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of the large villages that have behaved the worst to be pillaged: it will be an example, and will restore the gayety, and the desire for action, of your
soldiers.” “ Let the houses of thirty of the principal heads of villages be burnt, and distribute their property among the troops. Disarm all the inhabitants, and pillage five or six of the large villages which have behaved worst.”. “ I am waiting to hear how many estates you have confiscated in Calabria, and how inany rebels you have executed. You should shoot in every village three of the ringleaders. Do not spare the priests more than others.” 3 should like very much to hear of a revost of the Neapolitan populace. You will never be their master till you have made an example of them.” 4 To Joseph as King of Spain: “You must hang at Madrid a score of the worst characters. To-morrow I intend to have hanged here [Valladolid] seven notorious for their excesses. ..I have arrested here fifteen of the worst characters, and have ordered them to be shot.” 5 “When a general has occasion to speak of his strength, he ought to render it formidable by exaggeration, doubling or trebling his numbers.” 6
It would not be fair, indeed, to judge Napoleon at the beginning of the century by the mitigated rules of warfare that prevail toward its close. But neither should we forget that he issued these relentless orders against peoples whose countries he had overrun and subjugated, and upon whom he had imposed rulers and laws alien to their soil and institutions ; that he, more than any man of his time, had it in his power to mitigate the cruelties of war, yet he urgently ordered the burning and pillaging of villages, which the Turks are condemned for not repressing. Nowhere is the marvellous military and administrative capacity of Napoleon seen to such advantage as in his confidential correspondence with his brother Joseph; yet in these intimate communications one reads also his moral weakness and the secret of his failure. That gentle, humane, wise, and loving brother read him truly, and counselled him aright. As the signs of re-action appeared, Joseph wrote, “I weep over the gradual diminution of an immense glory, which would have been better preserved by generosity and heroism than by any extension of power.”? And, as the fatal hour drew near, Joseph pointed out how Napoleon could yet re-assure France : “ If you will make a lasting peace with Europe, and if, returning to your natural kindness, and renouncing your assumed character and your perpetual efforts, you will at last consent to relinquish the part of the wonderful man for that of the great sovereign.”8 Then comes the proud answer: “ As long as I live, I will be master everywhere in France. Your character is opposed to mine. You like to flatter people, and to yield to their wishes : I like them to try to please me, and to obey my wishes. I am as much a sovereign now as I was at Austerlitz. . There is some difference between the time of Lafayette, when the people ruled, and the present time, when I rule.”! A month later he had signed his abdication.10
1 Letters to Joseph, July 30, 1806.
2 Ibid., July 13, 1806.
6 Ibid., Oct, 10, 1809.
Mons. Thiers has given us the term by which to characterize Napoleon, “ moral intemperance.” The French use this term for any excess, or want of regulation; as, for instance, intemperance of study, learning, &c.; just as Festus said to Paul, “ Much learning hath made thee mad.” Politics,” says Thiers, “ is character much more than mind; and it was just there that Napoleon failed. Intemperance is the essential trait of his career.” “ Prodige de génie et de passion, jeté dans le chaos d'une révolution, il s'y déploie, s'y développe, la domine, se substitue à elle et en prend l'énergie, l'audace, l'incontiton into this supreme moment, and showed him to the world a philosopher and statesman of the highest wisdom and virtue.
Napoleon lacked the regulative power of deep moral convictions: the elements of his nature, that, in due restraint, would have made him unexceptionably great, drove him to intemperance of ambition, of self-will, of egoism.
Where Napoleon failed, Washington stands pre-eminent. His strength was in self-regulation, in moral equipoise. I confess I was long in searching after the secret of his greatness; and it was not till I went through the patient task of reading his voluminous correspondence that I found it, and found it here, — in his equilibrium of mind and of character; political wisdom, the result of profound reflection, expressed in terms of plain common sense; moral rectitude, undeviating in thought, motive, or action ; devotion to country and mankind, in which the consideration of personal interests never appears, except in the form of a personal sacrifice for the common good. In the darkest hour of the Revolution he said, “I see my duty, - that of standing up for the liberties of my country; and, whatever difficulties and discouragements lie in my way, I dare not shrink from it; and I rely on that Being who has not left to us the choice of duties, that, whilst I shall conscientiously discharge mine, I shall not finally lose my reward.” 2
The honor of the “Farewell Address” has been claimed for Hamilton; but the draught in Washington's handwriting, in the Lenox Library, New York, shows that, however IIamilton may have assisted in the work by suggestion and revision, the conception and execution of the address are Washington's own. Nearly every great mind has some supreme moment in which it surpasses itself. “Jefferson never wrote another paragraph that would compare with the opening of the Declaration of Independence. The solemn intensity of feeling at his retirement compressed the whole nature of Washing
1 Histoire du Consulat et l'Empire, tome xx. p. 718.
2 A striking and trustworthy testimony to Washington as a general is given by Gen. De Kalb in his letters to the Comte de Broglie. At first he mistook Washington's modesty for timidity, his reserve for vanity, his reticence in councils for lack of independent judgment. Hence De Kalb criticised his new commander as too inilolent, too slow, far too weak,” and “too easily led.” By and by he recognized in Washington “ the best intentions and a sound judgment.” Later on he saw that Washington “dial more every day than could be expected from any general in the world in the same circumstances.' He then wrote to De Broglie, “I think hii [Washington] the only proper person, by his natural and acquired capacity, his bravery, good sense, uprightness, and honesty, to keep up the spirits of the army and people.” – See KAPP's Life of Kalb, and GREENE'S Notice in Atlantic Monthly for October, 1875.
There is a popular tradition that Frederic the Great sent a sword, or his own portrait, to Washington, with the message, “ From the oldest general to the greatest.' The story, however, seems to have no evidential authority; and Mr. Bancroft, who had access to the unpublished correspondence of Frederic, says, “I sought for some expression, on the part of Frederic, of a personal interest in Washington; but I found none.” 1 But in Washington we see the nobility of manhood that could not be ennobled by the gifts of kings.
1 One cannot attach any great importance to the Correspondance secrète et inédite sur Louis XVI., Marie Antoinette, &c.; but I give here the passages cited by Mr. Bigelow in his Life of Franklin (ii. 394): “In a setter which the King of Prussia has written to one of his literary correspondents in Paris, this passage occurs: 'I send you my secret against hydrophobia. It should be administered to the British Parliament, which acts like an infuriated fool in the American business. I have the abiding hope that you will don your cuirass against this God dem; that you will aid the Colonies to become free, and retake Canada, which they so wrongfully took from you. It is the wish of my heart, and it should be also the dictate of policy' (Nov. 3, 1777). Again: Nov. 17, the king to D'Alembert, 'I like these brave fellows, and cannot help secretly hoping for their success.'"
THE NATION TESTED BY THE VICISSITUDES OF A CEN
HE government of the United States is no longer an
experiment; nor is the nation on probation. That the government shall fall, or give place to other forms; that the nation shall decline, and linger on in slow decay, or give place to some fresher stock and another type of civilization, — all this may be written in the Book of Fate. But this would only repeat the lesson of history, that the permanence of no civilization and of no people is guaranteed, either by political forms, by social institutions, or by conditions of race and territory. Unless there be in the people a spiritual and moral life, working in and through their economic forms toward ever higher and nobler ends, and making the strength of justice and peace their safeguard against outward invasion, then nothing can keep a nation hale with the growth of centuries.
Who can read without a touch of melancholy the closing paragraph of Mommsen's “ History of Rome'?—“We have reached the end of the Roman Republic. We have seen it rule for five hundred years in Italy and in the countries on the Mediterranean. We have seen it brought to ruin in politics and morals, religion and literature, not through outward violence, but through inward decay, and thereby making room for the new monarchy of Cæsar. There was in the world as Cæsar found it much of the noble heritage of past centuries, and an infinite abundance of
pomp and glory, but little spirit, still less taste, and, least of all, true delight in life. It was indeed an old world; and even the richly-gifted patriotism of Cæsar could not make it young again. The dawn does not return till after the night has fully set in and run its course.” Such was the fate of Rome and of Italy. To other nations the night has never been broken since first it set in; while some are even now struggling doubtfully between day and night. Still the beautiful analogy of Mommsen must not be received as the universal law of history. Sometimes, at least, that which is taken for the setting-in of night is only the coming-on of an eclipse, from whose chill, ghastly, ominous shadow the sun at length emerges, to mount undimmed toward the zenith. An increase of his spots may indicate, not impending obscuration or destruction, but the burning-up of grosser matter by which he intensifies his light and heat.
If the principle of decay is lodged in the very life of nations, then the American people must decline, in their turn; but, so far as any prognostics can be detected in their organic constitution or national life, they need feel no alarm till they shall have advices that Macaulay's NewZealander has “ taken his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul's." The nation is not likely to die young: its Constitution has gone through the seasoning process, and come out with new vigor from every attack. Always a power of life, it has shown itself, in time of need, a living power. On retiring from the presidency, Washington said to his countrymen, " This government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support.” To-day a leading organ of opinion in England pronounces the Constitution of the United States the inost sacred political document in the whole world.” 1
The government that Washington commended as “ well worth a fair and full experiment” has taken its place in the halls of political science as an authoritative example, has taken its seat in the high court of nations as a co-ordinate power. It no longer asks philosophers to stand by
1 See leading editorial of the London Times, Dec. 9, 1875.