« PreviousContinue »
of slaveholders and non-slaveholders. He neither hold him nor let him go. Justice is was himself a slaveholder, and he knew in the one scale, and self-preservation in that slavery, at least in temperate climates the other." Then follows the remark and northern latitudes, could only prove a
that the diffusion of slaves over a greater curse and keep landlords poor, as it does territory will better their condition and on the south banks of the Ohio. This hasten their emancipation. He justifies compromise was carried, says Mr. Calhoun, Mr. Holmes in voting for the compromise by the almost united vote of the North rather than for the total exclusion of slaagainst the South. By it a line was very from the territory, and recommends drawn, separating the northern and south- that every means be taken to allay the ern territories.
“The South,” he adds, jealousy of the South, of the interference of “has never given her sanction to it." The Congress in their domestic affairs. He warns act was done by the non-slaveholders as an his country against stirring up angry pasact of mere self-protection ; and could sions upon this terrible question, and presouthern gentlemen understand how neces- dicts ruin from its agitation.* sary it is to the emigrant to be removed from the neighborhood of a rich and aristocratical planter, to enable him to carry *Mr. Holmes, of Maine, said Mr. Calhoun, long a on unshamed his honest but humble in- dressed a letter to Mr. Jefferson, inclosing a copy of
member of this body, who voted for the measure, addustry, and finally, by humility, to rise into his speech on the occasion. It drew out an auswer independence, wealth, and refinement, the from him which
ought to be treasured up in the heart
of every man who loves the country and its institugenerosity of their nature at least, if not ions. It is brief. I will send it to the secretary to the justice of it, would be moved with a be read. The time of the Senate cannot be better sacred regard; and however jealous they 70 John Holmes,
occupied than in listening to it.
MONTICELLO, APRIL 12, 1820. might be of their own rights and privileges, I thank you, dear sir, for the copy you have been in which no man will dare disturb them so kind as to send me of the letter to your constitu
ents on the Missouri question. It is a perfect justiwhile the UNION stands, they would not fication to them. I had for a long time ceased to with so ambitious a grasp, clutch at all the read newspapers, or pay any attention to public af
fairs, confident they were in good hands, and conterritory. No, indeed; not at all the ter
tent to be a passenger in our bark to the shore from ritory!
which I am not distant. But this momentous ques We respect the ordinance, therefore, and tion, like a fire-bell in the night, awakened and fill
ed me with terror. I considered it at once as the the Compromise, and can say that our knell of the Union. It is hushed, indeed, for the greatest desire is, that the present difficul
moment. But this is a reprieve only, not a final iy be as wisely met as were those which marked principle, moral and political, once concei:
sentence. . A geographical line, coinciding with a prompted those measures.
ved and held up to the angry passions of men, will So much for the measures of compro- mark it deeper and deeper. I can say, with con
never be obliterated : and every new irritation will mise, which Mr. Calhoun laments that they scious truth, that there is not a man on earth who were ever passed. Mr. Jefferson's letter, would sacrifice more than I would to relieve us from
this heavy reproach, in any practicable way: The which he quotes, contains no argument. cession of that kind of property, (for so it is misIt only expresses a very just fear. Why named) is a bagatelle which would not cost me a he chose to quote it, it is difficult to guess. tion and expatriation could be effected: and gradual. It does not condemn the compromise, ly, and with due sacrifices, I think it might be. But and while it admits it to be an uncertain, him nor safely let him go. 'Justice is in one scale, dangerous, and temporary expedient, a and self-preservation in ihe other. Of one thing I am mere palliative, it offers no other. It certain, ihat as the passage of slaves from one State
to another would not make a slave of a single husays in regard to slavery, “there is not a
man being who would not be so without it, so their man on earth who would sacrifice more diffusion over a greater surface would make them than I would to relieve us from this heavy the accomplishment of their emancipation, by di
individually happier, and proportionally facilitate reproach, in any practicable way. The viding the burden on a greater number of coadjucession of this property, (for so it is mis
An abstinence, 100, from this act of power,
would remove the jealousy excited by the undertanamed !!) is a bagatelle wbich would not king of Congress to regulate the condition of the cost me a second thought, if, in this way, different descriptions of men composing a State. a general emancipation and expatriation which nothing in the constitution has taken from could be effected ; and gradually, and with them, and given to the General Government.-due sacrifices, I think it might be.
Could Congress, for example, say that the non-free
men of Connecticut shall be freemen, or that they it is, we have the wolf by the ears,
shall not emigrate into any other State ?
But as and can
After disposing of the compromises, Mr.cluded from emigrating with their property into Calhoun repeats at large bis former argu- any of them.” ments and distinctions in regard to the But now, allowing that all may not be power of Congress over the territories. He convinced that Congress has not the powassumes that he has completely established
ers contended for, Mr. Calhoun appeals to the point, that Congress cannot forbid any equity and expediency. Is it equitable, citizen from taking any kind of property and, for fear of consequences, is it politic he may please into the territory, when, in for non-slaveholders to attempt to exclude fact, he has merely asserted that the power slaveholders from a territory purchased by of Congress is limited, and has not proved the money, and defended by the arms of the particular limitation. On this point all citizens alike? To this we answer, as it is, perhaps, unnecessary to argue fur- before, that if there be a real joint ownerther. "If the point be proved for the ter- ship in the thirty States, any one, or any ritory that Congress has not this power, number of them, may demand a division much more is it proved for States; and of the property. But we have shown that States have then no longer that power the States, as such, have no distinct right which they claim of excluding and freeing or title to the territories : it belongs to the slaves, within their own limits. If Congress Nation as a whole. If then a division line and the several states have not this power, is to be established, it must be from moit follows that all laws, ordinances, and tives of Public Economy, and not in accompromises, whatsoever, against slavery, cordance with, or by arguments deduced in all the States and in all the territo- from, the doctrines of extreme factions of ries, are null and void. To what follows, the North or South. We do not wish to all that we need offer, therefore, is simply hurry on the inevitable crisis by any argua denial.
ments of ours. We wish only that the
minds of all men may be tempered for the “I have now concluded the discussion, so
issue. far as it relates to the power, and have, I trust,
The bill containing clauses which proestablished beyond controversy, that the territories are free and open to all of the citizens of tect the citizens of Oregon against slavery, the United States, and that there is no power, and throw the whole responsibility for the under any aspect the subject can be viewed in, other territories upon the Supreme Court, by which the citizens of the South can be ex has once passed the Senate, and its pas
sage is predicted through the House. If
the Court decide that slavery is not lawful I regret that I am now to die in the belief that in the territories, how will the South feel? the useless sacrifice of themselves by the genera: | And if the contrary, then how will the tion of 1776, to acquire self-government and happiness to their country, is to be thrown away by the North feel? Was not this measure, after unwise and unworthy passions of their sons, and all, only a shifting of the responsibility that my only consolation is to be that I live not to weep over it
. If they would but dispassionately upon shoulders less able to bear it? And weigh the blessings they will throw away against if the Supreme Court is to be used for the an abstract principle, more likely to be effected by decision of political questions, will not would perpetrate this act of suicide on themselves, ! future Presidents extend such an influence, and of treason against the hopes of the world. To and so fill the bench as to leave its opinyourself, as the faithful advocate of the Union, I tender the offering of my high esteem and respections on such questions no longer doubtful ? THOMAS JEFFERSON.
THE LIFE AND GENIUS OF DANTE ALIGHIERI;
WITH AN ACCOUNT OF THE DIVINA COMMEDIA.
In Germany, which may be called the spirit as to make this foreign material his free-port and world-market of the litera- own inmost property, and to work out of ture of all ages and nations, Dante has these single elements of culture an indebeen made, since the commencement of pendent organic. world-view. this century, a subject of serious study, In his wanderings through the halls of and, if that be not too strong an expres- science and art, he was accompanied by sion, of enthusiastic veneration. Schelling, the genius of a pure ideal love, that exerthe philosopher, and the two Schlegels, cised a moulding influence on his whole first recalled attention to him. Thereupon character and literary activity. It was followed a mass of translations and expo- when in his ninth year, that he saw for the sitions of the Divina Commedia, the most first time, on a festive May-day, under a successful among which were those of laurel tree, Beatrice, a Florentine maid of Karnegiesser, Streckfuss, Philalethes, the middle rank of life, of wonderful (Prince John, brother to the reigning King beauty and attraction. The impression of Saxony, and heir to the throne,) Ko- made upon him opened to his imagination pisch, and Graul. Almost every aspect of for the first time the rich fountain of pothis wonderful poem, poetical, historical, etry, and determined the whole character philosophical, and theological, has had of his life. The chaste and deeply earnest light thrown upon it with more or less character of his works, as well as the exsuccess, in larger works and in treatises, press testimony of his cotemporaries, * but always in such a way that much was compels us to believe that this mysterious left to engage the attention and study of relation was throughout of the purest and future scholars.
noblest kind. Dante himself has deIn the small compass allowed to us by scribed it in his Vita Nuova, in a tender, the limits of this article, we must content deep, and moving manner. ourselves with endeavoring to present, in
Beatrice was not destined to be the comoutline, A GENERAL IDEA OF THE DIvine panion of his life. They continued separate COMEDY, AND
from each other, though united in spirit by PROPER UNDERSTANDING IN DETAIL.
the bonds of a Platonic love. But seldom We will offer, first, a few remarks on was he so fortunate as to enjoy her smiling the life and age of the poet, as some salutations, and as early as the year 1290 knowledge of these is necessary to an un she was, to his deepest sorrow, torn from derstanding of his work.
his view by an early death. Still, though Dante, or properly speaking, Durante, lost to him as far as her earthly form was i e. the enduring, was descended from the concerned, her enrapturing image rose ancient, noble, and venerable family of again in his poetic imagination, transfigured, Alighieri in Florence, where he was born as the symbol of Divine Wisdom and Love, in May, 1265, during the pontificate of or as Theology, and accompanied him in Clement IV., a few years before the down his Divina Commedia through the holy fall of the illustrious imperial family of the Hohenstauffen. He prosecuted his studies in the Latin classics, especially • As, for example, that of Melchiore Stefano CopVirgil, the Aristotelian philosophy, and pig who says of Dante, Meralmente visse ; and that
of Sebastiano Eagubinus, who calls him inter huthe scholastic theology of his age, first in mana ingenia naturæ dotibus corruscantem et bis native city, and afterwards in Bologna, testimony of Boccaccio in his Vita di Dante, to the
omnium morum habilibus rutilaniem. The later Padua, and Paris, with such energy and contrary, is of no account. VOL. II. NO. II. NEW SERIES.
KEY TO ITS
precincts of Paradise, until the sight of the grateful, but still warmly-loved native city, Triune God burst upon his view. Hence never more to see it, and to his family Uhland has beautifully sung:
which he was also compelled to leave be
hind him. With this commenced the third “Ja! mit Fug wird dieser Sänger Als der Göttliche verehret,
and last period of his life. Dante, welchem ird'sche Liebe
From this time Dante wandered about Sich zu himmlicher verkläret !"*
through Middle and Upper Italy, poor,
restless, and ever longing for home; everyAfter this beautiful period of learning where meeting friends and admirers, but and loving, our poet entered upon political enemies also and detractors ; nowhere life in the service of his native city. His finding rest, but in the profound contempublic career, and yet more the years of plation of Eternity, and its philosophic his banishment, were full of troubles and and poetic representations in the Divina storms. The trivial every-day world would Commedia. This was commenced, if not on this account call him unfortunate ; for it has not even the most distant conception after his banishment,* and amid all his
as early as the year 1300, at least soon of the secret and purely spiritual enjoy- sorrows was gradually completed. For ments of a deep-thinking genius, wearing
“ Poesie ist tiefes Schmerzen, out his life upon the highest and noblest
Und est kommt das ächte Lied themes, who is raised equally far above for
Einzig aus dem Menschenherzen, tune and misfortune in the common sense Das ein schweres Leid durchglüht.”+ of the terms. The Florentine republic was in that pe
Dante says himself, (in the Convito,) riod torn by the severest party
Truly I have been a vessel without sail between the Cerohi, or White, (Bianchi,)
and without rudder, driven about upon and the Donati, or Black, (Neri.) By far different ports and shores by the dry wind the larger portion of the city belonged to that springs out of dolorous poverty; and the Guelph party; but the Ghibelline hence have I appeared vile in the eyes of families united with the Bianchi, and these many, who, perhaps, by some better retwo parties now mirrored forth again the port, had conceived of me a different imcontests of the Ghibellines and Guelphs, pression, and in whose sight not only has & contest that continued itself throughout my person become thus debased, but an that whole period. By means of his unworthy opinion created of everything
which I did or which I had to do." He talents Dante forced himself, in his twenty-fifth year, up to one of the highest of his banishment in Rome, Bologna, Pa
seems to have spent most of the years honors in the magistracy of Florence, to the office of Prior, and was sent on several dua, and Verona. He sojourned for a embassies to the courts of Naples and time in Paris also, where he buried himself Rome. But the hatred of his enemies in the deepest theological studies, and held
a brilliant disputation. The report of the soon accomplished his fall. He joined himself to the party of the Ghibellines, expedition of Henry VII. to Italy in 1310, and interceded for them with Pope Boni- recalled him to his fatherland. He hoped face VIII., but without success. The
from him the overthrow of the Guelphs, op
and exhorted him, in a letter of 1311, to posite party prevailed. Led by blind
But Henry passion, and assisted by the Pope just employ energetic measures. named, they robbed the poet, among many and died in 1313.
could accomplish nothing against Florence,
With his death the others, in the year 1302, of his property, and banished him from 'Tuscany for two hopes of the banished Florentines, and years; and subsequently, for contuma
the Ghibellines in general, were totally
crushed. ciousness, he was sentenced to be burnt alive, in case he should ever return. With sorrowful heart he bid farewell to his un
* See, on this point, the investigation of Blanc, in his thorough and instructive article on Dante, in Ersch and Gruber's General Encyclopædia of
the Sciences and Arts, (a truly colossal work in * “Yea! with reason is this singer honored as the compass and contents,) Sect. I., Part 23, p. 67, ff. Divine Dante !
t"Poetry is deep sorrow; and the true song Whose earthly love transformed itself into heav comes alone out of the human heart, through which enly."
glows an intense grief."
Dante now retired to Ravenna, whither placed him in his Disputa on the Holy Sahe caused also his children to be brought. crament, between Thomas Aquinas and His daughter Beatrice retired to a con Duns Scotus, and in his Parnassus, between vent.
, sufficiently authenticated, he The age of Dante presents to us the
himself became a monk of the Franciscan transition of the middle ages from the order. In this city, and in the neighbor- time of their highest glory over into the ing monasteries, he completed his great period which led the way to the refor. poem, and died on the day of the Holy | mation. That wonderful structure, the Cross, the 14th September, 1321. The Romano-German Catholicism, had become honor which his fellow-citizens denied to complete in the thirteenth century. The him while living, was now shown to him papacy reached its consummation in the by strangers, when dead. His patron, person of Innocent III., and then waved Guido Novello da Polenta, the Lord of its bishop's crosier over all the lands and Ravenna, caused his corpse to be carried nations of Europe. Opposite to this stood to the chief church by the most respected the Germano-Roman empire as the greatcitizens of the city, and to be interred in a est secular power, which was most vigormarble coffin in the church of the Minor- ously upheld by the Hohenstauffen, and ites. Only lately (1830) has Florence which, after repeated attempts at emancicompensated the injustice done to the pation, was again compelled to lay down greatest of her sons, by erecting to his its crown at the feet of the Pope. The memory in the church of Santa Croce, the scholastic, by which we mean the church pantheon of Italian geniuses, a costly mon- theology of the age, as resting upon the ument, between those of Michael Angelo Aristotelian philosophy and Catholic traand Alfieri, with the inscription : Onorate dition, had found in Thomas Aquinas its l' altissimo poeta, (Honor the most exalted most genial and profound representative; of poets.)
and had sought to show that its doctrines Dante was of middle stature, somewhat the absolute truth, even to the bent in later years, yet full of dignity in smallest particulars. At the side of this, his general appearance. His countenance, in the way of supplement, stood the syswhich has been preserved for the future tem of the Mystics; in which, with the world, by his friend the celebrated painter neglect of dialectic thought and disputaGiotto, is very characteristic: a noble po tion, it was attempted to enter into cometical brow, a bold aquiline nose, a proudly munion with the original fountain of life, prominent lower lip; conveying the expres by a bold act of direct consciousness and sion of nobleness and earnestness, and of a love-inspired feeling; according to the contemplative and commanding disposition. maxim of Bernard of Clairvaur: Tantum One reads Eternity enstamped upon these Deus cognoscitur, quantum diligitur. features, and does not wonder that the Monkery had also reached its highest point, women of Verona pointed at him, with in the forniation of those colossal monasthe words: Eccovi l'uom oh' è stato all' tic orders, the Franciscans, Dominicans, inferno! (Behold the man that has been in &c., which surrounded the moral life of Hell!) He was of a melancholy tempera the nations as with a net, and introduced ment. He lived buried in profound thought, the practical ideas of Catholicism into the and brooded over the past. Hence he poorest huts. In the same century were appeared tiresome to spiritless and com erected the most celebrated of those Gothmon-place minds. Prince Cangrande of ic domes, which by a wonderful and proVerona once asked him, why he could found symbolism represented the reconcilnot entertain his court so well as a certain iation of heaven and earth, and formed an buffoon, who happened to be present. image of the hierarchy itself. Dante replied, with sarcastic pride : Perche Finally, the greatest crusades were now ciascuno ama il suo simile, (because every accomplished, in which whole hosts of one loves his like.) His works, more espe- soldiers, peasants, princes, and prelates of cially his Divina Commedia, exhibit a rare the Occident, had, at the command of the union of the philosopher and the poet. successor of Peter, left their homes, famiHence Raphael, with genial grasp, has lies, trades, property, and possessions,