previous next
[355] 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 and Croesus, 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

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
George B. McClellan (2)
Solon (1)
Herodotus (1)
Croesus (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: