Monday, September 26, 2022

Giorgia Meloni's electrifying speech at the World Congress of Families, ...

2019 speech in Verona, Italy at the World Congress of Families...

Defending the "unenlightened" Middle Ages around 6:30
"But they think everything we propose is crazy.  They think it's unenlightened, that we want to take away rights... the middle ages ... You know the middle ages was also the time of the cathedrals and the abbeys, the founding of the comuni, the universities, the parliament, the epoch of Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Saint Francis, Saint Benedict ... People who don't know where Matera is, let's not expect them to have read history books."
Meloni sounded like Ungar debating Derwent in Melville's Clarel.

In Ungar's longer view of history and art, the great cathedrals of medieval Europe proclaim
A magnanimity which our time
Would envy, were it great enough
To comprehend.  -- Clarel Part 4 Canto 10 A Monument

Herman Melville, Clarel: A Poem and Pilgrimage in the Holy Land (New York, 1876). Edited by Walter E. Bezanson for Hendricks House, Inc. (New York, 1960).

Daytonian in Manhattan: The Lost Clement C. Moore "Chelsea House"

Daytonian in Manhattan: The Lost Clement C. Moore "Chelsea House": Valentine's Manual of the Corporation of the City of New York, 1856 (copyright expired) Retired British Army Captain Thomas Clarke...

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Melvilliana: THE WHALE in Liverpool

Melvilliana: THE WHALE in Liverpool: Past the wrecks of Woke academia, Melvilliana sails on...

Hahahaha. Kevin J. Hayes playing catch-up in Notes and Queries documents the early notice of Moby-Dick in the Liverpool Albion:
Kevin J Hayes, E. B. Neill and Moby-DickNotes and Queries, 2022;, gjac100,
Advance article just published yesterday, but last year's news on Melvilliana!

Monday, September 19, 2022

Pierre đź’• Lucy

Accessible courtesy of the great Internet Archive, a virtual version of the 1929 edition of Pierre; or, The Ambiguities, introduced by John Brooks Moore with a preface by H. M. Tomlinson, and published in New York, NY by E. P. Dutton & Co. The real thing is from Trent University Library, donated by the distinguished Canadian scholar Gordon Roper (1911-2005) and apparently containing his marginal annotations.

One annotation in Roper's copy of Pierre strikes me as especially good, the neatly inscribed comment in the left margin on page 44, next to a passage from the fourth section of Book II, Love, Delight, and Alarm. Part IV starts on page 43 of this edition and ends near the top of page 47 with "what wonder then that Love was aye a mystic?" 

Since the 1980's, academic critics for the most part have regarded Melville's language in this particular section of Pierre as excessively romantic and sentimental. So obviously overblown, that it can't be taken seriously. Most take it for satire. Melville must be joking when his narrator avows, for instance, that

Love is both Creator's and Saviour's gospel to mankind; a volume bound in rose-leaves , clasped with violets, and by the beaks of humming-birds printed with peach-juice on the leaves of lilies.

Introducing the Norton Critical Edition of Pierre, editors Robert S. Levine and Cindy Weinstein highlight "humor and parody" as the chief effects of Melville's "overworked prose" in Book II.  

For Samuel Otter in Melville's Anatomies (University of California Press, 1999) Melville's imagery is "absurdly literalized" (page 205).

Fearless of contradiction, Robert Milder described the Edenic opening of Pierre as Melville's "grotesque" and "diabolical parody of the romance."
MILDER, ROBERT. “MELVILLE’S ‘INTENTIONS’ IN ‘PIERRE.’” Studies in the Novel 6, no. 2 (1974) pages 186–99 at 192-193.

One consequence of this view is that Lucy Tartan, the proper heroine of Pierre, gets lost way before Pierre dumps her and moves to the city with Isabel and Delly. Isabel, maybe Pierre's half sister, has effectively displaced Lucy in Melville criticism as well as in the twisted mind of Melville's enthusiast-hero Pierre Glendinning.

Disheartened by so many Lucy-less views I exclaimed in wonder, great googly-moogly!  Have these eminent English professors never been in love? Gordon Roper knew better. As rightly remarked in the margin, Melville's fantastically infatuate "style" exactly suits Pierre's mood and perfectly captures the insanely elevated feelings of any red-blooded youth in his predicament:

"style of these opening pages his attempt to give the reader the feeling of the young man in first love." 

Project MUSE - Gordon Roper

Project MUSE - Gordon Roper

Saturday, September 3, 2022

A Charm in Life

Fresco depicting Clare of Assisi holding a lily

Beads from a Rosary

A Charm in Life

     A charm in life
And safe-conducts in death,
Says Sister St. Clare,
Are the Lilies and Roses White.
Come away from the Tulips
Poor flaunters that flare
These Lilies and Roses attain,
For theirs are Christ’s sweetness and light.

-- Herman Melville

Transcribed and edited from the digital manuscript image, accessible online via Harvard Library:

  • Persistent Link
  • Description Melville, Herman, 1819-1891. Unpublished poems : autograph manuscript, undated. Herman Melville papers, 1761-1964. MS Am 188 (369.1). Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.Folder 1. Weeds and wildings: As they Fell.
  • Page sheet 3v (seq. 6)
  • Repository Houghton Library
  • Institution Harvard University
  • Accessed 03 September 2022
In print, a transcription of "A charm in Life" may be found with editorial notes for the poem Rosary Beads in Herman Melville, Billy Budd, Sailor and Other Uncompleted Writings, edited by G. Thomas Tanselle, Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, Robert Sandberg and Alma MacDougall Reising (Northwestern University Press and The Newberry Library, 2017) page 618. Also transcribed in the footnotes to my essay on Substack,

Friday, September 2, 2022

Miracle roses in ROSARY BEADS, borrowed from the real LIFE OF SAINT ELIZABETH

Good morning from the prairie! Breaking news... my latest essay on Substack, Saint Elizabeth's Miracle of Roses in Melville's Rosary Beads finds the inspiration for the red and white roses in the second stanza of Melville's poem Rosary Beads in the world-famous miracle roses of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary.


Melville’s image of red and white roses that used to be meat and bread alludes to a delightful highlight in the life of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, the miracle of the roses. The story is well told in a book we know Melville owned and commended to family members, The Life of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary:

Elizabeth loved to carry secretly to the poor, not alone money, but provisions and other matters which she destined for them. She went thus laden, by the winding and rugged paths that led from the castle to the city, and to the cabins of the neighbouring valleys.

One day, when accompanied by one of her favourite maidens, as she descended by a rude little path—(still pointed out) —and carried under her mantle bread, meat, eggs, and other food to distribute to the poor, she suddenly encountered her husband, who was returning from hunting. Astonished to see her thus toiling on under the weight of her burthen, he said to her, “Let us see what you carry”—and at the same time drew open the mantle which she held closely clasped to her bosom ; but beneath it were only red and white roses, the most beautiful he had ever seen and this astonished him, as it was no longer the season of flowers. Seeing that Elizabeth was troubled, he sought to console her by his caresses, but he ceased suddenly, on seeing over her head a luminous appearance in the form of a crucifix. He then desired her to continue her route without being disturbed by him, and he returned to Wartburg, meditating with recollection on what God did for her, and carrying with him one of those wonderful roses, which he preserved all his life. At the spot where this meeting took place, he erected a pillar, surmounted by a cross, to consecrate for ever the remembrance of that which he had seen hovering over the head of his wife.12

In humbly ministering to the poor Elizabeth did all the moralizing speaker asks in the second (or third, reviving “A Charm in Life”) segment of Rosary Beads. Through her generous and exemplary foodservice this princess did “live up to the Rose’s light” and duly received the promised blessing of red and white roses, unnaturally beautiful and magically transmuted from ordinary meat and bread. Faithfully narrated by Montalembert, the story of Elizabeth’s miracle roses is the poet’s unnamed exemplum in Without Price.

Related post:

  • A Charm in Life

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Drum update

Christopher Morton, Assistant Curator with the New York State Military Museum & Veterans Research Center has kindly informed me by email that
"the brass drum is safe and sound in the collections of the NYS Military Museum located in Saratoga Springs. The drum is currently on display in the Military Museum’s Revolutionary War exhibition.

The brief description in your letter regarding the drum’s journey is accurate. The Albany Republican Artillery received the drum in 1832 and later donated or transferred it to the Military Museum in 1882. The Military Museum, known at various times as the Bureau of Military Statistics, Bureau of Military Record, etc. can trace its origins to 1863 and is now known as the NYS Military Museum." 
Wonderful news! I'm sincerely grateful for the information as well as the tempting invitation to visit the Museum in Saratoga Springs and "see the drum firsthand."

Related post:

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Herman Melville and the Bible

Herman Melville and the Bible: The Cambridge Companion to the Bible and Literature - March 2020

Ruth Blair has a fine chapter in The Bible and Literature, ed. Calum Carmichael (Cambridge University Press, 2020) with this to say about the "spiritual exercise" required by the demanding yet "often fluid and flexible" verse form of Clarel:
"... the poem engages the reader in a difficult journey, rather like the pilgrimage itself, on horseback--a mode of travel in which one cannot afford to lose concentration, and whose rhythm the tetrameter line echoes" (page 249).

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

My Wife and I

Transcribed below from Harper's magazine for March 1858, "My Wife and I" is a rich bit of domestic fun in the comic style of Herman Melville's 1856 short stories I and My Chimney and The Apple-Tree Table, both of which first appeared in Putnam's Monthly Magazine. Coincidentally, in January 1858 Melville's subscription to Harper's New Monthly Magazine was renewed for one year according to Jay Leyda in The Melville Log (volume 2 page 593), citing family accounts at Harvard College Library. 

Melville fans will notice some familiar rhetorical moves in "My Wife and I," none more obvious than when the narrator (call him Persy for Perseverance) undertakes to explain his reckless vow to buy the wife a new dress: 

"Some years ago (I don't care to remember how many)...."

Like Ishmael in Moby-Dick, Persy also has a sadly depleted "purse." 

Near the end of the story, Persy's indiscreet reflections on the suitability of Eve's fig-leaf makes his wife "indignant": 

"Perseverance !" exclaimed my wife, as she colored with indignation at the idea....

A fanciful claim by Melville's narrator in The Apple-Tree Table gets pretty much the same reaction:

"Why did you tell me that boastful tale," said my wife, indignantly.

Among many delightful lines of dialogue and commentary, my favorite has to be where the narrator contemplates teaching his wife to say "The flour barrel is empty" in a more mellifluous language than English:

"In fact, I have sometimes thought of teaching her to say it in Spanish, and thus remove a little of its harshness...."

Hilarious, whoever wrote it. 


“OH dear, I wish I were rich !"

This remark was extracted from my wife (as an obstinate molar might be extracted by a dentist) by the contemplation of a large opening in the toe of little Persy's stocking, which she had been trying in vain to devise some mode of closing, without destroying the symmetry of the garment, while a pile of similar articles, of various sizes and patterns, lay at her elbow, as much in need of mending as an old rake's habits. There they lay, seven pairs of little stockings, while their seven daily occupants were snugly snoozing in bed, forgetful of the many weary stitches their little feet had caused; and all around, on tables and chairs, was scattered a promiscuous assortment of juvenile aprons and dresses, jackets and breeches, each one bearing its owner's mark, in the shape of rips and rents.
"I wish I were rich!" repeated my wife.

There was a strength and heartiness in the tone and manner which left no doubt of her sincerity, and in an instant my mind went back some twenty years, to the time when we had been rich—rich in our young love, rich in our mutual dependence, and rich in the bright hopes which not only gilded but fairly plated the future all over with twenty-carat plate at least—as together we looked down the long vista of coming years, fair flowers of joy around our feet, ripe fruits of happiness over our heads, the richest of all riches, contentment, in our hearts, and flour at only five dollars a barrel.

Almost twenty years ago those soft hazel eyes that now beam with tender, matronly love, first told the story of that love which those rosy lips (their bloom has not yet faded) confirmed; and that fair, round face that has grown fairer and rounder year by year, first lay upon my breast in maiden trustfulness.

We did not fall in love, nor walk into it, nor glide into it, but we took to it by instinct as ducks take to water, and we were married, with about as definite an idea of the modes and means of meeting our current expenses as a raw Irishman has of Egyptian hieroglyphics, or a charcoal peddler of honesty. 

There must be a special Providence which watches over fools and young married people.

In point of worldly possessions we commenced with nothing, and have had it ever since; for, what with the increased expense of living, and our success in adding to the census returns, each year finds us as far from the possession of a respectable competency as its predecessor. Financially we have scrambled along in a helter-skelter way, tumbling into little puddles of debt from time to time, with now and then a long interval of exemption, to be followed by a new tumble and a new scramble for safety. Until now, on this cold Saturday night in January, my wife and I sit cozily by our cheerful fire, she with a load of unmended and to-be-mended stockings on her mind, and I, ostensibly reading, trying to solve the great problem of the relation between supply and demand; at least, so far as to make my own weekly supplies cover the weekly demands of my wife, children, the grocer, and the landlord. And so I sit, buried in thought, now brightened by remembrances of early happiness, and now darkened by shades of unpaid January bills, which load my desk, making the demand for the great staple, money, far exceed the supply, thereby, according to our best political economists, enhancing its value. 

Meantime my wife, still laboring under the weight of the stockings, says, for the third time, with increased fervor and a slight degree of asperity, as though demanding a reply,

“Oh dear! dear! I wish I were rich.” 

“Riches, my love, take to themselves wings and fly away,” I replied, with the air of one who had seen myriads of tender young dollars put on their pin feathers, become fully fledged, and soar away to unknown regions like a flock of wild geese, leaving not even the smell of money behind.

“Well, if they do, they must go to roost somewhere, and I don't see why some of them can't settle here as well as elsewhere,” said my wife, as she commenced on a fresh stocking; and then added, with a slight dash of acidity, “There's no danger of our riches flying away!" 

“No, my dear, the wealth of loving hearts, of unstained consciences, and contented dispositions is a permanent investment, and not at all prone to aerial flights. These are your only true riches. With these, you are richer than Croesus; without them, poor indeed.”

“That's all very well, but that kind of property don't constitute a legal tender. You can't pay the grocer with consciences and dispositions, however pure and contented. They don't go half as far as promises, for I've known you to make those last a year. But speaking of the grocer reminds me that I thought I saw bottom of the flour barrel this morning.” 

Now I knew in an instant that there wasn't flour enough in that barrel to make a homeopathic biscuit, for I had had a hint of its condition the day before, in the shape of an inquiry from my wife, “What is flour worth now?” —expressed in a tone intended to indicate that she had no more interest in the matter than she had in the number of statute miles between the earth and the moon.

It is a pleasant little fiction of hers, that a delicate hint, in relation to the consumptive state of that important ingredient in domestic economy, falls more lightly upon the ear of the moneyless than the plain and simple, though appalling statement, "The flour barrel is empty;" and she will resort to all manner of expedients for bringing the case to my mind rather than state it in plain English. In fact, I have sometimes thought of teaching her to say it in Spanish, and thus remove a little of its harshness, but as she had no aptness for any tongue, except her own, I have abandoned the idea. 

The purchase of a barrel of flour is an event in our household economy not to be treated lightly. It requires preparation and consideration. In the first place, a certain sum of money is to be provided to meet the emergency, for whatever latitude the grocer may allow in minor matters, when you talk to him of flour you must produce the quid pro quo, or there is no trade.

The next point to be decided is the selection of the "brand." This leads to a friendly interchange of views between the heads of the home department, which always results in my being commissioned to purchase the highest priced article in the market, and a caution to avoid all attempts at false economy by investing in a cheaper quality. In my younger days, I once made a purchase of a barrel of second quality (as the grocer called it), to see if my wife would know the difference; and I believe I have had the biscuit that were made from it thrown at me ever since.

You should see my wife when she assists at the opening of the new barrel, and its snowy treasures are disclosed to her gratified gaze. Smiles dimple her rosy cheeks, and pleasure sparkles in her eyes. How tenderly she lifts each dipperful from its receptacle, examines it with the eye of a judge, and pronounces its quality with the air of an expert! And what a glow of housewifely satisfaction mantles her fair face, when the first baking confirms her judgment! And then as, day be day, she descends deeper and deeper into its recesses, each dipperful, snowy though it be, leaves a shade upon her brow, until at last the flour and the smiles and dimples disappear together.

As I sit reading of an evening, I can hear that wooden dipper thumping at the staves or gently scraping the bottom of the barrel as it descends in search of the wherewithal for the bread of the coming day, and I know that my wife is intimating by these means the necessity of a fresh supply as plainly as though she told me in so many words, for she knows that I can hear every thump. And by-and-by she comes in looking as demure as a kitten, and none but the initiated would ever dream that she had an empty flour barrel on her mind. But the next day brings a fresh barrel, fresh smiles and dimples, and a renewed depletion of the already attenuated purse. The smiles and dimples are always cheap at the price, even if the flour is not. 

As I meditated on this momentous subject, I could see by the knitting of her brow and the increased vigor with which she applied herself to her weekly task, that my wife's financial aspiration was still working in her mind, and knowing by long experience that confined thoughts, like explosive gases, must have vent, and fearing that some more violent remark might be shot at me, like a pellet from a gun, I replied:

"True, my dear, I know that the grocer will only be satisfied with gold or its equivalent, which he is much better calculated to appreciate than purity of intention and loftiness of soul, and fortunately for him, it is much more plentiful in the market though scarce enough with us. But for all that we have untold treasures, if we did but know it."

"They must be untold, for I never heard of them before. If you have such an abundance, I wish you'd spare me enough to buy that black silk dress you promised me so long ago."

It is not to be inferred from this remark that my wife is prone to extravagance in her tastes or habits. She is usually content with plain and modest attire. She has never hidden herself in the recesses of a whalebone pyramid, nor submitted to the modern species of female cooperage; for, as she playfully remarks, “Any body can see that I am a tub without my being hooped.” (She weighs two hundred and one pounds avoirdupois.) No unpaid milliner's bills haunt her waking hours (nor mine). No needy dress-makers rise up in judgment against her. Her bonnet is much too large for our youngest daughter, aged eight years, and really seems designed for use as well as ornament; and from my long acquaintance with her, I am satisfied that she has something in her head worth protecting, unlike those ladies who patronize curtailed bonnets with more ribbon than crown, and more curtain than comfort.

She fully agrees with me when I lecture our young female friends on the extravagance of the age, although she contends that the men are as much to be blamed for it as the women. Of course I never assent to this proposition; and that leads to a friendly argument, from which, in my own opinion, I always gain the advantage—though I must confess that I am occasionally overborne by a torrent of words, especially when some friendly neighbor espouses my wife's side of the question. In such cases I beat a hasty retreat, and watch my opportunity for a new attack upon the position of the enemy under more favorable auspices. 

My wife detests flounces (she is too stout to wear them), has no hankering after “moire antique," and only knows of “Honiton" by having seen it mentioned in our daily paper. To be sure she doesn't believe all the criticisms upon the fashions which she sees in that paper, and she even goes so far as to say that she has no idea that the editor himself believes them. I think she is hardly just to the editor—a very clever fellow by-the-way, who never meddles with any thing but politics, except Church matters, ladies' dresses, and fish—and who never gets into trouble as long as he sticks to the politics and fish. 

But to return to the black silk dress. Some years ago (I don't care to remember how many), under the influence of an excess of affection and a delusion in regard to my financial prospects, I had made a rash promise to purchase such an article for her especial use and adornment; but had coupled the promise with the important proviso, "some time.” We had previously canvassed the relative merits of calicoes, cashmeres, silks and satins, and had decided that one good silk dress was worth half a dozen of any of the others, not only for its present purpose but as being more available in its later stages for the decoration of the young scions of our house, and a sly hint was thrown out that a spare “breadth” out of the skirt might be very useful in refacing any coat of mine that might happen to stand in need of that operation. The "some time" before alluded to, has not yet arrived, and from present appearances it is as far off as when the promise was made. Still, it lingers in my wife's memory, and she occasionally brings it to mind among, I fear, many other unfulfilled promises.

"In regard to the dress, you may depend upon having it 'some time,' but the treasures of which I was speaking are not exactly available for that purpose at present," I replied; "but I can easily convince you that we are possessed of them. Are there not seven rosy-cheeked cherubs (at least you call them so when they are not in mischief) now sleeping in happy unconsciousness of money and its attendant evils, each one of them worth his weight in gold? I've heard you say so many a time. Now at a moderate estimate they will average fifty pounds apiece. Even California gold is worth two hundred dollars a pound. So we have three hundred and fifty pounds of cherubs at two hundred dollars a pound, which, according to simple multiplication, makes seventy thousand dollars' worth of those little heavenly bodies alone." 

"Nonsense, Persy"—

"Oh! but it isn't nonsense. There it is, figured out according to your own estimate, and a very pretty little sum it makes to begin the world with. Now, my dear, what is my love worth!"

This was a poser. My wife looked up in a haze of blank astonishment as her mind grasped the idea, and I trembled for fear she might say "nothing," and thus overturn the whole groundwork of my theory. But as soon as she had swallowed the idea and mentally digested it, she replied,

"Why don't you ask me what the air is worth? for I could dispense with one as well as the other."

I thanked my wife for the compliment, and congratulated myself that she had drawn no worse comparison between my love and the air; and continued,

"Well then, what do you consider the air worth?"

"I sha'n't answer any such foolish question; for, if you go on with your calculations, you'll make us out millionaires."

"That's what I intend to do; and I think I am safe in putting down the love at a hundred thousand. Then, there is my honor, which is worth at least as much as the love—"

"I've no doubt of it," interrupted my wife—

"For you wouldn't value the one without the other. So there you have the sum of three items alone—cherubs, seventy thousand; love, a hundred thousand; and honor as much more, making the snug sum of more than a quarter of a million dollars, to say nothing of other items that might be mentioned, and which would perhaps double the amount, besides cash on hand amounting to one dollar and seventeen cents."

I paused here for my wife to appreciate the full force of my reasoning (she is a little slow at figures), and when she had had time to turn the whole subject in her mind, I asked,

"What have you to say to that ?” 

“All I have to say to that,” replied my wife, "is, that I wouldn't advise you to set up a carriage on the strength of your property. And if I thought, we were worth a quarter of that sum, I wouldn't mend such a looking stocking as this.” Saying which, she held up the stocking of our eldest girl, minus the heel and two-thirds of the toe, with a large rent near the top of the leg.

“And then look at that, and that, and that,” she continued, as she successively presented for my inspection the various articles which constitute the juvenile wardrobe; and I must confess that, seen through that medium, my imposing array of figures seemed scarcely large enough to fill one of the smallest rents among the multitude. Still I fondly hoped that my calculations had had a tendency to raise my wife's spirits, and I was unwilling that she should sink back into that slough of darning-needles and yarn. So I continued the subject.

“Clothes, my dear, especially in the case of children, are a mere matter of form, a blind adherence to the customs of society. If it cost more to wear shreds and patches than whole garments—if rents and rips could be rendered fashionable, all the world would be out at elbows. But though society turns up its nose at last year's fashions—though love looks askance at a seedy lover, and even the Church puts its ban on the threadbare coat, you and I can jog on our way regardless of frowns and favors, conscious of that hidden treasure which gilds and brightens our earthly existence. 

"And then, again, compare our condition with that of our first parents, when they had ‘notice to quit' from the Great Landlord, and first commenced housekeeping on their own account. Their wardrobe was extremely limited, and I've no doubt Eve would have been very thankful for a ninepenny calico, and Adam would not have scorned good satinet, even though the cut of the garments had been a few months old. For however rural a fig-leaf suit might appear, it is not exactly adapted for general use, especially with the thermometer at zero. And I don't think that a lady of your weight in the community would appear to advantage in that primitive style of dress.” 

"Perseverance !" exclaimed my wife, as she colored with indignation at the idea, and laid down the last of the stockings, preparatory to seeking her nightly rest. 

She never calls me “Perseverance” except when she is astonished or indignant; and I knew by the tone of her voice that it would useless to pursue the subject at present. So, winding up my argument and the little wooden clock that graces our mantle, I addressed myself to slumber, while that murmured aspiration floated on the midnight air from my wife's half-opened lips— 

"Oh dear! I wish I were rich!"

-- Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Volume 16 (March 1858) pages 522-525. Digitized versions are also accessible via HathiTrust Digital Library; and the great and growing Internet Archive.

"My Wife and I" was anonymously published, as usual for periodical fiction in the 19th century. With very little fanfare the Harper's piece seems to have made an immediate hit, enjoying a rapid and wide circulation via numerous newspaper reprintings. For example:

  • Paterson, New Jersey Daily Guardian, March 4, 1858
  • Reprinted "From Harper's Magazine" in Trenton NJ State Gazette, March 8 and 9, 1858
  • New York Examiner, credited in the Portland, Maine Christian Mirror on March 9, 1858 
  • Cambridge MA Chronicle, March 13, 1858. Reprinted from the N.Y. Examiner.
  • Gloucester MA Telegraph, March 20, 1858
  • Schenectady Reflector, March 26, 1858, subtitled "A GRAPHIC PICTURE OF REAL LIFE." 
  • Westchester, Indiana Randolph County Journal, April 1, 1858
  • Vicksburg, Mississippi Daily Whig on April 8 and 9, 1858
  • Fredonia NY Advertiser, April 9, 1858
  • Buffalo Advocate, April 15, 1858
  • Honolulu Pacific Commercial Advertiser on May 27, 1858
  • Frankfort KY Tri-Weekly Commonwealth, September 15, 1858
  • Cleveland Daily Leader, September 29, 1858
  • Bridgeport CT Standard, October 23, 1858
  • Ashland OH Union, November 3, 1858 
  • Council Bluffs, Iowa Nonpareil, May 7, 1859
  • Bangor Daily Whig and Courier on September 15, 1859 
  • Washington DC Evening Star, October 6, 1860 
  • Brooklyn Daily Times, October 19, 1860.
  • Carrollton Sun (New Orleans, Louisiana), October 20, 1860
  • The Prairie Farmer Volume 22, November 8, 1860, pages 299-300.
  • Auburn, NY Weekly Union, December 26, 1860
  • Palmyra NY Wayne Sentinel, January 10, 1861
  • Stillwater, Minnesota Messenger, January 15, 1861
  • White Plains NY Eastern State Journal, January 23, 1863
  • Hempstead NY Queens County Sentinel, November 22 and 29, 1866
  • Newport, Rhode Island Mercury January 22, 1870 (with wife's closing exclamation now answered by the husband: "Do you, indeed!")
  • Boston Investigator March 16, 1870 (abbreviated version subtitled "Or, a Family Sketch," opens at "I wish you would spare me enough to buy that black silk dress" and closes with added query, "Do you, indeed?")
  • Monroe, Louisiana Ouachita Telegraph, July 22, 1881
  • Plagiarized in a letter to the editor of the Dayton Daily News for February 13, 1921 signed "A WORKING MAN." Letter is dated February 11, 1921 and printed in "People's Mail" under the heading "THE VALUE OF THE WORKINGMAN TO DAYTON."

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Melvilliana: Saints as Syrens

Melvilliana: Saints as Syrens: Conference paper read June 19, 2009 at the École Biblique in Jerusalem for the Seventh International Melville Conference, Melville and the ...

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Where is the Brass Drum?

Drum Captured from St. Leger - 1777 - Fort Stanwix
Photo via Civil War Badges

Here's a newspaper editor in 1937 asking the same question I did in the post on the centennial of Washington's birthday in Albany New York.

The Knickerbocker Press (Albany, NY) April 2, 1937


THE following is from Munsell's Annals of Albany, Vol. IX, Page 243:
— Feb. 22, 1832  The military celebrated the centennial anniversary of the birth of Washington. The 89th and 246th Regiments sat down to dinner at Crosby's Long Room and the Albany Republican Artillery at Foote's Ft. Orange Hotel. Col. Peter Gansevoort on this occasion presented to the Artillery a large brass drum, a trophy of the Revolution, taken from the British on the 22nd of August, 1777, at Ft. Stanwix by his father, Brig. Gen. Peter Gansevoort.
What became of this brass drum?

Has its identity been lost; is it stowed away in some garret, or like many another historic relic long since has it passed through the scrap heap to oblivion? Does any reader know?

If found, it would be a museum piece of inestimable value. --Albany, NY Knickerbocker Press, April 2, 1937 via
Herman Melville's uncle Peter Gansevoort inherited the drum from his father, Melville's maternal grandfather General Peter Gansevoort aka The Hero of Fort Stanwix. Melville's Uncle Peter donated the trophy on Washington's Birthday 1832 to the Albany Republican Artillery Company. Only a little fictionalized, the captured British drum makes an appearance early in Melville's 1852 novel Pierre:
Or how think you it would be with this youthful Pierre, if every day descending to breakfast, he caught sight of an old tattered British banner or two, hanging over an arched window in his hall; and those banners captured by his grandfather, the general, in fair fight? Or how think you it would be if every time he heard the band of the military company of the village, he should distinctly recognize the peculiar tap of a British kettle-drum also captured by his grandfather in fair fight, and afterwards suitably inscribed on the brass and bestowed upon the Saddle-Meadows Artillery Corps?

-- Pierre; Or, The Ambiguities (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1852) page 14.

In 1877 Uncle Peter's daughter, Melville's cousin Catherine (Kate) Gansevoort Lansing managed to procure the real thing, a treasured relic of the Revolution, for display at the centennial celebration of the Battle of Oriskany:

... Mr. SEYMOUR exhibited the revolutionary relics. Among these was the brass snare drum, sent up from Albany by Mrs. LANSING. On the brass coat of the drum was the following inscription :
" Presented by Peter Gansevoort, of the city of Albany, counsellor-at-law, to the Albany Republican Artillery Company, on the 22d February, 1832."
"Taken from the enemy on the 22d Aug., 1777, when the British army under Gen. St. Leger, raised the siege of Fort Stanwix, which fortress had been valiantly defended by the garrison under the command of Colonel Peter Gansevoort for 21 days." 
-- The Centennial Celebrations of the State of New York (Albany, 1879) "Oriskany" page 97. 
Just five years later, this very same brass drum was re-gifted to the State of New York--fittingly on February 22, 1882, George Washington's 150th birthday. Transcribed in part below, the long account of the ceremony published in the Albany Times on Wednesday evening February 22, 1882. 

In his formal address, Captain John Palmer (future Commander-in-Chief of the G. A. R. and New York Secretary of State) appears to say that Peter Gansevoort (1749-1812) the war hero gave the drum to the Albany Republican Artillery. Impossible, of course, since that General Gansevoort, the Hero of Fort Stanwix, had been dead twenty years. In fact, it was the Hero's son Peter Gansevoort (1789-1876) the lawyer and politician who bestowed the drum on George Washington's 100th birthday. Confusingly, the son (Herman Melville's uncle and the dedicatee of Clarel: A Poem and Pilgrimage in the Holy Land) also was respectfully addressed as General by virtue of his service from 1819 to 1821 as Judge Advocate General of the New York State Militia, under Governor DeWitt Clinton.

Albany Times - February 22, 1882



Presentation of War Trophies to the State--Eloquent Address by Capt. John Palmer, and Response by Adjt.-Gen. Townsend--Parades, Banquets, Etc.

The fine weather overhead this morning, compensated for the bad condition of the streets and gave token that our citizens were to enjoy a brilliant celebration. From the flag staff on the old capitol, as has been customary for the last seventy-three years floated the star spangled banner. The national colors also floated from the armory of the Washington Continentals, but the halyards and pulley-blocks on many of the flag staffs throughout the city were frozen, which will account for there not having been a more general display of bunting.

Between two and three o'clock this afternoon, Post 5 G. A. R., preceded by the Albany City band, proceeded from their quarters to the city building, where the veteran members of the Albany Republican Artillery were received and escorted to the assembly chamber of the old capitol, where was to take place the presentation of the drum used in the war of the revolution, the flag used in the war of 1812, and the portrait of Col. Mills. On arriving in the chamber, it was found that a large number of people had assembled. An appropriate air was played by the band, and the quartet under the leadership of Prof. St. John sang "Star Spangled Banner;" after which, the Rev. S. M. Williams offered a prayer. Mr. Elias P. Hale then introduced to the audience Capt. John Palmer, who made the presentation speech. 


Fellow citizens: We have assembled here to day to present to the state of New York two memorable trophies, long kept in sacred custody by the veteran "Republican Artillery" of this city. The one of these trophies carries our minds back to the time when not only the fate of Albany, but the future of our state and the destines of our young republic hung in the balance, to be decided largely by the valor and endurance of that little band which, at Fort Schuyler, formerly Fort Stanwix, now Rome, held at bay St. Leger with his English troops, Canadian recruits and Indian allies, and finally compelled them to raise the siege and retreat in wild disorder. The other brings us to the second war, where the infant republic again demonstrated its ability to resist the power of England's mighty arm. We are gathered to commit these trophies to the state in order that they may be deposited for safe-keeping with the relics which attest not only the courage of the Union, but demonstrate the ability of a free people to save themselves from internal dissensions as well as from external assaults. The first of these trophies is this drum, which bears the following inscription:
"Taken from the enemy on the 22d day of August, 1777, when the British Army under Gen. St. Leger raised the Siege of Fort Stanwix, which Fortress had been valiantly defended by the garrison, under the command of Colonel Peter Gansevoort, for twenty-one days. John Iggett, Capt.; John F. Strain, 1st Lieut.; Charles Seans, 2d Lieut."
Also the following;
"Presented by Peter Gansevoort of the City of Albany, counsellor at law, to the Albany Republican Artillery Co. on the 22d day of February 1832."
It will thus be seen that just fifty years ago, to-day, the honored Peter Gansevoort, who in his youth was a brave commander in war and who in his maturer years served the people faithfully in the discharge of a variety of public trusts, committed this highly prized trophy to the care of the "Albany Republican Artillery." In his speech on that occasion Gen. Gansevoort said:
"Its music was heard in those days of peril; it beat in unison with the war-whoop and yell of the merciless savage on the bloody field of Oriskany. It sounded the charge and animated the courage of the enemy at Fort Stanwix; but it also sounded his retreat, and was taken from the enemy in the hour of his flight. To you, the successors of those brave volunteers, Mills and Clark, who fell in battle while gallantly resisting the invasion of a foreign foe, I present this drum, with the hope that it has sounded its last retreat, and that when its beat shall call the Albany Republican Artillery company to arms in the service of their country, they will inscribe upon their banners the deeply-rooted sentiments of the soldier and statesman of the revolution, 'We prefer liberty to life, and death to dishonor.' "
We now in turn entrust this relic permanently to the care of the Empire state....

... Adjt. Gen. Townsend received the trophies, and made an appropriate reply.  


Capt. Palmer: Having the supervisory care of the bureau of military statistics, and of the trophies and relics of the rebellion contained therein, I am charged with the official duty of receiving from you, sir, as the organ of the donors, these sacred trophies and relics of the revolution and of the war of 1812. I am deeply sensible of the inadequacy of any words that I may utter in expressing the high appreciation entertained by the state of this generous act, which adds to her collection of the historic mementoes of the patriotism and gallantry of her sons, such stirring evidences of the bloody struggles of other and by-gone days. But I must be permitted nevertheless to thank you, sir, on its behalf and through you, that ancient and honorable company of the Albany Republican Artillery, for this gift, which, while it increases the debt of gratitude the state already owes this company, proclaims afresh in the present members the inherent patriotism of the old organization, and, to whose credit be it said, fitly proves that the memory of their old commander, the gallant Mills, is still green and abiding in their midst....

... All honor then to the memory of the brave and chivalrous Gansevoort, and to the heroic Mills, whose gallant deeds are revived today by the presence of these memorials, silent as the dead heroes they commemorate, yet ever eloquent to kindle anew the eternal fire of patriotism in every American heart. This drum, signalling above the din of battle that famous retreat of St. Leger and his beleaguering force, beat but the reveille that announced the dawn of brighter hopes in rhythmic with the echoes still floating on the air from the bell which, a year before, from Independence Hall, "proclaimed Liberty throughout the land." This blood-stained banner, at once the standard and the battle shroud of the gallant Mills; this painting, which perpetuates the lineaments of this citizen-soldier, who gave up his young life on the altar of his country; these all are, indeed, sacred and memorable relics, which I now appropriately deliver to you, Harrison Clark, a living attestation of the patriotism of later days, and charge you in your capacity as "keeper of the bureau," to see to it that it shall be no fault of yours should they fail to reach remoter generations.

The band then played another patriotic air, and the quartet sang "America," after which the assemblage dispersed. --Albany Times, February 22, 1882; found on

Today the "blood-stained banner" of the Albany Republican Artillery, one of the "sacred trophies and relics" committed to the care of the Empire State on George Washington's Birthday 1882, is preserved in the collections of the New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center.

Recently I wrote to the Military Museum in Saratoga Springs asking if they know the whereabouts of the British drum also gifted to the State of New York in 1882, along with the regimental color of the Albany Republican Artillery and a portrait of Colonel John Mills. At the public ceremony recounted in the Albany Times of February 22, 1882, Captain John Palmer gave it to Adjutant-General Frederick Townsend who turned it over to the Keeper of the Bureau of Military Statistics, Harrison Clark.

"Where is the brass drum?" Perhaps some record of it may be found with papers of Gettysburg hero Harrison Clark, or documents and holdings connected with the old Bureau of Military Statistics. 

Update - August 25, 2022

Christopher Morton, Assistant Curator with the New York State Military Museum & Veterans Research Center has kindly informed me that
"the brass drum is safe and sound in the collections of the NYS Military Museum located in Saratoga Springs. The drum is currently on display in the Military Museum’s Revolutionary War exhibition.

The brief description in your letter regarding the drum’s journey is accurate. The Albany Republican Artillery received the drum in 1832 and later donated or transferred it to the Military Museum in 1882. The Military Museum, known at various times as the Bureau of Military Statistics, Bureau of Military Record, etc. can trace its origins to 1863 and is now known as the NYS Military Museum." 
Wonderful news! I'm sincerely grateful for the information as well as the kind invitation to visit the Museum in Saratoga Springs and "see the drum firsthand." 

Related posts:

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Oration by Oran G. Otis on the centennial anniversary of George Washington's birthday

As pointed out in Melvilliana posts on the Centennial of Washington's Birthday and Peter Gansevoort's 1832 address to the Albany Republican Artillery company, New York State Assemblyman Oran G. Otis of Saratoga was selected to give the big speech for the celebration of George Washington's 100th birthday in Albany. Otis spoke at the North Dutch Church after a procession of state and local dignitaries led by Major General Stephen Van Rensselaer IV "who officiated as marshal of the day" (Albany Argus, February 28, 1832). According to newspaper reports the featured speaker had been physically unwell for some time, but Otis soldiered through his well-received performance. 

Albany Argus - February 28, 1832
via GenealogyBank

"In the church, after an impressive and appropriate prayer by the Rev. Mr. Ferris, an oration was pronounced by the Hon. O. G. OTIS, of the Assembly. Of this eloquent and classic effort, it is not too much to say that it was worthy of the occasion and of the subject, and of the high reputation of the orator; notwithstanding it was prepared and delivered under the effects of severe indisposition. The approbation of the numerous auditory,--for every part of the church was crowded,--was manifested by reiterated bursts of applause, which neither the place nor the occasion could restrain, and which broke out, at the termination, in three distinct rounds. The exercises were concluded by a benediction by the Rev. Dr. Sprague." 
-- "The Birth-Day Celebration," Albany Argus, February 28, 1832.

Later printed as No. 306 in Documents of the Assembly of the State of New York, 55th session, Volume 4 (Albany, 1832), the oration by Oran G. Otis is transcribed in full below. 



We have come together, not to mourn the death of an illustrious individual, but to rejoice, in the opportunity of his birth, the felicity of his life, and the immortality of his fame. His dust has gone to dust, by the common law of our being, but the nobler portion still remains, uninjured by the accidents of mortality, and unimpaired by the lesions of time. The truth of his principles, the power of his name, and the splendor of his career, are still in full life and action, elevating and improving, not only, our condition, but the condition of the world — illustrating not only the dignity of his own character, but that of his species.

The event we celebrate, has had and will have its influence on the general destiny, and not only shall we rejoice, but nations yet unborn, shall bless the hour that gave him to mankind. Strong and fervid as are the feelings of gratitude and admiration which now swell our bosoms in the contemplation of the virtues, the genius, and the achievements of him whom we have met to honor, they are not exclusively ours — millions in other climes not blessed like this, are offering up their love, their homage and their hopes, to the final results of that course, of which he was the great pioneer. And the time will yet come, when all the nations of the earth, in the undisturbed enjoyment of their natural rights, shall hail him as a brother, and bless him as a father.

He was born for the world — not for us merely, but for the family of mankind. The action of his life was laid amidst the scenes of this new discovered land, this remote covert of the world; but the denouements of his career, were to affect the oldest dynasties of the earth, and annihilate their most ancient prescriptions. His efforts were confined to three millions of people — scarcely a fraction of the human race, but the consequences of these efforts were to be acknowledged, in the final emancipation of the world. The fervor of the love for liberty which he excited and controlled, was, like the small lump of leaven, eventually, to pervade the whole mass. Like the sun in the sky, though fixed in its sphere, its effulgence is unstinted, is shed over all, and kindles to life wherever a ray of it rests.

The occurrence of his birth, was appointed to take place, during the embryon of those events, which were to change the face of society and reorganize the world. The political condition of the nations, was well nigh, as peculiar and full of omen at the time of his entrance into life, as their moral, at the advent of Him who was at once the model and the Saviour of the human race. For nearly six thousand years, had the old world in vain essayed the discovery of the true principles of the social compact,
 Though like the mysteries of the true religion, they were seen in dim and distant prospect by a favored few; their full revelation was delayed, until the discovery and settlement of this new portion of the world.
In the dreamy abstractions of philosophy, the possible existence of a free community, had been fancied — where good laws might be made by the wisdom of the whole, and enforced by the general consent, — where the only distinctions were those of merit, and the only rewards those of the public esteem, — where the over reaching few might be held in check by the force of law and opinion, and individual freedom be restrained only by the limits of the moral code. But the vision was apparently too beautiful for truth, though too noble for fiction — too remote for experiment, though full of desire. The monitions of the past took away hope from the future, and left only the evils of oppression as a solid expectation to mankind.

Even the advancement of society had not explained the principles or developed the means of liberty. In countries famed for their policy, their prowess and their power, the slavery of ages remained in its strength untouched by the improvements gathering around it. And the towers of despotism rose on their deep and dark foundations among the people, frowning from summits encircled by the blaze of science and the glory of the arts. The natural advantages of the people over their enemies, were made to operate against themselves, and the very power which could have crushed their oppressors was used to enforce their own degradation. The order of nature seemed reversed — the weak ruled the strong — the few overcame the many, and the true possessors of sovereign power truckled to the bauble ensigns of authority, and yielded up their energies, a timid oblation, to the knaves and fools, who luxurated upon their credulity.

The destiny of the world seemed fixed, beyond the hope of better change. So firmly established was the doctrine of passive obedience, and so unquestionably divine the authority to enslave, that saving here and there an intestine commotion, an occasional shaking of their chains, the nations of the earth lay still in their apathy, and tamely submitted to the lash of their oppressors.

It is true, that in a few instances, the general tenor of the history of mankind was broken in upon. High and noble efforts had been made to assert the dignity of our common nature, and shew that man was not necessarily a slave. Greece and Rome successively undertook the experiment, and sought to falsify the experience of all previous time, by exhibiting in their own example, the evidence of their capacity, to govern themselves. For a time the splendor of their course seemed likely to illustrate the destiny of our race. But time eventually proved the fallacy of the means they used for success. The glory of their career was extinguished in their own essential grossness, and the tyrannies which after wards arose, scorned the folly of their attempts, and laughed at the fanaticism which could believe in their practicability. Their light, like that of the borealis, adorned the night, but did not overcome it. Their institutions did not define the difference between liberty and licentiousness, and left alike unguarded, the ambition of their popular chiefs and the aberrations of the popular will. Excess of liberty, vibrated to the extremes of anarchy, and constraint ended in tyranny.

They had not devised a system, where all were the guarantors of the rights of each and each, the guardian of the rights of all — where the interests of the many were protected against the encroachments of the few, and where the welfare of the state was consulted in the happiness of the citizen.

From these ancient times, down to the discovery of this continent, the evidence of whose existence, like that of Atlantis, was only in fable, the history of the world is but one record of its oppressions. One common thrall spread over the nations, and the gilded oppressor, every where sat on the neck of the slave. 

Passing by the other governments of the old world, we find even that England, who on this point was in advance of her species, had not been able to secure the prize. She had warred with her nobles, dethroned her kings, and bathed her soil in the blood of her children — but in vain. She only triumphed over some of the rougher and more prominent obstacles to her freedom, which the dark crudities of a former age had entailed upon her, leaving an overbearing aristocracy, hereditary offices, a union of church and state, intolerance of religious opinion, and the smothered voice of a disfranchised people, to degrade and curse her institutions.

Such had been the history of mankind, and such its unhappiness, when WASHINGTON was born. But a new era was beginning to dawn 
 a new order of events was coming upon the world — a new dispensation among the polities of the earth. Never before, had that peculiar conjuncture of affairs existed, to which his birth and life  his genius and his principles — would have been so opportune and so peculiarly conformed. The existence of this continent had then only been known for 240 years. In the Providence of ages, it had been preserved until then, a virgin spot  an unpolluted land — the Bethlehem of the world  free from the arts and the arms, the usages and customs — the trammels and the crimes, by which the old world was enslaved.

Only one hundred and twenty-five years before his birth, was this consecrated spot permitted to the tread of the pioneers of the coming liberties of the world. A glorious band of brothers, of whom all the institutions of the earth were unworthy, seizing their little all, shook the dust from off their feet against persecuting England, and with their wives and children in their arms and their hopes in Heaven, launched their frail bark upon the waves of an uncertain sea. It was a crisis in the destiny of nations. Like the ark of Noah, it bore in its bosom, the elite of the old world and the noble founders of the new. And as their ill-appointed vessel tossed on the wave, and trembled to the gale, how would the hearts of unconscious millions have throbbed, in agony, had they but known that it bore in its bosom the priceless pearl of freedom. For a time, the hope of the world hung trembling on the billow and wavered in the blast. But the steady eye and unblenched heart were there, and favoring Heaven. These dangers were happily overpast, and the foot of the white man — the child of civilization 
 touched for the first time, these wild, but consecrated shores.  
The die was cast  a new order of things began, and the future history of the world was changed.

They had abandoned all to escape oppression — had sacrificed all for the attainment of freedom. But neither was their purpose nor their judgment mistaken. In their new situation, notwithstanding the hardships of an unknown climate 
 the dangers of a wilderness of savages — the poor extremity of their means, and the want of political organization, they found their condition was improved. They found that their interest and happiness were united, that equal rights were not inconsistent with equal duties, and that the general will secured the general weal. They ascertained the truth and practicability of free principles, by their own experience, and therefore neither doubts of the future, nor precedents of the past, could overcome their convictions. No excess of wealth corrupted their principles  no luxury enfeebled their judgment or enervated their will — no want of the necessaries of life impaired their physical energies, and no successful tyranny made them obsequious to power.

Such were the people and such the morale of their condition, among whom and of whom WASHINGTON was born. He was the master spirit of this condition of society: the embodied representative of the temper and principles of this new organization; and the first true exemplar of the system which secures the freedom of mankind. In no other state of society could he have been produced or sustained. He was alike the consequence of liberty enjoyed and the cause of liberty to come, and the existence of both was concerned in his. 

It is only one hundred years ago this day, since the occurrence we celebrate was numbered in the calendar of human events. Then we were a colony, a poor, unknown people, scarcely noted in the concerns of nations. The achievements of a century had not then shed their light upon the American name; nor the success of our institutions excited the fear of tyrants, nor won the admiration of mankind. How deeply sensible ought we to be of the wisdom of those designs, the merit of those actions, which have poured such a lustre upon the recent obscurity of our fame. And to whom, under Providence, but Washington and his immortal compeers, are we indebted for those ripe and honorable distinctions, which separate us from the herd of nations. They won the battles that secured our independence; they gave form and impress to all our institutions, and set thereon the seal of immortality. If even now, in the infancy of our existence, these United States were torn from all their strong foundations, and blotted from the earth, the light of their example would shine through all succeeding ages, with a glory above all Greek, all Roman, above all human fame.

In WASHINGTON seemed combined all the elements to constitute a man in the highest meaning of the term. His form was of the finest specimens of manly beauty, and his carriage full of grace and dignity. His constitution, both physical and mental, of the happiest mould. In power of mind he stood at the head of the human intellect. His perception of truth, in the vast and various concerns with which his life was charged, seemed to indicate the intuition of a superior being; the unrivalled accuracy of his judgment was demonstrated in the extraordinary success of his wide and eventful range of action. His brightness was not indeed the glare of the meteor, but the steady light of the sun: it was not the brilliancy of a single act, but the finished series of his life: the combined results of all his action. The uniformity of his character marks the prevalence and constancy and purity of his motives; the high objects he pursued and attained, the morality of the means he used, clearly shew, that right and truth alone, were influential upon him. He knew the power of truth, and felt the strength that came from being right. His was not the cunning that invents and forges means of its own, because it is unable to discover any other mode of success; but the wisdom that, perceiving the true relation of things, avails itself of existing causes, with a certainty of their consequences. Hence the firmness of his resolution and the courage of his temper. Hence he shrunk not in the field of battle or the moral conflict; and conscious of the right, never trembled for the issue. Unlike the desperate few, who have achieved a bad eminence by indiscriminate means, he sought no results which virtue did not sanction; used no appliances which honesty did not advise. His character is unique, and stands alone on an eminence, unapproached — I had almost said inaccessible. Its union of goodness and greatness, of moral beauty and intellectual strength, adorned by services of inappreciable value to the human race, furnishes an instance of the sublime in morals, such as no human example has presented. It has changed the general idea of greatness, and shewn that the most enviable talent must find assistance in the aids of virtue.

He was fortunate beyond all the past, in the position which he held in the affairs of the world. The presiding genius at the birth of the first free nation — the daring leader of the first successful struggle for the principles of freedom  the idol of a young nation, yet to increase as the sands of the sea-shore — the grand agitator of the change, yet to come over all the governments of the earth, his fame will increase with ages and the multiplication of his race. He stood at the head of a new country  at the beginning of a new civil polity  at the source and fountain of that stream of liberty which was yet to overflow the earth, and like the deluge of old, to swallow up every vestige of the wrongs which had passed. In the whole range of time, in the wide variety of human affairs, there has been no era so felicitous for his existence as that in which he was born and lived; at no other point, could equal virtue have met with equal success — no other career could have secured the like train and splendor of consequences.

In his life, fortunate and happy above all other example 
 with out a spot or blemish to mar his private fame, he was covered with glory in his public career; through all the round of action — through all the change and casualty of life, he stood a model and exemplar to the human race. In the purity of his motives, in the nobleness of his designs, and in the extent and success of his course, he stands without a rival or an equal — ornatus Dei.

But he was not alone, in the great contest which he waged for the welfare of mankind. In the dark hour of our cause, a band of brothers gathered round him 
 such as the world had never seen, and may never see again. The pressure of the time reached every heart, and strengthened every hand. True to the call of WASHINGTON, and the high exigency of the times, obscure and unknown patriots, touched by the spirit of their cause, were roused and rallied to his aid. Of all the remnants of that heroic band that I have ever seen, there were none but had something peculiar in their character, shewing they had studied in the school and triumphed in the field with WASHINGTON. The very fact, that they were reached and acted on by the reasons of such a controversy, proves their nobility. I have always thought the character of the Revolutionary soldier one of unparalleled beauty. He fought not for fame, for he was too humble to expect it; he fought not for money, for he could have supported himself; nor from native turbulence of spirit, for he was a peaceable man at home; nor from envy of superior rank, for he knew little of it and cared less about it. But with a distinct apprehension of the value of personal liberty — with a disbelief in the rights of hereditary power, and a strong opinion that superior merit should alone confer authority, he repelled from principle, the invasion of his just rights; he despised from feeling, the extravagant pretensions which England would enforce; and from unalloyed love of freedom, fought for himself, his country, and the common rights of man. The page of history will record no character so disinterested, so devoted, so firm and so mild, so enthusiastic and yet so rational, so sublime and yet so mere a display of the real dignity of human nature. 

Of these, Washington was the glorious and unenvied chief and patron. Their love of him was as that of children to a father; amidst the hardships of the camp, the dangers of battle , the alter nations of victory and defeat, and all the vicissitude of a military life, they reposed with most confiding faith in his skill and courage, his power and fortune. The little frailties of their conduct found shelter in the mildness of his virtues; but the outbreakings of vice, their exposure and repression in the firmness of his principles.

Such was his knowledge of the human heart, and his acquaintance with men, that he rarely found himself in error in his choice of agents. He was enabled thus, not only to exert his own energies with success, but to secure the full amount of results from the ability that surrounded him. The leader and the led were touched by a common impulse, and moved on to the accomplishment of a common end. Thus it was in that appalling fight with a veteran nation, boasting of her strength and triumphing in her victories, that we were enabled to withstand the onset which was directed for our destruction.

Without having been bred to the science of war, he assumed the command of our armies, and for seven long years, with every disparity of means, baffled the skill and paralyzed the genius of the most celebrated soldiers. Without experience, he fought like a veteran; nearly without means, he still found resources; and sometimes, almost without an army, he held the enemy at bay by the vigor of his enterprizes. This struggle for the mastery was long held in doubt, but the star of his fortune at length prevailed against the ostent of the times. He conquered, not for fame, b
ut for freedom; not for ambition, but for his country. How well and how greatly, let the present condition of the happy vallies and sunny mountains of freedom make answer.

But not even yet had be filled the full measure of his fame. In the pride of victory, in the flush of success, with a devoted soldiery, accustomed to execute his wishes, instead of stooping to the mean ambition of a tyrant, in ruining his country, to elevate himself, he plucked the warrior's plume from his brow, and cast it with his sword at the feet of his country. Oh ! how mean and little are the names of Alexander, of Cæsar, of Napoleon, when seen in the light of such a deed as this! Instead of being an effort of his virtue, it was its natural result. Instead of being produced by ambition, it sprung from his ordinary sense of duty. What, to the most gifted, had proved an impracticable virtue, was to him, of facile performance. In no act was he governed by the narrowness of private interest. One general feeling of philanthropy seemed to inspire him, and he continually sought the welfare of his country, with a zeal and assiduity he never exhibited for his own. It is true, he could not have enslaved his country, had he cherished the design. The heroic band he led, would sooner have perished than yielded their assent. But in him, they saw the great example of patriot love; from him they caught the spirit which knew no submission, and held all enemies alike who would injure their country.

He retired to private life, unambitious of further distinction, and well pleased to escape the din and turmoil of his former days. In the seclusion of his retreat he cultivated the quiet arts of peace, without a regret for the past or a sigh for the future. But fame found him here. The privacy of his condition did not obscure its glory, and again his country called him to her aid. The freedom we had won by valor must be preserved by wisdom. Though national independence was secured by the revolution, our political organization was imperfect. We had the materials of freedom, but not its system — the power of self-government, without being well aware of the best means of using it. We had achieved the privilege of self-government, but history furnished no precedent to aid in its exercise. And we stood a people, free indeed, but wanting the ascertained means of self-preservation. The sages and soldiers of the revolution, with the illustrious WASHINGTON at their head, again came forward to meet the high exigency; they were 
successful. In a council combining more experience, more patriotism and more intellectual power than the history of ages could shew, they devised a system of government, unique in its character and original in its design, which has answered the high behests of freedom, and stands a beacon light to all the nations of the earth. A numerous people now repose in peace and happiness beneath its power, encouraging by precept and example the diffusion of the benign principles of liberty.

WASHINGTON, without his own desire, was placed at the head of the new organization, by the voluntary suffrage of the people, and again became charged with the political destiny of his country. His life had been spent in the field, and his achievements were those of a soldier. But such was the nature of the Revolutionary contest, that the most eminent political merit, could alone have given efficiency to the most consummate military skill. — It was a war of opinion 
 its prosecution and success depended, not upon the coercion of an organized and arbitrary government, but on the voluntary judgment of the people. It was a high school for the civilian as well as the soldier  and admirably was WASHINGTON prepared by it, as well for the duties of the cabinet as the exigencies of the field. He assumed the responsibilities of his new and unprecedented station, and placed himself by the vigor and wisdom of his policy, upon the most enviable heights of political renown. If his success as a military chieftain had won the admiration of the world, his wisdom as a statesman secured its highest applause. Having given an impulse and direction to the untried institutions of his country, which will influence their destiny through all coming time, he voluntarily left the lofty station he had filled, and closed his career amidst the peace and happiness of that country he had assisted to elevate and redeem. The fabric of his character was then completed — then was the model, designed by Heaven for the imitation of mankind, brought to its final perfection. Then was the complete idea of freedom exemplified and explained. The mission for which he was sent, was accomplished — and the wide earth may now rejoice in the eventual fulfilment of those purposes of liberty to which his life was consecrated. 
Boston Liberator - May 12, 1832 - page 76