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"All my life long “I have beheld with most respect the man "Who knew himself and knew the ways before him • “And from amongst them chose considerately “With a clear courage-not a blindfold courage ; “And having chosen, with a steadfast mind “Pursued his purposes."
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 thu popular reach, their designs require investigation.” “The Judiciary, once our pride, is humbled and degraded." I
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. As 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 dal, the estimate we have given of the importance of the office Seins not over-stated.
| See Vol. III. page 335.
Our glance shows him again as a lawyer turning aside from the affairs of state to those of the humblest client, with a fidelity and integrity of service only equaled by his conscientious devotion to the law and equity of each particular case.
Finally it shows him a senator in congress, asserting with eloquence and courage the supremacy of immutable right in national affairs over the arts of compromise and expediency; standing there, almost alone, setting in motion the tide of freedom, which, rolling from the Aroostook to the Rio del Norte, thunders its warnings in the ears of the million voters who have too long dallied in subserviency to the influence of slavery.
The memoir which follows shows Mr. Seward still in the senate, yearly saluting new associates who displace those who have grown false to freedom and worthless to their constituents—himself, in the judgment of all calm and candid observers, the foremost statesman of American Progress.
THE SUCCESS of the whig party in 1848 was promoted by the expectation that it would prevent the introduction of slavery into the new territories where it was already prohibited by the Mexican laws. The representatives from the free states were understood to be pledged to that wise and beneficent policy. It was assumed that the new president (Gen. Taylor) would not interpose the executive Veto should that policy be adopted. Mr. Seward was committed in its favor, both by the circumstances of his election and the well known tenor of his political life. On the meeting of congress in 1849 several whig members from the south apprehended the acloption of that policy and refused to unite with their northern brethri'n in the election of a speaker. After delaying the organization of the house for a number of weeks they finally joined with their political opponents and elected a democratic speaker from one of the slave. holding states.' As soon as the house was organized, the southern party demanded the establishment of the new territories, without any coulition as to the introduction of slavery. "Howell Cobh of Georgia. He received 102 votes; Mr. Winthrop of Massachusetts, 99 ;
Divid Wilmot, 8 ; Scattering, 12