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strange power in their hands; and they | for a glance at their union, with reference were thereupon authorized to call a con- to the period of its formation. vention, "if there should appear to them an absolute necessity of amending any article of the constitution, explaining such as might be thought not clearly expressed, or adding such as were necessary for the preservation of the rights and happiness of the people." The language of the Georgia constitution was to the purpose that no change should be made therein, "without petitions from a majority of the coun ties, the petition from each county to be signed by a majority of the voters." When all this should be done, a convention might be called.
Let these three cases go for what they are worth; and now for three more in a different style.
The constitution of Delaware, after declaring that certain specified parts of it ought never to be violated," (meaning altered,) "on any pretense whatever, added as follows: "No other part of this constitution shall be altered, changed, or diminished, without the consent of five parts in seven of the Assembly, and seven members of the Legislative Council." In Maryland, it was decreed that there should be no change of the constitution, "unless a bill" for the 66 purpose should pass the General Assembly, and be published at least three months before a new election, and should be confirmed by the General Assembly after a new election of delegates, in the first session after such new election." In South Carolina, it was resolved " that no part of the constitution should be altered without a notice of ninety days being previously given; nor should any part of it be changed without the consent of a majority of the members of the Senate and House of Representatives."
Let these also go for what they are worth.
At that period, the Mississippi was our western boundary; the British provinces lay adjacent to us on the north, the A lantic on the east, and we fell far short of the Gulf of Mexico on the south. So that as to territorial extent, the relation of a single State to the Union was according to the ratio of its own area to the contents of this outline. And I hold it demonstrable that, in fair construction, such relation was to be permanent. There was no power vested anywhere to alter it—an all-important truth, if truth it be; and I shall not forget to speak of it hereafter, when I have more room and time.
There were other relations springing out of that. Relative consequence was one. The States could not be enlarged. If then, the Union might be, and this at the pleasure of its government, what was to protect the individual States from sinking, by and by, to comparative insignificance, while federal power would be growing to excess at their cost?
On the other hand, this power was in some respects dependent on State action. The personal organization of the federal system was placed completely at the mercy of the States in the matter of electorships. Had it been foreseen that the conservative views and measures of the early patriots, in this respect, were soon to be abandoned, and universal suffrage introduced, it is not unlikely that precau tions might have been taken to preserve that system in some measure from the consequences. But as things now stand, the State electorships determine every thing. The head and members are in one boat, and the members have the helm,
In regard to patronage, the Union government was formed upon nearly one model with the primary States. The chief executive and lower house of Congress were to be elected by the people, and the Senate by the State legislatures. Most other officers were to be appointed by the President and Senate. So that the influence growing out of the patronage of appointments was fairly distributed between the federal and State govern
The eight remaining States have left us no record of what they thought upon the subject. I infer that, in their opinion, the less there was said about it the better. Such was doubtless the general tone of the public mind. There had been enough of revolution to make rest desirable; enough of confusion and trouble to endearments, each taking share according to the the prospect of repose.
Such were the States at first. And now
extent and character of its dominion.
affects the general standing and reputation | of the bench, affects also, incidentally, the consideration in which the State itself is held. And in this respect, again, the uniformity of the federal and State constitutions brought the national and local governments into circumstances of sympathy and common advantage.
In short, except the question of the right of the head government to aggrandize itself by territorial acquisitions from
abroad, I do not see that there was anything in its structure calculated to work injuriously or unharmoniously upon the welfare of the States, as such. And although that question has had practice to give it countenance, I hope to show that it has countenance from nothing in the Constitution, so that the harmony of the federal and State systems was at first complete.
The weary sun his parting ray hath shed.
The field-flowers shut their soft, submissive leaves;
Where night and tears and heaviness have been,
THE custom of announcing a book long before its appearance, is better for the publisher than for the author. It forwards the sale of a popular writer's book, but is often detrimental to its success, since when disappointment ensues, it is apt to be in near proportion to the overexcited anticipation.
Of Mr. Longfellow's former prose works, "Outre Mer" was the most extensively circulated and read. The Romance of "Hyperion," if not a failure, at least sufficiently testified that in such attempts he is less felicitous than in his vocation of poet. The appearance of "Kavanagh," nevertheless, was anticipated with pleasure.
Although its construction is meagre, the narrative has a pleasant easy motion, and carries one along like a low hung vehicle, without fatigue, as without the exhilaration of more active exercise. We pursue our journey through an agreeable country, with attractive scenery round about, but feel no eagerness to arrive at its conclusion, and would not unwillingly rest at any point by the way, for variety's sake.
The story has no plot, and little action or arrangement, but its character is marked by elevation of sentiment, and the author has a fine artist-like method of placing graphically before us whatever object or group he may have in hand. The style exhibits all his accustomed elegance; the diction is tasteful and appropriate. There is scarcely a page that is not redeemed from insipidity by some description grotesque or poetical-some suggestive thought, or truthful exemplification of character and life; but scarely an instance occurs of deeply moving expression, and but one incident of a stirring and passion
There are few touches of the dramatic, and the stream of narration runs ever
smoothly and monotonously. The whole is strongly imitative. Richter, Dickens, and Lamartine are, by turns, brought to our remembrance; the former being evidently the master, and Quintus Fixlein the favorite model.
Like Richter, our author would express beauty and sublimity, poetry and morality, from the common elements of life; but turning up the soil he presents its loose aspect without reaching the deeper object of his need. He cannot, with a falcon swoop, having perceived the gem from afar, lift it from the surrounding rubbish, but with considerable bustle scratches about him, sometimes mistaking broken glass for diamonds.
Nor does he, like Richter, present in immediate strong contrast the grotesque with the pathetic. The pathetic, on the contrary, is rarely approached and never reached. Instead of feeling, as in reading Richter, that the fountain of tears and that of laughter are near each other, we lose the sense of both in a sort of wonder at the odd, inconsistent way in which the humorous and the sentimental are occasionally mixed up; and are forcibly reminded that only by the master's hand can the golden key that "unlocks the gates of joy," be made to open also "the fount of sympathetic tears.
The imitation of the great German novelist is in manner rather than in spirit. It is the resemblance we acquire from those with whom we intimately associate; not that of family relationship.
The natural and common-place incidents of the story, have a cold, damp atmosphere about them, instead of that golden sunlight which Richter would have poured over them, and there is little indication of that penetrating genius which saw and condensed into one comprehensive sentence the whole perfect theory of novel writing.
* Kavanagh: A Tale. By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Boston: Ticknor, Reed & Fields.
"As it is but a few clear Lady-days, warm May-day nights, at the most a few odorous Rose weeks which I am digging from this Fixleinic life, embedded in the dross of week-day cares; and as if they were so many veins of silver, am separating, stamping, smelting, and burnishing for the reader, I must now travel on with the stream," &c.-RICHTER.
The following reminds us of Dickens :
"On the following morning, very early, as the school-master stood at his door, inhaling the bright, wholesome air, and beholding the shadows of the rising sun, and the flashing dew-drops on the red vine-leaves, he heard the sound of wheels, and saw Mr. Pendexter and his wife drive down the village street in their old-fashioned chaise, known by all the boys in town as the ark.' The old white horse, that for so many years had stamped at funerals, and gnawed the tops of so many posts, and imagined he killed so many flies because he wagged the stump of a tail, and, finally, had been the cause of so much discord in the parish,
seemed now to make common cause with his master, and stepped as if endeavoring to shake the dust from his feet as he passed out of the ungrateful village. Under the axle-tree hung suspended a leather trunk; and in the chaise, between the two occupants, was a large bandbox, which forced Mr. Pendexter to let his legs hang out of the vehicle, and gave him the air of imitating the scriptural behavior of his horse. Gravely and from a distance he saluted the school-master, who saluted him in return, with a tear in his eye, that no man saw, but which, nevertheless, was not unseen."
But how mawkishly sentimental is that which follows, connected as it evidently is, for the purpose of introducing along with it the emblem of the serpent, so perfectly Richterean :
"Farewell, poor old man!' said the schoolmaster within himself, as he shut out the cold autumnal air, and entered his comfortable study. We are not worthy of thee, or we should have had thee with us forever. Go back again to the place of thy childhood, the scene of thine early labors and thine early love; let thy days end where they began, and like the emblem of eternity, let the serpent of life coil itself round and take its tail into its mouth, and be still from all its hissings for evermore! I would not call thee back; for it is better thou shouldst be where thou art, than amid the angry contentions of this little
Mr. Longfellow's sentiment is usually delicate and rich with thought, but he gives us always sentiment, and seems afraid to attempt the pathetic, as if distrustful (probably with good reason) of his ability to reach the profounder depths of feeling.
Where Dickens would either plunge in at once, or, just as we are expecting him to do so, start off into some ridiculous attitude, playing antics at the very verge, Mr. Longfellow coolly takes an easier position, and produces a picture in which he uses a good deal of prussian blue, and very little carmine, and exhibits a general preference to cool, transparent, rather than to warm body colors.
"Kavanagh" is pleasant summer reading, but of a winter night one would ask a little more of the glow and fire of genius. It is a sort of prose pastoral, and it is therein perhaps excusable, that, particularly in describing scenery, our author's prose runs occasionally into harmonies so like his verse, that in certain instances the rhyming termination alone is wanting to complete the resemblance. one short sentence we find the following: "The singing of the great wood fires;" "The blowing of the winds ;" "The splendor of the spotless snow;" "The sea-suggesting pines."
The following has all the harmony as well as the delicate imagination of the poet :
"The brown Autumn came. It brought the wild duck back to the reedy marshes of the South; it brought the wild song back to the fervid brain of the poet. Without, the village with the reflection of the leaves. Within the street was paved with gold; the river ran red faces of friends brightened the gloomy walls; the returning footsteps of the long absent, gladdened the threshold; and all the sweet amenities of life again resumed their interrupted reign."
Kavanagh has singleness of design, and as a whole, possesses a marked, though not a very elevated character. Its purpose is to represent a country village of the present day; a petty world within itself, affording in its diversity of character and incident all the contrasts, the vicissitudes, the passions, and the variety of good and evil that chequer life in wider theatres of action.
In the scenery, the subordinate personages, and minor incidents, our author has been eminently successful, but less so, though not wholly otherwise, in the attempt to show how, in the same situation, and under the same outward influences, a man of cultivated tastes and literary habits may, by submerging the practical in the ideal, lose all hold upon what is tangible, and fritter away life in dreams, or, on the contrary, by converting the ideal to the uses of reality, develope the true purpose of his existence and keep a life-hold upon its action.
It is time we should give the reader an outline of the story. Though Kavanagh is the ostensible hero, Churchill, the village school-master, is really the predominant character. We might not improperly consider them as twin heroes-not in the ancient signification truly, but by the complaisance of novel technicality. They possess little individuality, and reversed circumstances might have fitted either to sit for the portrait of the other. They are both sentimental, both pedantic; and we never lose sight of them. Like Castor and Pollux, when one is not endeavoring to shine, the other is always sure to display his light.
Kavanagh is a young man educated in the Roman Catholic faith. His early life, passed near the sea-coast of Maine, is thus described:
"In these solitudes, in this faith, was Kavanagh born, and grew to childhood a feeble, delicate boy, watched over by a grave and taciturn father, and a mother who looked upon him with infinite tenderness, as upon a treasure she should not long retain. She walked with him by the sea-side, and spake to him of God, and the mysterious majesty of the ocean, with its tides and tempests. She sat with him on the carpet of golden threads beneath the aromatic pines, and, as a perpetual melancholy sound ran along the rattling boughs, his soul seemed to rise and fall, with a motion and a whisper like those in the branches over him. She taught him his letters from the Lives of the Saints a volume full of wondrous legends, and illustrated with engravings from pictures by the old masters, which opened to him at once the world of spirits and the world of art; and both were beautiful. She explained to him the pictures; she read to him the legends--the lives of holy men and women, full of faith and good works -things which ever afterwards remained associated together in his mind. Thus holiness
of life, and self-renunciation, and devotion to duty, were early impressed upon his soul. To his quick imagination, the spiritual world became real; the holy company of the saints stood round about the solitary boy; his guardian angels led him by the hand by day, and sat by his pillow at night. At times, even, he wished to die, that he might see them and talk with them, and return no more to his weak and weary body."
He is sent to the Jesuit college in Canada, where he is distinguished, and whence he finally returns to receive the dying blessing of his mother. The study of ecclesiastical history awakens in him a passionate desire for truth and freedom; and "by slow degrees " he becomes a Protestant. These details, especially in the intercourse with his mother, and the developement of his character under the influence of her affection, reminds us of "Les Confidences;" but our author is wholly free from the vain, self-glorifying air, which in Lamartine continually checks the flow of our sympathies.
Kavanagh is settled over the church of Fairmeadow, which has recently dismissed its aged pastor, on the usual pretenses for this fashionable kind of divorce, one of which, neither the greatest nor the least in importance, was, that the reverend gentleman insisted upon pasturing his horse in the parish fields. The new clergyman is faithful to his calling, and enters with alacrity upon his clerical duties.
"He worked assiduously at his sermons. He preached the doctrines of Christ. He preached holiness, self-denial, love. He did not so much denounce vice, as inculcate virtue; he did not deny, but affirm; he did not lacerate the hearts of his hearers with doubt and disbelief, but consoled, and comforted, and healed them with faith.
"The only danger was that he might advance too far, and leave his congregation behind him; as a piping shepherd, who, charmed with his own music, walks over the flowery mead, not perceiving that his tardy flock is lingering far behind, more intent upon cropping the thymy food around them, than upon listening to the celestial harmonies that are gradually dying away in the distance."
"In affairs ecclesiastical he had not suggested many changes. One that he had much at heart was, that the partition wall between parish and church should be quietly taken down, so that all should sit together at the