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Worn by incessant fatigue, broken in fortune, debarred by public opinion, prejudice, or tradition, from future employment, the wisest and best who have filled that office have retired to private life, to remember rather the failure of their hopes than the success of their efforts. He must, indeed, be a self-confident man who could hope to fill the chair of Washington with satisfaction to himself, with assurance of receiving on his retirement the meed awarded by the people to that great man, that he had "done enough for life and for glory," or even feeling that the sacrifice of self had been compensated by the service rendered to his country.
FAREWELL TO THE SENATE, 1861, ON THE OCCASION OF
THE SECESSION OF MISSISSIPPI FROM THE UNION.
I rise, Mr. President, for the purpose of announcing to the Senate that I have satisfactory evidence that the state of Mississippi, by a solemn ordinance of her people, in convention assembled, has declared her separation from the United States. Under these circumstances, of course, my functions are terminated here. It has seemed to me proper, however, that I should appear in the Senate to announce that fact to my associates, and I will little say but very more. The occasion does not invite me to go into argument, and my physical condition would not permit me to do so, if it were otherwise; and yet it seems to become me to say something on the part of the State I here represent on an occasion so solemn as this.
It is known to Senators who have served with me here that I have for many years advocated, as an essential attribute of State sovereignty, the right of a State to secede from the Union. Therefore, if I had not believed there was justifiable cause, if I had thought that Mississippi was acting without sufficient provocation, or without an existing neces
sity, I should still, under my theory of the government, because of my allegiance to the State of which I am a citizen, have been bound by her action. I, however, may be permitted to say that I do think she has justifiable cause, and I approve of her act. I conferred with her people before that act was taken, counselled them then that, if the state of things which they apprehended should exist when their convention met, they should take the action which they have now adopted.
I hope none who hear me will confound this expression of mine with the advocacy of the right of a State to remain in the Union, and to disregard its constitutional obligations by the nullification of the law. Such is not my theory. Nullification and Secession, so often confounded, are, indeed, antagonistic principles. Nullification is a remedy which it is sought to apply within the Union, and against the agent of the States. It is only to be justified when the agent has violated his constitutional obligations, and a State, assuming to judge for itself, denies the right of the agent thus to act, and appeals to the other States of the Union for a decision; but when the States themselves, and the people of the States have so acted as to convince us that they will not regard our constitutional rights, then, and then for the first time, arises the doctrine of secession in its practical application.
A great man, who now reposes with his fathers, and who has often been arraigned for a want of fealty to the Union, advocated the doctrine of nullification because it preserved the Union. It was because of his deep-seated attachment to the Union-his determination to find some remedy for existing ills short of a severance of the ties which bound South Carolina to the other States—that Mr. Calhoun adyocated the doctrine of nullification, which he proclaimed to be peaceful, to be within the limits of State power, not to
disturb the Union, but only to be the means of bringing the agent before the tribunal of the States for their judgment.
Secession belongs to a different class of remedies. It is to be justified upon the basis that the States are sovereign. There was a time when none denied it. I hope the time may come again when a better comprehension of the theory of our Government, and the inalienable rights of the people of the States, will prevent any one from denying that each State is a sovereign, and thus may reclaim the grants which it has made to any agent whomsoever.
In the course of my service here, associated at different times with a great variety of Senators, I see now around me some with whom I have served long; there have been points of collision, but, whatever of offence there has been to me, I leave here. I carry with me no hostile remembrance. Whatever offence I have given which has not been redressed, or for which satisfaction has not been demanded, I have, Senators, in this hour of our parting, to offer you my apology for any pain which, in the heat of the discussion, I have inflicted. I go hence unencumbered by the remembrance of any injury received, and having discharged the duty of making the only reparation in my power for any injury offered.
Mr. President and Senators, having made the announcement which the occasion seemed to me to require, it only remains for me to bid you a final adieu.
EDGAR ALLAN POE.
EDGAR ALLAN POE was born in Boston while his parents were filling a theatrical engagement there. His father's family was of Baltimore, his grandfather being Gen. David
Poe of the Revolutionary War, and his father, also named David Poe, having been born and reared in that city. His mother, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Arnold, was an English actress of fascinating beauty and manners.
Left an orphan in 1811, Edgar was adopted by Mr. John Allan, a wealthy merchant of Richmond, and was educated at private schools and the University of Virginia, and in 1830 he entered West Point. But he got himself dismissed the next year and devoted himself thereafter to a literary life. Mr. Allan declining to aid him further, he had a wretched struggle for existence.
He seems to have gone to Baltimore and made acquaintance with some of his relatives; and there he won a prize of $100 by a story, "MS. Found in a Bottle," and was kindly helped by John Pendleton Kennedy. He became editor of the "Southern Literary Messenger," in Richmond, and was afterward engaged on various other magazines, writing stories, poems, book-reviews, and paragraphs, in untiring abundance.
He married his cousin, Virginia Clemm, in 1836, and their life together was in itself ideally happy, like the life in the Valley of the Many-Coloured Grass; and Mrs. Clemm, his aunt and mother-in-law, was the good genius who watched over "her two strange children " with an unwearying devotion, deserving the tribute of the love and gratitude embalmed in his sonnet called "Mother."
His engagement with any one magazine rarely lasted long, and there is much diversity of opinion as to the cause; some ascribing it to Poe's dissipated, irregular habits and irritable temper, others to the meagre support of the magazines, still others to Poe's restless disposition and desire to establish a periodical of his own. His uncontrolled and high-strung nature, so sensitive that a single glass of wine
or swallow of opium caused temporary insanity, the uncertainty of his means of subsistence, his wife's frail health and her death in 1847, were causes sufficient to render unsteady even a more solid character than Poe seems to have possessed.
His writings produced a great sensation. When "The Raven" was published in 1845, a friend said of its effect in New York, "Everybody has been raven-mad about his last poem." Mrs. Browning wrote that an acquaintance of hers who had a bust of Pallas could not bear to look at it. His fame is as great, or perhaps greater in Europe than in America, especially in France; and his works have been translated into French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Russian.
He died in Baltimore from causes never certainly known, his last almost unconscious days being spent in a hospital; his dying words were, "Lord, help my poor soul." He is buried in Westminster churchyard, and in 1875 a monument was erected over his grave by the teachers of Baltimore, generously aided by Mr. G. W. Childs of Philadelphia. A memorial to him has been placed in the Metropolitan Museum, New York, by the actors of the United States.
No poet has been the subject of more conflicting opinions as to his life, habits, character, and genius, than Poe. The best lives of him are those by John H. Ingram, an Englishman, and George E. Woodberry in the American Men of Letters Series.
Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym.
Gold Bug, Balloon Hoax, &c.
Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque.
Literati of New York.
Conchologist's First Book (condensed from Wyatt).
All his best known stories are highly artistic in finish, powerful in theme, and often of such a nature as to make