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rallied no friends around him and had no party. That a singular spectacle was now presented-heretofore if a member of the Administration party abandoned the President he was instantly assailed and certainly prostrated, but now whoever ventured to support the President was as certainly ruined. He talked of his meditated Veto message—said he should criticise the bill with much severity. Mr. Webster thought it imprudent and not entirely consistent with official dignity to do so that such a paper ought to be calm, elevated and full of dignity. The hope was expressed by some of us that he might yet approve the bill and we parted.
I walked to the Department with Mr. Webster who said we must prepare the public through the press for the event and wished me to call and see him in the morning.
Sept. 5". After reflecting very fully on what occurred at the President's yesterday, I made up my mind that we ought not yet to give up the question or attempt to bring the public mind to an acquiescence in it. I called on Mr. Webster and gave him my views fully which were—
That the President had given him a fine opening for a free and confidential conversation at which he might tell him in the fulness of gratitude and in the sincerity of friendship the whole truth as to his present position-to show him the certain ruin of private reputation and political power consequent upon the contemplated Veto and perhaps induce him to avoid the gulf into which he was about to plunge. Well knowing the motives likely to operate on the mind of the President I suggested to Mr. Webster this course of conversation—
1st. To express his grateful feelings to the President for the friendly consideration of himself (Mr. W.) which had governed his (the President's) action in framing his inaugural.
2d. To speak of his own relations with Mr. Clay, and how and why there was not and could not be cordial amity between them.
3d. To speak of the other members of the Cabinet. Their willingness to support the President against any and all assailants if he would. but give them ground to stand upon. That for myself, I was well impressed with the fact that Mr. Clay exacted great sacrifices of his friends and was willing to sacrifice nothing to them. That I was the friend of Mr. Clay as he (the President) had been his friend, but that I would not fail to sustain the Administration to which I belonged against any attack which Mr. Clay might think fit to make upon it. That I would be very far from sacrificing my own certain present, to his contingent future. That as to Mr. Bell, he was less strongly bound to Mr. Clay than was supposed; that he felt that he had sacrificed enough to Mr. Clay's ambition and that he would be willing to go in cordially with the President if this means were furnished of sustaining himself.
Messrs. Badger and Granger not being friends of Mr. Clay could be the subjects of no jealousy and the presence of Mr. Crittenden as a member of the Cabinet would serve to avert attacks, in the mischief of which, if made he must share.
4th. That he should refer to the suggestions of The President yesterday that the Cabinet had no power or they could have postponed this bill, and say that circumstances had placed it out of their power to exert their influence in this but that their true strength was tested in getting up and carrying through the House the Bill, which was framed by their suggestion to meet the then expressed views of the President. That
he ought not to forget the circumstances under which that bill was got up and the situation in which we were placed with regard to it. That it did not at first meet the views of the members of either house-the country had not spoken upon it and the House was not willing to pass it until they had the assurance of the Senate that it would pass through that body. On full consultation this assurance was obtained and by our intercession and through our influence-hence after the passage of the bill in the House a few members of the Senate could not consistently with good faith, unite with the Locos and defeat the Bill nor could we in good faith ask them to do it; and it was not strange that the two houses should be unwilling, after passing the Bill through one Branch and finding it not only acceptable, but earnestly desired by the country, to abandon it without being able to render a reason to their constituents for such act. Hence it was not a case to test the influence of his Cabinet.
5th. That he should fully and carefully examine the situation of the President, as to the Bill. His committal in the Veto Message-in his inaugural—in his message to the two houses at the opening of the Session and his conversation to members of Congress, declaring his concurrence in such a bill.
6th. That he should undeceive him as to the supposed powerful effect of the public monies in regulating the currency.
In all this Mr. Webster concurred and wrote a note to the President saying that he would see him tomorrow morning.
The Whig papers from all the West and S. W. today were filled with the most bitter denunciations against the President on account of the first Veto. The signature of the Land Bill drew down upon him heavy animadversions from some of the Locos in the Senate yesterday (conversation between Wise and Beilly Peyton yesterday)." And the rumor was rife that the President through Judge Upsher and Alex. Hamilton offered the situation of Attorney-General to McMahon of Baltimore who rejected it with disdain and indignation as a proposed act of treachery to the Whig party.
After our repeated conversations with the President and modifications to meet his views and remove his objections Mr. Webster and myself felt quite safe in assuring Mr. Berrien and Mr. Sergeant that the bill as we had modified it, if passed by the two Houses would receive his sanction. It was so passed without the change of a word, and when I ascertained that he had Vetoed it, I parted with a determination never to meet him again as a member of his Cabinet. Indeed I could not feel that my reputation as a man of truth and candor was safe, while I attempted to represent him. I went to my Department and advised him by letter that I would resign on the next Saturday at 12 o'clock. I wrote my letter of resignation-sent him a blank appointment for a suc
15 Henry A. Wise, representative from Virginia, and Bailie Peyton of Tennessee, formerly representative from that state. The persons mentioned in the next sentence are Judge Abel P. Upshur of Virginia, afterward Secretary of State, the son of General Alexander Hamilton, and John V. L. McMahon, counsel of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and author of An Historical View of Maryland (1831). With this next sentence the diary ends. The rest of the manuscript is in Mr. Ewing's handwriting of much later date.
cessor ad interim-caused my letter of resignation to be recorded and dispatched my messenger with it to the President. Just as I was leaving the Department Mr. Webster's messenger came with a request that I would see him immediately. I called and found him at his table with my letter of resignation lying before him-he took it up as if weighing in his hand and asked me if I recognized it-and added, "it is a harsh paper, the President has not read a word of it; he feels kindly towards you, has authorized me to tell you so, and that as you are determined to resign, if you part in friendship he will give your choice of Foreign Missions-think better of it and withdraw this letter." I told him it was impossible that my people must know why I left the responsible position in which Genl. Harrison with their concurrence had placed me, that the reasons were set forth in that letter and I had made up my mind to abide by it. He told me he had determined to remain for the present that there was one important fact stated which I could have got from no one but him-and as it might disturb his relations with the President he wished me to change the sentence and return the paper to him. I went again to the Treasury Department, made the change-had the record corrected and returned the letter.16
It was published in the Intelligencer Monday morning and caused much sensation." Mr. Webster suffered much by remaining in the Cabinet, with his new associates. It was a mistake from the effects of which he never recovered. My friends who advised me not to resign after the publication of my letter approved what I had done.
Below is a copy taken from the Intelligencer. The record in the Department seems to have been destroyed.
10 In Tyler's Letters and Times of the Tylers, II. 122, note, is a story of the receipt of the letter of resignation by the President and of Webster's taking it. given in a letter of 1883 by John Tyler, jr., the president's son and private secretary.
17 Reprinted in Niles' Register, LXI. 33-34, and partly in Benton, Thirty Years' View, II. 343-345.
REVIEWS OF BOOKS
GENERAL BOOKS AND BOOKS OF ANCIENT HISTORY
Ruins of Desert Cathay: Personal Narrative of Explorations in Central Asia and Westernmost China. By M. AUREL STEIN. In two volumes. (London: The Macmillan Company. 1912. Pp. xxxviii, 546; xxi, 517.)
EASTERN or Chinese Turkestan has been for the past twenty-five years or so the goal of explorers and archaeologists. Russian, British. Indian, Prussian, and French expeditions, starting from different points, invaded either Khotan, or the great Taklamakan Desert beyond, exploring the physical conditions of the land and excavating its ruined or buried sites. The finds of these expeditions were invariably of the highest interest. The entire country, prior to its subjugation by progressive desert sands, seems to have been a sort of triangular exchange for the civilizations of Western Asia, India, and China. Moreover Graeco-Buddhist art which had established itself in Northwestern India in the wake of Alexander's conquest, during the centuries around the Christian era, passed with Buddhism into the land of the Turks or Uigurs and there blended with Chinese art.
Prior to the Mohammedan conquest Turkestan was a hospitable country which kept its doors wide open. It must have been peculiarly unchauvinistic as to nationality and latitudinarian as to religion. Buddhists from India, Manicheans from Persia, Nestorian Christians from Syria, found there a cordial welcome: the native Khans seem to have adopted from time to time one or the other of the imported religions. Vast literary activity, in a surprising number of languages and a still more surprisingly great variety of scripts, there unfolded itself in the centuries after Christ. Manuscripts on all kind of materials, notably wooden tablets, in Turk, Uigur, Tibetan, Sanskrit and other Indian dialects, Manichean, Persian (Sogdian), Chinese, etc., were dug out entire, or in fragments. One or the other new language, notably the Tokhri or Tocharian, a new, mixed, Indo-European language, came to light. Here is the country, doubtless, in which early Christianity came in direct contact with Hinduism; the many resemblances between Christian and Buddhist belief and institutions (notably monasticism) are, at least in part, to be accounted for by mixtures in this easy flowing channel from the West to the East.
Up to the present time Turkestan discoveries were best known to the English-reading public in consequence of M. A. Stein's expedition of .1900-1901. He published a popular account of that expedition in 1903. AM. HIST. REV., VOL. XVIII -8.
under the title Sand-buried Ruins of Khotan. The same intrepid explorer started in 1906 on a two and a half-years' trip which carried him not only through the length and breadth of Chinese Turkestan, but as far east as Kan-Chou, almost in the heart of China-about 1000 miles east of Khotan. The present work contains a very complete account of this journey, abundantly illustrated by maps, photographs, and color plates, which describe excellently the country, the people, the sites, and the countless finds of manuscripts and objects of art and antiquity. Notwithstanding its great size Ruins of Desert Cathay is merely a preliminary report, to be followed in due time by elaborate scientific treatises by specialists in the several domains of philology and archaeology.
A brief notice of such a work, containing as it does more than 1000 pages, and modulating the theme on almost every page, is of necessity a mere suggestion. A fairly systematic digest would call for the space of an elaborate article, a task even then not to be shouldered lightly, especially because the interest of the book depends in no small degree on its very abundant illustrations.
Stein's second expedition starts from the valleys of the Indo-Afghan border, across the Hindu Kush up to the cradle of the river Oxus on the Pamir, the "Roof of the World"; then down in the great basin drained by the river Tarim. The expedition skirts and at one time crosses the Taklamakan Desert, with constant excursions to ruined or sand-buried sites. We can dwell here only on some of the chief results.
The first important find was in the rubbish deposits and stable refuse of a sand-buried town on the Niya River, abandoned since the third century A.D. Here were found hundreds of documents on wood, a kind of "wooden stationery ", used for legal and governmental purposes. The documents are written every time on rectangular or wedge-form tablets, covered with lids, fastened ingeniously with a string and clay seals, so as to prevent unauthorized manipulation. Some of the tablets bear in sockets sunk into their lids two or three seals; this seems to show that they contain agreements or bonds executed before witnesses. They remind us of the Pompeian tablets, separated though they are by a distance of one-third around the earth.
The writing is one of the most ancient forms of Hindu, known as Kharoshti; the language is a form of Prakrit, a medieval Hindu language. A frequent introductory formula: Mahanuava Maharaya lihati, "His Majesty the Mahārāja orders in writing", shows that the administration of this remote region was carried on in Indian language and script as late as the third century A.D. How much earlier no one knows. Most of the seals are from intaglios of classical workmanship, representing Zeus, or Heracles with club and lion's skin, or Pallas Athene with spear and aegis, just as she jumped out of the head of Jupiter-all importations of the Graeco-Buddhist art of Gandhāra.
The next more important act of the expedition concerns the Miran Fort and its treasures. It lies, deserted, about a day's journey to the