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position of this great Republic among the nations of the earth. It is its noblest vocation, and it will be a glorious day for the United States when the good sense and the self-respect of the American people see in this.their “manifest destiny.” It all rests upon peace. Is not this peace with honor? There has, of late, been much loose speech about “Americanism.” Is not this good Americanism? It is surely to-day the Americanism of those who love their country most. And I fervently hope that it will be and ever remain the Americanism of our children and our children's children.
[Address by Carl Schurz at a special meeting of the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York, February 17, 1891, upon seconding resolutions before the Chamber on the death of General William Tecumseh Sherman.]
GENTLEMEN:—The adoption by the Chamber of Commerce of these resolutions which I have the honor to second, is no mere perfunctory proceeding. We have been called here by a genuine impulse of the heart. To us General Sherman was not a great man like other great men, honored and revered at a distance. We had the proud and happy privilege of calling him one of us. Only a few months ago, at the annual meeting of this Chamber, we saw the familiar face of our honorary member on this platform by the side of our President. Only a few weeks ago he sat at our banquet table, as he had often before, in the happiest mood of conviviality, and contributed to the enjoyment of the night with his always unassuming and always charming speech. And as he moved among us without the slightest pomp of self-conscious historic dignity, only with the warm and simple geniality of his nature, it would cost us sometimes an effort of the memory to recollect that he was the renowned captain who had marshaled mighty armies victoriously on many a battlefield, and whose name stood, and will forever stand, in the very foremost rank of the saviors of this Republic, and of the great soldiers of the world's history. Indeed, no American could have forgotten this for a moment; but the affection of those who were so happy as to come near to him, would sometimes struggle to outrun their veneration and gratitude. Death has at last conquered the hero of so many campaigns; our cities and towns and villages are decked with flags at half-mast; the muffled drum and the funeral cannon-boom will resound over the land as his dead body passes to the final resting-place; and the American people stand mournfully gazing into the void left by the sudden disappearance of the last of the greatest men brought forth by our war of regeneration—and this last also finally become, save Abraham Lincoln alone, the most widely beloved. He is gone; but as we of the present generation remember it, history will tell all coming centuries the romantic story of the famous “March to the Sea”—how, in the dark days of 1864, Sherman, having worked his bloody way to Atlanta, then cast off all his lines of supply and communication, and, like a bold diver into the dark unknown, seemed to vanish with all his hosts from the eyes of the world, until his triumphant reappearance on the shores of the ocean proclaimed to the anxiously expecting millions, that now the final victory was no longer doubtful, and that the Republic would surely be saved. Nor will history fail to record that this great general was, as a victorious soldier, a model of republican citizenship. When he had done his illustrious deeds, he rose step by step to the highest rank in the army, and then, grown old, he retired. The Republic made provision for him in modest republican style. He was satisfied. He asked for no higher reward. Although the splendor of his achievements, and the personal affection for him, which every one of his soldiers carried home, made him the most popular American of his day, and although the most glittering prizes were not seldom held up before his eyes, he remained untroubled by ulterior ambition. No thought that the Republic owed him more ever darkened his mind. No man could have spoken to him of the “ingratitude of Republics,” without meeting from him a stern rebuke. And so, content with the consciousness of a great duty nobly done, he was happy in the love of his fellow citizens. Indeed, he may truly be said to have been in his old age, not only the most beloved, but also the happiest of Americans. Many years he lived in the midst of posterity. His task was finished, and this he wisely understood. His deeds had been passed upon by the judgment of history, and irrevocably registered among the glories of his country and his age. His generous heart envied no one, and wished every one well; and ill-will had long ceased to pursue him. Beyond cavil his fame was secure, and he enjoyed it as that which he had honestly earned, with a genuine and ever fresh delight, openly avowed by the charming frankness of his nature. He dearly loved to be esteemed and cherished by his fellow men, and what he valued most, his waning years brought him in ever increasing abundance. Thus he was in truth a most happy man, and his days went down like an evening sun in a cloudless autumn sky. And when now the American people, with that peculiar tenderness of affection which they have long borne him, lay him in his grave, the happy ending of his great life may soothe the pang of bereavement they feel in their hearts at the loss of the old hero who was so dear to them, and of whom they were and always will be so proud. His memory will ever be bright to us all; his truest monument will be the greatness of the Republic he served so well; and his fame will never cease to be prized by a grateful country, as one of its most precious possessions.
THOMAS JENKINS SEMMES
PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CHIEF JUSTICES
[Address by Thomas J. Semmes, lawyer, one time professor of Civil Law in the University of Louisiana, President of the American Bar Association 1886 (born in Georgetown, D. C., December 16, 1824; died in New Orleans, La., June 23, 1899), delivered at the Centennial celebration of the Supreme Court of the United States, at the Metropolitan Opera-House, New York City, February 4, 1890. Grover Cleveland, as Chairman of the Executive Committee, occupied the chair.]
MR. PRESIDENT:-During the century of its existence seven persons, exclusive of the present incumbent, filled the office of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States: Jay, Rutledge, Ellsworth, Marshall, Taney, Chase, and Waite. Most of these were appointed in the prime of life. Taney at fifty-nine, was the oldest; Jay resigned when he was but fifty years of age. Marshall and Taney presided in the Court for sixty-three years— Marshall from 1801 to July, 1835, and Taney from 1836 to 1864.
Marshall was appointed by John Adams about a month before the inauguration of President Jefferson; it was said that his appointment was due to his defence in Congress of the Administration in the case of Jonathan Robbins, who claimed to be an American citizen and who had been delivered up, by order of the President, to the British Government as a deserter, and was hanged at the yard-arm of a British man-of-war. Taney was appointed by Andrew Jackson shortly before the accession of Mr. Van Buren, and it is said he was appointed because of his aid to General Jackson on the bank question, and espe
cially as a reward for the act of removing the public deposits. Marshall was a legacy left by the defeated Federalists to the victorious Republicans of that day; Taney, with the address that he had prepared for the President, was a legacy left by General Jackson to the people of the United States. Taney had been nominated by General Jackson as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court while Marshall was Chief Justice; the Senate under the domination of party spirit indefinitely postponed the nomination, although we know from a letter addressed to Benjamin Watkins Leigh, then a Senator from Virginia, that Marshall desired the appointment of Taney to be confirmed. These two men were born, Marshall on one side of the Potomac, in the year 1755, in Fauquier County, Virginia, and Taney on the other side of the Potomac, in the year 1777, in Calvert County, Maryland. Marshall was a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church; Taney was a devout Roman Catholic. Marshall was assailed by the Republicans of his day because of decisions in the case of Marbury vs. Madison, and on the trial of Aaron Burr. Taney met the same fate from the Republicans of his day because of his decisions in the case of Dred Scott, and in the Merryman habeas corpus case. The criticism of Mr. Jefferson on the opinion of Marshall in the case of Marbury vs. Madison is not altogether unfounded. The Chief Justice having reached the conclusion that the Supreme Court had no power to issue a writ of mandamus to the Secretary of State, it being an exercise of original jurisdiction not warranted by the Constitution, could have, and perhaps should have, abstained from entering upon the discussion of other questions not necessary to be decided; it is this discussion which Mr. Jefferson sarcastically called an obiter dissertation. However that may be, Marshall vindicated the opinion entertained of him by the Federalists of that day, when he held that an act of Congress repugnant to the Constitution is not law, and that it is the province and duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is: that the Constitution is to be considered in Courts as the paramount law, and that any other principle would subvert