The Atlantic Monthly/Volume 18/Number 108/Reviews and Literary Notices

The Atlantic Monthly  (1866) 
Reviews and Literary Notices

Featured in Volume 18, Number 108 of The Atlantic Monthly. (October 1866)


Elements of International Law. By Henry Wheaton, LL. D., etc. Eighth Edition. Edited, with Notes, by Richard Henry Dana, Jr., LL. D. Boston: Little, Brown, & Co. 1866. 8vo. pp. 749.

Lord Westbury, in one of his masterly speeches on law reform, spoke with much truth, and in terms of severe censure, of the neglect with which public law has heretofore been treated in England, and the scanty contributions of English writers to it. And it is undoubtedly true, that, as the English language has no name by which to designate that branch of the law called by the civilians jus, and by the French publicists droit, so English libraries are without any great national work on this subject, although the English bar has produced innumerable treatises on municipal law, which are high models of profound learning, acute logic, and luminous exposition; and Great Britain is still chiefly dependent for her international law upon the decisions of Lord Stowell and a few other judges, and the commentaries of the Continent and America.

But from an early period in our political history, international law has been a favorite study in the United States, both with jurists and statesmen. Our war of independence and the succeeding treaties gave rise to questions for solution by it of the greatest nicety, and thus attracted immediate attention to the whole science. To these there followed in quick succession our long-pending dispute with Great Britain upon her exercise of the oppressive claims of visitation and search, our position as a neutral nation during the long wars in Europe, our own war with England, and the wars between Spain and her revolted colonies. Such a succession of events, fruitful in international controversies, created a demand for the study of the law of nations such as is always sure to be supplied. The state papers of Mr. Madison and Mr. John Quincy Adams are a permanent monument to their familiarity with this subject. Contemporaneous with them were the unrivalled decisions of the Supreme Court when presided over by Chief Justice Marshall, and later have been published the works of Kent, Wheaton, Story, and other writers. All of these together comprise a treasure of learning of which we may well be proud.

Mr. Wheaton, by general consent, occupies the first place among our commentators. Inferior as a jurist to Chancellor Kent, he is not so high an authority upon any question which the latter carefully and thoroughly examined; but long study and training, first before the Supreme Court, when he was not only the reporter of its decisions during the international era, but was of counsel in most of the important cases involving international law, and afterwards in an extended and useful diplomatic career in Europe, gave him an unequalled familiarity with the whole subject; and he treated it in a much more elaborate manner than did Kent, who only discussed it as a branch of the more general science covered by his Commentaries. No better evidence of the value of Mr. Wheaton's book is needed than the high estimation in which it is held in Europe, and particularly in England, where, as the production of a common-law lawyer, it has a greater value than the works of Continental scholars, and for reasons of which we shall speak presently. Lord Lyndhurst early bore testimony to its great merits, and during the last few years it has been universally regarded as an authority of the highest standard. No other publicist has been so frequently cited in the controversies which have grown out of our late civil war. The translation of the book into Chinese is a most interesting fact, flattering to the author, and a proof of the progress which Western thought and civilization are making in the extreme East.

It is of Mr. Dana's edition of this valuable work that we are now called upon particularly to speak. As a new edition of the book was demanded, it was of the greatest importance that it should be placed in the hands of an editor competent to discuss, in a manner worthy of the distinguished commentator, those numerous and perplexing questions which have arisen since his death. The representatives of Mr. Wheaton were singularly fortunate in obtaining the aid of so prominent and so busy a man as Mr. Dana,—one who is himself a high authority on many branches of international law; for it is not an easy matter to prevail upon a leader of the bar, and especially one immersed in the cares of official as well as of professional duties, to undertake a laborious literary work, even if it be of a legal character. Of the editor it is a delicate matter to speak; but we can say without violating good taste, that few members of his profession unite at once, and to an equal degree with him, high professional acquirements, an enviable reputation as an orator and advocate, and the accomplishments of a varied and extensive scholarship, so that the words with which the President of Harvard College, at the recent Commencement, conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws, Virum eloquentium jurisperitissimum, jurisperitorum eloquentissimum, could be applied to him with far less disregard of strict truth than university dignitaries consider allowable on such occasions. A large practice for more than twenty years in the maritime courts has given Mr. Dana an extensive and intimate acquaintance with one part of the subject he has here undertaken; and his duties as United States District Attorney for Massachusetts, throughout the late war, obliged him to examine most carefully the whole law of prize, of neutral and contraband trade, and of blockade. The results of his labors comprise nearly half of the volume before us, and deserve some higher appellation than notes. Nowhere, however, does Mr. Dana push himself before his author. He never seems to forget that his duty is to prepare a new edition of Wheaton's Commentaries, not to write a book of his own; and he is content modestly to illustrate the text, and to supply the omissions needed to bring the book down to the present day.

It is not necessary to say that, in a literary point of view, Mr. Dana has done his work well. His style is a model of terseness, vigor, and perspicuity, and yet the reader is constantly charmed by its chaste purity and grace. We can say of him what Macaulay said of Bacon, that he has a wonderful talent of packing thought close and rendering it portable. It is a long time since we have read a book in which so much matter was compressed into so small a space. The good taste and polished courtesy with which Mr. Dana treats of any controverted point cannot be too much praised; and his calmness and moderation in their discussion are judicial in their nature and extent, and give additional weight to his opinions.

We have been surprised to see notices of the work in which Mr. Dana is criticised for want of enthusiasm. If by this is meant that he lacks enthusiasm for his subject, the criticism is entirely misplaced. We doubt whether, without that, he could ever have been induced to edit this book; and on every page, and in almost every line, convincing proof can be found of the love and devotion which the editor feels for the law, and especially for this department of it, to the study and practice of which he has devoted so many years. It is this enthusiasm that renders the notes to us more interesting than the text. Things which Mr. Wheaton discusses as abstractions seem in Mr. Dana's hands to become living realities. In one the scholar's temperament predominates; in the other the lawyer's and the politician's. If, however, the criticism applies to the rigid impartiality which the editor brings to the discussion of those contemporaneous events concerning which the passions of men have been most recently and deeply aroused, we regard it as high praise. If Mr. Dana's views be wrong, it is not likely that the indulgence of a partisan enthusiasm would have corrected them; if they be right, the absence of all passion, the studied courtesy and tolerant moderation which mark every line of argument, add infinite strength to his conclusions.

The legal merits of Mr. Dana's annotations require other and higher tests. They depend upon the accuracy of his statements and reasoning, and the amount of assistance which those will obtain who seek it from him. To investigate this would require more space than we can now give, and rather falls within the province of a professional reviewer. A strong conviction of the soundness of his logic, however, involuntarily follows a careful perusal of these notes, and will have no little influence with those who feel it. This is partly owing to the passionless tone of his discussion, of which we have before spoken. The amount of historical and general political information which this book contains will give it value aside from its legal character, and demands for it a very general circulation.

The note upon the sources of international law is exceedingly instructive. Notwithstanding his long practice in admiralty and constant study of civil and foreign law, our editor adheres to his strong Saxon preference for actual judicial decisions as the best evidence of all law. The opinion of Continental writers is seen in its strongest light in a recent French author, who has pushed the doctrine as far as any one else, if not farther. After quoting several definitions of international law, Mr. Dana says:—

"Hautefeuille divides international law into two parts, which he calls primitif and secondaire,—the first containing, as he says, the principles, the absolute basis, of the law; and the second, the measures or provisions for calling up these principles and securing their execution. In the application of this theory, it will be found that the distinguished writer usually treats the primitive law, or the well or fountain of first principles, as of actual authority, where no express agreement departs from it; and so much of the practice of nations as consists in judicial decisions adopted, enforced, and acquiesced in, he considers as of less authority than the primitive law as it lies in the breast of the text-writers. . . . .

"Commentators seem agreed as to what are the sources of international law. They differ as to the relative importance and authority of these sources. Hautefeuille especially gives little weight to the decisions of prize courts, and places far before them the speculations of writers. It is noticeable that Continental writers incline the same way, although they may not go as far; while Wheaton, Kent, Story, Halleck, and Woolsey in America, and Phillimore, Manning, Wildman, Twiss, and others in England, give a higher place to judicial decisions. This is attributable to the different systems of municipal law under which they are educated. In England and America, judicial decisions are authoritative declarations of the common law, i. e. the law not enacted by decrees of legislators, but drawn from the usages and practices of the people, and from reason and policy. They are at the same time the highest evidence of what the law is. Under those systems, writers are brought to the test of judicial decisions; and even those portions of the opinions of the court itself not necessary to the decision of the cause before it are termed obiter dicta, and are not authority, but stand on no higher ground than voluntary speculations of learned men as to what the law might prove to be in a supposed case. The Continental writers, on the other hand,—living under municipal systems in which judicial decisions hold no such place, and are neither precedents, authoritative declarations, nor authentic evidence of the law,—are led by their education to look to but one authoritative source of law,—the decrees of legislators; and, in the absence of these, naturally put the scientific treatises of learned men, systematic, and enriched with illustrations, above the special decisions of tribunals on single cases, which, by their systems, do no more than settle the particular controversy, without settling the principles evoked for its decision."

The editor then sums up the respective merits of these two methods of deducing the principles of international law at a length which prevents our quoting the whole for the benefit of our readers. In conclusion he says:—

"As an offset to this [the supposed impartiality of commentators], it is to be remembered that the commentator will often be a man of books and speculations, rather than of affairs; and that the judicial habit of determining actual controversies, in full view of both their nature and consequences, is most likely to evoke such rules of law as will be able to hold their place among the interests, policies, passions, and necessities of life.

"Attempts to deduce international law from a theory that each individual is by nature independent, and has, by an implied contract, surrendered some of his natural rights and assumed some artificial obligations, for the purpose of establishing society for the common advantage,—and that each state is, in like manner, independent, and has made like concessions for a like purpose of international advantages,—such attempts fall with the theories on which they rested. As no such state of things ever existed, and no such arrangements or compacts have ever been made, it is safer to draw principles of law from what is actual. Later writers, since philosophy has dropped the theory of the social compact, go upon the assumption, that men and communities are by nature what they have always been found to be; that the rights and duties of each man are, by Divine ordination, originally and necessarily, those at once of an individual and a member of society; and that the rights and duties of a state are, in like manner, those at once of an individual state and one among a number of states; and that neither class of these rights or duties is artificial, voluntary, or secondary.

"In considering, therefore, whether a certain rule should or should not be adopted, the test is not its capacity to be carried through a circuitous and artificial course, beginning in a supposed natural independence of the human being, and ending in another supposed entity compounded of all civilized states, but various elements enter into the solution of international questions, and in various degrees, as fitness to conduce to the highest and most permanent interests of nations as a whole, of nations taken separately, differing as nations do in power and pursuits and interests, and of the human beings that compose those societies. If the question involves high ethics, it must be met in the faith that the highest justice is the best interest of all. If it be a question chiefly of national advantage, and of means to an admitted end, it must be met by corresponding methods of reasoning."

M. Hautefeuille, particularly, finds little favor with Mr. Dana. Repeatedly rules laid down by him are dismissed with the bare remark, that "he is without support either by judicial decisions, treaties, the opinions of commentators of received authority, or diplomatic positions taken by nations"; or, as in another place, that the principle broached "is merely a suggestion of the learned commentator as a possible policy, and has no support either in the practice of nations or the works of publicists";—but the editor never condescends to meet the French writer upon his own field of casuistry and speculation. And in this we think he is right. The discussion of rules existing only in a text-writer's belief in their abstract justice, would be entirely useless labor in any writer in the English language; for whatever may be the system of Continental Europe, neither the United States, nor Great Britain, nor any one of the future kindred nations that will grow out of the English colonies, will ever pay much regard to a doctrine so foreign to that noble system of law which, like their common tongue, will be a permanent proof of their common origin.

Two of the most admirable of Mr. Dana's notes are those on the "relations of the United States judiciary to the Constitution and statutes," and on "the United States a supreme government"; and they deserve careful perusal from all desirous of fully understanding our system of government. From the first we cannot refrain from making one extract, which may help to explain to our non-professional readers a difficult principle of law which we have never before seen so concisely and at the same time so clearly stated.

"In cases before it, the Supreme Court has no other jurisdiction over constitutional questions than is possessed by the humblest judicial tribunal, State or national, in the land. The only distinction is, that it is the court of final resort, from whose decision there is no appeal. The relations of all courts to the Constitution arise simply from the fact that, being courts of law, they must give to litigants before them the law; and the Constitution of the United States is law, and not, like most European political constitutions, a collection of rules and principles having only a moral obligation upon the legislative and executive departments of the government. Accordingly, each litigant, having the right to the highest law, may appeal from a statute of Congress, or any other act of any officer or department, State or national, and invoke the Constitution as the highest law. The court does not formally set aside or declare void any statute or ordinance inconsistent with the Constitution. It simply decides the case before it according to law; and if laws are in conflict, according to that law which has the highest authority, that is, the Constitution. The effect of the decree of the final court on the status of the parties or property in that suit is of course absolute, and binds all departments of the government. The constitutional principle involved in the decision, being ascertained from the opinion,—if the court sees fit to deliver a full opinion,—has in all future cases in courts of law simply the effect of a judicial precedent, whatever that may be. Upon the political department of the government and upon citizens the principle decided has, in future cases, not the binding force of a portion of the Constitution, but the moral effect due to its intrinsic weight and to the character of the tribunal, and the practical authority derived from the consideration that all acts inconsistent with it will be inoperative, by reason of the judicial power which any citizen may invoke against their operation."

Our space will not allow us to make further quotations. Among those notes which are especially interesting to the non-professional reader we may mention those on the much misunderstood Monroe doctrine; on naturalization; on the effect of belligerent occupation on slavery, and the President's Proclamation of Emancipation,—in which Mr. Dana maintains the same position that he has heretofore taken in his political speeches, and of the correctness of which there can be no doubt; the very excellent examination of the neutrality statutes and decisions, and the note on the case of the Trent,—a model of calm, judicial dissertation. The recent agitation of the subjects of all of these makes them matters of general interest, and we cannot but think that the timely publication of this edition of Mr. Wheaton's work will aid efficiently in the satisfactory settlement of some of them. True to the principles which he holds of the evidences of international law, Mr. Dana avoids spending much time in discussing questions still unsettled, satisfying himself with a clear statement of the present state of each controversy, and leaving it for the future attention of statesmen and jurists. Attached to the volume is a full and carefully prepared Index,—sufficient for all the requirements of any reasonably intelligent reader.

We cannot dismiss this book without alluding to the newspaper controversy which the editor of the two preceding editions has started, and seems determined to keep alive, even if he have no antagonist. We wish to do full justice to Mr. Beach Lawrence's services to the science of public law. His industry and the extent and variety of his information will always make his writings valuable as books of reference,—much as we think this value is lowered by his method of treatment and partisan views. Some natural disappointment and irritation would be excusable in him on the announcement that a work, of which he imagined he enjoyed a monopoly, was receiving the attention of so formidable a rival; but this does not excuse the bad taste and bad temper with which he has published his complaints. Of the merits of his dispute with Mr. Wheaton's heirs we know little, and shall say nothing, except that they have been guided in their conduct by what they regarded as high legal opinion of their rights and obligations, and that, if Mr. Lawrence has been wronged, the courts of which he talks so much, but to which he seems to be so slow to appeal, will give him redress. But if it be considered becoming to drag ladies and their private circumstances before the public in the manner in which Mr. Lawrence has done it, there must be a grievous decline of the old chivalrous feeling in regard to women. Still more solemnly must we protest against his recent charges against Mr. Dana. In these he impugns the honor of a distinguished contemporary, charging him with gross and impudent piracy of the results of another's labors. If there be foundation for these charges, they ought to be made; but there are two ways of making them, and the course which Mr. Lawrence has taken in bringing them, at a time when Mr. Dana is absent from the country, and leaving them to rest solely on his own unsupported assertion—without citing or referring to any of the facts which he declares exist—is highly censurable. We have found no evidence of the truth of his charges in a cursory examination of a considerable part of both works; and a friend upon whose judgment we place full reliance, and who has carefully compared the labors of the two editors, assures us that there is nothing which at all substantiates them. Mr. Lawrence has needlessly involved his own character in this affair; and the public will demand from him proofs of a most flagrant violation of the rights of literary property, before it will be inclined to admit any palliation for the errors he has committed in conducting the controversy.

English Travellers and Italian Brigands. A Narrative of Capture and Captivity. By W. J. C. Moens. New York: Harper and Brothers.
Prison-Life in the South: at Richmond, Macon, Savannah, Charleston, Columbia, Charlotte, Raleigh, Goldsborough, and Andersonville, during the Years 1864 and 1865. By A. O. Abbott. New York: Harper and Brothers.

The narrative of Mr. Moens, so far as it relates to the general subject of brigandage in South Italy, will hardly present anything novel to those who have at all studied the history or character of that scourge. In fact, Italian brigandage is a very simple affair, about which it is hard to say anything new. Given a starving, beaten, superstitious population in a mountainous country, destitute of roads, and abounding in easy refuges and inaccessible hiding-places, and you have brigandage naturally. Given centuries of weak, cruel, and corrupt government, and you have the perpetuation of brigandage inevitably. From time immemorial, the social and political conditions in Naples have been deprivation and oppression; and cause and effect have so long been convertible, that it is often difficult to know one from the other. The prevalence of brigandage demands measures on the part of the government compared with the severity of which martial law is lax and mild; and the crime which provokes these harsh measures has revived again from the disaffection which they produce. All authorities on the subject are agreed that brigandage finds its shield and support in the fears of the people, and the complete system of espionage which the robbers are enabled to maintain through their accomplices in society. These are sometimes priests and persons of station, but more commonly peasants whose friends or relatives are brigands. During the French-republican rule of Naples, when Manhès was at the head of the troops assigned the duty of extirpating brigandage, the robbers were for once destroyed by the terrible measures taken against their accomplices. No one suspected of communicating with them in any way was spared. Men were shot for selling them food. Women and children taking food into the fields to eat while at work were shot, under an order forbidding this custom lest the provisions should fall into the hands of the robbers. For once, the authorities outbid the brigands for the terror of the wretched inhabitants, and annihilated them. But it was natural, in a country where every peasant is a possible brigand, and only waits for a lawless impulse or lawless deed to make him an actual brigand, that brigandage should flourish again as soon as the rigid procedure against it was relaxed. The returning Bourbons found it on every hill; and though they combated it with fitful severity and unremitting treachery, they left it essentially unimpaired to the Italian government in 1860. It is by no means true—as Mr. Moens asserts upon the authority of Murray's Guide-Book—that the late Bourbon government did anything towards effectually suppressing brigandage. The brigands were put down in one place to spring up in another, and they swarmed everywhere after a lean harvest. They never were effectually suppressed, except by Manhès; and, as the Italian government has mercifully refused to adopt his course for their destruction, it is probable that they will exist until the country is generally opened with roads, and the people educated, and, above all, Protestantized. For it must never be forgotten that, since the union of Naples with Italy, brigandage has been fostered by the Bourbons and the Papists, and that the Italians have had to fight, not only the robbers in Naples, but Francis II. and Pius IX. at Rome.

To the readers of the newspapers, the name of Mr. Moens is known as that of the English gentleman who was taken by brigands in May of last year, on his return from a little pleasure excursion to Pæstum. He and his party—consisting of his wife and the Rev. Mr. Aynsley and wife—had trusted too implicitly in the notice given by their landlord that the road from Salerno to the famous temples was free from brigands, and guarded by troops. Near a little town called Battipaglia, the military having been withdrawn temporarily to permit the families of some captives to negotiate their ransom with the band of Giardullo, the band of Manzo swooped down upon the unhappy tourists, and carried off both the gentlemen of the party. The troops appeared almost immediately after the capture, but the brigands escaped with their prisoners, one of whom they released a few days later, that he might return to Naples, and raise the ransom demanded for himself and his friend. The book, from this point, is the relation of Mr. Moens's trials and adventures with the bandits, and Mrs. Moens's hardly less terrible efforts and anxieties for his release. It was decided by the band that their captive was a Milord, and they demanded a ransom of $200,000 for him, subsequently reducing the sum to $30,000, which was paid them in instalments, and which having received in full, they released their prisoner after a captivity of four months. All the negotiations for the ransom of Mr. Moens had to be carried on in defiance of Italian law, and by indulgence of its officers; for to supply the brigands with food or money is an offence punishable with twenty years in the galleys. Generous English friends at Naples interested themselves in the affair, and the aid which Mrs. Moens received from Italians in private and official station was no less cordial and constant. Indeed, the business of Mr. Moens's recapture became of almost international importance. All the Italian troops in the region were employed in pursuit of Manzo's band; and a British man-of-war was sent to a certain point on the coast, in the hope that the bandits could be induced to go on board by the promise of impunity, and transfer to England.

In the mean time Mr. Moens remained with his captors, sharing all their perils and privations, and making perforce the most faithful study ever made of their life. It must be confessed that the picture has few features attractive to people at peace with society. Most of the brigands are men who have placed themselves beyond the law by some hideous crime,—or misfortune, as they would call it in Naples,—and in other cases they are idle ruffians, who have taken to robbery because they like it. They generally look forward to a time when, having placed a sufficient amount of money at interest, they can surrender themselves to the authorities, pass a few comfortable years in prison, and issue forth ornaments to society. To be sure, this scheme is subject to chances. They are hunted by the soldiers, day and night, like wild beasts; and, if taken under arms, are shot without trial. Half the time they are without food, and suffer the agonies of hunger and thirst; and they are always without shelter, except such as trees or caverns can give. When they have anything, they "eat their bread with carefulness, and drink their water with astonishment,"—quarrelling over it a good deal, and trying to steal from one another. When they have nothing, they buckle their belts tighter, and bear it as best they may.

Mr. Moens, who fared no better than the rest, does not seem to have fared much worse. Indeed, he was much more comfortably situated than the ladies of the band, who, being dressed as men, were armed and obliged to fight like their comrades, and yet had no share of the spoils, but received many more cuffs and hard words than we, who have only seen them in pictures, can well associate with the idea of brigandesses.

Being poor ignorant peasants originally, and being afterwards poor ignorant robbers, the brigands inflicted little unnecessary suffering upon their prisoner. Occasionally, to be sure, they struck him; but this was in hot blood, and he was allowed to strike back and restore the balance of justice. These wretched creatures, imbruted and stained with innumerable murders, seem to have had very little idea of the usages of civilized people in regard to captives; and any one who will compare the story of Mr. Moens with the narratives of the prisoners given in Mr. Abbott's book, will see how absurdly the bandits neglected their advantages. After all, it is your high-toned Southern gentleman, compact of the best blood of the Cavaliers and the Huguenots, and presenting in this unhappy hemisphere the finest reflection of the English nobleman's character, who understands best how to use a prisoner. There is nothing like having in your power from childhood a number of helpless human beings, to teach you how to treat a captured enemy; and we cannot help thinking that Mrs. Moens, who will not spare the American Unionists a sneer in the first chapter of her diary, would have understood us better if her husband had been in the hands of Captain Wirz instead of Captain Manzo. Had Mr. Moens been a soldier of the Union, taken while fighting to defend his country against rebellion, he would have been carried into the midst of a people inured to the practice of cruelty by slavery, and all the more abominable because they believed themselves Christian and civilized. There he would have been thrust into a roofless close, already densely thronged with thousands of famished, sick, and maddened men. He would have had no shelter from the blazing sun or drenching storm, except such as the happier wild creatures make themselves in holes and burrows. Guards, emulous in murder, would have been set over him, with instructions to shoot him, if he reached, in the delirium of famine, across a certain line to clutch a bone, or stooped to moisten his lips in a pool less filthy than those at which his comrades quenched their thirst within the bounds. In the mountains of Naples, the brigands gave him to eat and drink of their scanty fare, and shared with him the last crust and the last drop. In Georgia, in the midst of plenty, his keepers would have slowly starved him to death, and would have driven away, with threats and curses, any that offered to succor his distress. If he escaped, they would have hunted him with bloodhounds, and so brought him back; and if he sickened under his torture, they would have left him, naked and unsheltered, to languish with wasting disease and devouring vermin,—to die, or to rot and drop away piecemeal while yet alive.

Other writers on brigandage, besides Mr. Moens, relate anomalous facts concerning it, which can, perhaps, be matched only in this country, where alone the cruelty and impunity of Italian brigandage can be matched. It is well known that for a long time the heirs of Fra Diavolo received from the government a pension bestowed in recognition of that distinguished chief's services to humanity. The retired chief, Talarico, is now in the undisturbed enjoyment of the gains of brigandage upon his place near Naples; and Count Saint-Jorioz, in his interesting work, Il Brigantaggio alla Frontiera, Pontificia, declares that in some cases the employés of the Italian government in the Neapolitan provinces are men known to have been in other times manutengoli, or accomplices of brigands; nay, that sometimes the very courts of law have favored, instigated, and connived at brigandage. Similarly, in our own country, we find men guilty of the cruelties of Andersonville and Columbia, and stained with treason, in the enjoyment of offices and honors throughout the South, while the servants of the law lend themselves to violence and murder with a boldness unheard of in Naples, where there is some show of decency in these things. At least, we have not read of the sindaco and policemen of any town of the Abruzzi who have openly applauded and joined the brigands in hunting and slaughtering peaceable inhabitants, as happened lately in New Orleans and Memphis; and we feel quite sure that, if they had committed such an offence, it would not have been passed over in silence by the head of the Italian people. But, then, with all their errors, the Italians have not yet intrusted great power to the hands of a peasant of the class which produces brigands; whereas we have taken for our chief magistrate a man in whom everything generous and noble seems to have been extinguished by the hard conditions of a poor white's life at the South.

This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.