already mentioned (ante, p. 408), which was elaborately debated in the Privy Council as early as 1617, three years before it was finally undertaken, and was the subject of a special work. See Southey's Naval History of England, Vol. V. pp. 149-157.

[48] Thurloe's State Papers, Vol. III. p. 527.

[49] Carlyle's Letters and Speeches of Cromwell, Part IX. Speech V. Vol. II. p. 235.

[50] Panegyric to my Lord Protector, st. 9.

[51] Rapin, History of England, Book XXIII. Vol. II. pp. 858, 864.

[52] Recueil des Traitez de Paix, Tom. IV. p. 43.

[53] Ibid., pp. 307, 476, 703, 756.

[54] Attorney-General v. Gibson, 2 Beav. R. 317, note.

[55] The Gentleman's Magazine, Vol. XVIII. p. 531.

[56] Relation of Seven Years Slavery under the Turks of Algier: Osborne's Voyages, Vol. II. p. 468.

[57] Relation of Seven Years Slavery: Osborne's Voyages, Vol. II. p. 470.

[58] In the melancholy history of war, this is remarked as the earliest instance of bombarding a town. Sismondi, who never fails to regard the past in the light of humanity, remarks, that "Louis the Fourteenth was the first to put in practice the atrocious method, newly invented, of bombarding towns,—of burning them, not to take them, but to destroy them,—of attacking, not fortifications, but private houses, not soldiers, but peaceable inhabitants, women and children,—and of confounding thousands of private crimes, each one of which would cause horror, in one great public crime, one great disaster, which he regarded only as one of the catastrophes of war." (Histoire des Français, Tom. XXV. p. 452.) How much of this is justly applicable to the recent sacrifice of women and children by forces of the United States at Vera Cruz! Algiers was bombarded in the cause of freedom; Vera Cruz, to extend slavery!

[59] Siècle de Louis XIV., Chap. XIV.

[60] Voltaire, Siècle de Louis XIV., Chap. XIV.

[61] Gentleman's Magazine, Vol. XVIII. p. 441.

[62] To the relations of these missions we are indebted for works of interest on the Barbary States, some of which I am able to mention. Busnot, Histoire du Règne de Muley Ismael, à Rouen, 1714. This is by a father of the Holy Trinity, and was translated into English. J.B. de la Faye, Relation, en Forme de Journal, du Voyage aux Royaumes de Tunis et d'Alger pour la Rédemption des Captifs, à Paris, 1726. Voyage to Barbary for the Redemption of Captives in 1720, by the Mathurin-Trinitarian Fathers, London, 1735. This is a translation from the French. Braithwaite's History of the Revolutions in the Empire of Morocco, London, 1729. This contains a journal of the mission of John Russel, Esq., from the English government, to obtain the liberation of slaves in Morocco. The expedition was thoroughly equipped. "The Moors," says the author, "find plenty of everything but drink, but for that the English generally take care of themselves; for, besides chairs, tables, knives, forks, plates, table-linen, &c., we had two or three mules loaded with wine, brandy, sugar, and utensils for punch."—p. 82.

[63] Roscoe, Life of Cervantes, p. 43.

[64] Witness an illustrative record. "The following goods, designed as a present from his Majesty to the Dey of Algiers, to redeem near one hundred English captives lately taken, were entered at the custom-house, viz.: 20 pieces of broadcloth, 2 pieces of brocade, 2 pieces of silver tabby, 1 piece of green damask, 8 pieces of Holland, 16 pieces of cambric, a gold repeating watch, 4 silver ditto, 20 pound of tea, 300 of loaf-sugar, 5 fusees, 5 pair of pistols, an escrutoire, 2 clocks, and a box of toys."—Gentleman's Magazine, 1734, Vol. IV. p. 104.

[65] Memoirs of Abraham Brown, MS.

[66] Relation of Seven Years Slavery: Osborne's Voyages, Vol. II. p. 489.

[67] Sewel's History of the Quakers, p. 397.

[68] Biot, De l'Abolition de l'Esclavage Ancien en Occident, p. 437.

[69] Haedo, Dialogo I. de la Captividad: Historia de Argel, pp 142-144.

[70] Roscoe, Life of Cervantes, p. 50. See his story of Española Inglesa.

[71] Gentleman's Magazine, Vol. XVIII. p. 413.

[72] Southerne, Oroonoko, Act III. Sc. 2. It is not strange that the anti-slavery character of this play rendered it unpopular at Liverpool, while prosperous merchants there were concerned in the slave-trade.

[73] Don Quixote, Part I. Book IV. Chap. 12.

[74] True Account of the Captivity of Thomas Phelps: Osborne's Voyages, Vol. II. p. 500.

[75] Roscoe, Life of Cervantes, pp. 32, 310, 311. In the same spirit Thomas Phelps says, "I looked upon my condition as desperate; my forlorn and languishing state of life, without any hope of redemption, appeared far worse than the terrors of a most cruel death."—Osborne's Voyages, Vol. II. p. 504.

[76] Annual Register, 1763, Vol. VI. p. 60.]

[77] El Trato de Argel.

[78] Roscoe, Life of Cervantes, pp. 31, 33, 308, 309. See also Haedo, Historia de Argel. p. 185. I refer to Roscoe as the popular authority. His work is little more than a compilation from Navarrete and Sismondi.

[79] At the time this Lecture was delivered, the Rev. Charles T. Torrey was a prisoner in the Penitentiary of Maryland, paying the penalty for aid to escaping slaves.

[80] Purchas's Pilgrims, Vol. II. p. 888.

[81] Purchas's Pilgrims, Vol. II. pp. 887, 888.

[82] Purchas's Pilgrims, Vol. II. pp. 889-896.

[83] A True Account of the Captivity of Thomas Phelps at Machiness in Barbary, and of his strange Escape, in Company of Edmund Baxter and others: Osborne's Voyages, Vol. II. pp. 499-510.

[84] Sewel, History of the Quakers, pp. 392-397.

[85] Busnot, History of the Reign of Muley Ismael, Chap. VII. p. 171.

[86] Busnot, History of the Reign of Muley Ismael, p. 184.

[87] Annual Register, Vol. XV. p. 130.]

[88] Annual Register, Vol. XIX. p. 176.]

[89] Morton, New England's Memorial, p. 62.

[90] Winthrop's Journal, Vol. II. p. 12.

[91] Records of First Church in Roxbury, MS.

[92] Middlesex Probate Files, MS.

[93] William Gilbert to Arthur Bridge, MS.

[94] Council Records, fol. 323. See Jackson v. Phillips, 14 Allen's Rep. 559.

[95] Journal of Chief-Justice Samuel Sewall, MS.

[96] M. Le Veillard to Dr. Franklin, October 9, 1785: Sparks's Franklin, Vol. X. p. 230.

[97] Boston Independent Chronicle, April 28, May 12, October 20, November 3, November 17, 1785; March 2, April 27, 1786.

[98] Ibid., May 18, 1786. Sparks's Franklin, Vol. IX. p. 507.

[99] Boston Independent Chronicle, Oct. 16, 1788. History of the War between the United States and Tripoli, pp. 59, 60.

[100] History of the War between the United States and Tripoli, pp. 62, 63. American Museum, 1790, Part II. Vol. VIII. Appendix IV. pp. 4, 5.

[101] History of the War between the United States and Tripoli, p. 52.

[102] Lyman's Diplomacy, Vol. II. pp. 353, 354.

[103] History of the War between the United States and Tripoli, pp. 64, 65. Lyman's Diplomacy, Vol. II. pp. 357, 358.

[104] Lyman's Diplomacy, Vol. II. pp. 359, 360.

[105] History of the War between the United States and Tripoli, pp. 69-71.

[106] Los Baños de Argel.

[107] Thoughts upon Slavery (1774), p. 24.

[108] Short Account of Algiers (Philadelphia, 1794), p. 18.

[109] From the Eagle Office, Hanover, New Hampshire, 1795.

[110] Chap. XXX. Vol. I. p. 193.

[111] Chap. XXXII. Vol. I. p. 213.

[112] Secret Journals of Congrese, 1786, Vol. IV. pp. 274-279.

[113] Brissot's Travels, Letter XXII. Vol. I. p. 253.

[114] Annals of Congress, 1st Cong. 2d Sess. Vol. II. col. 1198.

[115] Sparks's Franklin, Vol. II. p. 517.

[116] At Portsmouth, N.H., at a public entertainment, April 3, 1795, in honor of French successes.—Boston Independent Chronicle, Vol. XXVII. No. 1469.

[117] Annals of Congress, 4th Cong. 1st Sess. col. 11.

[118] United States Statutes at Large, Treaties, Vol. VIII. p. 133. Lyman's Diplomacy, Vol. II. p. 362.

[119] Annals of Congress, 4th Cong. 2d Sess. col. 1593.

[120] Lyman's Diplomacy, Vol. II. p. 381, note.

[121] Article XI.—United States Statutes at Large, Vol. VIII. p. 154. Lyman's Diplomacy, Vol. II. pp. 380, 381.

[122] Article VI.—United States Statutes at Large, Vol. VIII. p. 157. Lyman's Diplomacy, Vol. II. p. 400.—This treaty has two dates,—August, 1797, and March, 1799. William Eaton and James Leander Cathcart were agents of the United States at the latter date.

[123] United States Statutes at Large, Vol. VIII. p. 100. Lyman's Diplomacy, Vol. II. p. 350.

[124] History of the War between the United States and Tripoli, p. 80.

[125] Lyman's Diplomacy, Vol. II. p. 384.

[126] Miscellaneous Works of David Humphreys, p. 75.

[127] Miscellaneous Works of David Humphreys, pp. 52, 53.

[128] United States Statutes at Large, Vol. VIII. p. 214. Lyman's Diplomacy, Vol. II. p. 388.

[129] History of the War between the United States and Tripoli, p. 88.

[130] Noah's Travels, pp. 69, 70.

[131] Ibid., p. 144. National Intelligencer, March 7, 1815.

[132] United States Statutes at Large, Vol. VIII. p. 224. Lyman's Diplomacy, Vol. II. p. 376.

[133] Mackenzie's Life of Decatur, p. 268.

[134] Mémoire sur la Nécessité et les Moyens de faire cesser les Pirateries des États Barbaresques. Reçu, considéré, et adopté à Paris en Septembre, à Turin le 14 Octobre, 1814, à Vienne durant le Congrès. Par W. Sidney Smith. See Quarterly Review, Vol. XV. p. 139, where this is noticed. Schoell, Histoire des Traités de Paix, Tom. XI. p. 402.

[135] Quarterly Review, Vol. XV. p. 145. Edinburgh Review, Vol. XXVI. p. 449, noticing a Letter to a Member of Parliament on the Slavery of the Christians at Algiers, by Walter Croker, Esq., of the Royal Navy, London. 1816. Schoell, Histoire des Traités de Paix, Tom. XI. p. 402.

[136] Edinburgh Review, Vol. XXVI. p. 451. Osler's Life of Exmouth, p. 302. Mackenzie's Life of Decatur, pp. 261-263.

[137] Osler's Life of Exmouth, p. 297.

[138] Osler's Life of Exmouth, p. 303.

[139] Thurloe's State Papers, Vol. III. p. 390.

[140] Osler's Life of Exmouth, p. 333.

[141] Ibid., pp. 334, 335. Annual Register, 1816, Vol. LVIII. pp. 97]-105]. Shaler's Sketches of Algiers, pp. 279-294

[142] Osler's Life of Exmouth, p. 340.

[143] Ibid., p. 342.

[144] Ibid., p. 432. Shaler's Sketches of Algiers, p. 282.

[145] Purchas's Pilgrims, Vol. II. p. 1565.

[146] Braithwaite's Revolutions in Morocco, p. 233.

[147] Haedo, Historia, pp. 139, 140.—Besides illustrations of the hardships of White Slavery already introduced, I refer briefly to the following: Edinburgh Review, Vol. XXVI. pp. 452-454; Quarterly Review, Vol. XV. p. 145; Life of General William Eaton, p. 100; Noah's Travels, pp. 366, 367.

[148] Busnot, History of the Reign of Muley Ismael, Chap. VI. p. 164.

[149] Memoirs of Abraham Brown, MS.

[150] Biographie Universelle (Michaud): Art., Vincent de Paul.

[151] This translation is borrowed from Sismondi's Literature of the South of Europe, by Roscoe, Vol. III. p. 381. There is a letter of John Dunton, Mariner, addressed to the English Admiralty in 1637, which might furnish the foundation of a similar scene. "For my only son," he says, "is now a slave in Algier, and but ten years of age, and like to be lost forever, without God's great mercy and the king's clemency, which, I hope, may be in some manner obtained."—A True Journal of the Sallee Fleet, with the Proceedings of the Voyage, published by John Dunton, London Mariner, Master of the Admiral, called the Leopard: Osborne's Voyages, Vol. II. p. 492.

[152] Life of General Eaton, p. 154.

[153] Wilson's Travels, p. 93. Noah's Travels, p. 302. Shaler's Sketches of Algiers, p. 77. Edinburgh Review, Vol. XXXVIII. p. 403. Quarterly Review, Vol. XV. p. 168.

[154] Sale's Koran, Chap. XXIV. Vol. II. p. 194.—The right of redemption was recognized by the Hindoo laws. (Halhed's Code, Chap. VIII. § 2.) It was unknown in the British West Indies while slavery existed there. (Stephen on West India Slavery, Vol. I. p. 378.) It is also unknown in the Slave States of our country.

[155] Sale's Koran, Chap. LXXVI. Vol. II. p. 474, note.

[156] Haedo, Historia de Argel. p. 122. Quarterly Review, Vol. XV. pp. 169, 172. Shaler's Sketches of Algiers, p. 77. Short Account of Algiers, pp. 22, 25.—It seems to have been supposed, that, according to the Koran, the condition of slavery ceased when the party became a Mussulman. (Penny Cyclopædia: Art. Slavery. Noah's Travels, p. 302. Shaler's Sketches, p. 60.) In point of fact, freedom generally followed conversion; but I do not find any injunction on the subject in the Koran.

[157] "De los peores que en Argel auia."—Haedo, Historia de Argel, p. 85. Navarrete, Vida de Cervantes, p. 361.

[158] Roscoe, Life of Cervantes, pp. 303, 304. Cervantes, Baños de Argel.

[159] Biographie Universelle (Michaud): Art. Thomas de Jesus. Digby's Broad Stone of Honor, Tancredus, § 9, p. 181.

[160] Biographie Universelle: Art. Vincent de Paul.

[161] Memoirs, MS.

[162] Braithwaite's Revolutions in Morocco, p. 353.

[163] Keatinge's Travels, p. 250. Quarterly Review, Vol. XV. p. 146. See also Chénier's Present State of Morocco, Vol. I. p. 192, Vol. II. p. 369.

[164] Lempriere's Tour, p. 29O. See also pp.3, 147, 190, 279.

[165] Narrative of a Ten Years' Residence at Tripoli, p. 241.

[166] Travels, p. 368.

[167] Sketches of Algiers, p. 77.

[168] Histoire d'Alger: Description de ce Royaume, etc., de ses Forces de Terre et de Mer, Mœurs et Costumes des Habitans, de Mores, des Arabes, des Juifs, des Chrétiens, de ses Lois, etc. (Paris, 1830), Chap. XXVII.

[169] Sterne, Sentimental Journey: The Passport: The Hotel at Paris.

[170] Paradise Lost, Book XII. 64-71.

[171] Noah's Travels, pp. 248, 253. Quarterly Review, Vol. XV. p. 168.—Among the concubines of a prince of Morocco were two slaves of the age of fifteen, one English and the other French. (Lempriere's Tour, p. 147.) The fate of "one Mrs. Shaw, an Irish woman," is given in words hardly polite enough to be quoted. She was swept into the harem of Muley Ismael, who "forced her to turn Moor; ... but soon after, having taken a dislike to her, he gave her to a soldier."—Braithwaite's Morocco, p. 191

[172] Braithwaite's Morocco, p. 350. See also Quarterly Review, Vol. XV. p. 168.

[173] Braithwaite, p. 222.

[174] Ibid., p. 381.

[175] Law Reporter, July, 1846, Vol. IX. p. 98.

[176] Ibid., p. 99.

[177] Law Reporter, July, 1846, Vol. IX. p. 98.

[178] Revue Pénitentiare, 1844, p. 421.

[179] Prisons and Prisoners, p. 128.

[180] Eighteenth Annual Report of the Prison Discipline Society, p. 96.

[181] Notes on the United States, Vol. I. p. 224.

[182] Eighteenth Annual Report of the Prison Discipline Society, p. 95.

[183] Eighteenth Annual Report of the Prison Discipline Society, pp. 95, 96.

[184] Annual Meeting, May 30, 1837: Twelfth Report.

[185] July, 1830, Vol. IV. pp. 28-63.

[186] Valerius Maximus, Lib. VIII. c. 14.

[187] Æneid, IV. 181-183.

[188] Iliad, tr. Pope, XII. 537-542.

[189] De Officiis, Lib. II. c. 13.

[190] Dion Cassius, Lib. XLIII. c. 11.

[191] Southey, Chronicles of the Cid, Note 53.—In the translation by Lady Charlotte Guest this passage is somewhat mitigated. The Mabinogion, Vol. I. p. 300.

[192] Battle of Agincourt, st. 287.

[193] Sismondi's Literature of the South of Europe, Vol. IV. pp. 8-16.

[194] Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition, Vol. III. pp. 76, 80, 98.

[195] Dante, Divina Commedia: Purgatorio, Canto XI. 100-102.

[196] Cicero, De Finibus, Lib. III. c. 17.

[197] Essays, Book II. ch. 16: Of Glory. The will is preserved in the Life of Epicurus by Diogenes Laertius, Lib. X. c. 10. See also Cicero, De Finibus, Lib. II. c. 30, 31.

[198] Cicero, De Finibus, Lib. III. c. 17.

[199] Ethics, Lib. II. c. 7; Lib. IV. c. 3, 4.

[200] Pro Marcello, 8.

[201] Tusc. Quæst., Lib. III. c. 2.

[202] Pro Archia, 11.

[203] Pro C. Rabirio, 10.

[204] Epistolæ ad Diversos, Lib. V. 12.—The letter to Lucceius seems to have been a favorite, as it is a most remarkable, production of its author. Writing to Atticus, he says, "Valde bella est," and seeks to interest him in the same behalf. (Ad Atticum, Lib. IV. 6.) Pliny, who looked to the pen of Tacitus for Fame, but in a higher spirit than Cicero, expressly declares that he does not desire him to give the least offence to truth. "Quanquam non exigo ut excedas actæ rei modum. Nam nec historia debet egredi veritatem, et honeste factis veritas sufficit."—Plin. Epistolæ, Lib. VII. 33.

[205] Letter to H.A. Schultens, October, 1774: Life, by Lord Teignmouth, p. 126.

[206] Letter to C. Reviczki, March, 1771: Ibid., p. 96.

[207] Milton, Lycidas, 70-72.

[208] "Nulla est ergo tanta humilitas, quæ dulcedine gloriæ non tangatur."—Val. Max., Lib. VIII. c. 14, § 5.


"Però se campi d 'esti luoghi bui,
E torni a riveder le belle stelle,
Quando ti gioverà dicere: l'fui,
Fa che di noi alla gente favelle."

Inferno, Canto XVI. 82-85.

[210] Pensées, Part. I. Art. V. sec. 2: Vanité de l'Homme.

[211] Hor., Carm. IV. ix. 29, 30.

[212] "Virtutum omnium pretium in ipsis est. Non enim exercentur ad præmium; recte facti fecisse merces est."—Seneca, Epist. LXXXI. 17.

[213] Rex v. Wilkes, 4 Burrow's Reports, 2562.

[214] Memoirs: Miscellaneous Works, p. 94.

[215] Letter to a Noble Lord: Works, Vol. VII. p. 417.

[216] Letter to James G. Birney: Works, Vol. II. p. 175.

[217] Paradise Regained, Book III. 71-80.

[218] Of the Fear of God, Canto 2.

[219] Grahame, History of the United States, Vol. IV. pp. 51, 52.

[220] A Soldier: Works, Vol. I. p. 82.

[221] Simonides, apud Herod. Hist., Lib. VIII. c. 229.

[222] A brilliant writer, who never fails to exalt war, recognizes the parallel between the soldier and the executioner; but he finds the soldier so noble as to ennoble even the work of the executioner, when called to perform it.—Joseph de Maistre, Les Soirées de Saint-Pétersbourg, Tom. II. pp. 4-13.

[223] Lucan, Pharsalia, Lib. VII. 196.

[224] See Illustrations at the end of this Oration.

[225] Lucan, Pharsalia, Lib. I. 12.

[226] Pantagruel, Book II. ch. 30.

[227] "L'art militaire, c'est à dire, l'art funeste d'apprendre aux hommes à s'exterminer les uns les autres."—Massillon, Oraison Funèbre de Louis le Grand.

[228] Waller, Of Queen Catharine, on New Year's Day, 1683.

[229] Schiller, Columbus.

[230] Exodus, xxxiii. 18, 19.—It was a saying of Heathen Antiquity, that to help a mortal was to be a God to a mortal, and this is the way to everlasting Glory: "Deus est mortali juvare mortalem, et hæc ad æternam Gloriam via."—Plin., Nat. Hist., II. 7.

[231] Of Education: Prose Works, Vol. I. p. 273.

[232] Biographie Universelle: Art. Vincent de Paul.

[233] Howard's State of the Prisons, p. 469.

[234] Clarkson's History of the Abolition of the African Slave-Trade, Vol. I. p. 171.


"Et fessum quoties mutat latus, intremere omnem
Murmure Trinacriam, et cœlum subtexere fumo."

Æneid, III. 581, 582.

[236] Maritime International Law, Vol. II. p. 298.

[237] Commentaries on the Law of Nations, Preface, p. v.

[238] Maritime International Law, Vol. II. p. 441.

[239] Ovid, Epist. ex Ponto, Lib. IV. Ep. v. 43.

[240] Letter to Robert Morris, April 12, 1786: Writings of Washington, ed. Sparks, Vol. IX. p. 159.

[241] Letter to Robert Pleasants, January 18, 1779: Goodloe's Southern Platform, p. 79.

[242] Annals of Congress, 1st Cong. 2d Sess., 1198.

[243] Writings of Washington, ed. Sparks, Vol. I. p. 570.

[244] Hesiod, Opera et Dies, 109-201.

[245] Hor., Carm. III. vi. 45-48.

[246] Principj di una Scienza nuova d'intorno alla comune Natura delle Nazioni. The fourth book is entitled Del corso che fanno le nazioni; the fifth book, Del ricorso delle cose humane nel risurgere che fanno le nazioni.

[247] Cataldo Jannelli, Cenni sulla Natura et Necessità della Scienza delle Cose et delle Storie Umane. Cap. 3, sec. 6.

[248] Leibnitz, Opera Omnia (ed. Dutens), Tom. VI. p. 309: Leibnitiana, Art. LXXIV.—"Ut semper certa serie progredi valeamus." Opera Philosophica, p. 85, Art. XI., De Scientia Universali.—See also Théodicée, § 341.

[249] Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit, tr. Churchill, Book XV. ch. 5, § 12.

[250] Descartes, Discours de la Méthode, Part. 6: Œuvres, Tom. I. pp. 192, 193.

[251] Pascal, Pensées, Part. I. Art. 1, De l'Autorité en Matière de Philosophie: Œuvres (ed. Bossut, 1779), Tom. II.

[252] Parallèle des Anciens et des Modernes, en ce qui regarde les Arts et les Sciences.

[253] Fontenelle, Digression sur les Anciens et les Modernes: Œuvres, Tom. II. p. 249.

[254] Sur les Progrès successifs de l'Esprit Humain: Œuvres (ed. Daire), Tom. II. pp. 697-611.

[255] Plan de Deux Discours sur l'Histoire Universelle: Œuvres, Tom II. pp. 626-667.

[256] Esquisse d'un Tableau Historique des Progrès de l'Esprit Humain.

[257] Rapport fait à la Convention Nationale, au Nom du Comité d'Instruction Publique, etc.: Œuvres de Condorcet (ed. O'Connor et Arago, Paris, 1847-49), Tom. VI. pp. 3-5.

[258] Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, Lib. II. 78.

[259] De Augmentis Scientiarum, Lib. I.: Works, Vol. IV. p. 34.

[260] There is a sermon by Dr. Price, published in 1787, on The Evidence of a Future Period of Improvement in the State of Mankind.

[261] Journey to the Hebrides: Works (Oxford, 1825), Vol. IX. p. 98.

[262] Discourse on the Study of the Law of Nature and Nations, p. 34.

[263] Lyell's Principles of Geology (7th ed.), Vol. I. p. 216. Lyell's Travels in North America, Ch. 2. Horner's Anniversary Address, for 1847, before the London Geological Society, pp. 23-27. D'Archiac, Histoire des Progrès de la Géologie, Tom. I. p. 358.

[264] Supplied to me by the late Professor H.D. Rogers, from the notes of his Lectures.

[265] Campbell's Lives of the Lord Chancellors, Vol. II. ch. 40, p. 51.

[266] Essays of Basil Montagu, p. 69.

[267] Aubrey's Letters and Lives, Vol. II. p. 383.

[268] The Grand Concern of England, 1673: Harleian Miscellany, Vol. VIII. pp. 539, 540.

[269] Quarterly Review, Vol. XXXI. pp. 361, 362. Illustrations of this spirit might be indefinitely extended. One, made familiar to the world by Macaulay's History, since this Address was delivered, has too much point to be omitted. As late as the close of the reign of Charles the Second, the streets of London, with a population of half a million, were not lighted at night, and, as a natural consequence, became the frequent scene of assassination and outrage, perpetrated under the shelter of darkness. At last, in 1685, it was proposed to place a light, on moonless nights, before every tenth door. This projected improvement was enthusiastically applauded and furiously attacked. "The cause of darkness," says Macaulay, "was not left undefended. There were fools in that age who opposed the introduction of what was called the new light, as strenuously as fools in our age have opposed the introduction of vaccination and railroads, as strenuously as the fools of an age anterior to the dawn of history doubtless opposed the introduction of the plough and of alphabetical writing."—History of England, Vol. I. ch. 3.

[270] Of the Plough: Sermons, Vol. I. p. 65.

[271] Louis Blanc, Histoire de Dix Ans, Tom. V. ch. 10.

[272] Annals of Congress, 1st Cong. 2d Sess., 1198.

[273] Speeches and Forensic Arguments, p. 98.

[274] Memoir, Vol. III. p. 262.

[275] Ibid., p. 263.

[276] The Duty of Obedience to the Civil Magistrate, pp. 38-40.

[277] Wirt's Life and Character of Patrick Henry, pp. 373, 374.

[278] The votes, as officially determined, stood: For Taylor, 61,072; Cass, 35,284; Van Buren, 38,133.

[279] Longfellow's Poets and Poetry of Europe, p. 513.

[280] Clarendon, History of the Rebellion, Book VII. Vol. IV. p. 255.

[281] Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society, Vol. I. p. 224.

[282] Hon. Jeremiah Mason, of Boston, to Mr. Sumner.

[283] Leibnitz, Codex Juris Gentium Diplomaticus, Dissert. I. § 1: Opera (ed. Dutens), Tom. IV. Pars 3, pp. 287, 288. Fontenelle, Éloge de Leibnitz: Œuvres, Tom. V. p. 456.

[284] On the Applicability of the Pacific Principles of the New Testament to the Conduct of States, p. 10.

[285] Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy, Book VI. ch. 3.

[286] Since the delivery of this Address, Turkey and China have accepted our Law of Nations.

[287] Law of Nations, Preface.

[288] Robinson's, Chr., Admiralty Reports, Vol. I. p. 140.

[289] Heffter, Das Europäische Völkerrecht der Gegenwart, § 2.

[290] Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy, Book VI. ch. 12.

[291] Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy, Book VI. ch. 12.

[292] Cauchy, Du Duel considéré dans ses Origines, Liv. I. Seconde Époque, Ch. V. Tom. I. pp. 91, 92.

[293] Du Cange, Dissertations sur l'Histoire de St. Louis, Diss. XXVII. (XXIX.): Des Guerres Privées.

[294] Coxe, History of the House of Austria, Ch. XIX. and XXI.

[295] "Statuimus, juxta antiquum ecclesiasticæ observationis morem, ut quicumque tam impia et Christianæ paci inimica pugna alterum occiderit seu vulneribus debilem reddiderit, velut homicida nequissimus et latro cruentus, ab Ecclesiæ et omnium fidelium cœtu reddatur separatus," etc.—Canon XII. Concil. Valent.,—quoted by Cauchy, Du Duel, Liv. I. Première Époque, Ch. III., Tom. I. p. 43, note.

[296] "Nunc agentes gratias, quod ea Romana justitia finiret, feritasque sua novitate incognitæ disciplinæ mitesceret, et solita armis decerni jure terminarentur."—Velleius Paterculus, Lib. II. c. 118.

[297] Robertson, History of Charles V., Vol. I. Note 22.

[298] Widukindii, Res Gestæ Saxonicæ, Lib. II. c. 10: Monumenta Germaniæ Historica, ed. Pertz, Scriptorum Tom. III. p. 440.

[299] Robertson, History of Charles V., Vol. I. Note 22.—The Duel has a literature of its own, which is not neglected by Brunet in his Manuel du Libraire, where, under the head of Les Combats Singuliers, Tom. VI. col. 1636-1638, Table Méthodique, 28717-28749, will be found titles in various languages, from which I select the following: Joan. de Lignano, Tractatus do Bello, de Repressaliis, et de Duello, Papiæ, 1487; Tractatus de Duello, en Lat. y en Castellano, por D. Castillo, Taurini, 1525; Alciat, De Singulari Certamine, Lugd., 1543. In the development of civilization how can the literature of War expect more honor than that of the Duel?

[300] Liutprandi Leges, Lib. VI. cap. 65: Muratori, Rerum Italic. Script., Tom. I. Pars 2, p. 74.

[301] Esprit des Lois, Liv. XXVIII. ch. 23.

[302] Commentaries, Book IV. ch. 33, Vol. IV. p. 418.

[303] Plautus speaks in the Epidicus (Act III. Sc. iv. 14, 15) of one who obtained great riches by the Duelling Art, meaning the Art of War:—

"Arte duellica
Divitias magnas indeptum."

And Horace, in his Odes (Lib. IV. Carm. xv. 4-9), hails the age of Augustus, as at peace, or free from Duels, and with the Temple of Janus closed:—

"Tua, Cæsar, ætas
..... vacuum duellis
Janum Quirini clausit."

[304] Dictionnaire Philosophique, Art. Guerre.

[305] Matthew Paris, Historia Major, p. 274.

[306] Cauchy, Du Duel, Liv. I. Seconde Époque, Ch. III. Tom. I. p. 74.

[307] Plato, Laws, Book X. ch. 13, 14.

[308] Mass. Senate Documents, 1848: Doc. No. 13, pp. 4, 5.

[309] Ibid., Doc. No. 15, p. 23.

[310] Mass. House Documents, 1839: Doc. No. 6, p. 14.

[311] Works, Vol. VIII. p. 494.

[312] American Almanac, 1849, p. 162. United States Executive Documents: 28th Cong. 1st Sess., No. 15, pp. 1018-19; 35th Cong. 1st Sess., No. 60, pp. 6, 7.

[313] Jay's War and Peace, p. 13, note; and "True Grandeur of Nations," ante, Vol. I. p. 79.

[314] "Que l'on joigne à ces considérations des troupes toujours prêtes d'agir, mon épargne bien remplie, et la vivacité de mon caractère: c'étaient les raisons que j'avais de faire la guerre à Marie-Thérèse, reine de Bohême et d'Hongrie." These are the very words of Frederick, deliberately written in his own account of the war. Voltaire, on revising the work, dishonestly struck out this important confession, but preserved a copy, which afterwards appeared in his own Memoirs. Lord Brougham, in his sketch of Voltaire, says that "the passage thus erased and thus preserved is extremely curious, and for honesty or impudence has no parallel in the history of warriors."—Brougham, Lives of Men of Letters, Voltaire, p. 59.

[315] Sir William Jones, Ode in Imitation of Alcæus: Works, Vol. X. p. 389.

[316] True Grandeur of Nations, ante, Vol. I., pp. 97, seqq.

[317] King's Life of Locke, Vol. I. p. 99.


"Peuples, formez une sainte alliance,
Et donnez-vous la main."

La Sainte Alliance des Peuples.

[319] Barlow, Vision of Columbus, Book IX. 432-438.

[320] Locksley Hall.

[321] Law of Nations, Book II. ch. 18, § 329.

[322] Acte pour la Constitution Fédérative de l'Allemagne du 8 Juin, 1815, Art. XI. par. 4: Archives Diplomatiques, Vol. IV. p. 15.

[323] Æneid, Lib. VI. 726, 727.

[324] "Perfectio gaudii est pax."—Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Prima Secundæ, Quæst. LXX., Art. III. Concl.

[325] De Imitatione Christi, Lib. II. cap. 3.

[326] De Jure Belli ac Pacis, Lib. II. cap. 28, § 8.

[327] Traité des Moyens de conserver la Paix avec les Hommes: Essais de Morale, Tom. I. pp. 192-318. This little treatise has been printed in a recent edition of the Pensées of Pascal. Notwithstanding this great company, and the praise of Voltaire in his Écrivains du Siècle de Louis XIV., the reader of our day will be disappointed. See Hallam, Introduction to the Literature of Europe, Part IV. ch. 4, Vol. III. p. 393.

[328] Le Nouveau Cynée, ou Discours des Occasions et Moyens d'establir une Paix générale et la Liberté du Commerce par tout le Monde: Paris, 1623. A copy, found in one of the stalls of Paris, is now before me.

[329] Leibnitz. Observations sur le Projet d'une Paix Perpétuelle de l'Abbé de S. Pierre: Opera (ed. Dutens), Tom. V. pp. 56, 57.

[330] Clarkson, Life of William Penn, Ch. VI. Vol. II. pp. 82-85.

[331] Harmonies de la Nature: Œuvres, Tom. X. p. 138. Vœux d'un Solitaire: Ibid., Tom. XI. p. 168.

[332] Le Projet de Paix Perpétuelle.—A collection of the works of Saint-Pierre, in fourteen volumes, entitled Œuvres de Politique, appeared at Amsterdam in the middle of the last century. But this collection is not complete; I have several other volumes. Brunet introduces him into his Bibliographical Pantheon among "Modern Reformers"; but the space allowed is very scanty by the side of his namesake. His works are sympathetically described and analyzed in a volume published since this Address, entitled L'Abbé de Saint-Pierre, sa Vie et ses Œuvres, par G. de Molinari.

[333] Éloge de Saint-Pierre: Œuvres, Tom. XI. p. 113. See, also, Bescherelle, Dictionnaire National, under Bienfaisance.

[334] Les Caractères, Du Mérite Personnel, Tom. I. p. 93.

[335] Observations sur le Projet d'une Paix Perpétuelle; Lettre à l'Abbé de S. Pierre: Opera (ed. Dutens), Tom. V. pp. 56-62.

[336] Paradise Lost, Book VI. 29-37.

[337] The Nouvelle Biographie Générale concludes its notice of him thus:—"Après avoir mérité le beau surnom de Solliciteur pour le bien public, l'Abbé de Saint-Pierre mourut, en 1743, à l'âge de quatre-vingt-cinq ans."

[338] Caractères, Du Souverain, Tom. I. p. 332; Des Jugements, Tom. II. pp. 57-59.

[339] Extrait du Projet de Paix Perpétuelle de M. l'Abbé de Saint-Pierre.

[340] Die Abgötterei unsers Philosophischen Jahrhunderts.

[341] Widerlegung des Projects von Ewigen Frieden.

[342] Philosophie des Rechts, §§ 321-340: Werke, Band VIII. pp. 408-423.

[343] Ewiger und Allgemeiner Friede nach der Entwurf Heinrichs IV.

[344] Neues Staatsgebäude.

[345] Zum Ewigen Frieden, 1795; Verkündigung des nahen Abschlusses eines Tractats zum Ewigen Frieden in der Philosophie, 1796: Sämmtliche Werke, Band VI. pp. 405-454, 487-498.

[346] Idee zu einer Allgemeinen Geschichte in Weltbürgerlicher Absicht: Sämmtliche Werke, Band IV. pp. 141-157.

[347] Metaphysische Anfangsgründe der Rechtslehre, §§ 53-61, Das Völkerrecht: Sämmtliche Werke, Band VII. pp. 141-157.

[348] Grundlage des Naturrechts: Ueber das Völkerrecht: Sämmtliche Werke, Band III. pp. 369-382.

[349] Ueber das Unvermeidliche Unrecht.

[350] At the Paris Peace Congress of 1849, since the delivery of this Address, with Victor Hugo as President, and Richard Cobden as an active member, Mr. Suringar, of Amsterdam, referred to this Dissertation, and announced a copy of it which had been given him for presentation to the Congress by the son of the author, John de Wal, Professor of Jurisprudence at Leyden. My own copy is a valued present from Elihu Burritt.

[351] Bentham's Works, Part VIII. pp. 537-554.

[352] Letter to Josiah Quincy, Sept. 11, 1783; to Mrs. Mary Hewson, Jan. 27, 1783; to Richard Price, Feb. 6, 1780: Works, ed. Sparks, Vol. X. p. 11; IX. p. 476; VIII. p. 417.

[353] Franklin's Works, ed. Sparks, Vol. V. pp. 122-124. Collections of Mass. Hist. Soc., Vol. IV. pp. 79-85.

[354] Franklin's Works, ed. Sparks, Vol. II. pp. 485, 486. Lyman's Diplomacy of the United States. Vol. I. pp. 143-148.

[355] Letter to Sir John Sinclair, March 23, 1798: Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. IV. pp. 320, 321.

[356] MSS. of Samuel Adams, belonging to the historian, George Bancroft.

[357] Reports of Committees, 25th Cong. 2d Sess., No. 979.

[358] Mass. House Documents, Sess. 1844, No. 18.

[359] Congressional Globe, 30th Cong. 2d Sess., Jan. 16, 1849, p. 267. See also House Journal, Feb. 5, p. 372.

[360] It will be remarked that this history stops with the date of this Address.

[361] Oration at Newburyport, July 4, 1837, pp. 56, 57.

[362] Las Cases, Memorial de Sainte-Hélène, November, 1816.

[363] Sir William Jones, Ode in Imitation of Alcæus.

[364] Du Cange, Dissertations sur l'Histoire de Saint Louys par Jean Sire de Joinville, Diss. XXI. Ibid.: Petitot, Mémoires relatifs à l'Histoire de France, 1re Série, Tom. III. p. 349. Sainte-Palaye, Mémoires sur l'Ancienne Chevalerie, Part, III. Tom. I. p. 225. The same attempt at Brotherhood appears in the "Loka-Lenna, or Strife of Loc," quoted by Sir Walter Scott in his Notes to the Metrical Romance of "Sir Tristrem," p. 350:—

"Father of Slaughter, Odin, say,
Remember'st not the former day,
When in the ruddy goblet stood,
For mutual drink, our blended blood?"

[365] History of England, Book IV.: Prose Works (ed. Symmons), Vol. IV. p. 158.

Transcriber's Notes.
The punctuation and spelling are as in the original publication with the exception of some minor errors and the following:

Line 1308 inhabiants is now inhabitants.
Line 5931 pen is now peu.
Line 11490 candidades is now candidates.
Line 14496 bibiographical is now bibliographical.
Line 15668 fufilled is now fulfilled.

Pages 154 and 324 were numbered blank pages.

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