« AnteriorContinuar »
long life of blameless eminence, devotion to Washington and his administration, attested on all occasions, patriotism proved by all tests, ought to have outweighed the flippant, self-glorifying insinuations or charges of Fauchet.
Passing over the personal indignity to which Randolph was subjected in connection with the disclosure to him of this dispatch-which is surely painful reading—the flimsiness of the charges themselves, and the total lack of proof, are the most astonishing features to recall. Chief Justice Taney truly describes Fauchet's dispatch as “containing a variety of mattersome assertions and some conjectures and speculations—very desultory-in which the passages in relation to Mr. Randolph are to be found in different places—mixed up with other matters, so as to make it difficult to understand what Mr. Fauchet meant." The impression fastened upon our mind by all that is now known, is admirably stated in Judge Taney's letter, p. 351.
Randolph upon being confronted with the Fauchet dispatch, resigned his office, August 19, 1795, and in December following published his “ Vindication.” He retired to Richmond, where he resumed his profession, appearing as counsel for Burr on his trial for treason in 1808. He died in 1813—not “an old man,” but “ broken with the storms of state.”
What our author well calls the “conventionalized disfigurement” to which Randolph's memory has been subjected, is especially noticeable in the general estimate of his character which has obtained and still passes current.
Jefferson in a letter to Judge Tucker in 1793 called him a “chameleon,” and what that word implies has gone into history and been caught up, parrot-like, by one after another of our so-called authorities. Thus, a writer in this very centennial year of our Constitution has thought fit to say ;—“His whole character was marred by a spirit of vacillation, which inclined him to temporize and compromise all dangerous political questions.
But great as is our obligation to Jefferson and profoundly as he has affected our political thought and life, and for the most
* Charles R. Hildeburn, in History of the Celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of the Promulgation of the Constitution of the United States, edited by Hampton L. Carson. Vol. I. p. 213.
part in right directions, it is plain he was too often a reckless, if not a malignant, personal critic. This volume gives proof enough not only of Randolph's firm sense of public duty, but it teems with touching instances of his habitual fidelity of friendship even for those who, like Madison, seem never to have lifted a hand in his defence when the arrows were flying thickest about him, or like Jefferson, to have written and spoken of him with back-biting asperity, or above all, for Washington, towards whom Randolph kept his faith and love under the cruel weight, as he at least must have felt, of disgrace inflicted either from haste, or from prejudice carefully fanned into wrath by those who compassed his overthrow.
If, as we have already hinted, Mr. Conway's volume had no other value than as an occasion and stimulant to students and to all patriotic citizens, to revive or increase their familiarity with the formation, and with the true spirit, of our Constitu tion and the men who most figured in its beginnings, this would justly secure for his work our high appreciation ; but he has done far more than this ; he has revealed new facts of value to our constitutional history, as well as new facts essential to a true knowledge of a high name in American statemanship—a name too long and too deeply clouded by the shadow of Washington's displeasure, but at last placed by this volume in such lights as will ensure at least a more competent tribunal and, we believe, a far more favorable judgment.
DANIEL H. CHAMBERLAIN.
ARTICLE IV.—THE LOST CAUSE.
SEVERE criticism is sometimes leveled against Northern men for keeping alive the issues of the War of the Rebellion. We are blamed for waving bloody emblems of it and for firing the hearts of the voters by impressive reference to the facts which the great conflict made prominent. Replies to the fiery speeches of Southerners are denounced as attacks upon our countrymen.
But the Northern disposition has been and is to accept the results of the struggle with a generous sympathy for the Southern people and to let by-gones be by-gones. We are not inclined to tantalize the South for its defeat, nor to take any advantage of that section of our common country by reason of our superiority in position or in resources. From the surrender at Appomattox till this day, the North has shown, what it has felt, a noble magnanimity toward its fellow-citizens of the South-land. Immediately on the surrender, Northern capital began to flow into the Southern States. Northern men were disposed to settle there, and Northern benevolence undertook to carry education and religion to the most needy of that whole region. If the feeling that the North truly cherished had been reciprocated by the South, the wounds of the war would have been soon healed and forgotten, and a New Union would have taken the place of the old, with nobler purposes and closer fraternity.
But Northern capital was spurned, and Northern sympathy was scoffed at, and Northern and Christian benevolence was hounded out; and it was only by a kind of missionary enthusiasm and martyr devotion that Northern men and women persisted in their humane work at the South. The story of humiliation and persecution and ostracism and banishment to which our people were subjected, is a mournful commentary on the qualities which slavery had produced. To a great extent, time and better acquaintance have changed and softened all this, and coming time and experience will accomplish still
more. The testimony which intelligent and liberal Southerners are carrying home from their visits among us, the testimony of the impressive and patent work which our educational and religious institutions are doing in the South, the regal gifts of mercy which Peabody and Slater and Hand and others are lavishly offering for the enlightenment and training of the ignorant masses in the old slave realm, together with the needs of the Southern people in contrast with the growth and rapid augmentation of power of the old free States, will gradually but surely combine, with many occult causes, to convince the South where its true interests lie, and to raise up a generation that will be in fair harmony with American ideas and principles. The pronounced loyalty of leading Southern men to the Union and their intense passion for the restored Nation will be an educational force of great power on the minds of Southern youth. The wise policy of the new Administration in encouraging the development of justice in the minds of Southern white men and of manhood in the souls of Southern black men, will work for patriotism and unity and fraternity. We may rationally look for an improved era, for steady strides toward a strong Nationality, for the welding of our differing races into patriotic harmony, so that we shall, at least, deal justly with one another and rejoice in the contribution which each shall bring to the welfare of all. It is to be regretted that there are all along, occurrences which are retarding this desirable union: As, the murder of negroes, the assassination of John M. Clayton, the prostitution of the ballot, and, more than all, the continued eulogy of the Lost Cause. This last is the peculiar mission of Mr. Jefferson Davis. For this he lives. On every occasion, convenient or otherwise, his voice of illomen is heard in approval of the Confederate rebellion. We recall his letter to the Confederate Veterans at their annual reunion, in which he said: “Be assured that in heart and in mind I will be with those who bravely struggled to maintain the right and still honor the truth, despite its overthrow, and hopefully look forward to the resurrection which truth's eternity insures.” We recall his presence at the meeting in New Orleans in aid of the Southern Historical Society, where he was the principal speaker and indeed the hero of the occasion.
Many veterans of the war were there and a large number of unreconstructed ladies. Gen. F. T. Nicholls, the chairman, in introducing the late head of the Confederacy, remarked, “A Cause which was worthy of fighting for, which was worthy of dying for, was surely a Cause which should not be lost to memory. God never intended that it should be forgotten, and the people of Louisiana have not forgotten it. As memory recurred to the times that tried men's souls, the form and figure of him who stood forth as the leader of the South rose from the past. Can you with loving hearts turn to him and say to him that our Cause is not dead and that it is not forgotten ?” Then, in the midst of “tremendous applause," Mr. Davis stepped forward. We extract, as showing the animus of the man, some of his significant observations. “As for me, our Cause was so just, so sacred, that had I known all that has come to pass, had I known what was to be inflicted on me, all that my country was to suffer, all that our posterity was to endure, I would do it over and over again.” This accursed sentiment was applauded to the echo. He said : “ They who now sleep in the grave cannot be benefited by anything we can do; their Cause has gone before a higher tribunal than any earthly judgment-seat; but their children and children's children are to be benefited by preserving the record of what they did, and, more than all, the moral with which they did it. Could there be a cause more sacred than this! If there be anything that justifies human war, it is defense of country, of family, of constitutional right.” “It is somewhat difficult for a Confederate, whose heart lies bedded in the grave of our Cause, to speak to you on a subject which revives the memories of that period, and to speak with that forbearance which the occasion requires." These bitter denunciations were received with applause that shook the theater, showing that a large class of the Southern people cherish the spirit of the rebellion and are determined to keep alive the alienation of the war period.
The Rev. Dr. B. M. Palmer, the distinguished Presbyterian clergyman of New Orleans, the bitterest opponent of the union of the Northern and Southern Presbyterian churches, followed in a speech which had an undertone of treason. He