« AnteriorContinuar »
address the people and authorities of that interesting and recently distracted Republic. A few of these occasional speechesl find a place in this volume, illustrating his views of the country and its government, and their claims to the good will and confidence of our own Republic.2
In 1870, Mr. Seward conceived and carried out the idea of making a voyage around the world, notwithstanding his infirmities, the effects of his injuries in 1865, and his advanced age,— threescore years and ten.3 Several of his speeches on the route were full of vigor and interest.
On this extended and interesting journey, he received many courtesies at the hands not only of the officers of his own government, but from those of the various nations through which he passed. Sovereigns and ministers welcomed him and conversed with him as one with whom they had held long and friendly official intercourse. Many enthusiastic demonstrations of popular feeling and affecting marks of individual regard greeted him in almost every clime.
Arriving at home in October, 1871, he remained at Auburn during the ensuing months, surrounded by his neighbors and friends and frequent visitors from abroad. He commenced the preparation of his autobiography, and proceeded on it as far as the year 1834. Learning of the popular desire and impatience for an account of his travels around the world, he concluded to take up that literary task first, postponing the completion of his autobiography to a later period.4 The volume of travels thus prepared, edited by his adopted daughter, Olive Risley Seward, was published by D. Appleton & Company in 1873, and was widely read.
Mr." Seward, while Secretary of State, on rare occasions went before the people to reiterate in public speeches those great principles which it had been his life work to proclaim and defend.
It was, however, his uniform habit to address his fellow-citizens of Auburn on the night before election. His words on these occasions, more or less studied or ex tempore, were always gathered up and circulated throughout the Union in newspaper and pamphlet. The speeches of 1864 and 1868 — years of presidential elections 2— are preserved in this volume. His speeches in 1856 and 1860 may be found in previous volumes. In 1872, he was too infirm to speak in a public assemblage, but in several letters, made public, he left no ground for any charge of a waning interest in the triumph of Republican principles.
i See p. 579-587.
2 A volume entitled Our Sister Republic, a Gala Trip through Tropical Mexico in 1869-70, etc., by Col. Albert S. Evans, published by the Columbian Book Co., Hartford, Conn., gives an extended account of Mr. Seward's pleasant experience in that country.
s He celebrated his seventieth birthday (May 16, 1871), on his journey, in Egypt.
4 The autobiography thus left unfinished in 1871 was subsequently printed. It forms the commencement of the volume entitled Autobiography, Life and Letters of William H. Seward, published by his son, Frederick W. Seward.
Horace Greeley, whose name had been for so many years associated with Mr. Seward's, was the candidate adopted by the Democratic party to defeat the reelection of President Grant.
The election resulted in the choice of President Grant for the second time.* He received 278 electoral votes. Mr. Greeley died before the electoral votes were cast. There were eighty votes divided among the opponents of President Grant.
Mr. Seward's labors were heavily increased during the war in thwarting the efforts of influential but disloyal citizens, at home and abroad, to involve the country in foreign war.2 By wise and vigorous measures he was able to counteract their best laid plans. In some cases he was compelled to resort to imprisonment of prominent offenders, who, at the close of the war, instituted against him suits at law.
In the project of a canal between and connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans at the Isthmus, Mr. Seward had for many years been deeply interested.- In 1850 he had sustained the Clayton and Bulwer Treaty 3 which attempted to define the relations of the two powers to the enterprise.
In 1856, Mr. Seward, in the Senate, said, "We are the centre of one system, an American one; Great Britain is the centre of another, an European one. Almost in spite of ourselves we are steadily extending and increasing our control over these continents. Notwithstanding her tenacity, she is constantly losing her dominion here. This is within the order of nature. It was for three hundred years the business of European nations to colonize, discipline, and educate American nations. It is now the business of these nations to govern themselves. The decline of European power here practically began with the fall of Canada out of the control of France, in 1763. It has steadily continued, until now only some relics, possessing little vitality, remain. Without any war on our part, Great Britain will wisely withdraw and disappear from this continent within a quarter of a century, or at least within a half a century." 1
1 See post, pp. 505, 540.
2 "Somecitizens, whose disaffection to our form of government has lost them the public confidence, preferring everything to insignificance, have in their despair talked of a dissolution of the Union. These, however, are so few that our madhouses will hold them, should acts follow their words of insanity,'? — Jefferson.
3 See Vol. L, p. 376, Vol. III., pp. 605, 623.
In 1862, he made the canal a subject of correspondence with our Ministers to England and France.
In 1863 he had overcome all the difficulties heretofore presented by the government of Nicaragua in the matter.
In 1868 he projected a treaty with the United States of Colombia, and was so desirous of securing some satisfactory arrangement with that government that he sent Mr. Caleb dishing, as a special agent, to join our Minister at Bogota in the negotiations.
A treaty, embodying the Monroe Doctrine, was agreed upon and signed by the Ministers. It met Mr. Seward's approval, and on the 15th of February, 1869, he transmitted the same to the Senate of the United States. In its 6th Article, it secured to the United States absolute control of the proposed inter-oceanic canal at the Darien crossing.
The treaty was rejected by the Senate of Colombia through French and English influences, and for unknown reasons failed to receive the approval of the Senate of the United States.2
A company was organized in New York to construct the canal.
The corporators met at the house of Peter Cooper, who with Messrs. Roberts, Garrison, Schell, and others had, through the influence of Mr. Seward, become interested in the project. Mr. Seward and Mr. Wm, M. Evarts were also present at the meeting.
The remarks of the foi^mer, to be found among the "Occasional Speeches" of Mr. Seward, in this volume,3 beside their intrinsic interest, have an historical value.
The project of an "Inter-continental Telegraph" engaged the attention of Mr. Seward in the year 1862. On the 14th of May, 1864, he submitted his views thereon to Congress.
The submarine cable between Cape Clear and Cape Race on the Atlantic was not yet in successful operation. Mr. Seward urged upon Congress the construction of a line of telegraph from some point in one of our Northwestern States or .Territories across the border of the United States and through British Columbia and Russian America; thence across Behring Strait; and thence by an inland route to the mouth of the Amoor River, and thence to Irkoutsk in Siberia. This, with the completion of the Atlantic cable, would perfect a circuit around the earth.
i Globe, Appendix, Vol. XXXIV, p. 79.
2 See Appleton's Cyclopaedia for 1869, pp. 108, 704; also Inter-Oceanic Canal, 1880, Putnanis, Publishers; also Sexy. Evarts"1 Report, March 8, 1880, Ex. Doc. No. 112, Senate 46th Cong., 2d Sess.
3 See p. 589.
Congress granted, July 1, 1864, in accordance with the recommendation of Mr. Seward, to Mr. Perry McDonough Collins, the right of way through the public lands of the United States, with other important facilities for the extension of the line.
Mr. Seward's letter to Hon. Z. Chandler, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, produced a marked effect.
• The completion of the Atlantic cable, however, caused the suspension of the Inter-continental.1
Mr. Seward died on the 10th of October, 1872. His remains were followed to their last resting place by thousands of sincere mourners. They were deposited in the Port Hill Cemetery at Auburn. The tomb is of white marble supporting a cross horizontally, upon which rests a wreath of oak and laurel leaves. At the head is a cinerary urn of classic design, around which twines a vine of ivy. On the face of the tomb is the simple inscription
WILLIAM H. SEWAED,
On the base of the urn is the only inscription2 which he desired for his grave, —
He Was Faithful.
The Legislature of New York, in January, 1873, made becoming arrangements to commemorate the death of Mr. Seward. The day fixed for the memorial proceedings was the 18th of April, 1873. On that day the Legislature, the Governor, John A. Dix, the Lieutenant-Governor, the Speaker, and other distinguished persons, assembled in the North Reformed Church of Albany, where an address was delivered by Hon. Charles Francis Adams, of Massachusetts, the late Minister to England. Appropriate religious services, with music, formed a part of the proceedings.
i See Despatches to Clay, Russia, March, 1867- 2 See vol. i. pp. lxxx., 409.
Governor Dix, on introducing Mr. Adams, made the following remarks: —
"A quarter of a century ago, this very month, and within these walls, William H. Seward delivered a memorial discourse on the character and public services of John Quincy Adams.1 And to-day the son of Mr. Adams is here to pronounce a similar discourse on Mr. Seward. Thus, with these two kindred ceremonies are associated the names of three eminent statesmen, who have shared largely in the confidence and respect of their countrymen, and who, by their distinguished talents and the purity of their lives, have contributed as largely to their country's welfare and reputation."
Governor Dix, presiding on this occasion of honor to Mr. Seward, was a quarter of a century before in the Senate of the United States, and in 1849 retired from that body to give place to Mr. Seward then his political opponent.
Soon after Mr. Seward's death, prominent citizens of New York originated the project of a monument to his memory, which took the form of a statue. A committee conferred with Mr. Randolph Rogers, the sculptor, then on a visit in this country, as to the character of the proposed memorial. Subsequently, steps were taken to initiate the enterprise. A commission was given to Mr. Rogers in 1874, and he at once set to work upon his model. The result of his labors is the fine bronze statue which was presented to the city on the 28th of September, 1876. The sculptor, it is thought, has performed his work admirably. In pose, the work is dignified, and although the upper portion of the figure is singularly erect, there is no suggestion of stiffness. Mr. Seward is represented in a sitting position. He has just been writing, and the hand holding the pen has fallen to his side, while he looks forward with an expression suggestive of deep thought. These are the main features of the work, but the details are in no way neglected. The base of the pedestal is of New England granite, and the upper portion of variegated Spezzia marble. The inscription is simple. In the upper tablet, fronting the plaza formed by the junction of Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and Twenty-third Street, is the name "William H. Seward;" and on the larger tablet beneath is inscribed "Governor, United States Senator, Secretary of State of the United States."
The presentation and unveiling was witnessed by thousands of people. Mr. William R. Martin, the president of the Department
i See Vol. III., p. 75.