« PředchozíPokračovat »
Such revisions take place generally at periods of about twentyfive years' duration. If, therefore, it be acknowledged that the system be bad, the error can be soon corrected.
Nor is this mode of appointment the only evil that has been adopted in the State judicatures. The judges in most of the States are not appointed for life, nor even during good behaviour. They enter their places for a certain term of years, varying from fifteen down, I believe, to seven. I do not know whether any are appointed for a term of less than seven years. When they go out they have no pensions; and as a lawyer who has been on the bench for seven years can hardly recall his practice, and find himself at once in receipt of his old professional income, it may easily be imagined how great will be the judge's anxiety to retain his position on the bench. This he can do only by the universal suffrages of the people, by political popularity, and a general standing of that nature which enables a man to come forth as the favourite candidate of the lower orders. This may or may not be well when the place sought for is one of political power,—when the duties required are political in all their bearings. But no one can think it well when the place sought for is a judge's seat on the bench; when the duties required are solely judicial. Whatever bith
have been the conduct of the judges in the courts of the different States, whether or no impurity has yet crept in, and the sanctity of justice has yet been outraged, no one can doubt the tendency of such an arrangement. · At present even a few visits to the courts constituted in this manner will convince an observer that the judges on the bench are rather inferior than superior to the lawyers who practise before them. The manner of address, the tone of voice, the lack of dignity in the judge, and the assumption by the lawyer before him of a higher authority than his, all tell this tale. And then the judges in these courts are not paid at a rate which will secure the services of the best men. They vary in the different States, running from about 6001. to about 1000l. per annum. But a successful lawyer practising in the courts in which these judges sit, not unfrequently earns 3000l. a year. A professional income of 20001. a year is not considered very high. When the different conditions of the bench are considered, when it is remembered that the judge may lose his place after a short term of years, and that during that short term of years he receives a payment much less than that earned by his successful professional brethren, it can hardly be expected that first-rate judges should be found. The result is seen daily in society. You
meet Judge This and Judge That, not knowing whether they are ex-judges or in-judges; but you soon learn that your friends do not hold any very high social position on account of their forensic dignity.
It is, perhaps, but just to add that in Massachusetts, which I cannot but regard as in many respects the noblest of the States, the judges are appointed by the Governor, and are appointed for life.
THE FINANCIAL POSITION. THE Americans are proud of much that they have done in this war, and indeed much has been done which may justify pride; but of nothing are they so proud as of the noble dimensions and quick growth of their Government debt. _That Mr. Secretary Chase, the American Chancellor of the Exchequer, participates in this feeling I will not venture to say; but if he do not, he is well nigh the only man in the States who does not do so. The amount of expenditure has been a subject of almost national pride, and the two million of dollars a day which has been roughly put down as the average cost of the war, has always been mentioned by northern men in a tone of triumph. This feeling is, I think, intelligible; and although we cannot allude to it without a certain amount of inward sarcasm, little gentle laughing in the sleeve, at the nature of this national joy, I am not prepared to say that it is altogether ridiculous. if the country be found able and willing to pay the bill, this triumph in the amount of the cost will hereafter be regarded as having been any thing but ridiculous. In private life an individual will occasionally be known to lavish his whole fortune on the accomplishment of an object which he conceives to be necessary to his honour. If the object be in itself good, and if the money be really paid, we do not laugh at such a man for the sacrifices which he makes.
For myself, I think that the object of the northern States in this war has been good. I think that they could not have avoided the war without dishonour, and that it was incumbent on them to make themselves the arbiters of the future position of the South, whether that future position shall or shall not be one of secession. This they could only do by fighting. Had they acceded to secession without a civil war, they would have been regarded throughout Europe as having shown themselves
inferior to the South, and would for many years to come have lost that prestige which their spirit and energy had undoubtedly won for them; and in their own country such submission on their part would have practically given to the South the power of drawing the line of division between the two new countries. That line, so drawn, would have given Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri to the southern Republic. The great effect of the war to the North will be, that the northern men will draw the line of secession, if any such line be drawn. I still think that such line will ultimately be drawn, and that the southern States will be allowed to secede. But if it be so, Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri will not be found among these seceding States; and the line may not improbably be driven south of North Carolina and Tennessee. If this can be so, the object of the war will, I think, hereafter be admitted to have been good. Whatever may be the cost in money of joining the States which I have named to a free-soil northern people, instead of allowing them to be buried in that dismal swamp, which a confederacy of southern slave States will produce, that cost can hardly be too much. At the present moment there exists in England a strong sympathy with the South, produced partly by the unreasonable vituperation with which the North treated our Government at the beginning of the war, and by the capture of Mason and Slidell; partly also by that feeling of good-will which a looker-on at a combat always has for the weaker side. But, although this sympathy does undoubtedly exist, I do not imagine
that many Englishmen are of opinion that a confederacy of southern slave States will ever offer to the general civilization of the world very many attractions. It cannot be thought that the South will equal the North in riches, in energy, in education, or general well-being. Such has not been our experience of any slave country, such has not been our experience of any tropical country; and such especially has not been our experience of the southern States of the North American Union. I am no abolitionist; but to me it seems impossible that any Englishman should really advocate the cause of slavery against the cause of free soil. There are the slaves, and I know that they cannot be abolished, -neither they nor their chains; but, for myself, I will not willingly join my lot with theirs. I do not wish to have dealings with the African negro either as a free man or as a slave, if I can avoid them, believing that his employment by me in either capacity would lead to my own degradation. Such, I think, are the feelings of Englishmen generally on this matter. And
if such be the case, will it not be acknowledged that the northern men have done well to fight for a line which shall add five or six States to that Union which will in truth be a union of free men, rather than to that Confederacy which, even if successful, must owe its success to slavery ?*
In considering this matter it must be remembered that the five or six States of which we are speaking are at present slave States, but that, with the exception of Virginia, -of part only of Virginia,—they are not wedded to slavery. But even in Virginia, great as has been the gain which has accrued to that unhappy State from the breeding of slaves for the southern market, -even in Virginia,-slavery would soon die out if she were divided from the South, and joined to the North. In those other States, in Maryland, in Kentucky, and in Missouri there is no desire to perpetuate the institution. They have been slave States, and as such have resented the rabid abolition of certain northern orators. Had it not been for those orators, and their oratory, the soil of Kentucky would now have been free. Those five or six States are now slave States; but a line of secession drawn south of them will be the line which cuts off slavery from the North. If those States belong to the North when secession shall be accomplished, they will belong to it as free States; but if they belong to the South, they will belong to the South as slave States. If they belong to the North, they will become rich as the North is, and will share in the education of the North. If they belong to the South they will become poor as the South is, and will share in the ignorance of the South. If we presume that secession will be accomplished, -and I for one am of that opinion,-has it not been well that a war should be waged with such an object as this? If those five or six States can be gained, stretching east and west from the Atlantic to the centre of the continent, hundreds of miles beyond the Mississippi, and north and south over four degrees of latitude,—if that extent of continent can be added to the free soil of the northern territory, will not the contest that
* In saying this I fear that I shall be misunderstood, let me use what footnote or other mode of protestation I may to guard myself. In thus speaking of the African negro, I do not venture to despise the work of God's hands. That he has made the negro, for His own good purposes, as He has the Esquimaux, I am aware. And I am aware that it is my duty, as it is the duty of us all, to see that no injury be done to him, and, if possible, to assist him in his condition. When I declare that I desire no dealings with the negro, I speak of him in the position in which I now find him, either as a free servant or a slave. In either position he impedes the civilization and the progress of the white man.
has done this have been worth any money that can have been spent on it?
So much as to the object to be gained by the money spent on the war! And I think that in estimating the nature of the financial position which the war has produced, it was necessary that we should consider the value of the object which has been in dispute. The object I maintain has been good. Then comes the question whether or no the bill will be fairly paid ;-whether they who have spent the money will set about that disagreeable task of settling the account with a true purpose and an honest energy. And this question splits itself into two parts. Will the Americans honestly wish to pay the bill; and if they do so wish, will they have the power to pay it? Again that last question must be once more divided. Will they have the power to pay, as regards the actual possession of the means, and if possessing them, will they have the power of access to those means ?
The nation has obtained for itself an evil name for repudiation. We all know that Pennsylvania behaved badly about her money affairs, although she did at last pay her debts. We all know that Mississippi has behaved very badly about her money affairs, and has never paid her debts, nor does she intend to pay them. And, which is worse than this, for it applies to the nation generally and not to individual States, we all know that it was made a matter of boast in the States that in the event of a war with England the enormous amount of property held by Englishmen in the States should be confiscated. That boast was especially made in the mercantile city of New York; and when the matter was discussed it seemed as though no American realized the iniquity of such a threat. It was not apparently understood that such a confiscation on account of a war would be an act of national robbery justified simply by the fact that the power of committing it would be in the hands of the robbers. Confiscation of so large an amount of wealth would be a smart thing, and men did not seem to perceive that any disgrace would attach to it in the eyes of the world at large. I am very anxious not to speak harsh words of the Americans; but when questions arise as to pecuniary arrangements I find myself forced to acknowledge that great precaution is at any rate necessary.
But, nevertheless, I am not sure that we shall be fair if we allow ourselves to argue as to the national purpose in this matter from such individual instances of dishonesty as those which I have mentioned. I do not think it is to be presumed that