THE BAY STATE MONTHLY
A New England Magazine
HISTORY, BIOGRAPHY, LITERATURE
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BAY STATE MONTHLY COMPANY
No. 43 MILK STREET
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1885, by the BAY STATE MONTHLY COMPANY, in the office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington. All rights reserved.
CONTENTS OF VOLUME III.
Adams, Samuel, The Patriot, Edward P. Guild 401 (4 Illustrations) Amesbury, The Home of Whittier, Frances C. Sparhawk 418 (3 Illustrations) Andrew, John Albion, 141 (2 Illustrations) Among the Books 136, 218, 306, 388, 469 Assessment Insurance G.A. Litchfield 317 Assessment Life Insurance Sheppard Homans 411 Authoritative Literature of George Lowell Austin 313, 408 the Civil War Boston Latin School, The 74 Christopher Gault.—A Story Edward P. Guild 278 City of Worcester, The Fanny Bullock Workman 147 (18 Illustrations) Clarke, Colonel John B., 9 Sketch of the Life of Civil War, Authoritative 313, 408 Literature of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty vs. George W. Hobbs 17 Monroe Doctrine Coffin, Charles Carleton, 1 Sketch of the life of Concord Men and Memories, Geo. B. Bartlett 224 (6 Illustrations) Concord, N.H., Impression Prof. Emile Pingault 16 D'un Francais Conspiracy of 1860-61, The Geo. Lowell Austin 233 Crapo, Hon. William Wallace, Edward P. Guild 309 Biographical sketch David, Barnabas Brodt Rev. J.G. Davis D.D. 69 Divorce Legislation of Chester F. Sanger 27 Massachusetts Drowne, Shem, and his Handiwork Elbridge H. Goss 33 Early English Poetry Prof. Edwin H. Sanborn LL.D. 125 Editor's Table 139, 215, 300, 384, 463 Elizabeth, A Romance of Frances C. Sparhawk 48, 107, 202, Colonial Days 289, 384, 447 First New England Witch Willard H. Morse M.D. 270 Fort Shirley Prof. A.L. Perry 341 Grimke Sisters, The George Lowell Austin 183 Hero of Lake Erie, The Hon. William P. Sheffield 321 (1 Illustration) Hingham, (3 Illustrations) Francis H. Lincoln 258 Historical Record 303, 386, 465 Hollis Street Church 47 Home of Whittier, Amesbury The Frances C. Sparhawk 418 (3 Illustrations) House of Ticknor, The Barry Lyndon 266 (4 Illustrations) Insurance, Assessment G.A. Litchfield 317 Insurance, Assessment Life Sheppard Homans 411 Jackson, Helen Hunt 256 Kate Field's New Departure Edward Increase Mather 429 (1 Illustration) Lake Erie, The Hero of Hon. William P. Sheffield 321 (1 Illustration) Lincoln, Abraham George Lowell Austin 165 Long, John D., A Brief Biography 221 Marblehead in 1861, The Response of Samuel Roads Jr. 378 March of the 6th Regiment, The Rev. Charles Babbidge 374 Marsh, Sylvester, Sketch of Chas. Carleton Coffin 65 the life of Massachusetts, The Present H.K.M. 439 Resources of Massachusetts, Divorce Legislation Chester F. Sanger 27 Massachusetts Hills, Rambles Among Atherton P. Mason M.D. 101 Memoranda for the Month 220 Model Industrial City, A Fanny M. Johnson 328 (11 Illustrations) Mormon Church, The Victoria Reed 348 Nantasket Beach Edward P. Guild 179 Nantucket, Ten days in Elizabeth Porter Gould 190 (2 Illustrations) National Banks—Surplus Funds George H. Wood 14 and Net Profits Nurse, Rebecca, Homestead of Elizabeth Porter Gould 436 O'Brien Hugh Col. Chas. H. Taylor 253 Old Dorchester, Historical Charles M. Barrows 39 Paine, Hon. Henry W. Prof. William Mathews, LL.D. 391 Past and Future of Silver, The David M. Balfour 97 Patriot, Samuel Adams, Edward P. Guild 401 The (4 Illustrations) Pickett's Charge, Portrait and Charles A. Patch 397 diagram Precious Metals, The David M. Balfour 415 Publisher's Department 64, 308, 390, 472 Phillips, John, with Portrait 249 Rambles Among Massachusetts Hills Atherton P. Mason M.D. 101 Resources of Massachusetts, H.K.M. 439 The Present Response of Marblehead in 1861, Samuel Roads, Jr. 378 The Silver, Past and Future of David M. Balfour 97 Sixth Regiment, The March of The Rev. Charles Babbidge 374 Ten Days In Nantucket Elizabeth Porter Gould 190 (2 Illustrations) Thompson, Denman, Sketch of the Life of 12 Ticknor, The House of Barry Lyndon 266 (4 Illustrations) Tommy Taft, A Story of Boston Town A.L.G. 244 Two Days with The A.M.C. Helen M. Winslow 367 Two Reform Mayors of Boston 249 Webster, Col. Fletcher, A reminiscence of 38 Webster, Daniel, The Last Portrait of 340 Wedding in Ye Days Lang Syne Rev. Anson Titus 36 White and Franconia Mountains, The (24 Illustrations) Fred Myron Colby 76 Witch, The first New England Willard H. Morse M.D. 270 Worcester, The City of Fanny Bullock Workman 147 (18 Illustrations)
By The Sea Teresa Herrick 377 Equinoctial Sidney Maxwell 383 Growing Old 299 In Ember Days Adelaide G. Waldron 277 Memory's Pictures Charles Carleton Coffin (1846) 124 The Muse of History Elizabeth Porter Gould 248 Room At The Top 366 The Old State House Sidney Maxwell 414 Idleness Sidney Harrison 183 A Birthday Sonnet George W. Bungay 201
Charles Carleton Coffin Facing 1 John B. Clarke 9 Sylvester Marsh 65 John Albion Andrew 141 John D. Long 221 Hugh O'Brien 253 William Wallace Crapo 309 Henry W. Paine 391
THE BAY STATE MONTHLY.
A Massachusetts Magazine
VOL. III. APRIL, 1885. NO. I.
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CHARLES CARLETON COFFIN.
Among the emigrants from England to the western world in the great Puritan exodus was Joanna Thember Coffin, widow, and her son Tristram, and her two daughters, Mary and Eunice. Their home was in Brixton, two miles from Plymouth, in Devonshire. Tristram was entering manhood's prime—thirty-three years of age. He had a family of five children. Quite likely the political troubles between the King and Parliament, the rising war cloud, was the impelling motive that induced the family to leave country, home, friends, and all dear old things, and become emigrants to the New World. Quite likely Tristram, when a youth, in 1620, may have seen the Mayflower spread her white sails to the breeze and fade away in the western horizon, for the departure of that company of pilgrims must have been the theme of conversation in and around Plymouth. Without doubt it set the young man to thinking of the unexplored continent beyond the stormy Atlantic. In 1632 his neighbors and friends began to leave, and in 1642 he, too, bade farewell to dear old England, to become a citizen of Massachusetts Bay.
He landed at Newbury, settled first in Salisbury, and ferried people across the Merrimack between Salisbury and Newbury. His wife, Dionis, brewed beer for thirsty travellers. The Sheriff had her up before the courts for charging more per mug than the price fixed by law, but she went scot free on proving that she put in an extra amount of malt. We may think of the grave and reverend Justices ordering the beer into court and settling the question by personal examination of the foaming mugs,—smacking their lips satisfactorily, quite likely testing it a second time.
Tristram Coffin became a citizen of Newbury and built a house, which is still standing. In 1660 he removed with a portion of his family to Nantucket, dying there in 1681, leaving two sons, from whom have descended all the Coffins of the country—a numerous and widespread family.
One of Tristram's decendants, Peter, moved from Newbury to Boscawen, New Hampshire, in 1766, building a large two-storied house. He became a prominent citizen of the town—a Captain of the militia company, was quick and prompt in all his actions. The news of the affair at Lexington and Concord April 19,1775, reached Boscawen on the afternoon of the next day. On the twenty-first Peter Coffin was in Exeter answering the roll call in the Provincial assembly—to take measures for the public safety.
His wife, Rebecca Hazelton Coffin, was as energetic and patriotic as he. In August, 1777, everybody, old and young, turned out to defeat Burgoyne. One soldier could not go, because he had no shirt. It was this energetic woman, with a babe but three weeks old, who cut a web from the loom and sat up all night to make a shirt for the soldier. August came, the wheat was ripe for the sickle. Her husband was gone, the neighbors also. Six miles away was a family where she thought it possible she might obtain a harvest hand. Mounting the mare, taking the babe in her arms, she rode through the forest only to find that all the able-bodied young men had gone to the war. The only help to be had was a barefoot, hatless, coatless boy of fourteen.
"He can go but he has no coat," said the mother of the boy.
"I can make him a coat," was the reply.
The boy leaped upon the pillion, rode home with the woman—went out with his sickle to reap the bearded grain, while the house wife, taking a meal bag for want of other material, cutting a hole in the bottom, two holes in the sides, sewing a pair of her own stockings on for sleeves, fulfilled her promise of providing a coat, then laid her babe beneath the shade of a tree and bound the sheaves.
It is a picture of the trials, hardships and patriotism of the people in the most trying hour of the revolutionary struggle.
The babe was Thomas Coffin—father of the subject of this sketch, Charles Carleton Coffin, who was born on the old homestead in Boscawen, July 26, 1823,—the youngest of nine children, three of whom died in infancy.
The boyhood of the future journalist, correspondent and author was one of toil rather than recreation. The maxims of Benjamin Franklin in regard to idleness, thrift and prosperity were household words.
"He who would thrive must rise at five."
In most farm-houses the fire was kindled on the old stone hearth before that hour. The cows were to be milked and driven to the pasture to crop the green grass before the sun dispatched the beaded drops of dew. They must be brought home at night.
In the planting season, corn and potatoes must be put in the hill. The youngest boy must ride the horse in furrowing, spread the new-mown grass, stow away the hay high up under the roof of the barn, gather stones in heaps after the wheat was reaped, or pick the apples in the orchard. Each member of the family must commit to memory the verses of Dr. Watts:
"Then what my hands shall find to do Let me with all my might pursue, For no device nor work is found Beneath the surface of the ground."
The great end of life was to do something. There was a gospel of work, thrift and economy continually preached. To be idle was to serve the devil.
"The devil finds some mischief still for idle hands to do."
Such teaching had its legitimate effect, and the subject of this sketch in common with the boys and girls of his generation made work a duty. What was accepted as duty became pleasure.
Aside from the district school he attended Boscawen Academy a few terms. The teaching could not be called first-class instruction. The instructors were students just out of college, who taught for the stipend received rather than with any high ideal of teaching as a profession. A term at Pembroke Academy in 1843 completed his acquisition of knowledge, so far as obtained in the schools.
The future journalist was an omnivorous reader. Everything was fish that came to the dragnet of this New Hampshire boy—from "Sinbad" to "Milton's Paradise Lost," which was read before he was eleven years old.
The household to which he belonged had ever a goodly supply of weekly papers, the New Hampshire Statesman, the Herald of Freedom, the New Hampshire Observer, all published at Concord; the first political, the second devoted to anti-slavery, the third a religious weekly. In the westerly part of the town was a circulating library of some one hundred and fifty volumes, gathered about 1816—the books were dog-eared, soiled and torn. Among them was the "History of the Expedition of Lewis and Clark up the Missouri and down the Columbia to the Pacific Ocean," which was read and re-read by the future correspondent, till every scene and incident was impressed upon his memory as distinctly as that of the die upon the coin. Another volume was a historical novel entitled "A Peep at the Pilgrims," which awakened a love for historical literature. Books of the Indian Wars, Stories of the Revolution, were read and re-read with increasing delight. Even the Federalist, that series of papers elucidating the principles of Republican government, was read before he was fourteen. There was no pleasure to be compared with that of visiting Concord, and looking at the books in the store of Marsh, Capen and Lyon, who kept a bookstore in that, then, town of four thousand inhabitants—the only one in central New Hampshire.
Without doubt the love for historical literature was quickened by the kind patronage of John Farmer, the genial historian, who was a visitor at the Boscawen farm-house, and who had delightful stories to tell of the exploits of Robert Rogers and John Stark during the French and Indian wars.
Soldiers of the Revolution were living in 1830. Eliphalet Kilburn, the grandfather of Charles Carleton Coffin on the maternal side, was in the thick of battle at Saratoga and Rhode Island, and there was no greater pleasure to the old blind pensioner than to narrate the stories of the Revolution to his listening grandchild. Near neighbors to the Coffin homestead were Eliakim Walker, Nathaniel Atkinson and David Flanders, all of whom were at Bunker Hill—Walker in the redoubt under Prescott; Atkinson and Flanders in Captain Abbott's company, under Stark, by the rail fence, confronting the Welch fusileers.
The vivid description of that battle which Mr. Coffin has given in the "Boys of '76," is doubtless due in a great measure to the stories of these pensioners, who often sat by the old fire-place in that farm-house and fought their battles over again to the intense delight of their white-haired auditor.
Ill health, inability for prolonged mental application, shut out the future correspondent, to his great grief, from all thoughts of attempting a collegiate course. While incapacitated from mental or physical labor he obtained a surveyor's compass, and more for pastime than any thought of becoming a surveyor, he studied the elements of surveying.
There were fewer civil engineers in the country in 1845 than now. It was a period when engineers were wanted—when the demand was greater than the supply, and anyone who had a smattering of engineering could find employment. Mr. Coffin accepted a position in the engineering corps of the Northern Railroad, and was subsequently employed on the Concord and Portsmouth, and Concord and Claremont Railroad.
In 1846 he was married to Sallie R. Farmer of Boscawen. Not wishing to make civil engineering a profession for life he purchased a farm in his native town; but health gave way and he was forced to seek other pursuits.
He early began to write articles for the Concord newspapers, and some of his fugitive political contributions were re-published in Littell's Living Age.
Mr. Coffin's studies in engineering led him towards scientific culture. In 1849 he constructed the telegraph line between Harvard Observatory and Boston, by which uniform time was first given to the railroads leading from Boston. He had charge of the construction of the Telegraphic Fire Alarm in Boston, under the direction of Professor Moses G. Farmer, his brother-in-law, and gave the first alarm ever given by that system April 29, 1852.
Mr. Coffin's tastes led him toward journalism. From 1850 to 1854 he was a constant contributor to the press, sending articles to the Transcript, the Boston Journal, Congregationalist, and New York Tribune. He was also a contributor to the Student and Schoolmate, a small magazine then conducted by Mr. Adams (Oliver Optic).
He was for a short time assistant editor of the Practical Farmer, an agricultural and literary weekly newspaper. In 1854 he was employed on the Boston Journal. Many of the editorials upon the Kansas-Nebraska struggle were from his pen. His style of composition was developed during these years when great events were agitating the public mind. It was a period which demanded clear, comprehensive, concise, statements, and words that meant something. His articles upon the questions of the hour were able and trenchant. One of the leading newspapers of Boston down to 1856 was the Atlas—the organ of the anti-slavery wing of the Whig party, of the men who laid the foundation of the Republican party. Its chief editorial writer was the brilliant Charles T. Congdon, with whom Mr. Coffin was associated as assistant editor till the paper was merged into the Atlas and Bee.
During the year 1858 he became again assistant on the Journal. He wrote a series of letters from Canada in connection with the visit of the Prince of Wales. He was deputed, as correspondent, to attend the opening of several of the great western railroads, which were attended by many men in public life. He was present at the Baltimore Convention which nominated Bell and Everett as candidates for the Presidency and Vice Presidency in 1860. He travelled west through Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana, before the assembling of the Republican Convention at Chicago, conversing with public men, and in a private letter predicted the nomination of Abraham Lincoln, who, up to the assembling of the convention, had hardly been regarded as a possible candidate.
He accompanied the committee appointed to apprise Mr. Lincoln of his nomination to Springfield, spent several weeks in the vicinity—making Mr. Lincoln's acquaintance, and obtaining information in regard to him, which was turned to proper advantage during the campaign.
In the winter of 1860-61, Mr. Coffin held the position of night editor of the Journal. The Southern States were then seceding. It was the most exciting period in the history of the republic. There was turmoil in Congress. Public affairs were drifting with no arm at the helm. There was no leadership in Congress or out of it. The position occupied by Mr. Coffin was one requiring discrimination and judgment. The Peace Congress was in session. During the long nights while waiting for despatches, which often did not arrive till well toward morning, he had time to study the situation of public affairs, and saw, what all men did not see, that a conflict of arms was approaching. He was at that time residing in Maiden, and on the morning after the surrender of Sumter took measures for the calling of a public meeting of the citizens of that town to sustain the government. It was one of the first—if not the first of the many, held throughout the country.
Upon the breaking out of the war in 1861 Mr. Coffin left the editorial department of the Journal and became a correspondent in the field, writing his first letter from Baltimore, June 15, over the signature of "Carleton"—selecting his middle name for a nom de plume.
He accompanied the right wing under General Tyler, which had the advance in the movement to Bull Run, and witnessed the first encounter at Blackburn's Ford, July 18. He returned to Washington the next morning with the account, and was back again on the succeeding morning in season to witness the battle of Bull Run, narrowly escaping capture when the Confederate cavalry dashed upon the panic-stricken Union troops. He reached Washington during the night, and sent a full account of the action the following morning.
During the autumn he made frequent trips from the army around Washington to Eastern Maryland, and the upper Potomac, making long rides upon the least sign of action. Becoming convinced, in December, that the Army of the Potomac was doomed to inaction during the winter, the correspondent, furnished with letters of introduction to Generals Grant and Buell from the Secretary of War, proceeded west. Arriving at Louisville he found that General Buell had expelled all correspondents from the army. The letter from the Secretary of War vouching for the loyalty and integrity of the correspondent was read and tossed aside with the remark that correspondents could not be permitted in an army which he had the honor to command.
Mr. Coffin proceeded to St. Louis, took a look at the army then at Rolla, in Central Missouri, but discovering no signs of action in that direction made his way to Cairo where General Grant was in command. General Grant's headquarters were in the second story of a tumble-down building.
No sentinel paced before the door. Ascending the stairs and knocking, Mr. Coffin heard the answer, "Come in." Entering, he saw a man in a blue blouse sitting upon a nail-keg at a rude desk smoking a cigar.
"Is General Grant in?" he asked.
Supposing the man on the nail keg with no straps upon his shoulder to be only a clerk or orderly, he presented his letter from the Secretary of War, with the remark, "Will you please present this to General Grant?" whereupon the supposed clerk glanced over the lines, rose, extended his hand and said, "I am right glad to see you. Please take a nail keg!"
There were several empty nail kegs in the apartment, but not a chair. The contrast to what he had experienced with General Buell was so great that the correspondent could hardly realize that he was in the presence of General Grant, who at once gave him the needed facilities for attaining information.
The rapidity of the correspondent's movements—the quickness with which he took in the military situation, may be inferred from the dates of his letters. On January 6, 1862, he wrote a letter detailing affairs at St. Louis. On the eighth, he described affairs at Rolla in Central Missouri. On the eleventh, he was writing from Cairo. The gunboats under Commodore Foot were at Cairo, and the correspondent was received with the utmost hospitality, not only by the Commodore, but by all the officers.
Upon the movement of General Zolicoffer into Kentucky, Mr. Coffin hastened to Louisville, Lexington, and Central Kentucky, but finding affairs had settled down, hastened down the Ohio River on a steamboat, reaching the mouth of the Tennessee just as the fleet under Commodore Foot was entering the Ohio after capturing Fort Henry. Commodore Foot narrated the events of the engagement, and Mr. Coffin, learning that no correspondent had returned from Fort Henry, stimulated by the thought of giving the Boston Journal the first information, jumped on board the cars, wrote his account on the train, and had the satisfaction of knowing that it was the first one published.
Returning to Cairo by the next train, he proceeded to Fort Donelson and was present in the cabin of the steamer "Uncle Sam" when General Buckner turned over the Fort, the Artillery, and 15,000 prisoners to General Grant. He hastened to Cairo, wrote his account on the cars, riding eastward, till it was complete, then returning, and arriving in season to jump on board the gunboat Boston for a reconnoissanceof Columbus.
Mr. Coffin continued with the fleet during the operation at Island No. 10. His knowledge of civil engineering enabled him to assist Captain Maynadier of the engineers in directing the mortar firing. On one occasion while mounted on a corn crib near a farm-house to note the direction of the bombs, the Confederate artillerists sent a shell which demolished a pig-pen but a few feet distant.
While at Island No. 10, the battle of Pittsburg Landing was fought. Leaving the fleet he hastened thither, accompanied the army in its slow advance upon Corinth, was present at the battle of Farmington and the occupation of Corinth.
General Halleck, smarting under the criticism of the press, ordered all correspondents to leave, and Mr. Coffin once more joined the fleet, descending the Mississippi. During the engagement with the Confederate fleet at Memphis, he stood upon the deck of the Admiral's despatch boat with note-book and watch in hand—noting every movement. He was fully exposed, aided in hauling down the flag of the Confederate ship, "Little Rebel," and assisted in rescuing some of the wounded Confederates from the sinking vessels.
He accepted an invitation from Captain Phelps of the Benton to accompany him on shore when the city was surrendered, and saw the stars and strips go up upon the flag-staff in the public square and over the Court House.
The Army of the Potamac was in front of Richmond, and he returned east in season to chronicle the seven day's engagement on the Peninsular. The constant exposure to malaria brought on sickness, which prevented his being with the army in the engagement at the second Bull Run, but he was on the field of Antietam throughout the entire contest, and wrote an account which was published in the Baltimore American, of which an enormous edition was disposed of in the army—and was commended for its accuracy.
In October Mr. Coffin was once more in Kentucky, but did not reach the army in season to see the battle of Perrysville. Comprehending the situation of affairs there, that there could be no movement until the entire army was re-organized under a new commander, he returned to Virginia, accompanying the army in its march from the Potomac to Fredericksburg, and witnessed that disastrous battle. A month later he was with the fleet off Charleston and saw the attack on Sumter by the Monitor, and the bombardment of Fort McAllister.
In April he was once more with the Army of the Potomac, arriving just as the troops were getting back to their quarters after Chancellorsville to hear the stories and collect an account of that battle.
When the Confederate army began the Gettysburg Campaign Mr. Coffin watched every movement. He was with the cavalry during the first day's struggle on that field, but was an eyewitness of the second and third days' engagement. His account was re-published in nearly every one of the large cities, was translated and re-published in France and Germany. While the armies east and west were preparing for the campaign of 1864 Mr. Coffin made an extended tour through the border states—Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, to ascertain what changes had taken place in public opinion. In May he was once more with the Army of the Potomac under its great leader, Lieutenant General Grant, and saw all the conflicts of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, North Anna, around Hanover, Cold Harbor, the struggles in front of Petersburg through '64. Upon the occupation of Savannah by General Sherman he hastened south, having an ardent desire to enter Charleston, whenever it should be occupied by Union troops. He was successful in carrying out his desires, and with James Redpath of the New York Tribune leaped on shore from the deck of General Gilmore's steamer when he steamed up to take possession of the city.
Mr. Coffin's despatch announcing the evacuation and occupation of Sumter, owing to his indefatigable energy, was published in Boston, telegraphed to Washington, and read in the House of Representatives before any other account appeared, causing a great sensation.
Thus read the opening sentence:
"Off Charleston, February 18, 2 P.M. The old flag waves over Sumter and Moultrie, and the city of Charleston. I can see its crimson stripes and fadeless stars waving in the warm sunlight of this glorious day. Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory."
In March the correspondent was again with the Army of the Potomac, witnessing the last battles—Fort Steadman—Hatcher's Run—and the last grand sweep at Five Forks. He entered Petersburg in the morning—rode alone at a breakneck pace to Richmond, entering it while the city was a sea of flame, entered the Spottsville hotel while the fire was raging on three sides—wrote his name large on the register—the first to succeed a long line of Confederate Generals and Colonels. When President Lincoln arrived to enter the city, he had the good fortune to be down by the river bank, and to him was accorded the honor of escorting the party to General Weitzel's headquarters in the mansion from which Jefferson Davis had fled without standing upon the order of departure.
With the fall of Richmond, and the surrender of Appomattox, Mr. Coffin's occupation as an army correspondent ended. During these long years he found time to write three volumes for juveniles—"Days and Nights on the Battle Field," "Following the Flag," and "Winning his Way."
On July 25, 1866, Mr. Coffin sailed from New York for Europe, accompanied by Mrs. Coffin, as correspondent of the Boston Journal. War had broken out between Austria on the one side and Italy and Germany on the other. It was of short duration; there was the battle of Custozza in Italy and Konnigratz in Germany, followed by the retirement of Austria from Italy, and the ascendency of Bismarck over Baron Von Beust in the diplomacy of Europe. It was a favorable period for a correspondent and Mr. Coffin's letters were regularly looked for by the public. The agitation for the extension of the franchise was beginning in England. Bearing personal letters from Senator Sumner, Chief Justice Chase, General Grant, and other public men, the correspondent had no difficulty in making the accquaintance of the men prominent in the management of affairs on the other side of the water. Through the courtesy of John Bright, who at once extended to Mr. Coffin every hospitality, he occupied a chair in the speaker's gallery of the House of Commons on the grand field night when Disraelli, then Prime Minister, brought in the suffrage bill. While in Great Britain Mr. Coffin made the acquaintance not only of men in public life, but many of the scientists,—Huxley, Tyndal, Lyell, Sir William Thompson. At the social Science Congress held in Belfast, Ireland, presided over by Lord Dufferin, he gave an address upon American Common Schools which was warmly commended by the London Times.
An introduction to the literary clubs of London gave him an opportunity to make the acquaintance of the literary guild. He was present at the dinner given to Charles Dickens before the departure of that author to the United States, at which nearly every notable author was a guest.
Hastening to Italy, he had the good fortune to see the Austrians take their departure from Verona and Venice and the Italians assume possession of those cities. Upon the entrance of Victor Emanuel to Venice he enjoyed exceptional facilities for witnessing the festivities.
He was present at the coronation of the Emperor and Empress of Austria, as King and Queen of Hungary. Through the courtesy of Mr. Motley, then Minister to Austria, he received from the Prime Minister of the empire every facility for witnessing the ceremonies.
At Pesth he made the acquaintance of Francis Deak, the celebrated statesman—the John Bright of Hungary; also, of Arminius Vambrey, the celebrated Oriental traveller.
At Berlin he had the good fortune to see the Emperor William, the Crown Prince, Bismarck, Van Moltke, the former and the present Czar of Russia, and Gortschakoff, the great diplomatist of Russia, in one group. The letters written from Europe were upon the great events of the hour, together with graphic descriptions of the life of the common people.
After spending a year and a half in Europe, Mr. Coffin visited Greece, Turkey, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, sailing thence down the Red sea to Bombay, travelled across India to the valley of the Ganges, before the completion of the railroad, visiting Allahabad, Benares, Calcutta, sailing thence to Singapore, Hong Kong, Canton, Shanghai. Ascending the Yang-tse six hundred miles to Wuchang; the governor of the province invited him to a dinner. From Shanghai he sailed to Japan, experiencing a fearful typhoon upon the passage. Civil war in Japan prevented his travelling in that country, and he sailed for San Francisco, visiting points of interest in California, and in November made his way across the country seven hundred miles—riding five consecutive days and nights between the terminus of the Central Pacific road at Wadsworth and Salt Lake, arriving in Boston, January, 1869, after an absence of two and a half years. During that period the Boston Journal contained every week a letter from his pen.
For one who had seen so much there was an opening in the lecture field and for several years he was one of the popular lecturers before lyceums. In 1869 he published Our New Way Round the World, followed by the Seat of Empire, Caleb Crinkle (a story) Boys of 76, Story of Liberty, Old Times in the Colonies, Building the Nation, Life of Garfield, besides a history of his native town. His volumes have been received with marked favor. No less than fifty copies of the Boys of '76 are in the Boston Public Library and all in constant use.
Mr. Coffin has given many addresses before teacher's associations, and a course of lectures before the Lowell Institute. During the winter of 1878-9 a movement was made by the Western grangers to bring about a radical change in the patent laws. Mr. Coffin appeared before the Committee of Congress and presented an address so convincing, that the Committee ordered its publication. It has been frequently quoted upon the floor of Congress and highly commended by the present Secretary of the Interior, Mr. Lamar. Mr. Coffin also appeared before the Committee on Labor, and made an argument on the "Forces of Nature as Affecting Society," which won high encomiums from the committee, and which was ordered to be printed. The honorary degree of A. M. was conferred upon Mr. Coffin in 1870, by Amherst College. He is a member of the New England Historical and Genealogical Society, and he gave the address upon the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the settlement of his native town. He is a resident of Boston, and was a member of the Legislature for 1884, member of the Committee on Education, and reported the bill for free textbooks. He was also member of the Committee on Civil Service, and was active in his efforts to secure the passage of the bill. He is a member of the present Legislature, Chairman of the Committee on the Liquor Law, and of the special committee for a Metropolitan Police for the city of Boston. Mr. Coffin's pen is never idle. He is giving his present time to a study of the late war, and is preparing a history of that mighty struggle for the preservation of the government of the people.
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COLONEL JOHN B. CLARKE.
Editor and Proprietor of the Manchester [N.H.] Mirror.
Among the business enterprises in which the men of to-day seek fortune and reputation, there is scarcely another which, when firmly established upon a sound basis, sends its roots so deep and wide, and is so certain to endure and prosper, bearing testimony to the ability of its creators, as the family newspaper. Indeed, a daily or weekly paper which has gained by legitimate methods an immense circulation and a profitable advertising patronage is immortal. It may change owners and names, and character even, but it never dies, and if, as is usually the case, it owes its early reputation and success to one man, it not only reflects him while he is associated with it, but pays a constant tribute to his memory after he has passed away.
But, while the rewards of eminent success in the newspaper profession are great and substantial, the road to them is one which only the strong, sagacious, and active can travel, and this is especially true when he who strives for them assumes the duties of both publisher and editor. It requires great ability to make a great paper every day, and even greater to sell it extensively and profitably, and to do both is not a possible task for the weak. To do both in an inland city, where the competition of metropolitan journals must be met and discounted, without any of their advantages, requires a man of grip, grit and genius.
In 1852 the Manchester MIRROR was one of the smallest and weakest papers in the country. Its weekly edition had a circulation of about six hundred, that of its daily was less than five hundred, and its advertising receipts were extremely small. Altogether, it was a load which its owner could not carry, and the whole establishment, including subscription lists, good will, press, type and material, was sold at auction for less than a thousand dollars.
In 1885 the WEEKLY MIRROR AND FARMER has a circulation of more than twenty-three thousand and every subscriber on its books has paid for it in advance. The DAILY MIRROR AND AMERICAN has a correspondingly large and reliable constituency, and neither paper lacks advertising patronage. The office in which they are printed is one of the most extensive and best equipped in the Eastern States out of Boston. In every sense of the word the MIRROR is successful, strong and solid.
The building up of this great and substantial enterprise from so small a beginning has been the work of John B. Clarke, who bought the papers, as stated above, in 1852, has ever since been their owner, manager, and controlling spirit, and, in spite of sharp rivalry at home and from abroad and the lack of opportunieies which such an undertaking must contend with in a small city, has kept the MIRROR, in hard times as in good times, steadily growing, enlarging its scope and influence, and gaining strength with which to make and maintain new advances; and at the same time has made it yield every year a handsome income. Only a man of pluck, push and perseverance, of courage, sagacity and industry, could have done this; and he who has accomplished it need point to no other achievement to establish his title to a place among the strong men of his time.
Mr. Clarke is a native of Atkinson, where he was born January 30, 1820. His parents were intelligent and successful farmers, and from them he inherited the robust constitution, the genial disposition, and the capacity for brain-work, which have carried him to the head of his profession in New Hampshire. They also furnished him with the small amount of money necessary to give a boy an education in those days, and in due course he graduated with high honors at Dartmouth College in the class of 1843. Then he became principal of the Meredith Bridge Academy, which position he held three years, reading law meanwhile in an office near by. In 1848 he was admitted to the Hillsborough county bar from the office of his brother, at Manchester, the late Honorable William C. Clarke, Attorney General of New Hampshire, and the next year went to California. From 1849 until 1851 he was practicing his profession, roughing it in the mines, and prospecting for a permanent business and location in California, Central America, and Mexico.
In 1851 he returned to Manchester and established himself as a lawyer, gaining in a few months a practice which gave him a living; but in October of the next year the sale of the MIRROR afforded an opening more suited to his talents and ambition, and having bought the property he thenceforth devoted himself to its development.
He had no experience, no capital, but he had confidence in himself, energy, good judgment, and a willingness to work for the success he was determined to gain. For months and years he was editor, reporter, business manager, accountant, and collector. In these capacities he did an amount of work that would have killed an ordinary man, and did it in a way that told; for everymonth added to the number of his patrons; and slowly but steadily his business increased in volume and his papers in influence.
He early made it a rule to condense everything that appeared in the columns of the MIRROR into the smallest possible space, to make what he printed readable as well as reliable, to make the paper better every year than it was the preceding year, and to furnish the weekly edition at a price which would give it an immense circulation without the help of travelling agents or the credit system: and to this policy he has adhered. Besides this, he spared no expense which he judged would add to the value of his publications, and his judgment has always set the bounds far off on the very verge of extravagance. Whatever machine promised to keep his office abreast of the times, and increase the capacity for good work, he has dared buy. Whatever man he has thought would brighten and strengthen his staff of assistants, he has gone for, and if possible got, and whatever new departure has seemed to him likely to win new friends for the MIRROR he has made.
In this way he has gone from the bottom of the ladder to the top. From time to time rival sheets have sprung up beside him, but only to maintain an existence for a brief period, or to be consolidated with the MIRROR. All the time there has been sharp competition from publishers elsewhere, but this has only stimulated him to make a better paper and push it succesfully in fields which they have regarded as their own.
In connection with the MIRROR a great job printing establishment has grown up, which turns out a large amount of work in all departments, and where the state printing has been done six years. Mr. Clarke has also published several books, including "Sanborn's History of New Hampshire," "Clarke's History of Manchester," "Successful New Hampshire Men," "Manchester Directory," and other works. Within a few years a book bindery has been added to the establishment.
Mr. Clarke still devotes himself closely to his business six hours each day, but limits himself to this period, having been warned by an enforced rest and voyage to Europe in 1872 to recover from the strain of overwork, that even his magnificent physique could not sustain too great a burden, and he now maintains robust and vigorous health by a systematic and regular mode of life, by long rides of fifteen to twenty-five miles daily, and an annual summer vacation.
In making the MIRROR its owner has made a great deal of money. If he had saved it as some others have done, he would have more to-day than any other in Manchester who has done business the same length of time on the same capital. But if he has gathered like a man born to be a millionaire, he has scattered like one who would spend a millionaire's fortune. He has been a good liver and a free giver. All his tastes incline him to large expenditures. His home abounds in all the comforts that money will buy. His farm is a place where costly experiments are tried. He is passionately fond of fine horses, and his stables are always full of those that are highly bred, fleet, and valuable. He loves an intelligent dog, and a good gun, and is known far and near as an enthusiastic sportsman.
He believes in being good to himself and generous to others; values money only for what it will buy, and every day illustrates the fact that it is easier for him to earn ten dollars than to save one by being "close."
A business that will enable a man of such tastes and impulses to gratify all his wants and still accumulate a competency for his children is a good one, and that is what the business of the MIRROR counting-room has done.
Nor is this all, nor the most, for the MIRROR has made the name of John B. Clarke a household word in nearly every school district in Northern New England and in thousands of families in other sections. It has given him a great influence in the politics, the agriculture, and the social life of his time, has made him a power in shaping the policy of his city and state, and one of the forces that have kept the wheels of progress moving in both for more than thirty years.
In a word, what one man can do for and with a newspaper in New Hampshire John B. Clarke has done for and with the MIRROR, and what a great newspaper can do for a man the MIRROR has done for John B. Clarke.
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Throughout the United States where-ever the name of New England is held in respect there is the name of Denman Thompson a household word. His genius has embodied in a drama the finer yet homlier characteristics of New England life, its simplicity, its rugged honesty, its simple piety, its benevolence, partially hid beneath a rough and uncouth exterior. His drama is an epic—a prose poem—arousing a loyal and patriotic love for the land of the Pilgrims in the hearts of her sons, whether at home, on the rolling prairies of the West, in the sunny South, amid the grand scenes of the Sierras, or on the Pacific slope.
That Denman Thompson was not a native of New Hampshire was rather the result of chance. His parents were natives of Swanzey, where they are still living at a ripe old age, and where they have always lived, save for a few years preceeding and following the birth of their children. In 1831 the parents moved to Girard, Erie County, Pennsylvania, when, October 15, 1833, was born their gifted son. The boy was blessed with one brother and two sisters, and death has yet to strike its first blow in the family.
At the age of thirteen years Denman accompanied his family to the old home in Swanzey, where for several years he received the advantages of the education afforded by the district school. For his higher education he was indebted to the excellent scholastic opportunities afforded by the Mount Caesar Seminary in Swanzey.
At the age of nineteen he entered the employ of his uncle in Lowell, Massachusetts, serving as book-keeper in a wholesale store, and in that city he made his debut as Orasman in the military drama of the FRENCH SPY.
In 1854, at the age of twenty-one years, he was engaged by John Nickerson, the veteran actor and manager, as a member of the stock company of the Royal Lyceum, Toronto. From the first his success was assured, for aside from his natural adaptation to his profession he possesses indomitable perseverance, a quality as necessary to the rise of an artist as genius. On the provincial boards of Toronto he studied and acted for the next few years, perfecting himself in his calling and preparing for wider fields. Then he acted the rollicking Irishman to perfection; the real live Yankee, with his genuine mannerisms and dialect, with proper spirit and without ridiculous exaggeration, and the Negro, so open to burlesque. The special charm of his acting in those characters was his artistic execution. He never stooped to vulgarities, his humor was quaint and spontaneous, and the entire absence of apparent effort in his performance gave his audience a most favorable impression of power in reserve. His favorite characters were Salem Scudder in THE OCTOROON, and Myles Na Coppaleen in COLLEEN BAWN.
In April, 1862, Mr. Thompson started for the mother country, and there his reception was worthy a returning son who had achieved a well-earned reputation. His opening night in London was a perfect ovation, and during his engagement the theatre was crowded in every part. He met with flattering success during his brief tour, performing at Edinburg and Glasgow before his return to Toronto the following fall.
From that time must be dated the career of Mr. Thompson as a star or leading actor and manager, at first in low comedy, so called, or eccentric drama, and later, in what he has made a classic New England drama.
Mr. Thompson is the author of several very pleasing and successful comedies, but the play JOSHUA WHITCOMB is the best known and most popular. The leading character is said to have been drawn from Captain Otis Whitcomb, who died in Swanzey in 1882, at the age of eighty-six. Cy Prime, who "could have proved it had Bill Jones been alive," died in that town, a few years since, while Len Holbrook still lives there. General James Wilson, the veteran, who passed away a short time since, was well known to the older generation of today. The last scene of the drama is laid in Swanzey and the scenery is drawn from nature very artistically. Mr. Thompson is the actor as well as creator of the leading character in the play. The good old man is drawn from the quiet and comforts of his rural home to the perplexities of city life in Boston. There his strong character and good sense offset his simplicity and ignorance. He acts as a kind of Providence in guiding the lives of others. To say that the play is pure is not enough—it is ennobling.
The success of the play has been wonderful. Year after year it draws crowded houses—and it will, long after the genius of Mr. Thompson's acting becomes a tradition.
Mr. Thompson is a gentleman of wide culture and extensive reading and information. Not only with the public but with his professional brethren he is very popular on account of his amiable character. Naturally he is of a quiet and benevolent disposition, and has the good word of everyone to whom he is known.
As one of a stock company he never disappointed the manager—as a manager he never disappointed the public.
In private life he has been very happy in his marital relations, having married Miss Maria Bolton in July, 1860. Three children—two daughters and one son, have blessed their union.
A book could well be written on the adventures and incidents that have attended the presentation of the great play since its inception. Nowhere is it more popular than in the neighborhood of Mr. Thompsons's summer home. When a performance is had in Keene the good people of Swanzey demand a special matinee for their benefit, from which the citizens of Keene are supposed to be excluded.
In Colorado a Methodist camp-meeting was adjourned and its members attended the play en masse. Such is the charm of the play that it never loses its attraction.
Mr. Thompson is in the prime of life, about fifty years old. His home is in New Hampshire; his birthplace was in Pennsylvania. He made his debut in Massachusetts, and received his professional training in Canada; he is a citizen of the United States, and is always honored where genius is recognized.
Like the favorite character, Joshua Whitcomb, in his favorite play, Mr. Thompson is personally sensitive, kind-hearted, self-sacrificing; he never speaks ill of any one, delights in doing good, and enjoys hearing and telling a good story; he is quiet, yet full of fun; generous to a fault. His company has become much attached to him.
In the village of Swansey is Mr. Thompson's summer home; a beautiful mansion, surrounded by grounds where art and nature combine to please. The hospitality of the house is proverbial, but its chief attraction is its well-stocked library.
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THE SURPLUS FUND AND NET PROFITS.
By George H. Wood.
In the elimination of an unusually large amount of dead assets under the requirements of the National Bank law, previous to extension of the corporate existence of a bank, the very interesting question is brought to notice, of what is the proper construction of the law in regard to reducing and restoring the surplus fund.
Does the law forbid the payment of a dividend by a National Bank when the effect of such payment will be to reduce the surplus fund of the bank below an amount equal to one-tenth of its net profits since its organization as a National Bank; and if so, upon what ground? It does, and for the following reasons. The power to declare dividends is granted by section 5199 of the Revised Statutes of the United States in the following language: "The Directors of any association (National Bank) may semi-annually declare a dividend of so much of the net profits of the association as they shall judge expedient; but each association shall, before the declaration of a dividend, carry one-tenth of its net profits of the preceding half year to its surplus fund until the same shall amount to twenty per cent, of its capital stock."
The question at once arises, what are the net profits from which dividends may be declared, and do they include the surplus fund? It is held that the net profits are the earnings left on hand after charging off expenses, taxes and losses, if any, and carrying to surplus fund the amount required by the law, and that the surplus fund is not to be considered as net profits available for dividends, for, if it were, the Directors of a bank could at any time divide the surplus among the shareholders. It would only be necessary to go through the form of carrying one-tenth of the net profits to surplus, whereupon, if the surplus be net profits available for the purpose of a dividend, the amount so carried can be withdrawn and paid away at once, thereby defeating the obvious purpose of the law in requiring a portion of each six month's earnings to be carried to the surplus fund, that purpose being to provide that a surplus fund equal to twenty per cent, of the bank's capital shall be accumulated.
The law is to be so construed as to give effect to all its parts, and any construction that does not do so is manifestly unsound. Therefore a construction which would render inoperative the requirement for the accumulation of a surplus fund cannot be correct, and the net profits available for dividends must be determined by the amount of earnings on hand other than the surplus fund when that fund does not exceed a sum equal to one-tenth of the earnings of the bank since its organization.
Having shown what the net profits available for dividends are, the only other question that can arise is: Can losses and bad debts be charged to the surplus fund and the other earnings used for paying dividends, or must all losses and bad debts be first charged against earnings other than the surplus fund, so far as such earnings will admit of it, and the surplus, or a portion of it, used only when other earnings shall be exhausted?
This question is virtually answered above, for if the object of the law in requiring the creation of a surplus fund may not be defeated by one means it may not by another; if it may not be defeated by paying away the amounts carried to surplus in dividends, neither may it be by charging losses to the surplus and at the same time using the other earnings for dividends.
Moreover, section 5204 of the Revised Statutes of the United States provides as follows: "If losses have at any time been sustained by any such association, equal to or exceeding its undivided profits then on hand, no dividend shall be made; and no dividend shall ever be made by any association, while it continues its banking operations, to an amount greater than its net profits then on hand, deducting therefrom its losses and bad debts."
This language fixes the extent to which dividends may be made at the amount of the "net profits" on hand after deducting therefrom losses and bad debts, and as it has been shown above that the surplus fund cannot be considered "net profits," available for dividends within the meaning of the law, it follows that in order to determine the amount of net earnings available for dividends the losses must first be deducted from the earnings other than surplus.
It is to be observed also that section 5204 specifies that if losses have at any time been sustained by a bank equal to or exceeding its "undivided profits" on hand no dividends shall be made.
Now the surplus fund is not undivided profits, except in so far as it is earnings not divided among the shareholders. It is made upon a division of the profits—so much to the stockholders and so much to the surplus fund. If the law had intended that losses might be charged to surplus fund in order to leave the other earnings available for dividends it is to be presumed that care would not have been taken to use the words "undivided profits," in the connection in which they are used, as stated above.
Furthermore, if losses may be charged to surplus when at the same time the other earnings are used for dividends to shareholders, a bank may go on declaring dividends, and never accumulate any surplus fund whatever if losses be sustained, as they are in the history of nearly every bank. A construction of the law which would render inoperative the requirement for the creation of a surplus cannot be sound; and as the only way to insure that a surplus shall be accumulated and maintained is to charge losses against other earnings as far as may be before trenching upon the surplus; it must be that the law intended that the "undivided profits" which are not in the surplus fund shall first be used to meet losses.
To a full understanding of the subject it is proper to say that after using all other earnings on hand at the usual time for declaring a dividend to meet losses the whole or any part of the surplus may be used if the losses exceed the amount of the earnings other than surplus, and then at the end of another six months a dividend may be made if the earnings will admit of it, one-tenth of the earnings being first carried to surplus and the re-accumulation of the fund thus begun.
This is because the law has been complied with by charging the losses against the "undivided profits," as far as they will go, and it is impossible to do more, or require more to be done, for the re-establishment of the state of things that existed prior to losses having been sustained than to do what the law requires shall be done to originally establish that state of things.
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IMPRESSIONS D'UN FRANCAIS.
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Par le Professeur Emile Pingault.
Quand les Francais, les Francais de France, comme disent leurs cousins canadiens, parlent de l'Amerique ou pensent a cette reine des republiques, ils n'ont en vue que les grandes villes. New-York, Boston, Philadelphie, Chicago, la Nouvelle Orleans etc. ... forment seuls, pour eux, l'immense continent decouvert par Christophe Colomb.
Je voudrais essayer de reagir contre l'idee generale qu'on a, que la lumiere, l'intelligence, la prosperite ne se trouvent que dans les grands centres.
La Providence a voulu que je vinsse etablir ma tente dans une ville qui, bien qu'etant la capitale du New-Hampshire, parait comme un point microscopique aupres des villes que j'ai citees plus haut. Eh bien, sans flatterie aucune, si l'on a pu appeler Boston l'Athene de l'Amerique, je ne vois pas pourquoi on n'appellerait pas Concord un petit Rambouillet, toute proportion gardee.
Je ne vous dirai pas que Concord est une petite ville situee sur la Merrimac, de 14,000 a 15,000 habitants, mais ce que je puis vous dire c'est qu'il faudrait aller bien loin pour trouver une ville plus intelligente et plus eclairee, je dirais meme plus patriarcale. Tout le monde s'y connait et s'estime l'un l'autre. Il y a dans cette ville une emulation pour le bien et pour l'instruction qui ne peut etre surpassee.
Outre les ecoles publiques telles que la Haute Ecole (High School), les ecoles de grammaire, les ecoles particulieres, on y voit encore des professeurs de langues modernes, des professeurs de dessin et de peinture, et parmi ces derniers un jeune artiste qui fera vraiment la gloire de l'Etat de Granit si la rlasse eclairee sait l'attacher permanemment a la capitale. La musique a une place privilegiee dans cette ville, les concerts de l'orchestre Blaisdelle sont suivis comme le seraient les premieres de Booth et d'Irving. Il y a la plus que du sentiment, il y a veritablement de l'art, et un enfant de Concord, mort il y a deux ans, age de vingt ans a peine, etait une preuve manifeste que l'art est compris ici a un degre superieure.
La litterature est cultivee avec le plus grand soin. Outre trois clubs, composes chacun d'une quinzaine de membres, qui etudient et admirent Shakspeare; une dame qui manie la parole comme le grand dramatiste maniait la pensee donne des conferences sur l'auteur d'Hamlet devant un auditoire aussi intelligent que nombreux.
Cet amour de s'instruire et d'etudier perce jusque dans les enfants les plus jeunes. Deux Kindergarten sont etablis en cette ville; la, outre les choses aimables et utiles qu'on enseigne aux petits garcons et petites filles de cinq a six ans, on leur apprend aussi le francais. Qu'il est beau de voir ces jeunes intelligences se developper an son de la belle langue de Bossuet, de Fenelon, de Lamartine et de Victor Hugo. Vous verrez a Concord un spectacle peut-etre unique dans les Etats-Unis: une douzaine de petits Americains et Americaines chantant la Marsellaise et dansant des rondes de Bretagne et de Vendee avec une voix aussi douce et un accent aussi pur que s'ils etaient nes sur les bords de la Seine.
Ajoutez a ce tableau bien court et nullement exagere que l'union et la paix regne entre tous les habitants de la ville, que la police y est heureuse et fort peu occupee, et vous aurez l'idee de la tranquillite dont on jouit dans cet endroit privilegie.
J'avouerai franchement, pour finir, que si toutes les villes et villages ressemblaient a Concord, l'Amerique serait le premier de tous les mondes connus.
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CLAYTON-BULWER TREATY VS. MONROE DOCTRINE.
By George W. Hobbs.
In every conflict of European with American interests on the two continents, comprising North and South America, our countrymen always make their appeal to the "Monroe Doctrine" as the supreme, indisputable, and irrevocable judgment of our national Union. It is said to indicate the only established idea of foreign policy which has a permanent influence upon our national administration, whether it be Republican or Democratic, politically. A President of the United States, justly appealing to this doctrine, in emergency arouses the heart and courage of the patriotic citizen, even in the presence of impending war.
In view of this powerful sentiment swaying a great people, as well as their government, it is not surprising that Congress is often called upon to apply its principles; and it therefore becomes more and more important that it should be well understood by people, as well as Congress, in respect to its origin and purpose.
In the message of President Monroe to Congress, at the commencement of the session of 1823-24, the following passages occur:
"In the wars of the European powers, in matters relating to themselves, we have never taken any part, nor does it comport with our policy to do so. It is only when our rights are invaded, or seriously menaced, that we resent injuries, or make preparations for defence. With the movements in this hemisphere we are of necessity more immediately connected, and by causes which must be obvious to all enlightened and impartial observers. The political system of the allied powers is essentially different in this respect from that of America. This difference proceeds from that which exists in their respective governments; and to the defence of our own, which has been achieved by the loss of so much blood and treasure, and matured by the wisdom of their most enlightened citizens, and under which we have enjoyed such unexampled felicity, this whole nation is devoted.
"We owe it, therefore, to candor, and to the amicable relations existing between the United States and those powers to declare—that we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere, as dangerous to our peace and safety. With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power, we have not interfered and shall not interfere; but with the governments who have declared their independence and maintained it, and whose independence we have on great consideration, and on just principles acknowledged, we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them or controlling in any other manner their destiny, in any other light, than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition towards the United States."
"It is impossible that the allied powers should extend their political sytem to any portion of either continent, without endangering our peace and happiness.
"It is equally impossible, that we should behold such interposition in any form with indifference."
Lest there may be some misapprehension, as to the political circumstances, which called for the promulgation of this "Monroe Doctrine," let us for a moment review the events which gave color and importance to the political environments of that date which elicited from President Monroe this now famous declaration.
In the year 1822 the allied sovereigns held their Congress at Verona. The great subject of consideration was the condition of Spain; that country being then under the Cortes or representatives of the Revolutionists. The question was, whether or not Ferdinand should be re-instated in all his authority by the intervention of foreign powers.
Russia, Prussia, France, and Austria, were inclined to that measure; England dissented and protested, but the course was agreed upon; and France, with the consent of these other continental powers, took the conduct of the operation into her own hands. In the spring of 1823, a French army was sent into Spain. Its success was complete; the popular government was overthrown, and Ferdinand was re-instated and re-established in all his power. This invasion was determined on and undertaken precisely on the doctrines which the allied monarchs had proclaimed the year before at Laybach; that is, that they had the right to interfere in the concerns of another State, and reform its government, "in order to prevent the effect of its bad example" (this bad example, be it remembered, always being the example of free government by the people). Now having put down the example of the Cortes, in Spain, it was natural to inquire, with what eyes they should look on the Colonies of Spain, that were following still worse examples. Would King Ferdinand and his allies be content with what had been done in Spain itself, or would he solicit their aid and would they grant it, to subdue his rebellious American colonies?
Having "reformed" Spain herself to the true standard of a proud monarchy, it was more than probable that they might see fit to attempt the "reformation" and re-organization of the Central and South American Colonies, which were following the "pernicious example of the United States," and declaring themselves "free and independent," it being an historical fact, that as soon as the Spanish King was completely reestablished he invited the co-operation of his allies in regard to his provinces in South America, to "assist him to readjust the affairs in such manner as should retain the sovereignty of Spain over them." The proposed meeting of the allies for that purpose, however, did not take place. England had already taken a decided course, and stated distinctly, and expressly, that "she should consider any foreign interference by force or by menace, in the dispute between Spain and the Colonies, as a motive for recognizing the latter without delay."
The sentiment of the liberty-loving people of the American Union was strongly in favor of the independence of the Colonies, which our government had already recognized; and it was at this crisis, just as the attitude of England was made known, that President Monroe's noble and patriotic declaration was made. Its effect was grand; it disarmed all organized attempts on the part of Spain and her allies to re-organize her "rebellious colonies"—now our sister republics in the western hemisphere—and shook the political systems of the world to their centres.
"The force of President Monroe's declaration," said Daniel Webster, "was felt everywhere by all those who could understand its object, and foresee its effect." Lord Brougham said in Parliament that "no event had ever created greater joy, exaltation, and gratitude, among all the freemen in Europe;" that he felt "proud in being connected by blood and language with the people of the United States;" that "the policy disclosed by the message became a great, a free, an independent nation."
Daniel Webster again said of it, "I look on the message of December, 1823, as forming a bright page in our history. I will neither help to erase it nor tear it out; nor shall it be by any act of mine blurred or blotted. It did honor to the sagacity of the government, and I will not diminish that honor. It elevated the hopes and gratified the patriotism of the people over these hopes. I will not bring a mildew, nor will I put that gratified patriotism to shame."
The effect of this declaration in Europe was all that could have been desired by the patriotic statesmen who contributed their counsel to its adoption. The message arrived in England on December 24, 1823—twenty-two days after Mr. Monroe delivered it to Congress. On the second of January. Mr. Camming, the British Minister of foreign affairs, told the American Minister that the principles declared in the message, that the American continents were not to be considered as subject to future colonization by any of the powers of Europe, greatly embarassed the instructions he was about to send to the British Ambassador at St. Petersburg, touching the Northwestern boundary; and that he believed Great Britain would combat this declaration of the President with animation.
Its effect upon the then pending negotiations with Russia was so favorable, that the convention of 1824 was concluded in the Spring of that year, by the withdrawal on the part of the Emperor of his pretentious to exclusive trade on the Northwest coast, and by fixing the parallel of 54" 40' as the line between the permissible establishments of the respective countries.
This in brief is the history of the celebrated "Monroe Doctrine." It has never been affirmatively adopted by Congress, by any recorded vote, as the fixed and unalterable policy of this Republic; but its patriotic sentiment is so deeply bedded in the hearts of the American people of every political opinion, that Congress ought not and dare not ignore it.
But did not the United States Senate, when it ratified the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty in 1850, practically ignore the "Monroe Doctrine" and open the door for future trouble? Let us examine this treaty, which, in the light of present Congressional action, has become an important element in American politics, and see if it is not antagonistic to the American policy, and more than the bete noir of partizan dreams. In order for a complete understanding of the terms, and bearing of this treaty, I deem it important to give a full synopsis, rather than a brief reference to its salient points:
THE CLAYTON-BULWER TREATY.
"A convention between the United States of America and her Britannic Majesty.
"The United States and her Britannic Majesty, being desirous of consolidating the relations of amity, which so happily subsist between them, by setting forth and fixing in a convention their views and intentions with reference to any means of communication by ship canal, which may be constructed between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, by way of the river San Juan de Nicaragua and either or both the lakes of Nicaragua or Manaqua, to any port or place on the Pacific ocean, the President of the United States has conferred full powers on John M. Clayton, Secretary of State of the United States, and her Britannic Majesty on the Right Honorable Sir Henry Lytton Bulwer, a member of her Majesty's most honorable Privy Council, Knight Commander of the most honorable order of Bath, and Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of her Britannic Majesty to the United States for the aforesaid purpose; and the said plenipotentiaries, having exchanged their full powers, which were found to be in proper form, have agreed to the following articles, viz:
Article 1. The governments of the United States and Great Britain hereby declare that neither the one nor the other will ever obtain, or maintain for itself, any exclusive control over the said ship canal; agreeing that neither will ever erect or maintain, any fortifications commanding the same, or in the vicinity thereof: or occupy, or fortify, or colonize, or assume or exercise any dominion over Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the Mosquito Coast, or any part of Central America. Nor will either make use of any protection which either affords, or may afford, or any alliance which either has or may have, to or with, any state or people for the purpose of erecting or maintaining any such fortifications, or of occupying, fortifying, or colonizing Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the Mosquito Coast, or any part of Central America, or of assuming, or exercising dominion over the same; nor will the United States or Great Britain take advantage of any intimacy, or use any alliance, connection, or influence, that either may possess, with any state or government, through whose territory the said canal may pass, for the purpose of acquiring or holding, directly or indirectly, for the citizens or subjects of the one, any rights or advantages in regard to commerce, or navigation through the said canal, which shall not be offered on the same terms to the citizens or subjects of the other.
Art. 2. Vessels of the United States or Great Britain traversing the said canal shall, in case of war between the contracting parties, be exempted from blockade, detention, or capture by either of the beligerents, and this provision shall extend to such a distance from the two ends of the said canal, as may hereafter be found expedient to establish.
Art. 3. The persons and property engaged in building the said canal shall be protected by the contracting parties from all unjust detention, confiscation and violence.
Art. 4. Both governments will facilitate the construction of said canal and establish two free ports, one at each end of said canal.
Art 5. Both governments will guaranty and protect the neutrality of said canal; provided, however, that said protection and guaranty may be withdrawn by both, or either governments, if both or either should deem that the persons building or managing the same adopt or establish regulations concerning traffic therein, as are contrary to the spirit and intention of this convention, either by unfair discrimination, in favor of the commerce of one contracting party over the other, or by imposing oppressive exactions or unreasonable tolls upon passengers, vessels, goods, wares, merchandise, or other articles,—neither party to withdraw such protection and guaranty without first giving six months notice to the other.
Art 6. Treaty stipulations maybe made with the Central American States, and states with which either or both parties have friendly intercourse; and settle all differences arising as to the rights of property in the canal, etc.
Art. 7. Contract to be entered into without delay, and the party first commencing labor, etc., in the construction of said canal, is to have priority of claim to construct the same, and will be protected therein by the parties to this treaty.
Art. 8. Both governments agree that protection shall be extended by treaty stipulations, hereafter to be made and entered into, to other communications or ways across said isthmus.
Art. 9. Treaty to be ratified by both governments and ratifications exchanged at Washington within six months."
This treaty bears date April 19, 1850, and is still in force in all its provisions.
Is there anything in the terms, conditions, or effect of this treaty, which in any way tends to militate or conflict with the declarations of the "Monroe Doctrine?"
To answer this question satisfactorily, and give a careful analysis of the treaty, in all its details, would take more time and space than I am at liberty to use; but I may be pardoned if I trespass a little and give a few reasons why I am come to the conclusion that the effect of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty is to abrogate and annul to a great extent the cardinal principle of the "Monroe Doctrine."
In the first place the "Monroe Doctrine" was the accepted policy of this government as to all foreign intervention from 1823 to 1850, and with some of the leading minds of the country it has never ceased to be the paramount creed in the national catechism. During these twenty-seven years the project of building an inter-oceanic canal had been considerably agitated, in Congress and out, and had enlisted to some extent the sympathies of foreign powers who desired a shorter passage to the Pacific Ocean, the East Indies, and the markets of Cathay, than the stormy ones around the southern capes of either hemisphere.
This agitation finally culminated in diplomatic correspondence between the representatives of Great Britain and the United States relative to the construction of such a means of communication and the rights of the two nations to the same, resulting in the treaty. In April, 1850, the Senate of the United States, by a very large vote, ratified and confirmed this treaty, notwithstanding it was vigorously opposed by such men as Stephen A. Douglas and Lewis Cass, then in the zenith of their fame.
It appears in the Congressional record of 1850, and subsequently, that the treaty was ratified without a very clear understanding of its meaning; and it was even hinted, in rather plain language, that the representative of Great Britain had been too sharp, too diplomatic for his American brother, and had overreached him. It further appeared that the honorable Senate was sadly deficient in knowledge of geography, and national boundaries; for it is matter of record, that many Senators voted for the ratification under the impression that British Honduras was included in the territory of Guatamala, and that the British settlements were in that republic; while, as a fact, Balize or British Honduras was on the easterly side of the Isthmus, never had been a part of that republic, and the British settlements were, and always had been, in Yucatan. They further understood the treaty to say, that neither government should occupy, fortify, or colonize Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the Mosquito Coast, or any part of Central America; but it is a fact, that at the very date of the treaty, at the date of the ratification, and since, Great Britain occupied and colonized the Mosquito coast, or that part which joins British Honduras on the northerly side of South Honduras; and Mr. Douglas, in 1857, in a debate in Congress upon a "resolution of inquiry as to the present status of the treaty," said: "I voted against the treaty, Mr. President, for the reason that I am unwilling to enter into any stipulations with any European power, that we would not do on this continent whatever we might think it our duty to do, whenever a case should arise. I voted against it because by clause 1 of that treaty we are debarred from doing what it might be our duty to do; but as it has been entered into, I desire to see it enforced. I am not yet aware that that clause of the treaty has been carried into effect. I have yet to learn that the British Government have withdrawn their protectorate from the Mosquito Coast; I have yet to learn that they have abandoned the possession of that territory which they held under the Mosquito King."
From the day that treaty was ratified to the present, it has been a fertile source of discord and misunderstanding between the two governments; and from 1850 to 1858 its provisions were thrice made the basis of a proposal to arbitrate as to their meaning: their modification and abrogation have been alike contingently considered, and their imperfect and vexatious character have been repeatedly recognized on both sides. Even the present administration is laboring with the difficulty, and seeking some honorable way to free the treaty from its embarrassing features, or entirely abrogate it. President Buchanan, in 1858, characterized and denounced the treaty as "one which had been fraught with misunderstanding and mischief from the beginning;" and the leading statesmen of the country have felt that it was entirely inadequate to reconcile the opposite views of Great Britain and the United States towards Central America.
The Honorable James G. Blaine, late Secretary of State under the lamented Garfield, in his diplomatic correspondence with Lord Granville, in 1881, in summing up his review of the negotiations concerning this treaty, says: "It was frankly admitted on both sides that the engagements of the treaty were misunderstandingly entered into, improperly comprehended, contradictorily interpreted, and mutually vexatious."
An examination of the diplomatic correspondence and the Congressional Records of the years 1852-3-4 reveals what may perhaps be unknown history to many of my readers; that Great Britain within one year after she signed and ratified the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, and agreed therein NOT "to colonize, fortify, or exercise control over, any part of Central America," did seize upon, colonize and partially fortify and exercise control over the five islands in the Bay of Honduras, called the Bay Islands; and that she did this in derogation of the declarations of the "Monroe Doctrine," and in direct violation and contempt of the Treaty, which she had so recently entered into; that this same national cormorant immediately surveyed and made a new geographical plan of Central America, in which she extended her province of Balize from the river Hondo, on the north, to the river Sarstoon on the south, and from the coast of the bay westward to the falls of Garbutts on the river Balize; or five times its original size; and then modestly claimed that her possessions were not in Central America, and therefore not within the provisions of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty; that she has to this day continued her protectorate, as she calls it, of the Mosquito Coast, and that within six days after the Treaty of California, which secured to us that "pearl of the occident," she seized San Juan and occasioned a brief naval excitement at Greytown, the port of the San Juan river. This last kick by Great Britain at the treaty she had so solemnly promised to abide by was the most barefaced and impudent of all; for it was at that time supposed by every body who had considered the question of an inter-oceanic canal, that if built at all it would be by way of the San Juan river, Lake Nicaragua, and across Nicaragua to the Pacific; thus making Greytown the important port of said canal, and the key to the control of the entire commerce thereon.
The diplomatic correspondence which followed this high-handed outrage, like all the diplomatic (?) correspondence concerning Central America, while firm and bold on the part of this government, yet lacked that moral force, national importance, and perfect fearlessness, which the fetters imposed by the treaty prevented us from using or exhibiting.
With the treaty out of the way, and the principles of the "Monroe Doctrine" imprinted as a legend upon our banners, we should have stood on unassailable ground; have exhibited a national importance and vitality—an uncompromising firmness, courage and dignity that would have carried conviction, achieved immediate and honorable success, and commanded the respect of the civilized world. But fettered, tantalized, and weakened, by the ambiguities and inconsistencies of this co-partnership treaty, the United States government was compelled to temporize, argue, and explain, and finally compromise with her co-partner, and graciously allow the disgraceful fetters to remain.
Did Great Britain withdraw her protectorate? No. Did she withdraw her colonies from the Bay Islands? No. Did she give up her new geography of Central America, and restore Balize to its original territory? No. Did she yield a single point in the controversy, except to give up and repudiate as unauthorized the seizure of San Juan? No. Not in a single instance when the territory of Central America was at stake, and the provisions of the treaty were concerned, did she yield a single point; but she has even claimed and argued, that under the proper interpretation of the terms of that treaty she may hold all that she then enjoyed, and all that she can seize or buy, which is more than five statute miles from the coast line of any part of Central America; because, as she says, the treaty means the political, not the geographical Central America, and the political Central America is that part only of the continent which is contained within the limits of the five Central American republics; while the geographical Central America comprises all the territory and adjacent waters which lie between the republic of Mexico and South America; and that as Balize, Yucatan, and the Bay Islands, were not within the limits of the five Central American republics, they are no part of the Central America designated and intended in the treaty, and are not included in the term "other territory" used in said treaty.
The United States on the other hand claimed that the express language of the treaty, to wit: "that neither will occupy, or fortify, or colonize, or assume, or exercise any dominion over Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the Mosquito Coast, or any part of Central America," means the geographical Central America, including all that is not specifically enumerated from Mexico on the north, to New Grenada or the United States of Columbia on the south; that the claim of Great Britain was not a tenable or reasonable one, and that the understanding was, that neither government should thereafterwards acquire, or assume any control over, any part of the territory lying between Mexico and South America.
In the year 1853, during the discussion in the Senate upon the resolution of inquiry presented by Mr. Douglas, Mr. Clayton, then Senator from Delaware, admitted that the ambiguity of the treaty is so great, that on some future occasion a conventional article, clearly stating what are the limits of the Central America named in the treaty, might become advisable.
This admission, from the lips of the very man who so diplomatically (?) represented the United States in the making of this vexatious treaty, is rather significant, and aids us of this generation in coming to the conclusion that the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty is a disgrace to this republic, and ought to be at once abrogated.
Another historical fact, with which few are familiar, and which shows the animus of this treaty, is this: In 1849 Mr. Hise, our minister at Nicaragua, reported to the Honorable Secretary of State that Nicaragua had offered to the United States, through him, "the exclusive right to build, maintain, and forever control an inter-oceanic canal across that republic; and offered to enter into treaty stipulations to that effect." Mr. Hise strongly urged the acceptance of this offer, and prepared and forwarded to the State Department a treaty, accepted by the government of Nicargagua, which confirmed in specified terms the offer of full and complete control and government of said canal. For reasons best known to the Department of State, this treaty, called the Hise treaty, was never accepted or presented to the Senate for ratification and adoption, but was somehow quietly smothered, and the Clayton-Bulwer co-partnership treaty reported and adopted in its stead.
It will be seen at a glance, by even the most careless political tyro, that the Hise treaty was directly in line and accord with the express principles of the "Munroe Doctrine;" and that it would have given to this country the exclusive rights, which under the treaty adopted it must share with its co-partner, Great Britain. Had the United States accepted the offer made by Nicaragua, and thus obtained the exclusive privilege of opening and controlling the canal, we could have opened it to the commerce of the world, on such terms and conditions as we should deem wise, just, and politic; and it would have been more creditable to us as a nation to have acquired it ourselves, and opened it freely to the use of all nations, rather than to have entered into a co-partnership by which we not only have no control in prescribing the terms upon which it shall be opened, but lose the right of future acquisition and control of Central American territory. Had we accepted it (or should we accept the recent offer of Nicaragua to the same general effect) we should have held in our possession a right, and a might, which would have been ample security for every nation under heaven to have kept the peace with the United States.
Honorable Stephen A. Douglas, in commenting upon the conduct of the State Department of 1849 and 1850, said: "When we surrendered this exclusive right we surrendered a great element of power, which in our hands would have been wielded in the cause of justice for the benefit of all mankind."
"But suppose," said Senator Clayton in reply, "that Great Britain and other European powers would not have consented to our exclusive control of a canal, in which they, as commercial nations, had as much, and more interest, that we had?"
"Well, then," in the language of Senator Douglas, "if Nicaragua desired to confer the privilege, as it appears she did, and we were willing to accept, it was purely an American question with which England or any other foreign power had no right to interfere, or claim to be consulted, no more than we could claim to be consulted when the Holy Alliance sought to establish the equilibrium of Europe. We were not consulted then, and in matters purely continental we have no occasion to consult them; and if England, or any other foreign power, should attempt to interfere, the sympathies of the rest of the civilized world would be with us."
The policy of England has always been an aggressive one. While for nearly seventy years she has professed a friendship and national harmony with the United States, she has not ceased to plant her colonies and establish sentry boxes on every sea-girt island, that she could control, within a short voyage of our coast; while she has Gibraltar to command the entrance to the Mediterranean, a garrison at the Cape of Good Hope to control the passage to the Indies, she also maintains on the Bahamas and the Bermudas, in her well-equipped garrisons, vigilant sentinels whose eyes are ever watching the western continent in obedience to the royal behest; and in the magnificent island of Jamaica she has established, and maintained at enormous expense, a fortified and well-garrisoned naval station, which practically controls the Caribbean sea, the Gulf of Mexico, Central America, and even the contemplated canal itself; and yet not content with all this readiness and armament for aggressive war, she creeps still nearer the coveted prize and on the Bay Islands, almost in sight of the proposed canal, she plants her royal banner, and holds the key as the mistress of the situation; so that in case of war between the two countries she is well prepared for a quick and vigorous blow at the life of this republic.
She may have no occasion for many years to strike such a blow, but she will wait in readiness; and woe be to that national simplicity which puts its faith in princes, and takes no heed for the future.
What, then, is the duty of this republic in regard to the Central American problem? Shall we abrogate the patriotic principles contained in the declarations of the Monroe doctrine, and confess that we have no definite American policy? Shall we withdraw from the honorable and patriotic position of defender and upholder of republicanism on this continent, and permit the royal wolves of devastation to run wild over our sister republics, because, forsooth, in an evil hour, we were led into an alliance which, under the name of a treaty, has embarrassed our action, clouded our judgment, and involved our self-respect? Shall the great American Nation, with its untold resources, its magnificent capabilities, and its sublime faith in the manifest destiny of this republic, calmly submit to the errors, mistakes, aye, blunders of its aforetime rulers, and under a mistaken sense of honor continue to be bound hand and foot by the terms of that pernicious treaty which might well be called the covenant of national disgrace?
I maintain that it is an utter impossibility for a treaty-making power to impose a permanent disability on the government for all coming time, which, in the very nature and necessity of the case, may not be outgrown and set aside by the laws of national progression, which all unaided will render nugatory and vain all the plans and intentions of men. In the language of Honorable Edward Everett, in his famous diplomatic correspondence with the Compte De Sartiges in relation to the Island of Cuba, in 1852, when asked to join England and France in a tripartite treaty, in which a clause was embodied forbidding the United States from ever acquiring or annexing that Island to this republic, "It may well be doubted, whether the Constitution of the United States would allow the treaty making power to impose a permanent disability on the American government for all coming time, and prevent it under any future change of circumstances from doing what has so often been done in the past. In 1803 the United States purchased Louisiana of France, and in 1819 they purchased Florida of Spain. It is not within the competence of the treaty-making power in 1852 effectually to bind the government in all its branches, and for all coming time, not to make a similar purchase of Cuba. There is an irresistible tide of affairs in a new country which makes such a disposition of its future rights nugatory and vain. America, but lately a waste, is filling up with intense rapidity, and is adjusting on natural principles those territorial relations which, on the first discovery of the continent, were, in a good degree, fortuitous. It is impossible to mistake the law of American progress and growth, or think it can be ultimately arrested by a treaty, which shall attempt to prevent by agreement the future growth of this great republic."
The good faith of this nation demands that we should live up to all our treaties and agreements, so far as it is possible to do so; but when in the course of events, and by reason of the fixed decrees of growth, we are not able to do so, then it becomes us, in honor and fairness to others, as well as to ourselves, to take immediate measures to modify, and if necessary entirely rescind them, let the consequences be what they may.
The genius of America is progressive, and the pluck and activity of the average American is unsurpassed. Who shall say, then, that Central America shall never become part of this Republic, which now increases its population over a million each year? What statesman shall now in the light of experience seek to bind this nation within the limits of a treaty, that these United States will not annex, occupy, or colonize any new territory? If the Nicaragua Canal shall ever be constructed, will not American citizens settle along its line, and Yankee enterprise colonize, and build Yankee towns, and convert that whole section into an American state? Will not American principles and American institutions be firmly planted there? And how long will it be before the laws of progress shall require us to extend our jurisdiction and laws over our citizens in Central America—even as we were obliged to do in Texas? Perhaps not in our day and generation, but in the words of the lamented Douglas, "So certain as this republic exists, so certain as we remain a united people, so certain as the laws of progress, which have raised us from a mere handful to a mighty nation, shall continue to govern our action, just so certain are these events to be worked out, and you will be compelled to extend your protection-in that direction. You may make as many treaties as you please, to fetter the limits of this great republic, and she will burst them all from her, and her course will be onward to a limit which I will not venture to prescribe. Having met with the barrier of the ocean in our western course, we may yet be compelled to turn to the North and to the South for an outlet."
With a distinctly American policy, such as the Father of his Country foreshadowed and advised, when in his farewell address he warned us against "entangling alliances with foreign powers;" such as President Monroe bequeathed to us in the declarations of the "Monroe Doctrine," we shall be more likely to achieve honor and renown; national prosperity and universal respect, than can ever be ours, while fettered and bound, by the galling chains of an entangling, unwise, and unfair treaty.
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THE DIVORCE LEGISLATION OF MASSACHUSETTS.
By Chester F. Sanger.
There evidently exists just at the present time a great and increasing interest in the old and much debated subjects of divorce, and divorce legislation; an interest which is intensified as the population of our younger states with their widely varying laws governing this matter increases and the dangers and opportunities for fraud grow more apparent. Naturally enough, therefore, public attention is invited to these different laws of the several states of our Union, some allowing divorce for one cause, others refusing it upon the same ground, and one state, at least, refusing to grant a divorce for any cause whatever. The remedy for this seems to many to be a national divorce law, establishing in all the states a uniform mode of procedure and a uniform basis upon which all petitions for divorce must be grounded; it must also fix the status of the parties in every state and prescribe the several property rights of each after the entry of the judicial decree which separates them from a union, not of God, as some would try to teach, but often from fetters, the weight and horror of which are known to the parties alone, or to those, who, unlike our theoretical reformers, have had some practical experience in the actual operation of our divorce courts.