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those enlightened professional men who import these books, be subjected to this additional expense? Sir, I honor the man, whether of scholarship, of science, or of a profession, who imports these works of learning. He is a benefactor to his country. Every such work becomes a fountain in the neighborhood: but I would not put a duty on that fountain; I would unseal it; I would open it, and let it flow as amply as possible.
MR. MORRILL [of Maine]. I should like to ask the Senator from Massachusetts whether there are any books in foreign languages that are not published in this country. Are not all the books in the ancient languages published in this country?
MR. SUMNER. I beg to call the Senator's attention to the boundless annual literature of Germany, where the volumes are counted by the thousand,- to the extensive literature of France, where the volumes are counted by the thousand, to the less ample literature of Spain and Italy, with numerous publications, all of which, if imported, pay a duty. Now I wish to encourage that importation.
MR. MORRILL. I understood the Senator's argument to be in favor of ancient books.
MR. SUMNER. It is also, certainly.
MR. MORRILL. My inquiry is, whether those books are not all republished in this country.
MR. SUMNER. Not at all. For instance, take most of the considerable works of scholarship in German, annually produced, bearing on the classics; they are not republished in our country, but our professors import them at cost. Then take another class of works, on science, in the German language, in the French language, — I
would say also in the Italian language, for there are some excellent contributions to science as well as to literature in the Italian language, those, if imported, pay a duty; but they do not come into competition with anything printed here. Why, then, should they pay a duty? Why not encourage their importation? Why not help the man of science, or the learned professor, who aspires to enlarge his library in this way? I have said that I regard such a person as a benefactor. I wish to give him my thanks, and my help, if I can. The best help I can give him is to try to save him from this additional tax.
Mr. Sumner's Amendment was rejected,-Yeas 12, Nays not counted.
THE NASBY LETTERS.
INTRODUCTION TO THE COLLECTION, APRIL 1, 1872.
EYOND the interest in these letters as another instance of a peculiar literature, illustrated by Major Jack Downing, Sam Slick, and the genius of Hosea Biglow, they have an historic character from the part they performed in the war with Slavery, and in advancing Reconstruction. Appearing with a certain regularity and enjoying an extensive circulation, they became a constant and welcome ally. Unquestionably they were among the influences and agencies by which disloyalty in all its forms was exposed, and public opinion assured on the right side. It is impossible to measure their value. Against the devices of Slavery and its supporters, each letter was like a speech, or one of those songs which stir the people. Therefore they belong to the political history of this critical period.
Of publications during the war, none had such charm for Abraham Lincoln. He read every letter as it appeared, and kept them all within reach for refreshment. This strong liking illustrates his character, and will
1 Entitled, "The Struggles (Social, Financial, and Political) of Petroleum V. Nasby," -- DAVID ROSS LOCKE, editor of the Toledo [Ohio] Blade, where most of these Letters, one hundred and eighty-eight in number, first appeared, during the period from March 21, 1861, to May 12, 1870.
always awaken an interest in the letters. An incident in my own relations with him shows how easily he turned from care to humor.
I had occasion to see President Lincoln very late in the evening of March 17th, 1865. The interview was in the familiar room known as his office, and also used for cabinet meetings. I did not take leave of him until some time after midnight, and then the business was not entirely finished. As I rose, he said, "Come to me when I open shop in the morning; I will have the order written, and you shall see it." "When do you open shop?" said I. "At nine o'clock," he replied. At the hour named I was in the same room that I had so recently left. Very soon the President entered, stepping quickly with the promised order in his hands, which he at once read to me. It was to disapprove and annul the judgment and sentence of a court-martial in a case that had excited much feeling. While I was making an abstract of the order for communication by telegraph to the anxious parties, he broke into quotation from Nasby. Finding me less at home than himself with his favorite humorist, he said pleasantly, "I must initiate you," and then repeated with enthusiasm the message he had sent to the author: "For the genius to write these things I would gladly give up my office."
Rising from his seat, he opened a desk behind, and, taking from it a pamphlet collection of the letters already published, proceeded to read from it with infinite zest, while his melancholy features grew bright. It was a delight to see him surrender so completely to the fascination. Finding that I listened, he read for more than twenty minutes, and was still proceeding, when it occurred to me that there must be many at the door
waiting to see him on graver matters. Taking advantage of a pause, I rose, and, thanking him for the lesson of the morning, went away. Some thirty persons, including Senators and Representatives, were in the antechamber as I passed out.
Though with the President much during the intervening time before his death, this was the last business I transacted with him. A few days later he left Washington for City Point, on the James River, where he was at the surrender of Richmond. April 6th I joined him there. April 9th the party returned to Washington. On the evening of April 14th the bullet of an assassin took his life.
In this simple story Abraham Lincoln introduces Nasby. CHARLES SUMNER.
WASHINGTON, April 1st, 1872.