to Howe. He is the soul of disinterestedness. He has purged his character from all considerations of self, so far as mortal may do this; and his sympathies embrace all creatures. To this highest feature of goodness add intelligence and experience of no common order, all elevated and refined by a chivalrous sense of honor, and a mind without fear. I think of the words of the Persian poet when I meet Howe: ‘Oh God! have pity on the wicked. The good need it not; for in making them good thou hast done enough.’ We are together a good deal. Both have been wanderers, and both are bachelors; so we drive fast and hard, and talk, looking at the blossoms in the fields or those fairer in the streets. You have doubtless seen the ‘Edinburgh Review,’1 ere this. The tone is good and respectful; but all reviewers aim to seem wiser than the authors. They try to write downupon their subject; and happy he who can do this. I like Bancroft's history very much. It is not complete, perfect, or entirely satisfactory to the calm, truth-seeking mind; but it is eloquent, fervid, brilliant, and calculated to excite the patriotism of those who read it, and to stimulate the love of liberal institutions. It makes a deep impression. The reader is kept excited; he travels from mountain to mountain, from peak to peak, and never finds the repose of a valley or a canter over a level plain. Sparks will give us an anatomy of history, with red sealing-wax poured into all the veins, and every fibre at its full tension; but the heart will not beat. Let them both work in their vocation; they have good themes, and the country will gain by them. We do not differ much about McLeod. I trust Minos will teach the Lockport judge some of the duties of the bench. Where would Dante doom him? The English, you say, were right in destroying the ‘Caroline.’ I am disposed to think so on the facts as we have them; but their course can only be vindicated by the necessity of self-defence. Now what a nation does under this necessity and with this object is justifiable, as if the same was done by an individual. But in McLeod's case the inquiry cannot be pushed to the question of necessity and self-defence. The English Government acknowledge the act of the burning of the ‘Caroline,’ and take the responsibility for it. To a certain extent this was a warlike incursion upon our territory. Now all engaged in it, I admit, are prima facieguilty of murder, &c. They are, therefore, properly indicted in our courts; and being indicted, there is no prerogative here or in England to arrest the course of judicial proceedings. Lord Palmerston was too hasty in demanding the immediate discharge of McLeod. It would not be done in England, land of the common law and of liberal institutions. But, on his trial, I think McLeod will have a sufficient defence in showing that the act in which he was engaged was undertaken by him in military subordination to his superiors, and that it was an act of national and not individual aggression. The questions you put about the Duc d'enghien perplex me somewhat; but when we meet we will solve these. . . . Good-by! Ever and ever yours,C. S.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Chapter 16 : events at home.—Letters of friends.— December , 1837 , to March , 1839 .—Age 26 - 28 .
Chapter 17 : London again.—characters of judges.—Oxford.—Cambridge— November and December , 1838 .—Age, 27 .
Chapter 18 : Stratford-on-avon.—Warwick.—London.—Characters of judges and lawyers.—authors.—society.— January , 1839 , to March , 1839 .—Age, 28 .
Chapter 19 : Paris again.— March to April , 1839 .—Age, 28 .
Chapter 20 : Italy .— May to September , 1839 .—Age, 28 .
Chapter 21 : Germany .— October , 1839 , to March , 1840 .—Age, 28 - 29 .
Chapter 22 : England again, and the voyage home.— March 17 to May 3 , 1840 . —Age 29 .
Chapter 23 : return to his profession.— 1840 - 41 .—Age, 29 - 30 .
Chapter 24 : Slavery and the law of nations.— 1842 .—Age, 31 .
Chapter 25 : service for Crawford .—The Somers Mutiny.—The nation's duty as to slavery.— 1843 .—Age, 32 .
Chapter 27 : services for education.—prison discipline.—Correspondence.— January to July , 1845 .—age, 34 .
Chapter 28 : the city Oration,— the true grandeur of nations. —an argument against war.— July 4 , 1845 .—Age 34 .
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