William H. Seward

GREAT social and political movements which end either in peaceful or in violent revolution develop two wholly distinct sets of leaders. First come the agitators and fanatics, crying in the wilderness, and cursing alike the oppressors and the Gallios, who “ care for none of those things.” By their appeals and their invective, by their sufferings and their martyrdom, these early pioneers, if their cause be just, sooner or later arouse the slumbering conscience of the world about them; and when this is thoroughly accomplished their work is really done. The great task then passes to other hands; for although the true fanatic may be able to call the people from their tents, he cannot organize them. He is, as a rule, incapable of leadership, or, in other words, of dealing with his fellow-men. He would not be what he is if this were not so ; for men of that type must be, in the nature of things, different from the mass of their fellow-beings. They must have the solitary temperament in some form or other, for they are obliged to endure mental or moral, if not social, isolation ; they must be imbued with the spirit of the mediæval ascetic, utterly given over to one idea, emotional and unreasonable. Such men have played great parts at all epochs, and are no doubt essential to the progress of the human race. In modern times, however, all great reforms are carried by organization and combination ; and this is precisely what extreme and violent agitators, who appear as the precursors of great moral movements, are unable to compass. Yet though the forces are marshaled and the battle is won by others, the extremists who first raised their voices against vested abuses frequently have a compensation in the fact that if they live for some years after the triumph of their cause they are often regarded not only as the champions of a once despised but now successful principle, but as the men who bore that principle to victory. Mankind love the striking and picturesque, and when they see among them some individual who in earlier days sustained a great cause in the midst of persecution and obloquy, and who now rests from his labors with all the world on his side, they are dazzled by the contrast ; and not content with awarding him the praise which is rightfully his due, they give him credit for much that he did not do, and for achievements wholly alien to men of that type. Time, which sets all things even, remedies this injustice. In history the agitator finds his proper place ; and while he obtains the high commendation which he really deserves, he is no longer burdened with praise which injures because it is misplaced and inappropriate.

In our anti-slavery struggle, leaders of the two very different classes to which I have alluded were of course developed, and I have been led to make the preceding remarks because there has of late been a disposition to treat the original and extreme abolitionists as if they were the men who not only began the great movement, but who finally carried the conflict for freedom to a successful termination, and as if they were in fact the chief, if not the only, persons concerned. The radical abolitionists deserve, and will always receive, great honor for their sacrifices, their courage, and their success in awakening the sleeping conscience of the country. This they did, and they are entitled to the whole credit of the great work. No one would think of denying their heroism in support of a grand and noble principle, or the value of their services to the cause of humanity. At the same time, they are not, except in this indirect way, as the original and exciting cause, the men who actually stopped the extension of slavery, saved the Union, and destroyed human bondage in the United States. To meet and overcome the slave power it was necessary to form a great political organization, or, in other words, to obtain the concerted action of large bodies of men. This the abolitionists could not do as a party. They did not even have coherence among themselves. Some of them acted politically ; others refused even to vote. Some of them wished to push the cause of women’s rights; others thought one issue at a time enough. Some favored a choice between the two great parties ; others would vote for no candidates except their own. They were continually extending and strengthening the anti-slavery sentiment, but they could not add to their own numbers; for the avowal by many of them of secession principles shocked thousands who deeply sympathized with their objects, and they were unable to formulate a practicable platform which was capable of obtaining substantial support. There were of course all shades of opinion among the abolitionists, and no general description can possibly be just to each individual. There can be no doubt, however, that as a body they powerfully affected public opinion, but were unable to convert their principles into effective political questions, and thence into legislative acts.

In one division, the political abolitionists, we find the germs of a party which, after various modifications and transformations, developed into the Free-Soil party, which was constitutional, practical, and therefore possible; but which, in becoming so, separated from the uncompromising abolitionists of the most extreme and well-marked type. The work of the new party was to point out and define a ground to which anti-slavery men who had clung to the Whig and Democratic parties could come, and where they could unite for concerted action. This the Free Soilers accomplished; and so well did they succeed that when the crash came and political bonds were loosened a place was provided where all anti-slavery men could gather. From less than two hundred thousand votes in 1852 the constitutional anti-slavery party rose to over a million in 1856. This quick and mighty increase could not have come by purely natural processes of growth during four years. In reality, it was due chiefly to the sudden concentration of all the Opponents of slavery. Public opinion, aroused and formed by the abolition propaganda, was, it is true, terribly stimulated in those four years by the aggressions of the slave power, but the main elements had been developing for a much longer period. When the inevitable operation of the slave question had shattered the Whigs and divided the Democrats, great bodies of men who had been for years in real sympathy, but who had been working with different methods and in different directions, were at last set free. They needed only a rallying point, and that the Free Soilers offered them in the policy of resistance to the extension of slavery in the Territories. When they came together and polled their votes, they were themselves startled at the magnitude of the powerful organization which almost seemed to have sprung into existence in the night. Now for the first time were the enemies of slavery united. They came from all sides,— Abolitionists, Free Soilers, Democrats, and Whigs. The waiting had been long, but they at length met under one roof and on one platform, the only antislavery men who held aloof being the little band of non-political abolitionists. In this way the Republican party was formed, and the largest addition to its strength was composed of Whigs, who came under the leadership of the distinguished statesman whose name stands at the head of this article.

The advent of Seward marked the period when resistance to slavery ceased to be mere agitation or the object of isolated efforts, and became a political question, capable of solution by ordinary and constitutional methods, and the watchword of a compact and organized party. Seward represented fully the second class of leaders, who, taking up a great reform, are able by their wisdom, moderation, firmness, and above all by their capacity for combination, to secure a large popular following, and thus carry their principles to victory. These new leaders were men of great ability and vigorous character. Some came, like Hale and Julian, from the old liberty party; others, like Adams, Sumner, and Wilson, had been engaged in the Free-Soil movement; but most of them were fresh from their affiliations with the Whig and Democratic parties, which they now left forever. Coming from every political quarter and from every part of the free North, the Republican chiefs were all imbued with a common purpose. They had taken upon themselves a heavy burden, and if they had known that in addition to the conflict with slavery they were soon to be brought face to face with civil war, and charged with the salvation of the Union, their courage might not have been so cheerful as it was when they faced the country with Fremont and Dayton as their candidates.

To the younger generations in the United States no period is so vague and unfamiliar as that which extends from the compromises of 1850 to the first election of Grant. It is neither contemporary nor historical, and those who cannot remember it have as yet but meagre opportunities of understanding the course of events during those momentous years. The time has come, however, when it is most important that just ideas should prevail in regard to the men who confronted the slave power in its last desperate struggle for supremacy, first at the ballot box, and then on the battlefield. There ought to be no misapprehension in regard to these men. Their characters, abilities, and services ought to be fully and thoroughly understood, and for this reason the appearance of Seward’s works 1 in a new and handsome edition, now extended to five volumes, and covering the years of the war, ought to be generally welcomed and widely read. Nowhere else can we obtain an equally just idea of the purposes and principles of the men who put the antislavery movement into such a shape as to assure practical success, and then performed the far greater work of saving the Union and carrying the civil war to a triumphant conclusion. This could not be said of the writings of many party leaders ; but Seward was so temperate, so reasonable, so lucid, and at the same time held such a commanding position before the country from 1850 to 1861, that his speeches must be regarded as the best authority for the wishes and intentions of the masses of the Republican party at that period. Any one ought to be well satisfied to let the case of the North and of freedom go to the tribunal of history on Seward’s presentation ; and there is nothing which shows more clearly the absolute criminality of the slave-ridden South in plunging the country into war than the fair, vigorous, and courteous exposition of anti-slavery principles and purposes which was made by the New York Senator.

By a fortunate coincidence the life of Thurlow Weed, Seward’s closest friend, also comes to the public at this time.2 I intend, therefore, with the aid of this new material and of other authorities as well, to discuss briefly the career and character of the man who led the antislavery movement from 1850 to 1860, and who afterwards held the seals of state during the direst perils which have ever beset us as a people.

William Henry Seward was born in Orange County, New York, in May, 1S01. His father was a man of education, and apparently not without ability. Bred a physician, he not only practiced his profession, but was a farmer, storekeeper, politician, and local magistrate. He was a true Jack-of-all-trades, but was sufficiently master of them to thrive in his various undertakings and amass a considerable fortune, a large part of which he devoted to founding an academy. He was evidently an eccentric man, and very unwise in his mode of bringing up his children. On one occasion he made his son William, when a very little boy, recite a poetical address before some of his neighbors. At the conclusion one of the bystanders asked the child which of his father’s somewhat numerous professions he should follow. The boy innocently answered that he intended to be a justice of the peace. Thereupon his father took him severely to task for speaking of an office in the gift of others as if it were the proper subject of a " usurping ambition ; ” and this unreasoning severity apparently continued and was habitual.

Seward’s evident precocity, joined with early delicacy of health, led to his selection as the member of the family who should receive the highest education then attainable. After the usual school preparation, therefore, he entered Union College, where he was successful in his studies, and popular with both professors and students. Although he was far from being a spendthrift, his father’s ill-judged parsimony finally induced the young collegian to run away, and seek his fortune in the South. In Georgia he at once obtained a position as instructor in a newly established academy ; but before he could enter on his duties he was discovered, and summoned home by his parents. In this excursion he caught his first glimpse of slavery, to which he conceived a strong and instinctive aversion, little dreaming then that under his hand and seal would one day issue the Emancipation Proclamation of Abraham Lincoln.

On his return he went back to college, graduated in due course, and received his degree. His father’s treatment was evidently not forgotten, and it is obvious that there was a marked coolness between them for many years. Seward’s affection in boyhood and youth was given to his mother, by whose influence he was brought back from the South, and whom he loved, cherished, and mourned with an exhibition of feeling quite unusual to his calm nature. Through his mother he received a tinge of Irish blood, to which we may attribute his easy temper, sanguine disposition, and constant sympathy with the people of that race.

On leaving college Seward studied law in the city of New York, and thence moved to the little village of Auburn, where he established himself, married well and most happily, and began the diligent practice of his profession. With untiring industry and a remarkable capacity for hard work, he soon gathered clients, and his fortunes rose with those of the little town in which he had made his home. The country lawyer was an important man in those days, and Seward was soon drawn into the current of politics, for which he had a strong natural aptitude. He was deeply patriotic, and had already delivered one or two addresses which show much thought and power for so young a man. He had been bred a Republican, as the Democrats were then called, and had been taught to believe that all Federalists were traitors and aristocrats. Yet, as he himself remarks, when he came to choose his side in politics, he allied himself with the opponents of the Democracy, and voted against that party ever after. The fact is that by instinct Seward was one of the men who became the political heirs of the Federalists, and no amount of education or artificial prejudice could alter his nature. In theory he was one of the “regular” Democrats, or, in the slang of that day, the “ Bucktails ; ” but as soon as he entered active politics he went into open opposition to his supposed party. Western New York was deeply interested in canals, and the policy of building these great water-ways strongly appealed to Sewards far-seeing mind. This feeling, strengthened by the friendship then formed with Thurlow Weed, led him into the opposition, which then was composed of a portion of the Democrats and of those who had once been Federalists. In this way the would-be Democrat found himself speaking, writing, and voting for DeWitt Clinton, the champion of internal improvements, whom he had always distrusted, for Governor, and for John Quincy Adams, the opponent of the Virginian dynasty, for President. The action was characteristic of the man. He chose his side deliberately, and on broad, public grounds, at an age when prejudice and impulse are far more apt to rule than a cool consideration of general principles.

Once engaged, however, he never let go his hold, although there were intervals subsequently when he persuaded himself that his public career was over. It was of course impossible that this should be the case, for he could not have lived without political action. Natural genius and capacity are the strongest agents in shaping a man’s destiny, and this was especially true of Seward. In 1833 he writes, “Enthusiasm for the right and ambition for personal distinction are passions of which I cannot divest myself; and while every day’s experience is teaching me that the former is the very agent which must defeat the latter, I am far from believing that I should be more happy were I to withdraw altogether from political action.” This correct bit of introspection was true when it was written, and equally true of all periods of Seward’s life, from the beginning to the end.

When he had once fairly started he moved forward rapidly, for ability, pleasant manners, ingenuity, and facility stamped him as a leader. His first political success came to him in a curious way, through that oddest of all political movements, anti-masonry. Even when they were old men, writing their autobiographies, after the close of most active careers, both Seward and A\’ eed were unable to rid themselves of the idea that there was real meaning and force in the anti-masonic agitation. Beginning as a local excitement, induced by the folly and violence of a few headstrong and determined men, anti-masonry developed into a political crusade against secret societies. So far as we can judge now, the only peculiar principle of the anti-masons was to exclude masons from office. In other respects, their creed was that of the National Republicans, or Whigs. They succeeded sufficiently to carry one State in a presidential election, and cast a considerable vote at various times in other States. They crippled the Whigs, then in their infancy, they enlisted the support of such men as John Quincy Adams and William Wirt, and they elected here and there a number of local candidates. It is a matter of profound surprise that they should have accomplished even as much as this, or that they should have contrived to exist even for several years. One cannot help suspecting that Weed saw in the violent local feeling about Morgan’s abduction an opportunity for a movement which should break the dominant party in the State, and that almost any issue, if once fairly started, would spread and flourish, in the absence of broader questions. There is no evidence that prior to the Morgan case the masons, as such, took part in politics; and it is inconceivable that intelligent men and shrewd politicians should have supposed that any party could really endure, when it had no principle except opposition to secret societies, which were perfectly legal and proper,beneficial to their members, and wholly harmless to every one else. In Western New York, the scene of Morgan’s abduction, the antimasonic feeling was of course most intense, and there, at least, the anti-masons effected one excellent result by taking up Seward, who had thrown himself into the movement with great vigor, and sending him to the state senate for two successive terms, placing him in this way in the line of political advancement.

In the condition of politics at that time, when everything was in a state of solution, it mattered comparatively little whether the anti-masons were a sound party or not, provided that they opened the way for young and energetic men to enter politics. Seward owed them much for giving him his opportunity, which is all any man can demand of fate, and he certainly made the most of his, for he had this great quality of success strongly developed.

It is amusing to read his own account of his first speech at Albany, which he delivered in a condition of blind confusion, and to reflect that this embarrassed orator was the man who, in the Senate of the United States, faced for ten years a desperate and fierce majority of slaveholders, and argued with unsurpassed clearness and courage the cause of freedom. After the ice was once broken, Seward moved on easily enough. He had a fine gift of speech, and was fortunate also in being, during these first four years, one of a hopeless minority,— the best training which a young man can have for a political and parliamentary career. The senate of New York was then a highly important body, for, in addition to its legislative functions, it sat as a court of last appeal, after the fashion of the House of Lords. Seward thus had an opportunity to establish ms legal as well as his parliamentary reputation. How well he succeeded is shown by the fact that his skillful and bold resistance to the measures of the all-powerful Jacksonian Democracy and his ability in dealing with all local questions made him at the close of his second term, and when he was only thirty-three years old, the acknowledged leader of the opposition in the State. This was so universally admitted that in 1834 he was put forward as the candidate of the young Whig party for governor, and, although defeated, made a fine run and polled a large vote.

Thus thrown out of the race, Seward returned to the law, avowing that his political career was ended, and resolved on professional success. His business rapidly revived, but the abstention from politics, which was to have been absolute, was in reality so purely imaginary that in 1838 he was again nominated for governor by the Whigs, then just on the eve of their first great success. This time he was triumphantly elected, and on the 1st of January, 1839, before he had attained his thirty-ninth year, was duly inaugurated at Albany.

Space forbids that I should trace in detail the busy years of Seward’s governorship, except in so far as he was concerned with the great question to which his life was to be devoted. He made an admirable governor, and in regard to all issues of the day, on internal improvements, education, prison reform, and other less important matters, he exhibited the breadth of view, the foresight, and the courage of opinion which were his most conspicuous qualities as a statesman. Seward was naturally prudent and cautious; he was always regarded as a keen and wary politician, and in his later career his enemies charged that he was given to cunning and time-serving. Yet if any one now dispassionately studies his course as governor, the most marked characteristics of the man, and those which, if we take the pains to understand him, were never, either then or afterwards, lost or impaired, were his entire courage and complete superiority to clamor and prejudice. This was shown by his fearless independence of party and popular feeling on many state questions, and especially by his liberality toward Roman Catholics. His course on various matters, deliberately adopted in opposition to the views of his more careful friends, caused him to fall several thousand votes behind the ticket when he was reëlected ; but he neither heeded warnings when they were uttered, nor grieved over their subsequent fulfillment, because he was satisfied that he was right. In nothing was his independence better shown than in the constantly recurring questions of pardons. The rich, prosperous, strong, and well educated, who had fallen into crime, and came with powerful and influential support in search of mercy, were sent to prison or to the gallows, to meet their merited punishment. The poor, unfortunate, and neglected were those who received executive clemency, which was exercised with kindly wisdom, and at the same time with a moderation which is in strong contrast to the indiscriminate abuse of the pardoning power now so unfortunately common.

There was one question, however, then just beginning to cast its ominous shadow over the land, which dwarfed all others, and brought to a crucial test the mental and moral strength of the young governor of New York. It was, in fact, at this time that Seward was first brought into actual conflict with the slave power. Before the election the New York abolitionists addressed a series of questions to both the Whig and the Democratic candidates for governor and lieutenant-governor. The latter, avowed pro-slavery men, treated these inquiries with silent contempt; the former returned respectful answers. Seward’s response shows a touch of the adroitness which was popularly attributed to him. He contrived to manifest his entire sympathy with the opposition to slavery, but he declined, properly enough, to make ante-election pledges, and left his position to be guessed at rather than known. It was the only utterance of his life on that great question which any one could think of calling evasive, and his acts quickly showed that his prudence had no touch of timidity. Very soon after his election he was called upon by the governor of Virginia to surrender three negro sailors, accused of helping a slave, who had been since recaptured, to escape from servitude. Seward declared that the evidence on which the demand was based was wholly insufficient, and not content with this took up the broad ground that New York did not recognize assistance to a fugitive slave to be a crime, and therefore he could not comply with the requisition. He said to the governor of Virginia, “ I need not inform you, sir, that there is no law of this State which recognizes slavery,— no statute which admits that one man can be the property of another, or that one man can be stolen from another. On the other hand, our constitution and laws interdict slavery in every form. Nor is it necessary to inform you that the common law does not recognize slavery, nor make the act of which the parties are accused in this case felonious or criminal. The offense charged in the affidavit, and specified in the requisition, is not a felony nor a crime within the meaning of the constitution, and, waiving all the defects in the affidavit, I cannot surrender the supposed fugitives, to be carried to Virginia for trial, under the statute of that State.” These were bold words, and we can hardly realize the shock they produced in that day, when Northern office-holders were wont to hasten, with bated breath, to do the bidding of the South. Such language people expected from abolition fanatics ; but coming from a man who held a high and responsible office, it had a startling effect. The enemies of slavery took heart, and it was evident to all who looked beyond the immediate present that a new leader had appeared in American politics.

Through the long controversy which ensued Seward never abated by one tittle the high, firm, and yet courteous tone winch he had adopted at the outset, He remained unmoved by the retaliatory measures of Virginia, which threatened to prevent the surrender of ordinary criminals escaping from New York. He also defended the New York law, then a subject of much irritation at the South, which gave to fugitive slaves the right of trial by jury. He refused to comply with a requisition from South Carolina, similar to that made by Virginia; and when, in his second term, a Democratic assembly undertook to disapprove his action, he declined to transmit their resolutions to the Virginian authorities. At the close of his second term he voluntarily retired from office, and renewed the practice of his profession ; but his conduct in regard to fugitive slaves had sunk deep into the public mind. He probably did not realize it himself, but the calm, high courage which, as governor, he had displayed on this question had marked him out as the future leader of the anti-slavery movement. It was now inevitable that when the time came men would turn to him, and put him at their head as the chosen captain in the warfare which was to check the extension of slavery through the virgin Territories and free States of the North.

When Seward left Albany in January, 1848, the first period of his life closed, and he himself felt that his career as a public man was at an end. He had received the highest honor within the gift of the people of his State, and was content. But the real work of his life was still to be done, and the time was to come when he would be called forth by that imperious public necessity which at the appointed hour surely brings the man. Before that hour came, there was a long interval of six years, which he devoted to his profession, and when he made his fame as a lawyer. Seward possessed legal abilities of a very high order, and his time was constantly occupied with arguments before the Supreme Court of the United States and the highest state tribunals. The most extensive and lucrative part of his profession was in patent cases, an intricate branch which he took up comparatively late in life, and in which he speedily became proficient by his quick, clear perceptions, his versatility of mind, and his unfailing industry.

It was as a jury lawyer, however, that Seward touched his highest point professionally, and achieved a reputation which very few advocates have equaled. Some of the cases, notably the defense of Greeley in Cooper’s libel suit, and of the Michigan rioters, made a great stir in their day, although they are now well-nigh forgotten. His arguments before the Supreme Court of the United States in two famous fugitive - slave cases, although not addresses to a jury, had some of the popular qualities belonging to the latter, and by their fearless ability attracted widespread attention. There is one case, however, in which Seward was engaged at this period that cannot be passed over with a mere allusion ; for there is scarcely any event in his life which displays his highest and strongest qualities in a better light.

In 1846 Seward had voluntarily acted as counsel for a convict named Wyatt, who had murdered one of his keepers, and he had rested the defense on the ground of insanity. There was a good deal of feeling about the case, and when the jury disagreed Seward came in for much animadversion. Before Wyatt could be brought again to trial a whole family, respectable and prosperous people, were butchered at Auburn by a negro named Freeman, recently discharged from the state prison. The popular excitement was intense. Freeman narrowly escaped lynching, and the universal rage at his atrocious crime reached even to the bench. So strong, indeed, was the feeling that it was generally believed that no one could be found who would dare to undertake to act as counsel for the murderer. Seward was satisfied of what was unquestionably the truth, — that the wretched criminal was not only demented, but so hopelessly idiotic as to be little removed from the brutes. A jury was summoned to pass upon Freeman’s sanity, and when the court asked who appeared for the prisoner Seward rose, and undertook the defense. The jury decided in substance that Freeman was sane enough to be hanged, and he was at once put on trial. The miserable wretch, deaf and idiotic, could not even plead guilty or not guilty, and when asked who was his counsel replied that he did not know. Then Seward rose again, pale with excitement, but cool and determined, and announced that he would act as counsel. Hoarse murmurs of indignation ran through the crowded court-room. Friends and neighbors turned their backs on the daring lawyer, and there was hardly anybody who would speak to him. With perfect courage, however, Seward conducted the case to the end, using every fair means of defense; but wholly in vain, for Freeman was in reality condemned before he was tried. After the sentence Seward appealed to the governor, but pardon was refused. He then moved the Supreme Court for a new trial, which was granted; but before it came on Freeman died in jail, and the post-mortem examination revealed a brain diseased to the last point.

Seward’s action in taking this case shows not only humanity and generosity of the finest type, but courage of an uncommon quality. It was no light matter to face, alone and unsupported, the fierce prejudice and intense excitement of the community in which he lived, in behalf of a low, brutalized criminal, belonging to a despised and hated race. There was no hope or prospect of reward of any kind. There was nothing to tempt any man in such a revolting task. Seward took up the ungracious work with nothing before him at the moment as a result but universal hatred and condemnation ; and he made this sacrifice solely from devotion to the principles of law and justice in which he had been bred. Not content, moreover, with doing his simple duty as counsel, he appealed to the jury in a speech of impassioned fervor and consummate ability. I am aware of very few jury speeches which can be ranked above it, and that this statement is not an exaggeration is proved by the opinion of the greatest of modern English orators. Mr. Gladstone said to Mr. Sumner, “ Mr. Seward’s argument in the Freeman case is the greatest forensic effort in the English language.” An English gentleman who was present said, “ The greatest? Mr. Gladstone, you forget Erskine.” “ No,” replied Mr. Gladstone, “ I do not forget Erskine ; Mr. Seward’s argument is the greatest forensic effort in the language.” With such praise from such a man I am content to leave the question of Seward’s powers as a jury lawyer and forensic orator.

Although Seward, during these years of devotion to the law, believed that he had permanently withdrawn to private and professional life, he found it impossible, after having held the office of governor and having been an acknowledged leader of public opinion, to keep entirely aloof from politics. His aid and direction were constantly sought, and he could not, consistently with his views of public duty, refuse to give them. He supported Clay in 1844, Taylor in 1848, and Scott in 1852. During this time his hostility to slavery strengthened and deepened from day to day, and he became more and more outspoken on that burning question. His well-known views on slavery, indeed, led to the unfounded charge that his support of Clay was insincere and halfhearted. No accusation was ever more untrue, but it arose from Seward’s public, explicit, and repeated expressions of regret that the brilliant Whig candidate should be a slave-holder. With even greater heartiness, but still with the same reservation, he supported Taylor ; and again, after his return to public life, advocated the election of Scott, despite the approval given to the pro-slavery compromises by the Whig platform. If Seward had been a timid shuffler, such a course would not have been surprising; but since he was so pronounced and hardy an opponent of slavery that he even received the encomium of Wendell Phillips, it seems at first sight somewhat inexplicable. We can in fact understand his action only by a perfect comprehension of his views in regard to parties, and as to the most advantageous manner in which any man could aid the progress of the principles he had most at heart. The subject is well worth study, especially by those who seek to promote some important reform; because in this way can be learned the philosophy of a man who by well-judged action did as much for the advancement of a great cause as any man of equal talent who has ever lived among us, and who, wasting nothing, made himself count to the uttermost.

When a very young man, Seward says, he came to the conclusion that, “ whatever might be a man’s personal convictions, and however earnestly he might desire to promote the public welfare, he could only do it by associating himself with one of the many religious sects which divided the community, and one of the two political parties which contended for the administration of the government. A choice between sects and parties once made, whether wisely or unwisely, it was easy to see, must be practically irrevocable. . . . But though I thus chose my religious denomination and political party, I did so with a reservation of a right to dissent and protest, or even separate, if ever a conscientious sense of duty or a paramount regard to the general safety or welfare should require.” In 1844 a young friend, of strong abolition principles, consulted him about leaving his church and party because of their weakness in respect to slavery. Seward said, “ If you had the power, would you regard it as wise to abstract from the Presbyterian church of this country all its anti-slavery element, or would you desire to add to it all the anti-slavery reinforcement you could command? How much better off would that church be with all you antislavery men out of it ? How much better off, to do any good, would you be if all withdrew ? Would you thereby gain any more personal influence than you now have ? Look at the Whig party of to-day. Everybody knows that I am an anti-slavery man. Whenever I write a political letter, or make a political speech, my words are reproduced in every Whig paper in the country, and reach the eyes and ears of everybody in the land. But it is because I remain in the party, and consequently enjoy their confidence. They will hear me and consider what I say. But should I leave the Whig party, and join the radical anti-slavery party, although my speeches and writings would doubtless be read by that class who do not need my influence, they would not reach the much larger class who do need to know the truth. No ; I think I can do more good where I am. . . . Stick to the ship, and work away. In a few years you will see that we anti-slavery men in the Whig party will not have labored in vain. Do you be as faithful in your church as I will try to be in the Whig party, and you will see that, if you would do your fellow-men any good at all, you must not withdraw yourself from their association because you think you know more or are better than they are.” In 1848, he spoke at Cleveland, where there was great danger of a serious defection of anti-slavery Whigs. In the course of his speech, which was most eloquent and effective, he said, " You expect to establish a new and better party, that will carry our common principles to more speedy and universal triumph. You will not succeed in any degree, neither now nor hereafter, because it is impossible. Society is divided, classified, already. It is classified into two great, all-pervading national parties or associations. These parties are founded on the principles, interests, and affections of the people. Society cannot admit, nor will it surrender either of the existing parties to make room for, a third. The interests, the sentiments, and the habits of society forbid : —

“‘The stars in their courses war against Sisera.’

It is in the power of a seceding portion of one party, or of seceding portions of both, to do just this, and no more, to wit : to give success, long or short, to one of the existing parties. Those who do this, whatever be their objects or motives, are responsible for the consequences. Theirs is the merit if the consequences are beneficent, and theirs is the blame if the result is calamitous.” Seven years later a new party was founded, and Seward made one of his greatest political speeches at Albany on The Advent of the Republican Party. A few brief extracts show his line of thought: “You, old, tried, familiar friends, ask my counsel whether to cling yet longer to traditional controversies and to dissolving parties, or to rise at once to nobler aims, with new and more energetic associations. I do not wonder at your suspense, nor do I censure caution or even timidity. Fickleness in political associations is a weakness, and precipitancy in public action is a crime. Considered by itself, it is unfortunate to be obliged to separate from an old party and to institute a new one.” Then, in discussing the question whether the time for a new party had arisen, he made that famous exposition of the “ privileged classes,” or slave power, which rang from one end of the country to the other ; and when he came to the end of his description he asked, “ What, then, is wanted ? Organization! Organization ! Nothing but organization ! Shall we organize? Why not? Can we maintain the revolution so auspiciously begun without organization ? Certainly not. . . . How shall we organize? The evil is a national one. The power and the influence and the organization of the privileged class pervade all parts of the Union. Our organization, therefore, must be a national one.” After depicting the character of the organization required, he says, " It is best to take an existing organization that answers to these conditions, if we can find one; if we cannot find one such, we must create one. Let us try existing parties by this text. . . . Shall we report ourselves to the Whig party ? Where is it ? Gentle shepherd, tell me where ! . . . The privileged class, who had debauched it, abandoned it because they knew that it could not vie with its rival in the humiliating service it proffered them ; and now there is neither Whig party nor Whig south of the Potomac. How is it in the unprivileged States? Out of New York the lovers of freedom, disgusted with its prostitution, forsook it, and marched into any and every other organization. We have maintained it here, and in its purity, until the aiders and abettors of the privileged class, in retaliation, have wounded it on all sides, and it is now manifestly no longer able to maintain and carry forward, alone and unaided, the great revolution that it inaugurated. He is unfit for a statesman, although he may be a patriot, who will cling even to an honored and faithful association when it is reduced so low in strength and numbers as to be entirely ineffectual, amid the contests of great parties by which republics are saved. Any party, when reduced so low, must ultimately dwindle and dwarf into a mere faction. Let, then, the Whig party pass.”

It must not be forgotten, in considering Seward’s utterances on these matters, that he was as far removed as possible from being a thick-and-thin partisan. I doubt if any man of modern times has left a collection of political speeches, delivered for the most part at a period of intense excitement, which are so absolutely free from partisanship ; for Seward rarely discussed men, but confined himself to measures and principles, and be never appealed to party allegiance for votes. He was not a partisan, but he was a strong believer in parties, because he thought that only through parties any practical and beneficent result could be achieved. History and experience taught him that in representative governments there could be at once only two great parties having any effective life. A third party, while the two leading parties held their strength, was simply a faction, and the multiplication of parties was the multiplication of factions, with all the evils incident to political anarchy. His primary test of a party was its capacity for efficient work, and this was to be largely determined by its numbers and the vigor of its organization. He also well understood that a third party could have but one result, — the defeat of the organization to which it was most nearly allied in character and purpose. For this reason he opposed third-party movements, and he maintained his party standing because he deemed it the most efficient weapon he possessed for the successful advancement of a cause which he placed above party, From such motives he refused to leave the higs, although he held quite as radical views about slavery as the Free Soilers in 1848 and 1852. Thanks to his sanguine temperament, he cont nued to hope that the Whigs could be made the party of freedom ; but when that party perished, not in the least through the third-party action, but by the operation of the slavery question and by its own inherent vices, no one recognized its dissolution more quickly than Seward. In 1855 the time had come for him to move, and then was seen the force of his position. He marched not alone, but with thousands at his back, and wielding greater influence than ever to join the ranks of the Republicans, who sprang at once to the front, not as a third or fourth faction, but as one of the two great political divisions of the country. In this way the overthrow of slavery was made certain, and in no other manner could it have been brought about.

Seward’s course teaches the wholesome lesson that men may work in thorough sincerity for the same end, although in very different ways ; and that attacks on parties, under our system, simply because they are organizations, is idle nonsense. There is no necessary or peculiar virtue in remaining outside of parties, or in belonging to third parties or small factions, although they may be important and useful factors in solving political problems. There is no greater mistake or more illiberal habit than to assail men for belonging to parties ; and no greater injury can be done to any cause than by belittling a leader who, earnestly favoring it, has at the same time party standing and influence, or by persuading such a man to cast away that which increases his value and effect enormously, and to come out of his organization while it is still powerful, and reduce himself to mere isolated action. Seward would have been a leader, and a great one, whatever position he might have chosen to occupy ; but by his wise course he counted a hundred-fold more for the cause of human freedom than he could have done in any other way.

The wave of Whig success which carried Taylor to the White House made Seward Senator from New York, and the great period of his life began. His influence opened Taylor’s eyes to the plain fact that the South was the real aggressor, and that her outcries against Northern interference were merely intended to mislead. When his mind was once made up the old soldier did not hesitate. Although unversed in the ways of politics, he saw clearly that the duty of the hour was to admit California ; and he gave it to be clearly understood that if Congress would perform its part he would do his, and would see to it that the republic was not injured or the Union impaired. This policy Seward advocated with great force in the Senate ; but neither he nor the President could hold his own party. The Whigs gave way in all directions, and their fate was sealed. Seward had hoped, and he continued to hope, that the Whigs might become the party of freedom; and if they had followed his lead and Taylor’s in 1850, they might have done the work and reaped the glories and the reward of the Republicans. They failed at the supreme moment, and thus went down into the dust; for great issues are inexorable, and when they are not obeyed they crush.

From the great Whig chiefs themselves came the policy of compromise — or, in other words, of concession — to slavery. Webster fell on the 7th of March, and Seward, with unflinching courage, stepped into the vacant place, and grasped the standard of the free North as it dropped from the hands of the great Senator from Massachusetts. He stoutly contested the compromises, but all in vain. That policy succeeded, and its brief victory cost the Whig party its life. There were a few years of seeming peace, and then the strife broke out again. The South tore the compromises of 1850 asunder; they seized Kansas by the throat, and kept her in anarchy and misery because she would not accept slavery, and thus made it clear that only slave States were to be admitted to the Union. Goaded on by the inherent weakness of their cause, they destroyed next the Missouri Compromise, and in so doing bent even the Supreme Court to their purposes. At last everything was theirs. They had thrown open the Territories to slaves ; they would admit no States but slave States ; and the next step would have been to force slavery upon the free States, and make them, if not slave-holders, slavecatchers. But in winning these Pyrrhic victories they sealed their own ruin, and it fell to Seward to lead the new party, which Southern madness did so much to build up.

The years preceding the war are so murky with the tempests of passion and hate which raged through them that it is even now difficult to see them clearly. On that dark background a few figures stand out luminous and distinct, — men with clear and definite views and perfect courage, and conspicuous among them is Seward. In his speeches in the Senate we can trace all the phases of the struggle. We see him beaten on one question after another, and then the tide turns, and he moves forward to success. It is on that period and on the debates of that time that Seward’s reputation as a parliamentary orator must rest. There is a very even excellence in these speeches. The KansasNebraska speech of 1854 is very noble and fine, and the careful and cutting attack on Pierce in 1856 is extremely effective ; but selection is difficult and unfair, for the whole series deserves high rank. Seward was not eloquent after the manner of Webster and Clay. He lacked the grandeur as well as the dramatic force and sweep of the former, and the impassioned fervor so marked in the latter. His speeches, however, have outlived those of Clay, and will always be read with pleasure and interest both for their subject and their style. Their most striking trait is the blending of grace and strength, which is a very rare combination. Graceful speakers as a rule have little force, and are the most ephemeral of orators. But Seward, despite his smoothness and grace, had the real stuff in him, and all he said went home with telling effect. In his earlier days he had a tendency, which was very common at that time, to indulge in rhetorical outbursts. He did not become turgid at such moments, but he occasionally was guilty of commonplace fine writing. As he grew older his taste improved, and by the time he reached the Senate of the United States he had freed himself entirely from this fault, and his style, although not particularly simple, was pure and clear. He had, too, a remarkable power of strong, lucid, and ingenious statement and great variety in presentation. He was never dull, and yet at the same time he had a reason and moderation in expression which rendered all he said convincing, and made him especially valuable to an unpopular cause which needed converts. His speeches did more than anything else to formulate a creed by which all the anti-slavery elements in the country could live and work unitedly. Seward had also considerable felicity of quotation ; for although not a scholar, he read widely and well, and remembered much. He was gifted likewise with a fine humor, dry and quizzical, but very attractive and singularly effective in debate. This quality comes out strongly in many passages of his autobiography, which is very charming, and has by no means the reputation that it deserves. He employed humor discreetly and with much effect in his speeches. In 1853, in a speech on Continental rights and relations, he said, “ Secondly, the Senator from Michigan invokes our attention to what Lord George Bentinck has said in the British Parliament. Well, sir, that is important, — what an English lord has said, and said in Parliament, too ; that must be looked into. Well, what did Lord George Bentinck say ? Sir, he said very angry things, very furious things ; indeed, very ferocious things. Prepare yourself to hear them, sir. Lord George Bentinck did say, in so many words, — and in Parliament, too ! — what I am going to repeat. His lordship did say that—‘he quite agreed with Captain Polkington.’ ”

The whole passage runs on at a length too great for quotation, but in the same vein ; and the Senator from Michigan must have devoutly wished, at the conclusion, that he had never alluded to Lord George Bentinck. Further extracts might be made if space would permit, but those who desire to use fun and irony in debate, without degenerating into buffoonery, cannot do better than study these speeches. They are good models in that way as well as in many others.

After the repeal of the Missouri Compromise there was a short period when even Seward’s constitutional cheerfulness gave way; but he made no sign at the time, and hope soon returned. We can detect the tone of rising confidence in everything he says, as he became convinced that Kansas could not be conquered, and that the spirit of the North was at last aroused.

When 1860 came Thurlow Weed felt that the time had arrived for Seward’s candidacy for the presidency, and this feeling was shared by the mass of the party in the strong Republican States, and by the ablest leaders everywhere; for Seward was their acknowledged chief and their most conspicuous statesman. When the Republican delegates assembled at Chicago there was no man in the country who had such claims and such a reputation, or who was such an exponent of their principles, as the New York Senator. But Seward was now to reap the reward of years of eminence and conflict. There was a strong movement made against him on the ground of availability, and instigated by personal hostility, which was at first laughed at, but which steadily assumed more formidable proportions. The attack was headed by Horace Greeley, and Greeley and those who thought with him prevailed. The convention became convinced that Seward was not available, and Lincoln was nominated on the third ballot. When the Republicans made this choice they builded far better than they knew ; for they took by chance the one man who had all the elements of greatness, and all the qualities which fitted him beyond any one else in the country to stand at the head of a great nation in the agonies of civil war. By their selection they also made it possible to unite Lincoln and Seward in the cabinet, — each in the place for which he was best adapted. But all this the Republicans at Chicago could not know at the moment, and their action carried dismay and bitter regret not merely to Seward’s immediate friends, but to the masses of the party in the Eastern States. Seward himself showed no sign of the disappointment he must have felt. With perfect and hearty cheerfulness he gave his adhesion to the ticket, and, feeling that he was still the responsible leader of the campaign, he put himself in the forefront of the battle. The entire magnanimity of Seward’s course shows that with him devotion to his cause was far stronger than any personal ambition.

The speeches which Seward made during this campaign must be taken in conjunction with those which he delivered during the campaign of 1856, and together they form a complete presentation of the case of the anti-slavery party. At the outset he portrayed the manner in which the slave-holding aristocracy had gained entire possession of every department of the government. He then delineated the " irrepressible conflict” of freedom and slavery, and brought home to the North the conviction that one or the other must perish ; that even the North American continent did not afford verge enough for their joint existence. He defined the Republican position so that it was plain to all men that it was constitutional and lawful, and that, while his party proposed to stop the extension of slavery, it would not interfere with the guaranteed rights of the States. Finally, in the Senate he demonstrated the truth of Sumner’s proposition, that “ freedom was national, and slavery sectional,” by inviting the Southern senators to come to the North and argue their cause before the people, who there would give them fair hearing and free speech, while in the South a man who dared to speak in public against slavery was hunted to death, or driven from the State. A cause which thus stifled free speech was in its nature irredeemably vicious and sectional, and nothing was more effective than the manner in which Seward drove this fact home.

To Seward’s speeches at this time men will always look for the official announcement of Republican principles prior to 1861, and by them it is proved, if proof is needed, that the cry that the election of Lincoln meant the destruction of Southern rights and Southern property was the meanest excuse ever put forward to cover a great political crime.

According to Seward’s argument, the election of Lincoln meant the stoppage of slave extension, and that the South would have no choice but to submit to the popular will, or to go into open revolution. To his sanguine mind and loyal temperament the latter alternative seemed incredible ; but when he returned to Washington, after the election, he found civil war actually at the gates. Seward believed, and believed correctly, that the fact of the election of Lincoln really settled the question of slavery ; because when the people said to slavery, Thus far shalt thou go, and no farther, the end had come, inasmuch as without extension slavery must sooner or later perish utterly. With this belief Seward saw the far greater question of national existence open before him. The Union was in danger, and if the Union were to dissolve it mattered little what became of the slave question, with two confederacies, — one wholly free, and the other wholly slave-holding. He therefore pushed the slavery question aside, and threw his whole energies into the work of saving the Union. He advocated the cause of conciliation and peace in a great speech; and while he did not abate one jot of the true result of the election, the stoppage of slave extension, he set it aside for the time being as inferior to the work of maintaining the Union. From heated partisans, and from radical men generally, there went up a cry that Seward had lost heart, and was about to betray the cause of freedom ; and from this time dates the notion, assiduously cultivated in hours of great excitement, that he was a timid time-server. Nothing could be more unjust. Seward felt that his first duty, and that of every loyal citizen, was to save the Union; and that the danger from slavery, except as a means of destroying the Union, had passed. He also saw clearly that the government must be held together in some way until the new administration came in. Largely through his efforts treason in Buchanan’s cabinet was checked, and together with Stanton and Dix he then labored to keep the peace and strengthen the Federal power. Lincoln, with intuitive wisdom, had selected Seward to abide at his right hand, in the trial that was upon them ; and when they at last took the helm they agreed wholly about the course which they ought to steer. Lincoln perceived, without any instruction, that the first thing was to preserve our national existence. So he and his secretary strove to keep the States together by peaceful means, and failed. They struggled next to narrow the limits of the rebellion by holding the border States; but as is always the case when revolution is afoot, the extreme men were at the front on both sides, the strong tide of passion was sweeping all before it, and they failed again. They made one further great effort. They resolved to make the war wholly and distinctly a war for the Union, and not allow it to be placed on any other ground. In this they succeeded, and by so doing they stopped disintegration in the North, broke down party lines, and brought a thoroughly united people to their side, entirely imbued with the determination to maintain the nation. This task of uniting the loyal people of the country was the first and essential step toward victory, and it was peculiarly the work of Lincoln and Seward.

If we study the war purely as history, the most striking fact is the inevitable character of the result, although at the time it appeared as if the result hung in grave doubt down to the very end. There was only one moment, if we thus survey that period, when it seems as if the outcome might have lost its inevitable character, and that was at the time of the Trent affair. If Lincoln and Seward had wavered and yielded to the popular clamor, and we had rushed into war with England and France, it is doubtful if we could have crushed the South with one hand, and beaten off the two greatest powers of the civilized world with the other. Lincoln, as the head of the administration, was responsible for the action of the government, and with all his good nature and easy ways he was too great a man to be other than master in his cabinet. Still, there can be no doubt that he leaned on Seward in this question. Seward of course wrote the letter, which was entirely right both in law and policy, and it was a production which bore all the characteristics of its author. At the time, fierce passions were aroused; the people were justly incensed at the attitude of England ; and the young men of the country, with arms in their hands, were eager to fight all comers. On Seward fell the responsibility of the action, and history will record it as one of the wisest and greatest acts of his and the President’s life. But at the moment it caused an increase of the feeling that Seward was adroit and timid, and this mere prejudice became so strong that it is only now that Seward is beginning to receive the place which belongs to him and the praise which he merits.

The diplomatic diary and correspondence, contained in the new fifth volume of the works, are extremely interesting, and enable us to form a just estimate of their author’s great services during the war. Mr. Lincoln allowed him in large measure to select his ministers to foreign courts, and this momentous work was performed with great skill. The volume throws light only on the general course of the war and on our relations with foreign nations; but nowhere else do we obtain such striking evidence of the inevitable character of the result of our struggle, to which I have already alluded. This arises from the fact that Seward took a comprehensive and a sweeping view of the whole situation. Behind the operation of armies, which he surveyed on a large scale, he saw the other aspects of the conflict. He perceived and understood the inherent feebleness of the insurgent States, which was lost to others in the din of arms and the smoke of battle. He detected and rightly valued the innate weaknesses of the Confederacy, arising from the nature of their cause, the existence of human slavery among them, their lack of resources, the ruin caused by the blockade, and their financial misoundness. It was well for the Union that Seward was a man able at once to see, appreciate, aud express all these things. Our representatives abroad, depressed by the hostile influences about them, by the seeming slowness of our military progress, and by the constant disappointment of their hopes, often lost heart. All their gloomy forebodings were poured out upon the Secretary of State, to whom they confided also all their troubles and anxieties. Nothing, of course, was more essential than that the United States should have a confident and calm demeanor before Europe, and it rested with Seward to see that our ministers did not forget this allimportant fact. Fortunately for us, no man could have been chosen who was better prepared, by temperament and by training, for this most trying and difficult task. By nature extremely sanguine, Seward had also a profound confidence in his country and in the American people. His dispatches have a clear ring in them, which must have aroused even the most faint-hearted. Gloom and despair might settle elsewhere, but at no time were they permitted to rest upon the department of state. Seward never boasted unduly, he never sought to disguise defeat, but he always reviewed the whole situation so reasonably, so vigorously, and in such a masterly way that his correspondents caught his spirit, and believed with him that the end could he nothing but victory. No one can question that Seward himself had his dark hours, but his self-control was never lost, and to the European world, looking and longing with scarcely disguised eagerness for the destruction of the republic, he bore himself with a proud and assured confidence, which was of infinite value in that time of stress and doubt.

There is the same tone in all that relates to the perilous and difficult complications with foreign powers produced by the war. At home the disposition was to consider Seward over-cautious. Abroad, the reverse was the case. In reality Seward’s policy was both bold and aggressive, and yet was so tempered by prudence that it never degenerated into rashness. He convinced foreign powers of our readiness to fight, which was of inestimable value, and which enabled us better than anything else to keep clear of actual hostilities. This comes out very strongly in the treatment of the Mexican question, and in the determination and tenacity with which the Alabama claims were pressed. There is a great debt of gratitude due to Seward for his wisdom and courage as minister of foreign affairs at the most trying period of our history.

When the war closed Seward sympathized fully with the generous and magnanimous policy which Lincoln marked out in his second inaugural. The death of the President threw the country into the hands of Johnson, and confusion followed. Seward believed that Johnson’s intentions were honest, and that he meant to follow the policy of Lincoln ; but he also saw plainly the hopeless errors of the President’s manner and methods. He thought that Congress, too, made mistakes, and yet purposed well. In short, he perceived that there was good in both the contending parties, but he could not allay the strife. So he contented himself with pushing forward various negotiations which he had much at heart, and referred in a speech at Auburn to the conflict between the President and Congress with the dry humor which had been a good deal eclipsed during the days of battle. The truth was that partisanship had become impossible to Seward. It died within him when, standing by the side of Lincoln, he had looked down into the seething gulf of civil war and faced the awful thought of a divided empire. The saying of Douglas, “ Henceforth there can be only two parties, the party of patriots and the party of traitors,” had entered deep into his soul. Like Andrew, “ he had stood as a high priest between the horns of the altar, and poured out upon it the best blood of the country; ” and he could not be a partisan after that.

His work, in truth, was done. At the close of Johnson’s administration he withdrew to private life, and gratified his love of roaming by a trip to Alaska, another to Mexico, and by a journey round the world. Everywhere he was received with the honor which was his due ; and when his travels were over he returned to Auburn, and devoted himself to writing an account of his wanderings and the first chapters of his autobiography. In these employments a few months were passed, and then he died, quietly and peacefully, having just entered his seventy-secoud year.

No fit life of Seward has yet appeared, and perhaps it is still too early to write his biography. Any brief sketch of his career must of necessity be utterly inadequate, because he played such a great part during years crowded with momentous events. It is not too soon, however, to begin to study him and the work which he did, and even an imperfect estimate of such a man is better than none.

Seward was a favorite of fortune. He was fortunate in his gifts, his surroundings, his successes, his career, his temperament, his friendships. He was peculiarly blessed in the last respect by having as a lifelong friend Thurlow Weed, one of the most astute and powerful politicians we have ever produced, who relieved Seward of many of the burdens of polities, and left him free to work out the principles they both had at heart. It was a rare chance which gave Seward such a friend, and he made the most of it, as he did of all his opportunities, after the fashion of successful people. Very few men have made themselves count for more than Seward, in proportion to their ability. This arose from his wonderful capacity for dealing with his fellow-men, from his robust common sense, and from his cautious firmness. The qualities, however, which made him great were his wisdom and his courage, and on these his place in history will rest. Apart from the military leaders, the great figure of the civil war is that of Abraham Lincoln. He will always stand preëminent, not only by his wisdom and his moral greatness, but by his hold upon the popular affection. He appealed to the hearts of the people both in his life and in his death. They loved him, because in him they saw a true and profoundly sympathetic representative of all that was best in themselves, and because he personified as no other man did the infinite pathos of the war. But among the statesmen who followed and sustained Lincoln Seward will occupy the foremost place. The memory of the adroit politician may perish, but that of the broad-minded statesman will endure. The subtleties of his arguments will fade, but his presentation of great principles will ever grow brighter. The champion of antimasonry will be forgotten, but the man who first appealed to the “ higher law ” and who first described the “ irrepressible conflict ” will always be honored and remembered. We may read the epitaph which Seward chose for himself in the simple inscription on the tomb at Auburn. “ He was faithful ; ” and with this praise he was content. But history will also record and give high place to the calm wisdom, the loyal courage, and the undaunted spirit with which he defended the cause of freedom in a slave-holding Senate, and stood by the side of Lincoln through all the trials and perils of four years of civil war.

Henry Cabot Lodge.

  1. The Works of William II. Seward. Edited by GEORGE E. BAKER. In five volumes. New edition. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. 1884.
  2. Memoir of Thurlow Weed. By his grandson, THURLOW WEED BARNES. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. 1884-