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believed, indeed proclaimed in high quarters, tilat the question of Asiatic dependencies for the United States and incidentally of its foreign policy generally, practically hinges upon judgments of the national Supreme Court in cases requiring the exercise of its function as the final interpreter of the Constitution? What judicial tribunal in Christendom is or has ever been, directly or indirectly, the arbiter of issues of that character?
It was a national judiciary of this sort of which John Marshall became the head one hundred years ago. That he dominated his court on all constitutional questions is indubitable. That he exercised his mastery with marvelous sagacity and tact, that he manifested a profound comprehension of the principles of our constitutional government and declared them in terms unrivaled for their combination of simplicity and exactness, that he justified his judgments by reasoning impregnable in point of logic and irresistible in point of persuasiveness—has not all this been universally conceded for the two generations since his death and will it not be found to have been universally voiced to-day wherever throughout the land this centenary has been observed? “All wrong,” said John Randolph of one of Marshall's opinions—“All wrong—but no man in the United States can tell why or wherein he is wrong."
If we consider the work to which he was devoted, it must be admitted to have been of as high a nature as any to which human faculties can be addressed. If we consider the manner in which the work was done, it must be admitted that anything better in the way of execution it is difficult to conceive. And if we consider both the greatness of the work and the excellence of its performance relatively to any opportunities of Marshall to duly equip himself for it, he must be admitted to be one of the exceptional characters of history seemingly foreordained to some grand achievement because fitted and adapted to it practically by natural genius alone.
If it be true—as it is, beyond cavil—that to Washington more than to any other man is due the birth of the American nation, it is equally true beyond cavil that to Marshall more than to any other man is it due that the nation has come safely through the trying ordeals of
infantile weakness and youthful effervescence, and has triumphantly emerged into well-developed and lusty manhood. Had the Constitution at the outset been committed to other hands, it could have been, and probably would have been, construed in the direction of minimizing its scope and efficiency-of dwarfing and frittering away the powers conferred by it and of making the sovereignty of the nation but a petty thing as compared with the sovereignty of the state. Under Marshall's auspices, however, and his interpretation and exposition of the Constitution, the sentiment of nationality germinated and grew apace, a vigorous national life developed, and an indestructible union of indestructible States became a tangible and inspiring entity, appealing alike to the affections and the reason of men, and in which thus far at least they have seen both the ark of their safety and an ideal for which to willingly lay down their lives. I refer thus to the past because the past is assured and because there are those who look to the future with apprehension—who do not disguise their fear that the republic of Washington and Marshall is now suffering a mortal assault not from without but from within—not from “foreign levy,” but from “malice domestic.” Those who take this view include men of both the great political parties and men who deservedly command the highest respect and deference from their fellow countrymen.
Nevertheless, they must not be allowed to lessen our faith in the final triumph of the fundamental ideas which underlie our national life. The fathers did not build upon a quicksand but upon a rock-else the structure they reared could hardly have survived foreign aggression, a disputed succession, and a civil war the greatest and most sanguinary of modern times. But their work was by human hands for human use, and even their wisdom could not guard it against the follies and the sins of all future custodians.
That gross blunders have been committed, blunders unaccountable in their origin and as yet unfathomable in their consequences, may be admitted, is indeed sorrowfully admitted by many, if not a majority, of those who have nevertheless since contributed to keep their official authors in power.
But blunders, however inexcusable or
apparently injurious, must be deemed irretrievable only in the last resort, and heaven forbid any admission that the American republic can be wrecked by any one or even two administrations. The truth here, as almost always, lies between extremes—between ultra-conservatives and pessimists on the one hand and ultra-progressives and optimists on the other. The former would put back the hands of the clock a hundred years—would have us live and act as if the conditions of the Washington and Marshall era were still about us—in effect would have us tear up the railroad and sink the steamship and return the lightning to the heavens whence Franklin brought it down. The latter would have us believe that, to act well our part on the world-wide stage which alone limits the activities of modern civilized states, we must ape the fashionable international follies and vices of the period even to the point of warring upon, subjugating, and exploiting for trade purposes 8,000,000 of alien peoples in the Pacific seas, 7,000 miles from our own shores. Between these extremes lies the path of honor, of morality, of safety and of patriotism, and, notwithstanding present aberrations, the American people may be absolutely trusted sooner or later to find it and to walk in it. They will certainly not forget that this is the dawn of the Twentieth, not of the Nineteenth century. They will just as certainly determine that to be in touch with the best thought and temper of the time, to be the most truly progressive of all peoples, to do every duty and fulfil every function required by its high place in the world—they will certainly determine that to do and to be all this-neither means that the American nation must imitate the most questionable practices of other states nor requires any abandonment of American principles or American ideals. To believe or to hold otherwise is to despair of the Republic, and to despair of the Republic is to lose faith in humanity and in the future of the race.
The incalculable debt of the country to the two great Virginians, impossible of repayment, can never be too often or too emphatically recognized by the entire body of the American people. Upon the bar, however, devolves an especial duty, namely, to see to it that the merits of its incomparable chief are not obscured by the showier
deeds of warriors and statesmen. The observance of this day, therefore, by the lawyers of the country generally is eminently appropriate, while we in this corner of the land are exceptionally favored in that Virginia has lent us for our celebration one of the foremost of her lawyers and citizens [Henry St. George Tucker). In recognition of the honor of his presence and in appreciation of the immense services of his native State to the cause of a stable and coherent nationality, I propose that the company rise and drink to the ever-increasing prosperity of the Commonwealth of Virginia and to the good health and long life of her distinguished representative on this occasion.
[Address of Walter Pater, critic of art and literature (born in London, 1839; died in Oxíord, July 30, 1894), delivered at Oxford, August 2, 1892, before the University Extension students.]
By his immense productiveness, by the even perfection of what he produced, its fitness to its own day, its hold on posterity, in the suavity of his life, some would add in the
opportunity” of his early death, Raphael may seem a signal instance of the luckiness, of the good fortune, of genius. Yet, if we follow the actual growth of his powers, within their proper framework, the age of the Renaissance ---an age of which we may say, summarily, that it enjoyed itself, and found perhaps its chief enjoyment in the attitude of the scholar, in the enthusiastic acquisition of knowledge for its own sake :—if we thus view Raphael and his works in their environment we shall find even his seemingly mechanical good fortune hardly distinguishable from his own patient disposal of the means at hand. Facile master as he may seem, as indeed he is, he is also one of the world's typical scholars, with Plato, and Cicero, and Virgil, and Milton. The formula of his genius, if we must have one, is this: genius by accumulation; the transformation of meek scholarship into genius—triumphant power of genius.
Urbino, where this prince of the Renaissance was born in 1483, year also of the birth of Luther, leader of the other great movement of that age, the ReformationUrbino, under its dukes of the house of Montefeltro, had wherewithal just then to make a boy of native artistic faculty from the first a willing learner. The gloomy old