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An Oration, delivered before the Municipal confidence in democratic principles, by
Authorities of the City of Boston, July 4, faith in the people, and by the spirit of 1859. By GEORGE SUMNER, etc., etc. mutual forbearance and charity," the oraBoston. 1839. pp. 125.
tor turns to that Europe to which our fa
thers looked for succor, now echoing to The opposition in the Common Coun- the clang of arms, and hostile legions arcil to the order (usual on such occasions rayed for combat.” in Boston) to print the oration of Mr. A tribute to Italy, for the gifts, poured Sumner, and the series of assaults it has out from her treasures of art, science, medencountered from the administration press, ical skill, and political knowledige, of literhave given it a considerable, though sec- ature and philosophy, to all the uses and ondary, importance. Intrinsically a per- adornments of human life, introduces a formance of great merit, those on whom reference to the Italian Republics of the the weight of his arguments and learning Middle Ages, which are shown to have fell disclosed their sense of its power by been based on these great principles :the anger of their debate and their efforts That all authority over the people emato repel it.
nates from the people,- should return to Its value, as containing a fresh and in- them at stated intervals, – and that its structive contribution to the knowledge of holders should be accountable to the peoour Revolutionary history, derived from ple for its use. “ To those Republics," original sources of inquiry, explored by it is added, “we also owe the practical Mr. Sumner in person, would alone have demonstration of the great truth, that po rescued from neglect any ordinary Fourth- state can long prosper or exist where inof-July oration.
telligent labor is not held in honor, and The services and aids of Spain, mate- that labor cannot be honorable where it is rial and moral, pecuniary and diplomatic,
not free.” to the American Revolutionary cause,
Mr. Sumner's defence of democratic rethe introduction, through the fortunes of publican ideas,- of the fitness of the EuCaptain John Lee of Marblehead, of the ropean peoples for self-government, - his American question into the policy and pol- repulse of those unbelieving theorists who ities of Spain,- the effect of the arrival of would consign the French and the Italians our National Declaration of the 4th of July, to the eternal doom of oppression, - are 1776, on the fate of that gallant New Eng- manly, powerful, and unanswerable. His land cruiser, then detained as a pirate, for hearty love of genuine democratic prinhis heroic exploits under our infant and ciples, as taught my the old republican unknown flag,- the incidents of vast and school of statesmen and philosophers, and varied labor and accomplishment in our his zealous pride of country, which al. behalf, connected with the name and ad- ways made him one of the most ensely ministration of the eminent Spanish min- American, in thought, word, and deed, ister and statesman, Florida Blanca,- the of all the Americans who have ever soweaving and spreading out of that network journed in the Old World, sluine forth of influences and circumstances, in the from every page of the Oration. And in toils of which France and Spain entangled the honest ardor of his defence of the natGreat Britain, until she found herself con- ural and political rights of man, as they fronted by much of the physical and all were taught by Turgot, by Montesquieu, the moral power of the Continent, and by Jefferson, not content with declamafrom which all extrication was made hope- tion or rhetoric, he ploughis deep into the less, until the American Colonies should reasoning by which they were demonbe free,- the origin of “the armed neu- strated or defended, and ranges wille over trality," and the shock it gave to the naval the fields of learning by which they were power of England, in the very crisis of the illustrated. Careful for nothing but for hopes of American liberty,- are presented the truth itself, he refutes the errors of a in a narrative, clear, condensed, and orig- French writer who had charged practical inal.
ingratitude on the part of America toFrom the aspect of peace and freedom wards de Beaumarchais, the agent of the in which our country so happily reposes, first benefactions of France to these Cologoing on prospering and increasing, "by nies, and arraigns and exposes the histor
ical mistakes of Lord Brougham and of required of one not in the arena of politPresident Fillmore, unfavorable to Re- ical strife, who for a large part of his manpublican France and to Continental liber- hood has occupied himself abroad in the ty.
studies of an intelligent scholar and a paThe crimes of Austria are shown to have triotic American, somewhat of self-denial, been made possible by the moral support to throw away the certainty of almost uniAustria has received from the government versal cheers for his performance, by inof England. The fruits of the reverses curring the displeasure of some of his ausuffered by Hungary, and by other nation- dience and many of his countrymen. alities struggling for independence and It was not, however, in the interest of popular liberty, are exhibited in the sac- any opinion of African slavery that the rifices since endured by England in the case of Scott was here referred to. It was war in the Crimea, and in the embarrass- in the interest of republican liberty everyments of the present hour.
where, endangered by all departures in Among our own duties and responsibil- the model republic of the world from funities to the great and world-wide cause of damental principles of good government, liberty,- discussed thus far in its relations and all the more perilled in proportion to to Europe,– Mr. Sumner proceeds to pre- the station, quality, and character of the sent the grand duty we owe, not less to active offender. ourselves than to Europe, of giving to the And Mr. Sumner was right. The truth struggling nations an example of govern- of history, the law of this land, and of all ment true to the memories of our Nation- lands where there is any law which marks al Anniversary, and to the fundamental a boundary between legal right and desideas of civil freedom “implied in an in- potic usurpation, unite to denounce, and dependent, but rigidly responsible judicia- will forever condemn, the judicial magisry, and a complete separation of the legis- trate whose great name is tarnished and lative and judicial functions.”
whose "great office " is degraded by this From Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Mar- political pronunciamento, uttered from the shall, and Story, - to say nothing of Eng. loftiest judicial place in America. lish and French jurists, – Mr. Sumner Stripped of verbiage and technicalities, brings authority to define and illustrate the case is within the humblest comprethe true place of the judicial office in the hension. The chief justice and a majority political system of a free government. of his associates held that Dred Scott, who And here, fidelity to those principles of sued his master for his freedom in the liberty he had explained and defended, fi- Federal court, had been already legally dedelity to the “good old cause” itself, at clared to be the slave of that same master home and in the grand forum of the na- by the highest court of the State of Mistions, demanded and received the frank souri, in which State Scott resided at the avowal, that “a recent scene in the Su
They held that this decision of the preme Court of the United States has shown Missouri court was binding on all other that Jefferson was no false prophet, and tribunals ; and that the Federal court has furnished at the same time a serious had no authority to reverse it, even if warning to all who prefer a government wrong. based upon law to either despotism or an- The merits of the cause then before the archy.”
court were thus conclusively disposed of, The clear and sharp, merciless and log- whether the decision be regarded as bearical veracity with which he discriminates ing on the main issue between the parties, between the solemn judgment of a tribu- or on the plea in abatement filed by the nal and a stump speech from the bench,- defendant, avowing that Scott was not a the startling narration of decisions and citizen of Missouri,- an averment, if true, statutes, practice and precedent, condens- fatal to his standing in the Federal court.ed into a few of the closing pages of the since its jurisdiction of the cause depended Oration, with which the discussion read by on the citizenship of the litigants. In a Chief Justice Taney in the famous case word, if he was a slave, he was no citizen. of Dred Scott is confronted and exposed, - If he was the slave of Sanford, his doom are among the greater merits of this elab- was fixed, his dream of rights dissolved. orate and able discourse. It must have If the decision of the Missouri court was finally binding, the functions of the Feder- is the illustration of that subject which al tribunal were at an end.
has been called "the greatest of our social What, then, was the pertinency of going evils," and which, in its present aspect, is on to argue the effect of the Ordinance of certainly one of the saddest that the states1787 orer Scott while a resident in Illi- man or the moralist is called upon to connois, or of the Missouri Compromise on template, and yet one the duration of which him during his residence in Wisconsin, or seems to be inevitably coexistent with evthe effect of his color, race, or ancestral ery form of civilized society yet known to disabilities upon a cause controlled finally the world. The author has sought his end and beyond appeal by the authority of a by means of a fictitious autobiography. decision already made and recorded ? This was of course. No unusual faculty
Mr. Buchanan made hot haste to use in the selection of methods was necesthis pronunciamento of his chief justice, is- sary to the choice; for only in the autosued only a few hours after his inaugura- biographical form could the inner life of a tion as President, and withheld until after courtesan be so revealed as to present a the election of 1856 had taken place. He truthful and living picture of her soul's proclaimed -- on its authority as a judicial experience. A fine novel of this kind exposition of a point of constitutional law – would be a great book, and one productive the existence of slavery in the Territory of of much good ; not, indeed, directly to the Kansas. And he endeavored to make it wretched class that would furnish studies efficient and powerful by practical appli- for it, but to society at large, and so indirectcation in the administration of the govern- ly to the class in question, by providing a ment of the Territory, and by interpolating subject of this kind which could be studied these bastard dogmas, dropped from the and talked about. Dumas fils' “Dame aux Federal bench, into the creed of the polit- Camelias” is a great melodramatic story; ical party of which he was the official but it is so exceptional in its incidents and chief.
episodical in its character, that its heroine These dicta of Mr. Chief Justice Taney is quite worthless as a specimen for exam. made Dred Scott neither more nor less a ination and analysis; and it is, beside, so slave, neither more nor less a citizen, than very French as to be almost valueless in he had been without their utterance. But this regard, for that reason alone. What they aided the purpose of subjugating it would be well to have written is the Kansas, of opening all American terri- story of an abandoned woman, told simply tory to slavery, of Africanizing the con- and without any reserve, except that of tinent by reopening the slave-trade, of decency, and purely from a woman's point breaking down barriers which State legis. of view. But, except by a woman, and at lation has interposed against the introduc- the cost of the experience to be recounted, tion of slaves, and of putt
this is manifestly possible only to genius. gandists of slavery in full possession of The author of “Out of the Depths" has every power.
not attained the desideratum ; but has yet We gladly record our sense of the skill, approached so near it, that we fear the learning, and intrepidity with which Mr. right man, or, possibly, woman, may be Sumner fulfilled his task of presenting, de- deterred from the attempt to do better. If fining, and defending, within the brief lim- 80, there is a good subject - good for the its of a single oration, the cause of Liberty, making of a grand psychological, physio– Liberty,- American, European, univer- logical, and dramatic study — lost. sal.
The subject of this professed autobiography, Mary Smith, is the daughter of a
gardener on a large English estate. Her Out of the Depths. The Story of a Wom- family is much noticed and favored by the
an's Life. London: Macmillan & Co. ladies of the mansion, and she, who is 8vo. pp. 381.
handsome and intellectual, soon acquires
tastes and an education above her posiThe author of this book is like an awk- tion; and as she is vain and selfish and ward angler, who fails to take a trout him- of a voluptuous temperament, the conseself, and spoils the water for the more skil- quence seems inevitable. Her first fault, ful man who may follow him. Its object lowever, is committed with her betrothed
husband, a young gentleman destined for cherish her; and she receives a proposal the Church, by whose sudden death, at a of marriage from an estimable and wealthy time when his life was more than ever es- farmer, who persists in his suit, even after sential to her happiness, she is left an out- she has told him of her former life, and cast, a creature to be spurned from the after the small-pox, caught on a ministradoor of those upon whose tender care Na- tion of mercy, has harrowed all the beauty ture and themselves had given her unex- from her face. But rapid consumption tinguishable claims. She finds shelter and
supervenes, and relieves the author from kind treatment with two girls who belong, the embarrassing position into which he though not ostensibly, to the class into had brought himself. which she is about to fall, and soon she This is all the story that Mary Smith has appears as the mistress of a foolish young to tell; and it will be seen, that, so far as nobleman, for whom she has not the least the incidents are concerned, it is commonaffection. At last he wearies ot' and parts place enough. It is not distinguished by with her, and she finds a second companion one novel incident, or one fresh characand protector in an eminent barrister, who ter, except, perhaps, the muscular divine. takes pleasure in cultivating her literary Even in the grouping and narration of its tastes. Her unfaithfulness to him results old incidents it exhibits no dramatic powin a separation, and she passes into the er, and little skill of characterization in lands of a third keeper, who abandons her the portraiture of its personages.
And on occasion of his approaching marriage. not only does a matter-of-fact air pervade Infuriated at his desertion, she intrudes the narrative, but the tale is told with upon him at a social party at his private such reticence of fact as well as of feeling, chambers, and behaves so outrageously that it reveals but little of the real life of a that she is handed over to the police, and London courtesan, and leaves the reader her name appears in public as that of an almost as ignorant as he was when he took infamous and disorderly woman.
From up the book of what it is that makes the this point she rapidly descends to the low- horror of such existence; all of which est rank of her unfortunate class. On her might have been imparted without any way, a strong band is put out to save her. violation of the decorum proper to such It is that of a gigantic young clergyman, a book, and which, therefore, should not who allows her to think that she has de- have been withheld. The book, too, is coyed him to her room, but who really much too goody-goody. There is too much goes there to endeavor to turn her from preaching throughout it, and in certain her course of life. She scorns his exhor- parts a suddenness in the kneeling down tations, and attempts to brow beat him ; to pray that is quite startling. This stupid but she finds him ready for a row upon sort of goodness helps much to defeat the the spot. He offers to fight her crowd of
purpose of the work.
Even the strong bullies singlehanded, and when she locks minister, although his is not the old-fashthe door upon him, twists the lock off, ioned way, seems to have more beef on his hasp and all, with a turn of his wrist. Al- bones than brains in his head, or he woulil though they part,- he none the worse, she not answer to a desperate exclamation of none the better, for the interview,-it is Mary Smith,-“Don't say that God onnot without fruits ; for he leaves her his ly knows what is best for us all; even you, address, and when, after being reduced and all like you, may begin to live for the to the lowest depths of degradation and good of society, without being its bane." brought to the last endurable pinch of This is very true,-as true as Justice Shalsuffering, she determines, at the death-bed low's original observation, that “we must of a repentant companion, to reform at any all die.” But the idea of attempting to cost, and does set her face upward, and is impress a degraded woman of the town by beaten back and trodden under foot by the telling her that she, and all like her, might righteously uncharitable of her own sex, be brought to live for the good of society ! she thinks of her big clergyman, seeks But in spite of these faults, the book him out, and by his instrumentality is tak- has one great merit, which is not too comen into the country, and made the mistress mon ; it seems to be the truthful story of of a school in his parish. Here the friends a real life. This impression is partly the of her youth find her, forgive her, and result of a peculiarity of style which is very difficult to express otherwise than Plowden, was unfaithful to him, it was by saying that the use of language seems not for love of fine clothes or fine society. to indicate that the writer is of the condi- It is not long since our whole country tion of life in which Mary Smith professes was shocked by the dire results of a simto have been born, and has acquired a ilar abandonment to vanity and wantonknowledge of language and literature in ness, about which the usual amount of the manner in which she relates that she commonplace and cant was uttered. It is acquired hers. There is no vulgarity, but time that the very truth was told about a certain air of constrained propriety, and this matter, in sad earnestness and singlean absence of any elegance, or grace, or ness of purpose. We hoped to find the indications of a slow and unconsciously whole truth in “Out of the Depths”; but, acquired acquaintance with the phrase- finding only a part of it, we can greet it ology of cultivated society. If this be only with a partial welcome. really assumed, the author has exhibited a delicate refinement in the art of writing not surpassed in any work of imagination Reply to the “Statement of the Trustees” of known to us. Another ground for the seem- the Dudley Obserralory. By BENJAMIN ing actuality of the story, to those who APTHORP GOULD, JR. Albany : Printhave any knowledge of the class to which ed by Charles Van Benthuysen. 1859. its heroine belongs, is the cause to which 8vo. pp. 366. she attributes her fall. This was not seduction; for she confesses, what hardly The question between Dr. Gould and one in a thousand of her sisters in shame the Trustees of the Albany Observatory will fail to confess, if they speak the truth, was not one of merely private or passing that she was not seduced ; -and neither interest. It concerned not only all men was it poverty; for her father was well-to- of science, but all men of honor. It condo, and she the petted attendant, almost cerned all who like pluck, and who, in a the friend, of a young lady of wealth and quarrel, instinctively take sides with one station ; — but it was her vanity and her against many. It was of interest to men of unrestrained passion. She is represented, science, because the question was between in the first place, as regarding a good
show and reality, between newspaper no. match, a rich husband, as the great object toriety and the quiet advancement of real of life ; and to such a woman chastity is and enduring knowledge. It concerned not a sentiment, but a dictate of prudence; men of honor, because it was of some conjust as to a man whose great purpose is sequence to know whether public senti. the getting of money, honesty is but the ment in America would justify, nay, tol. best policy. After she has met the man erate even, the printing of contidential let. who brings her fate with him, (it might ters, and not only the printing, but the as well have been any other of his class,) garbling of them to suit the ends of pershe writes,-“ The one great pleasing and sonal spite. It concerned lovers of fairwretched hope of my mind was that I play, because it was to be settled whether should see him again; for it is so pleasant it is right to accuse a man of peculation to believe that any man in a higher station whom you wish to convict of disagreeable should take an interest in me.” And again she speaks of “exultation at the prospect Dr. Gould's pamphlet is a thorough vinwhich opened before me of being raised dication of himself. It is so not only as out of the station in life from which I to graver charges, but incidentally, by its sprang by birth”; and again, of her “de- perfect quietness of tone, it answers the sire of being a lady.” This vanity it accusation of bad temper. The hitting is is, this desire to dress and live like the none the less severe that it is done with women above them, and have intercourse scientific precision, and the astronomer with the men above them, which leads the shows his ability to make his antagonists greater number of our fallen women to see stars ” in a less comfortable way than their ruin, or, rather, sends them to it with through a telescope. There is a grim bu. their eyes open; and for the rest, when mor, too, as well as dignity, in the cool Mary Smith, living in her own fine house, way in which Dr. Gould recapitulates all the petted mistress of the wealthy Mr. the charges made against him,- especialy