Life and Public Services of John Quincy Adams - Sixth President of the Unied States
by William H. Seward
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With such principles on the subject of war, he regarded the establishment of a system of national defence as a necessary policy for consolidating the Republic. He prosecuted, therefore, on a large scale, the work of fortification, and defended against popular opposition the institution for the cultivation of military science, which has so recently vindicated that early favor through the learning, valor, patriotism and humanity exhibited by its pupils on the fields of Mexico. But with that jealousy of the military spirit which never forsakes the wise republican statesman, he cooperated in reducing the army to the lowest scale commensurate with its necessary efficiency:

It was a vain and dangerous delusion (he said) to believe that in the present or any probable condition of the world, a commerce so extensive as ours could exist without the continual support of a military marine—the only arm by which the power of a confederacy could be estimated or felt by foreign nations, and the only standing force which could never be dangerous to our own liberties.

The enlargement of our navy, under the influence of these opinions, is among the measures of national consolidation we owe to him; and the institution for naval education we enjoy, is a recent result of his early suggestions.

But John Quincy Adams relied for national security and peace mainly on an enlightened and broad system of civil policy. He looked through the future combinations of States, and studied the accidents to which they were exposed, that he might seasonably remove causes of future conflict. His genius, when exercised in this lofty duty, played in its native element. He had cordially approved the measures by which Washington had secured the free navigation of the Mississippi. He approved the acquisition of Louisiana, although with Jefferson he insisted on a preliminary amendment of the constitution for that purpose. He had no narrow bigotry, concerning the soil to which the institutions of our fathers should be confined, and no local prejudice against their extension in any direction required by the public security, if the extension should be made with justice, honor, and humanity.

The acquisition of Louisiana had only given us additional territory, fruitful in new commerce, to be exposed to dangers which remain to be overcome. Spain still possessed, beside the Island of Cuba, the Peninsula of the Floridas, and thus held the keys of the Mississippi. The real independence, the commercial and the moral independence, of the United States, remained to be effected at the close of the European wars, and of our own war with England. Our political independence had been confirmed, and that was all. John Quincy Adams addressed himself, as Secretary of State, to the subversion of what remained of the colonial system. He commenced by an auspicious purchase of the Floridas, which gave us important maritime advantages on the Gulf of Mexico, while it continued our Atlantic sea-board unbroken from the Bay of Fundy to the Sabine.

The ever-advancing American Revolution was at the same time opening the way to complete disinthralment. The Spanish-American Provinces revolted, and seven new Republics, with constitutions not widely differing from our own—Buenos Ayres, Guatamala, Colombia, Mexico, Chili, Central America, and Peru—suddenly claimed audience and admission among the nations of the earth. The people of those countries were but doubtfully prepared to maintain their contest for independence, or to support republican institutions. But on the other side Spain was enervated and declining. She applied to the Holy League of Europe for their aid, and the new Republics applied to the United States for that recognition which could not fail to impart strength. The question was momentous. The ancient colonial system was at stake. All Europe was interested in maintaining it. The Holy League held Europe fast bound to the rock of despotism, and were at liberty to engage the United States in a war for the subversion of their independence, if they should dare to extend their aid or protection to the rebellious Colonies in South America.

Such a war would be a war of the two continents—an universal war. Who could foretell its termination, or its dread results? But the emancipation of Spanish America was necessary for our own larger freedom, and our own complete security. That freedom and that security required that the nations of Europe should relax their grasp on the American Continent. The question was long and anxiously debated. The American people hesitated to hazard, for speculative advantages, the measures of independence already obtained. Monroe and Adams waited calmly and firmly. The impassioned voice of Henry Clay rose from the Chamber of Representatives. It rang through the continent like the notes of the clarion, inspiring South America with new resolution, and North America with the confidence the critical occasion demanded. That noble appeal was answered. South America stood firm, and North America was ready. Then it was that John Quincy Adams, with those generous impulses which the impatient blood of his revolutionary sire always prompted, and with that enlightened sagacity which never misapprehended the interests of his country, nor mistook the time nor the means to secure them, obtained from the administration and from Congress the acknowledgment of the independence of the young American nations. To give decisive effect to this great measure, Monroe, in 1823, solemnly declared to the world, that thenceforth any attempt by any foreign power to establish the colonial system in any part of this continent, already emancipated, would be resisted as an aggression against the independence of the United States. On the accession of Adams to the administration of the Government, the vast American continental possessions of Brazil separated themselves from the crown of Portugal and became an independent State. Adams improved these propitious and sublime events by negotiating treaties of reciprocal trade with the youthful nations; and, concurring with Monroe, accepted, in behalf of the United States, their invitation to a General Congress of American States to be held at Panama, to cement relations of amity among themselves, and to consider, if it should become necessary, the proper means to repel the apprehended interference of the Holy League of Europe.

The last measure transcended the confidence of a large and respectable portion of the American people. But its moral effect was needed to secure the stability of the South American Republics. Adams persevered, and, in defending his course, gave notice to the powers of Europe, by this bold declaration, that the determination of the United States was inflexible:—

"If it be asked, whether this meeting, and the principles which may be adjusted and settled by it, as rules of intercourse between American nations, may not give umbrage to European powers, or offence to Spain, it is deemed a sufficient answer, that our attendance at Panama can give no just cause of umbrage or offence to either, and that the United States will stipulate nothing there, which can give such cause. Here the right of inquiry into our purposes and measures must stop. The Holy League of Europe, itself, was formed without inquiring of the United States, whether it would or would not give umbrage to them. The fear of giving umbrage to the Holy League of Europe was urged as a motive for denying to the American nations the acknowledgment of their independence. The Congress and the administration of that day consulted their rights and their duties, not their fears. The United States must still, as heretofore, take counsel from their duties, rather than their fears."

Contrast, fellow-citizens, this declaration of John Quincy Adams, President of the United States in 1825, with the proclamation of neutrality, between the belligerents of Europe, made by Washington in 1793, with the querrulous complaints of your Ministers against the French Directory and the British Ministry at the close of the last century, and with the acts of embargo and non-intercourse at the beginning of the present century, destroying our own commerce to conquer forbearance from the intolerant European powers. Learn from this contrast, the epoch of the consolidation of the Republic. Thus instructed, do honor to the statesman and magistrate by whom, not forgetting the meed due to his illustrious compeers, the colonial system was overthrown throughout Spanish America, and the independence of the United States was completely and finally consummated.

The intrepid and unwearied statesman now directed his attention to the remnants of the colonial system still preserved in the Canadas and West Indies. Great Britain, by parliamentary measures, had undermined our manufactures, and, receiving only our raw materials, repaid us with fabrics manufactured from them, while she excluded us altogether from the carrying trade with her colonial possessions. John Quincy Adams sought to counteract this injurious legislation, by a revenue system, which should restore the manufacturing industry of the country, while he offered reciprocal trade as a compromise. His administration ended during a beneficial trial of this vigorous policy. But it taxed too severely the patriotism of some of the States, and was relinquished by his successors.

Indolence begets degeneracy, and immobility is the first stage of dissolution. John Quincy Adams sought not merely to consolidate the Republic, but to perpetuate it. For this purpose he bent vast efforts, with success, to such a policy of internal improvement as would increase the facilities of communication and intercourse between the States, and bring into being that great internal trade which must ever constitute the strongest bond of federal union. Wherever a lighthouse has been erected, on our sea-coast, on our lakes, or on our rivers—wherever a mole or pier has been constructed or begun—wherever a channel obstructed by shoals or sawyers has been opened, or begun to be opened—wherever a canal or railroad, adapted to national uses, has been made or projected—there the engineers of the United States, during the administration of John Quincy Adams, made explorations, and opened the way for a diligent prosecution of his designs by his successors. This policy, apparently so stupendous, was connected with a system of fiscal economy so rigorous, that the treasury augmented its stores, while the work of improvement went on; the public debt, contracted in past wars, dissolved away, and the nation flourished in unexampled prosperity. John Quincy Adams administered the Federal Government, while De Witt Clinton was presiding in the State of New York. It is refreshing to recall the noble emulation of these illustrious benefactors—an emulation that shows how inseparable sound philosophy is from true patriotism.

If [said Adams, in his first annual message to the Congress of the United States,] the powers enumerated may be effectually brought into action by laws promoting the improvement of agriculture, commerce and manufactures, the cultivation and encouragement of the mechanic arts, and of the elegant arts, the advancement of literature, and the progress of the sciences, ornamental and profound, to refrain from exercising them for the benefit of the people would be to hide in the earth the talent committed to our charge, would be treachery to the most sacred of trusts. The spirit of improvement is abroad upon the earth. It stimulates the hearts, and sharpens the faculties, not of our fellow-citizens alone, but of the nations of Europe, and of their rulers. While dwelling with pleasing satisfaction upon the superior excellence of our political institutions, let us not be unmindful that liberty is power, that the nation blessed with the largest portion of liberty, must in proportion to its numbers be the most powerful nation upon earth, and that the tenure of power by man is, in the moral purposes of his Creator, upon condition that it shall be exercised to ends of beneficence, to improve the condition of himself, and his fellow men. While foreign nations, less blessed with that freedom which is power than ourselves, are advancing with gigantic strides in the career of public improvement, were we to slumber in indolence, or fold our arms and proclaim to the world that we are palsied by the will of our constituents, would it not be to cast away the bounties of Providence and doom ourselves to perpetual inferiority? In the course of the year now drawing to its close, we have beheld, under the auspices, and at the expense of one State of this Union, a new university unfolding its portals to the sons of science, and holding up the torch of human improvement to eyes that seek the light.[Footnote: The University of Virginia.] We have seen, under the persevering and enlightened enterprise of another State, the waters of our Western lakes mingle with those of the ocean. If undertakings like these have been accomplished in the compass of a few years, by the authority of single members of our confederacy, can we, the representative authorities of the whole Union, fall behind our fellow servants in the exercise of the trust committed to us for the benefit of our common sovereign, by the accomplishment of works important to the whole and to which neither the authority nor the resources of anyone State can be adequate?

The disastrous career of many of the States, and the absolute inaction of others, since the responsibilities of internal improvement have been cast off by the federal authorities, and developed upon the States, without other sources of revenue than direct taxation, and with no other motives to stimulate them than their own local interests, are a fitting commentary on the error of that departure from the policy of John Quincy Adams. If other comment were necessary, it would be found in the fact that States have revised and amended their constitutions, so as to abridge the power of their Legislatures to prosecute the beneficent enterprises which the Federal Government has devolved upon them. The Smithsonian Institute, at the seat of Government, founded by the liberality of a cosmopolite, is that same university so earnestly recommended by Adams for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men. The exploration of the globe, for purposes of geographical and political knowledge, which has so recently been made under the authority of the Union, and with such noble results, was an enterprize conceived and suggested by the same statesman. The National Observatory at the capital, which is piercing the regions nearest to the throne of the eternal Author of the universe, is an emanation of the same comprehensive wisdom.

Such was the administration of John Quincy Adams. Surely it exhibits enough done for duty and for fame—if the ancient philosopher said truly, that the duty of a statesman was to make the citizens happy, to make them firm in power, rich in wealth, splendid in glory, and eminent in virtue, and that such achievements were the greatest and best of all works among men.

But the measure of duty was not yet fulfilled. The Republic thought it no longer had need of the services of Adams, and he bowed to its command. Two years elapsed, and lo! the priest was seen again beside the deserted altar, and a brighter, purer, and more lasting flame arose out of the extinguished embers.

"He looked in years. But in his years were seen A youthful vigor, an autumnal green."

The Republic had been extended and consolidated; but human slavery, which had been incorporated in it, was extended and consolidated also, and was spreading, so as to impair the strength of the great fabric on which the hopes of the nations were suspended. Slavery therefore must be restrained, and, without violence or injustice, must be abolished. The difficult task of removing it had been postponed by the statesmen of the Revolution, and had been delayed and forgotten by their successors. There were now resolute hearts and willing hands to undertake it, but who was strong enough, and bold enough to lead? Who had patience to bear with enthusiasm that overleaped its mark, and with intolerance that defeated its own generous purposes? Slaveholders had power, nay, the national power; and strange to say, they had it with the nation's consent and sympathy. Who was bold enough to provoke them, and bring the execration of the nation down upon his own head? Who would do this, when even abolitionists themselves, rendered implacable by the manifestation of those sentiments of justice and moderation, without which the most humane cause, depending on a change of public opinion, cannot be conducted safely to a prosperous end, were ready to betray their own champion into the hands of the avenger? That leader was found in the person of John Quincy Adams. He took his seat in the House of Representatives in 1831, without assumption or ostentation. Abolitionists placed in his hand petitions for the suppression of slavery in the District of Columbia, the seat of the federal authorities. He offered them to the House of Representatives, and they were rejected with contumely and scorn. Suddenly the alarm went forth, that the aged and venerable servant was retaliating upon his country by instigating a servile war, that such a war must be avoided, eyen at the cost of sacrificing the freedom of petition and the freedom of debate, and that if the free States would not consent to make that sacrifice, then the Union should be dissolved. This alarm had its desired effect. The House of Representatives, in 1837, adopted a rule of discipline, equivalent to an act, ordaining that no petition relating to slavery, nearly or remotely, should be read, debated or considered. The Senate adopted a like edict. The State authorities approved. Slavery was not less strongly entrenched behind the bulwark of precedents in the courts of law than in the fixed habits of thought and action among the people. The people even in the free States denounced the discussion of slavery, and suppressed it by unlawful force. John Quincy Adams stood unmoved amid the storm. He knew that the only danger incident to political reform, was the danger of delaying it too long. The French Revolution had made this an axiom of political science. If, indeed, the discussion of slavery was so hazardous as was pretended, it had been deferred too long already. The advocates of slavery had committed a fatal error. They had abolished freedom of speech and freedom of petition to save an obnoxious institution. As soon as the panic should subside, the people would demand the restoration of those precious rights, and would scrutinize with fearless fidelity the cause for which they had been suppressed. He offered petition after petition, each bolder and more importunate than the last. He debated questions, kindred to those which were forbidden, with the firmness and fervor of his noble nature. For age

Had not quenched the open truth And fiery vehemence of youth.

Soon he gained upon his adversaries. District after district sent champions to his side. States reconsidered, and resolved in his behalf. He saw the tide was turning, and then struck one bold blow, not now for freedom of petition and debate, but a stroke of bold and retaliating warfare. He offered a resolution declaring that the following amendments of the constitution of the United States be submitted to the people of the several States for their adoption:

From and after the fourth day of July, 1842, there shall be, throughout the United States, NO HEREDITARY SLAVERY, but on and after that day every child born within the United States shall be FREE.

With the exception of the Territory of Florida, there shall, henceforth, never be admitted into this Union, any STATE the constitution of which shall tolerate within the same the existence of SLAVERY.

In 1845, the obnoxious rule of the House of Representatives was rescinded. The freedom of debate and petition was restored, and the unrestrained and irrepressible discussion of slavery by the press and political parties began. For the rest, the work of emancipation abides the action, whether it be slow or fast, of the moral sense of the American people. It depends not on the zeal and firmness only of the reformers, but on their wisdom and moderation also. Stoicism, that had no charity for error, never converted any human society to virtue; Christianity, that remembers the true nature of man, has encompassed a large portion of the globe. How long emancipation may be delayed, is among the things concealed from our knowledge, but not so the certain result. The perils of the enterprize are already passed—its difficulties have already been removed—when it shall have been accomplished it will be justly regarded as the last noble effort which rendered the Republic imperishable.

Then the merit of the great achievement will be awarded to John Quincy Adams; and by none more gratefully than by the communities on whom the institution of slavery has brought the calamity of premature and consumptive decline, in the midst of free, vigorous, and expanding States.

If this great transaction could be surpassed in dramatic sublimity, it was surpassed when the same impassioned advocate of humanity appeared, at the age of seventy-four, with all the glorious associations that now clustered upon him, at the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States, and pleaded, without solicitation or reward, the cause of Cinque and thirty other Africans, who had been stolen by a Spanish slaver from their native coast, had slain the master and crew of the pirate vessel, floated into the waters of the United States, and there been claimed by the President, in behalf of the authorities of Spain. He pleaded this great cause with such happy effect, that the captives were set at liberty. Conveyed by the charity of the humane to their native shores, they bore the pleasing intelligence to Africa, that justice was at last claiming its way among civilized and Christian men!

The recital of heroic actions loses its chief value, if we cannot discover the principles in which they were born. The text of John Quincy Adams, from which he deduced the duties of citizens, and of the republic, was the address of the Continental Congress to the people of the United States, on the occasion of the successful close of the American Revolution. He dwelt often and emphatically on the words:

Let it be remembered, that it has ever been the pride and the boast of America, that the rights for which she contended were the rights of human nature. By the blessing of the Author of those rights, they have prevailed over all opposition, and form the basis of thirteen independent States. No instance has heretofore occurred, nor can any instance be expected hereafter to occur, in which the unadulterated forms of republican government can pretend to so fair an opportunity of justifying themselves by their fruits. In this view, the citizens of the United States are responsible for the greatest trust ever confided to a political society. If JUSTICE, GOOD FAITH, HONOR, GRATITUDE, and all the other qualities which ennoble the character of a nation and fulfil the ends of government, be the fruits of our establishments, the cause of liberty will acquire a dignity and lustre which it has never yet enjoyed, and an example will be set which cannot but have the most favorable influence on mankind. If, on the other side, our Governments should be unfortunately blotted with the reverse of these cardinal virtues, the great cause which we have engaged to vindicate will be dishonored and betrayed; the last and fairest experiment in favor of the rights of human nature will be turned against them, and their patrons and friends exposed to the insults, and silenced by the votaries of tyranny and usurpation.

Senators and Representatives of the People of the State of New York: I had turned my steps away from your honored halls, long since, as I thought forever. I come back to them by your command, to fulfil a higher duty and more honorable service than ever before devolved upon me. I repay your generous confidence, by offering to you this exposition of the duties of the magistrate and of the citizen. It is the same which John Quincy Adams gave to the Congress of the United States, in his oration on the death of James Madison. It is the key to his own exalted character, and it enables us to measure the benefits he conferred upon his country. If then you ask what motive enabled him to rise above parties, sects, combinations, prejudices, passions, and seductions, I answer that he served his country, not alone, or chiefly because that country was his own, but because he knew her duties and her destiny, and knew her cause was the cause of human nature.

If you inquire why he was so rigorous in virtue as to be often thought austere, I answer it was because human nature required the exercise of justice, honor, and gratitude, by all who were clothed with authority to act in the name of the American people. If you ask why he seemed, sometimes, with apparent inconsistency, to lend his charities to the distant and the future rather than to his own kindred and times, I reply, it was because he held that the tenure of human power is on condition of its being beneficently exercised for the common welfare of the human race. Such men are of no country. They belong to mankind. If we cannot rise to this height of virtue, we cannot hope to comprehend the character of John Quincy Adams, or understand the homage paid by the American people to his memory.

Need it be said that John Quincy Adams studied justice, honor and gratitude, not by the false standards of the age, but by their own true nature? He generalized truth, and traced it always to its source, the bosom of God. Thus in his defence of the Amistad captives he began with defining justice in the language of Justinian, "Constans et perpetua voluntas jus SUUM cuique tribuendi." He quoted on the same occasion from the Declaration of Independence, not by way of rhetorical embellishment, and not even as a valid human ordinance, but as a truth of nature, of universal application, the memorable words, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, and that among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." In his vindication of the right of debate, he declared that the principle that religious opinions were altogether beyond the sphere of legislative control, was but one modification of a more extensive axiom, which included the unbounded freedom of the press, and of speech, and of the communication of thought in all its forms. He rested the inviolability of the right of petition, not on constitutions, or charters, which might be glossed, abrogated or expunged, but in the inherent right of every animate creature to pray to its superior.

The model by which he formed his character was Cicero. Not the living Cicero, sometimes inconsistent; often irresolute; too often seeming to act a studied part; and always covetous of applause. But Cicero, as he aimed to be, and as he appears revealed in those immortal emanations of his genius which have been the delight and guide of intellect and virtue in every succeeding age. Like the Roman, Adams was an orator, but he did not fall into the error of the Roman, in practically valuing eloquence more than the beneficence to which it should be devoted. Like him he was a statesman and magistrate worthy to be called "The second founder of the Republic,"—like him a teacher of didactic philosophy, of morals, and even of his own peculiar art; and like him he made all liberal learning tributary to that noble art, while poetry was the inseparable companion of his genius in its hours of relaxation from the labors of the forum and of the capitol.

Like him he loved only the society of good men, and by his generous praise of such, illustrated the Roman's beautiful aphorism, that no one can be envious of good deeds, who has confidence in his own virtue. Like Cicero he kept himself unstained by social or domestic vices; preserved serenity and cheerfulness; cherished habitual reverence for the Deity, and dwelt continually, not on the mystic theology of the schools, but on the hopes of a better life. He lived in what will be regarded as the virtuous age of his country, while Cicero was surrounded by an overwhelming degeneracy. He had the light of Christianity for his guide; and its sublime motives as incitements to virtue: while Cicero had only the confused instructions of the Grecian schools, and saw nothing certainly attainable but present applause and future fame. In moral courage, therefore, he excelled his model and rivalled Cato. But Cato was a visionary, who insisted upon his right to act always without reference to the condition of mankind, as he should have acted in Plato's imaginary Republic. Adams stood in this respect midway between the impracticable stoic and the too flexible academician. He had no occasion to say, as the Grecian orator did, that if he had sometimes acted contrary to himself, he had never acted contrary to the Republic; but he might justly have said, as the noble Roman did, "I have rendered to my country all the great services which she was willing to receive at my hands, and I have never harbored a thought concerning her that was not divine."

More fortunate than Cicero, who fell a victim of civil wars which he could not avert, Adams was permitted to linger on the earth, until the generations of that future age, for whom he had lived and to whom he had appealed from the condemnation of contemporaries, came up before the curtain which had shut out his sight, and pronounced over him, as he was sinking into the grave, their judgment of approval and benediction.

The distinguished characteristics of his life were BENEFICENT LABOR and PERSONAL CONTENTMENT. He never sought wealth, but devoted himself to the service of mankind. Yet, by the practice of frugality and method, he secured the enjoyment of dealing forth continually no stinted charities, and died in affluence. He never solicited place or preferment, and had no partizan combinations or even connections; yet he received honors which eluded the covetous grasp of those who formed parties, rewarded friends and proscribed enemies; and he filled a longer period of varied and distinguished service than ever fell to the lot of any other citizen. In every stage of this progress he was CONTENT. He was content to be president, minister, representative, or citizen.

Stricken in the midst of this service, in the very act of rising to debate, he fell into the arms of conscript fathers of the Republic. A long lethargy supervened and oppressed his senses. Nature rallied the wasting powers, on the verge of the grave, for a very brief period. But it was long enough for him. The rekindled eye showed that the re-collected mind was clear, calm, and vigorous. His weeping family, and his sorrowing compeers were there. He surveyed the scene and knew at once its fatal import. He had left no duty unperformed; he had no wish unsatisfied; no ambition unattained; no regret, no sorrow, no fear, no remorse. He could not shake off the dews of death that gathered on his brow. He could not pierce the thick shades that rose up before him. But he knew that eternity lay close by the shores of time. He knew that his Redeemer lived. Eloquence, even in that hour, inspired him with his ancient sublimity of utterance. "THIS," said the dying man. "THIS IS THE END OF EARTH." He paused for a moment, and then added, "I AM CONTENT." Angels might well draw aside the curtains of the skies to look down on such a scene—a scene that approximated even to that scene of unapproachable sublimity, not to be recalled without reverence, when, in mortal agony, ONE who spake as never man spake, said, "IT IS FINISHED!"

Only two years after the birth of John Quincy Adams, there appeared on an island in the Mediterranean sea, a human spirit newly born, endowed with equal genius, without the regulating qualities of justice and benevolence which Adams possessed in an eminent degree. A like career opened to both—born like Adams, a subject of a king—the child of more genial skies, like him, became in early life a patriot and a citizen of a new and great Republic. Like Adams he lent his service to the State in precocious youth, and in its hour of need, and won its confidence. But unlike Adams he could not wait the dull delays of slow and laborious, but sure advancement. He sought power by the hasty road that leads through fields of carnage, and he became, like Adams, a supreme magistrate, a Consul. But there were other Consuls. He was not content. He thrust them aside, and was Consul alone. Consular power was too short. He fought new battles, and was Consul for life. But power, confessedly derived from the people, must be exercised in obedience to their will, and must be resigned to them again, at least in death. He was not content. He desolated Europe afresh, subverted the Republic, imprisoned the patriarch who presided over Rome's comprehensive See, and obliged him to pour on his head the sacred oil that made the persons of kings divine, and their right to reign indefeasible. He was an Emperor. But he saw around him a mother, brothers and sisters, not ennobled; whose humble state reminded him, and the world, that he was born a plebeian; and he had no heir to wait impatient for the imperial crown. He scourged the earth again, and again fortune smiled on him even in his wild extravagance. He bestowed kingdoms and principalities upon his kindred—put away the devoted wife of his youthful days, and another, a daughter of Hapsburgh's imperial house, joyfully accepted his proud alliance. Offspring gladdened his anxious sight; a diadem was placed on its infant brow, and it received the homage of princes, even in its cradle. Now he was indeed a monarch—a legitimate monarch—a monarch by divine appointment—the first of an endless succession of monarchs. But there were other monarchs who held sway in the earth. He was not content. He would reign with his kindred alone. He gathered new and greater armies—from his own land—from subjugated lands. He called forth the young and brave—one from every household—from the Pyrenees to Zuyder Zee—from Jura to the ocean. He marshalled them into long and majestic columns, and went forth to seize that universal dominion, which seemed almost within his grasp. But ambition had tempted fortune too far. The nations of the earth resisted, repelled, pursued, surrounded him. The pageant was ended. The crown fell from his presumptuous head. The wife who had wedded him in his pride, forsook him when the hour of fear came upon him. His child was ravished from his sight. His kinsmen were degraded to their first estate, and he was no longer Emperor, nor Consul, nor General, nor even a citizen, but an exile and a prisoner, on a lonely island, in the midst of the wild Atlantic. Discontent attended him there. The wayward man fretted out a few long years of his yet unbroken manhood, looking off at the earliest dawn and in evening's latest twilight, towards that distant world that had only just eluded his grasp. His heart corroded. Death came, not unlooked for, though it came even then unwelcome. He was stretched on his bed within the fort which constituted his prison. A few fast and faithful friends stood around, with the guards who rejoiced that the hour of relief from long and wearisome watching was at hand. As his strength wasted away, delirium stirred up the brain from its long and inglorious inactivity. The pageant of ambition returned. He was again a Lieutenant, a General, a Consul, an Emperor of France. He filled again the throne of Charlemagne. His kindred pressed around him again, re-invested with the pompous pageantry of royalty. The daughter of the long line of kings again stood proudly by his side, and the sunny face of his child shone out from beneath the diadem that encircled its flowing locks. The marshals of the Empire awaited his command. The legions of the old guard were in the field, their scarred faces rejuvenated, and their ranks, thinned in many battles, replenished, Russia, Prussia, Austria, Denmark and England, gathered their mighty hosts to give him battle. Once more he mounted his impatient charger, and rushed forth to conquest. He waved his sword aloft, and cried "TETE D'ARMEE." The feverish vision broke—the mockery was ended. The silver cord was loosed, and the warrior fell back upon his bed a lifeless corpse. THIS WAS THE END OF EARTH. THE CORSICAN WAS NOT CONTENT.

STATESMEN AND CITIZENS! the contrast suggests its own impressive moral.


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