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"If you would make it promote most effectually all precious interests, DEDICATE it, I enjoin upon you, as our forefathers dedicated all the Institutions which they established, to the cause of HUMAN NATURE.”





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A GLANCE at the memoir of MR. SEWARD, as contained in the first volume of these works, shows us a boyhood passed in the patriotic county of Orange; inspired alike by the ennobling scenery of its natural grandeur and beauty, and the historic recollections of West Point, Newburgh, and Minisink; reminding us how consistently with such early associations, his life, in all its vicissitudes, has displayed the broadest patriotism and the sincerest humanity. It shows us a union from ancestry of Welch perseverance and Celtic generosity that is traceable in every foot-print of his public and private progress. It introduces him to us as a faithful student at Union College ascending to the summit of academic honors, only through the flinty paths of analytical knowledge, acquiring a mental vigor that is noted in every sentence of oration, conversation and private letter, as distinctly as the apple-blossom lives in the autumn fruit. It shows us a young man, not dependent upon a father's competence, journeying far southward to become an instructor, where the practical lessons in the social and political degradations of slavery there learned, became a part of his after career. The glance acquaints us with his legal novitiate with John Duer, and Ogden Hoffman, who loved and respected him to the last of their distinguished lives; and then discovers him in his earliest professional struggles at Auburn, afar from those allurements of city life that so poorly temper thought or strengthen mental conflict. How rarely indeed do districts other than rural, furnish us with statesmen!

1 Continued from Vol. I.

We see him entering public life just as the debates on the Missouri Compromise had closed-at the age of twenty-three writing a convention address with such prophetic sentences as these:

"When, in Republican states, men attempt to entrench themselves beyond the popular reach, their designs require investigation." "The Judiciary, once our pride, is humbled and degraded." 1

Our glance shows him entering the state senate quickening its legislative pulse with the suggestions of moral courage, sublime in a young man of nine-and-twenty years, yet put forth with fearlessness and self-abnegation.


It shows him suffering a gubernatorial defeat only to be recommended the more strongly for a renomination and success. governor we behold him, original, bold, perceptive, and self-reliant in his views and actions-extorting admiration from the very jaws of calumny.

And here we may remark that no position in public life more thoroughly tests a man's ability and character than that of governor of the state of New York. If he who occupies it be not a truly great man, a part of a term will be sufficient to make it apparent. The political knowledge, the financial ability, the legal profundity, the administrative tact, the accomplished yet sincere courtesy, the patience of detail, the coolness of demeanor, the quickness of apprehension, the promptitude of decision, the force of independence and the dignity of character required in a true executive officer of a state like New York, are equal to those several qualities demanded of any ruler in this country or in Europe. When we consider the great metropolis, itself containing a nation, the numerous growing towns, villages and cities, the gigantic systems of internal improvement, the foreign governments on the north, the New England states on the east, Pennsylvania and New Jersey on the south, and the great inland seas on the west; and the party animosities, crime, poverty, tyrannical wealth, exorbitant monopolies, delicate issues of reciprocity, extent of commerce, incessant reforms, unceasing agitations, and jealousy of sects, that exist within and around. the Empire State, with all of which, its governor is compelled to deal, the estimate we have given of the importance of the office seems not over-stated.

1 See Vol. III., page 335.

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