Sidor som bilder

his rivals. And Great Britain stands, at this moment, with the lowest average Protective Tariff in the civilized world.

Thus, no sooner does England begin to find that the course that she has been pursuing is not worth pursuing any longer, than America takes up that course, goes back five centuries, and sits down, with the docility of a little child, to take lessons in Political Economy from the varied wisdom and practical skill of the Third Henry and his learned barons. Twenty-seven years already those lessons have been conned. But even under a tutor so skilful as Mr. Clay, the proficiency has been far from uniformly flattering. True, from 1816 to 1828, a period of twelve years, the progress of Protection was quite surprising. But the Bill of Abominations proved too much for human endurance. The issue was tendered, whether that or the Union should be abandoned. The people wisely chose gradually to sacrifice the former.

present wants, is to be diverted to support the precious interests so tenderly fostered, and made to prosper at so enormous a cost. Again prices fall away, and commerce languishes, and vessels pull up by the wharves to rot, and revenues decrease, and the National Treasury grows more and more impoverished. In a word, the Tariff of 1842 has equalled, in the wisdom of its time and the beneficence of its results, the Tariff of 1816. The country is once more embarrassing itself out of embarrassment. Once more it is in the transition from a bad state, through one far worse into another not much better; curing its weakness by further depletion, and regaining its lost strength by piling new burdens on. Indeed, of all theorizers the wildest, of all visionaries the most fanatic, are they who, to be taught by no experience, to be convinced by no reason, blind and deaf to all that is now passing in the civilized world, still cling to protection of manufactures as a means of prosperity to a State. For it involves a folly like that of attempting to confer swiftness by fetters on the limbs, or keenness of sight by bandages on the eyes. But the period of its long duration is fast approaching. And it will altogether cease whenever it is universally realized that nations are but aggregations of individuals; that whenever these individuals are virtuous, thrifty, contented, and happy, the nation itself cannot fail to be prosperous; and that it is only where government enforces speedy and enlightened justice, promptly punishes crime, abjures all favoritism for particular classes or pursuits, and allows its people the broadest liberty to buy and sell wherever and whatever they choose, under the guidance of their own enterprising intelligence and industry, and to pursue that line of honest conduct which each for himself may deem wisest, that this blessed lot may be attained.

Meanwhile, however, a fearful paroxysm of acquisitiveness befell not this country only, but Europe and every civilized nation. The whole world had a devil. Fortunes were madeand they vanished too-with a rapidity which nothing but a devil could have had a hand in. The great revulsion of 1837, and succeeding years, brought the United States to a prostration like that which followed the late war, probably greater. The indebtedness was more enormous-the ruin more widespread the bankruptcy more universal. The good old vessel struck once more; and once more the Tariff LongBoat is got out. Again, the delusion of a Home Market is practised; again, the country can find no salvation but in the protection of manufactures-manufactures being the country. Once more production must stop till the surplus on hand can be consumed; once more the money, too scanty even for

318 Political Portraits.-No. XXXVIII.-Levi Woodbury. [March,





(With a fine Engraving on Steel.)

Ir has long weighed grievously on our editorial conscience, that the libellous engraving of the distinguished New Hampshire Senator, which by a strange perversion of language was styled an embellishment to our Number for July, 1838, has hitherto been left unatoned for. We hereby gladly relieve our selves of the load of this remorse, and Mr. Woodbury from the imputation of resemblance to the rough outline caricature referred to-an imputation calculated seriously to prejudice his fair repute in the eyes of a discerning public-by giving to our readers the accompanying more satisfactory likeness, in a more satisfactory style of art, taken from a recent miniature. We shall not again retrace the narrative of Mr. Woodbury's life, which was given in considerable detail, on the former occasion, down to its date. Its leading points were, that he was born at Francestown, an agricultural settlement in the interior of New Hampshire, about the commencement of 1790; that he graduated with high reputation at Dartmouth College in 1809, and was admitted to the bar in 1812. He practised his profession with distinguished success, and rapidly rose to a high rank in it. When the Democratic Party acquired the ascendency in the State in 1816, he was invited to the seat of Government, on the meeting of the Legislature, to discharge the duties of Secretary of the Senate; and at the commencement of the next year, he was appointed Judge of the Superior Court-though only, of course, twenty-seven years of age.

Ascending the bench of the highest judicial tribunal of the State, at an age more youthful than had before occurred in its history, the appointment excited much remark where Mr. Woodbury was personally unknown.

The result surpassed the utmost expectations of his friends. In the discharge of the arduous and responsible duties of this station, he evinced the most estimable qualifications of a judge

diligence, patience, firmness, and good temper. His familiarity with legal principles and reach of mind, combined with his suavity of manners and moral courage, enabled him to conduct jury trials with great satisfaction to the public, while his judicial opinions showed great research and accurate discrimination. Ample testimony to the qualifications of Mr. Woodbury for the performance of the duties of his office, may be found in the two first volumes of the Massachusetts Reports.

In 1819 he removed to Portsmouth, the commercial capital of New Hampshire, where he has since continued to reside, with the exception of the period during which his official duties as a member of the cabinets of General Jackson and Mr. Van Buren necessarily stationed him at Washington. Retaining always his house at Portsmouth, Mr. Woodbury gladly returned to it as soon as he was permitted by the termination of those duties.

He was elected Governor in 1822. In 1825, he was chosen by the town of Portsmouth a representative in the Legislature of the State, and though he had never before been a member of any legislative assembly, he was elect ed Speaker of the House. Among the last acts of the session was the choice of Mr. Woodbury to fill a vacancy which had occurred in the Senate of the United States.

His career in the Senate was one of high honor to himself and usefulness to the country. His talents, information, and habits of unwearied application, gave him much influence upon

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
« FöregåendeFortsätt »