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He seems to us like a man pursuing an evil path with a faltering tread, and anon turning to retrace his steps while yet there was time. He relaxed his military exertions, and opened communications with the Swedes. He professed to
Schiller says he sought the imperial throne; but this seems to us going too far. The mighty Austrian truncheon would have well become that potent grasp; but the very abilities which fitted him for the place also taught him the folly of aiming at it. He was a man of magnificent schemes, but likewise he was a man of sound wisdom. If his ends had always been lofty, still his means had ever been vast. If his conceptions of his objects were colossal, no less so were his conceptions of his tools. Thus far he had never miscalculated the adequacy of the one or the other, had never allowed himself to become the dupe of an untimely ambition.
It was strange if this practical wisdom, which so long had marked his course, which had carried him safe through undeserved disgrace following close upon self-won triumphs in the hotter blood of younger days, was now at last in his mature years to fail him, and yield before a giddy scheme which none but a madman or an imbecile cuuld cherish. To overturn the throne of Austria ! to depose the descendant of the Cæsars ! His proud soul would have quivered with exultation at the idea. But he who had undertaken much and never failed, who had the benefit of no small experience in measuring the sufficiency of his resources, ought not to have been entrapped by the glamour of magnificence alone. And what implements had he wherewith to accomplish the mighty upheaval and no less mighty reconstruction ? Could he expect that the Swedes would assist to seat him upon the imperial throne ? They were not the material out of which a Prætorian cohort could be made, and none knew this better than Wallenstein. Then, moreover, they and the Saxons alike mistrusted him, and suspected his negotiations. They thought he aimed only to outwit thenı, and bring their throats fairly within his grasp, and then to strangle them forever. Whatever his friends may have suspected, his foes were unable to believe him a traitor. Mr. Mitchell will see no treason ; but this is not very encouraging, for Mr. Mitchell does not betray such talent or acuteness in his work as to render his opinion valuable.
On the other hand, Schiller believes in his guilt to the uttermost extent; but neither is this very discouraging ; for even in holding the pen of the historian, Schiller cannot di
vest himself of the feelings of the poet. His conception of Wallenstein is thoroughly dramatic even in his his tory. In his dramas the character is, in an artistic view, unapproachable save by Shakespeare; and exactly in this range of character even Shakespeare has nothing finer. This picture of the stately saviour of a mighty realm, hesitating and trembling at the thought of becoming the betrayer of his own noble work, and while dallying with the awful idea, suddenly transformed into a fugitive, and falling beneath the daggers of assassins, presented a fascination which the spirit of Schiller could not withstand ; to conceive it was to believe it. And yet even Schiller, in a moment of honesty, confessed that he was not sure of the correctness of his judgment of Wallenstein. What, then, is to be thought of Schiller's conduct ? Poets, dramatists, and novelists, who take for their subjects the events and persons of real life are under the most awful obligations to conduct their work with conscientious scrupulosity. How nobly have Shakespeare and Sir Walter Scott fulfilled their responsibility! What departed spirit can in the world to come call them to account for wilful defamation of character ? None; and this fact is not the smallest of heir glories. An historical personage is embalmed in a great poem, a great drama, a great novel ; and as he appears therein so will his portrait forever look out upon the world. Dull history can seldom correct this coloring or this outline. It is a cruel deed for a gifted writer to use his genius to the ruin or destruction of a fair fame ; nor is this often done out of wantonness or malice, but far too often out of careless disregard. We doubt if Schiller reflected sufficiently upon this duty when he wrote “ The Piccolomini.” Had he, in fact, the doubt which he confessed as to the truthfulness of his conception, he ought never to have embodied it in those superb scenes; or at least, since we should be loath to forego these, he ought to have published prominently in connection with them the doubt which lurked in his mind; for from their damnation the spirit of Wallenstein can have no resurrection.
The whispers of treason which floated in the air, and most thickly in Vienna, exceedingly disturbed the mind of the emperor. His only anxiety soon became to lay the spirit which he had evoked. He had tried once and successfully the experiment of removal, but he hardly ventured now to try it again ; so he resorted to a subterfuge. Count. Galas had his commission to supersede Wallenstein as generalissino,
VOL. XI.-NO. XXI. 4
and the divers generals upon whom Ferdinand thought he could depend were scattered through the various camps to take all possible precautionary measures for some days before the removal was proclaimed, which was intended to have all the force of a surprise. One fact is noteworthy: from no source can we learn that Wallenstein made any effort to counteract the machinations which he must have known were at work against him ; calmly and scornfully he watched
; the meshes of the web which was weaving around him. He seemed to be jealous neither of his safety nor of his good name. This looks more like the innocence of a haughty spirit than the wiliness of a villanous one.
At last the storm burst. Galas proclaimed his commission. Wallenstein saw himself universally regarded as a traitor, and friends and dependents fell away from him ; he became shunned like a leper. Shortly before, a few zealous friends
, had summoned all the generals to a banquet, where, as the story goes, they showed them a paper binding them all to the service of Wallenstein, saving their allegiance to the emperor ; after the wine had gone freely about, what purported to be the same document was passed about for signatures; but in this second paper the clause “ saving their allegiance to the emperor” was omitted. This seems like an idle tale, and if it is true it ought certainly to have warned Wallenstein that his officers were not to be much depended upon, since it was thought necessary by his friends to resort to such a foolish ruse in the business. At any rate, Wallenstein found himself now left naked to his enemies ; the emperor drove him into the arms of the Swedes, and in his present straits they could hardly refuse to credit his sincerity. He fled to Egra, and arrangements were made for them to meet him there; he hoped to be able to deliver the place
; into their hands. On the night preceding the day appointed for their coming, after a late sitting with his favorite astrologer, Seni, he retired to sleep. But those who murder sleep were at work ; while he had been reading the stars, knives had been whetting for his bosom. Almost before he had fallen into slumber, an uproar arose in his ante-chamber. Rising to upbraid the tumult, the silence-loving general met upon his threshoid the ferocious gang of assassins, and in a moment, beneath the savage blows of many daggers, the great warrior fell and breathed his last, passing to a deeper stillness than all his efforts had been able to compass upon earth.
Art. III.-State Bank System of the United States, 1865.
WITH the exception of the issues of the Bank of the United States, which was first chartered in 1791 for twenty years, and re-chartered in 1816 for another period of twenty years, the paper currency of the country, previous to the commencement of the rebellion, consisted of the issues of bank corporations, chartered by the several states and territories of the Union. Over these state banks the Federal Government neither claimed nor exercised any control whatsoever. Some notion of the number and variety of the state authorities by which these institutions were created, may be had from the Bank Statement of the Treasury Department for January 1, 1860, showing that at that date there were: In the 6 New England States, 505 $44,510,618 5 Middle States,
485 53,146,871 5 Southern States,
146 35,863,618 6 S. Western States, 138 46,000,759 9 Western States,
Banks and Branches.
Total, 31 states and territories, 1,562 $207,102,477
Under our system it is to be understood that no state or territorial bank was under the control or supervision of the Federal Government, or any other common or central authority, and the conduct of the individual banks showed in al past times that they were practically uncontrolled by the state authorities which created them. Very few of those located in the interior kept their currency at par in the seaboard cities. Most of them were always uncurrent in the principal marts of domestic and foreign commerce; indeed, the principal cities of the Atlantic coast have seldom, and only for brief periods, kept their banknotes at par in New York.
For very many years, weekly lists of the rates of discount upon these state banks have been published at Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, showing nineteen out of twenty ranging from one quarter to two and a half per cent. below the par of the bank paper of the respective cities when they were in the best credit, and falling to ten and fifteen per cent. discount in times of monetary disturbance. In Hodge's Bank Note Reporter of June 1, 1864, New York state paper is quoted at discount in Boston ; Pennsylvania state at
in Philadelphia, and it to 1 in Boston ; New York state at
The failures of these corporations in the last fifty or sixty years have been numerous and heavy. Mr. Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury, reported one hundred and sixty-five which occurred between January 1, 1811, and January 1, 1830, having an aggregate capital of thirty millions of dollars; of these as many as forty-three broke in the single state of Kentucky, twenty in Ohio, nineteen in Pennsylvania, ten in Virginia, and nine in Maryland. In the vaults of these broken banks the government had $1,390,707; and he adds that the loss to individuals amounts to many millions." In a report made to the Federal Congress in 1843, the bank failures of the United States during the year 1841 are given as fifty-five in number, with an aggregate capital of sixtyseven millions, and a circulation of twenty-three and a half millions.
In Hodge's Bank Note Reporter for June 1, 1864, a list of "failed” and “worthless” banks is given. The number in the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut is seventy-eight; New York city, twenty-six ; New York state, sixty ; New Jersey, thirty-eight ; Pennsylvania, sixty-five ; Delaware, three; Maryland, twenty-five; District of Columbia, thirty-nine ; Ohio, forty-seven; Indiana, forty-three; Illinois, nine ; Michigan, twenty-nine-in fifteen of the loyal states and the District of Columbia, four hundred and sixty-two banks which had gone into insolvency. The losses sustained by the note holders and depositors of these banks are quite incalculable.
But the system is not only chargeable with the perpetual wear and tear of discount upon every note, whether passed at home for commodities purchased in the Atlantic cities, or remitted for purchases and payments, and the fearfully frequent and extensive bankruptcies which have marked its history. It must be held to answer, also, for its agency in the great commercial revulsions which have happened, with the certainty and almost the regularity of a natural law, in the half century of its uncontrolled rule.
Previous to the year 1334 no efforts were made by the Federal Government to collect and arrange the returns of the state banks, and when, by a resolution of Congress in June, 1832, the Secretary of the Treasury was “ directed to lay