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they had risen into a dominant and ruling party. Adams, it is true, followed for a single term in the steps of Washington; but the doom was already upon the federalists whom he represented, and, as with the bitterness of a new revolution, they were immediately after, ejected from office, and a mark of reprobation set upon them, their persons, and their opinions. But in the crusade thus proclaimed against them, Washington's name was one too high to be struck at. That of Hamilton, the friend and bosom counsellor of Washington, was therefore substituted in its stead, that on him and his name all the vials of their wrath might be poured out. Thus, we say, it was that the name and reputation of Hamilton became loaded with a double, or rather treble, share of odium, his own, and Washington's, and a falling party's. The share of Washington, too, being laid on, as is men's wont in such cases, with double good will, as a consolation to baser natures for not daring to charge it where they would.
And now, to all these more general causes of hostility, when we have added those special ones in the first cabinet of Washington which made Madison a disappointed rival and Jefferson an embittered opponent, we shall have arrived, we think, at a satisfactory solution of this apparent mystery, — the envenomed hostility which made Hamilton the target for every poisoned arrow out of the quiver of the state-rights or antifederal
party That this feeling wrought deep in the spirit of Madison, embittering a mind not otherwise malignant, though far by nature from an open or candid one, there can be no question. Mr. Hamilton has noted it through the Madison Papers, displaying itself in insinuations rather than charges, “hinting a fault,” “ damning with faint praise," and such other acts of a skilful and not over-honest opponent. In illustration and proof of it, we, too, would quote from another source now comparatively forgotten, the letters of “Helvidius,” published by him in answer to Hamilton's defence, under the signature of “Pacificus,” of general Washington's proclamation of neutrality at the breaking out of the war between France and England. The sneer and the insinuation are both, we admit, skilfully put. The only question is, whether honorably or justly.
Whence, then,” Madison asks, “ can the writer [Hamilton] have borrowed it? There is but one answer to this question. The power of making treaties, and the power of declaring war, are royal prerogatives (sic) in the British gorern
ment, and are accordingly treated as executive prerogatives by British commentators.” (No. 1.) Again, in No.5, “But I remark only on the singularity of the style adopted by the writer, as showing either that the phraseology of a foreign government is more familiar to him than the phraseology proper to our own, or that he wishes to propagate a familiarity of the former in preference to the latter. I do not know what degree of disapprobation others may think due to this innovation of language ; but I consider it as far above a trivial criticism to observe that it is by no means unworthy of attention, whether viewed with an eye to the probable cause or the apparent tendency." - Letters of Helvidius.
The baseness of these unfounded imputations against the patriotism of Hamilton, and the still baser ends they were intended to serve, (viz., to bring into the suspicion of foreign attachment one of the high functionaries of government,) are not only as arguments deserving of the sharpest censure, but they evince, moreover, a moral unsoundness in the mind that could employ them, and, we must confess, have rendered us less backward to admit the possible thought which the recent perusal of the Madison Papers had of themselves awakened from many internal marks, viz., that Madison's notes of the convention of 1787 are not, in a strict sense, an original document, but bear the color of subsequent thought; and if so, it is easy to divine what tinge would be given them, whether intentionally or unintentionally, touching a party he had abandoned, principles he had forsaken, and, above all, the man whom, beyond all other men, he hated and feared. We are content, however, with expressing this but as a suspicion. As one of the framers of our constitution, as one of its able defenders in the Federalist, as the president who was willing to sacrifice consistency to the good of his country and recharter a national bank, against which, as a rival's plan, he had for twenty years stood in arms for these acts we honor the name of Madison, and would not lightly believe evil of him. As against Hamilton, however, we cannot but hold him a false accuser.
But of living enemies to the fair fame of Hamilton, we would fain believe there are and can be now but few few so ignorant in our land as not to be aware of the unpayable debt of gratitude this country owes his memory, in regard of all she was, and all she did, and, above all, what she now is, and fewer still so heartless, in either our own or any other
land, as not to read in every transcript of his life, however imperfect, the broad and bright lines of honor and pure patriotism. For ourselves at least we must say,
perusing these volumes of his son, that we honor not the feelings of the citizen who is not moved by their perusal into a loftier love of country than belongs to mere vulgar patriotism, even to a jealous love for her fame and honor; and still less do we envy the heart of the man with whom the uniform truth and nobleness of Hamilton's public career, bis fearlessness in the path of unpopular duty, his liberal and untiring zeal in defence of persecuted feebleness, his ready and overwhelming eloquence wherever individual honor was concerned or the rights of man invaded or the claims of a gentle humanity forgotten - with whom, we say, all these deathless memorials of undying worth cannot outweigh the memory of departed feuds, put out the baleful fires of party, and sweeten even the bitter waters of personal jealousy.
Hamilton is now a name, not of party, but of history. He belongs to that mighty past whose memories are ever the fairest heritage of the present, - its wealth, its strength, its choicest storehouse of wisdom. Into that temple of historic truth Hamilton has now entered, and there stands among the effigies of our national ancestry. Whoso now opens the doors of that temple must do it with reverence towards the mighty dead. Now to admit into it the lying spirit of party were indeed a deep sin against humanity, coming from whom it may. What, then, shall we think of a son of America who, with disloyal and unfilial hands, shall dare to stain with the foul touch of party what, in heathen phrase, we may well term the “Dii Penates," the pure images of our household gods, of whom stand first, though not alone, Washington, Hamilton, and Jay?
In giving this enlarged view of Hamilton, we have not thought it needful to support our positions by detailed reference to the volumes before us. We would not prejudice its eloquent narrative by partial quotation ; and moreover we feel that no one of our American readers will deem his historical library complete without a copy of the “Life of Hamilton.” Art. VI. — The Ecclesiastical and Political History of the
Popes of Rome, during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. By LEOPOLD RANKE, professor in the university of Berlin. Translated from the German by Sarah Austin. In three volumes. London : 1840. John Murray.
It was not until the period of the invasion of the Goths, that Christianity became inherent in the texture of the Roman empire. That connection with Judaism which in its birthplace had been of such advantage to the new faith, threw a dead weight over it when it was presented to a people who looked upon the Jews with an aversion scarcely surpassed by that with which they were regarded during the middle ages. But the energy of the apostles, and the inherent strength of the doctrine they preached, broke down the barrier which was presented by the national prejudice and the variegated mythology of Rome. One by one, the heathen gods were led away from their pedestals, like the mouldy skeletons which are removed from catacombs when the hearts that would have been wounded at their exposure have ceased to beat ; and at last the Pantheon itself became deserted. But with the old superstition, the intrinsic energy of the empire had departed. The distant storm was heard, a century before it made its onset, in the farthest regions of the north. The remotest tribes that, on the shores of Scandinavia, supported themselves on the fish which the sudden ice had captured, found that to the southward there were fields more rich and shores more blessed than their own; and they hastened to take possession of the harvest that was ripening for their sickle. The nations that they displaced found that one path alone lay before them, and if it ever became necessary for them in their progress onward to enter upon the lands of another, the tenant was ousted without even the narrow notice that a declaration of war affords. The wave moved towards Italy with a force far greater than that which would have been created by the progress of a single people, which, by itself, had travelled from its distant home through hostile countries, that harassed its march and diminished its resources. The impetus that was given to the mass at its first onset, was communicated from tribe to tribe till it broke upon the shores of the opposite extreme. Goths and Vandals might have been annihilated; but nations who were mightier than the Goths and Vandals themselves would have rushed into their footsteps. As it was, by the constant entry of the barbarian troops into Italy, and their withdrawal when they where sated, Rome became the centre around which the nations of the north traversed with a regularity of movement which was certain to pass them all through her gates. Her institutions became better known than if the conquering tribes had been kept for ages in colonial subjection. Had Rome remained in her ancient grandeur, and had she extended her conquests to the coasts of Greenland or the arctic sea, and if Christianity had been adopted under such auspices as the religion of the state, and had been taught by authority from legion to legion, we question whether the impression which it would have made upon the conquered nations would have been as complete as that which, under other circumstances, they voluntarily received. The elementary instruction which might have been afforded by proclamations whose promulgation was enforced by the spears and swords of a Roman soldiery, could not have fallen so deeply on the mind of a proud and rebellious people as the practical conviction which they received on a visit to Rome. The most picturesque account or the most forcible exposition of the tenets of the new faith, could never have come home so strongly as the personal experience of the sheltered gatherings of the earlier church, or of the solemn congregations which, in its happier days, were drawn together. Where could so striking an exposition of the creed of the covenanters be found as that which flashed across the eye of the traveller as it fell on one of those stolen meetings which, in the era of their persecution, they collected ? Under the shade of a forest or in the chasm of a rock, in the darkness of midnight or the confusion of a storm, the voice of the proscribed preacher would have given a mellowed beauty to thoughts which might appear, in the present day, coarse and irrelevant. The northern tribes, as they marched through Rome, became tinctured with the faith that they there observed ; and as gradually the circuit was performed, and through the gates of the capital the procession had fully passed, the nations who composed it carried with them their new belief to their ancient homes or their chosen settlements.