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lightful book, and a profound review of the Revolution in France. He was also one of the favorite writers of the old North American Review. In 1833-34 he was again elected to the Legislature, and was a Representative in Congress from 1835 to 1843. Appointed by President Tyler commissioner to China, he negotiated an important treaty. On his return, in 1846, he was again elected to the State Legislature. In 1847 he was chosen colonel of volunteers in the Mexican war, and was afterward made brigadier-general by President Polk. In 1850 he was elected for the fifth time to the State Legislature, and in 1851 made a Justice of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts. When President Pierce was elected, Caleb Cushing was made his Attorney-General, and at the end of his term he returned to Massachusetts, and was again elected to the Legislature. He was president of the Democratic Charleston Convention in 1860 to nominate a President, and in July, 1866, was appointed by Andrew Johnson one of the three commissioners to codify and revise the laws of the United States. When he accepted the post of American counselor to the commissioners under the English treaty he was the advocate of the Mexican Government before the United States and Mexican Claims Commission. Few men living can point to such an experience - few are better qualified by varied acquirements and personal address to cope with the ripe and thorough statesmen sent by Great Britain to Geneva.
General Cushing was for a long time one of the ablest of the Whig leaders; and when John Tyler severed his connection with that party, he and Henry A. Wise, and one or two more, constituted what was called the Tyler Guard in the House. After that he gradually changed his course, and became as prominent a leader of the Democrats. At present, without any special party proclivities - having reached what Mr. Sumner calls “the philosophic age”, he devotes himself to law and literature. It is not denied that he is frequently employed at
the Department of State, and no doubt by other Departments, in the preparation of important papers. I have heard him at a dinner-table conversing in French, Spanish, English, and German. His style of speaking is exceedingly fascinating. Some eighteen years ago I was present at an oratorical combat between him and Jefferson Davis at Newark, N. J., where President Pierce halted on his way to the opening of the Crystal Palace at New York. They were well matched. Davis had the reputation of being one of the most graceful of the Southern debaters, but he found more than an equal in the Massachusetts dialectician. As a newspaper writer he is unsurpassed. While I was one of the editors of the National Democratic
during Pierce's Administration, Attorney-General Cushing, although deeply immersed in the business of his Department, hardly let a day pass without sending me an editorial on some subject, and he frequently aided me on the Washington Chronicle. He was at home on finance, on law, and especially on foreign questions. In society he is delightful. Excelling in conversation, his reminiscences are original and graphic. It is very interesting to sit by and hear him talk of the characters of the past without hatred or prejudice. A man of large wealth, inherited and selfearned, a widower without children, fond of labor, of matchless excellence as a practitioner in the Supreme Court of the United States, he is also a great student-devouring every new book as it comes out, novels inclusive, and remembering every thing he reads. His health is good, his activity remarkable, his habits temperate. Invited every where in Washington, he is the ornament of every circle, and it is not going too far to say that, gracious, polite, and agreeable as all educated Englishmen areespecially those reared in high life-among his associates in the Geneva mission he will be one of the most popular. I could run this notice of Caleb Cushing into several columns, but I will close my hasty tribute to a remarkable man with an extract from one of his speeches in 1836, while he was a Whig member of the House of Representatives, as a specimen of his style. In all that has been written against the enemies of the Union, nothing finer can be found. I commend it to the special consideration of his old friend, Mr. Jefferson Davis :
"I pray to God, if in the decree of his Providence he have any mercy in store for me, not to suffer me to behold the hour of its dissolution; its glory extinct; the banner of its pride rent and trampled in the dust; its nationality a moral of history; its grandeur a lustrous vision of the morning slumber vanished; its liberty a disembodied spirit, brooding like the genius of the Past amid the prostrate monuments of its old magnificence. To him that shall compass or plot the dissolution of this Union, I would apply language resembling what I remember to have seen of an old anathema : Wherever fire burns or water runs; wherever ship floats or land is tilled; wherever the skies vault themselves or the lark carols to the dawn, or sun shines or earth greens in his ray; wherever God is worshiped in temples or heard in thunder; wherever man is honored or woman lovedthere, from thenceforth and forever, shall there be to him no part or lot in the honor of man or the love of woman. Ixion's revolving wheel, the overmantling cup at which Tantalus may not slake his unquenchable thirst; the insatiate vulture gnawing at the immortal heart of Prometheus; the rebel giants writhing in the volcanic fires of Ætna-are but faint types of his doom.”
[December 17, 1871.]
CHRISTMAS is one of the holidays when childhood joyously looks forward, and manhood solemnly looks back. The one lives in anticipation of happy years to come-the other lives WASHINGTON IN 1839.
231 over the years that have gone. In this, the fiftieth number of these anecdotes, which, when commenced, I did not suppose would extend to twenty, I am reminded of a season every I
where celebrated by the Christian world, and I quietly turn over the leaves of memory to see if I can not restore a few of the events that mark this time in former years. My first visit to Washington was in the holidays of 1839, thirty-two years ago, when Martin Van Buren was President, Richard M. Johnson VicePresident, John Forsyth Secretary of State, Levi Woodbury Secretary of the Treasury, Joel R. Poinset Secretary of War, James K. Paulding Secretary of the Navy, John M. Niles Postmaster-General, Felix Grundy Attorney-General; when Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, James Buchanan, Silas Wright, John C. Calhoun, Robert J. Walker, Samuel L. Southard, and William C. Preston were Senators in Congress; when James K. Polk was Speaker of the House, William R. King President pro tempore of the Senate, and Roger B. Taney Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Not one of these names now figures on the roll of living men. Washington was then little more than a straggling village, fulfilling painfully the idea of a city of dreary distances. The avenues were poorly paved, and the streets almost impassible and miserably lighted at night. The leading hotel was Gadsby's--a vast barn or caravanserai; the chief amusements gambling-houses and a poor theatre; and no public halls with the exception of Carusi's. The only creditable buildings were the Capitol, the President's House, and the Departments. When I was here first the snow lay deep upon the ground, the cold was intense; sleighs were the ordinary conveyances, and Senators and members were generally huddled into ordinary boarding-houses, in which a sort of gipsy life was led, only tolerable to those who had fortunes of their own. It was a cheerless city, simply endurable by political and public receptions. Society was pleasant enough for those who had time to stay, but a casual visitor like myself had to be content with a seat in the gallery of Congress, a presentation to the President among a mob, or a loiter in the East Room. Twenty years made comparatively little change in the character of the city. Old men died and new men rose. One set of giants was succeeded by another. Modern improvements came in slowly, for slavery was spread like a shroud over the whole district. Population grew apace, but enterprise was stagnant. The newspapers were didactic and dull. Gales & Seaton still quietly vegetated in their genteel Intelligencer, its prestige gone, and they struggled vainly against the huge and ponderous issues then projecting their dark proportions upon the scene. James Buchanan was President, trying with feeble force to quell the storm he aided to raise, while Stephen A. Douglas, Charles Sumner, John J. Crittenden, Benjamin F. Wade, Salmon P. Chase, Wm. H. Seward, John C. Breckinridge, Robert Toombs, John Slidell, and Andrew Johnson were leading different divisions of men-each contending for his own theories, and all irresistibly floating into that great conflict which abolished slavery, purified the Constitution, redeemed the whole government, and, for the first time since the Declaration of Independence, established and fortified a consolidated nation. Then the strong, warm blood began to circulate in the District of Columbia. Still the progress was slow. The débris of the battle had to be removed. The local municipality had to be changed. Free labor had to be organized and rewarded. The experiment of the ballot had to be tried. New men, when they came in to push old incapables from their stools, had to be accustomed to the demands and the progress of the times. Summoned to the helm of a Washington Republican daily in 1862, I gladly echoed the popular cry for improvement. Still years passed before there was any substantial response. It was only when General Grant succeeded Andrew Johnson that men were found to undertake responsibilities and bear misrepresentations, and place Washington City on the high plane' of vigorous competition