Page images
PDF
EPUB

get. The question comes to every citizen-and let me say, respectfully, it comes to you, Which side of this alternative do you take? To end the war by negotiation and compromise is to despair of the republic. It is to concede the principle that a party, or a combination of interests, which cannot achieve its wishes by votes, may resort to arms. It is to abandon the primary idea of our national self-government. Peace by such a method is the ruin of the republic founded by our fathers. Are you for such a peace? If you are the man I suppose you to be, you abhor the thought.

The other side, then, of the alternative, is your position. You are for crushing this rebellion, completely and forever, by prosecuting to the end the war which it has inaugurated. But let me say that it becomes you, as a man of practical sense, to understand that this war cannot be prosecuted to a successful result by any half-measures of hostility. Halfmeasures in war are cruelty as well as imbecility. They are treacherous to the cause in which they are employed. I have lately heard a story of a good old woman in the revolutionary war, whose son was drafted for a soldier, and who charged him, as she buckled on his knapsack, “Now, Johnny, do you take care that you don't exasperate the enemy." Let us be thankful that our old women in these days, with the exception, perhaps, of some whose garments are made by tailors and not by mantua-makers, have better sense than that. Within the last two years, we have learned-all of us—that if we would bring this war to an early and prosperous close, if we would save and perpetuate our republic, with all those interests of universal humanity and of the kingdom of God among men which are involved in the well-being of our nation, it must be war in earnest, and must use every instrument and method of hostility not forbidden by the rules of civilized warfare. It is too late in the day for Johnny, whoever he may be, to come from his mother with the sage counsel that this or that expedient of lawful war must not be employed for fear of exasperating the enemy.

You have been kind enough to bestow upon me much of the wisdom and learning acquired in your profession. Though I can make, from my poverty, no adequate return of professional lore, I may say that my studies, which are in kind the studies proper to every Christian, have accustomed me to think of this national agony as related to interests that transcend the sphere of jurisprudence. That the hideous injustice which has been heretofore the basis of society in so many of our States, should stand forever, was impossible; because there is a God whose providence governs the world in the interest of righteousness. Had a peaceful reformation been permitted-had the free thought and speech, the free press, and the free selfgovernment of the nation been permitted to grapple with the local wrong—that wrong might have yielded to the gradual and peaceful force of moral influences. But no such reformation was permitted. Year by year the stupendous iniquity, defy. ing the moral sense of the world, and reeking to heaven, has grown more insolent, more rapacious, more atheistic. Meanwhile the mysterious forces which God has incorporated with the being of human society, and of which in their action and reaction all human history is the record, have been slowly working; and now we see the beginning of the end. The great day of God's wrath against that wickedness has come. In his righteous providence the system of organized wrong which those States have permitted to rule over them, has wrought out a natural vengeance on them and on itself. It has involved them in the miseries of a war which never can end till the iniquity itself has perished. In that war we are simply defending ourselves, our laws, our national unity, our Constitution, our glorious heritage ; but we cannot defend ourselves, we can not leave this goodly heritage to our children, without doing God's work of vengeance. The vengeance is not ours but his. We have assumed no right of intervention in the long-pending issue between the oppressors and the oppressed, but God has shut us up to the necessity of doing his work. If we quit ourselves like men in the great agony of this crisis-if we do, in all fidelity and fearlessness, our own work of self-defense-if we do not basely betray our country to its enemies—the slaves cannot but be emancipated.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

LEONARD BACON. New Haven, Conn., March, 1863.

ARTICLE IV.-ADDRESS OF REV. DR. DUTTON, COMMEMORATAVE OF THE LIFE AND SERVICES OF HON. ROGER SHERMAN BALDWIN.

The eminent position of the late Roger SHERMAN BALDWIN, for many years one of the most honored lawyers and statesmen of New England, and his distinguished public services, have led to a request for publication in the New ENGLANDER of the Address which was given on the occasion of his funeral, February 24th, by the Rev. Dr. Dutton, in the North Church, New Haven.

ADDRESS.

A strong

The shadow of a great bereavement is upon us. pillar of our community and of our commonwealth is broken. One who has long been universally respected and admired for his eminent power, worth, and usefulness; who has borne the highest offices in the gift of our State, both within its own sphere and in its relations to the National Government, and borne them with excellent ability and integrity; one who has for many years been in the foremost rank of that high and honorable profession which is employed in ascertaining and administering justice; one who, in the sacred relations of domestic life, was regarded with tender and reverent affection by wife, and children, and children's children, and a wide circle of kindred-has passed away; and his lifeless body is now before us, ready for the last earthly resting place. And he has passed away unexpectedly, creating the general feeling of surprise and disappointment, as well as of grief. For, though he had reached his threescore years and ten, we did not realize it; and none would have thought it, who observed his erect form, his firm, quick step, his undimmed eye, his unabated natural force, and especially

ness.

the fullness of his power in the services of his profession. His death seems like the fall of a star from its zenith. Considering his vigor, the longevity of his family, and his remarkable health, (for he has not had a day of real sickness until this fatal one for more than forty years), we had expected to rely on him during many years yet of undiminished useful

And on his professional brethren, who are assembled here in sorrow, the blow follows quickly after one recently received by them in the death of another eminent member of the Bar in this city, near in age and very near in friendship to him whom we now mourn.* One of the last public acts of the friend whom we bury to-day, was to assist in bearing to burial the body of his friend and ours. United in life, in death they are scarcely divided. These twin lights of the law-alas, they shine no more among the living !

Before we convey to the grave the body of our friend, whom the places that have known him will know no more forever, it is right that we should soothe our sorrow, and gather lessons of wisdom, by a brief review of his life and estimate of his character.

ROGER SHERMAN BALDWIN was born in New Haven, January 4th, 1793, the second son of Simeon and Rebecca (Sherman) Baldwin. He was of the best New England stock on both the paternal and the maternal side. His father, who passed away from among us only twelve years since, in his ninetieth year, universally respected and beloved for his sound judgment, fairness, candor, integrity, benevolence, and piety, was Representative of the State in the Congress of the United States, and for many years was one of the Judges of the Superior Court and the Supreme Court of Errors; the third in the line of descent from John Baldwin, who was one of the Puritan emigrants, that accompanied their pastors, Rev. Messrs. Davenport, Prudden, and Whitfield, from the Counties of Bucks, Surrey, and Kent in England, and began the settlement of New Haven, Milford, and Guilford ; himself afterward uniting with thirty-four other proprietors to settle the town of Norwich. His mother was the daughter of Roger Sherman, of New Haven, justly renowned as one of the Committee which reported the Declaration of Independence, and one of the signers of that instrument, one of the ablest members of the Convention which formed the Constitution of the United States, a Representative and Senator in Congress, a profound and sagacious statesman, an upright man, and an exemplary Christian. This mother died when he was two years old; and her place was vacant till five years after, when it was admirably filled by her sister, Elizabeth, another daughter of Hon. Roger Sherman, whose care and love he was permitted to share, and to whom he was allowed to pay filial reverence and affection, till thirteen years since, in 1850, when she deceased at the age of eiglity-five. Such were his privileges as to parentage and early training. His preparation for College in its first stages was with a teacher in New Canaan, and afterwards in the Hopkins Grammar School of this city, in which he has always taken a deep interest, and of which he was the oldest surviving trustee. He entered Yale College in the autumn of 1807, and graduated at the early age of eighteen, with honor, speaking at Commencement an Oration “On the Genius of a Free Government.” Immediately after graduation he studied law in his father's office in this city, and in the earliest Law School of the country, that at Litchfield, under the able and brilliant tuition of Judge Reeve and Judge Gould. At the termination of his course of legal study, Judge Gould wrote to his father, Judge Baldwin, "I restore your son, somewhat improved, as I hope and believe. At any rate, no student from our office ever passed a better examination." He was admitted to the Bar in 1814, and devoted himself to the practice of the law with unremitting industry, with intense mental application, and with enthusiastic love, for fifty years, with the exception of the periods when he was engaged in special political service; and these could hardly be considered an exception, for he was more or less occupied with law all the time, though never to the neglect of his official duties.

* Hon. Dennis Kimberly.

« PreviousContinue »