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reassemble and eat in common, a harmless meal. From this custom, however, they desisted, after the publication of my edict In consequence of their declaration, I thought it the more necessary to endeavor to extort the real truth, by putting two female slaves to the torture, who were said to officiate in their religious functions; but all I could discover was, that these people were actuated by an absurd and excessive superstition."
We can well imagine how very painful all this was to the affectionate and gentle-hearted Pliny. As a magistrate he could not, without violating his trust, permit any unlicensed assemblages of the people, and he was compelled to punish; but, hoping to escape pursuing the offenders with rigor, he writes to his friend the Emperor Trajan, whose mild and gentle nature he hopes will come to his rescue; nor is he disappointed; he receives an answer from his imperial master, who tells him: "I would not have you officiously enter into any inquiries concerning these men. If they should be brought before you, and the crime should be proved, they must be punished, with this restriction, however, that where the party denies he is a Christian, and shall make it evident he is not, by invoking our gods, let him, in spite of any former suspicion, be pardoned upon his repentance."
There are few more perfect characters in history than Pliny the Younger. Indefatigable, both in the discharge of his duties and the prosecution of his studies; frugal in the management, and generous in the disposal of his fortune; grateful and affectionate as a husband and a friend; just as a magistrate, and high-minded as a senator; he seems to have possessed the whole circle of the virtues, and to have acted his part in all the relations of life with the most charming propriety. He appears to have preserved himself pure in a most degenerate age. Whatever the manners of the Romans were, his were above suspicion. No man, unless perhaps we except Socrates, ever attained to greater perfection in the practice of all the virtues, without the divine influences of Christianity. His weakness, if indeed it cau be called such, was a too eager desire that posterity should know how industrious and humane he was; but this intrusion of self is almost impossible in those who indulge in epistolary correspondence. One of the most charming characteristics was his intense admiration and love for his birth-place.
"Tu.ceq.ue mewque delicice"—" your delight and mine,"—as he says speaking to his friend of his town, their common home. During his life he contributed, both by his example and munificence, to the establishment of a school there, with able teachers at its head. He
also provided a fund for the support of free children; and built a magnificent temple to contain the busts of all the emperors, which he presented to his fellow-citizens. He also resigned voluntarily a legacy, of some fifty thousand dollars value in our money, for the benefit of the city. After his death he left also immense legacies for the endowment of charitable institutions. As Arnold has well said of him: "He rises in our esteem and admiration, when we see him exerting, with a grace that discovers his humanity, as well as his politeness, the noblest acts both of public and private munificence, not so much from the abundance of his wealth, as the wisdom of his economy."
The labor of the day is o'er,
The lamp is lit, the curtains drawn;
My wife and I—two hearts in one.
The snow is falling fast and thick;
Of soothing, mild Killickinick.
Entranced amidst the fragrant haze,
I listen to her loving voice,
Of him, the poet of our choice.
Or prudent clock's remindful tick?
And puff my mild Killickinick.
An empty pipe lies here—a friend's—
A pipe that has suggestive grow n
From Chaucer downward to his own.
No sordid, sorry, wordy trick—
To puff thy claims, Killickinick.
Dear wifey, when life's pipe is broke,
And clay and ashes worthless lie,
Will mount as loving to the sky.
Till quenched is time's exhausted wick;
And gone is life's Killickinick.
PAST PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATIONS.
The American Tress is becoming as remarkable for its docility as it was formerly supposed to be for its ungovernable recklessness. We are within a few months of a Presidential campaign; every editor in the land has his candidate selected; and the topic is one of such interest, that almost any expression of opinion with regard to it would attract attention. But upon what subject is the Press so reticent f Twenty years ago, every newspaper in the country blazed with the names of candidates for the next election, almost as soon as the last one had been decided, and reams of excellent writing-paper were spoiled in recommending those candidates to the favor of the people. The Press has learned wisdom by experience, and now, voluntarily, abstains from prematurely bringing competitors into the arena to be weakened and maimed before the contest begins.
Admitting the wisdom of this policy, we follow the example of our brethren of the Press, not doubting that the American people will in the future, as they have in the past, select for their chief-magistrate the individual who, all things considered, will be the best man for the time. Alexander Hamilton once said, that the mode of electing a President prescribed by the Constitution "was intended to secure to prominent talents and virtues the first honors of our country, and forever to disgrace the barbarous institutions by which executive power is to be transmitted through the organs of generation." If this view of the matter be correct—if the Presidency is to be regarded as a means of rewarding services and honoring merit—then it must be confessed we have failed to carry out the design of the Constitution. On several occasions, indeed, the people have bestowed the Presidency upon men prominent, above all others, for virtue and talent; but, at other times, men have been selected for their insignificance, rather than their prominence, and merely as representing the platform of their party. But under a government such as ours, so long as it is honestly administered, if great talents in the Presidential chair might essentially benefit the nation, inferior talents cannot materially retard its progress. Under John Tyler, the United States continued to advanqe in wealth and in civilization; under George "Washington, it did no more. It is desirable, for many reasons, that the President of the United States should be an able, honorable, and prudent man. All we mean to assert is, that the destinies of the country do not depend
upon an individnal; and, if this had before been doubtful, recent events have established it.
It may be interesting at this stage of our affairs, when parties are about to select men to represent them in the coming canvass, to cast a glance at previous Presidential-elections, and note the various processes by which, among the mass of American citizens, a suitable chief-magistrate has been found. As the mode of electing a President has always been prescribed by law, the chief difficulty has been the nomination of candidates. We have usually had in the United States two political parties nearly equal in strength and numbers, but we have never had two men in the country so clearly representative of the divergent tendencies embodied in those parties, that the people spontaneously looked up to them as their standard-bearers. At the present moment, for example, there is no man in the Republican party, nor one in the Democratic party, who stands out conspicuously as the best representative of either.
So far as we know, but one man has ever governed a nation who was the spontaneous and unanimous choice of its inhabitants. That man was George Washington. In him alone, among the sons of men, were combined all the qualities which could influence a free and virtuous people to select him as their chief. In social position he was the first gentleman of America, and that was a far more important consideration eighty years ago than it is now. His private character was spotless. His prudence had been subjected to every test, and never found insufficient. His military reputation, so captivating to the multitude, was only equaled, among living generals, by that of Frederick the Great. Possessing the traits of character which inspire confidence, an imposing personal presence, and a splendor of reputation unequaled in America, he must have been the choice of the American people, in whatever mode his name had been presented for their suffrages. Every electoral vote was cast for him, and he took his place at the head of the Government with the approval of every individual voter in every State of the Union.
During General Washington's first term, the two parties were formed which, under various names, have ever since contended for the Bupremacy. Each of these parties consisted at first of one man. The first American Democrat, in the party sense of the word, was Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State; and the first Federalist was Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury. These two men, associated in the Cabinet of President Washington, soon discovered that they differed fundamentally on almost every point on which it is desirable that Cabinet ministers should agree. The French Revolution was the great topic at that time. Jefferson, fresh from France, hailed that mighty revolt with the keenest approval, for he had witnessed the oppression which justified it. Hamilton from the first regarded it with dread and horror. Hamilton had a low opinion of mankind, and thought that government must necessarily be both powerful and imposing. Jefferson, on the contrary, respected his fellow-citizens, and desired their Government to be simple, inexpensive, and strictly limited. The consequence was, that the two Secretaries, as Jefferson remarked, were "pitted against each other every day in the Cabinet like two fighting-cocks;" and this dissension, communicating itself to their friends and followers, gradually divided the nation into parties.
Those who sided with Jefferson were called Republicans, and those who sympathized with Hamilton were called Federalists. The Republican party embraced three descriptions of persons: first, young men of intellect and enthusiasm, like Jefferson himself, who had faith in their fellow-men, and believed in the progress of their species ; secondly, a considerable number of the wealthy planters of the South, who, without being Democrats, desired the General Government to be so simple and limited as not to detract from the importance of the State Governments; thirdly, the more intelligent artisans and poor men of the North, who were naturally attracted by the equalizing doctrines of the Declaration of Independence. The Federal party included a large majority of the men of property and education—the men who in all times and lands are naturally disposed to conservatism. These solid men of the land, and the voters whom they influenced, constituted the Federal party.
The first contest between these parties occurred in 1793, when for the second time a President and Vice-President were to be chosen. Washington was unanimously re-elected, but for the second office there was an animated strife.
At the first election in 1788, John Adams had received thirty-four electoral votes out of sixty-seven for the Vice-Presidency, and the rest were divided among ten other candidates, of whom no one received more than nine. In 1792, the party lines were strictly drawn. A caucus of the Republican members of Congress nominated for the Vice-Presidency George Clinton, of New York, and a caucus of Federal members nominated John Adams. In the short space of four years party discipline had become so well-developed in the country, that every elector but five cast his vote for one of these candidates. John Adams received seventy-seven electoral votes; George Clinton,