with a soul full of tenderness, he did not allow the sacred regard for human life, nor the wicked machinations of conspiracy, nor the fear of evil tongues at home, to shake his solid mind.
's argument on the ‘Somers
’ mutiny shows that he had no sentimental notions on the right to use force in maintaining lawful authority, even to the extent of taking life.
War he thought a wasteful and wicked method of settling international disputes, and of capital punishment he questioned the expediency; but he believed in a vigilant municipal police, in stern dealing with mobs, and in the swift and certain execution of the laws.
His reflections in one of his letters on the tardiness of the National Government
in suppressing the rebellion in Rhode Island
is in this connection instructive.1
wrote, July 11, 1843:—
Your article is excellent, and pleases my father very much.
His opinion here and everywhere is worth much more than mine; but I feel the full force and justice of your reasoning.
You have discussed the subject in a very dispassionate and manly manner; and many of the passages, especially that one ending with an appeal to Varus and his legions, were written in a happy moment.
I honor your learning in the notes.
It is most pertinent,— like the spontaneous oozings of a well saturated mind, not hastily huddled together for the nonce.
, while differing in some respects from Sumner
's conclusions, wrote:—
Your argument is written with great ability,—humane, scholar-like, and deeply interesting.
I respect the power, I delight in the pure feeling, of the writer; while my mind, on some points, wanders in a little different direction from some of your results.
was very grateful for this timely and able vindication, in a magazine of the highest authority.
As soon as he ascertained its author, he wrote Sumner
a letter of thanks, in which he communicated the approval it had received from Dupont
and other officers.
Soon after, he welcomed Sumner
as a guest at his home at Tarrytown
, on the Hudson
; and though afterwards differing widely from him in his views on the peace question, the warmth and constancy of his friendship for his defender never failed.
Before embarking on an expedition in the Mexican War
, he gave a sealed letter to his wife, which was to be opened only after his death.
When the seal was broken after that event in 1848, it was found to contain this remembrance:—