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DISAPPOINTED in our expectation of frankly to confess, that there is one receiving the necessary materials for a subject upon which we should rejoice biographical memoir of the great Penn- to recognize a closer identity, between sylvanian statesman and senator, we the views of Mr. Buchanan and those are compelled to give the engraved which we are accustomed to regard as portrait which constitutes the embel- one of the most essential doctrines of sishment of the present Number our own political faith and character,without that usual accompaniment, it is scarcely necessary to say, that we An acquaintance with the features and refer to the great question of Free countenance of one so eminent, alike Trade. Pennsylvania is less ripe and for his commanding powers, and for right in public opinion on this subject, the valuable services they have yielded than any other of the Democratic on a thousand fields of political strug. States; and Mr. Buchanan, dutifully gle, cannot fail to be highly acceptable and necessarily, doubtless—and at the to all of our Democratic readers ; while late session of Congress under instruceven those among our subscribers, tions from its Legislature,—has there. whose partisan loyalty requires them fore had to maintain by his yotes a in general to skip our politics, will corresponding position. Mr. Buchanan's not be displeased io be introduced to attachment, however, to the State the personal appearance of a foe so Rights theory of our political system, able, so courteous, and so warmly is so decided and enlightened, -some esteemed and respected on both sides of his speeches having presented exof that high legislative hall, of which positions of its truth and wisdom all recognize in him one of the most second to none in ability,—as to afford distinguished ornaments.
a safe guarantee against any danger The portrait from which the present of his being found, when not under an engraving is derived, was painted just imperative duty imposed by the inbefore Mr. Buchanan's departure for structions of his Staie, in opposition 10 his mission to Russia. The years what we regard as the pervading and which have elapsed since that period, growing sentiment of the Democracy have not impaired the fidelity of its of the Union, on this subject. resemblance, and all who have either Mr. Buchanan is a remarkably prudent enjoyed the opportunity of private ac- and practical man; and if perhaps more quaintance, or seen him in his public prone to moderate views and measures, place in the Senate, will be struck with and less averse to bold ultraisms, in its characteristic truth. In that body, anticipation of existing maturity of Mr. Buchanan has always held, and public opinion, tban always, weconfess, well maintained, a place among the harmonizes exactly with the inclinavery front few to whom general con- tion of our own mind, yet he is unsent always assigns the first rank, as doubtedly one of the most useful and primos inter pares-fitly representing reliable in counsel, as he is one of the a State, which occupies in the confed- most strenuous and powerful in action, eracy so high a prominence in popula- of all our leading political chiefs. He tion and power, as Pennsylvania, long stands steady and strong in his position established as the “ Keystone ” of the in public life, as the object of an intellidemocratic arch. We have indeed gent confidence and respect on the
part of the great body of the Demo- ground of confidence, both in the cracy of the country, of which the last strength of his natural democratic bias crowning evidence is no less surely of character, and in the enlightened destined to be brought round by the due clearness and soundness of his princourse of time, than it is certain that ciples,—even as it is only through the the staunch integrity of his character, stumbling portal of early doubt, that and the eminent value of his services the inner temple of the highest and in their cause, will most ripely and firmest faith is to be reached. richly merit it. To the unjust and As a speaker, Mr. Buchanan is one absurd prejudices which may continue of the most effective in the Senate. to cling to the minds of some, from Calm, clear, and strong in argument, the fact that the accidents of cir- as he is chaste and elegant in rhetoricumstance threw Mr. Buchanan in his cal style, and courteous in all personal youth on the Federal tide of the party deportment, he is always listened to division of the time, it is scarcely with the greatest attention and respect; necessary for us to refer. Promptly and in every debate in which he takes breaking loose from the trammels of part, his speech never fails to deal one those early influences, as soon as his of the most ponderous blows brought mind had attained its full stature and to bear upon the question from his side the independence of matured years and of the discussion. And few have conjudgment, he has ever since been as tributed so much as this distinguished true and consistent, as one of the statesman, to guide aright the public foremost supporters and champions of opinion of the country, during the great the Republican party, as we are well as struggle of parties and principles of the sured he will always continue to prove past ten or twelve years, towards that himself. And we are by no means matured consummation of judgment certain that this circumstance ought upon which, after a brief vacillation, it not rather to constitute an additional is now seen to be fast settling down.
The annals of criminal jurisprudence moment to the last, equally in the present few cases involving a combina- confidence of the relation between tion of circumstances so tragic and so counsel and client, and of that between thrilling, as have marked this sad priest and penitent—the agonies of business from its bloody commence- human affections concentrated into ment to its bloody close. The deed— those intense moments of last farewell the place and the hour—the great tide —that ghastly bridal which is to know of humanity tlooding round the awful no nuptial couch but the bloody bier of spot, almost within sound of the crash suicide—the lurid writhing of the of the blows—the lonely horrors of the flames which break out almost at the ensuing night-the circumstances of very moment, lowering high above the discovery-the long protracted trial- massive and frowning horrors of that that hideous resurrection of the dead dread abode of crime and wretchedin the midst of the dense throng of ness, conspicuous to the countless shuddering life—the successive snap- thousands whose gaze centres there in ping of all the several cords of hope to a spell-bound intensity of various exwhich agonizing instinct yet clings- citement, against thai calm and cloudthe slow, cold relentlessness with which less blue, from which looks down like vengeance day after day tightens more an Eye the large white ray of one and more crushingly its tremendous single star, long, as it seemed, in grasp around its writhing victim--the advance of its wonted hour-where, solemn protestations of innocence, un- where is to be found recorded, where wavering and consistent from the first imagined, a case which can parallel,
in all its parts, the fearful features science and reason alike revolt against which must for ever stamp this one so the useless, the worse than useless deeply on the memories of all who have barbarity of that law itself. It is very been witnesses to its course and its certain, that the opinion of the main consummation ?
body of the Bar is, and has throughout Well, it is now all over. The social been, adverse to the verdict of the jury. vengeance has been glutted to the full. Few have ventured to differ from the For that act of a mad moment-even universal remark which was to be if it were not one of justifiable self- heard during the pendency of the long defence-the soul of its wretched au- uncertainty as to his fate, that on a thor has been wrung with long tortures, new trial ihere would not exist, on the a thousand-fold keener than all the same evidence, the least chance of the physical pangs which make the de- same verdict. In every direction we moniac ecstasy of the Indian sacrifice. see men of the highest authority of He has been gradually hemmed in— character and judgment emphatic in pressed closer and closer up to the very their disapproval-even among those verge of the eternal and immeasurable who, after the judicial determination chasm,--and has at last been plunged of the case, justify the unyielding sternoff into that dread darkness from which ness with which the execution of the nor ray nor echo returns to reveal to us law was carried out by all connected the perhaps infinite consequences of our with its dread duties. And this is indeawful act. All this has been done, and pendent of the subsequent rays of it is to be hoped that those whose probable light which have been cast doing it has been are now satisfied upon the transaction—to which it may satisfied in the vindictive spirit which still not be useless here to advert. has animated the proceedings whose In the first place, is the offered result has been thus consummated; testimony of a witness of unimpeachasatisfied in that moral sense of justice ble respectability, going to sustain which requires the most clear and Colt's statement on a point on which unwavering conviction of the guilt, it was contradicted, and which became whose punishment is at once so fearsul one of not immaterial moment during and so irremediable.
the course of the trial, although its But does this satisfaction exist ? importance was not perceived in its Most unequivocally, No!
earlier stage, by the counsel who re“Ah, gentlemen," is the language jected it as unnecessary, and thus of Beranger, in the French Chamber of caused the witness to absent himself Deputies, in 1831, “what a day of from the city. Colt's version of the mouroing that, when a simple 'sus- affair ascribed the bruised marks on picion arises respecting the guilt of a his neck, to Adams's throttling clutch man who has perished by this last fatal in their encounter ; and he denied doom! What sense of horror seizes having personally assisted in carrying the mass of society! What remorse! down the stairs the box which was What eternal regrets fill the soul of the heavy with those hideous contents. judges! What uncertainty is for a long The prosecution ascribed those marks time cast upon the decisions of the to the latter cause; and not only justipublic justice, upon the respect due to fied the presumption, but at the same them, upon the confidence which it time, successfully impeached the veis necessary that they should inspire! racity of his whole story, and thus The heart cannot harden itself against deeply darkened the whole aspect of such a calamity--it pierces to the core the case against him, by contradicting --the mistake is irreparable!" this statement by the testimony of the
Now, not only does this “simple man employed about the premises, to suspicion " exist, but the belief is very the effect that Colt did himself carry it widely prevalent-according to our down. Now, not only did that unobservation is decidedly preponderant happy man himself, in all his assuramong the most enlightened classes, ances to his counsel, relatives, and that he certainly did not commit that friends, insist upon the mistake commildegree of crime to which even this ted by this witness on that point, and upbloody, law awards the sentence of on the truth of his own statement, but which he was the victim ; to say noth- he is fully sustained in doing so, by teş. ing of the vast numbers whose con- timony subsequently appearing, which
places the matter beyond all doubt. wretched affair. In the third interThe materiality of the point in question view of Dr. Anthon with Mr. Colt, on may be a matter for difference of opi- the day but one before the last: nion. It is certain that, directly or indirectly, it told very hard against him “ After some farther conversation on at the time of the trial.
these topics, I turned it to a point on which In the second place, a very remark. I was aware the community felt, as I did able document was laid before the Gov. myself, a deep interest, and where they
had a right for information if it could be ernor, prepared by a physician of great
obtained. respeciability and intelligence, and confirmed and endorsed by a number of for the Visitation of Prisoners,' requires
“ The Episcopal Church, in the office others entitled to very high considera- her ministers, after an examination of the tion. This document (published in the individual concerning his faith and repentNew York Sun of Nov. 14) analyzes ance, to exhort him to a particular confesthe situation and direction of all the sion of the sin for which he is condemned. wounds on the head of the least unfor- I called Mr. Coll's attention to the rubric tunate of the two men who now sleep on this subject, and found that he was with equal soundness in their bloody aware of its requirements. Reminding repose. We could not, without the him then of the circumstances under which quotation of the whole, give an idea of we had first met, and the character and the close and keen minuteness of de results of our interview, I appealed to him monstration by which it establishes in the strongest and kindest terms I was
master of, for the manifestation, on his the inference, as at least a very strong part, of farther confidence. He met the probability, that the blows causing appeal as it was meant. He solemnly dethem must have been given in the clared that he committed the act in selfrelative postures and circumstances defence. stated in Colt's version of the matter, “I have said so,' said he, ' again and and in a manner irreconcilable with again, but where is the use ? They will the idea of murder, in the proper sense not believe it, they will not believe it.' of the term. It is well worthy of an His face was covered with his handkerattentive perusal, and we have yet to chief, and he wept bitterly. His manner hear a justification of the entire disre- and words affected me deeply. I asked gard with which all mention of it is him after a pause several questions. omitted, in the published documents Among others this :—Will you carry this emanating from the Executive, in de
as your confession to the bar of God ? fence of his refusal either to change the He assured me solemnly that he was prepunishment or to allow the chance of pared so to do, and not to die with a lie the order of a new trial by the court of upon his lips. I inquired of him, Taking last resort.
your own account then to be the truth, do In the third place, we refer to the under present circumstances ??
you think God has dealt harshly with you,
No;' steady uniformity with which he in- said he, God has not done it. Man has sisted upon the version he gave, from done it. I inquired of him farther: You the hour of his arrest to that of his declare that you acted in self-defence. death, and under all the circumstances Still must you not feel deep sorrow and of confidence calculated to afford the distress for having hurried a fellow creastrongest guarantees of truth. So was ture without a moment's preparation into it to his counsel-whose prohibition the presence of his God, and brought such alone restrained the strong desire ex.
woe upon his family ? He assented with pressed by himself of making a full much emotion. I told him that I was public statement. And from the ac
constrained to believe he spoke the truth." count published since his death by the reverend gentleman who ministered
On the next day: to his last hours—an account repleie with most interesting evidence of an
“ Before I reached his cell he had been earnest religious spirit awakened under renewed refusal to interfere. He grasped
informed by some friends of the Governor's the pressure of the horrors of his posi- my hand as I entered, and we were both tion—we extract the following pas- too much overcome to say a word. I sages, of which the perusal can scarcely prayed at his side for some time, both fail to strike a chill through the blood audibly and silently, and he remained on of the sternest and the hardest of heart his knees for some minutes after I had of those who have urged through this concluded. His acknowledgments of his
sinfulness and of his hope that he would evidence of “wilful murder” to justify find mercy at his Heavenly Father's hand the infliction of such a penalty. for his Saviour's sake, came unprompted, But the verdict of the jury, we are and were humble and servent...
Inex- gravely told, is to be taken as conclupressibly painful as this interview was, sive on this point, beyond further quesbefore it closed I implored him and adjured tion or criticism. Not so, indeed. him as well as I was able, to tell me once more whether he would stand by his ac
Nothing is more uncertain than the acknowledgments of yesterday touching the tion of juries. In the present case, the sad act for which he was to suffer, as the defence had unfortunately been contruth, the whole truth, and nothing but ducted with so much fatal error of judg. the truth. ‘O, yes-yes,' was his reply. ment, that at its close a sensible preju• Can you, my dear sir,' I asked, “throw dice and irritation against the prisoner any more light upon what passed? If so, was its necessary consequence. Instead confide in me. I will do what I can to of from the outset directing its efforts have justice done to your memory.' 'No,' to give to the act the milder character said he, “I have nothing more to add to of manslaughter, the fact of the homiwhat these letters contain,' handing me at cide was for several days stubbornly the same time a printed copy, in an enve- contested by the defence, so that the lope, of a paper, called, “Extra Tattler, main question engaging men's minds Oct. 23, 1812. When the sheriff and another gentleman (I believe Mr. Hart's murder, or a passionate and possibly
was, not whether the act was a wilful brother) entered the cell to announce, as it was their painful duty, his approaching excusable manslaughter, but whether end, O Mr. Hart, may God forgive you, the prisoner was or was not guilty of I think was the exclamation of the unfor- the murder, the hideous horrors of tunate man, as he threw himself upon his which from day to day were painted face on his bed and wept.”
by the testimony in still deepening
shades of color to the imagination. And again on the following day- And when at the close, the impossibilthat whose sunset he knew he was not ity of any longer denying the fact ex. to be allowed to behold:
torted from the counsel the impromptu
expedient of laying before the jury the “One of the first I struck upon was the confession which had been in their pos15th of St. Luke. I dwelt for a time session throughout the whole weary upon the first seven verses—the joy in week of trial, the natural impulse of Heaven over a repenting sinner. I tried indignation, on the part of the jury, him again here; and I distinctly recollect, at the mode in which their time, feelin the course of my remarks, touching ings and the public justice had been upon the situation of one in his terrible thus trifled with, must have deprived circumstances, having a conscience clear from wilful blood-guiltiness, and asking
their advocacy of all moral weight, and him again (as I was sitting directly in have very seriously injured the prisonfront of him,) if it was so with himself; er's chances. And again, it should be his protestations were the same as they borne in mind that under the present had been."
fatally mistaken system of Capital Pun
ishment, the action of juries is usually When we view all these points in thus irregular and unjust. After a long their connexion together; when we course of extreme leniency, growing add to them the absence of motive, out of repugnance to the nature of the and the fact of the unexpected occa- punishment, the pendulum is seen to sion of Adams's visit; the evidence suf- oscillate back in one or two instances ficienıly adduced of the irritating and to the opposite extreme. Alarmed by insulting deportment habitual to the the occurrence of some dreadful case, latter under such circumstances; and which is ascribed to the long prevailthe extreme improbability of the wil. ing impuvily, the excited public resentful commission of such an act by such ment and panic, of which the jury para man as Colt at a place and time so take with the community at large, insanely dangerous--we do not see how demand a victim, who is very likely 10 the conclusion can be resisted, if not of be sacrificed on evidence which may the decidedly probable truth of his be very far from satisfactory, as in this whole version, yet at least of the de- instance, to a just and proper discrimicidedly certain absence of any sufficient nation. Soon again the oscillating reac