with one who is still living, and may chance to read the pages in which his military character is delineated.
What is just praise when spoken of the dead may sound like flattery when spoken of the living.
In the interview between Solon
, so beautifully narrated by Herodotus
, the king was told by his wise guest that no man could be called happy until a fortunate life had been closed by a peaceful death; for that so long as a man was alive he was the sport and prey of fortune, and no one could tell what the future had in store for him. In like manner, no accurate estimate can be made of the worth and services of a soldier or statesman until the seal of death is set upon his rounded life and there is no more for him any earthly future.
Far distant, we trust, is the day when it will be seasonable to take the gauge and dimensions of General McClellan
's powers and accomplishments and assign to him his due place on the roll of departed worth.
And there are other reasons why we must be content to wait for a calm and dispassionate estimate of General McClellan
's services and merits.
A civil war was raging when he was dismissed from the command of the Army of the Potomac, and it is raging still; and the end seems neither near nor certain.
A nation engaged in so fierce a struggle as ours is in, no condition to weigh, to examine, to compare, and to decide,--as a lake lashed into fury by the tempest can return no true image of the sky that bends over it. The passions which civil war fosters and creates forbid the exercise of a judicial understanding.
A court of justice